In the first chapter of Moving Images, students explore the basics of media communications through investigations of the concept of motion picture language. As with all the units of work in this textbook, this is done through analysis, evaluation, creation, and other collaborative and critical means. In a media literacy and digital production course I am teaching this fall, the students produced exceptionally interesting and well executed initial projects for this unit (featuring sharp match cuts, unique opening shots, distinctive camera operation, interesting approaches to an assigned script, and more), and I proposed that if some of them wanted to give permission, it might be fun for us to share these via YouTube or another means. The response was an emphatic “No!” They said, “Let’s do that when we make something better! And with original scripts!” Students 1, Teacher 0.
Earlier in this blog, I mentioned returning with Chapter 1 materials. Recently, my class watched a variety of movie openings for unit one, along with selected shorts, such as Inja (on our textbook DVD), Jake Scott’s Tooth Fairy, and the French short I’ll Wait for the Next One. Another movie that I have been using in recent years is Nanette Burstein‘s provocative, exceptional documentary American Teen. This movie is quite rich for investigations of many issues associated with media creation, whether logistical, ethical, social, narrative, or concerning the use of motion picture language. Here is a Critical Thinking Sheet — Critical Notebook 1d — to be used for group discussions or writing prompts with this movie.
As a final note, the flags at mediateacher.net will be flying at half mast to express our condolences for the passing of beloved actor Herbert Lom, who so brilliantly portrayed the long-suffering Chief Inspector Dreyfus in Blake Edwards’ Pink Panther series, among many other great roles, such as in Alexander Mackendrick‘s The Ladykillers and a personal favorite, The Horse without a Head. Rest in peace, Mr. Lom.