Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ah, The Webisode

Storyforming, Storydwelling, and 'engines of engagement' are all of the words that stuck with me after this reading. I think that it is good to analyze the arena that webisodes are entering and asses what they are trying to accomplish. As I understand what Banister is saying, is that producers are using the storydwelling aspect of online communities to engage with the storyforming aspect of the the storytelling medium that producers are using webisodes for. As I mentioned before, in past blogs, I liked the the way that the producers used the webisodes as a way to branch off of the linear narrative that the television show was using.
Recently there was an article on addressing the profitability of websites that feature webisodes and different forms of scripted works. As Banister mentions, "traditional media and advertising continues to perpetuate the “content” models of the past on web and wireless". Websites such as (FOD) are looking to make profit and have been through traditional modes of advertising. However, it will be successful eventually because as Banister says, it is search engines that engage users that have been the key to lasting forms. As FOD is a storydwelling and storytelling opportunity it will need to add the component of user generated material to truly engage the user as a participant and contributor to the storydwelling network that is provided.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Are you a fan when...?

You get chills up and down your body when you recognize that there is an Oceanic billboard advertisement at the 6:20 mark of the pilot episode of Flashforward?

As a fan of Flashforward and Lost...I think I just had a fangasim.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Great Show...Sad to see it Go...but it had to. ; (

As a past fan of Flashforward (FF) I was intrigued by the exact same reason that Lesage wrote about in Pacing and Script. FF used many of the same pacing and script elements that previous television shows did, "such as Lost and Heroes" (Lesage, 2009) and created a more finite time-expiring show. There was an end date to this film and like Lost there were flashbacks that gave the viewer character background and like Heroes there were alternate realities, or flashforwards, that added onto character 'foreground[?]' that gave us more information on the future as well. The show gave us online communities to figure out mosaic and see if our thoughts linked up with other peoples. It was a created show but just how Lesage go tired of Mark Benfords poor acting and sappy dialogue the show got to be drawn out and its slow pacing, minimal action, and drawn out plot lines were not enough to secure it a second season.

Lesage says that, "I am intrigued that the series is training me in proper fan cult behavior" (Lesage, 2009). After being a Lost and Heroes fan I was up for the challenge but seriously the challenge wasn't challenging. Heroes allowed me a leisure participation, I didn't need to go online to figure the backstories but what I could do was watch webisodes of other potential characters that existed, which was awesome...the mailman was the coolest. There were also comments that I could read, that continued the story or gave insights to the characters in the story. It was truly an engaging story on television and online. With Lost I could go online and join communities that provided insights and theories that were pertinent to the themes of the show, because it was so layered with real life 'potential' theories it was cool to see what people that was relevant to the show. However, FF lost steam in this battle I found myself dragging on with the show just because I started watching it and had seen all the episodes. There weren't theories that I wanted to see if they really existed or webisodes that showed other characters in the show. So here's a place where they could have succeeded and failed which could be a potential reason for why FF failed, but it was good show with poor execution.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Gossip Girl and the Millennial Generation

Gossip Girl (GG) is the millennial generation and thus address her fellow generation peers into engaging with the show. Gossip Girl is a website that allows users to post anonymous messages that will be posted by the sites moderator. This new medium represents one of the many technological cultural phenomena’s of the millennial generation. The CW has honed in on this technological feat as a way to transform this form of socially helpful and dangerous way to disseminate and receive news by making the website the center of attention in a world that thrives off of this mode of communication. A key component in the website key ability to quickly update people on the latest gossip is through the cellphone. It is arguably the second best innovation of the millennial generations tech feats after the Internet. The writers show in the pilot episode that with our cellphones we have the ability to disseminate news in a matter of a few clicks. This show is made for the millennial generation audience, which is shown through its key aspects of technological innovations key to the millennial generation.

