“I just got ‘should-ed’ today,” admitted Ron, “and I was ‘should-ed’ yesterday on the metro.” For those not familiar with the term (although doubtless the experience will ring true for many), the concept of ‘should-ing’ is that of being told or having the feeling that one should do something better; in this case, the should-ing refers to speaking Castilian.
Ron, originally from Minnesota who has lived in Barcelona for three years, said that he has “moments of fluency” in Castilian, understandable for someone with a degree in the language. But he was motivated to make a documentary about learning Castilian because of the “daily conversations” he was having with friends about the regular issues they had putting it into practice, especially when they spent all day speaking English at work.
It wasn’t his first venture into filming. “Before this movie, I had made two music videos with my friends, which are on YouTube…[but] I’d never made a documentary before.” However, a co-worker at the American School of Barcelona, Tom Mallan, had completed a film course here, and was the owner of a good-quality camera and the editing programme, Final Cut. “ I couldn’t have made it without him,” said Ron. “I had this grandiose plan, I wanted it to be a full feature. Tom has more experience and he said ‘Ron, no.’”
The interviews took place at the end of 2008; the film’s stars are six North Americans, five from the US—Amy, Heather, Jonathan, Robin and Trish—and one Canadian, Sue. In the documentary, they each talk about how good they feel their Castilian is, what they’ve done to learn the language and, of course, what they think they should do to improve it.
Following a May premiere here, Ron has submitted The Language of Should to six different festivals, has a listing for the film on imdb.com and is hoping to present it at an international teachers’ conference. Although he would like to have included interviewees from other countries and still dreams of a full-length feature, Ron is justifiably satisfied with what he’s achieved: “I learned a lot from the experience for sure. ..[it’s] a great example of whatever you want to do with your life, you can do it.”
Watch The Language of Should at this link: http://vimeo.com/4574312
Take my advice:
Ron shares his avourite spots around the city and beyond:
“There is a bar called Centro Cultural Valentina in the Barrio Gótico. They have great mojitos, but what makes this place super awesome is that they have a movie screening part of the bar, which is where I screened my movie.”
Regomir 2, tel. 93 310 7921, www.valentina.com.es
“I just found out about this place, Petit Bangkok. The Thai food there is amazing and great prices. The food tastes like candy to me!”
Saragossa 8, tel. 616 185 196
“I usually shop at Humana and buy used clothing, but during rebajas time I like to check out the clothes at Pou Nou, comfortable earth-colour toned clothes.”
OUT OF TOWN
“Any town really on the Costa Brava. The one I have been to the most though is Tossa de Mar—it is so beautiful there.”