Look I don’t know where to put this:
I realize we’re all slobbering ourselves over the new iPhone ad slate but the dy/dan Advertiser of the Year Award goes to DDB, London for their so-great-it-can’t-really-be-advertising spot for Volkswagen, Night Driving.
I’ve watched it no fewer than twenty times, five of those during class-hours, during our routine show-and-tell. I only teach four classes but one asked to see it twice and I was blown backwards by their exceptional taste as they praised it, totally unbidden and unprompted …
… for its abstract photography, everyday locations rendered just slightly strange under moonlight (everyone had a favorite shot), just strange enough to keep us all leaning in on our toes, totally attentive;
Only your eyes are unclosed to see the black and folded town fast, and slow, asleep.
… for Richard Burton’s reading of Dylan Thomas’s “Under Milkwood,” a paternal tenor positively springloaded with menace;
… for the score, which bounces all over the glass of the city and then, just as we’re getting gorged on all the minor-key imagery, kicks in a baseline that propels us to the finish.
Why this goes here:
Perhaps I have other teachers wrong but I remember too vividly high school instructors preaching their content area singlemindedly, driven by their discipline at the expense of all others. I don’t want to get too florid here in my description â€” that’s Dylan Thomas’ fault today â€” because oftentimes their enthusiasm made them more exciting and more engaging.
Didn’t matter if their content-area leash enabled or disabled them, though. As a kid with a bobbing, jittery interest in just about everything, an adult whose interests didn’t extend past her classroom door could only alienate me; that wasn’t anybody I ever wanted to be.
So I show a clip after our mid-period break. Every day I show something new and unseen. I model curiosity. Three out of four periods thought Night Driving was deadly dull and wanted something that ended with a loud fart or a pratfall. Fine, that’s fine. But with that one period, they and I, we promised ourselves that even if the math couldn’t be easy every day, even if we’d occasionally fail the terms of our implicit teacher-student contract, that we’d never bore each other. Not for lack of trying, anyway.
Postscript for the School 2.0 types:
Jumpcut is hosting a contest for Volkswagen. Remix your own night driving video with hosted footage and music and win one of two HD camcorders. Well, only one camcorder’s up for the taking, actually, as I’m already taking the other one home.
Between this and John August’s forthcoming trailer cutting competition, it’s like your campus video production teacher doesn’t even have to try anymore.
[Updated to correct my blog faux pas, to link up “Under Milkwood”. Thanks, Scott.]