The technological connection is important, however without sound socially up to date themes, the show would still be dial-up in a world of high-speed wireless access. The CW uses the elite world of the Upper East Side to access the current cultural hot topics of the millennial generation. It knows that this close circle and the people that care about it are those that use the very technology that are following it and will in fact participate in the very culture that is portrayed. The audience then becomes the viewer through texting, bbming, posting, blogging, or building and avatar to be a van der Woodsen of the Upper East Side. Like the characters of GG the audience is participating in the same very acts that allow Gossip Girl to exist because without gossip then there’s just the girl… interesting conundrum that way face. As a part of the millennial generation, us and the GG characters, we are just normal people. This is shown in the second season when the student’s cellphones are taken. Notice everyone is wearing black colors except for the girls throughout the whole days and the GG girls maintain their cellphones and bright colors because if not then they would be bland and grey like the rest of the students at the academy. We don’t follow the rest of the academy students around because we are not like them we are the texting, slandering, tech savvy millennial generationers that need our technology!

Gossip Girl is made for millennial generation by the millennial generation (ripped from FUBU, for you by us). The CW is addressing the millennial generation by creating this television show that is hails us at the same time by acting as a mode of engagement and self-reflection.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Gossip Girl

This article alludes to the power that Gossip Girl (GG) gives back to a gendered audience of females that watch the show. I hope that I am not making a huge generalization, but I would guess that a majority of the viewers of this show are female. Which then leads me to believe that the power in this show lies in females and it was the female that always ruled this world in the first place. As the fashion, consumer, and gossip obsessed teen, the viewer is simply watching a gendered concept of the teen female already and plays into this structured norm when going online. This show was the, "...first to have been conceived, in part, a fashion marketing vehicle" (p.48). The CW and its partners then extended this concept to the world of Second Life in more attempts as a Second Purchase. They want these girls and/or women to consume more fashion and re-affirm what they see on television by participating in the virtual community where they can buy, gain access to the Upper East Side elite, and talk about other virtual groups to gain status.

This article reminds me how the magazines in the '50s, '60's and on advertised movie characters clothing in their magazines. This way people could see what the characters that they just saw on screen were wearing and how they could look just like them. At this point in time the female audience was being constructed because they were the ones with the disposable income and were being focused on as a specific movie fan that prescribed to these notions of caring about fashion and their appearance. However, now we have better technology and all it takes is a few clicks in GGSL and your trendy new outfit will be on the way. I think that it is great that the CW, fashion, and entertainment companies have come up with this great idea that meshes the two worlds, television and gaming, in order to bring in more points of access with characters and clothing in order to broaden the viewers participation in the Upper East Side.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Work Hard and No Pay

This article shows how content ownership changes with the new technologies and how we interact with these platforms affect major companies and their bottom dollar. I couldn't stop thinking about Youtube and its contribution to this corporation participates in robbing people and fans of their money. It seems like such a user friendly medium when in fact it may be the opposite. Russo, shows us that networks like the SciFi Network get fans to come to their website and create their own 'tribute film' to be aired on television. While this is acceptable, because they provided a tool kit that had restrictive parameters to it, it shows how companies give content to people as they see profitably see fit.

Youtube is platform that users are able to upload videos for the world to see and with all businesses money needs to be made. As many people know, Youtube just recently became profitable, but for who, not the users, Google. It's funny that we praise this site for all that they allow for us to do but at the same time they are just using the user’s hard work to make money for them. It's truly crazy to think about it, somewhere in a chair there's a CEO just kicking back smoking a cigar probably watching a Youtube video and profiting from others work, even the guy that came up with it.

As the author mentions fans are starting to wonder about their competition for works that they are creating and companies profiting off of it. It's going to be a hard battle because the more fans push back the more restrictive companies will most likely get and ultimately they do own the rights to the original content. I was thinking about the concept 'if it doesn't spread, it's dead' which was in the other article on television and thought that people could start setting up their own websites and blogs, which some have. Here they could post their own content and potentially it could catch on but also has the potential to fail.

