Unit 4: Story telling. OGR 2



tutorphil said...

OGR 14/02/2012

Hey Ernesta,

Your story has real promise - and an appealing character in the form of 'Lucy'. The big challenge for you is the 'choreography' - the way Lucy's dance will synch with your proposed soundtrack, and how the music will also drive the pace of the action sequences that follow. The music should build and build and climax to suit the dance routine - and there should be the inevitable moment when the music finishes - abruptly, to signal the end of the dream sequence (and the hard reality of Lucy's dire situation).

Personally, I think the animals that Lucy annoys should all be more obviously 'dangerous' - yes, pandas are cute, but perhaps a crocodile would be better - for obvious reasons. Lucy is just dancing oblivious to the danger she is in - and the audience needs to feel that peril from the word go, and this is easier to create if the various animals have an existing reputation for 'eating things'...

You need to firmly establish the presence of the stepladder as a natural part of your world - so somehow make it clear that a zookeeper has left it there - perhaps he's on his lunch. It's a small thing, but think about your Act 1 set-up that establishes the step-ladder credibly.

Lucy's character design is coming on, but I want you (and everyone else) to work closely with the resources available to you on myUCA/Story/Unit Materials - for you particularly, The Dynamics of the Animated Drawing, Andrew Loomis's Basics of Drawing Cartoons and Poses, and Preston Blair's famous and highly-regarded 'Cartoon Animation' - they will help you - and will continue to help you, so keep them close and refer to them often.

tutorphil said...

As we've established, Ernesta - you need to work on your strengths in terms of writing, structure and argument, and I really hope you're going to work with Tracey Ashmore in the pursuit of this. I know writing academic assignments is a challenge for creative people (and creative people who are writing in a second language doubly so!), but it's a challenge you must meet positively and with some sticking power, because it's important stuff and you're going to need it. (Which is why you need to keep up with those reviews, because you need the practice).

Below - some general advice re. the written assignment: please read carefully...

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.

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