Journey Through Twin Peaks: the complete presentation

General discussion on Twin Peaks not related to the series, film, books, music, photos, or collectors merchandise.

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MasterMastermind
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Re: Journey Through Twin Peaks: the complete presentation

Postby MasterMastermind » Thu Apr 23, 2015 8:13 pm

"When he was there I didn't know, and when he was gone I couldn't rememb-" *cue Yakkity Sax*
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LostInTheMovies
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Re: Journey Through Twin Peaks: the complete presentation

Postby LostInTheMovies » Thu Apr 23, 2015 8:26 pm

Kmkmiller wrote:Curious ....

What is it YOU find cringe worthy .. :-)


A dangerous offer. At the risk of converting my scaffold into a soapbox (I LOVE discussing the meta aspects of video essays), I'll take these up...

Production value?


In particular the sound editing in the first chapters. There are just some really clunky edits that make me wince. Words cut off, that sort of thing. This tightened up by Part 4 to the point where I was isolating each phrase fairly obsessively (to cut out the breaths in between) but in Part 1 the process was much more rushed because I was still holding myself to an end-of-the-month deadline which was fortunately dropped by the final parts.

Incidentally, there was a God-awful mix of the narration on the initial upload which thankfully I re-recorded. The re-recording has much better levels, but is a bit rushed at times (at times you can hear that I'm trying to catch up...I was listening to myself on headphones while watching the video to get it down quickly). I think by the end of the project I warmed much more to the idea of narration, and hopefully got better at it too.

That said, the Lynch-film chapter also has some poor matches between different recordings. For whatever reason, I just couldn't get the same sound quality when I replaced a few lines and you can really hear it at certain points. There are also various differences in the Vimeo uploads, most intentional but one of which just kills me - an accidentally deleted volume fade right before the final stretch of narration in the angel scene, so that the sound noticeably drops several decibels. A bummer as it is such a key moment. Fortunately it's ok in the YouTube video. Don't know what happened there.

Sort of nitpicky, but hey Lynch is an audio nut and I hate to think I'm doing any injustice to that aspect of the work (not that Lynch would enjoy a video analysis of his work under any circumstances!).

Too expositiony/preachy?


I felt I avoided the second pitfall pretty well, but the first chapters kind of fall into the first category. Partly because at that point I'm still accumulating evidence and observation to deal with later (that's the perhaps over-charitable interpretation) but also because the project sort of took shape as I did it and at that point I hadn't quite firmed up what information was necessary and what wasn't. The chapter that sags for me a bit in retrospect is the one covering ep. 1 - 3 (that also has the worst sound edits). Though I still like the juxtaposition of Hawk's speech with Laura in the Red Room & Jacoby at the grave (cribbed from my screen-cap tribute I did a few weeks before the video).

Not expositiony enough?


The videos were always created for an audience that was familiar with the show so if anything I'd say the reverse: too much exposition at times (especially early on), although not to the extent of making the plot legible to those who haven't seen the series. Humorously, CBS tried to take down the videos by claiming that they could be a substitution for actually watching the show (I think they were just trying to scramble and find fair-use loopholes though eventually they acquiesced). Eventually I shared the first few videos with my folks (neither had seen Twin Peaks) and pretty much had to offer an additional running commentary amidst frequent pauses to explain who was who & what was going on! Which is more or less as it should be, imo. Watch the show, then watch the videos.

Embarrassing theory?


So far I stand by all of my readings, but we'll see if 2016 makes me choke on any of them. Hell, at this point I'd take that over not getting to see 2016!

A couple places I noticed some shifting in my thinking, though, when all was said and done. When I began the series, I think my intent was to focus more on Laura's tragedy as the culmination of the series' narrative arc whereas by the time I made Part 4 the emphasis was much more on her triumph over Bob as the climax of all that momentum. In the opening chapter, the answer to the question "What black hole lies at its vortex" is presented as Laura breaking down in the classroom. I'd stick by that transition, BUT by the end of the videos I would posit something further beyond the black hole...hey, an Interstellar reference!.

