Looking for some short films for new material in a variety of genres? Check out Short of the Week, where there are many great selections here and the articles accompanying the movies are a real plus. For starters, you might want to check out The Nobodies, by Greg Bratman and Dusty Brown, who are definitely not nobodies. Navigate to “Playlists” for their award winners for the last few years as well as Sundance winners and such categories as sports and new media.
One of the primary uses of ADR – discussed in Chapter 3 (Sound and Image) of Moving Images - is for dubbing the original voices of a movie into the language of the country in which that motion picture is being distributed, whether for cinemas, television, video games, or whatever platform for which it has been made. For most Americans, the term “The Fine Art of Dubbing” might seem like a joke since it is not so prevalently used (except for animation) and a great deal of the dubbing that is done is not particularly effective (such as the longstanding tradition of ridiculously bad dubbing in certain Asian martial arts movies). However, in much of the world dubbing is taken very seriously and the quality can be exceptional. Here is a very interesting and eye-opening portrait of the work of a dubbing specialist, German actor Dietmar Wunder (the previous link is to the New York Times article and accompanying video; here is just the video). He is most famous as the German voice of Daniel Craig’s James Bond. Like with my previous blog posts about the work of the foley artist or sound designer, these resources can provide compelling explorations into the worlds of sound in moviemaking.
Here is a copy of the opening day presentation – Media Literacy and Production Opening – for a course I teach that utilizes the first half of Moving Images. Check it out! (In addition, here is a fresh copy of iMovie Instructions if that may be of use.)
A few words on some of the links: Boxes is a movie made by one of my former students; it provides an exceptional example of visual storytelling and can be great for opening discussions. I Forgot my Phone is used less for its storytelling and more about its thematic content. I also added a few links to media literacy stories from this past summer, including ones that were discussed in posts on this blog. I also linked to one of the most fun media events from this past summer: the week-long release of Weird Al’s videos in support of his album Mandatory Fun. What are music videos – advertisements? Artistic creations in their own right? In this case, each song and video has been created not only as a parody or reflection of a musical style, but also in reference to a particular approach in visual communication, from the one-shot lip dub to stop-motion to white board animation and more. And what do teens think?
The new school year is beginning! (Or has begun a little while ago for some and will begin in a bit more time for others…) So here is a new round of resources, concentrating on lesson plans, curriculum development materials, and perspectives concerning a variety of levels in media literacy education. From the Harrington School of Communication and Media at the University of Rhode Island, here is a comprehensive page of links to valuable resources. And you may also want to consult the site for Project Look Sharp, which provides curriculum kits and lesson plans that tend to focus on media literacy for younger grades.
In addition, educators looking for further resources dealing with the type of analytical skills detailed in my previous post about a recent work by artist and storyteller Asaf Hanuka should consult Close Reading of Media Texts by Frank Baker, which provides examples – mostly targeted to middle school contexts – related to advertising, photography, movies, and more. There is also a link to an excellent article by William Kist, New Literacies and the Common Core.
Posted in Media Literacy, Resources | Tagged Close Reading Media Literacy, Curriculum, Media Literacy Education, Media Literacy Resources, Middle School, Project Look Sharp, Resources, William Kist | Leave a Comment »
The most recent installment in the Realist comic blog by Asaf Hanuka, the illustrator for the cover and splash pages of Moving Images, offers some great lessons in the range of competencies inherent in media literacy and the expressive potential of visual communication. In a nine-panel, single page comic, Hanuka, an Israeli native, takes on one of the most challenging, complex, and controversial topics from the news of this past summer: the conflict between Israel and Gaza. Without ever saying so directly.
From its title, “Spoiler Alert” – which uses the meaning of this phrase as a warning from a critic or other commentator regarding a reveal of the content of a media creation – to the references to a graphic novel (later made into a movie) to the precise use of visual information married to text, the reader must engage in media literate interpretation in order to process this work. Since the artist puts the reclining figure of the narrator in the same position reading the same book in the first three panels, we instantly know that this is the same person seen over a sequence of years, much like in the examples described in Chapter 1 of Moving Images. Then, the visually literate reader can also move to more subtle and detailed visual information conveyed to us by the artist: in movie terms, the art direction of the backgrounds (from a student’s room to an army scene to an adult’s comfortable bedroom with framed picture), the costume changes, and finally the cinematography of the lighting and lens changes in the second and third trios of images. In fact, in the final three panels Hanuka creates the graphic novel equivalent of camera movement or a push in with the concluding images of this comic. They underline and heighten the drama much like a comparative movement in filmmaking.
All of these values serve the story and messages of this creation made up of words and pictures, which uses the narrator’s understanding and interpretation of the themes of the groundbreaking graphic novel Watchmen by writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons as they shift and mature over his lifetime to express powerfully the moral dilemmas he sees in the world around him. It is not a ridiculous leap to see it as a discussion of the current conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, particularly when one considers the context of The Realist blog which has dealt with related issues in a number of its preceding entries – while through its lack of specifically referring to these events it also calls to mind similarly thorny dilemmas in history and the contemporary world. This example features a topic that is challenging for any educator to address because of its highly emotional and incendiary subject matter, but it points to the value of precise use of visual communication and the demonstrative impact of image-based media, whether through the sequential art of graphic novels or sequences of shots that make up moving images.
A quick note that there is a superb exhibit on animation in Quebec City at one of the most innovative and inspiring museums one can find, the Musee de la Civilisation. The exhibit, Image X Image, leads the viewer through the key technical and creative aspects of animation as it also traces its history in Canada, particularly the groundbreaking work of the National Film Board and such important figures as Norman McLaren, Ryan Larkin, Co Hoedeman, and Caroline Leaf. It also provides numerous fully interactive areas for kids (and grownups too!) in which they can work at all aspects of creating moving images through objects, drawings, and playing with light frame by frame. An interesting aspect of the exhibit is that it features a number of spots where one can watch numerous short animated movies — yes, just sit down and take the time to see some of the finest animated shorts of the past century or so. Finally, I bring this up on this blog because it can lead us to a resource that is available even if you can’t get to Quebec City: the NFB site which features a wealth of information and links to many of their best movies. One recommendation: The Sand Castle, a classic, truly amazing stop-motion short by Co Hoedeman.