What better way to begin another academic semester than an exciting Social Guidance Sunday program on listening! This might sound like a dry topic but the short films that will be screened on Sunday, January 24th will be sure to have your full, undivided attention. For the past three years the IU Libraries Moving Image Archive has screened 16mm original celluloid reel-to-reel films from the Libraries’ collection. These short films feature quirky relics of Americana: cheesy classroom instructional films, goofy commercials, job training films that may or may not provide necessary guidance, along with films featuring somber messages regarding serious topics. A projector clicking away in the background offers a blast from the past for some while younger generations get to experience the fun of programmers providing witty banter while they switch film reels. Social Guidance Sunday takes place on a monthly basis at the Bishop.
Each show features a theme such as the rise of the digital age, the threat of atomic power, and the dangers of puberty. Continuing last year’s tradition of inviting a doctoral student to visit the moving image archive, Dan Hassoun, a Ph.D. in Communication and Culture is the special guest programmer for the first SGS show of 2016. While his research is primarily concerned with the problems that arise with technology and distraction, the topic of listening and paying attention offer a unique glimpse at the ways our everyday life is filled with opportunities to either listen and understand or mishear, misinterpret, and miss out on a million dollars.
Kicking off this year’s first Social Guidance Sunday will be a rousing film called You’re Not Listening! (1978, 17 min.). An overly dramatic Shakespearean actor portrays the problems associated with failing to listen. In The Strange Case of Mr. Finch (1983, 15:40 min.), a man walks around town with a briefcase and a list of names of potential millionaires, in order to become a millionaire, all these people have to do is listen! As these films demonstrate, the struggles of listening and comprehending information are not just difficulties faced by school children daydreaming about recess but these are struggles that can have detrimental impacts on the job as well. In Telemarketing III – Techniques for the Phone Sales Representative (1983, 12 min.), two telemarketers, a male and a female, explain the differences in their techniques when making a sales call. Although some films feature problematic stereotyping, they often give us new perspectives on the past through laughable “teaching” moments. Hassoun has selected a compilation of short educational films featuring dramatic renditions of listening skills, children dressed as anthropomorphic ears, and the chance to win a million dollars. So listen up and pay attention! There will be a quiz at the end.
January’s SGS films will include:
You’re Not Listening! (Callner Films, 1978)
Telemarketing III-Techniques for the Phone Sales Representative (Centron, 1983)
Listening Skills: An Introduction (Coronet, 1965.)
The Strange Case of Mr. Finch (Filmfair Communications, 1983)
Are You Listening (Educational Communications Inc., 1971)
~ Katie Lind