Saturday, December 26, 2009

Totally Cool Contraption Saves the Day

I love to read, but reading is not a mindless activity. When I read, I think. I keep my brain fully engaged. Television, on the other hand, is what I like to do in the evening. It's a different kind of fantasy world. As a result, when the television season screeches to an abrupt halt for the holiday season, I feel as though my brain is crying out for visual stimulation, for color, for action, for easy entertainment.

My brain wants MOVIES!

In the old days, I would have gone to half a dozen theater showings over the holidays weeks. It's easier now. I subscribe to Netflix (the three-DVD plan), and I have a Blockbuster card for emergencies. So far I've watched Australia, Inglourious Basterds, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Julie and Julia, My Sister's Keeper, Star Trek, New in Town, and the first two discs of The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. I have Is Anybody There? and Defiance waiting by the DVD player.

On top of that, I've read two books this week and also worked on my novel. I went into Christmas Day wondering how many more books I would read and how many more movies I'd need to rent to get me through my resting hours.

Then we opened our Christmas gift from my oldest son.

He bought us a Roku digital video player. This totally cool contraption hooks up to the televison and the internet and allows the user to buy movies from several different providers. The great part, however, is that the service is covered as part of the normal Netflix monthly rental fee. For not one cent more, I can watch a whole slew of movies from Netflix without waiting for the DVD to show up in the mail. And I can watch the movie instantly if it's already in my Instant Queue. And I can log on to my internet account, select another movie, add it to my Instant Queue, then go down to my television and watch it there. Before we opened that package and I stared at the Roku box, wondering what the heck it was, I did not know there was such a thing as a digital video player option for television via Netflix. And it's so cool.

Dear husband hooked up the Roku yesterday and we tested it to make sure it works. Yay! The first evening he's not glued there watching football or basketball, I'll watch my first instant movie, just because I can.

I know. You're asking, what does this have to do with writing? Sounds more like an infomercial for Netflix and Roku. Uhhh, well, if you're thinking about writing a movie script, or a script for a television series, you need to do research by watching lots of movies and series (on DVD...or via your digital video player). Right? Absolutely.


Mason Canyon said...

Absolutely. Sounds like a wonderful piece of equipment. What will they think of next? Enjoy your movies.

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I completely agree. My justification for watching my The West Wing DVDs (the Aaron Sorkin years) is I'm studying dialogue.


Marvin D Wilson said...

Research - yeah, that's the ticket. I'm doing research! (wink)

The Old Silly

Kerrie said...

So Cool. What did you watch?

Patricia Stoltey said...

Absolutely. Research is extremely important for writers.

Hi Kerrie -- so far, we've only watched bits and pieces of movies to test the process. I'm hoping to watch my first full instant movie tonight, assuming dear husband doesn't hog the TV due to a must-see sporting event. Not sure which one I'll watch yet, but it's great being able to choose from a long list of movies and not just between the two DVDs I have on hand.

Bill Watkins said...

Thanks for sharing Patricia. There are other players around too. I like that deal with Netflix. I've never heard of that. We've been doing digital downloads from Blockbuster & Amazon for a few years now, to a computer I have hooked up to our TV. Haven't the need for cable or satellite for several years now. I really like the research idea too. I'll have to remember that one. ;-)

Bill Watkins

Helen Ginger said...

I've never heard of a Roku box. Cool. You could probably watch one movie and go on to another. Unlike my husband who will watch the same movie many times.

Have fun. Clearly, you are watching all the movies for research.

Straight From Hel

Jemi Fraser said...

Sounds like a great toy... um, I mean tool for you to use :)

Enjoy! I have the new Star Trek under the tree & I can't wait to watch it :)

Simon Hay Soul Healer said...

Roku Box! Cool name for a character in a John Woo action film. Inglorious Basterds is the best movie I've watched this month. Merry Christmas.


Terry Odell said...

Sounds totally cool. We do 99% of our movie viewing via Netflix and rarely hit the 'real' theater (although we did go to our annual Christmas movie & saw Sherlock Holmes). (Which the writer part of me was analyzing as I watched.)

Does the gizmo work with those sites where you can watch TV shows you missed? TV is much better than computer screen.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a television person, but I do love a good movie in the comfort of my own home. The problem is we always forget to return them and end up paying a buck less for rental fees than had we purchased the movie in the first place.

This sounds like the perfect solution. Thanks for the "infomercial"!