Friday, June 19, 2009

Preparing for ACMI

We began on Monday by reviewing the three areas of Reading & Responding.
1. How the director/author constructs meaning
2. Characterisation
3. Themes/ideas/values

Due to our upcoming visit to ACMI we started by discussing how a director constructs meaning. How is it different to how an author constructs meaning? We decided that in some ways how a director constructs meaning is quite similar to an author eg via plot, structure, setting, context, narrative viewpoint, imagery, symbolism, characterisation etc.

Film-makers/directors also construct meaning in ways unique to their medium. Sarah Watt is the director of Look Both Ways. She has constructed this visual text. Your brief before we went to ACMI was to familiarise yourself with the four main elements of film style:

1. Mise en scene – ‘staging in action’. Refers to all visual elements within a frame.
Four elements of mise en scene – setting, lighting, costumes & acting style. (This is when I used Matt, Jesse & Tim as an example and framed them for analysis)
2. Cinematography (camera distance, camera angle, camera movement)
3. Editing (crosscutting, montage)
4. Sound (dialogue, sounds of actions, music soundtrack)

Other key terms we focused on were:
Animations - associated with Meryl the illustrator
Photomontage - associated with Nick the photojournalist

On Wednesday we watched the first thirty minutes of the film. I put a character map on the board to show how all the characters are connected. The film contains parallel narratives that are tied together by common ideas and themes. So after outlining who the different characters were we looked at how Watt was linking their stories together - Rob's accident, the Southern Mail photo, Andy's article, the birds, the soundtrack.

I asked based on the little you had watched what you thought the main themes were going to be. Your responses were: death, fear, grief. The opposite of death - life! Look Both Ways! It's all about perception!

Not a bad two lessons work!

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