Monday, August 25, 2014

Confusion of Week One

The first week of school is always the most stressful for me (and for everyone else, I imagine.)

Even provided with syllabi ahead of time, we still have to figure out exactly how the classes are structured, how the professor wants assignments, and what writing style we're to use. Professors clarify assignments and explain, change, or add things to the syllabus that weren't part of the original. On top of that, we have the hundreds of introductory posts by all the students that must be read, and then a couple replied to. When students make minimal comments like "Hi, nice to meet ya, good to have you in class" - and they do that for EVERY student, some of us tire of that quickly. So I always look forward to getting past that point - I never was one for small talk anyway.

This semester, we'll be writing loglines for five episodes of a current TV drama series and one full spec episode. (I'm doing Blue Bloods, so we're binge-watching all episodes. Thankfully, an idea has already formed itself and I'm already percolating the script.)

We'll also have to write a full-length feature film. Several ideas are bouncing around my head right now, but I haven't settled on one.

And by the end of next week, we'll have to turn in a short script for possible production at our school. This one terrifies me, even though it's the shortest - because it's due so quickly. I'll be carving out brainstorming time early this week just to figure out something.

Our viewing this week has mostly been Blue Bloods, but we also watched a few movies. Some of the movies don't have assignments attached to them - they're just for viewing purposes. In one class, we're assigned to groups and each group watches different movies and then critiques them.


Starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock

I LOVE space movies. Except this one. Wow. We watched the entire thing and I kept waiting for the movie to start. At the end, they put up the title graphic, and thought, "Good, now we can get to the story" - but then the final credits started rolling.

What were these stars thinking? I like both of them in other movies, but they must have needed a paycheck or something. I was flabbergasted to learn that this movie had been nominated for hundreds of awards, and even more astounded to learn it actually won 175 of them! Most are in cinematography, and that makes sense because visually, the movie is stunning.

Starring Dennis Quaid and Martin Short

I quit watching this one in the first 10 minutes. It was an "alternate" viewing option for First Blood, and since I had not seen it, I chose to view it instead. Now I'm waiting for First Blood to arrive so I can watch it again.

Written by Alec Coppel and Samuel Taylor
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Starring James Stewart and Kim Novak

We are required to write a 1000-word critique on this movie. It's going to be a chore, because my first impression of this one is that it's just one weird movie. As I'm researching academic articles discussing the film, I ran across a comment that gave me a little comfort though. The article writer quoted Kim Novak in a conversation she had with Alfred Hitchcock. She said, "There's a scene that bothers me. It doesn't make sense" and Hitchcock replied, "That's the point, my dear, that's the point." So I feel better - I totally got his point. The movie didn't make sense to me. The article writer goes on to say, "He loved to move things around and not always totally justify a scene on purpose, to keep the audience alert, to keep them participating." I'm not sure today's audiences would put up with that for very long.

The articles have given me a bit more appreciation for the film as a whole, though, so I'm eagerly reading as much as I can about it in hopes to understand a little more.

We also have a five-page essay on Citizen Kane due later this week, so I'm rewatching it as well. I'll have to seek out articles on this one as well - I understood it less than I did Vertigo.

Have you seen any of these movies? I'd love to hear your thoughts on them. 

Other recent movie lists:

A Blur of Television and Movies
Bridal Shower, Papers, and Movies
Confusion of Week One
My MFA Textbooks
Writing and Viewing the TV Drama
Rethinking Use of Color and Plot in Screenwriting
The Journey to an MFA in Screenwriting Begins


Brown, Royal S. “Back from among the Dead: The Restoration of Alfred Hitchcock's ‘Vertigo’.” Cineaste - America's Leading Magazine on the Art and Politics of the Cinema 07 1997: 4-9. ProQuest. Web. 25 Aug. 2014.

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