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The Five Question Interview

i figured that this journal could use something of interest. over at ashamel's livejournal, a spread it around interview came up. it has a set of basic rules, which i will list in a moment, but basically, it looked kind of fun, and it'd bring some different content to this here journal. so, below you will find the interview.

these are the rules:

THE RULES:
1 - Leave a comment, saying you want to be interviewed.
2 - I will respond; I'll ask you five questions.
3 - You'll update your journal with my five questions, and your five answers.
4 - You'll include this explanation.
5 - You'll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.


the interview should follow this cut.

1. Can an interest in film survive working in a cinema?

sure. in fact, if you don't know anything about films, one of the best things you can do is get yourself a job and become a projectionist.

i got a job as an usher when i was eighteen, out of high school, and without much of an interest in films. i went to a cinema every now and then, but i honestly couldn't say that i had a big film interest. thought star wars was neat, but otherwise i was pretty ignorant. next thing though, i had this job in a cinema, and i'm surrounded by people who watch films all the time, and who have these huge interest in film. most of them want to do something in film, either direct or write or act, and the majority of them can't act, direct, or write themselves out of a box, but they all carry this cultural knowledge of film around in them. just by hanging around in that sort of environment, you'll learn about films you've never seen before. people'll lend you european versions of luc besson's the professional (called leon), tell you about necrophilia films banned in every country but germany, point out that john woo once made good films, and that tarantino ripped reservoir dogs off ringo lam's city on fire, just for examples off the top of my head.

and there's an odd romantic quality to working with film that helps the interest along. i became a projectionist pretty quickly, and ended up working that for five or so years. there's a particular tactile pleasure that comes from handling film, and threading it up through a projector, and the sound it makes as it runs along rollers and through the gate.
the same tactile pleasure is there for books, at least for me.

but, of course, working in a cinema is a dead end job. it's why you find out of work actors and directors there. indeed, the longer you stay in the job, the more fucked up you become, and the less you're able to interact with anyone anywhere else... though in fairness, i reckon that's the end product of most long term employment, which molds your mind into a little soldier for that job, so that you're unable to connect fully anything outside the frame.

2. Have you ever found people in your classes who write really well? Can you see potential talent struggling to come to the fore?

hmm, well, you know, that's a bit of a hard question. when you say, 'write really well', it sort of implies that maybe i've found, for example, salman rushdie fully made and born before the age of twenty... and the answer to that is simply no, i haven't found that. i don't really think i will.

i see a lot of potential, though, some of it more than others, but most of it just the mark of something that could emerge as a writer. that doesn't mean that i don't think they're publishable, as a couple have been, but just being publishable doesn't mean you've reached the point where you're this shining example of literature and everyone ought drop to their knees and kiss your little toes. mostly i view being publishable as just another sign of your potential getting bigger, cutting a larger mark through your flesh, scaring you for what you might become.

3. How is the thesis/novel going?

yeah, that. a walking tour of the dreaming city. i like saying the title every now and then, cause i don't think i'll end up with it once i've finished.

it's going, neither good nor bad. it's best not to think of it in those terms right now, i figure. i've spent the last month and a half laying down the rough draft, sorting out what needs to go where, and getting the basic ideas and structure out. i've got about another month of that left, i think, and then it's back to research, rewriting, research, rewriting, that sort of thing. i rewrite a lot, so it's not a big deal that i have so much rewriting ahead of me, though i still have to write the essay part of it, hence the research.

last year i hit a period of hating it, which was expected, and i reckon that i'll hit the same thing towards the end of this year. whenever that times rolls up, i call everyone i know a crack head, get into a foul mood, and end up doing something that aids society not at all, like maybe writing a short story.

the hardest bit about writing this is not getting distracted and writing something else. it's a bit of the itchy fingers thing, i think, and i like the quickness of a short story. but i really mustn't.

4. Do you think modern civilisation is on an inevitable spiral into destruction?

well, i do suspect that the continual success of reality tv shows does signal something, but i don't think its an inevitable spiral, alas.

humanity is a virus with shoes, as the bill hicks quote goes. we'll just keep going on and on and on. no jesus coming back, no mohammad with a shotgun, none of that shit. oh sure, things'll change, but that's nothing new either. in fact, we all ought to be looking forward to change, and a time when our musicians weren't made on the telly.

5. What sort of music do you like?

depends on the mood. for most of the time i spent typing this reply, i was listening to iggy pop's beat 'em up, but i recently changed that to zwan. the album isn't perfect, but it's not as bad as the smashing pumpkins got towards the end. i like godspeed you black emperor and the bands that circle them, such as a silver mt zion and set fire to flames. the john butler trio are always listenable too--and fantastic live. lets not forget the flaming lips, who i didn't get to see live last weekend or so, sadly, cause i didn't have the cash. i apparently missed nuns on stage too, which was a deep regret, because when dancing nuns are put on stage, things often get better.

i'm not really into most pop music except as a voyeuristic experience when watching the film clips of britney and christina and whoever is cute, you know. shows like australian (or whatever) idol just piss me off.

this could go on longer. i could list jeff buckley, my morning jacket, SNOG, rage against the machine, the jesus and mary chain, tori amos, ani defranco... i could keep going. i listen to bits of orchestra music, though mainly off the radio, hence the lack of names. it just all depends on the mood, and i'll pretty much give anything a listen too once. i'll pretty much give anything a whirl once, so long as it holds a bit of initial interest, which, you know, is why i filled in this interview thing.

which we've reached the end of.

much thanks to david, and the hotel that kept us, and to the good people at livejournal. feel free to add and ask more or have your own five questions.

