(Ch. 3) Response Assignment

Chapter 3 Assignment for the Film Critic:

Read materials from chapter 3 listed below: tarantino-1050x700

  1. A. The timeline on Film History linked at the bottom of that page: https://gwufilmcritic.wordpress.com/2016/09/16/ch-3-film-history-101/
  2. B. The Five Stages of Filmmaking.
  3. C. How We Watch Films
  4. D. Explore Careers in Filmmaking

Also listen to this review from Charlotte Observer film critic Larry Toppman posted here.

 

*After reading all materials and listening to the interview, answer two of the following crowd-7questions in the comments section below:

  1. 1. What did you find most interesting about Larry Toppman (his advice or his perspective on viewing and review films)?
  2. 2. What did you find most interesting about the film history timeline? Why?
  3. 3. What do you feel has been the most important historical aspect of audience/technology in filmmaking? Why?
  4. 4. Which stage of the filmmaking process do you feel is most interesting/important? Why?

*Please post your responses at the bottom of this page before 11:59 pm on September 19.

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20 Comments Add yours

  1. Mallory Moore says:

    Mallory Moore
    1. What did you find most interesting about Larry Toppman (his advice or his perspective on viewing and review films)?

    Toppman mentioned a critic that he knew that would compare all bad films to the great classics in his reviews. He said that we shouldn’t do this when reviewing films, but rather, we should only measure them against similar movies like prequels and other movies in the genre. This was especially interesting and helpful for me because this outlook changes the whole purpose of being a film critic. For reviews that will go out to the mass public, it’s not about deciding what is great art and what isn’t. It’s about figuring out if the movie works or not. If it is supposed to be a comedy, does it work as a comedy? If it is a sequel to a really good film, does it live up to that first film or fall flat? Toppman also said that review should be about whether or not the film hit its target. This is similar to that first piece of advice. Maybe a movie won’t be remembered as the greatest of all time, but did it achieve what the film makers set out to achieve?

    2. What did you find most interesting about the film history timeline? Why?
    This is getting really specific, but I found it really interesting that the first IMAX film was shown in 1970. I remember hearing about IMAX when I was little, and I thought it was new. I suppose that when I was a child, more theatres were starting to use IMAX, so it became something that my family and friends could go and experience. I easily forget that when a technology becomes popular and mass produced or mass used, that doesn’t mean that the technology was created yesterday. This reminded me that things that seem novel have often been around for a long time, and that new technology can take a while to catch on, especially if it’s expensive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      Mallory – Toppman really had some great points. It also goes back to the basics of what I’ve mentioned from early on in the semester “What is the director’s intent?”

      It has really only been in the past decade – 15 years that IMAX has taken off for mainstream audiences. It used to focus on nature films and documentaries in specialty locations. Most successful technologies take a while until the reach a point whee consumers can afford them.

      Like

  2. kmanning2 says:

    3. What do you feel has been the most important historical aspect of audience/technology in filmmaking? Why?

    I think that a big development came with the synchronization of sound and picture. Last year, I wrote a paper on the history of music videos. It was so interesting to examine this background. According to the “How We Watch Films” reading, in 1927, The Jazz Singer was released. This was the first movie which utilized this synchronized sound. I can’t imagine not having that now. It’s used in almost everything. Not only did this set the precedent for modern-day movies, but it has also been important for music videos, commercials, TV shows. It’s such an important part of everyday life.

    4. Which stage of the filmmaking process do you feel is most interesting/important? Why?

    I honestly feel like all stages of the filmmaking process are equally important. If you don’t complete one step fully, all of the other steps will be off, which ultimately doesn’t allow the end product to be as good as it could be. However, I feel that the most interesting stage of the filmmaking process is that of production. I’ve just always had a fascination with how movies are shot. The amount of people who work in this stage is just incredible. Although I understand the significance of the other stages, I’ve always associated movies with the production stage. To me, that’s when you can see the project really coming together.

