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Friday, February 7

February 7, 2014
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Pulp: Work. Be ready to get letters out next week. Also, I gave out fundraising forms. Everyone on staff is responsible for raising $30. Ask teachers. Ask businesspeople. Ask family and friends. Sponsors have their names listed in the journal, and get the satisfaction of knowing they supported a worthy (and award-winning) endeavor.

Reading for Writers: Today you were given the first section of A Wolf at the Table by Augusten Burroughs. Please have it read (completely) by next Friday. That is all!

Daily Prompt: Today the prompt involved you finding three tweets that struck your fancy from Twitter. Then I had you pick a character description at random, and you had to write about that character’s response to the tweet. If you were absent, here’s the list of characters — pick one and complete this exercise on your own.

That entry will be one of your four required entries for Monday. The “dread” response is the second. And you have to come up with two others on your own.

We will have a notebook check Monday, followed by our regular reading. Remember, you have to read to get points.

BatCat: Today we tried out some marbling, continued working on sending emails and design ideas. Don’t forget to fill out a weekly report (only for those who are enrolled in the class. If you’re a Friday-only person, it’s optional, though recommended, if you did something I wasn’t aware of).

8th Grade:  We talked about Western literary history. I gave you seven literary eras, with a great writer and a great work from each (there was a handout with artists’ renderings — OK, my drawings — of the authors in question):

1. The Classic Era. Epic poetry was the thing, because it was recited instead of read. Homer, the blind poet, wrote some of the most famous works of this B.C. period, including The Odyssey.

2. The Old English Era. Skip forward about 1500 years, to around 1000 A.D. Epic poetry is still a thing. Beowulf, a poem about a brave fellow who has to kill a monster named Grendel (and his mom!), is written by someone whose name we don’t know. But we do remember the poem.

3. The Elizabethan Era. Late 16th-early 17th century. Named for the reign of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth I. A guy named William Shakespeare gets pretty famous writing poetry (sonnets), but also plays. Like Romeo and Juliet.

4. The Romantic Era. Early 19th century. The Romantics write lots of formal poetry, much of it about nature and beauty. Lord Byron, otherwise known as George Gordon, is one of the best-known romantics. His work includes the poem “Darkness.”

5. The Victorian Era. Mid-19th century. Poetry is the most popular literary form until now, when serialized novels by authors like Charles Dickens make fiction the dominant style. (A Christmas Carol is more of a novella, but you get the idea.)

6. The 20th Century, Pt. 1. Fiction is popular, but poetry ain’t dead just yet. Robert Frost fights against the growing move toward free verse and becomes hugely popular. “The Road Not Taken” may be his best-known poem.

7. The 20th Century to present. Fantasy fiction becomes more and more popular. Pick your favorite author. Tolkien. Rowling. Meyer. All represent the ascendance of fantasy. Which in a way, brings us right back where we started. Neat, huh?

Quiz next Thursday.

We watched the Twilight Zone episode “Man In The Bottle” in the second half of class, and you made some wishes (and explained how they might go wrong).

Survey: Screenwriting: Today started off with you filling out a response to Some Like It Hot: Screenwriting 2.7 – Some Like It Hot response, which we briefly discussed and then collected.

In class, we discussed several issues: What makes a movie ‘good?’ What’s the difference between the experience of reading a book and watching a film? (If you were absent, get notes from a friend.) We then talked about spectacle, which can be thought of as something special/unusual/notable that is seen.

There are really two kinds of spectacle we’re going to be talking about here. “Big spectacle” are things that you will [likely] never see in you life, and can include things like outer space, explosions, dismembered bodies, aliens, etc. “Quiet spectacle” are things that you don’t see everyday, or things from someone else’s life, such as crossdressers, extraordinarily beautiful (or ugly) people/things, cruise ships, big fights, etc. Sometimes there is crossover between these two categorizations, and that’s totally ok – this is just one way to break spectacle down.

Your homework, due Monday, is here: Screenwriting 2.7 – Assignment 1 Spectacle. Note that by the categorizations above, the first three descriptions from your life would probably be categorized as “quiet.” The other three, from your imagination, could be anything, including “big.”

I also handed out the handbook, which you should hang on to (but you do not need to read it yet – only if you want to get ahead): Screenwriting – Handbook 2012.

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