Thursday, March 30, 2017

Why I Don't Like Remakes

Entertainment is built upon the foundation of everything that came before. Comedy would not be the same without the early pioneers of the craft. Drama would be nothing without the Greeks.
When a production decides to build upon a classic and remake the same story with a new cast, and new elements, it is my belief that they do so to attract a new audience. In production, the goal is to make money by making art. There is an equal part of the desire to make something beautiful and to make that object profitable.

The remakes of 2017 are many. Beauty and the Beast is one of the many treasured titles that I will pay to see remade this year. I love the original 1991 animated film. I think the music is nearly perfect and I believe that it is probably the best musical that has ever been written. The fact that the best musical ever written was originally presented as an animated film is interesting but maybe not significant. The technology to make the magic happen believably simply did not exist in 1991. A 2 dimensional drawing of magic happening was more than possible.

To update the best musical ever written, the Disney Corporation decided to use the 21st century technology now available to bring that magic to life. The technology has caught up with 1740’s imagination and 1991’s big dance numbers. MOSTLY.

The art of animation and 2 dimensional drawing itself can (with the right artists) create more emotion than a live action movie or stage production can. My own stage production of Beauty and the Beast in 2015 captured some of the emotion of the 1991 version. The 2017 live action movie captured a different piece of the emotion pie (it may be cake).

Both productions still pale in comparison to the 1991 animated film. Like many remakes, the action of the live action harkens back to those closely held memories of the feelings the audience had when seeing the original. The music is there, the songs are different, the voices are not the voices of those characters that the audience has locked in their memories.

I have never been a fan of remakes. I have dutifully paid my money to see remakes of my favorites and I have almost always been disappointed.

I believe that every remake is intended to reach the hearts and minds of the next generation. The people who are 26 years older than they were in 1991 (most of us are) have statistically spawned a child or two in the interval. A new generation deserves a new version of the classics. The classics may not have aged well. The technology has improved and modern audiences may not be able to get past the use of processes from decades past.

A new version of a classic film may open an audience to the emotion of the story on a fresh new level. However, the emotion of the original may be a stronger pull. The emotion of the actors in the original is surely different from those in a remake. The stakes are so much higher in an original piece than in a remake. How many movies fail to be profitable each year? The number of movies that the general public NEVER hears about in a given year is staggering.

I may eschew the next list of remakes. I may send my sons to see the remakes of the classics that I loved at their age. Maybe the remakes will become the movies that my sons love in 26 years.

I’m trying to think of a remake that I loved 26 years ago. I will need to do some research to discover which of my beloved classics are really just remakes of other older films**. The fact that I cannot think of one either indicates that I don’t love any classics that are themselves remakes or the remakes that I have seen have always disappointed me. I am disappointed in the 2017 Beauty and the Beast. It’s a great story and the quite possibly the best musical ever. It just isn’t the 1991 original. It just pales in comparison. I have become the old man who watches movies from nearly 3 decades ago.

**In my investigation, I have come to the conclusion that I am writing here of the remake of an English language film remade as another English language film. Many of the stories we enjoy were originally foreign films adapted to the American film making paradigm. They are “original” only in language but that seems to count when we don’t speak other languages.

Monday, June 15, 2015

State of TMS



G’mooooooorning


Too Much Scrolling is approaching two milestones, one complete year and 20,000 listens.


Time to reflect on what we are doing, what has worked in our first year and what to do different in our sophomore year.


Celebrities
The data suggests that we do best when we have “celebrity” sound bites to open the show and guest contributors. I’d like to continue to do both in the next year.


Do you know any celebrities? Especially ones with distinctive voices? Would you be able to get them to say “g’moooooorning?”
Send them to http://bit.ly/tmsstar to record a sound bite for us.
Cross promotion of their projects certainly is a selling point for 20 seconds of their time.


Guests
Second, would you like to be a guest on the show? We can discuss your particular passion or area of expertise. Email us toomuchscrolling@gmail.com


Format
I don’t believe we should change our format. I think that the App of the Week, Book of the Week and Movie of the Week are perfect topics. However, Book of the Week has proven to be difficult. In the 48 weeks thus far, we have covered 34 books. That includes comic book reviews but not the repeats of books that were double covered this year for newsworthy reasons.


