(Ch. 7) Response Post

Response Post Assignment for Chapter 7 (due 10.19.16 before noon)

  • Engage in all of the materials for Chapter 7 including these sections:spidey_tangled
  1. Visual Effects
  2. Reviewing for Radio, TV and Beyond
  3. The Fiction that is Science
  4. Looks like a Disaster to Me
  5. We Are All Superheroes (why-superheroes-matter
  6. The Event that is the Blockbuster
  • THEN:
  1. Share something that you learned from Sean’s approach to film criticism and why you think it matters for rising film critics.

 

And …

 

Address two of the following writing prompts:

  1. What insight did you gain from the history of special effects/disaster films (digital or otherwise)?
  2. How has your understanding of science fiction changed after reading the material?
  3. Do you agree with the themes/reasons why comic book superhero films continue to find success? Why or why not?
  4. While exploring “Reviewing for Radio, TV & Beyond” you should notice some differences and similarities. What similarities do you feel are the most relevant when reviewing films (regardless of the medium of distribution)? Why?

 

Upcoming Assignments:

Final Project notes:

October 14-27 – watch final two films (and make detailed notes).

November 3 – Next draft of introduction, biographical sketch, and first film evaluation should be complete.

Class Meetings: 

No face to face classes for next two weeks but you will have online posts.

Next Review/Evaluation Due Date:

Nov. 3 – Film review due (list and rubric will be posted by Oct. 27)

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19 Comments Add yours

  1. jguberman242 says:

    1) Share something that you learned from Sean’s approach to film criticism and why you think it matters for rising film critics.

    I learned that it’s not only acceptable, but encouraged to try out different critique styles. It’s important to find your unique writing style, but you don’t want to become bored with writing, and you don’t want others to become bored with your writing. You can write reviews in all kinds of styles, such as how Sean wrote one in the form of a break up letter to Hillary Duff. Creativity is key.

    2) What insight did you gain from the history of special effects/disaster films (digital or otherwise)?

    I’m fairly familiar (but by no means am I an expert) with modern day special effects. I love learning about things such as digital matte paintings, motion capture, and even more physical effects such as prosthetics. I found the Buzzfeed article about pre-CGI effects to be interesting in particular. One of the effects it keys in on is a “parting of the sea” effect, which they did by filming water being dumped into basins, and then the footage was reversed and flipped. I also enjoyed reading about the effect where the Nazi’s face melts in Raiders of the Lost Ark. The fact that layers of gelatin literally melted off of his face is just fascinating, and was probably a lot of fun to film. On a side note, I was looking through Greg Nicotero’s (head of special effects on The Walking Dead) Instagram, and he actually posted multiple clips of the same effects that are in that Buzzfeed article as a way of respecting how far special effects have come. Greg Nicotero keeps a lot of the physical special effects alive, like in the old movies. Rather than having zombies done completely digitally, he makes as much of it (and any other effects) as real an tangible as possible.

    3) How has your understanding of science fiction changed after reading the material?

    I didn’t know that Dystopian could be considered a sub genre of sci-fi. Dystopian novels and movies are some of my absolute favorite, and the concept of imagining a dystopian society is what drove me to write my book, yet I never knew it could be considered sci-fi.
    I also never would have thought about the psychological aspect of how sci-fi movies can show things that are considered unacceptable in modern society, and people don’t really question it because the setting isn’t real time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      Thanks Jen -Yeah, Sean is one of the few freelancers I’ve ever met who continues to find success in what he does. That creativity (and strong writing) has taken in from the UK, to New Zealand to Italy (last week where he interviewed Tom Hanks).

      Understanding special effects masters of the past can help today’s artists expand on those innovations (and sometimes go back to them).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. thoyle1 says:

    1.Share something that you learned from Sean’s approach to film criticism and why you think it matters for rising film critics.

    -One thing that I learned from the interview is that as a film critic, you should never close a door to a certain type of job and you should always be available as well. He said that a film critic should be on the clock, ready to to a review at any time, whenever they call you up.

    1. What insight did you gain from the history of special effects/disaster films (digital or otherwise)?

    – Until I read these posts and thought about it, I never really realized how fascinated people are with disaster. In movies, video games, and books, the world loves a good disaster story. Just sitting here, I can think of several end-of-the-world movies in just the past few years. I think that the thing that appeals to people the most about them is the thrill and suspense we get when we see them. For me, the more realistic the situation, the more thrilling the disaster film because if it could actually happen one day, that adds a lot more power to the film than a sci-fi that we all know is impossible.