Another area there was a more subtle shift is the mythology. As late as the "7 Facts" chapter I intended to tie Frost's Theosophical concepts in more deeply with Lynch's revamped mythology in FWWM (you can even hear this in the closing narration). However, by the time I got to the actual FWWM mythology chapter my thinking had shifted back more to my original inclination: to view the film as largely a rejection of the series mythology (ultimately, I tried to strike a balance between the two readings, both of which have some validity to them). I would attribute this partly to diving more deeply into the Hindu literature that shapes Lynch's outlook; it definitely does have significant overlap with 19th/20th century Western occultism but also significant differences. I think the key influence on my shift, though, may have been the realization that Lynch almost entirely disposes of the actual Lodge terminology in the movie (there is only one reference, linked explicitly to the finale, and he leaves out the "Black").

Anyway, not sure I would count those evolutions as flaws per se but then I'm the person who likes the fact that Twin Peaks itself was essentially made up on the fly so I may not be the best person to evaluate inconsistencies!

what do you think your biggest challenges are when making something like that?


For narrated video essays in general, it's learning what needs to be said and what doesn't. Maybe it's just not wanting too hear much of my own voice, but I find I'm much more economical and disciplined when reading back prose than when writing it (case in point - this comment!). I find the best way to deal with the challenge is to treat the narration and the images as partners in a dance switching who leads from number to number. Sometimes you bend the images to make a point, at other times this would be inappropriate. There's also the question of how long you allow clips to play out, and when you chose not to show anything at all (case in point: cutting to black rather than show Maddy's murder in this video essay, whereas I allowed it to play without interference in an earlier Lynch tribute - in different contexts, each of these was the correct decision). And of course all these intellectual decisions have to work aesthetically too - the flow of the presentation is arguably even more important than the content of the ideas; at the very least, they should go hand in hand.

And the problem is particularly acute whenever analyzing Lynch's work, especially but not only in video form (let's not forget how much he hates DVD commentaries, in which voices just drone on without any real respect for the images). In general this means not reducing what is visceral sensation into intellectual constructions - one has to attempt a more poetic and less severe mode of analysis: really, this is true of any art criticism in my opinion but it's especially true with someone like Lynch. Video provides advantages and disadvantages in this regard. On the one hand, the critic is not offering a pale imitation in words of what the screen depicts; instead he/she is following Godard's dictum that "the best way to criticize a movie is to make another movie." On the other hand, by directly dealing with the film itself the responsibility is amplified. This means video essays must (among other things) be hyper-sensitive the integrity and expressiveness of the original work while also manipulating it to make the viewer see it in a particular way. And also not to smother the image in verbal overload..

Before making these videos, I had a definite prejudice toward non-narrated over narrated video essays. Now I have a better sense, I hope, of the strengths and shortcomings of both approaches. I created another Lynch video last May which features no narration whatsoever, making all of its points ambiguously via montage rather than titles, overlaps, or voiceover. I go back and forth over which project I "prefer" personally. Ultimately I think both serve their purposes. Certainly as a work of advocacy for the series (and particularly the film) Journey Through Twin Peaks is able to reach far more viewers and convey its points more clearly by embracing narration. Its length also allowed me to experiment with many different approaches underneath the canopy of "narrated video essay" - it was a bit of crash course for me in that sense.

See what you made me do??? Sorry - I don't have the opportunity to dig into this stuff frequently enough and enjoy doing so! Hopefully not too boring for people to read.
Last edited by LostInTheMovies on Thu Apr 23, 2015 8:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
MasterMastermind
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Re: Journey Through Twin Peaks: the complete presentation

Postby MasterMastermind » Thu Apr 23, 2015 8:37 pm

I'd rewatch the whole thing right now if you did one of these for Evangelion. Or even Lost. Speaking of this sort of thing, this website has the best reviews of The X-Files I've ever read: http://them0vieblog.com/reviews-hub/the-x-files
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LostInTheMovies
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Re: Journey Through Twin Peaks: the complete presentation

Postby LostInTheMovies » Thu Apr 23, 2015 8:53 pm

"When he was there I didn't know, and when he was gone I couldn't rememb-" *cue Yakkity Sax*


They complained that I left out most of the "good Leland" moments in the film during which, in their opinion, he is truly himself vs. just a shell for the demonic Bob. You know, those 2 1/2 minutes of the 2 1/2 hour film in which Leland isn't tormenting himself and everyone around him? Seemed like their real issue was with Lynch and they didn't want to admit it...

