Friday, June 7, 2013

Student Films; Teen Film Contest; Final Exam

Please turn in your homework (see previous post). This morning we will screen the films that have been turned in.

Jose's Dating Video by Neriah and Jack
Aerosol by Hannah
Urecells by Tim, Dominic, Darren, Caleb

After watching the films, please help yourself to bagels. If you have not yet turned in your film, please realize that your projects are past due (after the extension--the films were originally due on Monday, June 3) and must be turned in today for credit. We will then take our final exam/essay and the State survey.

During testing, please complete the final exam for film studies, then with time remaining (if any) complete the State survey. Hand both in at end of class today.

That's it for this class. See a blockbuster this summer and think about what you learned about film studies and production! Have a great summer! Good luck on finals!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Film Projects Due! Home Video, CGI, and The Modern Blockbuster

Your film projects are due today.

Please allow 10 minutes or so at the end of class to render your film (this takes a bit of time!)

When you complete your film, please upload it to Youtube and send me the address link. You will also need to save your MP4 file on my jumpdrive for storage.

HOMEWORK: Please read the articles on Home Video, CGI, Toy Story, and the Modern Blockbuster. For each chapter (4) identify 3 things that you found interesting, important, or confusing. List these items on a separate note sheet to use for your quiz/reflection next class (after which you will turn in the homework). Additionally, please read and view the material below for next class: 
Sony unveiled their VTR (video tape recorder) in 1967, but it wasn't until the 1970's that it took the world by storm. The early versions cost a prohibitive $1,000 to $4,000! That's about 8-10 I-phones and at least as many TiVos. Watching movies in your home again threatened the movie industry, but under the Betamax VCR (1975) viewers could watch pornography without feeling guilty about it (the internet had not yet established itself). As fall-out, the porn and "X" film production grew and later would help release a whole host of B-films which would not receive a wide release in cinemas.

Steven Spielberg (American New Wave director/Auteur) filmed his blockbuster Jaws in 1975. The success of the book and the film began to show the possibility of mass-produced entertainment and give film a legitimacy through popular culture. There were few film programs in colleges and schools at this time. You may recall Spielberg's other work (mostly blockbusters, like Jaws). After the Blockbuster phenomenon, film gained much attention (and money). Writers like Michael Crichton and Stephen King became quite wealthy as popular authors since so many people went to see the movies based on their books. Now, bestsellers almost always get made into films as a way to capitalize on profits (J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter, for example). Stan Lee is also doing nicely recently.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
E.T. (1982)

George Lucas on the other hand created the single most influential film in the 1970's with his space opera (part IV) of the seminal Star Wars (1978). Both Jaws and Star Wars became the first two films to make more than $100 million, rocketing both directors into fame!

Star Wars (1977)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and the famous "melting face scene just for fun - SPOILER."

In 1982 the film Tron (1982) effectively used CGI for its special effects. Since then CGI has been married to the Hollywood Blockbuster.

Westworld (1973) (same author as Jurassic Park)
The Black Hole (1979)
Star Trek (1979) (VO by Orson Welles)

As you might note, CGI greatly improved the sci-fi genre.

Now, the goal of Hollywood remains to produce a blockbuster film. These are traditionally action-packed epics chock-ful of CGI and special effects. Many films also are mass produced so that even if the film fails at the box office, the production company can make back a loss by selling the music tracks, toys, or DVD's.

Recent blockbusters include:
Avatar (2009) $2,782,275,172 Billion
Titanic (1997) $2,185,246,990 Billion
The Avengers (2012) $552.7 Million (and counting)
The Dark Knight (2008) $533 Million
Spider Man (2002) $403.7 Million
E.T. (1982) $359.2 Million (see clip above)
Jurassic Park (1993) $357.1 Million
Forrest Gump (1994) $329.7 Million

Top 100 Box Office Blockbusters of All Time It pays to be a producer!

And for perspective, the top three films that flopped:

Cutthroat Island (1995) loss of $147 Million
The Alamo (2004)  loss of $146 Million (we lost the battle as well)
The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002) loss of $145 Million

Sunday, June 2, 2013

American New Wave & Film Project

Please turn in your homework from last class. Use your time in the lab today to either complete your homework (see below), to read the last articles for this class (due by Friday) or, obviously, complete your film project. Film projects are due by end of next class. If you finish your project, please let me know and I'll explain how to prepare it for the film contest, uploading to Youtube and/or saving the file on a jump drive.
A note about the end of this course:
We will not have time to complete this course this year. What are we missing? Well, plenty. But the units that I will reserve for next year's Writing Across Cultures class include: Blaxploitation films, French and Italian cinema, and dogma 95. This year, we will end by reading about the home video invasion, blockbusters, and CGI in film. 
This summer: your homework is to watch a summer blockbuster and put it in perspective to what you've learned in this class as regards film history, style, technique, or relevance.

HOMEWORK: American New Wave Directors: Please watch at least 3 clips from any films by at least one of these directors (search on for example). Titles of some appropriate films are listed in your article and from your reading. Please post a response to the forum question by next class on your response to the American New Wave directors. This is part of your homework.
  • Woody Allen
  • Robert Altman
  • Hal Ashby
  • Peter Bogdanovich
  • John Cassavetes
  • Francis Ford Coppola
  • Brian De Palma
  • William Friedkin
  • Dennis Hopper
  • George Lucas
  • Mike Nichols
  • Bob Rafelson
  • Martin Scorsese
  • Steven Spielberg
With the change in restrictions based on the rating system from the MPAA, content in films gets grittier, more violent, more sexual, and more...well...Hollywood. View a few clips of famous films and film categories developed in the 1960's. You may watch any 1960 film for extra credit, just like you might have done for the 1930's, 1940's, and 1950's.

1960's Epic/Costume Drama Films:
Spartacus (1960) Tony Curtis, Laurence Olivier, Charleton Heston
El Cid (1961) Charleton Heston
Cleopatra (1963) Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton
Becket (1964) Richard Burton & Peter O'Toole
The Sound of Music (1965) Julie Andrews & Christopher Plumber
Doctor Zhivago (1965)
The Lion in Winter (1968) Peter O'Toole & Katherine Hepburn

Angry Young Man Films:
Look Back in Anger (1959)
The Loneliness of the Longdistance Runner (1962)
The Caretaker (1963)
The Leather Boys (1963)
If (1968)
Easy Rider (1969)

Beatles' Films
A Hard Day's Night (1964)
Help! (1965)
Yellow Submarine (1968)

Famous/Influential Directors:

Stanley Kubrick: Lolita (1962), Dr. Strangelove (1964)
John Ford: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
George Pal: The Time Machine (1960), Jason & the Argonauts (1963), One Million Years BC (1966)
John Frankenheimer: The Young Savages (1961), The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
Arthur Penn: The Miracle Worker (1962), Bonny & Clyde (1967), Alice's Restaurant (1969)
Alfred Hitchcock: Psycho (1960), The Birds (1963), Marnie (1964), Torn Curtain (1966)
James Bond Films: Dr. No (1962), Goldfinger (1964)

African American Films:
Sidney Poitier: A Raisin in the Sun (1961), Lilies of the Field (1963), To Sir With Love (1967), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) and the full film (Guess Who's Coming to Dinner)

Now, complete your film projects!

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