agenda :: 5/7

screenings: seri, sophia, saina, xianhao, haley, mi so, tingnan, yuxiang, ian

homework:

  • just a reminder that your last item of homework for the semester is to complete the “reflection” segment of the production journal. post to your blog when you are done. the final due date for these blog posts will be friday may 8 at 11:59 pm, so that i can get grades back during finals week
  • another reminder: i will be in our usual room at the usual time to hand back final grades (calculated from your individual module grades and the master rubric) on tuesday, may 12. if you will still be on campus and want to stop by and pick up your grades and my personal feedback, you are more than welcome to! otherwise, grades will be posted in the online system and you will have to wait a bit for them to be processed.
Advertisements
Tagged ,

agenda :: 4/5

screenings: don, shannon,  jesse, grace, fanwen, wangsoo, jun, kelsey, jason

ices forms: since this is our last official day together, i have to ask you to spend a few minutes filling out these forms. i appreciate your feedback about the course and love to read about what you’ve found most useful or what could be improved. thanks for your help!

homework:

  • if you haven’t shown your final project yet, i’ll plan to see you on thursday, same place and time: right here in room 106 at 2pm. if you won’t be coming in on thursday, it’s been great to have you in class and good luck during finals week!
  • just a reminder that your last item of homework for the semester is to complete the “reflection” segment of the production journal. post to your blog when you are done. the final due date for these blog posts will be friday may 8 at 11:59 pm, so that i can get grades back during finals week
  • another reminder: i will be in our usual room at the usual time to hand back final grades (calculated from your individual module grades and the master rubric) on tuesday, may 12. if you will still be on campus and want to stop by and pick up your grades and my personal feedback, you are more than welcome to! otherwise, grades will be posted in the online system and you will have to wait a bit for them to be processed.
Tagged , , ,

agenda :: 4/30

final project screenings begin today! here’s the final schedule for screenings. as you can see, we only have a few to get through today. give these students your best possible feedback:

  • thursday april 30 (required attendance for all) ::  kimmi, connie, yuhe
  • tuesday may 5 (required attendance for all) :: don, shannon,  jesse, grace, fanwen, wangsoo, jun, kelsey, jason
  • thursday may 7 (optional reading day extension) :: seri, sophia, saina, xianhao, haley, mi so, tingnan, yuxiang, ian

homework:

  • continue working on your final projects and complete them for your due date. i’m excited to see the next round of videos on tuesday!
  • once you have shown your project to the class and gotten feedback, your last item of homework for the semester is to complete the “reflection” segment of the production journal. post to your blog when you are done. the final due date for these blog posts will be friday may 8 at 11:59 pm, so that i can get grades back during finals week
  • i will be in our usual room at the usual time to hand back final grades (calculated from your individual module grades and the master rubric) on tuesday, may 12. if you will still be on campus and want to stop by and pick up your grades and my personal feedback, you are more than welcome to! otherwise, grades will be posted in the online system and you will have to wait a bit for them to be processed.
Tagged ,

agenda :: 4/28

video warm-up: mind your head: the poems of henry ponder :: i found this pretty interesting – henry ponder is an obscure poet who composes mostly on twitter, sending out short, simple, sometimes funny or profound observations about the minutiae of daily life. the filmmaker here was inspired by his outlook on things and reached out to him about making a short film depicting reenactments of some of his poems. read more about their interaction and the inspiration here.

group meetings: get together with your small groups one last time to check in, share your progress, and field questions. remember that you should be ideally editing your raw material together at this time, so pay attention to the post-production aspects of video creation. does the pacing of the piece feel natural? are subtitles or other text spelled correctly? are music and other audio elements balanced?  does the piece in general make sense? are there any moments where the flow of the piece is disrupted or less polished? be picky for each other, and pay attention to the details.

workshop time: the clock is ticking on these projects – stick around to work independently editing on your computer, grab a camera and get some last-minute footage, do whatever the next item on this project’s agenda is and do it well! talk to me about your projects if you’re feeling stuck or need a little feedback on any problems you’re having. 

homework:

