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Archive for the ‘Chapter 5’ Category

The title to this post notwithstanding, it seems that there’s not much that can be described as “business as usual” these days in the world of motion picture media.  Those interested in connections between media production and the business of creating motion pictures and reaching viewers — particularly related to streaming platforms and television (or cable) production — will be very interested in this new article from the New York Times: The Great Race to Rule Streaming TV, by Jonah Weiner.

In the Video and Television Production course that I teach, students complete research-based presentations on today’s media platforms and motion picture creators (particularly those working outside of traditional media structures, as well as television-based figures such as show runners), and this article would serve as a good source for initiating discussion of ongoing trends and contexts of current media production.  In addition, students can consider the very important point of how the behavior of viewers (particularly them!) profoundly impacts these tremendous shifts in the creation of content for motion pictures.

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Brie Larson stepping into the fray in Captain Marvel

Popular Culture revolves around so many factors, and simply being popular is certainly high among them. This generally requires appealing to a wide audience, and how a media creation can do so seems to balance on some pretty thin tightropes these days.  This article by Cara Buckley about how the release of the movie Captain Marvel has played out through digital media discusses the impact of critical platforms, trends in social norms, and trolling on the reception of movies and their place in our culture. Indeed, even their right to develop a healthy existence, or at least as much as the metrics and contributors to Rotten Tomatoes allow them to.

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One year ago, a mediateacher.net post shared a Black History Month Interactive Resource, which can be a useful start to exploring many culturally and artistically significant related to this theme from film history.  As a follow up, here is a related highlight from this year’s Academy Awards ceremony: Spike Lee receiving the award for Outstanding Adapted Screenplay (along with Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott) for BlacKkKlansman and delivering a passionate, dramatic acceptance speech that was rooted in his own personal history.  You can read it here.  For those interested in more about Ron Stallworth and the true story on which BlacKkKlansman is based, I recommend checking out this excellent Snap Judgment podcast.

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For some interesting discussion and debate, the end of the year is the time for lots of lists!  Create a framework so that you can have some healthy debate about what has been exciting, inspiring, moving, thought-provoking, or even repelling in this year’s media creations, from movies to series (TV or through other platforms) to various streaming formats. Seek out some other reference points too, whether critics, vloggers, or bloggers, and develop some objectives for the discourse.

In the meantime, here is an interesting piece for some historical perspective that might be eye-opening to students: a recent Washington Post piece in which critics  weighed in on the best year for movies. It’s fun reading and great for debate.  And for classrooms right now?  How about having everyone create similar lists or opinion pieces related to YouTubing or games or whatever types or genres of media that you want to target in order to share perspectives or opinions. Go for it as you might be wrapping up a course or starting a new one!

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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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With more exciting news in our Resources category (such as the Prelinger Archives and Portraits of America posts this year), the Library of Congress has announced that the National Screening Room is now online and features extensive resources for media literacy education.  Many items from this vital national archive are now accessible to the general public and classrooms across the country (and world).  As noted in an article by CBS News, among its highlights are: the classic Edwin S. Porter short The Great Train Robbery (featured for study in Chapter 2), the 1953 feature The Hitch-Hiker by Ida Lupino (a prime director for study with Chapter 5), and a wide variety of diverse types of media such as advertisements, PSAs, and home movies that are discussed in such posts as What Exactly is that Movie? on mediateacher.net and in our investigations of motion picture language and screenwriting throughout Moving Images. 

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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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