Everyone wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant. Let me expand a bit. I sense that you may feel that I am free of problems. Let me assure you that I have the same anxieties and insecurities as anyone in this auditorium - maybe more.
I'm just aware of what I'm thinking and feeling but I do obviously have to get that to the back of the auditorium. So there are things like projection and filling the room, and not dropping the ends of lines - technical things which are important, but I don't think they change the way I feel in a scene.
You know, if I look at an auditorium full of high school students and the big man on campus and his girlfriend are busy talking while the lecture's going on, the rest of the room is going to do it because they're powerful sneezers. They have influence. They reach out to a whole bunch of people in a way that makes the idea of being disrespectful spread.
Or, if I take that same auditorium and I make it much bigger and put more space between seats, it'll be quieter because it's much harder when you're not in physical contact with people to spread a virus from person-to-person, right? There are all sorts of patterns that we see in epidemiology that help us understand why something spreads.
To minimize my guilt at going to the pictures - to call this wanton pursuit of an effete pleasure by another name - I needed movie companions as drunkards need drinking partners. If I entered a cinema alone, God might plunge his arm through the roof of the auditorium booming in a stereophonic voice, 'And you, Crisp, what are you doing here?' I would never have dared reply, 'I'm just enjoying myself, Lord.'
I'm starting to believe that part of the solution regarding the devices is that they have a role to play in engaging the customer and keeping our product in front of them during the pre-show. They certainly have a role to play in ticket sales. Inside the movie auditorium, though, during the feature presenation there's no place for them. Every single weekend two out of the top three reasons people contact us are: somebody's being disruptive, with a device most of the time, or a dirty bathroom.
I suppose that Paderewski can play superbly, if not quite at his best, while his thoughts wander to the other end of the world, orpossibly busy themselves with a computation of the receipts as he gazes out across the auditorium. I know a great actor, a master technician, can let his thoughts play truant from the scene ...
They began to tune up, and suddenly the auditorium was filled with a single sound - the most alive, three-dimensional thing I had ever heard. It made the hairs on my skin stand up, my breath catch in my throat....I felt the music like a physical thing; it didn't just sit in my ears, it flowed through me, around me, made my senses vibrate. It made my skin prickle and my palms dampen...It was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard.
One minute we can be in a small club, the next minute we can be in a coliseum, and the next minute we can be in a small auditorium. It varies, depending on the promoter, the budget, and the travelling distance.
Power lies in the details, and the tenacious pursuit of such hidden levers can pay off enormously. While you don't want to get a reputation as a prissy worrywart, worrying about the details in private is important. You may think you are the world's greatest speaker, but if the auditorium's sound system is singing static - well, forget it.
I stand in the center aisle of the auditorium, a wounded zebra in a National Geographic special, looking for someone, anyone to sit next to. A predator approaches: gray jock buzz cut, whistle around a neck thicker than his head. Probably a social studies teacher, hired to coach a blood sport.