Being on leave for the past few days means I get time to do the things for myself I don’t usually create space for; this usually includes gaming, reading and, for this break specifically, film watching (the title of this blog is a Sean Penn quote). I have an eclectic taste in films, happy to watch Inbetweeners 2 (puerile and very funny) as much as Odishon (ponderously paced but beautifully crafted Japanese horror). Other films I’ve found time for include:
- Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (worthy in parts)
- Lawless (thoughtful and violent)
- Limitless (great performances)
- Sharknado 2 (silly)
- Zombieland (sillier plus Bill Murray)
- Under the Skin (unusual and quirky)
- Weird Science (80s reminiscence)
- Prometheus (underrated)
I re-watched Little Miss Sunshine earlier today. If you haven’t seen it, it’s the tale of a family’s road trip to a children’s beauty pageant in California. If you want to enjoy it without spoilers you probably want to stop reading after the trailer below.
Aside from the narrative and the quite exceptional performances (Toni Colette, Abigail Breslin, Greg Kinnear et al) the characterisation is quite superb. One scene stood out; this was when Olive (Breslin) is about to go on stage at the beauty pageant.
As the girls in the pageant are being introduced and are posing on the stage, Olive’s Dad (Kinnear) realises the behaviour his family have displayed throughout the journey to get to the event isn’t abnormal or unusual – the truly weird behaviour is by the parents, judges and attendants at the pageant. He embraces this realisation and the family’s support for Olive as she performs Rick James’ Superfreak is wonderful.
“Yeah Andrew, but what’s this to do with Learning and Development?”
I’m speaking at three conferences in the next few months starting on 10-11 September at Learning Live in London. I’m looking forward to this event especially; it has a real spread of speakers and activity that I’m hoping will inspire me.
What I need to be sure of though is that the session I present, the content I put together and the interaction I design isn’t framed like the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant. Think about it – how many conferences do you attend where the content presented is anodyne, free from error and sanitised to become a facsimile of real life? How many presenters have buffed their rhinestones and produced flawless slide decks that glitter and sparkle but fail to be unique? How many conferences become fashion shows where we judge speakers against each other looking to award a conference speaker title?
In beauty pageants we hear how the participants all ‘want to work with children and animals’…what are the conference clichés we need to avoid?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments.