agenda :: 2/17

writing warm-up: describe for me in detail, from beginning to end, how to make your favorite meal. try your best to include all the necessary ingredients and steps, so that someone reading would be able to follow your recipe.

recap: module 1: just a reminder that we are now beginning the last project of module 1. this will be the last project before your module grade is returned, so be sure to check the grading rubric if you want a reminder of what i’m looking for.

motifs are patterns, repetitions, or other recurring elements that are used in film and video. motifs can be visual (colors, camera techniques, specific subjects, etc.) or conceptual (the ideas being presented). they are often used by the director tell tell a story visually, reinforce a prominent idea, and ultimately to help the big message get across to the viewer

a few motif examples:

  •  man with a movie camera (1929, excerpt) :: this russian silent film by dzhiga vertov was a big step for early cinema. because film as an art form was relatively new, vertov provides a manifesto at the beginning of this film about his beliefs regarding the language of film and attempts to demonstrate it through various scenes. motif plays a big part in showing daily life, contrasting and comparing various subjects, and propelling the narrative. what does the manifesto say at the beginning? how would you say he explores film as an artistic form?
  • journeys (excerpt) :: slightly more modern, but simple in its approach to story telling. this is a good example of how you can use motif to make the viewer feel as though they are part of the scene. pay attention to how the filmmaker uses sound, image framing, and shot sequences to convey a crowded train ride.
  • tree of life (2011, excerpt) :: this film by terrance malick came out a couple years ago. it is somewhat autobiographical, but also really strange and beautiful. malick gave his cameramen very specific directions for shooting this movie and adhering to a specific aesthetic or look. this sequence, to me, seems to be a nostalgic and dreamy attempt to depict childhood, nature, and the process growing up. what techniques do you think he used to reinforce these ideas?

introducing video project iii: motif :: due 1 week from today, february 24


  • spend 30 minutes brainstorming for your motif video project – draw in a sketchbook, make a list, speak freely into an audio record, interview others – this can take pretty much any shape, but i want you to post evidence of this brainstorm to your blog in some way.
  • come to a final decision about the subject of your motif piece, and come to class on thursday with some rough footage to share in group meetings
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