Bumping the Lamp

I realized recently that I have made an egregious error. The web name of my blog is “bumpingthelamp.wordpress.com” but I have so far neglected to explain the phrase ‘bumping the lamp.’ So to remedy my mistake, I will take this short blog post and explain to you the meaning behind that particular phrase.

If you have been around me any small amount of time, you will realize that I still talk about my experiences at Pine Cove. Just about any story I tell begins with, “When I was at Pine Cove…” In fact, it was at Pine Cove that I learned the meaning of this phrase.

During group orientation when the entirety of Pine Cove comes together, the senior director of ministries told the staff the story behind the phrase “bumping the lamp.” It all begins with the advent of mixed cartoon animation with real-life filming in the movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”

During a particular scene in this particular movie, the protagonist attempts to un-cuff himself from the character the film was named after. When the scene was still being produced, a certain lamp illuminating the set remained stationary throughout the shot. After the producers reviewed the scene, they came to one conclusion. Yep, that’s right. They sent word to the animation studio to “bump the lamp.”

However, since “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” was one of the first films to combine real-life filming with animation, the technology to do so was still in its infancy. As a result, tremendous effort had to be applied to completely redraw the scene for the animated character. Each individual frame had to take into account the bumped-lamp-light-source. And for what? A minute of improved screen time? I’m sure some considered it a waste of time to spend all that effort on presenting a mere fraction of the movie in a better light, both literally and figuratively. Nonetheless, the animators went to work, and “bumped the lamp.” Check out the scene below…

I hope the phrase “bumping the lamp” takes on new meaning for you… In general, I suppose you could say that whenever one “bumps the lamp” he pays close attention to detail, as the makers of the movie did. They weren’t satisfied with the current state of the scene. They thought the animators could do better. They thought the animators could go above and beyond the effort they had already put into the scene. For the producers, every minor detail was important, even if the general audience would not understand the effort that went into making the scene what it was.

I chose to name my blogsite after that phrase, because like the producers, I want to strive in every area of my life to go all out, even if it may go unnoticed. I’m not satisfied with simply getting by or coasting (although I admit that I am often guilty of those very things). You see, I chose that name to remind myself of who I want to be and what I want to strive after, and I hope that all of my posts are the result of an effort to pursue that goal.

So, now that you really know what it means to “bump the lamp.” Share the story. Tell someone about it. Apply it to your own life. In short, please do not let this blog sit with you. I write these posts in part so that whoever reads them will be stirred to action and change. After all, what’s the point of writing if no effect is produced? As for me, I know exactly what I will do with that phrase. In a short time, I will be returning to Pine Cove for the summer so that I may, once again, “bump the lamp.”

2 thoughts on “Bumping the Lamp

  1. Really enjoyed your article Mr. Brown! “Bumping the Lamp” is a great reminder to all looking to strive for greatness or a better version of ourselves. Appreciate the time you took explaining this valuable meaning.


  2. Thanks for sharing this story! I was trying to explain to my boss why I keep saying that our office has to “bump the lamp,” and your post helped me fill in the gaps. No one is the same after working at Pine Cove. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.