Monday, August 4, 2008

Director's cut

Among Ben's collection of quirky superpowers, perhaps my favorites are those that showcase his astonishing visual and aural memory. To put it in less clinical terms, I believe he is well on his way to becoming a supreme film geek.

Lately, he'll request that we play the soundtrack from the movie Cars on the stereo - particular tracks, of course - so he can use his collection of Pixar toy cars to choreograph specific sequences from the film.

I'm pretty sure this makes him the only four year-old aficionado of Randy Newman's orchestral film scores.

I've written about Ben's love of recreating camera angles that he's seen in videos. He does the same thing in this activity. He is the director: with the soundtrack precisely matching the action, quoting lines of dialogue at just the right moment, often positioning his head at the proper angle so that he sees the scene the way it appears in the film.

Unfortunately, this talent does NOT really come in handy at preschool. But it just might once he hits junior high.

It makes me think of a story I had read about not long ago about a group of kids who, in the 1980s, worked diligently for seven years on a shot-by-shot recreation of Raiders of the Lost Ark. This, from the LA times story about a recent screening of the film:

The legend of the film is well-known in Indy circles. In 1982, three friends -- Chris Strompolos, Eric Zala and Jayson Lamb -- got together to begin a shot-for-shot re-creation of "Raiders," a film that had been released just a year before. Their ambitions were huge -- they committed to re-creating every single effects shot, including the giant rolling boulder at the film's beginning.

Hampered by the budget constraints of a 12-year-old's allowance and unhappy parents who learned they were setting each other on fire, the film was shut down and restarted several times over the course of seven years. In August 1989, the now 19-year-old friends finally had their premiere screening.

I only hope that when Ben gets older he finds a group of like-minded fanboys who will want to recreate whatever movie they are crazy about at the time.

In 1982, I was in ninth grade and spending a lot of time hanging out with three guys who, like Strompolos, et al, were crazy about Raiders. We were all in drama club together, wrote and performed skits, and made super-8 movies together. Our projects may not have been as ambitious, but the demographic was the same.

Turns out the guy I ended up marrying was, in 1982, a half-continent away, doing pretty much the same thing with his friends.

And now, we have Ben. May the circle be unbroken.


pixiemama said...

Our pediatrician told me once that she believes we get the children we are meant to have. Maybe she was telling me - subtly - that she believes I have made the right choices for my children. Or maybe she was telling me something else altogether. It was such an interesting comment; I think about it often. It came to mind again when I read the end of this post. Very, very interesting. You do what I love to do most when speaking of Foster - Focus on the good. Focus on the strengths, even if some would say those strengths are odd or not "age appropriate."

Anonymous said...

There's a lot of truth to what you say. Those things are not necessarily an aspect of his Autism, but a facet of his personality.

Makes perfect sense to me.

drama mama said...

Uh huh. You know, it's rumored that Spielberg has Asperger's.

I know a lot of film people, and they all seem to ride the spectrum wave.

Thank god for these geniuses, otherwise I'd have nothing to rent.