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Film Addiction: Have You Ever Gone Too Far? [Talking Images]

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St. Gloede
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Film Addiction: Have You Ever Gone Too Far? [Talking Images]

#1

Post by St. Gloede » September 1st, 2020, 3:27 pm

Hi all,

Have you ever been in a situation where you realized that you were losing control? That you were watching too many films and that is was negatively affecting your life? Worse yet, have you ever experienced literal withdrawal symptoms?

In this episode Tom, Sol, Lauren and Adam take on the somewhat gruelling topic of film addiction, and explores the difference between cinephilia and genuine addiction, and talk about how they manage their film obsessions.

You can listen here:

Spotify - https://open.spotify.com/show/3GhRXnb6OzOnfae2Uvkvus
Sounder - https://talking-images.sounder.fm/episo ... -addiction

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#2

Post by prodigalgodson » September 1st, 2020, 8:43 pm

I really need to catch up on these, but this sounds like a fascinating topic! I've definitely gotten to the point where I've neglected myself physically because I've been watching so many movies, or felt kind of gross after staring at a screen for so many hours (which can get to be an experience in and of itself, eg with Out 1 or West of the Tracks), but it's never gotten to the point where I felt my health or interpersonal relationships were in danger. Living a fairly hermetic lifestyle to begin with probably helps too :P

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#3

Post by St. Gloede » September 2nd, 2020, 7:40 am

My younger self definitely identifies with what Lauren says about feeling like a day was wasted if I did not manage to see any films, or even enough films. I'm not sure if I have even been genuinely addicted to films. I'm sure there were a few occasions when I skipped out on social events, etc. to watch films, but these cases would not have been things I would have been overly excited about.

I was most active watching films, and had the strongest drive/internal force to watch film in college, uni and the year after uni when I struggled to find a job, and it never affected my performance in class. The only time it possibly got unhealthy was when I struggled with mild depression caused by not being able to find a job and my life seemingly going nowhere (seems like the standard feeling/experience though) and I likely retreated more into films than I should, but once all that was sorted out film did not hold me back at work or socially.

I no longer feel that a day not watching films is a wasted day, not felt that in a long time - the only slight exception perhaps being slightly frustrated if I for whatever reason do not manage to meet an arbitrary goal I have set - say for instance in a challenge - but that's not so much about watching films but doing what I set out to do, as I tend to st easily manageable arbitrary goals. I also know they are arbitrary so I don't really mind.

Not sure what the last time I watched zero films in a day was though. Even when on vacation there tends to be a TV, or we'll go to the cinema, but there are of course days (none now thanks to covid) where I'll either go straight from work to a social event, or if on vacation be out all day/not have the energy, but it is usually really easy to fit in a short movie.

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#4

Post by shugs » September 2nd, 2020, 9:06 am

I don't think I've ever been addicted to movies (addiction is such a heavy word). I am now at a point in life where I get depressed if I watch like 3 movies in a row, because I start thinking of other things I could have done that have a more beneficial impact on my life (practicing programming, biking, reading, playing a boardgame with my friends, etc). I still love cinema, but it's becoming more the hobby that I do when I'm too tired for anything else, rather than something I feel completely engaged in.

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#5

Post by Onderhond » September 2nd, 2020, 10:02 am

My main takeaway of the podcast is that people seem rather uncritical of their own behavior. Not sure whether that's too surprising, but I do think that many here (including myself by the way) are walking a thin line between obsession and addiction. Personally I take great care of making sure that film doesn't dominate my entire life, by keeping other hobbies alive (gaming, music, reading, blogging, ...) and by committing to social engagements. I also have no trouble not watching films (I don't watch anything during out usual 1-week away-from-home vacation), but not plastering every spare moment I have with films is something I actively try to avoid.

Especially the reasoning that "films are used to fill dead moments so it's okay" is a bit doubty I think. It's exactly these moments where you have nothing going on that introduce you to new experiences, new people, new insights etc.