MasterMastermind wrote:I'd rewatch the whole thing right now if you did one of these for Evangelion. Or even Lost. Speaking of this sort of thing, this website has the best reviews of The X-Files I've ever read: http://them0vieblog.com/reviews-hub/the-x-files


I was thinking today that a cool follow-up, eventually, would be Sopranos. I even know how I would want it to begin, though I ain't telling (and may change my mind when I try to enact and go, no wait this is really actually pretty dumb).

I actually haven't watched X-Files other than a few episodes, something I hope to rectify eventually with a viewing diary on my site. The next of which (after True Detective), incidentally, will be Neon Genesis Evangelion with each episode write-up accompanied by a lengthy discussion with several other fans. However, my role there is pretty much reversed from Twin Peaks, as they attempt to guide me through a lot of the background and context for the show. I have virtually no familiarity with anime so while I've seen the series several times a lot of significant details or connections totally pass me by.

Probably the biggest blind spot in Journey Through Twin Peaks - and this relates back a bit to kmkmiller's questions (although I think it's a strength too) is that, other than making note of things that occurred during its run (like the audience reception or the COOP campaign) I really don't treat it in a TV context at all. Instead, given my own sensibilities and field of interest, I essentially treat as a long-form, improvised, serialized movie.

The advantage is that this it allowed me to draw connections and discern an overall shape that sometimes gets overlooked when people place too much emphasis on the TV aspects (in the mainstream media this usually takes the form of paying almost all attention to the faddish aspects of the first season and ignoring the rest). But it also allows an opening for a completely different video essay analyzing how the show functions in the TV landscape, past, present (1990), and future. I would love to watch that, and someone on YouTube recently mentioned the possibility of creating one. I hope they do because I feel there's also so much there to unpack.
MasterMastermind
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Re: Journey Through Twin Peaks: the complete presentation

Postby MasterMastermind » Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:02 pm

I've never seen The Sopranos, that'd be a fair time to start. The X-Files is a very good show that's kinda hamstrung by 90's tv convention. I made my own episode guide to make it more consistent haha. I love Evangelion so much I've tried to stay away from reading much supplemental material to sort of protect my interpretation of the events.
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LostInTheMovies
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Re: Journey Through Twin Peaks: the complete presentation

Postby LostInTheMovies » Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:08 pm

MasterMastermind wrote:I've never seen The Sopranos, that'd be a fair time to start. The X-Files is a very good show that's kinda hamstrung by 90's tv convention. I made my own episode guide to make it more consistent haha. I love Evangelion so much I've tried to stay away from reading much supplemental material to sort of protect my interpretation of the events.


Ah, interesting I'd love to hear that! This must be at least my 3rd or 4th viewing but I feel like I'm catching things now for the first time, including things I probably should have noticed early on. But unlike Twin Peaks, it's not only a complex show, it's an extremely fast one.
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David Locke
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Re: Journey Through Twin Peaks: the complete presentation

Postby David Locke » Fri Apr 24, 2015 12:11 am

LostInTheMovies wrote:I was thinking today that a cool follow-up, eventually, would be Sopranos. I even know how I would want it to begin, though I ain't telling

Yes, please, do this ;) The Sopranos is, in my not-so-humble opinion, the greatest television series ever, ever, ever. (Even though I personally don't think the first season is all that great compared to the perfection of the others -- it's a typical example of a new show finding its footing).

Carnivale is also one of my very favorite shows, and one that appeals to Peaks fans for obvious reasons (surrealism, lush aesthetics, Lynchian atmosphere, an excellent performance from Michael J. Anderson); it's also probably gotta be the most visually beautiful series ever made for TV. Have you seen that, LITM?
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LostInTheMovies
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Re: Journey Through Twin Peaks: the complete presentation

Postby LostInTheMovies » Fri Apr 24, 2015 5:59 am

David Locke wrote:
LostInTheMovies wrote:I was thinking today that a cool follow-up, eventually, would be Sopranos. I even know how I would want it to begin, though I ain't telling

Yes, please, do this ;) The Sopranos is, in my not-so-humble opinion, the greatest television series ever, ever, ever. (Even though I personally don't think the first season is all that great compared to the perfection of the others -- it's a typical example of a new show finding its footing).

