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Nick Parker

Do You Consume Media to "Be Immersed"?

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Agreed @karelm  

 

Escapism is why I love movies, games, and music. I become immersed because I understand and can appreciate what went into the craft to produce the final art. 

 

I could be blown away by the technical mastery of a particular game or movie, but to my girlfriend it’s just a piece of entertainment with no value. 

 

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The illusion works for me when I know it is an illusion.  A contract between me and the media.  I know that it is all a show, but the best shows know what they are, and yet seek to transcend.

A movie or music calling appropriate attention to its craft does not take me out of it, it draws me in.  Incompetence will take me out of things, even in a movie that is trying its hardest to be immersive. 

A lot of what passes for immersive these days is merely a kind of comfortable mediocrity that dulls the mind into some kind of numb state.  But, the mind is made to be exercised, and the best escapism does this, because you are not really escaping reality, you are looking at it from a different, exciting perspective.  
Consumers today don't want to be challenged or even entertained in that way.  They want what seems to be a constant respite from reality, hence their inability to cope when, say, a film series takes an unexpected turn.

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I do not... consume media. I merely learn from it, focused on general knowledge of arts and crafts involved, thinking about issues that wouldn't otherwise occur to me, or just using the media as a direct inspiration for my own creative production---creative production, which, although polished and aimed to have as much entertainment value as possible, is deeply educational in nature, from the purpose of precisely and most efficiently naming every object and idea (I am really jotting down all vocabulary and phrases I hear in my nat. language), up to the choice of contents itself. Learn through play is the only reason why I write fiction and not textbooks (besides my roots of having been raised on so-called encyclopaedic novels).

 

I watch old German cinema to learn posh German. Ditto old British cinema. I watch Star Wars in Italian to learn basic conversation shortcuts. The books I read are mostly for their sentences and phrases, not for the topic of author's choice---unless they are a textbook on 1940s radio communications or a book on geology or philosophy or let's say... industrial production in Brazil, in which cases there are specific questions that I have or because I want to extend the particular part of my horizons. Music I listen to I categorize depending on how much and what do I aim to learn from it in the future---everything has its box.

 

However diverse things I might look for, I am completely pragmatic.

 

So when it comes to immersion, I consider creative crafts to be (from the perspective of the audience) like an iceberg. They are meant to see the top percent, not the logistics. If I wrote a book on technology and it was produced poorly, and the reader would have to use both hands to keep the book from physically falling apart, then it would be distracting them from what their aim was. If nothing is distracting me from my aims in a negative way---the vertical opposite of which would be something surprisingly masterful, then I consider the medium to be at its highest efficiency. Breaking the fourth wall is a big risk to take. I liked the open propaganda at the end of Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent, because it answered my question how come films were even made in the middle of a total war. I didn't like it in Deadpool, because a) thoughts on the plot and limits of the story should have been dealt with on the screenwriting level b) making ignorant assumptions about my aims, motivations or instrospection is just condescending and a waste of my time.

 

I intend to watch The Mask of the Phantasm today or tomorrow for it's presumed chiaroscuro and art deco on the aesthetic front. If they also make a funny joke or draw an interesting fight scene---good for my memory of them.

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I wouldn't say I watch film/TV for "escapism". A lot of what I like to watch is much too grim to be considered "escapist".

 

Immersion may not be quite the right word for it, either, although of course the transportative qualities of a film are generally conducive to the drama.

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I never lose awareness of watching a movie, but it is kind of nice to get lost in the thing while you're watching it.  In the theater, phones are away and there's nothing but the movie.  If somebody else wants to get a snack or take a bathroom break, too bad, the movie is still going and I can remain focused on it.  It would be preferable to see everything in a theater, if it were financially viable!  At home, At home, we pause so my spouse takes a bathroom break, so somebody can get a snack or a drink.  We can glance at our phones, there's a baby monitor, etc etc.

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There's a reason I enjoy basic VR games more than the greatest video games, and I enjoy video games more than I do movies. VR literally changed my life, and it's been a dream of mine since I was young. People don't realize just how real it is until they decide that's what they want to seek out. That degree of real feeling. It pulls you directly into whatever experience you want to have, directly into another life. I've literally been in outer-space and jumped around exploring epic and gorgeous planets, and I've literally gone through the darkest hell and haunting of my life, and I've been the angelic hero saving the vast kingdoms, and I've literally been everywhere and talked to everyone. My experiences are irreplaceable. The one thing I need however is a long drawn-out psychological experience, like Sword Art Online or Danganronpa, where you're contained with people for weeks and put to various life-or-death or story-changing tests.

