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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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Agnes Varda making first feature “La Pointe Courte”

Couldn’t resist that title.  In Chapter 8 of Moving Images, students explore the positions that correspond to the filmmaking tasks for which they have been developing skills throughout their work with the textbook.  These jobs have been in a pretty constant state of flux for a number of years as the processes of the digital media pipeline and business of media production continue to evolve and transform.

Recently a very interesting piece by Cara Buckley on gripping appeared in the New York Times: What is a Grip?  The Few Women Doing the Job in Hollywood Explain.”  Check out this article to find some answers along with insights and inspiration.

On a topic related to a core theme of this article, mediateacher.net notes the deeply sad news of the passing of Agnès Varda, one of the most important filmmakers of this era and a truly inspiring creator and visionary.

And to continue with another follow-up (related to the earlier references in multiple ways!) to working in the movie industry, here is an interview with Jessica Lee Gagné, the cinematographer of the stunningly shot Escape at Dannemora, a Showtime 7-part miniseries directed by Ben Stiller, released a few months ago to widespread acclaim.  Amazing work both behind and in front of the camera.

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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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