Collective Expression

I like many of the commenter’s did not like the way this guy spoke (condescending tone) and the camera angle that he uses shows that he thinks he knows more than you. By the content of his video and mini lecture, I’m not sure that he does. First off, he most of what he uses are clips of others people’s work, okay fine, but say something that isn’t obvious about what they are doing. Secondly, he doesn’t pose good arguments for what Remix culture actually is and I don’t think that The Breakfast Club that he used were all that convincing. They changed the music and performed it, while yeah this is remixing I can see why many people that commented were not very impressed with his examples and thus thought it was just ‘kids having fun’ on a roof. I agree with him and the social aspect that these videos create, “collective expression”, he calls it. I think that it’s one of the pretty simple Remix examples and while it’s really cute, it’s not very impressive of a Remix. DJ Earworms Remixes and mash-up of United State of Pop 2009, is first a Remix in itself… I wonder if the government is going to come after him for that remix on the United States of America. This video is truly a Remix and new creation of previous content. It is simply copying and pasting however it is creating another message by using the parts in which the ‘sum is greater than its parts’. I think that a view commenter’s expressed said the hipster breakfast club remixes are just kids copying previous work and benefiting from original material. Something that Colbert tries to hammer down in his debate with Lessig. Their remixing process is of their own setting (Brooklyn) which no matter what they did would have represented some place. So, it’s hard to give them a tremendous credit for doing a great remixing job, which I don’t even think they were looking for. I think that the thing that we should focus on here, which may have been what Mr. Normative was going for, is the aspect of collective expression of our culture now and the ability to share common experiences using the same material. Therefore he should change the name of this video to modern collective expression through remixing.

What is Television?

This is a question that I have been thinking about of a little while. I'm glad this article posed the question because it is hard to tell what television is and is going to be. Like the author mentions, television can be appointment based which represents what television used to be. Now we don't need to rush home to watch a television show because of it can be accessed through DVR, internet postings, etc. I think that television now is constituted by shows that are produced by a studio or organization that is intended to be aired on a broadcast or cable channel. These TV's shows are then completed in a way that fit what we still manage to have as the TV format, 30 - 60 minute episodes and commercials. As the medium of television is encroached upon by technology like Google TV, Hulu, iTunes, etc. it will inevitable change.

What will it change to? Jenkins talks about the use of video games, comics, web episodes, and more ways that people can engage with given television shows. This will definitely start to become more prominent as networks and studios compete to get their shows recognized, because as he mentions, "If it doesn't spread, it's dead", and this is more true than ever. It you don't get your material out there and people don't consume it, there's no way that people will be able to find your show with all the other material that are flying around on the internet, television, and game consoles.

An Accessory to the Machine

Halloween is the ultimate day of remixing!

While reading the Manovich reading and listening to our class talks it dawned on me that Halloween is a great example of how we have taken old and new material and used it to take an image and either replicate or add our own spin onto it. Like Manovich described with the process of changing the VCR to Windows Media Player, we are continually 'sampling and morphing' characters, superheroes, celebrities, objects, etc. into a modern take on how we perceive that given original source.

This article also poses the essential question of is or can anything ever be original. He used on example an "artist taking a material approach" like people did on Halloween, "and supporting the romantic ideal. He compares this artist to God creating the universe. First of all that's a really drastic statement, religion aside, and secondly when can we ever start with a blank canvas and material. Every material is a source and thus ever source is a means in which we are able to create something different from it. At what point to we draw the line between what we are completely changing with leaving a small component of its originality which will make it Remixing?

In this day and age it is much easier to see how we remix material because so much of it is "copy and paste", which makes me think are we going to continue to get farther and farther from 'originality' or will the definition of originality change and adapt with society? Can we start with a blank canvas and even then will the things that populate this canvas be of a truly original source. These are very interesting questions which are and will be challenged the further we become, "an accessory to the machine".

Friday, October 29, 2010


Just realized after writing the first portion of the Midway paper how true it is that history repeats itself. I hope for the sake of 3-D and fans of the medium that it will reach its potential this this time!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Heh? Sound Unbound

I started reading this article and followed for a little while but still ended up lost in the silence...well almost silence; I can still here the hum of my computer cooling off as it imitates what my brain is feeling. I'm didn't immediately know how to connect this one to what we are currently talking about, Remix and fan participation, and to the greater scheme of the class. On thing that I did latch onto at first was his concept of everything that we interact now is produced by civilization, we take it form it add structure then produce something else. As he explains, this is a remix, and I can see how this connects to our remix culture and how fans take on mode of a civilized product and continue to build off of it so it does not remain static like architecture. It is liquid and continues to flow as fans participate with the the material.