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I like to be inspired by the media.

Sometimes that means being educated by it.

Sometimes that means being entertained by it.

 

"Immersion", for me, comes from that inspiration.

Dark, dreary and negative content does not inspire me.

Therefore I always keep feeling detached from that sort of media.

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I am. For two reasons.

 

One, its more immersive because some of the events depicted in spectacle films - warfare, destruction and life-risking stunts - really shouldn't be any fun at all, if they were to happen in real life.

 

Two, because its more dramatic. Drama is a very simple but potent formula: everything is horrible, everything is grim, everything is sad, but at the end there's happiness and elation. Its a simple trick of juxtaposition.

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11 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

Two, because its more dramatic. Drama is a very simple but potent formula: everything is horrible, everything is grim, everything is sad, but at the end there's happiness and elation.

But dark, dreary, negative movies are exactly those without a clear happy end. Some good in the middle---may be---but in the end everything is rather bad again.

 

Right, @Pieter_Boelen ?

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54 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

Drama is a very simple but potent formula: everything is horrible, everything is grim, everything is sad, but at the end there's happiness and elation. Its a simple trick of juxtaposition.

 

How does, let's say, A Passage To India conform to what you're saying?

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, The Original said:

Not a fan of dark and disturbing films, huh.

Nope, definitely not.

They often feel artificial and fake to me.

Even where they seem more realistic, I've already got real life to show realism.

I like being inspired to see how real life could be better than it is.

 

1 hour ago, Fabulin said:

But dark, dreary, negative movies are exactly those without a clear happy end. Some good in the middle---may be---but in the end everything is rather bad again.

 

Right, @Pieter_Boelen ?

I agree with @Chen G.; that does indeed sound very tragic.

 

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5 hours ago, Chen G. said:

Drama is a very simple but potent formula: everything is horrible, everything is grim, everything is sad, but at the end there's happiness and elation. 

 

4 hours ago, Alexcremers said:

 

How does, let's say, A Passage To India conform to what you're saying?

 

 

By inserting the word "Back" into the title.

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15 hours ago, Pieter_Boelen said:

 

I like being inspired to see how real life could be better than it is.

 

 

Good luck with finding a movie where the world is a much better place than the real one. To be honest, it sounds a bit dull to me.

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I think the growing popularity of augmented reality games illustrates the role of contemporary entertainment in people's lives. I don't know if there will come a day when escapism is regulated by governments, and people with actual military and political power would control what everyone consumes to escape.

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10 minutes ago, Alexcremers said:

 

Good luck with finding a movie where the world is a much better place than the real one. To be honest, it sounds a bit dull to me.

 

Movies generally present a simpler, idealised world compared to the drab one we live in.

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2 minutes ago, Alexcremers said:

 

Maybe they do in Frank Capra movies, but besides those, I don't see too many idealised worlds, to be honest. 

 

Even in the grimmest films, they're scripted in a hopeful manner that sends the message that we can win against odds against us. That hope is fleeting in real life.

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45 minutes ago, Alexcremers said:

 

Maybe they do in Frank Capra movies, but besides those, I don't see too many idealised worlds, to be honest. 

Every other rom-com, action movie, heist movie, action-comedy, adventure flick and musical, not to mention movies for kids and Star Wars. And LOTR.

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35 minutes ago, Fabulin said:

Every other rom-com, action movie, heist movie, action-comedy, adventure flick and musical, not to mention movies for kids and Star Wars. And LOTR.

Yup!

And (apart from musicals), those are exactly my favourite ones.

Especially adventure.

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1 hour ago, Fabulin said:

Every other rom-com, action movie, heist movie, action-comedy, adventure flick and musical, not to mention movies for kids and Star Wars. And LOTR.

 

Action and heist movies are inspiring for their utopian worlds?! What?! The totalitarian regime and all destroying war scenes in Star Wars is a better world than ours?! The nightmarish vistas of LOTR?! 

 

Are you people nuts? 

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25 minutes ago, Alexcremers said:

The totalitarian regime and all destroying war scenes in Star Wars is a better world than ours?! The nightmarish vistas of LOTR?! 

 

Are you people nuts? 

 

Just compensating for their unease, I guess...

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2 hours ago, Alexcremers said:

 

 

Action and heist movies are inspiring for their utopian worlds?! What?! The totalitarian regime and all destroying war scenes in Star Wars is a better world than ours?! The nightmarish vistas of LOTR?! 

 

Are you people nuts? 

"Better" is a big word.

But "seeing good overcome evil against overwhelming odds" in the media inspires me to keep doing the right things myself, even in difficult situations.

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