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Archive for the ‘Chapter 1’ Category

Three years ago, on these pages was the post Snapchat 101. Haha, how quaint.  Right?  Heard about Bytedance lately?  Or Musical.ly?  (If not, check out this thoughtful piece by Anastasia Bell from Medium, if you hadn’t seen it earlier this year.) So what is the price of “meaningless stuff” — as some describe the content shared through apps like these?  We’ll be calculating these prices for a long, long time, I think.  Some things change, and some never will — like the elusive nature of trends and what new gotta-do-it twist will draw in teens and even younger viewers, and now creators, of media.  And while certain content of The Merchants of Cool might seem “old” by now — are the core messages of it really all that passé?

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As we wind down the school year, teachers in a variety of disciplines — particularly social studies and media literacy — might be trying to wrestle with the conflicting images of the President of the United States engaging in talks with the Supreme Leader of North Korea. Of particular interest to educators who deal with moviemaking and media messages was the rather unique video created to deliver a message of the American administration’s intentions to Kim Jong-un and his government.  Here are some useful resources and commentary on the sort of trailer/PSA created by the current American administration: a journalistic media-based commentary about “Trump’s Video Pitch to Kim,” the actual video as posted by the Wall Street Journal, and coverage of the event by a reporter for the Washington Post. 

And the question — or challenge — to ask of one’s students is certainly, “do you think you could do better?”

For those interested in other topics related to media literacy and social studies, there are a number of posts on mediateacher.net, including: Language and Literacy: Case 1 – “Fake” News and Language and Literacy: Case 2 – The Troll

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Today’s Google Doodle is dedicated to one of the true pioneers and master directors of cinema: Sergei Eisenstein.  In fact, the splash page illustration of Chapter 1 of Moving Images is inspired from one of Eisenstein’s most famous films, The Battleship Potemkin.  Funny enough, you can look to the last post on mediateacher.net to see a reference to the core of one of the key aspects of Eisenstein’s work and the innovations in editing that he and his peers were establishing in their work, montage style of editing and the meanings that can be forged through the relationships and juxtapositions of shots.  The example used there is expressed in the idea known as the Kuleshov Effect.  For more, here is a fine recent article on Eisenstein and another of his celebrated films, October, by Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian

And for a YouTube essay on the function and form of the Kuleshov Effect, check out this video by Folding Ideas.

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About a year and a half ago, I posted an end-of-the-summer piece titled A “stink bucket of disappointment” or just some criminally wacky fun? about the movie Suicide Squad, written and directed by David Ayer (whose latest is Bright) and edited by John Gilroy.  For a very interesting critical investigation of editing related to Suicide Squad, I highly recommend this video: The Art of Editing and Suicide Squad It is from the YouTube channel Folding Ideas (by Dan Olson), and you can start at 01’20” into the video where he starts getting into the analysis of the movie’s editing.  

In fact, the piece is as much about cohesive storytelling as it is about the craft of editing.  There are many excellent breakdowns of issues to consider in the process of editing, as discussed throughout Moving Images, particularly in Chapters 1 and 2.  And Olson even references the Kuleshov Effect (at 17’30”) to help explain glaring weaknesses to the opening of Suicide Squad.  It is a revealing example of analyzing the effect of composition choices with editing.  It is worth pointing out that for a full analysis of issues with story and the filmmaking process with Suicide Squad, it would be critical to reference the shooting script by David Ayer.  Many answers to issues posed in the editing analysis could be revealed there.

P.S.: And here is a vlog post by Folding Ideas specifically about The Kuleshov Effect.

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Are you in the process of working on developing blocking for action scenes?  Comedy?  What about both?  This excellent video from the YouTube channel Every Frame a Painting (by Tony Zhou and Taylor Ramos) focuses on the work of master filmmaker Jackie Chan, and it features some very revealing insights about his working process and unique approaches to directing and editing (and martial arts choreography, of course).  Of particular note are ways in which he creates scenes in his earlier work produced in Asia versus movies made in Hollywood.  A very fun and enlightening movie for film students.

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Gaming and the immersive environments of virtual reality continue to be among the most interesting storytelling arenas for young media creators, and this article — Virtual Reality is a Disappointment? Not in the World of Video Gamerspoints out some of the stops and starts with recent developments in VR and gaming-based storytelling.  For an example of a mediamaker working on a specific project (pictured at right), check out this article on Nonny de la Peña’s virtual reality project Hunger.  

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tim-burtonYes, it might seem obvious, “Oh, Tim Burton is directing Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” — how sweet.  At mediateacher.net, we’ve explored Mr. Burton’s beguiling cinescapes before.

The powerful inspiration that Mr. Burton’s works have given to many young (and not-so-young) people for over a generation seems to renew its promise with this new feature.  And here is an answer to the “not phoning it in” title above:  The Making of a Film Fablean article by Mekado Murphy.

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