Introductions: Recap

Weekly, I will be posting a brief recap of what we did in class and some suggestions as to what to build on from our discussions and workshops.

We went over the syllabus and the main purpose of the course (“Students will engage critically in the process of creative expression“). That is to say, we’ll spend the semester working on multimedia compositions and examining how/why we might compose this way. We watched Richard Miller’s “This is How We Dream Part 1” video:

We discussed both what professor Miller was arguing (these incremental changes in the way we write (If you’re interested in seeing what notes is the seismic change in contemporary writing, you can catch the second part here), and the way his video essay was composed. We noted the way it used images, sounds, texts, videos (to varying degrees of success, as it turns out) to engage his audience. This, I suggested, is one way to begin to think of multimedia composition.

QUESTION: How can we begin revising the way we write? What difference might it make to call it “composition” as opposed to “writing”?

Given that the topic of this course is going to be “Cinema in the Digital Age” (ie. a way to narrow down what we’ll be practicing our multimedia composition skills on), we caught Beeban Kidron’s “The Shared Wonder of Film” TED Talk:

We discussed Kidron’s argument (the changing face of cinema, its lack of educational value in favor of entertainment) and noticed also the way her images (from movies as varied as Schindler’s List (1993), Mr Smith Goes to Washington (1939) and Miracle in Milan (1951)) complemented and flowed seamlessly into her own presentation. We discussed the issue of access and the way we’ve all experienced changes in cinema and social media technologies (our abilities to catch films on Netflix, to share stuff on Twitter, etc.).

We ended with a brief activity to get our film appreciation skills in order: we watched the trailer for Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan (2010) and pointed out the way it was structured, the types of images it used (and how), as well as the function of the soundtrack – all things which as multimedia composers we might want to take into consideration.

We then set up our individual WordPress sites. If you want more guidance and/or want to play around with more of the basics, I suggest you peruse these sites:

Blog Assignment (Due Jan 29th 5pm): Set up a blog. If you don’t see your blog linked to the right of this post, comment on this post with your URL. You’ll also notice that some blogs already have names; brainstorm possible titles/names for your blog (you can just use your name). In addition to this, and using either an extra PAGE or a WIDGET on your site, create an “About Me” section of your site (As I browsed everyone’s blogs, it seemed unclear whose each blog belonged to!)

For your first post:
Reaction to a trailer of your own choosing. (250-500 words). Embed the trailer on your post (see how to do that here) and write a short reaction to it (how is it structured? what makes it a good/bad trailer? what kind of images does it use — just one scene or several clips? how does it use its sounds? etc.) Respond to two of your classmates’ posts.

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