Sunday, June 29, 2008

Interpreter Hell Incarnate - "RESOLVED" a Great Film About Communication

Movie Viewing Date: June 29th, 2008
Movie Title: Resolved
Reviewed By: Mike Wilkerson - The 2GuysTalking Caption Hunt


In the span of my Hard of Hearing-Interpreter career, I have only experienced what I have considered "interpreter hell" a very few times. The stand up comediant referring to the interpreter on stage, testing the interpreter to see "how far they will go" to convey information. Situations that showcase physical proximity to dangers both environmental and legitimate physical harm. They've all been a piece of what is the history of my Interpreting career. I have always prided myself on being able to collect the details of a line of dialogue, an overall argument - to absorb information and be able to translate that to American Sign Language in its many incarnations and provide that to my previous clients. "Resolved" - an outstanding movie on HBOHD this morning showcased the true reality if what would be Interpreter Hell, and why I have never had the opportunity to interpret competitive high school and collegiate debate.

Opinion Review:

What I have found most satisfying about this on-going series of Caption Hunt Reviews is that it has allowed me to not only enjoy an outstanding home theater (called "The Shire"), it also has opened doors to programs that I probably would have never had the interest in watching ot listening to. This movie, "Resolved" was something I probably would have skipped on by, except that I read that it involved debate. While debate was something I dabbled in in high school, the skills, jargon and sheer annunciation skill that I saw in the first several minutes of this truly made my ears and mind spin, wondering just how on Earth I would/could interpret this dialoging bonanza and the answer would have been very much like a very fast country, rock, death-metal or rap song, where I can understand a word here or there, but never anything strung together even on the best most-rested afternoon ever.

Additionally, I wanted to see exactly how this show, where there is a significant section of it depicted with people speed read-speaking (where they actually are giving cogent thought that is collected by not only the team they're debating against, but also the fellow debaters in the room, the judges in the room, and what I perceived were clearly onlookers watching and listening in amazement just as I did for the entire movie, were going to capture in captioning, how the people were speaking so fast. The accomplished it with the same thing interpreters us where the captioning says "[speaking indistinctly]" meaning that they are speaking but nothing in general can be gleaned from what's being said.

The captioning follows each and every team, including the showcased teams that are followed for a series of years as they complete year-round tournaments, local sectionals and everything in between. The names of the players are provided often both in graphics as titles for the participants but also inside of the captioning when they're speaking off screen to people on-screen, that really does make for an easier captioned read. I wish that other programs would take on this trait. In addition to what is the base closed captioning of the movie, they have several sections, including the speed read-speaking segments that are open captioned, which really helps you understand much of what the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Communities experience. A lot of people are under the impression that Deaf and Hard of Hearing people either have hearing, or don't have hearing, when in actuality, it's almost always somewhere on the spectrum of overall hearing losss. I am on the extreme able to function independently end of the Hard of Hearing spectrum and open and closed captioning is definitely gravy for me and helps me to better understand the players participating, their names, the spelling of their names, and more. Regardless of your ability to hear, I would challenge ANYONE READING THIS COLUMN to try to understand much of what is heard inside of this episode, without captioning of any kind. You simply will not be able to do it. Here's why: Over the years, competitive debate has "evolved" into a sort of shorthand speak, that is clearly discernable to those who use and participate in it's creation. To the "rest of us", it sounds just like what shorthand on paper looks like to people that just "write" - squiggles, fragments of words, sometimes-able-to-collect words but not much more. According to the show, the human brain can comprehend up to 800 words per minute being heard. Each of the presenteres in full speed read-speaking mode were pushing about 400 words per minute but it was still - AMAZINGLY DIFFICULT to make them out and I thought to myself: it's possible for some to double THIS speed and sill make things out? Amazing! The experience of listening to them is akin to watching someone speak incredibly fast, with an almost habit-formed bak occurring mid-sentence to break the cadence but also to allow breath. It's one of those things that when you see it with friends, you'll definitely look at your friends sitting in the room and say "you've gotta' be shitting me..."

It's amazing, it's otherworldly, and the best part - it's an acquired and dying skill that many people will never have the opportunity to see - save for the advent of this film that is.

The film continues following the groups as they grow older, pass through the system, and win and lose some major milestones in their scholastic debate careers. There is a point where there is a "revolutnionary team" that makes their presence known, and while I thought the initial ideas that they were providing were solid in regard to what is wrong with "the debate game" and actually attacking it by attacking the process and habitial creation traits of debate, rather than the other team- oy - that descending into what was one of the most frustrating "it's all about racism, and you can't understand because we're black" sessions that make for some very frustrating watching. Thankfully, that is a very tiny and still evocative piece of this great film that I believe everyone should be sure to watch at least once. It's a rich, supporting and educational effort that will give everyone an idea of what being able to communicate faster and more effectively than the other guy can provide to you, your family, your career, and your life - and bring you "resolve."\

Overall Caption Rating: 5

Overall Show Rating: 5

Total Rating: 5

Do You Recommend This Show to Others Who Depend on Captioning? Yes

– Mike Wilkerson
Creator/Graphic Designer/Talk Show Host

- The 2GuysTalking Podcast
2GuysTalking Original Content Podcast Network – 314-229-7683

[Mike is a professional entertainment critic and talk show host for The 2GuysTalking Podcast Network, a multi-media podcasting company specializing in the broadcast of opinion, thought and ideas. Be sure to visit 2GuysTalking.Com for more information.]