Carnivale is also one of my very favorite shows, and one that appeals to Peaks fans for obvious reasons (surrealism, lush aesthetics, Lynchian atmosphere, an excellent performance from Michael J. Anderson); it's also probably gotta be the most visually beautiful series ever made for TV. Have you seen that, LITM?


I have seen almost nothing from the past decade! Not even Mad Men, Breaking Bad, or The Wire which are the three I plan on watching after I finally catch up with The Prisoner first.
Kmkmiller
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Re: Journey Through Twin Peaks: the complete presentation

Postby Kmkmiller » Fri Apr 24, 2015 9:13 am

And the problem is particularly acute whenever analyzing Lynch's work, especially but not only in video form (let's not forget how much he hates DVD commentaries, in which voices just drone on without any real respect for the images). In general this means not reducing what is visceral sensation into intellectual constructions - one has to attempt a more poetic and less severe mode of analysis: really, this is true of any art criticism in my opinion but it's especially true with someone like Lynch.


Now there you've gone and done it and isolated why I, as a matter of just one persons opinion, don't like the journey presented. To me it comes off as coy, and at worst like the person taking me on the journey might think I am too weak minded to retain my own visceral enjoyment of the work of art once it's been so called demystified.

At its foundation that's not how it works for me.

Mostly this is because I spent 6 years in college studying literature and, in that context, I hope it's better understood how it's possible to talk, quite frankly, without fear of breaking the visceral spell, about what you think it's about. Surely one would never turn in a paper like this to their professor:

I will not intellectualize this beautiful and highly intuitive work of art cause that demystifies and destroys the work art.

The end.


... and hope to get a passing grade. Lol.

I know my opinion on this differs from Lynch's but if ever was given the occasion to discuss it with him privately I would reference his own famous Winkies diner scene and without going in to any details I would argue, first what we all already know, that the scene conveys an extremely unsettling visceral anxiety, and as it unfolds now exists as one of the most frightening sequence of images ever set to film.

But then I would also argue that one day I started asking myself questions. Why is he named Herb? Why is he named Dan? Why is this scene placed right before the arrival of Betty at the airport? What does the rumbling noise building remind me of? Is there anything else in the sound design registering unconsciously? Should I put on headphones and listen to the scene without the images? How does this scene relate to the rest of the movie thematically and structurally?

And not only ask these questions but answer them. Definitively! Confidently.

And then I would argue that this scene for me still, as I watch it, conveys fear anxiety and apprehension but also now that I have.... Yes... Let's use the word that is now verboten, now that I have deconstructed it, this scene is now immensely sad to me. It brings tears.

So now that I've communicated my perspective I should add I fully concede there remains a set of dos and donts when taking a wide audience on a journey. In short, this is NOT grad school. This is not Milton's PARADISE LOST (lol, or is it?) so I think it's totally fair to say without anyone feeling insulted that your assumptions above are accurate lest you create journey that would for most people come off as pedantic and parochial.

Every now and again I'll run in to someone who will ask what I found in my explorations of the Winkies scene. Sometimes that goes well. Sometimes it doesn't.
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LostInTheMovies
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Re: Journey Through Twin Peaks: the complete presentation

Postby LostInTheMovies » Fri Apr 24, 2015 2:25 pm

Re: kmkmiller,

Yes - I think it's fair to say we have a different set of values there. I'm a bit allergic to the academic treatment of art, personally. As for differing sensibilities, yes and no. Facts is I lapse into an intellectualized, left-brained critique of art more often than I might like to admit and sometimes find it easier to be rigorously analytical than intuitively responsive.

