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Archive for the ‘Chapter 3’ Category

I am presenting Media Creation in Action: MLE Collaborative Principles in the Classroom at the Northeast Media Literacy Conference in Providence, Rhode Island, on November 8, 2019.  Welcome to my presentation!

Here is a pdf of the slideshow. Here is one of the exercises described through the case study.

Don’t forget this post with screenwriting resources!  Here is the interview referenced in the case study.

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In earlier posts, we have discussed documentaries about film and TV scoring; contemporary composers such as Jeff Beal, Cliff Martinez, and Bear McCreary; current uses of popular music with moving images such as in the work of the performer Stromae; and a wide variety of topics related to sound design.

Composer Ramin Djawadi conducting

Along with editing exercises that one can complete to develop an idea of the impact of music with scenes, here is an related video (by the YouTube channel Every Frame a Painting) that explores the use of music in a variety of Marvel superhero movies.  Many of the observations and questions raised here can be applied to a wide range of recent action movies, and the lessons about contemporary media creation have wide-ranging impacts on viewers and the messages being produced for viewers. And for students, they might want to explore the views of the actual composers of some of the movies referenced here, such as Ramin Djawadi (Iron Man, Westworld, Game of Thrones) or Alan Silvestri (Avengers, Captain America).  

 

And if you find this interesting, check out this response to the Marvel Symphonic Universe video essay by Dan Golding: A Theory of Film Music(And it is critical to add that this essay is ripe for a rebuttal by anyone interested in exploring the long history of originality in film scoring — Golding’s approach is undoubtedly to use only lowest common denominator examples from throughout film history.) 

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The vital roles of music and sound design in moviemaking are key components of Moving Images and have been featured in numerous posts on mediateacher.net, including pieces about composers Jeff Beal, Cliff Martinez, and Henry Mancini, among others.  Score, a documentary about composing for film by director Matt Schrader, opened this month and should serve as a solid resource to media literacy educators.  Score provides film history, profiles of and interviews with film composers (from Quincy Jones to Rachel Portman to Trent Reznor and many more), and exploration of the process of composing for motion pictures.

Composer Bear McCreary with his Hurdy-Gurdy

Here is an interview with composer Bear McCreary (Outlander, Battlestar Galactica, The Walking Dead, 10 Cloverfield Lane) and Matt Schrader in which they note film scores that they believe to have “changed the way we hear movies.”  What would be your picks?  Check out the article and you will see theirs!

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In Chapter 3 of Moving Images and a number of mediateacher.net posts (for example, check out Part 2 from this series or the Kevin Goff interview), we have discussed cutting edge moving image creation designed to produce advertising, public service messages, issue-driven content, and a wide array of visual storytelling.  Here is a very interesting current resource: the TBrandStudio Selects for 2017 from the world of animation.  The chosen mediamakers are: Nice and Serious, Block & Tackle, Bhakti Patel, Mighty Oak, and Pete Levin.

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night living deadToday is the day — Halloween!  Did you know that Night of the Living Dead is being brought back to life?  A 4K restoration orchestrated by the Museum of Modern Art and supported by the Film Foundation will premiere at MoMA in a week in their “Save and Project” series!

Here is a fun activity for post-Trick or Treat recuperation: an interactive quiz called The Sounds of Horror from the New York Times.  Try it if you dare!

annex-grant-cary-arsenic-and-old-lace_09And if you just want to feel all autumnal and Halloweenish in a warm and comfy way, this old classic really has held up very well: Arsenic and Old LaceTry it out as the days start to get shorter and the last leaves are hanging on.  Frank Capra and his collaborators created quite a lively movie with this classic starring Cary Grant, Priscilla Lane, Raymond Massey, Peter Lorre, and an incredible cast of golden age character actors.  Or of course, there is animated fun to be had with the classic It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown or the more recent ParaNorman.  

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Maria Schneider and Orchestra Jeff Redel / NYTimes

Maria Schneider and Orchestra
Jeff Redel / NYTimes

In earlier posts such as Fair Use Resources and Guidelines, issues of copyright laws and fair use guidelines for students and media creators have been addressed on mediateacher.net’s pages.  In a recent open letter addressed to YouTube as “pushers of piracy,” the renowned composer and five-time Grammy winner Maria Schneider has written a scathing indictment of the practices of YouTube and current popular perceptions of music and other creative content as fair game for use to the general public.  It is particularly striking and inspiring that this letter is coming not from a pop songwriter or performer but from one of the most respected and exceptional American composers of the past few decades — and a woman who leads an orchestra that is one of the finest ensembles of musicians of our time.  She writes, “…YouTube has substantially influenced the behavior of hundreds of millions of its users toward infringement, fermenting a veritable pirate orgy.   YouTube goes way beyond turning a blind eye to the marauding masses; it actively seduces its users into illegal behavior, and has even managed to make its users believe pirate behavior is beneficial to creators…  The vast majority of music on YouTube is uploaded by people with no legal right to do so – users whom YouTube has carefully molded and brainwashed.”

The attitudes Schneider describes in her letter accurately reflect behavior that I observe day in and out in schools: not only do young people not even think twice about downloading music illegally for projects, most do not even consider arriving prepared with music or other audio for their movies at various stages from pre- to post-production unless they are forced to do so.  They do what they constantly do to play and acquire music: they go online, search around — primarily on YouTube — and pull up or rip the music that they find.  And which in all likelihood has been posted illegally.

Courtesy-of-Grammypro.com_-1024x787

Maria Schneider testifies in Washington, D.C. (Paul Morigi/WireImage for NARAS)

I highly recommend reading Schneider’s letter, which provides an excellent resource for classroom discussion and further investigation for mediamakers.  It can be quite an eye-opener for 21st century digital citizens, who typically feel very savvy about issues related to the Internet but may not have considered all of the angles and may regularly brush off particular behaviors into the column of “everybody does it.”  (And one more thing: check out her album The Thompson Fields.  In a career of stellar releases, it is exceptional, a jaw-droppingly beautiful musical statement.  It’s a masterpiece.  And her Grammy for working on David Bowie’s Blackstar is certainly deserved as well.)

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Can you already hear it?

Can you already hear it?

In earlier posts, we have immersed ourselves in the work of creating soundscapes for movies, from Sinking into Sound with sound designers to the work of foley artists and voice specialists.  Here are some more great videos from filmmakeriq.com to review these fields: Foley and Sound Effects, ADR and dubbing, or a number of links here for sound design.  And in less than three weeks, we will be hearing what the new (and old) pings, buzzes, crunches, and whooshes and all else of the Star Wars universe sound like in The Force Awakens, directed by J.J. Abrams — with veteran sound masters Gary Rydstrom, Matt Wood, and the legendary Ben Burtt returning to this key franchise in movie sound history.

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