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Marvel of Another Stan - Remembering Stan Winston

While Stan Lee has always had the mantle of “Stan the Man” for me, there is another Stan that made innovation, quality work, outstanding work ethic and memories in both the arena of television and feature films, that will last a lifetime. I am of course talking about the master - nay - Father, of modern practical special effects, Stan Winston, who died yesterday - Father’s Day 2008.

Stan had tickled my imagination in 1982’s “The Thing” - a movie my father introduced me to the same year that my best friend Carl and I went to see so many movies that kindled the spirit for The 2GuysTalking Podcast... More>>

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Caption Hunt - In the Name of the King: A Dragonseige Tale

DVD Viewing Date: June 15th, 2008
DVD Title: In the Name of the King - A Dragonseige Tale
Reviewed By: Mike WIlkerson - 2GuysTalking


To those of you reading this entry for the 2GuysTalking Caption Hunt: I know I won't be the only person that was an adolescent who was trying to make a saving throw verses a wizard-invoked sleep spell during my experiences with Dungeons & Dragons, so let me preface it by stating this: Hope that you fail your saving throw and don't have to experience "In the Name of the King - a Dragonseige Tale".

Click Here to Read The Rest of this 2GuysTalking Caption Hunt Review

Monday, June 09, 2008

Making the Computer Animated Movie Mark - Your Thoughts?

While surfing during lunch today, I found an interesting listing that I thought I would share with you all and comment on. The topic: The Best Computer Animated Films of All Time. First, a preface.

There are many things that make my mind fly into an alternate plane of existence. Sometimes it's a movie, sometimes it's a thought that is triggered from a movie, or even a special feature from a DVD or (now) HD-DVD that I see. Animated films have always carried that for me, probably because of my interest and talent in cartooning and originally having that special something that is the desire to animate movies. The last time I remember having "that feeling" during an (traditionally) animated film was for "TARZAN" the outstanding offering featuring a driving make-it-go soundtrack that won an Oscar back in the 90s. The visuals of that film, in particular the creation of the characters and animal studies that were done to develop the characters are the stuff of "become-a-cartoonist" legend.

Click here to read the rest of this entry at Mike's Movies...

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Does Anyone Know What MMA Stands For?

One of the strangest questions I think I've considered in the past for those visiting? Do you know what MMA stands for? I have been a boxing fan for probably 15 years, tuning into HBO and Showtime's boxing events and a variety of EPSN bouts that have eventually made their way onto my digital video recording unit in the theater.

About a year ago, my wife told me to come into the theater and she showed me this "fight", this event that was going on with people sitting around a cage, with a couple of people whaling on each other with what looked like some kind of shrunken human head gloves and racing stickers on their shorts. Hmmm... What on Earth was THIS?

The Answer: It was MMA - Mixed Martial Arts, the evolution of what was old-school no-holds-barred-no-rules cage fighting, appearing on HDNet right there in our theater. I was mesmerized. You have fighters from all over the world, from every end of the skill spectrum in a variety of promotion companies - fighting. Those of you that are used to what is the usual Boxing game - this folks, is a completely different animal.

If you thought that Boxers were well-conditioned athletes, you have another think coming. An MMA fighter can begin his fighting adventure in a variety of places (wrestling, boxing, muy tai - gosh, a bunch of other starting avenues), and then eventually bring in the addition of a specialized "ground game" often modeled on Brazillian Jui Jitsu.

When you add on a variety of amazingly difficult and challenging training teams in camps all over the world, you have a fighter that just makes an indentation not only in the sporting realm, not only on network television with the debut of MMA on CBS last nite, but a TRUE indentation in each and every fighter's noggin.

It's invigorating, it's got all of the magic of what was Boxing in the "old days" and provides a real solid view inside a quickly growing sport that collects respect, accolades and the same fighting spirit I remember in my wrestling days. Surem the trash-talking is there - there is definitive testosterone associated with the sport, but there is a clear and always-measurable respect from every fighter that is also included in every fight - something missing from what I believe is the modern realm of boxing. Be sure to check out the following websites to see more about the sport, the fighters and the opportunities to check out a visual injection of adrenaline:

HDNet Fights:
Inside: MMA:
World Extreme Cage Fighting:

Please comment on the links and the details above. I am anxious to hear your take on MMA.