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Wednesday, October 29

October 30, 2014
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CNF Workshop: Sorry, folks — no excuse for the tardy update. Slackin’. Today we finished rotation #2 with Bullock and began rotation #3 with Johnson and Nickel. For Monday: Lewis, Andrasko and Paul.

Screenwriting Workshop: Today we workshopped Ariana G. Both Abby and Haley are slated to go on Monday. Jenna will be on Wednesday.

Action Hero: Finished watching Labyrinth. Saw the masquerade twice for some reason — I’m scared to guess why.

Talked briefly about the difference between this film and more modern movies we’ve seen. Part of it might be down to shot length. Here’s an excellent story from last month’s Wired about the shorter and shorter shot lengths in films, from the beginning of the talkies to the present. (Consensus is that we’ve gone from average shot lengths in the mid-20 second range to a current average of less than three seconds.)

There are exceptions we mentioned — Cloverfield, which naturally had much longer shot lengths because it was shot to simulate a handheld camera filming footage — and the works of Woody Allen, who prefers much longer shots. (So do lots of actors, for reasons that I figure you can guess — is it really acting when your performance is chopped up as heavily as modern films usually demand?) Non-American films also tend to have longer shot lengths, as well.

The effect in an action film (as well as in a comedy), I think, is that in older examples, the pace really seems to drag. Shorter shot lengths might also let you do more with special effects because your brain really can’t process them fully; it’s one reason a CGI character like the Hulk needs to be onscreen only in controlled situations.

The Wired piece does make what might be a surprising assertion (unless you’re a gamer): that shorter shot lengths are actually not “dumbing down” cinema — they might just be a more natural fit for the way our brains work. So perhaps it’s not MTV et al that eroded attention spans: maybe our attention spans were always this short.

Back to the film — remember: we’re considering whether Labyrinth is an action hero’s journey. That will be part of the question I’ll ask on our next prompt.

BatCat: Stuff!

7/8 Lit Arts:

8th Grade:

Survey: Reading:

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