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    1. noeltmanning says:

      Kathryn – When sound was first introduced into filmmaking, Harry Warner (of the famous Warner Brothers) said something like this “It’ll never catch on … who the He(double hockey sticks) wants to hear actors talk?” Warner Brothers lost money … so he changed his mind.

      Thanks for your thoughts (and fascination) on the production stage. If you ever want to hear some war stories of major film productions, just let me know.

      Like

  3. alicebyrd20 says:

    What was most interesting about the film history timeline was that it started with something as simple as pictures moving back and forth across a piece of paper, with the thaumatrope. To me, that would have never crossed my mind as being a “movie,” but to people in the 19th century, something like that was probably pretty popular. The timeline was interesting because it’s cool to see how far we’ve come. I can’t imagine that people playing with Zoetrope’s and Praxinoscopes would have imagined movies like Jurassic Park or Avatar – technology has progressed so much, and that is so apparent when you look at the timeline and put it into perspective with the movies of the 21st century.

    To me, the most important part of the filmmaking process is the pre-production stage. This is where you lay out the backbone for the whole endeavor, from set design to budgets finalization and trainings and rehearsals, if a detail needs to be ironed out, this is where it’s going to happen. Without a pre-production stage, I can only imagine the stress and mistakes that might happen during the actual production stage – after all, that’s when you’re busy actually making the movie, so you want everything set up to move smoothly beforehand (and that’s why pre-production is so important!) Every good project needs a good plan behind it, so all of the team members understand what is happening and what needs to happen to make their rough cut a polished, final product.

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    1. noeltmanning says:

      When film was screened in theaters in the 33mm days -it was 24 frames per second (individually captured single images). Take same concept is what the thaumatrope was based. I will have to say that being a part of the pre-production process of a major film was pretty amazing. If you’re ever interested I can share that experience with you (or the class) about the 20th Century Fox film last of the Mohicans. Thanks Alice

      Like

  4. jguberman242 says:

    3) What do you feel has been the most important historical aspect of audience/technology in filmmaking? Why?

    I’m going to be a bit biased in my answers today, since I have a passion for film editing. I believe the invention of nonlinear editing has been the most important aspect of technology in filmmaking because it has allowed for so many more options regarding film. Once filmmaking went digital with nonlinear editing instead of literally cutting out pieces of physical film, filmmakers were able to create increasingly advanced special effects. Nonlinear editing gave way to audio and visual effects, seamless transitions, and a plethora of other techniques.

    4) Which stage of the filmmaking process do you feel is most interesting/important? Why?

    Again, I’m biased. I believe editing is the most interesting AND the most important. Editors can make or break a movie– a great editor can take a bad movie and salvage pieces to make something better, and a poor editor can take the best footage and completely destroy it. There’s a reason editors work most closely with the director, and it’s because they are the ones who actually piece everything together and turn the seemingly random clips into a coherent story. I, personally, find this part of the process to be the most interesting because of the way you can change literally the tiniest aspects of the film. There’s a kind of control you get with editing that you don’t get in any other aspect of film. While working on my short film for the 100 Words Film Festival, I got a taste of literally every aspect of the filmmaking process, and I can honestly say that the most difficult part is editing, but it is also the most rewarding, interesting, and vital to the project. My movie would be 10x’s cheesier if it weren’t for me sitting behind a computer screen for hours on end doing color correction, changing the exposure, messing with cut timings, and altering the audio.

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    1. noeltmanning says:

      While editing is probably the most labor-intensive of all aspects of filmmaking, I’d have to say it is the most fulfilling. I, too have an editor’s background, and I absolutely loved this part of the process. There is a sense of control (and ownership) you get from doing this. I’ve been involved in straight cut (assemble) editing, and nonlinear … and yes, this advancement CHANGED the game. Thanks Jen

      Liked by 1 person

      1. jguberman242 says:

        I didn’t know you have tried straight cut editing! That’s so cool! Which do you prefer? Or is it the kind of thing that, since they are so different, it’s like apples to oranges?

        Response Post by Noel T. Manning II – I like the both. With straight cut editing you have to be much more particular and creative because of the limitations, but I always found ways to get what I needed. Nonlinear allows much for freedom, and is more forgiving.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. 1. What did you find most interesting about Larry Toppman (his advice or his perspective on viewing and review films)?