When he asked for us to pause and listen to the sounds we hear, I was surprised at actually how silent it was. I only heard my computer, which is a civilized product. I could only image a person in NYC doing this exercise and how different it would be. Also, if someone did it in the country, I bet they would hear nature, which Miller doesn't factor in. He says, "That cricket playing in your nature soundtrack doesn't count". I still think that there are many people that do appreciate the natural and "un-remixed" or original products of life. We can see this in the medium form of documentaries, even though they are remixing a little portion of material. I see this form of media as the closest, while not perfect or close to original, way of people expressing their nature to capture the real, organic, or innate silence of life.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Event

Will The Event be the new Lost?

NO. Dialogue is awful and expository. I wish that it would be a little less obvious with their plots and stop treating the viewer like we are a bunch of idiots that can't follow a complex plot. Maybe the writers are just bad and can't formulate a good plot without explaining everything as they go.

All this said, I will still watch this show to see what happens. I think the plot is decent and I'm curios to see how long I can actually stay somewhat interested in this film.

I context of Blogging, the book we are reading, I have checked The Event Wiki and the fan community is not large yet. As I watch I'll keep an eye on this blog to see how it develops and if there is fruitful comments and forums that start up.

Until next time... here's a link the wiki page

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

'Age of Lifestyle Media'

I wanted to latch onto this concept because I think that it brought this capture to life. I'm always looking for the bottom dollar, probably coming from my Econ minor background. We've been looking at many cult and fan ownership examples of audience participation, which gives the feeling that fans are in control. How much control do they actually have and is there a false sense of ownership or pride that these fans are taking in their material? All of these shows are created to make a profit or contribute to the given studio or networks profit therefore they are in control of the viewer gets to watch it is then up to the viewer to decide if this is what they desire or not. Their is definitely a fine line here. As we saw with the Family Guy case, there was an issue of the a TV show being cancelled and gaining a cult following which then brought it back to mainstream television. Here's an example of the fans brining back a television show through creating a rich online community but more importantly buying Family Guy DVD's. Even though the online community was destroyed after going mainstream again, the FOX didn't care, because it was able to take enough of the following to drive profits.

Lifestyle media is an interesting term to see how how the industry tries to create different mediums to engage the audience and then use this participation as a mode to gain profits. In the American Idol section the audience is creating so many different modes of participation (i.e. DialIdol) that they not only are encouraging people to watch the show but are creating sources of money for themselves (ad revenue). It's amazing to see how people's 'lifestyles' can be targeted through television shows encouraging online, peer-to-peer, and other forms of communication that further your participation with the show which will bring more revenue to this show. I think that looking at this chapter and concepts from an economic view was a great way to gain another perspective of the different ways of audience participation.

Dissemination and the Memex (Rettberg, Blogging)

Where to start where to start. This is a Topic-driven blog according to Rettberg, due to the fact that it focuses on the general topic of film audiences and the readings, screenings, and daily interactions that I encounter with material pertaining to the class, Film Audiences. Blogs as ways to disseminate information and the way that it can be a useful form of the modern day Memex is a very interesting way to view blogs as a medium. I found it eerie how Plato says that writing will cause people to lose memory, which I think is true in one aspect to not only blogging but our new technologies and attention spans. A different way to use Plato's statement and transform it is the Memex that Bush mentions. We have a blogging as a form of memory and retaining the information that once would be remembered through auditory and oral recollection. A personal blogger would be better at reciting a speech that he wrote down than someone that tried to memorize it on the first try.

Reading these first two chapters immediately transformed the way I viewed this blog and the all of the potentials that blogging offers. I previous post was inspired by reading about blogging and personal use while connecting it to the topics that are discussed in the blog. The historical nature of language and text are continually changing and the way that we engage with it are constantly shifting and molding to our different demands. I wonder just as texts are now becoming shorter in 'microblogging' such as twitter, what will happen to the novel? Print books are being challenged by the digital book and digital books may be in fact be threatened by the journalistic properties of the topic driven blogs, that focus on a topic and use less of the personal anecdotes. As our culture becomes used to short form writing are we entering a new era of changing our language? Will the distinction between scholarly writing and personal writing grow or will the two merge as the communication networks start to merge? The reading shows that through the ages as people and technology change the ways which we communicate are changed and in turn change the way in which we communicate and interact, such as increasing the dialogue or decreasing dialogue, or affecting the way that we present our blogs and online persona which thus dictate who and what we are and will be talking about.

What's Worst?

Noticing all of the homework that you have to do from a long break or realizing that the Yankees are down 5-3 while reading about Blogging?