  • continue making progress on your project on your own. good luck, i can’t wait to see how they have turned out!
  • final project screenings will begin on thursday! hard to believe it came so quickly, but here is our schedule for the rest of the semester:
    • thursday april 30 (required attendance for all) ::  kimmi, don, connie, yuhe
    • tuesday may 5 (required attendance for all) :: shannon,  jesse, grace, fanwen, wangsoo, jun, kelsey, jason
    • thursday may 7 (optional reading day extension) :: seri, sophia, saina, xianhao, haley, mi so, tingnan, yuxiang, ian
Tagged ,

agenda :: 4/23

independent work:  Since you have very little time before your projects are due (and I realize how difficult it is to get so many things done at the end of the semester), today’s class time would be best spent letting you make unimpeded progress on your projects. As a result, use our class time to make progress on your project however you need. It’s a great day out there, perfect weather and sunlight for taking a camera out and shooting. Enjoy your day, be productive, and be ready to check back in with everyone on Tuesday for our last regular class meeting!
final screening schedule: now that we’ve settled on having reading day as an optional extension for final project screenings, here is what the schedule looks like. if you’d still like to show on thursday, may 7, but didn’t get a chance to add your name to my list, please email me as soon as possible to let me know your choice.
  • thursday april 30 ::  kimmi, ian, don, jason, connie, yuhe
  • tuesday may 5 :: shannon,  jesse, grace, fanwen, wangsoo, jun, kelsey
  • thursday may 7 (reading day) :: seri, sophia, saina, xianhao, haley, mi so, tingnan, yuxiang
homework:
  • follow your plan and continue production on your project. Some of you will have a very quick turnaround before screenings on April 30, so do yourselves a favor and get a head start if you haven’t already. As always, please let me know if you have any questions.
  • complete the post-production segment of the production journal template fully, and post to your blog before class on tuesday, april 28.
Tagged , ,

agenda :: 4/21

writing warm-up: imagine a world without computers, smartphones, any sort of the technology you use daily to entertain yourself. what would you do with your day? how would your rituals or routines change? would it be difficult for you? would it make you more or less productive?

screening: web junkie :: i saw this one recently and though you might find it interesting. it addresses the social issue of Internet addiction in a strong first-hand investigatory way.

writing response: take the next 10 to 15 minutes to free-write and respond to the piece we just watched. what do you believe is the argument this film is making? do you think the filmmakers believe these camps are a good thing or not? do you strongly agree or disagree with the way the issue is presented?

final due dates: after some rigged election results, an old-fashioned straw poll, and lively debate during class last time, i think i’ve finally settled on my solution for the due-dates debacle. we will stick with the official due dates as april 30 and may 5, because that is what is listed on class schedule and i understand many of you have already planned around these dates for to study for finals and make arrangements for other things. also, because i can’t require you to come in on you reading day, and it would feel wrong to force you to if you didn’t want the extension in the first place. if it best for you to stick with your original due date, feel free to. however, i will allow everyone to take the option of thursday may 7 (reading day) as an optional screening extension. you will still need to be present on both of the original screening days to participate in the discussion, and i just need to you sign up on the list i’m passing around the classroom. that’s as fair as i could figure it out, and hope this is agreeable to everyone.

group meetings: get together once again with your small groups and share your progress. discuss ways that you are all moving from pre-production into production, share any footage you might have, sketch out storyboards or talk through intro sequences or other segments of your project that you are able to envision. check with each other about the goals that you set last week, and set new goals for the week to come. as usual, i will be walking around to answer questions and help brainstorm if needed.

homework:

  • continue work on your final video project. you should ideally be in the heart of production right now, following a clear plan you have set in place through your pre-production and production journal responses. at this stage, you hopefully are starting to collect some footage and assemble it into a very rough cut in your editor.
  • start filling out the “post-production” segment of the production journal as you move into this phase of the project. this response will be due on your blogs by class time next tuesday, april 28. i will remind you of this again in thursday’s homework assignments.
Tagged , , ,

agenda :: 4/16

writing warm-up: write about a person that has inspired you or challenged you to see something in a new way.

voting warm-up: here’s your chance to vote about the due dates for module 3. remember, we can stick with the days as they stand (april 30 and may 5), or vote to make reading day our last official class and give everyone extra time (may 5 and 7). vote only once based one what you prefer. majority will rule in this democracy, and we will all abide by what is decided in the poll. much like those kids in china and their choice for class monitor!

short screening: the pervert’s guide to ideology (excerpt) :: slavoj zizek is one of my favorite pop-philosophers, not only because he discusses his ideas in terms of movies and popular culture, but also makes movies of his own. i hope you’ll note how the filmmakers make his difficult subject matter more understandable by inserting relevant footage at the right times, and keep the viewer engaged by composing the interview sequences in clever ways to match the aesthetics of the movie in question. lively and compelling composition and editing can go a long way to help your piece. here, he explains his thoughts on ideology by illustrating them through scenes from the john carpenter sci-fi movie they live. everything is an argument, even bad movies, remember?

ideology: the study of systems of ideas, how they are formed, and their implications.