BookIT
I have a few ideas about how to change that. 1. Keep the BookIT segment on track for intermittent coverage (34/48 ain’t bad). 2. Make the BookIT segment a bi-weekly or even monthly segment. 3. Make BookIT a book club where we get a group together (monthly perhaps) to discuss an assigned book (assign it on the first of each month and discuss on the last of each month). 4. Make the BookIT a seperate feed outside the Tuesday schedule. This would allow us to discuss a book WHENEVER.


...And Now the News
I have said for a long time that the news segment needs to be changed. I believe that we need to either make it a second weekly feed, or cut it all together. Potentially it could be its own show. I believe we would have double the listeners if we had double the weekly shows. If the Film at 11 and App-etite were one 20-30 minute show a week, the ...And Now the News was a weekly 10-20 minute show and the BookIT were a monthly 20-30 minute show, I believe we would see listener (and subscriber) numbers jump.


Music
I love our opening and closing music! It’s perfect. Be sure to Support Grenadier and pick up their album Hi Flyers that has both “Fool,” and “Hi Flyers,” the tracks from the show, along with some other great songs. https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/hi-flyers/id976218488
What about You?
We would love to hear more feedback from our listeners! What do you like about the show? What do you hate?
Email any and all suggestions to toomuchscrolling@gmail.com
leave us a voicemail or a text at (805) 410-4TMS
Leave a Review and Subscribe on iTunes


Support the Show
Thank you for all of your support of the show in the first year.
The best way to support us is by shopping!
Replace your Amazon links on all of your devices with our address http://amazon.toomuchscrolling.com


Every time you bid on an item (even if you don’t win) using our ebay link we make a few pennies to continue putting on great shows!


Thank You
Thank you again for listening and for a great first year of podcasting!
It’s been so much fun!
Thanks again to Chip for volunteering to take on this challenge with me!
There is no doubt that Chip has made Too Much Scrolling the success that it is.
There is no way I could have done this without him.


Thank you even more to my non-radio partner, my wife Heather. Thank you for your understanding of my peculiar need to start a crazy podcast! Thank You for allowing me the time to express myself to the world! I appreciate you!


--Steve Fodor


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 -- My Best Year (so far)

2014

What an amazing year 2014 has been. It may have been the best year of my life!
I can count the wonderful things than have happened in my 39 previous years but the list of events in 2014 outnumbers the others.
2014 started with the promise of a new year and new adventures as always!

January stared with the introduction of a new term, “Polar Vortex.”
It was so cold that we could not go to school for the two days we were supposed to go back to school.  The temperature outside was -21° F with a wind chill of -49° F. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152119361964655&set=a.10152121603329655.1073741829.725064654&type=1&theater We got the boys a green screen and a combo pool table / air hockey table to stave off cabin fever.

My “school mom” Sandy Chavez retired from her position and Mary Gross replaced her in the library in January.

In February, we took a harrowing trip to Cincinnati, OH in treacherous snowy conditions to watch Josh’s team win a national dance competition. We left in the middle of the night and drove all night, a night early, to avoid the next leg of the storm. When we got back we went to the DeKalb shelter to pick up our new family member, Sophia the dog.

In March, I produced the tenth Westfield Winter Musical. We decided early on that we would do a reunion of the original cast and crew from that show we first put on stage in 2004. We decided therefore that we needed to produce the same show we did that first year – Oklahoma!
We invited students from 10 years back to return to the stage for the reunion and then we all went out to the Thirsty Whale for drinks (since all of those 12 year olds in 2004 were 22 in 2014).

March 11, 2014, I was the proud nominee from Westfield for the D300 Foundation Distinguished educator of the year. The boys and Heather surprised me by arriving at my faculty meeting.  I dropped Alex off at his school like normal. He ran around to the back of the school where Heather was waiting to pick him up to take him to Westfield for the surprise!

March 29, 2014 the boys and I attended Chi-Fi Con 0 at the palmer House Hilton. It was an excellent preview of the new annual tradition for the boys and me.