I blame you Professor Stein!

This weekend I went home to NYC to relax, feel the pulse of the city, and watch Supernatural? I couldn't believe that I found myself watching an episode of Supernatural not one time but twice. Freaking TNT was playing Supernatural like it was some Halloween frightfest marathon. But then again it is October...but I digress.

I kind of like the show now, I'm not going to lie. Taking it for what it is, a corny, campy show that doesn't take itself seriously, I respect it. I watched a full episode about Bloody Mary and how she tortured a small town. Taking myself of of Film and Media Studies major mode, I sat back and enjoyed the show.

Thanks, Professor Stein, for enlightening me to this show!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Talk about fandom!

Lostpedia was a go to for me and my friends while we watched Lost. If you aren't a fan or don't know what Lostpedia is check it out.

There are so many different links to articles, websites, chat rooms, discussion boards, etc. that the viewer can engage with. I find that many of the conspiracy shows do well with fan sites because there are many things to discuss that can be uncovered throughout the show. This all creates a lot of dialogue between fans and builds up a solid community and following for the show.

The Event has just started this season...with a plane crash (I wonder where they got that from) and me and my Lost crew are going to see if we can survive one more plan crash. Hopefully this show won't go up in flames.

Here is a link the The Event's wiki-page if you are interested in the show.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

'Creative consumption' and fan culture

The readings were great insights the scholarly take on fan fiction and fan cults. Watching the two TV episodes of Xena and Supernatural helped immensely in see how it was carried out in each respective television show. My view on what fan culture is perceived as is that of nerdy or lonely people watching weird (horror, sci-fi, or cartoon) shows. However, I think that fan cult's are more linked to Felschow's vision, a fan with a "...deep personal and emotional involvement." It is this involvement however, that really determines the social norms for what a fan is. As what I explained the perception of a cult fan matches with Felschow's however, how there is more to the cult fan. The need to as Rowett would put it, "consume" the material by digesting it and using this energy to produce something. This produce I believe is what creates the cult fan; Rowett describes one mode of the cult fan, fan-fic. Here we see Felschow's version of the cult fan elaborated on, because to him many people would be considered cult fan's however if you asked them if they were one, they would probably say no. For example, I watched every season of Lost and the last three with my friends at Middlebury, we would discuss and be either upset or happy for a few hours after an episode. Are we cult fans of Lost? I would say no, however Felschow may say yes and I feel that Rowett would say, no. I think that it is that extra-textual engagement that makes the cult fan, that gets into that larger community of cult fans and adds to the world of their television show or film by digesting the material they are being fed by producers, taking ownership in it, and then participating with in however creative or passive means they see fit. It is this commitment that Felschow says is shown through their, "strong viewer loyalty and involvement." When the fan cult and culture around a show gets to be so grand that it, "altered, reconceived, or entirely axed..." because of cult fans is an amazing feat. I think that as a cult fan it would be rewarding, however, I can understand how many of the dedicated fans would not want such a blatant appeasement of the producers to one satisfy select viewers and sacrifice story or plot lines. It is understand the different ways in which viewers can get involved with the shows that they love and can have a significant effect on how the future of its content.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Beyond The Box (BTB): Introduction and Chapter 1

Ross brings up many points that I have talked about with my friends. Having been briefly part of the Buffy phase, I find it hard to believe that it was considered such a cult, solely because all of my friends watched it. I thought that it everyone watched Buffy and it was considered a cult because of the dark alternative style that the show had. Which I find interesting to look at, as Ross mentions, what constitutes a cult, is shaky considering; a cult by definition has to be something appreciated by a small group of 'certain' people and topic. It also helped that it was on WB and UPN two networks that weren't too mainstream.

Following Ross' arguments was fairly easy but I didn't find it particularly stimulating. The use of her research group anecdotes was engaging and nice to read however, I think it was over used to hammer in a point, which was simple enough. I wish that she went further into the interactions between the Internet audience dialogue and its translation and effect on the television programming. She sets up the triple O terms: overt, organic, and obscure, however briefly uses them in Chapter 1. I find these terms to be very interesting and wish she used some more examples in regards to Xena and Buffy to make her arguments stronger, because citing only a few examples, especially her Buffy organic description of Jonathan's character, was not very convincing.

