(I think this is the WORST buffering for a video…EVER! <heavy sigh>)
It’s finally here. How’s it feel? Umm. Mixed bag of pretty amazing emotions. Thrilling? Heck YEAH! Scary? Kinda. I’m not sure what to expect. It’s like surfing. You see a wave coming. You size it up and make a gamble. But once you’re committed, you’re in it. And it might be a lot bigger and scarier than you imagined. Or it might be a fizzle. At any rate, I’m incredibly lucky to be at this point in my life. It’s a big wave with uncertain characteristics. And I’m gonna ride this one and have fun.
My first take on the trailer is pretty good. It’s not the action/adventure or suspense thriller that I would normally watch. But it does pique one’s curiosity. I have not seen the whole movie yet. I was on the set and got to watch individual takes of scenes in the making. This is the most I’ve seen put together into anything cohesive. So I am eagerly anticipating my first viewing of the whole movie.
The filming had a good effect on the movie cast and crew. As a birder it would be easy for me to think that birding is for everyone. But it is not. Some folks are just not cut out for it and would never enjoy it. I hope the movie raises people’s curiosity about birding–those that don’t even know what all we do in the birding world. And hardcore listing is only a very small piece of that pie. Birdwatching can be enjoyed on so many levels.
Will this be an accurate adaptation of the book? No. Did you not read my Movie Rumors page? Haha. This story is one that is inspired by the book. The essence is there. I get a lot of questions about what events made it into the movie. I can answer that this way–less than you want. First of all, there were several birders who did big years in 1998–maybe a dozen or so that I know of. But only 3 of us made it into the book, The Big Year, by Mark Obmascik. Three people. Three big years. Three years of stories. Mark Obmascik did a fine job of culling down 3 years of stories into one book which might take you only 10-12 hours to read. That is quite a reduction. There were many other stories which never made it. Now most movies are 1.5-2 hours. That’s only about 1/5th of the stories that made it into the book. So a lot of information got squeezed. And since this is a story that is inspired by the book, it gives the script writer and director a little more leeway into how the message gets conveyed.
How will it portray birders? First of all, let’s be honest. The movie folks are not using just any ordinary birders–they are using us quirky, obsessive types. Sorry folks. I am a bird dork. Geek. Nerd. Whatever. At the very least, I hope we all have a good laugh–well, you can certainly laugh at my character–I did funny things! ahaha. I look back on the experiences and laugh at myself. What was I thinking??!!?
How does it portray the birds? Folks, we wouldn’t have a movie–or a book without the birds themselves. Do they get the proper credit? Probably not. For those of us who *LOVE* birds we would get all lathered up in a tizzy if it were a documentary of even just Attu in 1998–the Birding Trip of the Century! Remember that 2 hours of movie I was talking about? Yeah. That. There is no way to fit the entire birding experience into that. Rats. I wish we could. Of course, if I had made the movie like that, we’d have a target audience of 118 or so. Actually, I think there are more of you closet obsessives out there who, given the chance, might tinker with the idea of doing a big year yourselves. But I digress.
Are there errors (or at least pretty unbelievable birding things) in the movie? Absolutely. As a bird consultant I only made recommendations. A lot of my influence made it into the script. But in the end, it’s the discretion of the director what makes it into a movie. So you know what’s coming next, right? Your mission as birder-movie-goer (should you choose to accept it) will be to look intently at the movie with your intense powers of observation and pick out all the birding inconsistencies. Sound like fun? You betcha!
And remember to both listen and watch for birds out of place. Twentieth Century Fox did not fly the movie cast and crew (about 175 people) to every location visited by all 3 of us Big Year-ers. Can you imagine the cost and logistics of flying that many people over a quarter of a million miles in one year to make a 2-hr movie? Holy smokes! So what did they do to compensate for that? Ahh. Movie magic. Well. Er. Maybe not magic. But they made some pretty neat substitutions while I was there. I can’t wait to see the rest. So if you see or hear a bird out of place–it probably is. Oh, I should mention that you probably will want to watch the movie and enjoy the story first. But the gloves are off for all subsequent viewings!!
Oh, and one more thing. Not only do you have birds to look for–you will have a cast so large that it may take a while before you see all the stars you want to see. The casting list is extraordinary. And have any of you played the game 6-degrees from Kevin Bacon? Well, those of you who know me now have links to many celebrities! Jack Black, Steve Martin, and Owen Wilson all play the 3 of us obsessive birders. But do you recognize any of these fine celebrities–Rashida Jones, Anjelica Huston, Brian Dennehy, Diane Wiest, Rosamund Pike, Jim Parsons, Joel McHale, Kevin Pollack, Tim Blake Nelson, John Cleese, or Anthony Anderson (and I’m even probably forgetting a few since I’m too lazy tonight to go look at my list)? What an outstanding cast! I have to say my appreciation for the skill and hard work necessary to make a movie has increased immensely. The days were long and arduous, but enjoyable. It was another world to me. I can’t wait for the movie now!!!
Oh wow! I forgot one more important thing to look for in the movie–ME!!! Yep. Look for the birder in the background with the all red Ohio State ball cap. Hopefully, I made it into some scenes.
Break out the popcorn! Extra butter, please!! It’s movie time!