SHORT BUT SWEET by ELLIN CURLEY

I just saw a play that was interesting, but way too long. The producers had to fill out the required time for a Broadway play, whether or not they had enough good material. A lot of movies are too long for the same reason. To me, most action movies are no more than a series of barely distinguishable scenes of violence strung together from the opening credits and beginning “premise,” and an even more spectacularly violent dénouement. As far as I’m concerned, you could cut movies of this genre in half without altering the plot (what plot?) at all. But then, you might have a 47 minute movie and no one would pay to see it.

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This is particularly painful with comedies, particularly on television. Many sit-coms have a few funny bits and that’s it. The rest of the show just isn’t funny. In a perfect world, you could air an 18 minute episode because that’s all the funny material you had. You should be able to present the material that works and then call it a day. For the most part, half-hour shows are only 21 minutes after subtracting commercial breaks. Take off another one or two for coming attraction … and you’re down to 19 minutes. So many the problem is those really bad scripts? Maybe they only feel long because they are so bad.

I worry about this with blogs too. I have good ideas but I they don’t always add up to a whole post. So I’m simply going to present a few paragraphs from a couple of interesting articles I read recently.

First, apparently babies and young children are ‘designed’, by evolution, to seem cute and winning to adults to insure kids get the maximum love and attention they need to thrive and grow. Infants’ big eyes, button noses, and chubby cheeks elicit a kind of primal bonding reaction in adults. So do the sounds the make and the way they smell. It’s a visceral, chemical, and nearly universal reaction.

Children start to lose those physically attractive ‘baby’ features around age two or three, so adults are hard-wired to respond equally strongly to the speech patterns of young children.

The way kids perceive and say things sound funny and charming to us. Their observations about the world seem irresistibly adorable. This phenomenon has a name: “Cognitive Babyness.” Studies show that between age two and seven, a child’s cute behavior replaces their cute faces in stimulating a care-giving response. Go evolution!

Ana McGuffey - 1946 - Mme. Alexander - Doll's faces are intended to embody the "adorable" factor of real toddlers.

Ana McGuffey – 1946 – Mme. Alexander – Doll’s faces are intended to embody the “adorable” factor of real toddlers.

So much for interesting factoids. I’ll move to my next mini topic.

I taught Yoga and Meditation for eight years. I know the enormous benefits to adults — increased focus, attention span, calmness, control and confidence. Also, decreased tension and stress, anger, frustration, distractibility, and fewer physical aches and pains. It never occurred to me that teaching some form of Yoga and/or Mindfulness in to schoolchildren might have the same amazing benefits. But recently, I’ve read several articles about these kinds of programs being taught in kindergarten through high school, all around the country. They have produced outstanding results.

The skills taught have reduced the symptoms in ADHD kids. Calmed children with anxiety disorders. Helped kids with learning issues, behavior problems, and social deficits. The same studies have shown improved grades, a higher degree of empathy and kindness between kids — and an enhanced enthusiasm for school.

Many schools have incorporated some form of mindfulness into the curriculum for teachers as well as students.

Way to go! Good for you! Over and out!

12 thoughts on “SHORT BUT SWEET by ELLIN CURLEY

  1. You are so right. I thought I had a low attention span because unless something grips me in the first instance, be it post, book,film, play I am exactly the same. If someone writes a long post without spacing paragraphs and putting in something to break the text I’m off.

    I suppose this is what editors do when looking for new people to publish they must know very quickly if it is what the6 are looking for.

    Great post 🙂😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t mind long articles or plays if the piece NEEDS to be long to make it’s point or work itself out. I just hate it when things are padded to make them a certain length. When that happens, half of what you see is unnecessary, extraneous or just plain boring. I try to make my blogs as long as they need to be and no longer.I’m writing one now and I don’t have that much to say so it will be shorter than usual. But that’s fine. Better than too long.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Writers often get carried away with the sound of their own voices. I try to avoid that trap. But sometimes things that are interesting to me are not interesting to other people. That can’t be helped. I think if I keep things moving and interesting (at least to me), I won’t get bogged down in my own verbiage. Thanks for the vote of confidence.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lots of good stuff in this one, Ellin. Like a super beef stew!!
    Action movies: Too long, too loud and too predictable. We watched “The Magnificent Seven” and “Tombstone” again the other night as reminders of action movies done well.
    Movie credits: I’ve always been a credits guy. I love ’em. That was part of my education in movie mavenship. But nowadays, it’s over the top. Too much. And they go by so fast often with tiny print. Geez!!
    Sit-coms: Not for us. Maybe we’re too old.
    You’ve found a little magic dust with this piece, Ellin.

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    • Glad you agree with me about action movies. Tom can tolerate endless action scenes but I need a lot of plot and dialogue to go along with my action sequences. And most of them today go on so long because they are so enamored of their special effects. They are amazing – but too much of a good thing!

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  3. Most toy dogs also incorporate the “babyness” proportions. Big eyes, slightly domed skulls. Bred to appeal to the “aww” reflex in humans … and you will surely notice that the people who love these dogs in fact treat them like babies. The dogs don’t mind. More treats and cuddles 🙂

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    • Baby animals have the same type of features as baby humans. They elicit the same hard wired response as babies do. I think dog owners of all breeds treat their dogs like babies, not just toy owners. But there is something about being able to scoop your dog up with one hand and have him sit on your chest or belly.

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