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Friday, October 10

October 10, 2014

Songwriting: Worked on adapting your lyrics to tracks 1, 4, 7 and 10. Your assignment for next week:

1. Finish whatever we asked you to do — rounding out a chorus, a verse, whatever. bring it with you!

2. Critique one of Mr. Cameron’s educational songs! Here’s the link.

Write a one-paragraph critique — similar to workshop format — where you talk about what you think works, and what doesn’t.

Critical Reading: Today we reviewed Foucault and talked about Benjamin’s idea for the panopticon, which was an architectural idea for a building (in which a guard tower stands in the center of the building, and cells all face the guard tower – this way, the prisoners could be watched at all times, or at least would have the impression of being watched at all times) and a metaphor. We talked about how the panopticon is a lot like, in many ways, Mettray from the Foucault reading, and in turn it would follow that the panopticon is also a model of sorts for our society. From here we went on to discuss your impressions on this idea.

Action Hero: We talked today about the moral code of the action hero. We started by discussing the student handbook and the way in which there is always a higher law — upon which written law is based, and which supercedes it on occasion.

Action heroes do what is right. Sometimes that lines up with written law, and sometimes — and this is true in almost all of the films we’ve watched so far — it doesn’t. If an action hero is recognizable by the “mortal stakes” of his or her actions, then the response to those situations is usually recognizable as “right” because even if it trumps written law, it is closer to what we perceive as a universal standard of rightness.

Frank Moses was willing to kill the Vice-President to save innocent people. The Vice-President was not innocent, probably deserved some sort of punishment, and in fact was willing — at least by his inaction — to endorse a plan that would have resulted in the deaths of many innocents. We can certainly talk about whether it is within the rights of man to serve as judge, jury and executioner — and we certainly will — but in this case, and under these circumstances, we recognize that Frank Moses’s claim to rightness trumps that of his adversaries. When in doubt, side with the innocent. We could apply the same logic to the actions of Luke Skywalker and his friends. (Although Luke, through his grounding in the Force, is less inclined to act violently, even to serve noble ends. Anakin gave in to that impulse, and it cost him dearly — it was a gateway to more hubris, more transgression, and more violence. Not everyone can choose the path of violence and emerge untainted.)

We spent the rest of class talking about the midterm. I am requiring you to write a minimum one-page, typewritten and single-spaced, treatment of a screenplay of an action hero’s journey. Follow this template for the unmade adaptation of Batman: Year One: write in present tense, minimize dialogue, and summarize scenes in separate paragraphs.

These treatments must be accompanied by a completed hero’s journey template, like the ones we’ve been using to analyze the films we’ve watched. You can adapt this template, but it must accompany your treatment.

These treatments are due on Wednesday, Nov. 5. They must be typewritten, including the template, or I can’t accept them.

What happens after this depends on you. You will have the option to turn your treatment into a complete screenplay, length TBD, for the final. Or you can choose to write an academic paper, subject TBD, instead. But everyone must do the treatment for the midterm, no exceptions.

BatCat Press: Gearing up for some serious book making. If you find any interesting materials over the weekend, bring them in! Especially papers or books that can be cannibalized for their illustrations – things like that.

8th Grade: Our final day of class. We read “I Hate” poems, talked about the differences between farther/further, affect/effect and gray/grey, reviewed use of the Oxford comma, and then had one more scavenger hunt. I also returned your finals from Mr. Cageao. It was a fun rotation — thanks for your participation!

Survey: Fiction: Today you took notes on character: central, protagonist, antagonist, minor, round, dynamic, and flat. If you were absent, make sure to get these terms from a classmate so that they are in your notes. You then started to work on your character dossiers. If you were absent or out for the student council meeting, this was an in-class assignment that will be continued on Monday, so don’t worry about making it up. You’ll catch up on Monday.

The story that was assigned this previous Monday is due this coming Monday (10/13). Hope you’ve been working on it!

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