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Sam North
September 1st -7th

So much time is saved in Vancouver we don’t even need a 24 hour clock. You can keep 24 Hour Party People; here they can do it in ten!

Time is clearly very precious to people in Vancouver.
This summer we have seen a series of events that telescope time in the name of art and which have attracted hundreds of participants.

The 24 Hour Film Festival – where a team make a film in just 24 hours is one event. (It starts again in September). There is also the wonderful Reel Fast film festival where filmmakers have the luxury of 48 Hours to do the same.This took place in August. The Reelfast experience was a real exercise in building something of a film community here and the final event at the Commodore Ballroom was a blast.

Speed is addictive however. We also had the 3-Day Novel Writing Contest sponsored by Anvil Press; where writers have just 72 hours to complete a whole novel. The prize for the best piece is publication of the same. Then there’s the Vancouver Fringe Festival on Granville Island which features 700 performance in just 11 days (Tickets 604 257 0355). Yes, that’s 63 performances a day minimum! It's on during September and the crowds have been racing from one performance to another, comparing notes and telling each other which is the best. 'Suburbia' had a good 'buzz'. There is also SweetSista shorts playing at the Carousel.

Not fast enough for you? …Well there’s always One-Hour Photo.
Of course Robin Williams appears in a film with that title and it’s bit like being on the cover of 'Time' magazine; you know it’s so over by the time they notice a cultural phenomenon.
In Vancouver it’s 28 Minute photo or die.

Everything is faster here. Want a script performed? Write it this morning, rehearse it on the sidewalk ten minutes before showtime and perform it that night. It happens at the ColdreadingSeries all summer and the results are often amazing.

The same trends are occurring in ‘real ' life. In Vancouver, a summer relationship might even last a ‘whole’ weekend. A new film is doing well if it lasts a week. Impatient? I blame a high sugar diet myself. A society totally hooked on speed and instant gratification. It’s embedded everywhere. The Vancouver Sun has been running a weekly competition to write a Chapter of an on-going novel, week by week, (the R-Factor) the climax was reached on Labour Day weekend. Charles Dickens used to get a whole month. Wimp.

Speed, speed, always speed. Kids won’t watch slow movies, like the much neglected but wonderful ‘13 Conversations About One Thing’ – they line up for the drivel of ‘XXX’ and the minimal acting skills of Vin Diesel. Fast, stupid, brainless speed.

Vancouverites get up real early. They seem to set their watches to Toronto time and get to work for seven am (by car of course). Then at around 3pm they head on home. All of them. They get in their cars and sit there on the road to Coquitlam or Maple Ridge for a whole 3 hours. Go check it yourself. Ride the new Millennium Skytrain out to Lougheed Mall and watch people on the highway sitting – perfectly still - for hours every day. Same thing on Cornwall or 4th and especially Granville to Richmond. Nothing moves for hours. You’d think these lemmings would stagger their journeys, or change their working hours, or do overtime, anything to avoid the traffic, but I guess they always figure someone else will play chicken first. The way I figure it, is that someone is missing a trick here. Get all these drivers to enter a three-hour novel contest, or someone could start a massed cellphone 'compose and sing an opera' in one traffic jam contest.

I might note that the very same people who’ll pull all nighters to make 24 or 48 hour films, or even write 3- Day Novels are the exact same people who when asked to write a 1000 word essay for class in 10 weeks will be first to put in for an extension on day 69 and whinge ‘a whole 1000? Are you crazy?’

Anyway, I was musing on where all this time saved actually went and suddenly, on a stroll back from Tinseltown back to Kits the other night I had it figured. Those people, the ones who rush to work, rush home, get everything done in quick double time, speed read novels on the train and enter 24 hour contests…they are the very same Edward Hopper people I see staring out of Starbucks and Blenz windows at night. Night after night, day after day. All that time saved, so now they sit staring – wired to the max, killing time.

Me? I’m writing a screenplay this September. I’m going to take a whole leisurely month to do it. Just ease in to it, stop for lattes and apple pie anytime I want. Write it as slowly as I can. Might just do one word today. Someone’s got to slow time down, put the break on and burn rubber off my sneaker heels to even things out. I’m heading for the slow lane and might even take a nap now and then. The Tortoise wins that race everytime – so I heard.

Anyway congratulations to Vancouver for finally getting the new Skytrain route up and running. Now it actually goes as far as Coquitlam and Loughheed Mall. It's a sign the city is growing up. Why next they'll actually run an express bus 'directly' to the ferries, that coordinates with sailing and arriving times. Hint! This would be nice and above all logical and save time.

Now the Skytrain will go to the airport too! Even London finally overruled the Taxicab lobby to connect Heathrow to the City. (Although I learned today in the Seattle-Times that Seattle's own transit plans mean that their proposed new airport train will stop 2.3 miles short of Sea-Tac - which makes a whole lot of sense.)

Vancouver can show the way. Let's build a fast railway to Whistler (even a car carrier, just like the Euro Tunnel trains from Waterloo.

© Sam North - Editor September 2002 Hackwriters

Previous Editorials
The Kids stay in the picture

Hacks visits the new Museum of Glass in Tacoma

Hot Sweats in a Cold Read at the Anza Club



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