Warning: Do not try this at home. The following skill is only for advanced skimmers.
Recently, I was faced with a difficult dilemma (not dilemna) when I realized I had to somehow find time to watch a three hour film outside of regular class time.
That particular week I was on a tight schedule as it was, so I decided to experiment with some advanced-level skimming. I proceeded to the library, checked out the two VHS tapes and popped part one in the VCR player. Making sure the subtitles were on, I hit the fast-forward button and began.
As the subtitles zipped by I found I was able to absorb the majority of the dialog. The great thing about subtitles is that they are usually simplified and nicely spaced, and thus easy to read as they flash across the screen. If you try this, I feel I should let you know that on occasion, it may be necessary to rewind and watch a particularly complex dialog in real time, but overall this does not hinder one’s progress.
Another benefit of watching in fast-forward is that it skips the unnecessary “artistic” scenes. You know the kind: sweeping panoramic scenery or back and forth scenes contrasting upper class luxury with the lower class rabble. Yeah, yeah, I get the symbolic gesture, and… moving on.
Anyway, it was a highly successful experiment because, voila, all of a sudden my three hour film was only an hour and a half long. And movie viewing: check!