Monday, 13 February 2012

Storytelling OGR

OGR Stuffs


  1. OGR 14/01/2012

    Hey Meg,

    Okay - you know my feelings about this story - it has bags of potential, but there's a problem with your Act 1 - and it's simply this: it's not 'in' your story yet that the daughter is dead. She could just be on earth still. You need to find a means of 'showing' the specifics of the significance of his isolationism and that photograph or risk audiences missing all the resonances of your story. If we saw him crying, for example - or if there was also some newspaper archive info available to him; indeed, this being a sc-fi set story, the 'photograph' could be a holo-emitter-type affair, so the girl is actually skipping in the centre of the room - and somehow, he reaches out to touch her; if you also showed evidence of him drinking heavily - a half bottle of something and a glass etc. I think they do something similar in Spielberg's Minority Report. I think we need to see him interacting with the skipping rope somehow too - just his fingers deriving comfort from the wooden handle or something. Essentially, you need a slower first act - and I think you need to get some repetition of routine in there; so, act 1 shows him checking dials and gauges, then going back to his quarters, watching the holo-emitted snap-shot of his dead daughter, drinking himself to sleep - and then we see this exact same routine played out again, and maybe a third time, and it's on the third time that the story starts properly. You need to stuff your world with clues to show time passing - and maybe too, you could have a scene very early on when a message comes through on a computer screen from earth - something like "Just checking in - it's been six months. It can get lonely up there" - and your character types 'I'm fine. I like it. It's why I volunteered'... The upshot is this, you need a much more sustained, more info-tastic Act 1, or I think what's rich and potent about your story will not be carried by the plot.

  2. There's nothing here about your assignment :( But, see below - some general stuff I'll be issuing to everyone.

    1,500 word written assignment that analyses critically one film in terms of the relationship between story and structure; you should consider camera movement, editing, and order of scenes.

    Okay - so while the challenge of the assignment doesn’t state it explicitly, as soon as you start to discuss narrative, editing or sorts of shots, you’ll be using a technical or specialist language – with specific terms with specific histories and contexts. Therefore, in common with all your assignments so far (and all future assignments!), you need to introduce and define your specialist/technical terms BEFORE you start discussing your specific film or case-study.

    For example, if you were planning to discuss the famous shower scene from Psycho, which is an example of ‘montage editing’ – you would first need to introduce and define the term ‘montage editing’ – and in so doing, refer to its origins and cultural ancestry (i.e. its broadest context). In written assignments you have to ‘show that you know’ – you have to demonstrate your knowledge of the subject area by showing that YOU understand its various components. You couldn’t discuss Psycho’s shower scene effectively WITHOUT referencing Sergei Eisenstein (the ‘father’ of montage editing), and, by extension, the ‘rules’ of Hollywood ‘invisible editing’ (from which Eisensteinian editing was such a departure).

    Likewise, if you were interested in the ‘continuous take’ of ‘Rope’ – then in order to discuss this technique in context, you’d still have to introduce and define ‘editing’ in general terms, in order to prove Rope’s distinctiveness.

    If you’re dealing with narrative structures – i.e. the ‘non-linear’ structures of Christopher Nolan’s Momento or Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, you first need to demonstrate your awareness and understanding of the ideas and uses of ‘non-linearity’ in story more generally.

    Another reoccurring weakness in your assignments is your introductions; remember, there is no actual content in your introduction.

    Your very first line should state plainly and clearly what the investigative thrust is of your assignment – and that’s all. “This assignment analyses critically the use of non-linear narrative in film, with particular reference to Christopher Nolan’s Momento (2000).”

    Job done! That’s it. No more – nothing else.

    Next, you list the KEY research sources you’ve used (i.e. the ones your essay will now go on to reference), and your reasons for consulting them (i.e. their usefulness to your argument). You should be specific here – give titles, authors and publishing date etc. Put your titles in italics. There should be no waffle here at all, so avoid sentences like ‘Sources include websites, books and films…’ Also, you don’t need to give the film you’re studying as a source, because that’s been made obvious by the first line of your introduction. If, however, you’re looking at some associated films, then you should include them here – but always give your reason for their usefulness to your discussion.

    Finally – your intro should offer the reader a summary of points – the logical sequence of subject matter that will take your reader from ‘not knowing’ about your subject to ‘understanding’ your subject. This is where you – the writer – must give this ‘logical sequence’ some proper thought – get this bit right and your assignment will flow from one point to the next in a satisfying way.