    3. Do you agree with the themes/reasons why comic book superhero films continue to find success? Why or why not?

    -I do agree. I do not think that there will ever come a time when people stop looking to superheroes as what they wish they could be, or wish they knew. Like Nicholas Conley says, “In the same way that I felt trapped within my own shy and fragile identity, Peter Parker was also trapped. But unlike me, Peter had an outlet. By becoming Spider-Man, he could cast aside his skin – the flawed and inaccurate perception that others had of him – and then, with the aid of that red mask, he could publicly reveal himself to the world.” People will always want to see on the big screen what they wish they could have. Superpowers falls under that category.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      Thanks Tanner – We all love a great disaster film … and sometimes they come in the form of “Superhero films” too.

      Like

  3. For me, it was interesting to learn from Sean’s interview how the movie critic business is moving toward online employment. It certainly seems that for rising film critics, it would be helpful to master the online/written format, especially if the industry will continue to move in this direction.
    Meanwhile, it was also somewhat surprising to hear that some critics are asked to withhold their reviews for a few days, while others are invited to post theirs immediately. Since Sean mentioned that this difference is sometimes based on the kind of relationship the critic has with the studio, it would be essential to remember as a prospective film critic to maintain a positive relationship with the studios if at all possible. However, it seems like it would be helpful to determine the particular reasons why studios have these guidelines, as well.
    1) From the readings, I was surprised to learn more about what actually qualifies as a special effect. I think that I had previously considered special effects to be graphics and other more modern methods, while also including animation. For whatever reason, I had held examples like the model car in “Back to the Future” or the model ape in “King Kong” in a different category. Perhaps I created this distinction because the previous examples involved using real, tangible objects rather than computer-generated ones.
    3) I agree with the proposed reasons that superheroes have remained popular. It seems that we want to find ourselves in a lot of them. For example, many people could likely relate to Steve Rogers, who was previously an underdog, but became a superhero partly through determination and resourcefulness. However, he still faces many struggles in his life, like losing many of the people that were important to him after being considered dead for decades.
    People likely look up to superheroes with flaws because it gives them hope that despite the possibility of things being difficult in their own lives, they still have the potential to accomplish great things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      The more prestige a critic gains, the more impact she or he will have on the industry. This benefits the critic and the studio as well.

      Special effects has always been influenced by technology and I believe that will continue.

      Yep – we all have potential for greatness (just like superheroes) if we’re willing to fight through the struggles and focus on the goals.

      Like

  4. Mallory Moore says:

    1. Share something that you learned from Sean’s approach to film criticism and why you think it matters for rising film critics.

    Sean O’Connell’s advice for rising film critics was to write every day, and every time you watch a movie. From listening to him, I learned that this is important because even the best and most entertaining film critics weren’t writing perfectly their first time. They had to practice a lot before writing reviews started coming naturally to them. If we don’t practice writing reviews and thinking critically about each movie we watch, we won’t get better.

    1. What insight did you gain from the history of special effects/disaster films (digital or otherwise)?
    Since I am very interested in film history, I always like to learn about landmark films that paved the way for the advanced movies we have today. Since I tend to be technology repellent, I haven’t been interested in special effects in the past because all the terms tend to go over my head. But I liked reading about Jason and the Argonauts and its use of stop motion, since it seems to be such an important mark in the development of special effects. I can’t imagine how much meticulous work was put into filming that!

    2. How has your understanding of science fiction changed after reading the material?
    I always thought of science fiction as a nerdy genre, rather than a space for people to express thoughts that will not be accepted in a regular, modern setting. I think that if I watched some of the early science fiction pictures, I might laugh at the effects that seem silly today. After reading this material, however, I also might try to think about what political/ moral statements the filmmakers were trying to make.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      You will definitely get better and stronger a as writer the more you do it.

      Stop motion was always intriguing to me.It is still used today in some instances as well.

      Making statements about society is truly an important part of sci-fi/

      Like

  5. 1. Share something that you learned from Sean’s approach to film criticism and why you think it matters for rising film critics.

    I loved Sean’s advice to write everyday, and to write every time you watch something. When I first started composing music, I did it as a hobby, but my teacher told me if I was serious about becoming a composer, I needed to write music everyday and anytime I could. This tremendously impacted my composing, and I think the same applies to criticism, just as Sean said.

    2. How has your understanding of science fiction changed after reading the material?

    I think many people (including myself) have a tendency to assume that science fiction is always about outer space or aliens. It was a good reminder to know that science fiction is a much wider genre than merely outer space films. I also never realized the extent of science fiction’s cultural statements. Science fiction seems to oftentimes be categorized as either brainless or childish, but this post reminded me of the important cultural and historical themes that science fiction films have covered in the past.

