An assignment idea or discussion topic for learning some key technical concepts and terminology

Ok so you've 'done' shot types, used a powerpoint or projected stills. That's fab for the basics, but what about their implementation in actual films, why these shot selections or camera movement might have been deployed, this isn't at the whim of the DP or director, there is a grammar to how the camera is used with its own vocabulary. YOur students' discussions of films will have greater precision if they learn some of the appropriate term and how they're ...

Not sucking at the Independent Study

How independent studies are marked (by me). In today's post I've set out rather a lengthy document. This attempts to explain just how independent studies will be assessed using the current IB film criteria (at least by me and most of my team/s).  As examiners our role is to gauge as accurately as we possibly can, just how well your students' work performs against these descriptors. I've based my document and  the podcast on my reflections from marking and moderating the marks for more than 170 ...

An Idea for Story Development

If (for those of you in the northern hemisphere) your creative mojo is a little rusty after the long Summer vacation, here's an idea that might invite some story and plot development to get you back into the groove for the new academic year. The following scenario is one I've occasionally loaned to students during my time teaching film and media studies; it seems to help those suffering from a bit of writer's block. This is an account of an incident ...

Bond, Vermeer and eighteenth century English painting

By Tuesday, November 13, 2012 No tags 0

We went to see Skyfall this week, and particularly enjoyed the location spotting as former Londoners. However I was delighted and a little bemused by the use of the National Gallery as a location, my favourite central London haunt for many years, I know it quite well. What particularly struck me was the sequence where Bond meets Q in the Room filled with English 18th century pictures. In this particular sequence the film makers have sub-divided the frame placing Q's head within the ...

Using lighting to express ideas way beyond dialogue – Homeland Season 2, episode 5

By Tuesday, October 30, 2012 No tags 0

Recently I watched season two episode five of homeland, and remarked to my wife how the lighting was used in this crucial episode to communicate a key idea about the central character. Follow this link to see the creator Alex Gansa explain what is to happen in the episode. Included in the short sequence are key excerpts from the interrogation, which show how the use of lighting aids audience understanding and builds sympathy for the characters. It really is worth watching the whole ...

Toying with the 3 act structure and generic expectations

By Tuesday, October 16, 2012 No tags 0

Resolution and not resolution This week I've watched a couple of recent movies the first Hedwig and the angry inch  (John Cameron Mitchell US 2001) and 'This must be the place' (Paolo Sorrentino 2011 Italy/France/Ireland). Both pf these film were left rather oddly unresolved, in terms of a three act narrative structure, but were all the more satisfying because of this. In the first a post-modern musical, replete with in-jokes and intertextual references the story seemed to fall apart at the beginning of the ...

Three act narrative structure – attempting to add some protein

By Monday, September 24, 2012 No tags 0

I've been struck in attempting to teach something of the three act narrative structure just how dry and lacking in punch this is without setting a context. Indeed, I remember thinking to myself, So what! when I first learned about it back in the day. As a concept this silly formalist approach to film only began to make sense when my attention was drawn to a way it could be used as a critical tool for reading films in a cultural ...

An interesting take on the role of soundtrack

By Monday, September 10, 2012 No tags 0

Many thanks Howard Hampton for this article.   Quadrophenia: Jimmy vs. World It made me want to see the movie again, I guess I 've always had a soft spot for it. I saw it, and heard the album pretty much at their release, and I have a clear recollection of disappointment with the movie at the time, though by 1979 I wasn't really interested in the music of The Who, by then, according to my reeducation, and Strummer inspired prejudices, a 'rock opera' ...

Exciting, Cost-Effective Online Workshops from Triple A Learning

Here at Triple A Learning, we are constantly examining ways to extend our resources and workshops to meet the needs of IB schools and I would like to tell you about Triple A Learning workshops running alongside our existing IB-approved online workshops from October 8th, 2012. For fuller details about the content and structure of these workshops, please browse our workshop site by following this link. New Triple A Learning workshops (Scroll down and select Triple A Learning IB Workshops) Our own Triple ...

Would have been a travesty had it been made in the US

By Saturday, September 1, 2012 No tags 0

Watched Intouchables  last night (it's exhibition was planned to be indian style, as a village event outdoor, but the unpredictable Gascon weather and over cautious european health and safety intervened and it was projected in a salle de fetes). A terrific film, especially during the paralympics. It was utterly unsentimental and positive in its representation of disability, and offered a positive take on taking responsibility for one's life, despite disadvantages either social or physical. Brilliant performances from principals and supporting cast ...