Perhaps school started for you recently or you are in the first days of a new school year — here’s a reminder that I have posted earlier pieces for starting off the year, including ones that feature links to media literacy coursework slideshows with linked videos, activities, and other useful resources.
Meanwhile, I was recently reviewing trending topics and reference points for new media, and I laughed when I saw the opening video to Tyler Oakley‘s YouTube page in which he gushes about the wonderful year he’s had and that PBS “did a documentary about me!” I guess it says it all about “Generation Like” that he declares it’s a documentary just about him when Douglas Rushkoff and the FrontLine producers create a new, insightful piece about “how the perennial teen quest for identity and connection has migrated to social media — and exposes the game of cat-and-mouse that corporations are playing with these young consumers.” As Alissa Quart adds, “today, coolness is … like you have to be constantly selling yourself, showing yourself and marketing yourself… Instead of turning your back to the audience or wearing sunglasses at night, you’re taking off those sunglasses and you’re smiling into the camera. The currency now is one of constant approval and a constant hum of self-assertion…” Get it, Tyler?
Posted in Chapter 1, Media Literacy, Resources | Tagged Douglas Rushkoff, FrontLine, Generation Like, media literacy, PBS, PowerPoint, Tyler Oakley | Leave a Comment »
Brothers Quay at work
Stop Motion is one of the most accessible and productive ways in which young filmmakers can explore visual communication and storytelling. This is clearly demonstrated in the popularity of Brickfilms (for some particularly inspiring Lego work, check out Fell in Love with a Girl directed by music video maverick and eternal kid-at-heart Michel Gondry for The White Stripes) and the continued success of such studios as Laika and Aardman. Right now at Film Forum in New York, a surprising partnership has emerged in the realm of stop-motion: Christopher Nolan, director of mega-blockbusters including the Dark Knight trilogy and Inception, has made Quay, a short documentary about the Brothers Quay and their films, and curated a touring program showcasing their groundbreaking, influential, thematically challenging*, and technically astonishing body of work.
Still from Street of Crocodiles by Brothers Quay
Earlier posts on this blog have highlighted the work of PES, Kirsten Lepore (see Stop Motion Restarted), Karel Zeman, Tim Burton, and other stop-motion creators, and another post presents a short documentary by one of my students, Frame-By-Frame, which provides an original, compelling introduction to stop-motion (and 2D animation, by extension). In addition, for interested educators, The Advanced Art of Stop-Motion Animation by Ken Priebe is an excellent resource for classroom use.
(*Or “extremely creepy,” as many of my students would say — although I have noted that for many kids today, anything in 3D animation that isn’t from the slick world of CG is almost automatically “creepy,” which is even more disturbing, I think.)
Posted in Animation | Tagged Michel Gondry, Stop-motion, Christopher Nolan, Kirsten Lepore, Brothers Quay, Ken Priebe, Brickfilms, Laika, Aardman | Leave a Comment »
In a recent blog post on the National Council of Teachers of English message board, NCTE Council Historian Paul Thomas discussed the topic of the degree to which false ideas persist in popular perceptions of scientific “truths” despite their having been thoroughly debunked, or never even been shown to be demonstrably true in the first place. He wrote about the quite widely accepted but totally false idea that humans supposedly “only use 10% of their brains” and its use in the movie Lucy, directed by Luc Besson, as a reference point. In a post from earlier this year — Getting All Black and Blue Over Media Literacy — I discussed the degree to which falsehoods and distortions become accepted as fact by movie viewers, even if there is copious evidence — whether historical, social, scientific, or otherwise — that these false perceptions are indeed untrue. Funny enough, the standard line of “it’s only a movie” should be more aptly referenced as “well, it’s in a movie, that’s why they believe it.”
Utterly false. Even in French.
There are few goals that must be more important to educators than tackling these ideas: how to seek out truth, how to ask questions of what is being presented to viewers or readers, and how to evaluate and produce material so that truth and authenticity are readily addressed and apparent.
For my own take on Luc Besson’s Lucy, please check out my earlier post Hi there, writers!
Posted in Media Literacy | Tagged Authenticity, Brain Use, Luc Besson, Lucy, Media Literacy and Truth, Paul Thomas, Popular Myths, Scarlett Johansson | Leave a Comment »
(And, yes, if you want a lesson in nailing every nuance, gesture, cut, transition, and graphic in a parody — look no further. Key & Peele continue to hone their genius at short-form filmmaking with their provocative mix of social commentary and media savvy.)
Posted in Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Media Literacy | Tagged Key, Key & Peele, Peele, Sports Center Parody, Teaching Center | Leave a Comment »