    3. Do you agree with the themes/reasons why comic book superhero films continue to find success? Why or why not?

    I agree most with Nicholas’ statement that “superheroes are also flawed human beings, real people who must overcome their problems.” I think one of the major appeals in a character is their flaws, and a film’s incorporation of these flaws is what leads to major success. It’s easy to make a movie’s hero (especially a superhero) a perfect individual, who never makes mistakes and always makes the right, honest decision. What isn’t easy is creating a hero with flaws that people relate to, and even allowing for that hero to make mistakes. This approach draws in audiences and finds success with viewers, because we all make mistakes. We are flawed, accident-prone individuals, and it only makes sense to have heroes that face those same struggles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      Christian –

      And do you? Write every day?

      I’m glad that you gained a deeper understanding of sci-fi at the levels of cultural and societal significance.

      Flawed or broken individuals are always interesting to me as well because the feel natural and real. Because in reality we’re all that way.

      Like

      1. I do write every day! Some days I don’t want to, and some days the writing is terrible, but in the end, it’s definitely the best way to get better at Anything.

        Very true about flawed characters; even if we can’t relate to flying or having super-strength, we all can relate to those imperfections we see in superheroes.

        Like

  6. alicebyrd20 says:

    My understanding of science fiction has become more structured, if that makes sense. I understood what science fiction was (read: fiction rooted in science experiments, space travel, ALIENS! Or generally anything a 13-year-old boy likes) but I never was really aware of the different categories the different kinds of movies fell into. I also tend to think of sci-fi films as cheesy and overly-reliant on special effects – this probably comes from my impression of early sci-fi films, and it makes sense that they would have tons of poorly done special effects. For one, the filmmakers were trying to represent a literal space and time with different technology and people that didn’t quite exist yet. Secondly, the present technology hadn’t caught up with the time they were envisioning. Look at the difference between the original Star Wars and the new Star Wars released recently; the special effects, weapons, gadgets, spacecraft, and even other beings look like cave paintings to what was in the new version. In 2016, we have the means to take viewers centuries ahead of our time, which has taken the genre to an entirely different and exciting level of filmmaking capability.

    I agree with the reasoning that comic book and superhero films are successful because audiences can relate to the “superhero” character to some degree – if you look at films like Suicide Squad, or the X-Men series, this argument holds less water. In those films, these are not real people who put on a special suit or mask and become a crime fighting vigilante; these are deranged criminals (Suicide Squad) and literal super humans (X-Men) who have been completely outcast from society. Batman is not the same as Wolverine; Bruce Wayne gets to take the bat-cape off at the end of the night while Logan has will always have adamantium for bones. The example used was Peter Parker and Spiderman, and that works really well for this reasoning. Parker can literally become someone else and do whatever he wants; “By assuming that identity, by becoming another person, Peter actually sheds his worries, doubt, and self-consciousness.” A lot of individuals would like to do this. Even I want to become someone else, totally free of my own anxieties, on occasion. One thing that I do really agree with is one of the closing statements, that “superheroes have taken ahold of society because they have a truly universal appeal.” This is so incredibly accurate. Everyone understands the language of the superhero.

    Finally, something that I thought was interesting from Sean O’Connell’s interview, regarding his approach to film criticism, was that he “put his nose to the grindstone” and pursued a career in film criticism because he was so passionate about it. He didn’t necessarily break into the scene with one excellent interview that got everyone’s attention and launched a career; he had a much more normal career trajectory that allowed him to build a portfolio of reviews and gain experience over time, not all at once. He also spoke on that fact that he was constantly looking for the next opportunity and had a lot of “stick-to-it” determination that allowed him to do an assignment well, but also keep an open eye for other opportunities as they arose. I think those are both important traits to have within any industry, and especially when it comes to having a career in film criticism.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      This captures what special effects drive sci-fi films always benefit from technology: “Look at the difference between the original Star Wars and the new Star Wars released recently; the special effects, weapons, gadgets, spacecraft, and even other beings look like cave paintings to what was in the new version.” Well done.

      Really, really strong thoughts on the superhero/super villain differences.

      Always being open to the next possibility is important to everyone -not just film critics.

      Thanks Alice

      Like

  7. kmanning2 says:

    1. Share something that you learned from Sean’s approach to film criticism and why you think it matters for rising film critics.

    I felt that Sean O’Connell brought up an interesting point when he was talking about some of the smaller films that he gets to review. I’ve always thought of film reviews as being mainly beneficial for the readers. Your review can help them decide if they’re interested enough to buy a ticket and see the movie. But, your review can also help or hurt a studio. Sometimes, O’Connell gets to see smaller budget films, and he has the opportunity to get the word out as to whether it’s a movie worth seeing or not. I think that’s a great way to look at it. The film critic is sort of the intermediary between studios (no matter how big or small) and audiences.

    As a rising film critic, I think it’s important for me to realize what entities will be affected by my writing. As I reviewer, I have a voice. Collectively, film critics have the power to convince people to seek out these smaller budget films. This, in turn, can help the studios that made them.