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#6

Post by mightysparks » September 2nd, 2020, 10:16 am

I can't remember exactly what we talked about in the podcast anymore, but although I've gone through periods of film obsession in the past I've never been addicted. Film has always been the most important thing in my life, but it has never taken over it. I did used to feel that going without a film for a day was a waste of a day, but it's only because I felt I had potentially missed out on an exciting experience--and if I hadn't watched a film it meant I was probably in a bad mood or did absolutely nothing that day and therefore was a waste regardless. Now I don't care. When I got depressed I pretty much lost my love for film and now it comes and goes in waves and I don't really have one thing that I care about more than anything else. I can't watch films if I'm in a bad mood, depressed or mentally exhausted so my film watching has definitely dried up in the last few years. I've also been drawn more towards reading about film since I started doing TSZDT so if I'm not watching film I'm often reading about it.

I don't have many other interests, but I do plenty of other stuff to keep me busy. I think I spend more time cooking now than watching films :lol:
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#7

Post by St. Gloede » September 2nd, 2020, 11:20 am

Onderhond wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 10:02 am
My main takeaway of the podcast is that people seem rather uncritical of their own behavior. Not sure whether that's too surprising, but I do think that many here (including myself by the way) are walking a thin line between obsession and addiction. Personally I take great care of making sure that film doesn't dominate my entire life, by keeping other hobbies alive (gaming, music, reading, blogging, ...) and by committing to social engagements. I also have no trouble not watching films (I don't watch anything during out usual 1-week away-from-home vacation), but not plastering every spare moment I have with films is something I actively try to avoid.

Especially the reasoning that "films are used to fill dead moments so it's okay" is a bit doubty I think. It's exactly these moments where you have nothing going on that introduce you to new experiences, new people, new insights etc.
I would agree and disagree there. I was very surprised to hear both Filmbantha and Sol say they are addicted to films, as this is quite severe, but then not really see it as an issue and talk about how they handled it. I'm not sure if they would be categorized as addicted by a professional, and as such they may almost be too severe in regards to their own behavior, at the same time time I also think you are right that the dangers of watching too many films, and the overlap between passion, obsession and addiction is not as clear as one might think.

What I would have loved to hear was a little more about what they would have done instead, and if the hosts felt like there was something film viewing stood in the way of - which would also be a great question for self-critique, and while possibly more uncomfortable, would also have made the episode even more interesting. I think the episode would also have been better if there was someone on the episode who had genuinely been in the position where watching films was destroying their life and had to make steps for it to stop.

Adam briefly touched upon this re: "how you would have spent your time otherwise?" but that was more in terms of making clear that film viewing was better than the alternative - but it would have been interesting to see if there were other actual alternatives.

That said, while personal growth is good and should always be encouraged, be it professional, or more general - and dead space can definitely be spent on broadening your knowledge in such ways - this argument, if understood this way, is essentially one against all hobbies/any dead time spent on something that is not "productive". (It is also making the assumption that self-improvement is not already a part of the non-dead time already). I don't think this is your argument, but if someone did feel that way I would not see that as healthy - people need time to relax and enjoy themselves in the dead space - the hours they have to themselves - and film is fantastic for this.

I would be more worried when, as you say, film takes over your life - and I think this is the difference in say Adam and Lauren watching a few films between large work/study-loads in their dead time - vs. Tom and Sol's far, far more active viewing patterns - or mine for that matter. For me, film hasn't taken over my life. It is however my favourite hobby/interest, and with the forum and now also podcast (and future magazine) it ties in with a lot of my time - but I do think talking about films is a very different activity from watching films, and also highlights how it can be productive. Another example would be you and Tom who are already active bloggers for instance - and it teaches a lot, lets you meet so many people and learn a lot - and I suppose as all the hosts are being productive in this way, it is less severe by default - though your warning still stands.

Note: I also think it is important to add that a part of this is also more related to personality types and interests than it neccesarily is to health/addiction. Many people, if not watching films, would prefer to read a book, listen to music, play games or a myriad of other solo activities insead of going out - as this is not something they overly enjoy. So when you frame it as watching films vs. going out, I think one subset (and a big one on forums in general) are introverts who prefer a large amount of alone time. Of course I do think there is value in multiple hobbes, even if you are an introvert, as it makes you are more well-rounded person, and trying new things is always good, but if film is what makes you happy and your chief hobby/passion I see nothing wrong with it.

