In praise of the sci-fi corridor

Corridors in science-fiction movies. I love them. I wasted too much of my childhood and youth imitating and developing the superb production sketches of Ron Cobb, Syd Mead, Ralph McQuarrie and many others. I walked round Elstree studios collecting precious vacuum-formed sections of cloud-city corridor from The Empire Strikes Back, some months after principal photography stopped. I had reams of sci-fi corridors worked out. Corridors make science-fiction believable, because they’re so utilitarian by…

“I don’t view Shakespeare’s work as intimidating anymore.” — midterm reflection from college freshman

“It has made me more confident in myself, and I don’t view Shakespeare’s work as intimidating anymore.” –freshman student reflecting on the first half of my “Shakespeare in Context” course. In lieu of reading comprehension quizzes, I have students post informal responses. They respond to an orientation lecture and each act of the play as they read, and finally they write a brief synthesis paper. That cycle usually takes about…

I have two scenes in a horror film. My head appears in a third scene.

During Fall Break, I filmed my scenes for the horror indie The First Night of Summer. My character is a cheesy dad who’s trying too hard to engage with his sullen teenager — played by my daughter. While coaching us on the set, director Mark Sciubba described the dynamic he was looking for, and asked whether our relationship was similar. We both said at the same time, “No, [I don’t/he…

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Overwhelmed? Start a new to-do list with “1) Breathe; 2) Make ‘to-do’ list”

Felt momentarily overwhelmed by the day’s tasks. Made the following list:   1) Breathe. 2) Make “to do” list. 3) Post blog entry about “to do” list. 4) Go to lunch. 5) Prioritize to-do list. (Break up the intimidating tasks into smaller steps.) 6) Do first important item on list. (Repeat as necessary.)   I’m off to lunch.