There are few things more fun to watch in the filmmaking process than observing a skilled foley artist at work. As we explore the various elements that make up the tools at the disposal of the sound designer, foley effects can be among the most expressive and vital components of the contemporary sound mix. The history of this type of sound effect is another enlightening window into the development of communicative techniques in motion pictures, going back to the powerfully inventive sound mixes of the films of director René Clair (such as Le Million, À Nous la Liberté, and Under the Rooftops of Paris) and to the source of this title, sound innovator Jack Foley, whose legendary boots and keychain were the hidden secrets of many of the most famous walks in Westerns, and whose work on his final film, Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus, was transformative.
For a brief introduction to the craft of foley artists, this Los Angeles Times short is excellent. There are also two revealing portraits available that highlight the work of foley artist Gary Hecker (and his mixer Nerses Gezalyan) - this one that starts with his work on Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood (with sound design by Ann Scibelli) and breaks down the elements of a sound effect mix very well – and an even more inspiring piece produced by the LA Times for their Working Hollywood series, in which Hecker demonstrates exceptional foley work for Hunger Games (with sound design by Lon Bender) and the creation of a wolf growl for Twilight: New Moon that is quite jaw-dropping.
I’d like to add thanks to Frank Baker for pointing out the LATimes piece on Gary Hecker during our panel presentation at the NCTE Convention in Boston; it was a perfect complement to the other review materials for Moving Images Chapter 3, Sound and Image, that I have been exploring with my media literacy classes this month. Along with my earlier post titled Sinking Into Sound, I also recommend this piece for PBSs Art Beat and this documentary on the history of the integration of recorded sound with motion pictures (included on the second DVD of the Jazz Singer set).
Posted in Chapter 3, Music & Sound Design | Tagged Ann Scibelli, Foley Artist, Foley Effects, Gary Hecker, Hunger Games, Jack Foley, Lon Bender, Los Angeles Times, Nerses Gezalyan, Rene Clair, Spartacus, Stanley Kubrick | Leave a Comment »
The presentation at the NCTE 2013 Annual Convention went very well and it was a great pleasure to serve on this panel with Frank Baker and Bill Kist. It was quite fun to have been able to discuss “Film: A 21st Century Common Core Literacy” with a packed room of educators early on Saturday morning!
Here is a file that reviews the PowerPoint I put together for my talk: NCTE Conference 2013. In addition, here is a document that I shared: a unit plan for the study of The Odyssey with the film O Brother Where Art Thou? by the Coen Brothers: Moving Images Critical Notebook 1d Casinghino.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Film A 21st Century Common Core Literacy, NCTE 2013 Annual Convention | Leave a Comment »
Don’t they love their acronyms! American public education is following the examples of the business world and bureaucratic government circles in adopting an acronym for every initiative that is launched these days.
So, as I mentioned in an earlier post, this weekend I will be participating in a panel with authors Frank Baker and William Kist to discuss Film: A 21st Century Common Core Literacy. For my presentation, I will be addressing the value of incorporating media literacy education principles as a support of the guidelines and objectives of the Common Core, and I will share specific examples that I have created for media literacy classrooms which dovetail well with high school ELA curricula. In particular, I will discuss a comprehensive instructional resource that I have prepared for Homer’s The Odyssey and the film O Brother Where Art Thou? by the Coen Brothers. In addition, I will share conceptual ideas behind a complete set of modules that I have developed in which I link principles of media literacy development in the chapters and featured motion pictures of Moving Images to exemplar texts of the Common Core.
For each of these text/movie thematic pairings, there will be performance tasks, project-based learning opportunities, and questions for use in SBAC-type assessments. Hope to see some of you at the 2013 NCTE Annual Conference! — and for those who can’t make it, stay tuned for all of the materials that I’ve described here!
