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Wednesday, May 10

May 10, 2017
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Poetry Workshop: Well, I messed up. Sorry for missing class, everyone. Our plan is to:

  1. Complete our comments/annotations for Round Eight (Hill) for Friday.
  2. Workshop four pieces (Cianfarano, Erb-White, Duffy, Hamilton) Friday. It’ll be challenging, but we can do it.
  3. Have your Round Nine poems on the blog by 8 a.m. Friday. Monday will probably be a mixed round: we’ll workshop Ohlund and HIll to complete Round 8, and then do the first couple from the Round 9 packets I’ll be giving you Friday.

Fiction Workshop: Today was a work day. Please have all four stories prepared for Friday. I would like to start class ASAP – if you need to use the restroom, do your makeup, Snapchat your grandma… do it by 8:50, and come upstairs ready to work.

Family Values: Short class because I was late, for which I apologize. We had a brief discussion of four different family types:

  1. Traditional nuclear families, which we will define as a man and a wife, who are married (for the first time), and who have children or at least seem to want them. This would be most of the shows we watched from the 1950s, and some (The Dick Van Dyke Show; The Flintstones; All in the Family; The Jeffersons) from later eras.
  2. Non-traditional families, which we will define as families missing a parent, or with some other different paternal arrangement (step-parents, blended families, etc.) The first show of this type we saw was really The Bob Cummings Show, in which single playboy Bob helps (badly) raise his nephew Chuck, whose mother is widowed. But we saw lots of widowed parents during the Sixties, which led to divorced parents during the Seventies.
  3. Workplace families, which we will define as a group of co-workers who serve as a surrogate family for one another. Rob Petrie and Andy Taylor had early quasi-workplace families (so, for that matter, did Bob Cummings), but in none of these cases was it intimated that the workplace family was a replacement for the family at home. That really doesn’t happen until The Mary Tyler Moore Show; M*A*S*H* is also clearly a workplace family that takes the place of blood relations (because there are none, thanks to the wartime setting).
  4. Friend families, which we will define as a group of friends that take the place of blood relations, usually by choice. We really haven’t seen any of these, and there are few enough examples: Gilligan’s Island is one, by default, and certainly Cheers — one of the Eighties’ biggest hits — is a combination of a workplace family and a friend family. (I suppose you could argue that MTM was such a combination, as well.) But we’re not really going to see this genre — which, I think it can be argued, is the biggest leap away from the traditional nuclear family — until the Nineties. There are reasons for that, which we’ll get to soon.
  5. But first, the Eighties. On Friday, we’ll take a look at two hugely popular and influential shows of this new decade that set the new agenda for family sitcoms.

BatCat: Thank you for your hard work today – I think this is the quickest rate of production so far, ever. Now we just need to keep it up for another week and a half. 🙂

Comedy: You worked on your mockumentaries, which are due tomorrow. These should really be something to behold.

Middle School Literary Arts Enrichment: Today we finished watching She’s the Man.

Your assignment for next Wednesday is to compare/contrast She’s the Man with the adaptation of Twelfth Night I gave you last month. (Which we’re going to treat as a fairly faithful copy of the original, which it pretty much is.)

You can do this in the following ways:

  1. A regular old compare/contrast paper.
  2. A review, as you might find in a newspaper or magazine. (You can do this is written or video form, but the content has to be the same.)
  3. A poem, which has to follow the same guidelines stated below.

Those guidelines are:

  • Whether you loved the film, hated it or were ambivalent is a secondary concern to whether you believe it was a successful adaptation of the source work, Twelfth Night.
  • That means talking about things like the effect of additions to the script (Soccer! Yuppie parents who get back together! Etc.) and subtractions (What’s NOT included? Is there a Malvolio in this movie? A Sir Toby, and an Andrew Aguecheek?). It means talking about the dialogue; how believable the new plot is versus the original; and how the new characters lived up to your expectations from what we read, among other possible topics.
  • In other words, it’s possible for something to be successful as an adaptation, yet not be something you care for personally, just as it’s possible for something to be critically praised, yet not to your liking.

Survey: Screenwriting:  Today I gave you the guidelines for your pitches, which will happen next Wednesday. Here’s the handout: Screenwriting 5.10.17 – Story Dev, Part 9 Pitching. It would be a REALLY good idea to actually read the two pages at the end of this that talk more about what pitching is and isn’t, and what the difference between a “teaser” and a “story” pitch is.

Your beat sheets are due Friday. Friday and Monday will be work days for you to prepare for the pitch. PRACTICE! Like, out loud! Please!

See you later.

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