Tag Archives: Group Discussion

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.


  • 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.
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agenda :: 3/19

writing warm-up: now that you’re in the midst of completing your module 2 project, visit the website futureme.org and send your future self an email from your present self. think about the things you’ve learned so far in the past two modules, and send along advice or words of encouragement to help yourself out at the end of the semester. set the deliver date for one month from now (april 19), submit, and wait.

reading recap: “shitty first drafts”

“For me and most of the other writers I know, writing is not rapturous. In fact, the only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really shitty first drafts.” (p. 22)

  • the first draft is the “child’s draft” – let it run wild, don’t get bogged down in your adult aesthetic or criticisms, just see what comes out of it. or the “down draft” – just get it down
  • the second draft is the “up” draft – you’re fixing it up
  • the final draft is the “dental draft” – you’re checking “every tooth to see if it’s loose or cramped or decayed, or even, God help us, healthy”

group meetings: as a group, view everyone’s rough drafts. explain what stage it is in to your group, and what you plan to do between now and your due date to finish up. think of this time as a mini-critique, giving honest and helpful feedback to your peers. make note of what works, and help find solutions to what doesn’t. this is your last chance to meet with your groups, so make it worth your while and gain as much feedback as you possibly can! ask questions, be critical, and think of the “dental draft” approach. is everything in place and working? what needs to be fixed or put in place? does the visual style match the subject of the piece? is there a balance of a-roll and b-roll material? a clear story with a beginning, middle, and end?

independent work: use the rest of the class period however you need in order to stay on schedule for your screening next week. i’ll stick around to talk if you have questions or want to show me your rough draft for some feedback for the weekend. you’re free to stick around and work on your edits here or in the lab, or leave to go complete some final shooting or work outside of the classroom, but let me know what your plan is!


  • complete the post-production segment of the production journal, due on your blog by monday, march 30 at 11:59pm. you do not have to complete the “reflection” phase of the production journal until your project has been screened, so i will assign this next week.
  • our first group of students will show their work on the tuesday, march 31, when we come back from break. we will hold a critique as usual. students in this group, make sure that your video is completed, posted to your blog, and easily viewable for us during class.
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agenda :: 3/17

writing warm-up: are documents (news articles, documentary films, etc) always truthful? when you encounter something (like a news article, video, etc.), how do you know when it is a trustworthy source? what are some challenges you as an author might face in creating a “truthful” text? 

misrepresentation exercise: (30 min) go back and review the footage you shot last class of the 10-question interview you did with your partner. create a quick 1-2 minute rough cut in which you completely MISREPRESENT the statements of that person. this activity is meant to demonstrate just how much power the editor/filmmaker has in representing their subject – a major challenge in the “art of the real” project will be to use this power responsibly, and represent your subject fairly. however, this is your chance to use your powers as editor for evil and have some fun twisting their words. you do not need to post this, but you should take a few minutes to show your subject what you’ve done to their original interview!

in-class writing: use the next 30 minutes or so of class time to work independently on the production segment of the production journal template. take your time, think carefully and fill out each prompt in as much detail as you can according to your own project. hopefully you’ve gotten into production already the past couple weeks, so this should be fairly easy on you! if you have any questions, shoot your hand up and i’ll be happy to help. when you’re finished, go ahead and post to your blog!

group meetings: (30 min) get together and talk about your projects per usual. share production journals. everyone should set clear goals for the upcoming week for their production. take notes of everyone’s goals, so that you can hold each other accountable next week.

screening dates: your projects are due next week in class, so just a reminder about which day you will be screening your work:

  • march 31: shannon, yuxiang, jesse, grace, mi so, fanwen, wangsoo, haley, jun, kelsey
  • april 2: kimmi, xianhao, ian, seri, saina, don, jason, tingnan, sophia, connie, yuhe


  • finish the production segment of your journal and post to your blog if you haven’t yet.
  • read “shitty first drafts” by ann lamott, available on library e-reserves.
  • start piecing the footage you have together, and post a rough draft of your project to your blog by wednesday at 11:59pm. remember, according to lamott, a first “rough” draft should be very rough – at this stage you’re only putting things down and seeing what works and what doesn’t. editing requires that you draft and re-draft multiple times until everything starts to sharpen up. but you have to start somewhere!
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agenda :: 2/5

writing warm-up: listen to the music playing over the classroom speakers. the songs will be short, but try to come up with a short but descriptive title for each. listen closely, and pay attention to the various qualities of the music that evoke a certain image or word. is it a faced paced song that suggests a busy sidewalk full of people and vehicles whirring by? does the use of major (happy) or minor (sad) keys bring to mind a specific scene or feeling? what about the instruments that are used? close your eyes if necessary. number your titles for each song, and when the song changes move on to titling that one.

project extension: i want you to spend a fair amount of time and effort on your video work, and i’m seeing that my original schedule might be a little rushed. instead of having video project ii due on tuesday as i had planned, let’s move the screening date to next thursday, february 12.

a recap of key terms:  diegetic sound – sound taking place in the environment of the scene, what the character is hearing. this includes dialogue. non-diegetic sound – anything that is not diegetic, such as score music, voice-over, etc.
screening: some examples of audio/video working together – some these are fairly complicated, so you likely will not be doing anything this sophisticated yet. however, i think they all show good attention to the use of the soundtrack in different ways, and will hopefully give you some fresh ideas when approaching your own project.

group meetings: brainstorming time! every artistic process starts with the thinking/researching/questioning phase. we’re going to start today but simply meeting in groups to talk about what initial ideas are in your head regarding the project. even though you’re going this one along, having feedback in all stages from others is important for artists. is there a particular piece of music you are attached to? a spoken piece of poetry or speech? what about a certain kind of “diegetic” sound that you’ve noticed lately? use this time to simply talk with others about what interests you, share examples if you can find them online, and offer feedback about what a video interpretation of this piece might look like.


  • listen to this episode of the podcast 99% invisible titled “the sound of sport” – no writing response to this, just enjoy.
  • read “practical DV filmmaking: post production tools: 4. editing with sound” by russel evans :: respond by writing a brief summary of some of his advice that is especially relevant to you and your upcoming project. what does he say that will be useful? is there something you learned that you previously would not have understood about sound and film? due on your blog at the end of monday, 2/10 at midnight.
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