The Racing Car Driver: Breedlove  – By @MatthewLaCroi10

By Matthew La Croix


The Racing Car Driver: Breedlove 


The SCA is a school which confounds expectations. Indeed we’re now in the business of defying expectations, and our mentor workshops have served only to confirm that none of our assumptions should be taken for granted. F**k – a stand-up comedy workshop – I’m going to have to stand up in front of strangers and learn the art of the pitch! S**t -Spoken Word Performances – we’re going to have a speed-dating creative writing workshop – for the art directors! 

But by C.O.D., it starts to become apparent. Stand up improvisation was about agility, collaboration, memory. Spoken word was about editing, handling inherited material and discerning the intended meaning inside them. Not unlike a brief. In just two weeks the art of communication and selling a message has been broken down for me into more and more abstract greater than the sum of its parts. 

In 1964 the New York Times reports on racing car driver Craig Breedlove and his ill-fated attempt to break the land speed world record – 

‘The white, dart-shaped car was on its second run of the day when Mr. Breedlove cut in the afterburner of its jet engine for the first time and discovered just how powerful a car he had built. “The car was way over the top in terms of power,” he said. “Now I know what 46,000 horsepower really feels like. I wasn’t expecting so much power and didn’t think I’d be going so fast.” 

Going 620m/h Breedlove crashed. In the space of some eight seconds he traversed death after shearing a number of handy telephone poles, topped a small rise, turned upside down, flew through the air and landed in a salt pond. Breedlove, climbs out of twisted metal and says ‘Now for my next act, I’ll set myself on fire!’ 

Breedlove immediately recorded his thoughts to tape (an aural scamp if you will) which, when played back, and in subsequent interviews with journalists, lasts an hour and thirty- five minutes. And Breedlove had curtailed and condensed his story. 

It’s not so surprising, and in near death experiences time has been said to elongate. But it highlights the innate way we tell stories that SCA has taught us to deter and disrupt. Editing down portraits of ourselves and capturing the essence in a Gif (or T-shirt), crystalizing the bones of the greatest stories ever told into 3 minute (max) videos, or maximizing the efficacy of a protest placard to reach the furthest audience, or choosing what to leave in and take out of a Single Minded Proposition have all taught us my first and most valuable of skills. 

A girl has a magic machine, she’s looking after her nieces, nephews, the home is trashed. The powerful stepmother returns earlier than expected but – all is well! – the girl has a magic machine which restores everything to normal! But how long does it take to spin this story into moving image? Could it be Proustian in length? Or – as the Hoover ad by Rob showed – stories, be it dragons and monsters, global warming, or branding messages, can fit into a matter of seconds, and be the more powerful for it. 

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