08 September 2010

Give Your Phone a Movie Theme

Once upon a time, we needed to remember the phone number for the party they wished to call.  We memorized the basic ones, wrote down the rest and never knew until answering who was calling us.  Today, though, we have all our contact information stored in our cell phones and we're summoned by caller-specific ring tones and greeted by a photograph of the person before we accept (or reject) the call.  Often, these photos are taken over dinner at Olive Garden and the songs are chosen because of some shared inside joke.  It feels personalized enough, but it's really a generic way of customizing your contacts list.

A few months ago, I got the idea to change the way I customized my contacts list.  Gone are the photos of each person.  They have been replaced with movie posters I downloaded from the Internet.  Each film selected connects with the contact in question directly, in a way that doesn't just reflect an inside joke, but would make sense (I believe) to most who know the person.  For instance, my father-in-law spent the last 20 years owning and operating his own barbershop.  His caller ID movie poster?  Barbershop.  One of my friends works with an archaeological business that frequently does contract work for the government.  His caller ID movie poster?  Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.  It was just too obvious to go with an Indiana Jones poster, so I went with his--and my--favorite Trek movie instead.

To accompany these movie posters, I have endeavored to also add ringtones from these movies.  I went through a pretty big soundtrack-collecting phase in the 90s, so I've got a decent selection from which to draw.  Custom-making ringtones from your own music library is pretty easy, and directions can be found here.  When my anthropologist friend calls, not only do I see the gorgeous teaser poster for Star Trek VI, I hear a clip from Cliff Eidelman's score.

My current wallpaper.
I often use a matching pair of poster and ringtone for my default settings.  Right now, my phone wallpaper is the recent Borg Queen poster from Mondo Tees and my I-don't-know-who-you-are-and-you're-not-in-my-contacts-list ringtone is an excerpt from Jerry Goldsmith's famed Star Trek theme.

If you're interested, I suggest you scour the Internet Movie Poster Awards website for poster images.  And if you want a specific song that isn't in your media library, check Amazon's .mp3 store.  You'll have a much easier time making a ringtone out of an .mp3 file from Amazon than you will have with a download from Apple's iTunes Store.  Why pay $2.50 for a ringtone, when you can buy the whole song for $0.99 and make a clip from it?  You spend less money and you'll have the entire song in your library.  Plus, you can chose any segment of the song you want for the ringtone!

Incidentally, Star Trek isn't as dominant on my phone as this post might make you suspect.  One of my friends has a tremendous ability to pay virtually no attention and still consistently win at "Clue."  Her caller ID movie poster is (you guessed it!) from the movie version Clue.  My grandmother's is Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, because she still complains to this day about having to sit through it in the theater in 1991.  And her brother (my great-uncle) is represented by Beetlejuice because he's forever visiting cemeteries conducting genealogical research.  (Plus, he took on a part-time job at a mortuary to help while away the boredom of retirement.)  You get the idea.  And hopefully, I've given you an idea of something a little more thematic and fun you can do with your cell phone contacts list.  Have at it, and let me know what you come up with!

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