April 25 and 26, 2014 Josh was featured as Bert Healey in his Middle School production of Annie.
April 27, 2014, the boys and I took two of their friends to C2E2 2014. We sat in the panel with Stan Lee and stood in awe of all of the people who like the things we like!

April 29, 2014 I won the D300 Foundation for Educational Excellence Distinguished Educator of the Year award. I had little hope of winning especially when I found out that one of the nominees had passed away in the months before the ceremony.
I was beyond proud of the award and mentioned it to everyone for months afterward. Heather got me a sash but no tiara.

On May 20, 2014, Heather beat me to the fourth decade of life! I love her as much as I could ever love anyone! I didn’t do enough for her life celebration day. I should be better at giving her signs of my love and adoration.
           
May 23, 2014 I purchased the URL http://toomuchscrolling.com I did not know what to do with it at the time but I decided it would be a good investment.

June 18, 2014, I had a doctor’s appointment, which revealed how my obesity had created high blood pressure and the potential for diabetes. I decided there and then to lose weight. It was time to make a life change and find better health and to survive in to my 4th decade.

June 2014 found us driving to Detroit and through Canada. We had a great time at the Hockey hall of Fame in Toronto and the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH.

July 8, 2014 saw the premier episode of Too Much Scrolling, my new podcast with my radio partner Chip Hessenflow.
           
At the end of July, I produced High School Musical for the D300 Foundation.

August saw the phenomenon of people dumping ice water on their heads to promote ALS research. I couldn’t resist joining the crowd. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59W04QMLqsg

September saw the reintroduction of Coca-Cola’s Surge available only on Amazon.com. I tried to spark some other podcasts in the shadow of Too Much Scrolling’s success. NextJen and the Geek Bar Radio show both went two episodes and petered out. Maybe 2015 will be the year for other shows.

October saw the opening of Geek Bar Chicago BETA and the first Saturday morning in America without Saturday morning cartoons.
We got our new space-age material mattress from http://casper.toomuchscrolling.com and a “g’moooooorning” from Svengoolie who was inducted in to the Radio and Television hall of Fame in Chicago.

In November, I celebrated my 40th birthday with a great surprise party thrown by my loving wife and my fantastic friends! I successfully lost 34 pounds and reached my goal of getting out of the obese category before my 40th year.

November 28, 2014 JD, Elizabeth and I went to Chicago TARDIS 2014 and got a picture with Billie Piper and a “g’moooorning” from Noel Clarke.
We were being very silly and decided to autograph the photo BEFORE Billie Piper.

I purchased the URL http://littletoo.com I don’t know what to do with it but I hope I will use it to make something amazing in 2015.

December saw another successful Christmas and two week cabin fever with my loving family. The boys got an XBOX ONE console from Santa and continued the brotherly love that we expect in our loving boys.

After 6 months of Too Much Scrolling, the show has over 12,000 listens entering 2015.
I am still the Distinguished Educator of the Year and will be until my successor is named in April 2015. My family is the light of my life. My loving wife and talented children keep me going. I hope to lose even more weight and be closer to the healthy category for 2016. I’m realistic and reasonable about my weight loss but with daily effort I have great expectations.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

September 11th (again)

Thirteen years have passed. Wounds have healed, but we are sitting here once again reliving those feelings of terror. Terrorists don't kill people. Murderers kill people. Terrorists breed fear and scare people. On September 11, 2001, we were scared. That fear has lasted these 13 long years. Society changed on that shiny blue sky morning. All of the students in my school today were not yet alive on September 11, 2001. This memorial day is nothing but a shadow to them. They don't understand why the adults are so much more quiet today. The somber atmosphere of the country is palpable to us who remember but confusing to those who are living in the shadow of the moment. I remember being their age and being taught about the terror of Pearl Harbor. It held no meaning to me. I couldn't understand how someone could be so effected by a moment that they were not directly connected to. The connection to these national tragedies is stronger than 12-year-old me could have ever guessed. In the morning announcements I couldn't even say the words, "September 11th," to describe today's date. I reported today's date instead as "the eleventh day of September 2014." Even the syllables are sacred. NEVER FORGET NEVER BE AFRAID AGAIN

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Goldbergs: DisneyWorld 1980-something

I have been watching and loving The Goldbergs on ABC. It is a sit-com based on the video tapes from a child of the 1980s. I love the writing and the nostalgia, the hair and the props from the era. What I don't like is that I didn't think of it first!

