The Eye Generation Prefers Not to Read All About It

Members of a generation that experts say acquires more information through images than text, Max Simon, left, Aerial Longmire, Alex Perez and Tom Eisman film scenes for their movie at AFI Silver Theatre, where a free screening will be held Monday.
Members of a generation that experts say acquires more information through images than text, Max Simon, left, Aerial Longmire, Alex Perez and Tom Eisman film scenes for their movie at AFI Silver Theatre, where a free screening will be held Monday. (By Carol Guzy -- The Washington Post)
By Linton Weeks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 6, 2007

The breaking point for Perry Schwartz comes on Day 5 of the American Film Institute's three-week Summer Movie Production Workshop. Schwartz, a professor of theater and film at Montgomery College in Takoma Park and director of the AFI film course, is helping students envision the movie they are making together.

They sit in folding chairs in the college's Black Box Theatre and speak in strictly visual terms, citing specific actors and moments in cinema.

"He's more like Jack Black."

"That happens in 'Space Jam'!"

Of the 10 students, one is 40 years old; the rest are college age or younger.

Schwartz is describing how the two main characters in the student film will sit on a couch, simultaneously reach for popcorn and inadvertently touch hands, when Kit Reiner of Silver Spring and Max Simon of Potomac -- both 18 -- cry out, "Just like in 'Lady and the Tramp'!"

And Schwartz could take it no more. "Stop!" he yells.

"Try to think less about which movie scene you are reminded of and more about the way people really act in real life. Everything isn't related to a movie!"

Really?

To most of the workshop students, life has become totally visual. They are members of not so much the Me Generation as the Eye Generation.

"I really don't like reading a story. I like seeing it," says workshop student Craig Patterson, 17, of Grove City, Ohio. "I almost always prefer the movie version of a book. Movies can capture the beauty of an image more than books can."

Cecile Guillemin, a 17-year-old workshop participant who is in her last year at Lycee Rochambeau, the French International School, says, "I don't have time to read books. I am inspired by books to do movies."


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