    I liked Toppman’s perspective that audiences best remember the film’s that don’t follow “formulas.” Formulas can be helpful in giving the audience something to hold onto, but a strict adherence to a formula will make a movie seem average and flatline. It also blew my mind that audiences prefer trailers that reveal more of the film’s plot than less. I think trailers should be a sneak peek, not an outline of what will happen. I think today’s generation of moviegoers is all about knowing what will happen. Spoiler websites are immensely popular, and people always seem to want to know exactly how movies will turn out, instead of being surprised when they actually watch the movie.

    4. Which stage of the filmmaking process do you feel is most interesting/important? Why?

    Personally, I believe that post-production is the most important stage of the filmmaking process. I feel like a lot of people find it easy to blame a film’s production for its flaws, or praise the film’s production when they love a movie; however, many times, the success or failure of a film relies on its post-production. Editors are given all kinds of shots, at various angles, lighting, etc, and have to make it coherent. They have to synchronize the sound (dialogue, sound effects, music) to make it work perfectly with the picture. They even have to choose scenes, shots, and lines of dialogue to remove from the film to make it shorter, but still be coherent. This is such a crucial process, and it can make great films turn out horribly, or it can make a mediocre film be very successful.

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  6. noeltmanning says:

    I hadn’t really thought about it until Toppman mentioned it, but yes as I really evaluated trailers, he’s right .. most trailers actually reveal most of the story. That was enlightening to me too.

    If you have a truly strong editor, a bad film can actually turn into a great film. That’s real talent. Thanks Christian.

    Like

  7. ssevert says:

    3. What do you feel has been the most important historical aspect of audience/technology in filmmaking? Why?

    Like

  8. ssevert says:

    2. What did you find most interesting about the film history timeline? Why?

    What I found the most interesting about the film history timeline was how movies at their start were completely silent and just pieces of paper put together to depict motion. It’s unreal to look at what movies are today and imagine what used to be actually being called a movie. It’s unreal. Now, we can bring galaxies to life at the click of a button. Going digital, in my opinion, has made the whole world so broad and has opened up a realm of new possibilities especially in the film industry. No longer do we have to worry about adding sound to our films. What at one point was such a huge task seems so simple now.

    4. Which stage of the filmmaking process do you feel is most interesting/important? Why?

    I feel the development stage is the most important and interesting. Without a plan (development) then movies would never come to be. To me, the development stage sets the entire movie in motion. Just like anything, a good plan/foundation, is a the key to being successful. If a movie can well develop their game plan I feel as though they are increasing their chances of being successful. Development will tell them how much money they have, the entire idea/plot, and all the other key elements to a successful movie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      Did you know the term “Movies” actually comes from “Moving Pictures”? Every form of technology seems to continue to find ways to change the landscape of film (even though we don’t shoot on film any longer… for the most part).

      Everybody may not like a plan, but everyone needs one. Thanks Sierra

      Like

  9. myfilmbabble says:

    2. What did you find most interesting about the film history timeline? Why?

    I found it very interesting just how things have evolved, with technology and films. Like with Edison and Dickson, when they invented the “Kinetophone”, with the idea of being able to put sound with the images. They ended up running into a problem. The speed of the pictures and sound were not able to be synchronized. Another thing I found interesting was black and white films transitioning to color. I thought it was very interesting that from 1930’s until 1960’s, they held separate Oscars for films in color and then another for films in black and white.

    4. Which stage of the filmmaking process do you feel is most interesting/important? Why?

    I believe pre-production is the most important. This is because during this stage, you find the filming locations, script completed, cast finalized and the set design is built. These are four very important elements to filming, and without these things, a film cannot be produced. You need a location to film at, cast to perform, a script to be read from, and a set to bring it all together. So this stage is very vital in how the filming process will continue.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      Brittany – Filmmakers have continued to adapt (as have audiences) to what makes the most sense at the time. Sometimes filmmakers have ideas of what they want to put on screen, yet technology hasn’t caught up with their ideas yet. Two great examples of film genius who have special effects running in their blood (James Cameron & George Lucas) – they both have had visual ideas they wanted, but the technology wasn’t there at the time … so they adapted and actually found ways to CREATE.