Like Adam Goldberg, I spent the 80s behind a camera, recording everything. I thought for sure I was destined for television. I understand how my path led me to the production of stage work and teaching computers because my second passion is in technology. Adam doesn't seem to have that same passion in his life. His was a focus on writing and directing.

I have so many plot lines that could be added to Adam's history of the 80s even if they happened to the Fodors instead of the Goldbergs.

The one that leapt to mind this morning was our family trip to Disneyworld. My father didn't like anything about Disneyworld: the heat, the crowds, the food, the cost. He begrudgingly took us kids because he felt it was something he was supposed to do as a father in the 80s. The only thing that kept him happy was the exceedingly large Konica camera that he brought with to shoot family photos. (Story for another time but this was the famous Konica for Chanukah that my grandfather gave him).

My father walked around Disneyworld with this enormous camera taking some great photos and hurting his neck to a degree that certainly contributed to a headache and to further ill feelings toward Disneyworld. He even bought himself a Mickey Mouse camera strap to try to ease his suffering at the hands of the 5 pound camera dangling from his neck.

I begged to go on Space Mountain. I was young and dumb and thought I liked roller coasters (all kids believe that they love roller coasters and only FEW actually do). My father said, "no," many times before he finally relented (like all fathers).

He had the incorrect notion that it was a similar ride to Spaceship Earth, the ride inside the giant globe at Epcot center. We had already ridden on that and thus my father's argument was that he didn't need to go through that ordeal again. Like Chicagoian Jeff Garlin who portrays the father on The Goldbergs, my father was overweight. He had a hard time with the confines of the seats at Disneyworld.

When he finally relented, it was only he and I who went on the ride, my mother and sister being smart enough to find something better to do for the time it took to get through the massive wait and quick journey of Space Mountain.

We stood in line for an amazing length of time, a truth that continued to irritate my father.

When we finally got to the ride my father was curious at the fact that there were sounds of screams coming from the darkness, He realized (just a little too late) that this was indeed a roller coaster. A roller coaster in pitch black darkness. He was not prepared mentally or physically for a roller coaster ride. Since Space Mountain does not stop in the same place it starts, my father was not able to leave his enormous camera with an attendant to be retrieved at the end of the ride. He was told to simply hold on to it tightly so that it would not fly off of his neck and go crashing in to the darkness.

What he and the attendant did not realize in this conversation was that my father was wearing glasses. A big no-no when riding a roller coaster of any kind but especially one in pitch blackness where one cannot judge which way to hold one's head to avoid catastrophe.

I took the seat in front of my father so I had no idea of the ordeal that he was about to go through until after the ride had ended and he told the story in comically raged detail.

As the ride began, my father clutched his precious camera in place, however on the very first drop of the journey his glasses fell slightly slower than the rest of his body and face. The glasses launched themselves off of his head and in to the air. Instinctively he reached up to where the glasses were and miraculously snatched them out of the air. This was amazingly lucky since they were his only pair of glasses and he would not have been able to see without them. Doubly lucky since this was the year we chose to drive to Florida from Chicago.

Victorious in the fact that he came down the drop with his glasses still in his possession my father found a joy that would last him only a second. Physics being what they are, my father quickly realized that he had taken his hands off of his precious camera with the long lens strapped around his neck to grope in the dark in the sky for his wayward glasses. As his hand reached the errant glasses the enormous lens came crashing down on my father's groin. Clutching the glasses in one hand and his family jewels in the other, my father finished the ride groaning and cursing.

When we exited the ride I felt the adrenaline that the ride promised. I was so happy to have had the opportunity to experience Space Mountain. I turned to my father and said, "See. Wasn't that great?"

His only reply was a continued grunt and scowl. He was still clutching his glasses in one hand and his testicles in the other. I still was unaware of the harrowing journey that he had experienced since I was in the seat in front of him and probably wouldn't have seen any of it in the pitch blackness anyway.

