Some of it comes from writing something so opaque that when people got to a quote like the following, they didn't notice the typo:
What distinguishes images (including motion pictures) from language and from other modes of communication is the fact that images reproduce many of the informational cues that people make us of in their perception of physical and social reality.Or maybe I'm the first person to ever read that far (I don’t want to be a dick here and out the author who made the typo; I’m really more pissed at the colleague who recommended the post but shows no mercy in classrooms, committees or at wine & cheese receptions. She’s insufferable, but she’s going to be chair. If she only published, too.)
My point here is that with spellchecker not differentiating between "make us" and "make use," I grow weary of theory that not only does little to illuminate, but almost seems regressive.
I think it's great that Christian Metz theorized about a gaze beyond a particular character's, but John Gradner's modulation of psychic distance already had writers on notice. Gardner's writings on fiction technique are the smoking gun. But "the author's dead," and ballistics can't match the bullet in his brain to the semi-auto fire on screen or in reality.
But who am I to dis a colleague who landed on the wrong side of auto-correct's double-edged tech? If you've read my blog, you know syntax will be lucky to get to the final punctuation in complete clauses.
So I wanted to say three things, not because there are only three to say, but because three is an easy number to start with after melting one's brains in a vat of semiotics:
1) Although people are more important than movies, people can use movies to give a sense of their lives; nevertheless, curve back around in person whenever possible to check out the verisimilitude of a movie, book, radio report, corrido, etc.
2) Beside noticing the gaze and asking whom it belongs to, be honest when it approximates your perspective and be just as honest when you have to resist it.
3) Keep track of the diegetic shifts. sometimes they will bring you far from yourself; when that happens, make a note to circle around and listen to the other person confirm & reject a movie's details. Rinse & repeat.