New Trier High School English Department

English 433: Literature and Film
Mr. Carlo Trovato

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

LA Confidential Still Frame Analysis

Step One: Choose two images from the folder LA Confidential Stills under Files in Canvas that show transformation of a character or idea. 

Step Two: For the first frame, consider what the audience is supposed to understand about the subject of the image. What do you feel is the point of using that shot? Next, analyze how the details of framing, lighting, camera angle, camera focal length, foreground and background contribute that effect or meaning to the image. Focus on those features you feel contribute most to the shot, or contribute a unique quality to the meaning of the shot.

Step Three: write out your observations, analysis. This should be between a half page to a page long.

Step Four: Now study the second image. for this image write out how you understand the transformation taking shape in the image. This will be more of a comparison with the first image than straight analysis. Consider the following questions: 

What is the transformation that takes shape?

Where do you see transformation taking shape compared to the first image? 
How do the details in the shot create that movement?
What is the point of the transformation?

You will work on this tomorrow in class on your iPads--be sure you know which iPads you used yesterday.

If you were absent, begin with the first image tonight and you will work on the second image in class tomorrow.

Hold on to them until Thursday when I get back and I will tell you how to turn it in then.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Week of Oct. 1

On Monday, you have the 2nd draft of the Oedipus Essay due. Let's turn it in through Canvas again. You will have until 6pm tomorrow to send it in.
This week we will work on LA Confidential and doing close reading of both images and scenes.  In the 'Files' section you will find a folder for LA Confidential with both stills and scenes. We'll give the iPads a go again this week and see if we can get them to work.
In addition to that, we will be working on a draft of a college essay. On Tuesday you will bring in a prompt for an essay you have to write (or have started to write) and we'll spend that day talking about different prompts and some strategies to get you started. If you have already written your essays and have no others to work on, bring it in and we can work on a revision if you need.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Oedipus Parallel Lives Assignment

Oedipus the King Essay

            According to Aristotle, readers/viewers of the play should feel terror – not the terror of confronting the fallen blind king, Oedipus, but rather the terror of facing the proud, blind person within each of us.  Come on, look deep within; you’ll see that person staring back.
Instead of a literary analysis of the play, let’s try something a little different.  Choose a passage – an exchange of dialogue from the text, perhaps – as a spring-board to write about a time in your life when you faced a similar philosophical crisis to that of Oedipus.  (Hopefully you won’t have killed your father or married your mother).  Rather, think about a time you pressed on and discovered unsettling information; write about a time you discovered who you were; write about a time you felt influenced by the advice/suggestion (read:  prophecy) of another person; write about a time you went public with information that should have stayed private (You’d need to divulge the information again in your paper, or your readers would be up in arms); write about a time you refused to see something that now seems obvious, even when you were given ample evidence to see the truth from the beginning.  Or, find some other resemblance between you and Oedipus.  With college deadlines and graduation less than a year away, surely you’ve recently thought to yourself, “I am agony” (239, line 1443).
Your essay should be 2-3 pages in length.  Start with the quote/exchange from the play, and use it as your epigraph.  Then write a fully developed story about the event in your life.  End with a commentary on how the story relates (is similar to and is different from Oedipus’s predicament). A draft will be due on Tuesday September 25th.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Weekend Photo Assignment

Don't Forget! Tuesday is Film Night at the Wilmette 
Theatre. LA Confidential! Film begins at 6:30 should end by 8:30.

Photo Assignment:

With a digital or phone camera take several different pictures placing your subject on the intersections around the middle frame. Experiment with capturing both foreground and background. Then frame your subject within the frame of the camera—find objects to make a frame within a frame. As you take your own shots consider how background and foreground inform your subject, and how their placement in the frame changes how we understand the situation.Take 5-10 pictures and post them to your blog with a short description for each that explains an effect of your framing.

Under Files in the folder labeled Assignments First Quarter you will see a document entitled Introduction to Framing. Read that before taking your pictures. Your pictures should be blogged by Monday night so we can talk about them Tuesday.


Introduction to Framing:

Focal length (camera distance from subject) and angle and framing are all different concepts when it comes to film. How far the camera is from the subject, at what angle the camera is placed and what details end up in the frame all contribute to the meaning of a shot, but all can be analyzed differently.

The frame of a shot is where the subject is located in the frame of the camera. In order to understand this, consider the frame—what area of the picture you see—overlaid with a tic-tac-toe grid of 9 squares. The middle frame is what photographers and directors call the lazy frame—it’s where professionals don’t want their subjects to end up. Instead the subjects are most often placed on one of the interstices—where two lines meet, usually left or right, top or bottom of the lazy frame.  Notice the photo below:

The subject—the bee’s head is to the right of the lazy frame. While part of the body lands in the middle frame, it’s not the part of the subject we are most interested in. This concept is called the rule of thirds. Compare to this still from Minority Report (Spielberg,  2002):

Notice the hands on the tie are to the left and below the middle frame. The subject’s eyes are above the middle frame.

Another concept important to framing is foreground and background. Notice in the Minority Report still, the background provides a rich shot filled with detail that the viewer can see and helps to define character. It also balances the subject so that the subject is framed within the frame, between the woman tying his tie and the table and lamp.

Consider how individual shots in film are framed—and how a character is framed within it. The frame helps define the character, creates a sense of place, and guides us to what the director wants us to understand about the scene.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Week of Sept. 10

This week we will focus on the language of film. We will begin with shots and then progress to scenes and read a script and then write our own script. The script assignment is here.

The script from Minority Report is here.

Friday, September 7, 2012

For Monday

With a digital or phone camera take several pictures using different focal lengths—Long, Medium, Close, and Extra Close. Take also an establishing shot, high and low angle shot, and a depth of field shot. Consider where the subject is in the frame of your camera and how much light there is.

Once you have all your pictures post them on your blogs with labels for each.

If you need the descriptions, click here or you can access it under files in Canvas.

Have fun!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

For Wednesday

In class today we discussed parallels within Oedipus. We broke into groups and found specific instances of where ideas, words, themes recurred. Tomorrow groups will share what they have found and we will connect these through the text. Here is the assignment we worked on today:

Literature and Film
Oedipus Parallelisms

Parallels are places in the text where a similar or identical word, image or idea occurs more than once. Look for parallels in Oedipus that have to do with the following

Blindness (literal or figurative)

Find as many parallels as you can in the section of the text assigned to you, list their page numbers and provide a brief explanation as to why you see them as parallels and what the purpose of the parallel is. In groups, pour over the pages assigned and each person should mark their own text for each parallel found and write the brief explanation in their notebooks. Each group will report back to the class on their findings and be prepared to defend their explanations. The group will receive a grade on how many they found and how well they can explain 5 of them. As a class we will then take notes on each section.
Pages 162-173—group 1
Pages 174-185—group 2
Pages 186-198—group 3
Pages 199-210—group 4
Pages 211-223—group 5
Pages 224-235—group 6
Pages 236-251—group 7