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#8

Post by Onderhond » September 2nd, 2020, 11:42 am

St. Gloede wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 11:20 am
Adam briefly touched upon this re: "how you would have spent your time otherwise?" but that was more in terms of making clear that film viewing was better than the alternative - but it would have been interesting to see if there were other actual alternatives.
I think the biggest pitfall there is that it's very difficult (if not impossible) to predict/asses with specific cases.

One thing I've noticed is that a lot of creativity/good ideas/fresh triggers come from moments where the mind isn't occupied with something specific. It's a running gag between my colleagues and I is that the best ideas come when driving to work or back home, simply because you're forced to let your mind wander. So I'm sure nobody feels they've missed out on something or had any better plans to spent that time, but that's only because you're unaware of the actual alternatives. It's also one of the reasons why I try not to "occupy myself" with my smartphone when I have to wait somewhere (for 5 or 10 minutes).

I guess this might be how it works for shut-ins. They probably don't feel they're missing out on anything, because when they don't engage with the outside world there's nothing they consciously miss out on. Not that I want to compare our panel with shut-ins, but it's that bit of critical reflection I missed in this episode.
St. Gloede wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 11:20 am
people need time to relax and enjoy themselves in the dead space - the hours they have to themselves - and film is fantastic for this.
Oh absolutely, but the way people here are watching films, I think it might take up a little too much dead space sometimes :)
St. Gloede wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 11:20 am
It is however my favourite hobby/interest, and with the forum and now also podcast (and future magazine) it ties in with a lot of my time - but I do think talking about films is a very different activity from watching films, and also highlights how it can be productive. Another example would be you and Tom who are already active bloggers for instance - and it teaches a lot, lets you meet so many people and learn a lot - and I suppose as all the hosts are being productive in this way, it is less severe by default - though your warning still stands.
Also fully agree there. Film might drive other hobbies, but I don't necessarily consider part of the same thing. It's definitely related to each other, but what I get out of blogging is completely different from what I get out of watching films, so that definitely feels like a different outlet for my creativity/personality.

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#9

Post by AdamH » September 5th, 2020, 10:43 am

Onderhond wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 10:02 am
My main takeaway of the podcast is that people seem rather uncritical of their own behavior. Not sure whether that's too surprising, but I do think that many here (including myself by the way) are walking a thin line between obsession and addiction. Personally I take great care of making sure that film doesn't dominate my entire life, by keeping other hobbies alive (gaming, music, reading, blogging, ...) and by committing to social engagements. I also have no trouble not watching films (I don't watch anything during out usual 1-week away-from-home vacation), but not plastering every spare moment I have with films is something I actively try to avoid.

Especially the reasoning that "films are used to fill dead moments so it's okay" is a bit doubty I think. It's exactly these moments where you have nothing going on that introduce you to new experiences, new people, new insights etc.
Totally get what you're saying although I've really barely watched any films for years. Honestly fewer than once a week on average for the past years. When I talked about filling the dea moments, it can be that there are times in your life when you have more free time (particularly when you are younger). I agree that it's not a solution to problems in your life but I don't think watching films necessarily prevents people meeting new people, having new experiences as often people are in a low time in their life and the alternative to films, forums etc. might be to do very little. I don't think removing films from someone's life in that situation suddenly transforms their life into something better, I think they'd find something else as an alternative instead until they are ready to have those new experiences you mentioned. Or they watch films alongside meeting new people, having new experiences.

I've never watched anywhere near as many films as many people on here. Even at the height of me watching films, it would be very, very rare for me to watch more than two in any day. In the past few years, I've probably watched more than one a day a handful of times and I've gone the majority of days without watching any.

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#10

Post by Armoreska » September 5th, 2020, 11:18 am

No. If anything, I'm not watching enough
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#11

Post by Lonewolf2003 » September 10th, 2020, 3:44 pm

I listened to it yesterday. And really liked it. Thanks for a great episode again. This one also felt more like a real natural discussion again.

