Interim Online Review 16/02/2010Hey Ben(ga),I'm going to be really honest and say that I remain unconvinced by the resolution of your story; a pirate ship 'crashes' into some mountains, pirate gets on cable car... and your third act is very weak (though I did smile at the idea of the pirate walking off his own plank). I still think your biggest problem is your preoccupation with the stereotypical view of the pirate as being a sea-faring character; it's just skewing all other possibilities; after all, in Act 1, you get rid of the pirate ship almost at once; your pirate character could be any kind of character really; if he's going to steal the passenger's riches, why not make him a modern 'pirate' instead? I think your stuck in a very conventional rut, and I urge you to climb out and look afresh at the possibilities for your story...did you check out any of these suggestions after we spoke?From Where Eagles Dare...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPXNKx1lDkAand from Moonrakerhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcHVXwC0roYI just don't think you're 'using' the cable-care in any real way...Also, I notice that you've chosen the Blair Witch Project to re-storyboard... isn't this a rather odd decision, Ben? As the entire point of that film was that it was made without storyboards - that it was created out of part-IMPROVISED footage in the editing room afterwards. I wasn't asking you to simply 're-draw' a sequence, I was asking you to understand how editors/directors construct scenes in pre-production! The Blair Witch wasn't pre-produced in this way...The Blair Witch makes a good subject for your written assignment, but in order to talk about it in any meaningful sense, you need to understand 'cinema verite'; you should also be discussing films like Cloverfield, The Fourth Kind and Paranormal Activity to demonstrate how the 'mockumentary' genre has developed because of the success of the Blair Witch.Please see the following 2 comments for more general guidance re, the written assignment - but particularly, Ben, I want you to concentrate on the advice about developing a more formal and disciplined style; your essays tend to be a bit waffly - lots of words, but not so much content. Please take some time to look at the suggestions and take them on board and into your written work.
“1,500 word written assignment that analyses critically one film in terms of the relationship between story and structure; you should consider camera movement, editing, and the order of scenes”While the essay questions asks you to analyse one film in terms of the relationship between story and structure, you are nonetheless expected to contextualise your analysis – and that means you have to widen your frame of reference to include discussion of other, related films and associated ideas – and also the ‘time-line’ within which your case-study sits.So, for example, if you are focusing on a scene in a contemporary film which makes dramatic use of montage editing and quick-fire juxtaposition of imagery (the fight scenes in Gladiator, the beach landings in Saving Private Ryan, the bird attacks in The Birds…) no discussion of this scene would be complete without you first demonstrating your knowledge of the wider context for your analysis – i.e., the ‘invisible editing’ approach as championed by W.D. Griffith, and the alternate ‘Eisensteinian’ collisions adopted by Russian filmmakers (and now absorbed into the grammar of mainstream movies). In order to further demonstrate your appreciation for the ‘time-line’ of editing and its conventions, you should make reference to key sequences in key films – ‘The Odessa Steps sequence’ from Sergei Eistenstein’s Battleship Potemkin (as in scene in the Cutting Edge documentary, but also viewable here in full http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ps-v-kZzfecAlso – if further proof were needed of the influence of this scene, watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yH1tO2D3LCI&feature=relatedThe Cutting Edge documentary, as shown on Monday 15th Feb, is viewable on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJcQgQHR78QIf you choose to quote from any of the ‘talking head’ sections (Ridley Scott, Walter Murch etc.), in support of your discussion, ensure you put the documentary’s original details in your bibliography (as opposed to the You Tube url). For official title and release date etc. visit http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cutting-Edge-Magic-Editing-Region/dp/B0009PVZEG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1266311784&sr=1-1Put simply, whatever film you choose to discuss, you will need to link it to its ‘ancestors’ and also, where appropriate, to its ‘children’ – i.e., what influenced it/what it influenced.Regarding the ‘language of editing etc.’ the following site is useful – if ugly!http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/short/gramtv.htmlI suggest you use it only as a starting point for focusing your research parameters – not as the fount of all knowledge (it isn’t!).Something that keeps coming up is how to cite websites using the Harvard Method:GO HERE!!!!! IT’S GOT ALL THE ANSWERS!http://www.ucreative.ac.uk/index.cfm?articleid=25881
Stylistically, many students’ essays still lack the required formality and tone for a University level written assignment. Many of you write as if you’re ‘chatting’ to your reader or writing a blog entry. This is inappropriate and you need to cultivate a more appropriate style if your discussions are to be authoritative and properly presented. Below are some suggestions re. use of language; take note and use! Use good, formal English and grammar,
see: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/internet-grammar/home.htm Use objective language: e.g. rather than 'I find it difficult to identify ...' 'It is often difficult to identify...' 'It can be seen that... 'There are a number of...' Adopt a cautious academic style; avoid conclusive statements: e.g. use may, might, it seems that, appears to, possibly, probably, seemingly, the evidence suggests that, it could be argued that, research indicates... Avoid assumptions and generalisations: e.g. everyone can see, everybody knows, public opinion is... If you make a statement, always present evidence to support it.Within your essay you will be hoping to demonstrate or prove something. You will have a point of view that you wish to convey to your reader. In other words, your essay should 'say' something. You should support what you wish to say with a reasoned argument and evidence. A reasoned argument consists of a series of logical steps you make in order to lead to a point where you can form some sort of judgement on the issue you have been examining, or come to some sort of conclusion.Paragraphs are organised in order to build your argument in a series of logical steps A typical paragraph is concerned with a single step in your argument The first sentence of a paragraph is the topic sentence. It clearly states which step in your argument you intend to deal with in this paragraph Subsequent sentences explain, define and expand upon the topic sentence Evidence is offered Evidence is commented on A conclusion may be reached Try to make each paragraph arise out of the previous paragraph and lead into the subsequent oneBelow are some useful ‘linking’ words and phrases that suit the formal tone of an academic assignment – get used to using them to structure clear, articulate and confident sounding sentences. To indicate timescales: when, while, after, before, then To draw conclusions: because, if, although, so that, therefore To offer an alternative view: however, alternatively, although, nevertheless, while To support a point: or, similarly, incidentally To add more to a point: also, moreover, furthermore, again, further, what is more, in addition, then besides, as well either, not only, but also, similarly, correspondingly, in the same way, indeed with respect to, regarding To put an idea in a different way: in other words, rather, or, in that case in view of this, with this in mind to look at this another way To introduce and use examples: for instance, for example, namely, an example of this is such as, as follows, including especially, particularly, notably To introduce an alternative viewpoint: by contrast, another way of viewing this is, alternatively, again,
rather, another possibility is.. conversely, in comparison, on the contrary, although, though To return to emphasise an earlier point: however, nonetheless, despite, in spite of while.. may be true although, though, at the same time, although.. may have a good point To show the results of the argument: therefore, accordingly, as a result so, it can be seen that resulting from this, consequently, now because of this, hence, for this reason, owing to, this suggests
that, it follows thatin other words, in that case, that implies To sum up or conclude: therefore, in conclusion, to conclude, on the whole to summarise, to sum up, in brief, overall, thus