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Archive for the ‘Chapter 5’ Category

Capt. Jean-Luc Picard on The Love Boat (DALL-E image from Vincent Casinghino)

Earlier this summer, my youngest son, a high-schooler, shared some images he had generated using recent versions of apps designed to produce images from text descriptions (including DALL-E 2 and Craiyon). He is quite well-versed in developments in the technoverse and described a variety of angles with recent developments in AI, particularly related to these uses.  In the realm of artificial image creation, mediateacher.net has discussed The Uncanny Valley and other topics; meanwhile, the generation of artificial content — from image creation to deepfakes to audio impersonation continues to get slipperier and harder to spot.

DALL·E 2022-08-25 10.53.20 - The skeksis from dark crystal as painted by Gustave MoreauIn our work related to media literacy, we constantly examine questions related to authenticity, truth, origin, authorship, and other factors of media messages. Artificially generated images, sounds, text, and other media creations that continue to emerge in the communicative landscapes of digital media will continue to present moving targets for media literacy. The magazine Wired offers the page The Artificial Intelligence Database to track articles and developments in this arena.  Recently, the article We Need to Talk about How Good A.I. is Getting by Kevin Roose appeared in the New York Times, asking questions like how good is A.I. getting at completing advanced tasks or “will it take my job?” or “what exactly is art (or other creative products) generated by programs and computers?”

I gave the info for the first image, but are there any guesses as to the second image?  Add a comment!  In a little while, I’ll divulge the info for the DALL-E image generated from my son’s prompt.

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family reunion core ender

Anything being sold here on Family Reunion?

In the ongoing series sharing references and resources to the economically-oriented aspects of media literacy education, here are some recent pieces of interest to share related to advertising and media.  Product placement is a core element of investigation for media literacy coursework, and here is a recent highly interactive article by Sophie Haigney titled How Products Became the New TV Stars.  And for those interested in knowing who is vying to be the current “King of Product Placement” in Hollywood, here is an article by Brian Steinberg for Variety.

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The steady, very significant rise of horror films in popularity over the past several years has been striking to observe in the media literacy classroom. The increasingly significant number of students who select horror filmmakers and movies as topics of investigation for reports, analyses, and sources of inspiration — and most notably female students — is reflected in the stunning range of horror creations across motion picture media types today, from feature films to streaming series to interactive games and points in between and beyond.  In fact, currently, for her final project in Advanced Video Production one of my students is working on a documentary called The Evolution of Horror in which she traces the history of horror filmmaking from the first years of cinema to now.   

That said, horror is certainly a genre that can present a variety of issues when addressed in a classroom setting.  One series that can give educators some ideas of current and recent horror media from across the globe (and often off the beaten path) is the series Five Horror Movies to Stream Now from The New York Times.  Here is a recent edition from this series.  It’s your decision whether the pieces are tricks or treats.  Happy Halloween!

P.S.: Check out this informative piece — ‘Being a Woman is Full of Horror’ : Female Directors Discuss Their Craftpublished in February of 2022, again from the New York Times, for interviews with current women mediamakers (including Prano Bailey-Bond, Kate Dolan, Charlotte Colbert, and others)  exploring the diverse worlds of horror and suspense motion picture storytelling.

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Devon Michael with Natalie PortmanA NYTimes OpDoc piece was published recently and it concerns a topic close to the hearts of generations of movie viewers, each with their own reference points related to the genesis and evolution of this storytelling universe: Star Wars. In this case, the issue being explored is the impact of media on a particular group of people sometimes involved in its creation and subsequent life in culture: child actors.

For the production of the opening movie of the second trilogy of stories created for the Star Wars movies (in this case the prequels to the original three, which would become episodes I-III), George Lucas needed to cast a central role: young Anakin Skywalker, who would become Darth Vader.

This short documentary recounts the experience not of Jake Lloyd, who was cast in this role, but of a young man who was almost cast in this role: Devon Michael. In this piece directed by Ben Proudfoot, titled Almost Famous: The Unchosen One, viewers explore the journey of this young child actor and the impact of losing out on this once-in-a-lifetime casting opportunity. It is a very powerful story. (As well as quite an insight on George Lucas as a director, when one considers the audition performance and acting qualities displayed by Devon Michael, who was not selected for the role.) Extremely compelling viewing for media students, especially those who are into the Star Wars galaxy of storytelling, from those who grew up in the 70’s or very young viewers whose first experiences are in the episodic series The Mandalorian or The Book of Boba Fett.

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Many posts on mediateacher.net have dealt with the intersections of social studies and the documentation of lived experiences and historical events that are an intrinsic part of the evolving story and functions of motion picture media.  Each year continues to bring changes to uses and trends in media creation and transmission that produce and mark profound changes on societal trends and the roles of moving image production and comprehension throughout the world.  A year ago, mediateacher featured the post Telling History about grassroots examples of first person documentation of one’s times in the media literacy classroom and then shared subsequent pieces about the ongoing depiction of our tumultuous era for the United States and the world.

darnella frazierThis week, one of the most historically consequential examples of media creation in our time was rightfully noted as the initiating factor in the conviction rendered for the case of the murder of George Floyd.  Darnella Frazier was one of the bystanders at the scene of George Floyd’s death, and soon after she saw what was happening, she began recording it on her phone.  Journalist Rachel Triesman explains, “The 10-minute video she posted to Facebook has since been seen by millions and became a central piece of evidence in Chauvin’s trial.”  Since then, Frazier, 17 at the time of Floyd’s death, has been given an award for courage by PEN America, bestowed by filmmaker Spike Lee

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