SCA vs Whiplash (2014) – By @MunrajSC

By Munraj Chawla


SCA vs Whiplash (2014)


Recently Marc showed us a clip from the movie Whiplash. Sadly, it wasn’t because of the usual reason where a guest mentor was running late. However, it was still shown to inspire us. Every week we have a client come in on a Tuesday and set us a brief, to deliver in two days’ time, on the Thursday. Marc put on a scene from Whiplash after our pitch because we, as a student collective, didn’t put enough thinking or effort into the pitch as we should have. He introduced the clip by telling us that what we were about to see would divide the room; it even caused a debate between Marc and his wife. I went home that evening and watched the entire movie. Just like the work I want to create, it was divisive but as a result it made people feel something. 

The scene is called “Not Quite My Tempo” and, if you want to, you can watch it here:

In it, a music teacher called Terence Fletcher, played by the intense J. K. Simmons, brutally forces his student to play the drums over and over and violently criticises him when he plays out of time. Fletcher forces the student to recognise his own mistakes, throwing a chair at him and slapping him in rhythm to get the point across. It was Fletcher’s passion for his student to recognise and play at his potential that resonated with Marc. (Disclaimer: Marc has never physically tortured us to get the best out of us.) And I resonated with that style of teaching. Quite quickly at SCA you learn to love the criticism. The praise is good and leaves you feeling warm and like you deserve to be here, but as the adage goes, Good is the Enemy of Great. Only by being pushed beyond what’s expected of you can you unlock your potential. 

Having watched Whiplash, I feel motivated and inspired. And recently that’s been a feeling that quite quickly becomes anxiety. The workload at SCA this term will obviously be incredible. I expect there will be countless sleepless nights ahead. Yet, before SCA I was working 7 days a week, 12 hours a day, to hopefully earn enough money to pay for 1 term here. So it’s the standards that I hold myself to that cause me to feel anxiety, that I’m not hitting or going beyond my potential. The sleepless nights ahead will be born out of meticulously changing little details to create the most perfect piece of work, not because I’m falling behind on the workload. 

Interestingly, I showed my family the scene from Whiplash the next day. Much like Marc’s wife when she watched it, they felt horrified, that Fletcher’s behaviour was no way to teach someone. (Disclaimer 2: Marc truly doesn’t hit us. Promise.) Minus the violence, I have to disagree. Like working out at the gym, muscles have to micro-tear to grow bigger and stronger. To create a masterpiece, stone has to be chiselled and broken through. You have to love the criticism. 

Song of the SCAB: Majid Jordan – Her

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