Posted in Media Literacy | Tagged Common Core State Standards, Frank Baker, Media Literacy Education, NCTE 2013 Annual Convention, O Brother Where Art Thou, SBAC, The Odyssey, Willliam Kist | 2 Comments »
Today there was an elegantly designed Google Doodle about one of the most celebrated costume designers in moviemaking history: Edith Head. Here is an article from the Christian Science Monitor that features an excellent embedded video in which Edith Head discusses her work with Audrey Hepburn, one of the most stylish actresses of Hollywood history. Edith Head’s story provides intensely interesting insights into the workings of the studio system — in her case, it was primarily at Paramount Studios (including numerous Hitchcock pictures). In fact, to check out her work at Paramount, I would recommend to go right to one example of a black and white movie and another in color. For B&W, check out the delightful Sabrina, directed by Billy Wilder and starring Hepburn, Humprey Bogart, and William Holden, and in color, the s’wonderful Funny Face, directed by Stanley Donen and starring Hepburn and Fred Astaire.
It should also be noted that Edith Head was certainly one of the inspirations for the unforgettable Edna Mode from The Incredibles, directed by Brad Bird (and who also voiced Ms. Mode). She is quite an appropriate character all about design in a movie that is so seamlessly designed while brimming with the energy and spontaneity of the best creations that Hollywood craftspeople labor to bring to life.
Posted in Chapter 8 | Tagged Alfred Hitchcock, Audrey Hepburn, Billy Wilder, Brad Bird, Edith Head, Edna Mode, Funny Face, Sabrina, Stanley Donen | Leave a Comment »
At this year’s National Council of Teachers of English annual convention in Boston, I will be taking part in a panel presentation and discussion with media literacy scholars Frank Baker (Media Literacy in the K-12 Classroom) and William Kist (The Global School and The Socially Networked Classroom: Teaching in the New Media Age). The session on Saturday, November 23 is titled Film: A 21st Century Common Core Literacy, and in it we will be engaging participants in an investigation that places media literacy in the context of core 21st century literacy. Film has been integrated into the English classroom over the last century, and this session builds on that work; including multiple lesson ideas and examples that situate motion picture communications squarely in the center of what it means to be an effective reader and writer within a screen-based society.
Posted in Media Literacy | Tagged Film A 21st Century Common Core Literacy, Frank Baker, Media Literacy in the K-12 Classroom, NCTE 2013 Annual Convention, The Global School, William Kist | 1 Comment »
Cuarón (left) and Lubezki (center) working with digital techniques on Gravity set
In an earlier post, I highlighted the work of cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and director Alfonso Cuarón, featured artists in Moving Images, whose collaboration has generated many of the most powerful and provocative movies of recent decades. Their current film, Gravity, is sure to offer strong opportunities for studies of the art of moviemaking, as it weaves together technology, visual communication, storytelling, and the artistry of directing, acting, sound design, and many other departments to craft its narrative and build its thematic and emotional resonance. A number of thorough and insightful pieces on this movie and Cuarón’s career have appeared in recent weeks. I highly recommend this article from the Directors Guild of America. In addition, if you have not visited the DGA site, you will find that it is an unequaled resource, particularly for its extensive interviews with dozens of directors. Also, New York Magazine published a superb piece by Dan P. Lee – The Camera’s Cusp: Alfonso Cuarón Takes Filmmaking to a New Extreme with Gravity - in its September 22 issue.
George Clooney, Sandra Bullock, and Alfonso Cuarón making Gravity
For an initial investigation into some of the science in Gravity, here is a video in which Cuarón and space.com’s @DavidSkyBrody discuss scientific aspects of the creation of this movie.
It is my plan to return to this post with more links to lessons associated with this movie or material that emerges once it is released. Stay tuned. And maybe I’ll see you at the movies on the day of its release.
Posted in Chapter 4, Chapter 8 | Tagged @DavidSkyBrody, Alfonso Cuaron, Dan P. Lee, DGA Visual History Program, Directors Guild of America, Emmanuel Lubezki, George Clooney, Gravity, Interview, Sandra Bullock | Leave a Comment »