the point zizek makes is that our natural, default state is to live within ideologies, taking for granted the way certain things are crafted to convince us of something, manipulate our actions, or tell us how to view ourselves, even – in this case, putting on the sunglasses symbolizes the conscience choice we have to make to see things in a new way, outside of our natural positions. this is often painful and confrontational, as we step outside of our comfort zones – as depicted in the ridiculously long fight scene. but then again, that’s just his ideology regarding ideology.

deconstruction exercise :: (30 min)

  1. Think about three purchases you’ve made recently.  These should range from larger ticket items like electronics, to trivial daily purchases like gum, coffee etc.
  2. Go online and look for advertisements for the items, or the product website.
  3. For each item write a response to the following questions:
    – Why did you choose to buy this specific product?
    – Does the advertisement resonate with your own personal aesthetic or “brand”?  How?
    – Does the way the product is marketed appeal to your personal beliefs or identity?

storyboards:  basic information on storyboarding –  a common and effective method in time-based media. pre-visualizing ideas is always helpful (and can save time), and it really doesn’t matter if the author can’t draw –this process is more  about getting ideas onto paper (or some other sketching medium). steve stockman tells us to think in shots, and storyboarding is a great way to exercise thinking this way. here are some helpful links that have more information:

  1. storyboard wikipedia page
  2. basic storyboard template
  3. about pixar’s storyboarding process in toy story
  4. the empire strikes back storyboard comparison
  5. screencrush has lots of examples from movies you may know
  6. some interesting examples from family plot and the birds (2) by hitchcock, notorious for his attention to detail and adherence to storyboard composition
  7. storyboards from no country for old men  by j. todd anderson

workshop time: the clock is ticking on these projects – stick around to meet with me if you’re stuck for ideas, grab a camera and get some footage, do whatever the next item on this project’s agenda is! 

homework:

  • complete the production segment of the production journal template fully, and post to your blog by monday at 11:59pm.
  • continue making progress on your project on your own, working through rough drafts, and editing all your raw material together into a coherent 6-8 minute piece. you know better than i what you need to do at this stage, so keep yourself on task and remember your due date.
Tagged , , , ,

agenda :: 4/14

*production week*

video warm-up: if i die on mars: i just find this pretty interesting. would you be the kind of person who could leave earth forever to be one of the first people to live on mars? they ask even the embarrassing questions that are everyone’s minds.

discussion (15 min): “everything is an argument” by lunsford and ruszkiewicz :: because you’re meant to make an argument of some kind during your final project (no matter how subtle), this article provides a lot of different ways arguments might be structured and their various goals. think about your own project in terms of these ideas: who is your audience? is it a strong, persuasive argument or a more subtle statement of your beliefs? does it argue about the past, present or future? what is the reason or “type” of argument that you want to make according to lunsford and ruszkiewicz? how will you appeal to your audience?

  • “an argument can be any text – whether written, spoken, or visual – that expresses a point of view”
  • difference between argument and persuasion?
  • reasons for arguments: to inform (name recognition, logos, etc.), to convince, to explore (acknowledge a problem – call on reader or others to help solve it), to make decisions (choosing a major?), to meditate or pray (to change something internal or create a pause for deeper thought, stained glass windows? poetry?)
  • occasions for arguments: aristotle’s model based on time – past, present, and future. Past (debates about events that have already happened), present (arguments about contemporary values – think of sermons, graduation speeches, etc.), future (what should happen, as opposed to what has/is happening?)
  • types of arguments: arguments of fact (did something happen?), arguments of definition (what is the nature of the thing?), arguments of evaluation (what is the quality of the thing? is it good/bad?), proposal arguments (what steps should be taken?)
  • appealing to audiences: more from aristotle: pathos (emotional appeals, or appeals to the heart), ethos (ethical appeals, based on the writer’s authority or credibility), logos (logical appeals, based on reason)

inspiration box: (30 min) an important part of any creative process is the moments in between working where you get to simply look around for inspiration or reflect on what inspires you. i have a few shoeboxes at home in my work space that hold interesting items i’ve accrued over the years. i have small childhood toys, photos, handwritten notes, random junk, and all kinds of other things in these boxes. some of them were things given to me, some of them were found totally at random on the street. basically, its a collection of things that i find some kind of emotional attachment to, no matter how small. it’s just a few boxes, you won’t see me on “hoarders” anytime soon. i also have a bookmark list on my computer that i’ve been keeping for years of interesting websites and other information. the david foster wallace speech i posted last time is in there, so is this. it doesn’t have to be anything serious or heavy handed. during this part of class, work on your own for 30 minutes to create a page on your blog named “inspiration box” or something similar and begin to fill it with things you can find in your computer files, on the web, from your photos, etc. that inspire you. try to gather as much as you can today, but keep adding to this over the next few weeks.

