A tribute to and a lament for Marshall McLuhan.Â Five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday,Â I present one of McLuhanâ€™s observations and talk about its relevance today.Â 300 ideas. 300 days.Â 300 posts.
Marshall McLuhan (1970, age 68/69).Â Letâ€™s make a movie!
I have just spent a very productive day with Jane Jacobs.Â We have written a script for a movie, â€śA Burning Would.â€ť (You will of course recognize the reference to Finnegans Wake, â€śA burning would has come to dance inane.â€ť)Â If all works out this film will either be the final word on the nature of film or stop the Spadina Expressway dead in its tracks.
Me (June 2010, age 57)Â Â Lessons?
Jane Jacobs describes the chaotic and exhilarating day she spent with McLuhan writing a film script in Who was Marshall McLuhan.Â The word â€śscriptâ€ť is an exaggeration.Â Hereâ€™s how the day went:Â he persuaded her to give it a try, they talked about ideas, McLuhanâ€™s secretary, Margaret Stewart took notes, and typed them up, and McLuhan made arrangements to meet with the filmmaker David Mackay to discuss the â€śscript.â€ťÂ Jacobs describes the resulting â€śscriptâ€ť as â€śgarbled and unreadableâ€ť but also as â€śdazzling sparks and fragments.â€ť
Remarkably the film (12 minutes long) was made [and even more remarkably doesnâ€™t seem to be posted on YouTube].Â Jacobs says that the film was â€śgoodâ€ť but â€śthe final product bore no relationship at all to our original script.â€ť
Perhaps, the major lessons to be learned from this film are:
Donâ€™t be afraid to try new things (neither Jacobs nor McLuhan had ever tried to write a script before.)
Get yourself good partners.
Donâ€™t be afraid to fail.
What new things are you doing?
Cordially, Marshall and Me
Reading for this post
Who Was Marshall McLuhan. Edited by Barrington Nevitt with Maurice McLuhan, 1995, pp. 101-102.
For other inspiration see Julien Smith’s In over your head.
And thanks to Michael Edmunds for this interview of McLuhan on his plans for filmmaking originally published in Take One in the 1970s – Marshall McLuhan makes a movie.