Comments

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ashamel
Feb. 4th, 2004 08:36 pm (UTC)
<<sure. in fact, if you don't know anything about films, one of the best things you can do is get yourself a job and become a projectionist.>>

But you always sounded so bitter about it... Or maybe that was just films you'd seen a few too many times.

Do projectionists actually watch the movies, BTW? Certainly I've been in movies where someone has had to find a staff member and point out the screen is all fucked up.

David C
(Who has seen Leon, Nekromatic and Hard Boiled, but not City of Fire)
benpeek
Feb. 4th, 2004 08:46 pm (UTC)
Re:
well, i was always a bit disappointed in the cinema i worked at, which was poorly run. there was so much general stupidity in it that it was hard, while there, to remember why you liked the job. it'd be given bad films, or films that'd been out for a month or so, and nothing interesting would come through so you'd play something like the new sandra bullock film for a month, and the company would constantly ask you why you weren't making money, and then put in stupid rules about wearing a vest the *right* way. at one stage the said you couldn't read in projection. it was insane, and towards the end, there was just a lot of apathy/disgust in the job, which you probably remember me saying.

plus, at the end of that job, i began a relationship with one of the managers there, and it ended very badly. it all sort of soured me on working at that cinema.

but: i did learn a lot about films. i probably wouldn't have if i didn't work there, and for the most part, i did like being a projectionist. it was a good time, but a time i am very definately pleased to be away from, i might add.

and yeah, sometimes the projectionists watch. other times they're elsewhere. a lot of films start at the same time, so mostly you set it up, set the timer, and forget about it. if there is a problem, someone will tell you.
ceret
Feb. 4th, 2004 09:09 pm (UTC)
One of the better memes I've seen floating around. This has popped up on two friends' LJs, so it must be, like, meaningful, man.

I barely know you, but would love to see what questions you come up with. Interview me?
benpeek
Feb. 4th, 2004 09:24 pm (UTC)
Re:
yeah, cool, we'll give it a roll. it'll probably be some time tonight when i figure out five interesting ones, though.
benpeek
Feb. 5th, 2004 02:32 am (UTC)
Re:
lets see if i can come up with five interesting questions:

1) You're on your second novel now, and novels, they're a big investment of time (well, that's my opinion, feel free to disagree). So, to start with, what is it that you look for in a personal project that'll keep you going for this time?

2) The locale literature (even arts in general if you wish) scene(s): what's your experience and opinion of them? also, do you think they're progressive in their thinking about the representation of australia, no matter their diversity?

3) What's your view on mandatory voting? And within that, how do you see the current trend of "bribing" young people to enroll by offering them prizes like DVD players?

4) There are a lot of different cultures in the world, with a nice arrangement falling into Australia these days. But outside Australia, there are thousands of cultures and people that a lot of folks'll never experience. So the question here is what, if any, is the most alien culture you've seen and experienced and just why was it alien?

5) what excites you?
ceret
Feb. 5th, 2004 04:39 am (UTC)
Re:
Awesome! Thanks, Ben. I thought your writerly instincts would rise to the challenge. Shall answer soon.
ashamel
Feb. 4th, 2004 09:56 pm (UTC)
And five questions for me as well (though I'm currently struggling through 5 at the moment, some of them are tricky)
benpeek
Feb. 5th, 2004 02:43 am (UTC)
Re:
you know, i have no idea if i am good at this question business or not. but, lets continue:

1) What, in your mind, is the finest horror film ever made? And, following that, do you think this film could have been made now? (Assuming it is an old film. If it is not a dated film, change that question to how standards for horror films have changed, and what the results have been?)

2) The locale literature (even arts in general if you wish) scene(s): what's your experience and opinion of them? also, do you think they're progressive in their thinking about the representation of australia, no matter their diversity?

3) What's your view on mandatory voting? And within that, how do you see the current trend of "bribing" young people to enroll by offering them prizes like DVD players?

4) The short story. I'd like to hear more about your decision to leave it (mostly) behind, and the things that bought you there?

5) What excites you?
ashamel
Feb. 5th, 2004 03:05 am (UTC)
Re:
Oh God!

Nobody asks me the easy questions. But I'll give it a go, albeit (hopefully) tomorrow.

Thanks,

David C
benpeek
Feb. 5th, 2004 03:09 am (UTC)
Re:
ah, admit it, if you got simple things, you'd be disappointed.
ashamel
Feb. 5th, 2004 05:20 am (UTC)
Re:
You could well be right, because I just managed to answer them anyway.
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