So it's as much about keeping my own tendencies in check as anything, in the end. I try to be careful about doing too much dancing about architecture because it can result in the original inspiration getting too deeply diluted and digested and transmogrified into something else. The phenomenon has been lost, defeating the purpose of all that analysis in the first place.

Note this is more a question of methodology and perhaps especially expression than research or content. For example, I find Martha Nochimson's work on Lynch, while certainly intellectually rigorous, does not lose sight of the visceral experience/effect at the source and remains grounded in contact with the spirit of the work. So it's not about foregoing analysis, its about how one goes about it.
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Re: Journey Through Twin Peaks: the complete presentation

Postby Kmkmiller » Fri Apr 24, 2015 3:49 pm

You know I'm not going to say your perspective is better or worse, I know it is less academic but every time I hear this argument about how "the phenomenon is lost" I get all knotted up inside cause I think it's just a passive aggressive way of redirecting attention to one set of ideas....

If talking about it dilutes the experience then maybe no one should ever say boo.

Not to put too fine a point on it. This seems to be the routine....

-- Talking about it dilutes the experience, but I'm gonna talk about it. Listen to me.
-- hi, can I talk about it.
-- talking about it dilutes the experience.
-- oh sorry!


See how that's problematic?
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LostInTheMovies
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Re: Journey Through Twin Peaks: the complete presentation

Postby LostInTheMovies » Fri Apr 24, 2015 4:06 pm

Kmkmiller wrote:You know I'm not going to say your perspective is better or worse, I know it is less academic but every time I hear this argument about how "the phenomenon is lost" I get all knotted up inside cause I think it's just a passive aggressive way of redirecting attention to one set of ideas....

If talking about it dilutes the experience then maybe no one should ever say boo.

Not to put too fine a point on it. This seems to be the routine....

-- Talking about it dilutes the experience, but I'm gonna talk about it. Listen to me.
-- hi, can I talk about it.
-- talking about it dilutes the experience.
-- oh sorry!


See how that's problematic?


Well, again - re-read what I wrote. It's not talking about vs. not talking abou it (I don't shareych's position, or I wouldn't have made he videos!). It's HOW we talk about it (not to mention when we let something other than words do the talking).
Kmkmiller
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Re: Journey Through Twin Peaks: the complete presentation

Postby Kmkmiller » Fri Apr 24, 2015 4:22 pm

Same issue with that... Really... It's just an easy way to dismiss other ideas cause the other guy "talked about it wrong."

I think people can be rude and pedantic and you can have an opinion about that in terms of tone.... but to regulate the flow of ideas with that kind of philosophy feels self serving to me.

Btw, I love Nochimsons work but I think she is guilty of what I'm talking about.

So what? Fundamentally here's my question... Is there this secret about Lynch's work that everyone knows but no one will ever talk about it cause that would be talking about it wrong?

What are you not saying, sir??? LOL. :-)
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Re: Journey Through Twin Peaks: the complete presentation

Postby Rami Airola » Fri Apr 24, 2015 5:21 pm

Kmkmiller wrote:gotta be honest, didn't learn one thing about Twin Peaks I didn't already know.


Well, sometimes the value of essays and analysis isn't in learning anything new about something, but to give words to things the reader already consciously or subconsciously thinks but cannot put them into words.

For me, this video series had tons of "giving words to my thoughts" moments and sometimes it gave me new angles to think about some of the scenes and themes of the show. And of course, it's also hugely valuable as an in-depth abstract/recap of the series for someone who would like to go through the whole series but doesn't have time to watch every single episode from the beginning to the end.

I find LostInTheMovies' work extremely informative for those viewers of the series who haven't used their free time analysing the series themselves, or reading tons of theories throughout the years. It would be great as an extra in some DVD/BD-release. And even for us who have been passionate about Twin Peaks, read all the books and watched all there is to watch about it and read tons of theories and essays, I think it's very good viewing. One of the best I've seen/read/heard in ages.
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Re: Journey Through Twin Peaks: the complete presentation

Postby N. Needleman » Fri Apr 24, 2015 5:33 pm

I wish the essay could've been included on the set. I may not agree with every point or theory Lost has, but overall I think it's incredibly comprehensive, meticulously researched and an excellent piece of work.
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