I liked a lot of the work and topics that she is presenting and thinks that she brings a lot of the Internet fan cult/culture worlds to light. However, I do think that she could be more concise with her evidence, many of these topics and examples seemed redundant and filled with common knowledge.

ATPS: Chapters 9 & Conclusion

Learning how to watch films is a very interesting concept that is still pertinent to this day, however, I feel that what we have to learn has changed. Fuller talks about how youth had to, "...viewers had to learn to learn to distance themselves from the on-screen story and to anticipate that Hollywood-style happy ending..." (p.177). She was talking about youth growing up with films and goes on to follow the University of Chicago sociology study of students and their experiences. I thought it was pretty neat to see read some first hand documentations of film experiences. When one kid talks about being bored in silent films, I was really happy to hear it. I always wondered if some people were bored because of the silent film. It's interesting to compare to films now, because I bet the same thing happens with youth watching adult dramas or mysteries. For example, my parents used to put law and order on television when they wanted me to fall asleep because I was bored by the complex adult themes as a little kid. However, as I grew older, like these kids, I learned how to watch television in this case and become entertained by such media.

What struck me as funny was the fact that University of Chicago students were note, or most likely, were not able to tell the complete truth about film's role in their lives as collegiate students. As most of the experiences after 'learning how to watch films' became the same as they are now with kids, I bet that College students acted like college students and adults now. Watching film becomes a pure mood of entertainment, escapism, education. People will go to the films not to necessarily look up to stars but to be entertained by the plot/themes or action sequences. Some may go for educational purposes or to relax and take a break from the real world. However, as young adults and adults the college student has learned to watch films and but up the detachable barrier, thus allowing them to react, how they see appropriate, to any given film.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Dazzle Them!

42nd Street is a backstage musical that uses the medium of cinema to get the audience involved with making a theater performance while trying to dazzle them at the same time. The film addresses the viewer by allowing them to go behind the scenes of a theater show and then ending with a grand performance to astonish them. It’s as if the viewer were seeing how this movie was made possible throughout the strenuous rehearsals, financial and relationship problems. As Feuer explains in the Pattullo article, the audience experience “double identification” and “demystification” (p.75) are present in backstage musicals. This movie wants the viewer to feel like they are a part of the process of putting on a performance while also putting on a final show for the audience, thus providing a spectacle for the audience. We, the audience, get to see how hard it is to make a film and thus feel that we are actually involved in making the film. However, when they are practicing for the final showing the camera tends to be placed right where the audience would sit. It even pans around to show us a few of the audience members sitting there with us. This represents the ‘double identification’ of the audience. 42nd Street then performs the final showing in which demonstrates as the demystification of the audience. We were allowed access that showed how this theater performance was put together but are then exposed to so much more that we didn’t see and are given private access to the final show. This occurs when we watch the finale from the audience stand point, however, the camera then gives us different angles, which the audience wouldn’t get. We are taken above the stage, go through the dances legs, and get close up profiles of the two main characters at the end. We were demystified when learning how the show was done, but then were hit again with a spectacle that we were only allowed to see, thus breaking us a part from the normal viewing audience present watching the performance. This film, and backstage musicals during the 1930’s, used the medium of cinema to present an insiders look to the art while at the same time preparing them to ultimately be dazzled by the production they just watched come to fruition.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

They're Singin'!!!

I love watching Singin' in the Rain and tonight's reading made it even better. Starting off with silent films and then talking films, such as Singin' in the Rain, was a great way to appreciate this film and its history. There is so much that this film references to silent films and where the film industry is going. The detail to how theater was regarded as the talented actor's medium and film was for people that looked good and were not talented, was great to watch between Don and Debbie. It was great to see how quickly people got over sound and embraced it, which was shown through the Monumental Pictures chief. It just showed how fast the industry can change once everyone adopts a new medium. When they reference The Jazz Singer it was very special, because this was an actual film that made a big impact on the Hollywood industry.

I like the funny technological struggles that they demonstrated from where to place microphones and actors with bad voices. It must have been a big struggle for people that didn't have good voices and have to take speaking lessons. However, as the article mentioned it could favor some people with, "exotica", accents that were foreign born.

