Sunday, 12 February 2012

Unit 4 OGR (part 2)

Unit 4 ogr 2


  1. The essay introduction is a first draught so it still needs bits changed.

  2. OGR 14/02/2012

    Evening Ollie,

    Okay - well, I love the idea of your lonely astronaut and the object of his desire museum - and I was instantly reminded of this short by David Keefe:

    The stuff I don't like is the 'I just happened to find a pogo stick' - which is much too convenient, and the whole idea of an astronaut just walking by a museum and the audience somehow knowing he's lonely, and therefore understanding his motivation etc. It would make more sense - to me at least - if the museum was 'space museum' - i.e. floating in space - some kind of great, floating repository of space junk. This way, your astronaut is already in space, and his loneliness can be communicated visually, via his aloneness and by visual cues like digital calendars etc. The other thing is that the 'pogo-stick' doesn't have to be an 'actual' pogo-stick, but rather something that operates the same way or facilitates the same action. There's something about your ending that I like too - the way in which the astronaut ends up with the other suit - but there's actually something a bit sinister about that - the idea of being drawn into a place by something (bait?) and then finding yourself stuck there - perhaps forever. Would it be possible to turn the tone of your story around, so that the 'space museum' is like a big trap - that there is some kind of 'collector' hoovering up different exhibits out there in space? I'm also thinking now that there's a Noah's ark thing going on about the two astronauts featuring as part of a much bigger collection of duos.

    However, if you were to put the pogo-stick at the centre of your story, things change again. So, perhaps, you have a character whose desire to be an astronaut was first expressed by his desire to go 'higher and higher' on his pogo-stick - indeed, perhaps you've got little boy character who was always trying to get higher, using anything (the boy who bounced) - and would jump and bounce on everything in his desire to 'touch the sky' or 'reach the moon' - and so in a museum exhibit celebrating the great astronaut's life and times, his childhood pogo-stick is an important artefact. The other obvious - and rather lovely image that comes to mind is of an astronaut using a pogostick on the surface of the moon (one small step, one giant leap etc) - and using it to go for miles and miles. Indeed, perhaps you could set up your story as almost 'previously unreleased footage' from Nasa, which shows Neil Armstrong bounding across the surface of the moon on his pogo-stick and just having a blast - and this footage is held at a museum, or something.

    The short version is that I'm not yet convinced that you're truly using your 3 components in an integrated way - i.e. deriving the stories out of their combination, as opposed to simply stringing them together. I'm going to ask you to give your story components another couple of shakes to see what forms; there are some definite nuggets of story gold in your first treatment - largely because the idea of a lonely astronaut is evocative - but can I suggest you put the pogo-stick at the heart of any new thinking - and use it legitimately. Start by asking yourself very simply - what relationship might an astronaut have with a pogo-stick? Try and answer that question and let it lead you into pastures fresh.

  3. In regard to your written assignment, I like the choice, but just take a moment to read and digest the advice in the following, more general advice about the unit 4 assignment - in terms of building a proper context prior to analysing your chosen film, and also about how to write a lean, mean and waffle free introduction:

    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.