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Deconstructing Film Daniel McQuillan

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1 Deconstructing Film Daniel McQuillan

2 Format of the workshop Introductions How are you working now? Text Selection Genre as a tool Close reading - Beyond the CU The Techniques Scaffolding analysis Break

3 Format of the workshop Example scene 1 Example scene 2 Technology that can help Reviewing the main points Discussion and feedback Alcoholic beverages

4 Introductions Who are you? Where are you from? Why are you here? What films are you currently teaching? Do you think you are doing a good job? What is your weakness? What do you hope to get from this workshop?

5 How are you working now? What is your process for text selection? Quality of your student work? How much time do you give to film study?

6 Text Selection Familiarity Personal preference Available resources

7 My Criteria Task & student suitability Technical merit Opportunity for expanded learning

8 Genre No film is an island! Films are not stand-alone pieces of work Genre is expectation In order to fully appreciate, understand and maximise your selected text you must utilise the wider genre

9 Genre in Media Studies Taught at all 3 levels Meaning beyond merely being a story Family resemblance Connections made easier and hopefully critique/analysis more robust Support core text and show common techniques

10 The Open Door Pathways to the extended abstract Opportunity for excellence Historical context Social relevance, impact and influence Student generated knowledge

11 Media Studies 2.4 Genre External assessment 4 options for 600 word essay Commercial considerations Audience Expectation Development of genre Common shared features

12 Women in Science Fiction Barbarella (1968) Planet of the Apes (1968) Alien (1979) Blade Runner (1982) Aliens (1986) Terminator 2 (1991) The Fifth Element (1997) Gender Roles Womens Lib Contraception Abortion Women in power

13 Common Shared Features Frankenstein (1931)(1994) Planet of the Apes (1968) 2001 (1968) Blade Runner (1982) Aliens (1986) Terminator 2 (1991) The Island (2005) Nature vs Technology Human rights Pollution Globalisation Medical ethics

14 How do I choose a text? Certain genres lend themselves to analysis in a more comprehensive way than others. Horror, Science Fiction, Film Noir and Documentaries are all genres that utilize the technical aspects of filmmaking in combination with the thematic and narrative conventions that English requires. Other genres such as Romance, Biopic and Drama are just as strong in terms of narrative/thematic content but perhaps lack in the technical area, yet often these often seem to be the texts of choice. This is simply shooting yourself in the foot.

15 Close Reading Move past the CU Complimentary and collaborative techniques Apparatus rather than Art Directorial intention v Audience response

16 Camera Movement & Angles Tracking - The use of and creation of space and depth Zooming - Similar but also very different in terms of image produced Steadicam - Unobtrusive voyeurism Handheld - First person perspective Tilts, Dutch Tilts - Power and balance Low and High Angles - Status, scale and perspective

17 Montage/Editing Cut - Connection, rhythm, pace, juxtaposition & contrast Transitions - The invisible but manipulative, cutting on the move Sound - atmospheric and narrative partnership

18 Scaffolding analysis Just like a literature essay there should always be a structure to written film analysis Try to overcome the obviousnessof the film Seeing is NOT believing The forms, apparatus and structure are designed to be invisible to the audience The visual image, narrative structure and editing are all subservient to the story and character lives, but meaning and emotion cannot exist in the text without the techniques that deliver them This is why technical merit is such an important criteria in text selection

19 T.U.M.E. Technique – correctly name and identify a technique Use – The specific and detailed example of the technique Meaning – What is the job of this technique? Effect – The result, the impact on audience

20 T is for Technique This is plainly and simply about practice. If you test your class at the beginning of your unit and find they are either unable to identify the techniques that you present to them (as I have found) then practice, practice and practice again. There is no other way.

21 U is for Use Avoid vague and lazy answers that are lacking in specificity. Details are key and show concentration and commitment to the assessment. They must be exact and to be so you must make sure you give them the opportunity to be so.

22 M is for Meaning The student must give reasons why this technique is the one the director has chosen and what is the desired result of its use? Once this is clear then how does this technique interact/collaborate with other techniques in the scene and the wider film. The focus here is on the creator of the text.

23 Effect / Affect The student must now look at the impact of the technique and its collaborators on the audience. Supporting evidence becomes key at this point. That evidence should come from the wider text and genre. To be able to connect your example to those in other texts in the same family is great, as it will often be used for similar purposes and has similar results. Seemingly unrelated genres can still provide good examples to back up analysis. Sci-fi and Film Noir or Horror are the best examples. Your students cannot fulfill this without having been taught around the text. The contextual and supporting materials of frontloading and pre- teaching a genre cannot be underestimated.

24 The Extended Abstract It is at this point that the true test of your text comes to be. If your text has open doors the students should find themselves able to connect their conclusions to wider ideas, historical events, sociological issues. The extended abstract becomes accessible and allows the student to display the knowledge, understanding and responses that prove their learning in the process.

25 The Island
















41 The Matrix Pill Scene




























69 Technology that can help you VLC – video player of all formats and has various features including snapshot MPEG Streamclip – allows you to surgically remove scenes or shotsand convert file types Google Scholar – Academic articles and other writing for extension Prelinger Archives – Copyright free videos

70 Main Points Choose your text wisely Practice your close reading skills T.U.M.E & Extended Abstract Use the available technology Teach Media Studies instead

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