I need sound. I need it, always, constantly, lest my thoughts flare up and my brain enter overdrive. Aural stimulation is what I’m after. Yes. Lovely, lovely podcasts. They’ll do the trick.
School of Movies is a podcast that suits me pretty much all the time, whenever, whatever mood I’m in. It’s often about movies, which helps. I like it when people talk about movies, if this text-dump wasn’t evidence enough of that. But what makes School of Movies so special is just the passion in it.
My favourite episodes are the ones where everyone speaking is a massive fan of the topic. The series on the Harry Potter films, for example, is pure magic to listen to. There’s something so special about the joy they all have, the excitement about the films. It’s not dry, or overly serious, and it doesn’t talk about movies like they’re the most important thing in the world. They discuss films like they’re entertainment, which is special. That’s not to say the hosts (Alex and Sharon Shaw) don’t relate the movies they discuss to real world issues, and talk about how the effect of entertainment is important. But there’s a difference between treating a film like it in itself is something to be looked at very seriously, and acknowledging its importance in the (maybe) real world. They get the balance right. They watch films, and discuss films, like they’re there for fun, or to make you feel, or think.
That’s to say nothing about the insightfulness of their conversations. When they talk about films, especially the ones they love, they give themselves the room to go deep with their ideas. The podcasts often run for a glorious three hours, plenty of time to keep my brain nice and quiet, and yet they never feel like they’ve outstayed their welcome. They can focus on whatever they want to talk about, which is key in making something like this engaging. They have as much time as they want to go on and on and on about the smallest, most interesting details, and then can gloss over stuff that isn’t so interesting to them. Because of this, because they focus so tightly on what they want to discuss, it’s impossible not to be caught up in their enthusiasm, doubly so if you’re as big a fan of the conversation topic as they are.
And then there’s the pacing, which feels strange to talk about with podcasts, but it’s nevertheless important. There’s a real smart touch to the editing in School of Movies, because it’s not just one long discussion, even if often times the episodes are mostly that. They are broken up with essays, pieces of music, and clips from the films. This is something I think too many podcasts ignore, not realising that to keep the audience engaged with the hosts you also have to keep them engaged with the topic. These moments away from the conversation help remind you why what they’re talking about is so awesome, which in turn makes it that much easier to stay excited. Smart stuff, it be.
But, and this is a big but, they aren’t infinite. The podcasts do, eventually, have to end. I can’t keep the thoughts out forever, I suppose. At some point I’m going to have to face them. Going to have to listen to them. Going to have to do whatever they tell me.
I never did like blood. I find it makes me ill. But I guess I’ll have to get over that, soon. I don’t want to make them mad.