    1. What insight did you gain from the history of special effects/disaster films (digital or otherwise)?

    I’ve never been very interested in special effects, mostly because I associate them with movies such as Lord of the Rings, Planet of the Apes, or Spiderman. I don’t typically go for these fantasy-type (“make believe” movies. However, reading these articles opened my eyes to a whole new perspective.

    I’m a huge fan of movies that relate to medical drama of some sort. Fake blood, dead bodies, surgeries – these are all types of special effects. These articles made me realize that I am impacted by effects much more than I originally thought.

    4. While exploring “Reviewing for Radio, TV & Beyond” you should notice some differences and similarities. What similarities do you feel are the most relevant when reviewing films (regardless of the medium of distribution)? Why?

    After reading these articles, I’ve found some similarities that are extremely relevant no matter the platform used.

    First of all, I think that being well researched is very important. Know what you’re talking about. Watch the movie, and pay attention to details. Take notes. Even though it works for some things, I don’t think you can just “wing it” for movie reviews. You have to be prepared.

    You also have to know how to keep a solid ratio between amount of words used and the effectiveness of those words. The review should be kept relatively short, while also making sure that you get your point across to the reader, viewer, or listener.

    Another similarity comes in giving the strengths and weaknesses of the film. This is what your audience truly wants to know, regardless of the format used.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      Great catch Kathryn -Yes the film critic can sometimes make or break certain films -especially the small ones.

      Being drawn to films that provide -“Fake blood, dead bodies, surgeries” will definitely allow me to offer you some film selections that may hold your interest.

      Great points to remember -know what you’re talking about, make sure you relay the point/message of the film, make sure your audience knows what does and doesn’t work.

      Thanks Kathryn

      Like

  8. 1. Share something that you learned from Sean’s approach to film criticism and why you think it matters for rising film critics.
    It was interesting to see how he got started as a film critic. He seems to want to let people know what he thinks about movies but his restricted by what he can say via the publishing companies. So going towards each film with the idea of sharing his passion for film is a lesson to young critics to share their love for film and critics.

    1.What insight did you gain from the history of special effects/disaster films (digital or otherwise)?
    As video/film student, SFX have always fascinated me. Disaster films have come a long way in terms of visuals (“The Day After Tomorrow” for example) as compared to past films. Seeing the imagination behind old films and how they managed to pull off the effects is amazing to me. I love doing that kind of stop motion. I wish some of it happened to arrive in film today just for fun.

    2.How has your understanding of science fiction changed after reading the material?
    How to explain how i view Sci-Fi. It really Is interesting how it distorts perception and makes things that are not social norms completely acceptable. Nothing can be more entertaining to me than seeing a dystopian future or an alien invasion on screen. though sci-fi has changed over the years to include a wider variety of content it still has the same basic traits of a focus on who we are and how we relate to the people around us. For that, sci-fi will always hold a place in my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      Benjamin – This nailed it for me: Sci-fi “has the same basic traits of a focus on who we are and how we relate to the people around us. ” Thanks for sharing

      Like

  9. brittany parker says:

    Share something that you learned from Sean’s approach to film criticism and why you think it matters for rising film critics.

    In Sean’s interview, I thought it was interesting how he explained how he went from a free gig to a career. He stated that you have to have a love for it, and then you find your voice, a place to share it, and then you work your way to a career. He started writing for a magazine, which was non-paid. He then turned the internship into a paid career with patience and hard work. He used his time working for free, to build his portfolio, so he would have something to show in the future. This shows that if you want a career in the film industry, being a critic, you must be willing to work for free, and work hard with little to no recognition, and the career will eventually follow.

    1 What insight did you gain from the history of special effects/disaster films (digital or otherwise)?

    I thought the history of special effects was quite interesting. I knew that in the early years, the special effects were done differently than now, of course due to new technology. But reading the different ways they filmed the effects were intriguing. I never realized that they used these techniques, and personally, I think it’s very creative how they managed to do so.

    2 How has your understanding of science fiction changed after reading the material?

    I’ve never been a big fan of science fiction. It’s just not something that interests me. But after reading the material on this, my viewpoint changed a little. I thought it was interesting how it talked about science fiction investigating themes that other genres couldn’t explore on a deeper level. I’ve never thought of it that way. Or that they answer, “what if” questions, and that they stretch the limits, and their settings are so far-fetched, that they can really do anything and get away with it. Even if it’s something that would typically upset society.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. noeltmanning says:

    Brittany – Sean is probably the best example of someone who found a way to do this professionally without being tied to one entity.

    Which technique did you find the most interesting or unique in special effects?

    Upsetting society in the 1950s particularly was something that could happen with non-sci-fi films.

    Like

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