It was a little over a decade ago that the documentary Side by Side (directed by Chris Kenneally), which featured debates hosted by Keanu Reeves about the states of digital and celluloid motion picture formats, was highlighted in mediateacher.net upon its release. Now, this month saw the 100th anniversary of the arrival of 16mm film format. This was celebrated and discussed in the recent article Happy 100th Birthday, 16-Millimeter Film by Devika Gerish.  And here is another piece discussing current states of the format for 16mm and its little cousin 8 from David E. Williams in American Cinematographer : Film Forward.


Motion pictures set directly to songs or scored music are one of the most essential forms of media creation, from early silent films to the emergence of shorts crafted to pop songs that fed into the rise of MTV .  Music videos remain one of the most popular and accessible modes of creation for young media creators. (And check out earlier posts such as those about Michel Gondry or Stromae or Janelle Monáe.)

Well, in a first for the Academy Awards, the Best Director award has gone to a pair of filmmakers who first emerged as music video directors.  Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert – or The Daniels – won Oscars for screenwriting, directing, and Best Picture for Everything Everywhere All at Once this past Sunday night, and it is very instructive to check out their earlier work to recognize the stylistic approaches in their music videos as they relate to the visual communication, storytelling techniques, and directorial touches in their award-winning feature film.  While a number of their most notable and infamous videos are not typically appropriate for in-school viewing, here are some recommended ones: Houdini and Don’t Stop by Foster the People, Simple Math by Manchester Orchestra, or Simple Song by The Shins.  And as a final note about this pair: viewing their acceptance speeches in media classrooms can provide some nice inspiration for students — and for teachers too, with the heartfelt thanks by Daniel Scheinert.  Certainly very appreciated.


As was pointed out a number of times during their speeches, these awards were the result of work by many people, and there were a number of other winners for this movie up on that stage, including actors Michelle Yeoh, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Ke Huy Quan and editor Paul Rodgers.  As a final note, Harrison Ford giving the award for Best Picture was quite the touch on a night of many heartfelt moments.

Movie Credits

I am putting up this quick post to highlight an appreciated editorial that just appeared by Emma Kantor, a writer and editor at Publishers Weekly: Why I Watch the Closing Credits of Every Movie I See.  This article provides a compelling personal viewpoint of why the author learned to take the time to know who is responsible for making the movie that she just experienced.

Throughout Moving Images, students learn about many of the jobs that are intrinsic to various types of media production, and in Chapter 8, there is a full overview of many of the key positions in motion picture creation.  Hopefully, students who have opportunities to explore media literacy through their educational experiences will develop their own reasons to pay attention to the many creators responsible for the movies and other media that they care about deeply.

David James Rosen guitar

One of most fun and versatile formats to utilize for prompts with video projects is that of the movie trailer. Over the years, I have found that using the vehicle of the movie trailer as a starting place for students can provide very fruitful and engaging options for source material and assignments related to various topics or skills, whether exploring cinematography, establishing particular storytelling values, or working as a team to communicate promotional messages.*

In ongoing discussions of sound design and music in media creation, earlier this month there was a very interesting piece on current trends in creating music and soundscapes for movie trailers. Ever notice that the song or instruments you are hearing in that new movie trailer isn’t quite what you remember from the original recording but it’s also sort of like it?  It very well might be the result of work from people like composer, musician, and producer David James Rosen (seen above with guitar).

Want to find out more about why some of those sounds you are hearing in trailers sound kind of familiar but then again also not, such as for M3gan, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, or Black Panther: Wakanda ForeverThis artist’s work and that of re-imaginers (and re-shapers) of sound like him are discussed in the article Movie Trailers Keep Tweaking Well-Known Songs. The Tactic is Working(by Eric Ducker for the New York Times). The issues and media creation concepts addressed in the article could be fertile ground for classroom discussion, while the creative outlets it describes can also provide some interesting areas for students to explore in assignments involving sound design and use of music in video production.

“*P.S.: I have to add that I often provide options to using strictly a movie trailer as the model or inspiration for projects, and in recent years I have found that when title sequences for episodic series (along with openings to scenes) are offered as alternatives to feature trailers as reference points in assignments, students pretty consistently opt for episodic series’ title sequences.  Episodic series tend to be where they’re at.

Capt. Jean-Luc Picard on The Love Boat (DALL-E image from Vincent Casinghino)

Earlier this summer, my youngest son, a high-schooler, shared some images he had generated using recent versions of apps designed to produce images from text descriptions (including DALL-E 2 and Craiyon). He is quite well-versed in developments in the technoverse and described a variety of angles with recent developments in AI, particularly related to these uses.  In the realm of artificial image creation, mediateacher.net has discussed The Uncanny Valley and other topics; meanwhile, the generation of artificial content — from image creation to deepfakes to audio impersonation continues to get slipperier and harder to spot.

DALL·E 2022-08-25 10.53.20 - The skeksis from dark crystal as painted by Gustave MoreauIn our work related to media literacy, we constantly examine questions related to authenticity, truth, origin, authorship, and other factors of media messages. Artificially generated images, sounds, text, and other media creations that continue to emerge in the communicative landscapes of digital media will continue to present moving targets for media literacy. The magazine Wired offers the page The Artificial Intelligence Database to track articles and developments in this arena.  Recently, the article We Need to Talk about How Good A.I. is Getting by Kevin Roose appeared in the New York Times, asking questions like how good is A.I. getting at completing advanced tasks or “will it take my job?” or “what exactly is art (or other creative products) generated by programs and computers?”

I gave the info for the first image, but are there any guesses as to the second image?  Add a comment!  In a little while, I’ll divulge the info for the DALL-E image generated from my son’s prompt.