Sunday, 29 August 2010

Shorter Cuts

Hello. Something a little different today - less wordage, more picturation.

Doubtless like myself, you sometimes find yourself enjoying a complex, multi-stranded three-hour film with around two dozen main characters, only to discover that you have to stop halfway through due to external time constraints. Doubtless also, you subsequently find yourself faced with the problem of coming back to finish your viewing experience at some later date, but balk at the thought of trying to remember what the heck was going on...

'Which one was he again?'

'Is she married to that one or the other one?

'Was she naked earlier on?'

'Why are there so many bland brunette actresses in this film?'

If any of those questions ring a bell, despair no longer, for help is at end. Or to be more specific, if you, like myself and the rest of the Monday Night Film Club, have only got halfway through Robert Altman's 1993 film Short Cuts and find yourself having to wait a full seven days before seeing the rest of it, help is at end.

For behold, the Short Cuts - 90 Minutes In: Entity-Relationship Diagram:

Don't make me explain it to you. If I have to, that means I have failed to make it intuitive, which is a poncey way of saying it should be fairly obvious to anyone with a reasonably functional brain.

I will admit though that it'll help if you have A) seen the first hour and a half of the film in question, and B) are not unfamiliar with the concept of functional data modelling. System Design Methodology purists will no doubt take me to task for failing to normalise the entity-relationships to Codd's Third Normal Form at the very least, for which I apologise abjectly. I was pressed for time.

Shabby as it is, I can happily report that the diagram really did come in handy during our viewing of Short Cuts Part Two one week later, for which I must thank Microsoft - the vendors of the excellent Visio diagramming tool - and certain other parties for their fine A3 colour printer.

And just to show that this wasn't just a one-off, here's another film I have made simple through the magic of entity-relationship diagramming:

See how much simpler that makes it to follow?

On a personal note, I have to say that I enjoyed drawing up the Short Cuts diagram far more than any normal person should. I think it may just be my perfect job. Pity it isn't...

Job offers welcome.

Post Script

How to upload a picture into your blog without the Blogger uploader crunching it all down and making your lovely intricate diagram a blobby lo-res disgrace:

Avoid the Blogger Add Image function like the plague.
Open up another window.
Go into Picasa Web Albums under your Google login.
Click on the more drop-down.
Select Photos.
Select the album and picture you want to use.
Click on Link to this Photo.
Set Select size to Large 800px.
Tick Hide album link.
Copy the contents of the Embed Image box.
Flip back over to Edit Blog and go into Edit Html.
Paste in the contents of the Embed Image box.
Pray to God you got that all right.
Retry an indeterminate number of times, varying every single step of the process through every possible permutation until you stumble ape-like upon the solution.


Jack said...

I see... I followed the shark diagram, had I read the bigger one I've no doubt that too would have been brilliant.

The Chocolate Ocelot said...

It would, it would.