Archive for the ‘Chapter 1’ Category

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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I am guessing that THIS will be the Seven Samurai reference (okay, it's six, but go with it) that will be remembered from this year.

I am guessing that THIS will be the Seven Samurai reference (okay, it’s six, but go with it) that will be remembered from this year.

The new trailer for Star Wars: Rogue One debuted during the Olympics coverage yesterday, and it looked pretty amazing.  (And it was even more enticing than the initial teaser, which already had fans energized.)  Just one point that I feel needs to be made for teachers gearing up for a new year of media literacy: Kurosawa.

The foremost acknowledged influence on Star Wars is Akira Kurosawa’s Hidden FortressAny student of moving images or educators who wish to explore the vital contemporary Star Wars universe is well advised to explore the singular power of director Akira Kurosawa and his influence on George Lucas.  For me, there appears to be some major inspiration from the universe of the Japanese cinematic master in the trailer for Rogue One (directed by Gareth Edwards), except in this case the references are to The Seven Samurai.  Whatever the inspirations, things appear to be looking good for the realm of Jedi, Force, and Dark Side.

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In the beginning… (Mondo Poster for Jaws)

It’s beach time again!  Every summer, mediateacher.net has featured discussions of the ever-evolving — or oh-so-static — world of the summer blockbuster and the ways in which movie studios work lots of angles to prop up their tent poles, for better or worse.  We have discussed super-hero fare and Soderbergh talks, studio pitches, summer classics, and evolving tastes with tech and fx, among many other topics.

The ingredients...

The ingredients…

As students think about how stories are constructed and how studios approach the moviemaking process, for this month we recommend a revealing article that discusses Why Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass Couldn’t Quit Jason Bourne.”  One of the high priests of jump cut acrobatics, director Paul Greengrass, and the versatile actor / writer / producer /etc. Matt Damon have returned to the Bourne series after it had begun so many years ago with Doug Liman at the helm. (Hey! You should click that Doug Liman link — it’s an exceptional interview about Edge of Tomorrow and he also talks about The Bourne Identity.  Great reading about his work as a director and working in Hollywood.  And Limania.)



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Obama cheeriosReady for some media literacy lessons?  Well chosen uses of insert shots, energetic cuts, sound editing, and more — and shot at the White House?  That’s not something that can be said too much in U.S. history, but President Obama’s tenure has been a game changer for media literate leadership.  And yet again, so fun.  So check out 5 Things That Are Harder Than Registering to Vote, Featuring President Obama.  

fallon obama(Okay, and here’s the “slow jam” Fallon appearance, which is more about performance than motion picture language, but those are some pretty sweet focus pulls.)

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blacksad 1A new visual media creation arrives that conjures up a vibrant, compellingly real and nuanced world made up of animals who mirror human society and whose crime stories delve into complex themes related to tolerance, racism, stereotypes, and honesty, among others, and then bursts onto its medium’s scene to great acclaim and success.  Zootopiaright?  If that’s what you answered, you might want to check out Blacksad (first published in 2003).  

zootopiaBlacksad, by writer Juan Díaz Canales and illustrator Juanjo Guarnido, is a series of adult-themed graphic novels (as opposed to the family-oriented Zootopia, a Disney production directed by Byron Howard and Rich Moore and written by Jared Bush and Phil Johnston) set in a world that resembles 1950’s America and featuring a film noir-style private detective named John Blacksad, a black cat.  Naturally, the concept of anthropomorphic animals serving as models for human behavior and whose interactions provide illustrations of human values and social relations is not a new one (start with La Fontaine’s Fables), but the particular conceptualization of Zootopia is strikingly reminiscent of Blacksad.  

nick-wilde-judy-hoppsThis is not to take anything away from Zootopia, which is a resounding triumph and certainly deserving of its accolades.  The comparison of these two creations in the related visual media of graphic novels and films provides interesting points of discussion between media platforms, tone and style in visual expression and storytelling, and treatment of thematic material through related settings or concepts.

Naughty Bunny038And with Zootopia, it must be added those are definitely some Richard Scarry-inspired rabbits, which I loved.  Busytownindeed!

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ZomIn an earlier post, I highlighted two movies by one of my former students, Brendan Kirschbaum.  One of them, Zomis now at a million views on YouTube.  Millions of viewers for a high school final project!  Amazing.  Like the other film of his that I highlighted (Boxes), this movie is a superb lesson in visual storytelling, as are his shorts Brewed Awakening and Flight of the Geese.

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