      I’ll share with the class my experience in working with 20th Century Fox during pre-production to give you an insiders look.

      Thanks for sharing.

      Like

  10. thoyle1 says:

    2. The thing that I found most interesting about the timeline was the jumps in technology. It was really interesting how innovative they were to be able to go from moving photographs, to the kinetoscope, to early special effects. I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been and what a creative group of people they must have been to invent these things. Another thing that really surprised me when reading it was the fact that technicolor was created before sound was. I suppose having grown up watching old episodes of Andy Griffith and other black and white TV shows, I never really thought about how color television was developing at the time.

    4. I think the most important step in making a movie is the post-production stage. While filming, casting, and writing are all important aspects, I think the part where a movie finally starts coming together and goes from a rough cut to a final product is the most important time. This is also where the final music is added, which for me is a very important step in the process. Music, or the absence of music plays such a vital role in movies. Just the other day I was watching the movie Bourne Ultimatum and during a fight scene, there was no music. At first I wondered why someone would want to miss that opportunity but then I realized how much it elevated the thrill and suspense of the scene.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      Even today Tanner, our technology dictates our responses (and wants) from the film industry … and other media consumption as well.

      I always love post-production as well. Bringing all the elements together for something you hope will be cohesive. SO much work is poured into this stage with a desire to bring those collective ideas into a reality for audiences, I love it. Thanks Tanner

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  11. 2. An aspect of the “Brief History of Film” that I find interesting is to compare all of the names and ages of remarkable names in Hollywood. In some cases, I don’t usually think about actors like Jimmy Stewart or Gene Kelly outside of the time period of the films in which I have seen them. Therefore, it is interesting to be reminded of the fact that Kelly died the year I was born (1996), or that Stewart died only one year after (1997). Perhaps it is the fact that film styles changed so much over the course of their lives that it is hard to think of them in such different time periods. Meanwhile, it is also strange to think about how young James Dean and Judy Garland each were when they died. Maybe it’s that I had never known their actual ages, or maybe as I get older, 24 (Dean) and 47 (Garland), seem much younger. Lastly, the statistic about Netflix originating in 1997 is very surprising. While I do not remember hearing about the service until maybe about 2008-2009, it is actually almost as old as I am. Of course, it changed drastically and quickly as well, likely making the journey overtime from renting out VHS tapes all the way to becoming predominantly a streaming website. All in all, it is interesting to think about the aspects of Hollywood and film-making that existed at the same time, and possibly could have interacted.
    4. The parts of film-making that were most interesting for me to learn about included the development and pre-production stages. It does seem that I have heard rumors of several films, but then they might not be released for a couple more years. It is certainly makes a lot more sense to find out what actually happens during this time, often to make the film or its concept better. For example, the Disney Channel released a remake of “Adventures in Babysitting” (1987) just this year with one of the networks current stars, Sabrina Carpenter. However, I remember following Miley Cyrus’s Internet Movie Database page closely as a fan around 2008-2010. For several months, she was credited in a pending title called “Adventures in Babysitting.” I would be willing to bet that Disney Channel considered making this remake with Cyrus, but held off when she began aging out of the network, etc. This element of the process certainly covers “key cast and crew approached” from the development stage and “cast and crew signed on” from pre-production.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      I remember when Netflix was introduced. My boss was one of the first people to sign up for the DVDs by mail, and I couldn’t believe this would actually work as a business model … boy, was I wrong.

      Great examples for the development stage. It is pretty amazing of all the things that happen (or don’t end up happening) during this stage. This is especially true with key actors, directors, and locations. North Carolina was once one of the top locations in film production in the Country. Tax incentives began to be taken away, as well as come controversial bills, and now locations that were originally planned for NC have gone elsewhere. Thanks Chelsea

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