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Friday, Sept 27

September 27, 2013

Songwriting: Today you turned in your first drafts of songs from the Soundcloud page. We then heard two songs: “Silent All These Years” by Tori Amos, and “The Long Black Veil” by Johnny Cash. Both are very different. One is diffuse and abstract, with a very unusual structure (what seems to be a chorus would more accurately be described at the “middle eight,” or bridge). The other is a tightly-constructed story in the old folk tradition, with an impeccable rate of revelation. (Old Survey term concerning the speed at which we get details of a story. You don’t wanna give away too much too soon; this song is a great example because each verse contains a new revelation.)

But both are, in essence, songs about the same thing: cheating (and being cheated on), and the response to it. Again, there’s no single way to get at a subject.

Then we brainstormed some titles, and picked two to work on in groups (set to Track #2). Better not give them away here! We’ll work more on these next week.

Critical Reading: Watched and discussed this commercial from Chipotle:

If you were absent, please get the notes from a classmate, specifically on subtext, inference, and implication.

Homework: Critical Reading 9.27.13 – Ad Analysis Assignment due next Friday.

Public Speaking: Today we heard the final “Road Not Taken”/”Do Not Go Gentle” presentations. Then we watched the beginning of three TED videos:

This one, by Richard St. John, began with a story:

This one, by chef Jamie Oliver, began with a startling statement:

And this one, by Simon Sinek, began with a question:

In each case, the speaker managed to hook the audience’s attention through a different device. St. John’s story (and his PowerPoint) gave images and humanity to his abstract terms (passion, serve, ideas, etc.). Oliver presented a series of startling facts, including one having to do with the expected lifespan of audience members’ kids. (He also involved the audience with an easy question to which he knew most people would answer “yes.”) Sinek presented three different, well-known examples to illustrate his question: Why do some people/organizations become successful? (Apple, the Wright Bros. MLK Jr.) He then answered the question with a simple but effective diagram he called “The Golden Circle,” which illustrated his idea that successful people think in a completely opposite way to the rest. (And he teased the rest of his talk by stating that there is biological proof of what he claimed.)

We discussed some of this by introducing two new terms: “pre-opening” and “post-opening.” The pre-opening of a speech is optional. It simply means that you’re reacting to some environmental situation that can’t be ignored (like, say, a body lying in front of your podium). It could also be a heckler, or a podium that’s two feet too short, or tall. There’s a certain amount of improv involved in this, which is why it’s always a great idea to get to the venue early and check the environment out before you speak, if you can.

A post-opening, on the other hand, is the follow-up to your opening, and the transition into the body of your speech. The TED folks recommend using the post-opening to tell the audience exactly what you’re going to do. (For example: “I’ve discovered three secrets to keeping a secret, which I want to share with you now.”)

No assignment for Monday, but please remember that your third recitation is due Wednesday. I’ll have the grades for the second round, and some comments, on Monday.

Press: The usual.

8th Grade: Characters collide! A writing prompt, followed by another You Oughtta Know That! — the difference between who and whom. For next week: affect and effect.


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