Monday, 13 February 2012

Unit 4: Story Telling - Interim Online Review - 14/02/2012 Part 2

Unit 4 - Storytelling Green Light Review Art


  1. OGR 14/02/2012

    Hey Stitch - well, the good news your latest treatment is much improved - much more communicable and clean, but I think there are still a number of problems - it's an Act 1/Act 3 thing, because Act 2, which is the battle between the ex-worker and the body-guard is solid and inevitable.

    While I like the very quick way you get your story off and running, I think you're missing lots of important exposition that your audience needs in order to understand the ex-worker's goal. If we haven't been told, for example, that the boss is on the third floor, then we can't truly understand - on visual terms alone - why he wants to catapult himself. Also, if we don't have any sympathy for the ex-worker, his ensuing quest means less to us. If Act 1 were to a) set up the worker's spatial relationship to the boss's office (a hierarchy made manifest - warehouse floor below - gleaming office above - with boss scrutinising workforce below etc.), b) the antagonism of the body-guard to the workers etc, and c) sympathy for the ex-worker, then Act 2 is going to 'mean' much more. We have to believe that the worker has been 'wronged', otherwise his attempt to dethrone the boss just seems like the actions of a nutjob. I think you need to take Act 1 slower.

    Now - Act 3 - I really don't think the 'reveal' that the body-guard is the boss works at all; when I first read it, I thought the body-guard was hacking into the boss's computer, and that the worker was going to witness that, and so win his job back that way. I don't think it's an interesting enough development - enough of a twist - and I don't know how it's going to play on screen. However, the idea of the worker seeing something after he's gone 'splat' on the glass is interesting - I suppose it all depends on who wins this battle.

    Maybe, the worker splatted on the glass gives the boss an idea - and the worker DOES get his job back, but in a funny/mean way - I don't know, the worker becomes the company mascot - okay - yes, so maybe the factory makes fly-spray or something (you never did resolve the purpose of the factory), and the ex-worker becomes the mascot - dressed in a fly costume and 'splatted' in their ad campaign - or similar?

    So, in short - I think you DO need 'The Boss' and I think we need to see him alongside his body-guard, and we need to see him being exploitative and unpopular, and the body-guard carrying out his orders etc. - and we need to see this in Act 1, and we also need to understand that the boss is upstairs - even in a kind of Bond-villain type glass cube or similar (this is an animation after all!). We need to feel sorry for the ex-worker, because we need to be on his side and we need to dislike the boss. Act 2 plays out as a series of attempts to 'topple the boss' with the body-guard stopping him etc (as written) and then Act 3 delivers a proper punchline, some stinging irony... You're nearly there, Stitch, but I think you need to drill into your structure more so, with more emphasis on what the audience needs (and what can be conveyed visually in a short time).

  2. oh - there's some nice drawings in your storyboard, but be sure to look at all the resources and guides and examples available on myUCA/Story/Unit Materials.

    Meanwhile - some general advice dished out to all re. the written assignment:

    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.