Thursday, August 16, 2012

Stuck in an 80s movie music montage (80MMM

The 80s movie music montage, or 80MMM for short, is that scene in every 80s movie where our lowly padawan goes from getting their butt kicked at the bus stop to being the bad A55 who wins the black belt tournament.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, try out this classic MMM here.

This is one of the reasons that I both love and hate those movies. First, I love that the skip the boring part where the people are going from n00b sandwich, to Awesome Sauce sprinkled liberally on toast. That’s important in a movie. Skip the boring stuff. In books too, of course. Really any form of entertainment should skip the boring stuff.

The problem is that then we don’t know how to manage the boring stuff in real life.

I am stuck in the 80MMM.

And it looks like I’m going to be here for the next foreseeable month or three. And it’s boring, hard, grueling work. Why can’t I just have a Divo song play and then I transform into pure awesome? Why world? Why?

The answer is simple, sad, and straightforward. I haven’t learned anything in the length of time it takes for a Flock of Seagulls song to play. The whole getting better thing takes time. And writing a novel? That takes time too. Everything of value takes forever as far as I can tell. If you don’t pay the time, you just don’t get the end results. There are no shortcuts.

I’m just stuck in the boring part, and I don’t even get the cool camera angles or the awesome soundtrack…

And speaking of the 80s, did you see the costumes the Pet Shop Boys wore at the Olympics? I think I might need that hat.


  1. There's a great article by David Wong called "How the Karate Kid Ruined the Modern World".

    Wong talks about the montages and how it sets up this expectation that we're going to learn how to do something for a few hours (I'm looking at you, Luke Skywalker on Dagoba), and then be super awesome at it.

    When in reality it takes about 10,000 hours to become an expert at something (according to research). That's...a lot of hours.

    So yeah, I totally understand. I think it shouldn't be that hard to write a book, every time. Ever. Single. Time. I sit down I think this time will be easier.

    It never is. Each book brings it's own set of challenges. My one saving grace is if you pull up the stuff you wrote a year ago, you can see the improvement. It's harder to measure success when you're actively in the trenches though.

    Keep your head up! You will get better!

    1. I read that, and I have to admit that if we go by the 10,000 hours until expertise thing, I'm an expert at very little besides surfing the internet and movie watching...

      But the butt in chair thing, it's getting old for projects that I don't want to talk about.

  2. yeah! i want my music & wardrobe changes and ff this part! especially the futile, repetitive housework! film it once then replay it so i dont have to

    1. Especially the folding of clothes. How do those piles of laundry get so tall?

  3. It's a sin. :D I loved that song. You're right. There are no short cuts.

  4. The secret is to keep playing the song over and over again until you've got to that point. In my case, it's an album rather than song... currently it's Bon Jovi making me super awesome! My other advice (and I can't remember who said this originally): Fake it until you make it!

  5. I knew you were going to say that: There are no shortcuts. I think Stephen King said that in On Writing.

    Just think, though: if every moment was awesome, we wouldn't appreciate them as much!

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  7. Such a great post - I'd like a 80MMM for, oh, 1/3 of the stuff in my life - waiting in line comes to mind. But that wouldn't be a very interesting montage, I suppose.

    As for the boring stuff we have to do to become great, yeah, I feel ya. But at the same time, there's something comforting (for me) in the tediousness of little steps. I like being able to look over my shoulder occasionally and see the jagillion steps I've climbed. Makes the jagillion and twelve in front of me look less daunting.


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