I do agree with St. Gloede and Onderhond, that the question of how people would have spent their times otherwise was dismissed a bit too easily, with sol making a far-fetched comparison that the only other option is something very productive like finding a covid-vaccine. While, like Onderhond and St. Gloede, pointed out their are also smaller personal productive thing one could do instead. But like also is said most of us are introvert, and probably would be doing some solo activity like reading or listening to music/podcast instead. And what Adam says aboves also stands. So yeah.. I also don't know the answer to this question, if there even is an answer. Just think it's a topic that could have been delved into a bit more.

I agree that the main question should be if one's viewing habits are hindering or intervening with one's personal and social life. There was a time for this was the case. Although my viewing habits were more a symptom of my depression, which was the real reason that I was avoiding things and my life was a complete standstill. Like St. Gloed I still have a few times cancelled social events, cause I wasn't feeling in the mood at being social at the time and watched movies instead.

I also recognized myself in the people who called themselves having a addictive personality. F.e. I don't own a console and don't play videogames anymore, but have done that a lot in my youth and I'm sure if I ever got one I would get hooked big time on it in no-time again. When I look back now on how obsessive I was when I got a new game or we rented one, wanting to play it 24/7, dreaming of it and such, I'm sure I have an addictive personality.

Like sol I love how the challenges (and making my own watchlist for those) have kept me from wasting hours on deciding what to watch that evening instead of watching something.

I don't feel a day is wasted when I don't watch a movie or serie. But ,like I think it again was sol, to me watching a movie is relaxation/me time, which I need from time to time. Especially when it's busy at work or have lots of other stuff to do.

I liked how sol saved himself from almost insulting the majority of users here by calling them couch potatoes. Was that inserted afterwards, when you all realized that disclaimer was necessary from being it potentially offensive? :lol:

I also really liked how the episode ended with a good disclaimer that people feeling that they do struggle with addiction should seek help here or professional. Was very wise to insert that at the end!

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#12

Post by sol » September 11th, 2020, 3:10 pm

Lonewolf2003 wrote:
September 10th, 2020, 3:44 pm
I do agree with St. Gloede and Onderhond, that the question of how people would have spent their times otherwise was dismissed a bit too easily, with sol making a far-fetched comparison that the only other option is something very productive like finding a covid-vaccine.
I am often prone to exaggeration and hyperbole, but I guess the big thing is that I don't know if I would be spending my spare time any more productively were I not watching films. I mean, there is always more gardening and stuff around the house (which I can't multi-task for) that I could/should do, I could always do a bit more preparation for work... but there is not really, er, some big meaningful thing that I should be doing instead that I am putting off due to film watching.
Lonewolf2003 wrote:
September 10th, 2020, 3:44 pm
Like sol I love how the challenges (and making my own watchlist for those) have kept me from wasting hours on deciding what to watch that evening instead of watching something.

I don't feel a day is wasted when I don't watch a movie or serie. But ,like I think it again was sol, to me watching a movie is relaxation/me time, which I need from time to time. Especially when it's busy at work or have lots of other stuff to do.
Cool, and yeah, that was me on the second point. Film watching is me-time, so it's always a bit argh if I get to busy to fit a single film on a day.
Lonewolf2003 wrote:
September 10th, 2020, 3:44 pm
I liked how sol saved himself from almost insulting the majority of users here by calling them couch potatoes. Was that inserted afterwards, when you all realized that disclaimer was necessary from being it potentially offensive? :lol:
I said that like literally one or two seconds afterwards. That's one of the things about podcasts; it's easy to say something out loud without realising just how it sounds until afterwards. :unsure:
Lonewolf2003 wrote:
September 10th, 2020, 3:44 pm
I also really liked how the episode ended with a good disclaimer that people feeling that they do struggle with addiction should seek help here or professional. Was very wise to insert that at the end!
Chris didn't actually tell us that he was adding that disclaimer in. I would have preferred a shorter/more succinct disclaimer, but sure, nice to have it in. Especially if anyone was listening to the episode in the hope of getting some advice/help for their addiction that I had simply brushed off a great way of learning about the world, culture and history. Oops.
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#13

Post by St. Gloede » September 13th, 2020, 8:24 am

I can confirm that Sol corrected himself immediately (unless he got to the file before me) :shifty:

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