group meetings: (20 minutes) get together with small groups near you and share your progress. discuss ways that you are all moving from pre-production into production, share items from your inspiration boxes, sketch out storyboards or talk through intro sequences or other segments of your project that you are able to envision. set goals with each other to be completed over the next few weeks, write them down, and hold each other accountable to these goals when we return.

homework:

  • if you haven’t settled on your module 3 project idea and completed your pre-production journal accordingly, please do so soon, for your benefit! i will check for pre-production journals on your blogs after wednesday at 11:59pm, so make sure you finish them up and get them posted.
  • begin production on your project in whatever way you can – record a voiceover of you written essay (or other narration), start interviewing others about your idea (even if just to gather other perspectives on your subject), or go out and start filming relevant b-roll.
Tagged , , ,

agenda :: 4/9

writing warm-up: you and your friends are ordering a pizza tonight, but can’t agree on what toppings to put on it. write briefly about how you would likely deal with this situation.  do you argue passionately for your personal choice? do you take the role of a mediator, listening to others’ opinions? how do you come to a conclusion in which everyone is happy?

screenings: 

  • a few more student projects :: andrew :: sean :: jin :: michael :: edwin
  • “please vote for me” :: this is one of my favorite pieces to show, because it is pretty simple in premise but packs a punch when it comes to the argument that it creates and issue it addresses. what do you think the argument being made is regarding the nature of democracy and voting?

elevator pitches: i’m interested in hearing about what’s on your mind for the module 3 project. i asked you to come to class today with a few brief ideas about the issues or subjects you’re interested in pursuing, so let’s all take a moment to talk about these as a group. each person gets a few minutes to sum up their ideas in just a few sentences (as in the amount of time you would have in an elevator with someone).

homework:

  • readingEverything is an Argument by Andrea Lunsford and John Ruszkiewicz, available on e-reserves. create a blog post that addresses question #2 on pages 42-43. instead of writing one paragraph for each occasion as the question instructs, pick one  – either to convince, to explore, to make decisions, or to mediate/pray – and write one paragraph in as much detail as you can. (don’t worry about the in-class trading with a partner part either, just the first part about the written paragraph). post to your blog by monday at 11:59pm.
  • pre-production journal: it’s time to start planning for your module 03 project! take your written “this i believe” essay and short list of ideas and find a way to translate its content into a video piece. we’ve seen students do this very directly with their essay, and others have interpreted it much more loosely. start answering the pre-production segment of the production journal again in regards to your initial idea. remember, it is important to do this before shooting, as it helps refine your idea and the direction it will take. planning is key to a successful project, and this is meant to give you a roadmap. have some of this completed by class-time on tuesday.
  • for your listening pleasure: david foster wallace commencement speech at kenyon college, “this is water” – no assignment tied to this, but i hope you’ll listen if you’ve got a few minutes. d.f.w. makes a really interesting argument about what the value of your college education really should be. he’s a pretty notable writer who grew up in this area and died a few years back. there just happens to be a movie about his life premiering at ebertfest next week as well!
Tagged , ,

this i believe :: statement criteria

Authentic voice
The writer must create a narrative persona (or stance) that the reader believes authentic, or else the text risks coming off as trite or condescending. Voice is a difficult feature to discuss in writing, but readers can describe the stance a writer is taking as they react to a given style, dialogue, and point of view; they must choose whether to believe or identify. Thus, writers must seek to reveal true experiences, moments of relevance, and believed lessons learned; else, write fictional accounts as if they believed them to be true.

Narrative coherence
Most often covered in literary settings, the feature of narrative coherence regards the business of telling stories well: vivid description, controlled and appropriate pacing, subtle transitions, lively dialogue, and rich character development, for example. A personal essay generally relates a story and lessons learned; thus, if the storytelling fails, the whole essay usually fails. The same elements of narration that we celebrate in studies of canonical literature can be studied and applied to student narratives.

Communal relevance
At the end of the essay, the reader has the right to ask “So what?” and have it answered. A writer does not merely tell a story for personal reasons, but in order to communicate a larger truth to the reader; the story is the vehicle on which this truth, often metaphorically, rides. The personal essay argues, in a way, that the beauty associated with being a human can often best be expressed through the sharing of stories. Thus, there often appear two distinct sections of a personal essay: narrative and comment. Sometimes they are neatly divided, with an immediate lapsing into a story with brief comments at the end, but such segmenting is not always the case. Other writers will choose to comment along the way, interspersing authorial intrusions into the narrative to call attention to pertinent ideas. Whatever the format, the reader understands the reason and the importance of the story beyond its aesthetic appeal.