(Ch. 1) Notes, Reminders and Assignments

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Hello Film Crew,

Thanks for all your engagement last week as we continue to explore important aspects of understanding film narrative. This week, for the second half of Chapter one, you will need to manage your time carefully. There will be multiple readings, videos and interviews to engage. It will take you more time this week to navigate as we wrap up our chapter on the important foundations of story, character and conflict.

Before we dive into notes and links for this week’s lesson, I wanted to update (and remind) you on a few items:

  • I ask that you put your name on each post (response/dialogue and your personal film journal blog); follow instructions for each assignment, and review your assignments for spelling and grammatical errors as well. I will be looking for that, and will grade accordingly in the future.
  • Response/Dialogue Posts – You should consider spending more time defending your thoughts and offering examples (especially if you mention someone else’s comments).You will also need to add original ideas or expand on thoughts that may already be posted for these assignments. Your dialogue grades could be impacted by lack of critical thought and engagement with these responses.
  • I will try to email you reminders of due dates and general assignments each week. But you will always find the updated calendar/schedule at the top of our Film Critic website or here: blog/2019/01/23/film-critics-schedule/.
  • Reminder – Late work (-10 points each day late -this also applies to response posts). Last week I offered some fluidity to this (since we were just getting started).

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Reminders of upcoming assignments:

Feb. 15 – I have posted several readings & videos in the second part of chapter 1; as mentioned earlier, this will take you much more time to engage this week, so I encourage you to manage your time appropriately.

Other topics include Gustav Freytag, Blake Snyder, Film Critics Talk Baggage, six supportive steps to reviewing film, more details on the importance of the “script.” There is a link to a posted article on “why the screenplay is so important” you should read that and watch (or listen to) two of three interviews with the featured screenwriters. I have four choices: Aaron Sorkin (one of my favorite writers), Emma Thompson, Kelly Fremon Craig or Ami Fuller Brown. There is a response question to this component of the chapter as well.

I believe that hearing from filmmakers themselves will make this material come alive, and you can gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of the art and science of filmmaking and film critique.

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Due Feb. 17 – Assignment: Interview someone over 5o+ Years Old and write a 500-700 word report/story capturing his/her movie history (there are three examples linked at the bottom of the assignment). Post to your blog, and email me and/or post your link on the assignment page.  *Due Feb. 17 by 11:59 pm.

  • Semester Projects: If you haven’t locked in your semester project with me, you should propose three options by Feb. 11.  Those films already reserved will be posted in the announcement section of our Bb class page.
  • As you move forward in future lessons, you’ll be asked to revisit (and apply) your understanding of character, story, and inciting incident. So, you should review that as needed.

Questions for consideration as we move forward:

  • Baggage and bias  … is it easier to evaluate a film you think you’ll like, think you’ll hate, or have no opinion either way?

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This week you’ll get a closer look at:

  • Gustav Freytag – He was a German novelist from the Nineteenth century who explored formulas in stories and novels, and he found that “like patterns” (or formulas) existed in most of them. There is reading for you this week. You’ll need to use this as a guide, because there may be a question to address in an upcoming film evaluation relating to Freytag’s story pyramid formula.
  • Another person to be familiar with is Blake Snyder. Snyder  was a brilliant screenwriter, script doctor, and resource for screenplay research. He, like Freytag, explored story formulas, but he believed that one could narrow down every film/ or story ever created into a limited number of main story-categories. He examined “genres” differently than we typically think of film genres today. There is a reading you’ll need to take a look at this week addressing in detail his formulas. You may have to address a question relating to this as well in forthcoming weeks. You’ll also have to apply one of these formulas to your semester project. I think you may be fascinated by how many films (regardless of classifications like comedy, drama, horror, action) actually share the same story-formula.

As always, you are welcome to email me with questions, comments and ideas.

I hope that you all have a wonderful week.

For now, that’s a wrap,

Noel T. Manning II

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