Monday, March 5, 2012

Looking Back and Looking Ahead: The Oscars and Job Interviews

"On a scale of 1 to 10, how weird are you?" is a question you might be asked at a job interview these days.  Employers, who have plenty to choose from, search out the creative job seekers, and test how they work under unusual situations and under pressure.  Applicants to Twitter's internship program must apply in 13 Twitter messages, each limited to 140 characters (NOT words).  Job applicants to Pinkberry "must brainstorm commercials for its frozen yogurt and then work in teams to devise a marketing plan for a hypothetical product."

Some of the oddball interview questions of 2011 compiled by a website called Glassdoor are:  "Name five uses for a stapler, without the staples."  "How would you get an elephant into a refrigerator?"  "What do you think of garden gnomes?"  "Would Gandhi have made a good software engineer?"  "Does life fascinate you?"  So, there's really no way to adequately prepare for a job interview today.  Get a good night's sleep, and ready for just about anything.                                                                           

The opposite can be said for the Oscar nominations this year that were guided more by a nostalgia for the past as well as self-loathing for an industry that pandered to the teenage crowd by making movies "big on bombast turned to noise,  the special effects to exhaustion, and the plots to unimaginative confusion."  Columnist Neal Gabler asks, "Is the film industry tired of itself and of the movies that have defined it for two decades?"

What does the silence of "The Artist" tell us?  According to Gabler, it is about " innovation and the limitations of innovation."  "Hugo" works its "old-fashioned magic through the simplicity of costumes and sets and stop action rather than through computer-generated images."  Both movies prefer "connections to films that are emotional and spiritual, not just physical."
Even the color palette of  "War Horse" re-creates color of the 1950s movies; its story is more about feelings rather than action.  "Midnight in Paris" stars a "numb Hollywood screenwriter searching for inspiration."  He finds it by escaping back to the past.  The film is "a tribute to art that mattered -- to art that did more than diddle."

Gabler's summary of the movie nominations, which rings true, is that "these movies are less about a lost past than they are about an unsatisfactory present."
Personally, I have not yet seen any of the Oscar-nominated movies.  Perhaps I will get to them eventually, but, when given a choice of a movie or a good book, I usually curl up with a good book.  And I'm surely glad I'm not facing any modern job interviews.  Even without movies and job interviews, I, too, feel like I'm neither in the old days or the modern days, but wobbily trying to balance the past, present, and future.

Suellen Zima
Member of the National League of American Pen Woman

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Suellen. As usual:informative plus entertaining!You know how to combine these two!