Another thing that was brought up was the fact that a number of characters were "based on popular figures of the silent era". The introduction to this movie was great. I immediately thought of the fan magazines, which they constantly mention later, and how it affected the way that people interacted with celebrities and received their information on them and their personal lives.

During the film I called out, James Cameron, when they mentioned that people didn't think sound would last. I know I keep bringing up 3-D but I can't help but see similar comparisons here. 3-D has failed before but now technology is here to sustain the medium and push it passed boundaries that were not accessible before. They even just came out with a television that doesn't require 3-D glasses. In order for film to stay ahead of television it will need to continue to evolve. Such as IMAX, great writing, and new technology.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

ATPS: Chapters 7 & 8

James R. Quirk was ahead of his time! He did a lot for not only the magazine industry but for the film industry as well. He also sought what was best for the magazine, Photoplay, in terms of making a dollar. He contributed to making the film industry more a respectable medium. While he was trying to make Photoplay the dominant magazine, he was reshaping the movie going audience and tried to make the audience sellable. Thus instead of enforcing stereotypes he showed a gender mixed middle class audience, that was recession proof, and open to being influenced by what they saw on screen and in magazines. He was definitely a genius and new how to market. She also mentions that he started the tradition of best film, I mean come on this guy was making huge strides in the magazine industry, but also was helping out the film industry be seen as more legit. It makes me look at marketing now and how people are constantly coming up with new ways to target current audiences and ways to find new audiences. Now audiences are being tracked through Internet clicks and it is becoming a lot easier to target not only an audience but also individuals.

Everything mentioned in these two articles seemed so obvious and simple, however back then it was fresh and new. When Mary Pickford was questioning whether or not to give rights to a cosmetic agency for using her name. For $500 she took the deal even while she thought she could get more! C’mon Ms. Pickford, you could have done better. Also, studios paying actors on how much fan mail they received was something that I was not aware of as old studio salary practices. I think this is pretty cool, but don’t know how they actually got this to work. As I look at these two chapters I think about the way that audiences are viewed now. It strikes me as hard to define because I feel that everyone goes to the movies no matter the race, gender, or economic class. However, when you start thinking about genres, this is when the types of audiences are created. One quick example is the comedy spoof movies. This is definitely associated with a male teenage viewing audience and I bet commercial spots would appear on teenage channels and during male oriented shows.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Narrative and Spectacle in the Hollywood Cinema

What first caught my eye was the fact that Berkeley was only responsible for the number sequences while there was another director for the narrative moments. This must really change the dynamic of things on set and how a film is structured. Shooting, actor and director interactions, even financial budgeting are all parts that would drastically be changed in this kind of format. I guess this is why his films were considered aggregated because of this obvious separation between actions in the narrative and number sequences that serve as spectacle. I did not think about the construction of time and space in terms of musicals and their departure from the narrative “world” before this reading. After watching 42nd street I definitely can see how this plays out in the world and that you don’t realize it until having watched about 4 minutes of the play being carried out on stage. Also, I don’t like talking about Mulvey often because we have discussed her in other classes and I tend to like going against her views (maybe it’s because I’m a guy, but hope it’s not for that reason). I am agreeing with her in the sense of the female performer being subjected to the males view especially in this movie because of many of the camera angles on women’s legs, which is just the nature of the movie, and camera shots throughout musical numbers. However, she’s bound to be right just in general with the nature of this film right? I mean, it’s a musical and there are a lot of women’s dancers and are supposed to be spectacle, so why does this have to be a negative thing? I don’t know, maybe Mulvey doesn’t see it as a negative thing and just another form of how a gender is represented.

I am a big fan of Broadway musicals and this reading reminded me of it naturally. Also, on a quick note the Choreographer’s name is Gene Kelly, and I kept thinking Grace Kelly, which reminded me of the song Grace Kelly by Mika.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

ATPS: Chapters 4, 5, and 6

To start off with I want to say that I was sometimes confused with what time in history events were occurring in relation to other cinematic events. Fuller tends to jump around in dates frequently so this threw me of occasionally.

