Archive for September, 2015

songandsolitude3-1600x900-c-defaultIn an earlier post, I asked the question “What exactly is that movie?” in order to address forms of visual communication through a series of commercials.  For those who may wish to explore the wilds of avant garde filmmaking, right now at the New York Film Festival, there is a retrospective titled Luminous Intimacy: The Cinema of Nathaniel Dorsky and Jerome Hiler.  From the NYFF53 site, “For the last six decades, Nathaniel Dorsky and Jerome Hiler, partners in life and in cinema, have taken their cameras out into the world and filmed gestures, moods, atmospheres, states of being, light and darkness, movement and stillness. Hiler’s register is ecstatic and polyphonic, Dorsky’s devotional and poetic. And, simply put, they are two of the greatest filmmakers alive.”  You can also check out a recent article by film critic Manohla Dargis about their work in The New York Times.  Despite the access today’s students — and, in fact, all of us with Internet — have to the swirling miasma of videos streaming about the netverse (YouTube or otherwise), the mediascapes of avant grade or poetic or experimental cinema seem as distant as ever to the average media viewer, it would appear to me.*

MicrobeTalking about maverick moviemakers, director Michel Gondry will be appearing at the festival next week for a free talk concerning his new film Microbe and Gasoline,  a coming-of-age movie about two French teenage boys.


*That said, I did have to chuckle a bit at what seemed to me to be a very inventive homage to the avant-garde work of Derek Jarman in the recently released video of New Order’s song Restlessdirected by the filmmaking collective NYSU.

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6d92123020c07c0839cc20026e48254aThis month, an article I authored on project-based learning has been published in the Journal of Media Literacy Education, an academic journal appearing bi-annually in coordination with the National Association for Media Literacy Education.

Titled The Role of Collaboration and Feedback in Advancing Student Learning in Media Literacy and Video Production, the article shares collaborative learning case studies to explore a range of strategies and objectives in media literacy education and to highlight the importance of structured processes and assessments in project-based learning.  Check it out!

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12:07 --- Batch ResizedAmong the various concepts covered in editing, from my experience there is little question that some beginning media literacy students have enormous difficulties with what seems to be a very basic term: jump cut.  To demonstrate an effective use of jump cuts, the piece I reference in Moving Images is the opening of the exceptional documentary Spellboundin which a spelling bee champion wrestles with a word in a humorous, compelling jump-cut sequence that sets the stage for an enthralling, complex story of spelling bee competitors.  However, I have found that even after seeing a number of examples, including that one, many students begin describing virtually any cut of any kind between two shots as a “jump cut.”  So, what to do?

MaisieYouTubeWell, in a short time, jump cuts have become the standard main course in the diet of the YouTuber generation.  Just days ago, actress Maisie Williams (who has already been watched “growing up” as Arya Stark on Game of Thrones), opened a YouTube channel and quickly got the now-standard huge amounts of worldwide press and over a million views.  And this, naturally, with a video made up of a single composition cut a bunch of times from what one would guess to be a few takes.  It certainly could have been edited with iMovie, or even WeVideo: it is a single close shot with numerous jump cuts.  So — are you looking for another simple lesson for the term “Jump Cut?”  Here you go.  As Fatboy Slim asked us, “Why try harder?”  After all, just one shot in the bedroom confessing or preaching to the mirror has become chatting to millions through the looking glass — only cut it up for the best bits.  Of course, make sure you have perfect skin — then it’s on to fame, adulation, and riches.

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