Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Online Greenlight Review: 14/02/2012 (2)

OGR 14-02-2012 Part 2


tutorphil said...

OGR 14/02/2012

Hey Emma,

Some nicely presented OGRs - thank you :) Yes - lots of promise here, and the whole grappling hook thing works effectively, because you've integrated its use and it doesn't just feel now as if it 'pops up' conveniently. In regard to your Act 1, I think we need a bit more info - and something else to make us more pleased that he dies at the end - a greater sense that he's 'better of' that way. So, I think in common with UP, I'd suggest that, if, as you say he's got no family, then maybe he's about to be moved out of his house and into some scabby old people's home. Perhaps you're story could begin then with a long continuous shot that begins 'BANG BANG BANG!' - someone thumping on the door, voices saying 'Mr Smith - you've got to come out. It's time. You're too old to live on your own. Please open the door' - and the camera moves away from the door, through the house (which shows us photographs of his family and gives us lots of visual clues about his life, which might include how adventurous he's been - maybe he was in the navy, for example, maybe their are medals or something - and then the camera continues out and down into the cellar, where we find Thomas already looking at his pirate ship in the bottle - and then your story continues as written. It just feels that unless you create somekind of clear peril in terms of quality of life, your audience might not see his 'final escapade' as the preferred conclusion to your character's story? Anyway, give it some thought. Of course, the other thing that would absolutely make it clear that Thomas was 'better off' in the afterlife, would be if, in the dream sequence, he was also rescuing his 'wife' from the evil pirate, and the last shot sees them together, sailing off into the sunset etc. Again - it just means that your audience is left with no doubt that his death is a 'good thing'.

tutorphil said...

Re. your written assignment - you're intro is looking promising - with the exception of your concluding line - which states the obvious. You may not be able to write this closing statement more specifically until AFTER you've written the main body - but avoid simply repeating what the purpose of a conclusion is (i,e, summarising key points etc.). Consider something more argument-derived, for example, "In conclusion, the assignment will seek to prove that/demonstrate that/illustrate that..."

This means you have to 'know' what the point of your argument has been - and so, like I said, you should consider addressing this last statement after you've made your arguments. I'm including below the general info re. the assignment I'm dishing out to everyone - so ignore the bits you're on top of already!

tutorphil said...

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 order of scenes.

Okay - so while the challenge of the assignment doesn’t state it explicitly, as soon as you start to discuss narrative, editing or sorts of shots, you’ll be using a technical or specialist language – with specific terms with specific histories and contexts. Therefore, in common with all your assignments so far (and all future assignments!), you need to introduce and define your specialist/technical terms BEFORE you start discussing your specific film or case-study.

For example, if you were planning to discuss the famous shower scene from Psycho, which is an example of ‘montage editing’ – you would first need to introduce and define the term ‘montage editing’ – and in so doing, refer to its origins and cultural ancestry (i.e. its broadest context). In written assignments you have to ‘show that you know’ – you have to demonstrate your knowledge of the subject area by showing that YOU understand its various components. You couldn’t discuss Psycho’s shower scene effectively WITHOUT referencing Sergei Eisenstein (the ‘father’ of montage editing), and, by extension, the ‘rules’ of Hollywood ‘invisible editing’ (from which Eisensteinian editing was such a departure).

Likewise, if you were interested in the ‘continuous take’ of ‘Rope’ – then in order to discuss this technique in context, you’d still have to introduce and define ‘editing’ in general terms, in order to prove Rope’s distinctiveness.

If you’re dealing with narrative structures – i.e. the ‘non-linear’ structures of Christopher Nolan’s Momento or Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, you first need to demonstrate your awareness and understanding of the ideas and uses of ‘non-linearity’ in story more generally.

Another reoccurring weakness in your assignments is your introductions; remember, there is no actual content in your introduction.

Your very first line should state plainly and clearly what the investigative thrust is of your assignment – and that’s all. “This assignment analyses critically the use of non-linear narrative in film, with particular reference to Christopher Nolan’s Momento (2000).”

Job done! That’s it. No more – nothing else.

Next, you list the KEY research sources you’ve used (i.e. the ones your essay will now go on to reference), and your reasons for consulting them (i.e. their usefulness to your argument). You should be specific here – give titles, authors and publishing date etc. Put your titles in italics. There should be no waffle here at all, so avoid sentences like ‘Sources include websites, books and films…’ Also, you don’t need to give the film you’re studying as a source, because that’s been made obvious by the first line of your introduction. If, however, you’re looking at some associated films, then you should include them here – but always give your reason for their usefulness to your discussion.

Finally – your intro should offer the reader a summary of points – the logical sequence of subject matter that will take your reader from ‘not knowing’ about your subject to ‘understanding’ your subject. This is where you – the writer – must give this ‘logical sequence’ some proper thought – get this bit right and your assignment will flow from one point to the next in a satisfying way.