Readying year two students for their Independent study

[video width="720" height="540" m4v="http://blogs.osc-ib.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Planning-the-Independent-Study.m4v"] This post is a transcript of a presentation (above) which I made to my own students following feedback on their first attempts in identifying topics and tackling a rationale for their Independent studies. The Independent Study The rationale – maximum 100 words The screenplay -  8 to 10 pages (no gaps or unnaturally large margins – examiners have seen this all before) The annotated list of sources What is the IS? A research paper A highly engaging potential documentary film ...

An exercise for introducing narrative complexity to new film students

This is an assignment which I've been using for a long time now, but it is thought provoking and attempts to position new film students thinking about how images alone can have huge narrative potential. Formerly I used it as an intro to semiotics (anchoring signs to more specific interpretations, enigma and action codes etc.) but this could equally be attached to other critical approaches to narrative such as Propp, Todorov or Campbell, and adapted directly to the hero/ine's journey or three ...

Exercise exploring film making techniques – Shot selections

The following is one in a series of simple exercises to encourage film students thinking about the mechanics of film making, and reflecting on creative choices made by film makers as conscious and intentional. My intention is that these exercises slot into the first semester of IB Film. Hopefully they will be a useful resource towards discussions leading to production portfolios, oral presentation and introducing the basic idea of supporting analytical ideas with actual examples of film language, the lingua franca ...

Identifying generic cues in films

This is a table which seeks to set out some of the repertoires of elements (this is a slightly outdated way of studying genre but it works for this exercise) that are evident is three classic genre movies, they are by no means comprehensive but their function is to provide a resource for teachers of IB film Thidea is to use them to have students explore genre without getting caught up in plot. For example I chose the Public enemy as my ...

An exercise using The three point lighting system

The three point lighting system was/is the standard approach to lighting in Hollywood films (dominated by the needs for consistent lighting of Stars, the main attraction for Hollywood films - see Richard Dyer Stars). While fairly proscriptive the  system a good framework to begin thinking about lighting. It also permits a broad range of effects merely by the use of different coloured gels in different sources, and setting different strengths for each lighting source.  It can lead to interesting discussions of ...

Exploring gender representations in the independent study

This post is an attempt to explain how one can approach the subject of representations in reading movie narratives, and to be taken seriously in the independent study. My primary intention is to offer some weight to those of you who might have students interested in exploring gender representations. Far too many independent study about gender representations confine themselves to the unfairness or narrowness of stereotypes as perceived through plot device. When what they should do is to use the ...

More scaffolding learning for the independent study

Documentary B-roll project B-rolls, according to Wikipedia, are the supplemental or alternative footage intercut with the main shot in an interview or documentary. More often the b-roll is the sole source of visual material and some of the audio material, all held together within the dialectic of a documentary by a voice-over narration an example of clever use of the b-roll is in The power of nightmares (Adam Curtis 2004 UK) In this research project you will be expected to construct a B-roll for a ...

A first exercise towards the independent study

As we all know, the independent study for IB film is a monstrously complex beast of a summative assessment task. For those of you who have read some of my earlier posts, in particular my reviews of the 2013 examiners' report, the section devoted to the independent study made very strong recommendations that IB film teachers try to scaffold the learning of their students so that they don't have to tackle understanding the ins and outs of this task while ...

The studio system and film texts

By Saturday, January 25, 2014 , , , , 0

In the student blog This month I posted an entry which offers an introduction to the Hollywood studio system through the lens of the star system (most students seem to find this route palatable). I realised in writing this, and the significant degree of editing it required (which still ended up at 1200 words) that this topic is enormous and if taught with passion and organisation can be hugely engaging and relevant for most students. Allowing them to discover classics of ...

Examination Report 2013 part 3 – The Independent Study

In my blogs entries over the last month or so I've ben reviewing the 2013 examiners' report. I've divided these so that I can explore the observations on each of the three assessment components in detail. In this entry I'll try to interpret observations made on the Independent studies submitted for examination in 2013. As a supplement to this I would recommend a document I wrote for my own students, based on my observations from the scripts I examined during the May ...