16 Feb 2010

Image references


tutorphil said...

Interim Online Review 16/02/2010

Hi Earl,

Lots of comic potential here - it's very busy in terms of action and pratfalls, so you really need to start 'directing with a pencil' asap; you will need to storyboard this slapstick stuff to an inch of its life to ensure that all the gags convey.

Your act 1 seems cluttered; the idea that the burglar 'has one last steal' is complicated and it means you have to introduce the additional characters of the police etc. In terms of the 'hook' to capture attention, simply get your hapless burglar into the shop as soon as possible; the 'whoopee cushions in the dumpster' just means that you show your hand before the game's even begun; I'd suggest for Act 2 to have the surprise factor, Act 1 needs to be played pretty straight; the music with the cash register is nice and the pound sign eyes - all work well.

Act 3 - hmmm - it extends your story beyond its own point of interest; surely the climax of the story is the burglar being apprehend; this doesn't seem yet resolved to me; there's a punch line buried there somewhere; anyway, your burglar is a hapless fool, not someone the audience wants to see escape with a 'devilish grin' - they want to see him get his just desserts!

Edit Act 1 (Get straight into the action and into the shop) and shave Act 3, so that the point of entry by the police is the end point; you'll have a more satisfying structure as a result.

Remember that the brief is very clear about character sheets and presentation storyboards - this is all about artistry, design and the 'world' of your story too. You need to start drawing now.

See the next 2 comments for general stuff re. the written assignment.

tutorphil said...

“1,500 word written assignment that analyses critically one film in terms of the relationship between story and structure; you should consider camera movement, editing, and the order of scenes”

While the essay questions asks you to analyse one film in terms of the relationship between story and structure, you are nonetheless expected to contextualise your analysis – and that means you have to widen your frame of reference to include discussion of other, related films and associated ideas – and also the ‘time-line’ within which your case-study sits.

So, for example, if you are focusing on a scene in a contemporary film which makes dramatic use of montage editing and quick-fire juxtaposition of imagery (the fight scenes in Gladiator, the beach landings in Saving Private Ryan, the bird attacks in The Birds…) no discussion of this scene would be complete without you first demonstrating your knowledge of the wider context for your analysis – i.e., the ‘invisible editing’ approach as championed by W.D. Griffith, and the alternate ‘Eisensteinian’ collisions adopted by Russian filmmakers (and now absorbed into the grammar of mainstream movies). In order to further demonstrate your appreciation for the ‘time-line’ of editing and its conventions, you should make reference to key sequences in key films – ‘The Odessa Steps sequence’ from Sergei Eistenstein’s Battleship Potemkin (as in scene in the Cutting Edge documentary, but also viewable here in full

Also – if further proof were needed of the influence of this scene, watch

The Cutting Edge documentary, as shown on Monday 15th Feb, is viewable on YouTube at

If you choose to quote from any of the ‘talking head’ sections (Ridley Scott, Walter Murch etc.), in support of your discussion, ensure you put the documentary’s original details in your bibliography (as opposed to the You Tube url). For official title and release date etc. visit

Put simply, whatever film you choose to discuss, you will need to link it to its ‘ancestors’ and also, where appropriate, to its ‘children’ – i.e., what influenced it/what it influenced.

Regarding the ‘language of editing etc.’ the following site is useful – if ugly!

I suggest you use it only as a starting point for focusing your research parameters – not as the fount of all knowledge (it isn’t!).

Something that keeps coming up is how to cite websites using the Harvard Method:


tutorphil said...

Stylistically, many students' essays still lack the required formality and tone for a University level written assignment. Many of you write as if you’re ‘chatting’ to your reader or writing a blog entry. This is inappropriate and you need to cultivate a more appropriate style if your discussions are to be authoritative and properly presented. Below are some suggestions re. use of language; take note and use!

Use good, formal English and grammar,


Use objective language: e.g. rather than 'I find it difficult to identify ...'

'It is often difficult to identify...'
'It can be seen that...
'There are a number of...'

Adopt a cautious academic style; avoid conclusive statements: e.g. use may, might, it seems that, appears to, possibly, probably, seemingly, the evidence suggests that, it could be argued that, research indicates...

Avoid assumptions and generalisations: e.g. everyone can see, everybody knows, public opinion is...

If you make a statement, always present evidence to support it.

Within your essay you will be hoping to demonstrate or prove something. You will have a point of view that you wish to convey to your reader. In other words, your essay should 'say' something.

You should support what you wish to say with a reasoned argument and evidence.

A reasoned argument consists of a series of logical steps you make in order to lead to a point where you can form some sort of judgement on the issue you have been examining, or come to some sort of conclusion.

Paragraphs are organised in order to build your argument in a series of logical steps

A typical paragraph is concerned with a single step in your argument

The first sentence of a paragraph is the topic sentence. It clearly states which step in your argument you intend to deal with in this paragraph

Subsequent sentences explain, define and expand upon the topic sentence

Evidence is offered

Evidence is commented on

A conclusion may be reached

Try to make each paragraph arise out of the previous paragraph and lead into the subsequent one

Below are some useful ‘linking’ words and phrases that suit the formal tone of an academic assignment – get used to using them to structure clear, articulate and confident sounding sentences.

To indicate timescales:
when, while, after, before, then

To draw conclusions:
because, if, although, so that, therefore

To offer an alternative view:
however, alternatively, although, nevertheless, while
To support a point:
or, similarly, incidentally

To add more to a point:
also, moreover, furthermore, again, further, what is more, in addition, then
besides, as well
either, not only, but also, similarly, correspondingly, in the same way, indeed
with respect to, regarding

To put an idea in a different way:
in other words, rather, or, in that case
in view of this, with this in mind
to look at this another way

To introduce and use examples:
for instance, for example, namely, an example of this is
such as, as follows, including
especially, particularly, notably

To introduce an alternative viewpoint:
by contrast, another way of viewing this is, alternatively, again,
rather, another possibility is..
conversely, in comparison, on the contrary, although, though

To return to emphasise an earlier point:
however, nonetheless, despite, in spite of
while.. may be true
although, though, at the same time, although.. may have a good point

To show the results of the argument:
therefore, accordingly, as a result
so, it can be seen that
resulting from this, consequently, now
because of this, hence, for this reason, owing to, this suggests
 that, it follows that
in other words, in that case, that implies

To sum up or conclude:
therefore, in conclusion, to conclude, on the whole
to summarise, to sum up, in brief, overall, thus

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