We found my mother and sister, my father told the story of the nightmare he had just been put through ending with the phrase, "I am never going on another ride with you!" He never did.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Good Week to Be Steve

I can’t believe how well this week has looked to my ego. It started out with the ten year reunion of the first musical at Westfield. Nine students came back to visit after ten years. Seeing those nine adults standing on stage next to their 12-year-old selves was amazing to say the least. This was also the culmination of the 2014 Winter Musical Oklahoma! The students this year did a fantastic job pulling together and pretending to be someone else. The wiki for the troupe has expanded to over 230 pages of students and shows. http://d300-presents.wikia.com I also was able to attend two high school performances of Urinetown. Seeing those kids on the verge of adulthood doing such a great job was another feel good. 2/3 of the cast are alumni of the Westfield troupe. I can’t believe how far they, and I, have come in this decade’s long musical project.

Then on Tuesday, I got the surprise of a lifetime. I was in the monthly faculty meeting when the District Foundation for Education Excellence announced the Westfield candidate for the Outstanding Educator of the year. To my shock, the faculty nominated ME for that honor. Even more surprising was that my family arrived for the announcement, they knew about this for a month beforehand. I dropped my seven-year-old son off at his school and he arrived at my school 10 minutes later. He had schemed with his mother that I would drop him off at the front of his school and he would run to the rear of the school and get into his mother’s car for the continued trip to my school.

I am utterly humbled at the thought that my peers see me as a strong teacher and leader in my profession. It’s curious to think how we go through our daily lives and just get by, doing what we do. Some days are better than others and we sometimes strive to achieve more.

I am so lucky to be in a job that they pay me for. I have always said that this job is the easiest job I have ever had because they pay me to do my hobby. If there were no place I could go to put on musicals and talk to kids about technology, I would find a place to do those two things. That’s what I do. Before I took this job the pre-interview phone call defined my tenure here. The assistant principal on the phone hesitated. He said, “well…this job…it’s half drama and half computers.”

I tried not to be too cocky. I was on the phone with a potential employer, but I said, “Well then you had better stop interviewing, because you will never find another human being on this planet who is more half drama and half computers than I am.” That fact is irrefutable. Most people who work with one cannot work with the other very well, but I believe I stand as the model in both worlds to my students.

When I was interviewing for this job the principal said, “There has never been a musical program here at Westfield. Are you the man to start that program here?”

I looked him in the eye and I smiled. “Yes. I definitely am that man,” I said. And I have been that man for the last decade.

I can’t imagine allowing the talent in this building to not flower on stage. It pains me to think of the waste that would be. A decade’s work making this troupe in to the adults of this cynical world seems like a blink of the eye but my hope is that the lessons learned in the theater have strong influence on the decisions that these students make for a lifetime. I think they do.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Milestone

If my math is correct, which it frequently isn't, today February 7th, 2013 is the day that I have officially outlived my father. He suddenly and tragically died two months after his 38th birthday in 1988. This day has been a milestone for me for the last 25 years. I tried as hard as I could not to focus on my father's death and my life path that it created. I would never have been a teacher had my father survived another ten years. I certainly would have gone to college for a business degree and would surely have taken over the family business by now. I may have never met my beautiful wife if I wasn't enrolled in the chemistry program that I initially chose as my major. I think frequently about my father and his sudden death. I hope that my choices in life help me to survive long enough to see my boys in to adulthood. Nothing changed my life more than my father's death. When I heard the doctor tell my mother that the coroner determined that my father's cause of death was an enlarged heart brought on by stress I began a lifelong fight against my father's killer. I fight stress all the time. Some days I win and some days I lose. Sometimes my temper gets the better of me, but I have tried all my life to be the jovial character many of my friends have come to love. Many of my students and coworkers know me best through my catch phrase "g'moooorning" uttered daily in the school announcements. My longtime predilection toward acting and radio was first kindled by my grandmother who actually enjoyed the wacky radio programs that I would imitate for her on audio tape. Those early memories make me yearn for an outlet for my radio dreams. Podcasting is the closest I have ever gotten to a radio job, but like everything else in life my personal desires come second. My family comes first. I miss my father's influence on my life and my children. I think he would have loved the boys they are and the men they will become. I see a lot of him in them since I see a lot of him in me when I look in the mirror and a lot of me in Josh and Alex.