Conversations about Handwriting

by TonyB on May 4, 2011

• Here’s an interesting little bit of handwriting trivia: The entertainment site Ugo reports that director Quentin Tarantino handwrites, instead of types, the cover pages of all his movie scripts.

That detail came out when a Twitter user posted a pic of the title page of Tarantino’s new spaghetti Western, called “Django Unchained.”

According to Ugo:

While a handwritten piece of paper doesn’t exactly sound like anything official to us either, apparently handwriting the names of scripts on their first page is one of the director’s quirks, and is as “Tarantino” as barefoot broads talking about music you’ve never heard of.

The photo of the script bears an uneven and slightly childish scrawl with the movie’s name, the writer/director’s name and the date that the last draft was finished last month. Even though the handwriting isn’t exactly neat, it still appears Tarantino took his time printing the letters, as they’re all well-spaced and the text doesn’t slant (much) on the unlined page.

Guess that’s what the handwriting of a genius looks like.

• Have good handwriting?

You can use that skill to start a home handwriting business and put cash in your pockets, according to a man hawking an e-book called “Handwrite for Cash: Firsthand Advice from Write On Results.”

Self-described “serial entrepreneur” Ray Hrach issued a press release last week announcing his brand new website providing information for people wanting to get into the handwriting business. The site, www.handwriteforcash.com, mainly just pushes his book, though.

Apparently, Hrach explains how you can make a business out of hand-addressing envelopes for large mail-outs, whether they are for marketing campaigns, non-profit fundraisers, wedding invitations or holiday cards.

Sound exciting? Well, the book is only $14.95 and promises that “you can have money, financial security, and control over your work and family time, all from the comfort of home.”

Yeah, seems a little sketchy to us, too.

• The New York Times has really stirred up the handwriting conversation with a piece that raises an odd assortment of potential problems that come from kids not learning cursive. The article makes the case that those without cursive skills lose fine motor skills, are more at risk for forgery and may not be able to read historical documents, written as they were in cursive hands.

It’s a relatively brief article, for the Times, but the response has been intense, from the 220+ comments (many of them saying “good riddance” to cursive) to a chorus of follow-up articles in other publications. The Atlantic reported on the connection between handwriting and brain development, the Village Voice opined that cursive is obsolete, and Slate pooh-poohed the idea that cursive is dying out.

From Slate came this bit of handwriting wisdom:

As long as writing is going to stick around, we have a responsibility to teach it. In fact, cursive writing is a bit like sex: Youngsters are going to do it whether we like it or not. We just need to figure out whether we’re going to teach them the right way to go about it, or let them stumble their way through on their own.

Not sure that’s correct – after all, only one of them is something kids enjoy – but it’s nice to see someone naysaying the doomsayers.

• If there’s one group of people who need to keep up with their handwriting skills, it’s journalists – after all, you never know when an earthquake is going to stop the presses.

This is one of the newspaper sheets on display at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

The Associated Press is reporting that reporters at some newspapers in Japan actually handwrote news articles and posted the pages in public when there was no electricity to power computers or printing presses after the recent disaster there.

The Newseum, a journalism museum in Washinton D.C., has gotten copies of the sheets put out by one Japanese newspaper for a display, according to the AP.

The paper’s journalists used flashlights and marker pens to write their stories, and they posted the newspapers at relief centers across the hard-hit city of Ishinomaki for six days beginning March 12. Six staff members collected stories, and three spent more than an hour each day handwriting the newspapers.

What awesome dedication to their profession.

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