I didn’t realize that there were films during the 1910’s to 1920’s that were created by companies that posed as educational films when in actuality they were advertisements. I thought that the Ford Company was genius in opening up a film department for media and promoting their company through films. It was interesting to see how these films them started to become regulated by the CMPB because the church was becoming a problem with their religious views and people wanted to know what type of content they would be seeing. Obviously this reminds me of the MPAA now, however, it was slightly different. This group would tailor their judgments based on the supposed crowd that would be going to see the movie. For example for soldiers in the war, they were less strict on the violent images since soldiers were more prepared for this kind of content. This specialization in “ratings” is much more detailed and obviously could not be done now but was cool to see how this one organization tried to add it’s opinion on what people needed to know before entering the theater.

New York City runs things! I know this is a snobby New Yorker thing to say but as Fuller shows in this reading, since a lot of the industry was NY (and a few other cities), it was the center for setting the industry standards. It wasn’t great to see it associated with dingy nickelodeon theaters, but hey that’s the city. What was messed up and I’m glad doesn’t happen anymore is the temporary monopoly that film producer and distributors had on the market when they owned 20% of theaters in the city. This was completely corrupt and created an unfair market, which lead to non-company affiliated theaters receiving fuzzy and snowstorm-ridden films.

Lastly, but not least, I can’t believe how easy it was to send in script back then. Okay, they weren’t really scripts, but scene scenarios. It was basically a page, with just an idea of what people could be doing, since there was no dialogue there wasn’t that much heavy lifting that had to go on. Also, no unions yet to stop your script from getting through or having to worry about representation. No wonder, companies just ripped off these people by just making their movies without permission, it seems like the writers were asking for it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Louise Brooks, Star Witness

Performance. This article sheds light on the discourses around the figure of Louise Brooks. Honestly, I don’t know a lot about this woman, her movies, or the fan fare around here. However, after reading this article I can’t wait to see the movie Prix de beaute because it will hopefully add some color to a black and white picture that I have in my head of her right now. DeCordova articulates that during this the silent period the “real hero behaves just like the reel here” and boy did Louise embody this feature. Hastie definitely nails it on the dot at the end of this article when she describes Louise as being a very smart woman. The character, Lulu, which she became “famous” for was that of which represented many of Louises’ characters, and the way that she performed off screen lived up to people’s expectations of what. She displayed the same features as her characters, which allowed people to blur the images of Louise and Lulu. Hastie mentions that Louises’ book Lulu in Hollywood was written after her career was over and is used my many authors to document not only Ms. Brooks but use it to document Hollywood during the Silent Period. This is amazing, not only is still able to confuse Hollywood authors with her personal opinion with who Louise really was, but she is serving as a “valid” and “true” source of historical documentation. As Hastie points out this whole book could just be another performance for Louise because she already claimed that she did not want to do a biography. The title of the book is Lulu in Hollywood, which brings you to believe that this is the story of one of Louises’ characters. Ms. Brooks was really smart and I have to believe that at some point she actually did have the personality and opinions towards subjects, especially sexuality, as her characters because as person could not keep up two personas (that resemble each other) and keep out there real persona to themselves for such a long period and even write a book at the end of their career to continue this performance. It seems like way to much and if she did do all this to further a reel image off screen then she’s too smart of a woman and border line crazy.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Silence of the Silents

Rick Altman makes great points but fails to take a side until the end of his paper. Honestly, I think that his best writing occurs during his conclusion because he concretely lays out the way he saw music’s involvement with cinema. If he started with that then it would have made the rest of this paper a lot more interesting. At one point he claims that he wanted, “…to show that silence was one of a number of acceptable film exhibition approaches throughout the pre-1910 era” (p.677). After 30 somewhat pages this is what you’re getting after? You have argued both sides, and bring up many good points, but what he states is obvious. We know that films didn’t come with accompanying music and theaters weren’t equipped with stereos, therefore no film would always have sound. The author even shows obvious quotes that verify music as a practiced form of entertainment during cinema. However, he then introduces a weak argument that music was not a must or a mainstay in all theaters because of many given reasons. Hello?! Stop discrediting other authors on that fact that they make generalizations of music always accompanying films.

I did find this paper very informative despite my lack of appreciation of Mr. Altman’s writing. He does a great job of doing his research and putting together information regarding the presence or lack there-of in movies. I really liked the argument he presented in regards to pianists either playing or not playing in theaters. At face value, you would think that if there were pianos in most theaters, someone would be playing most of the time. But Altman brings good evidence showing that these pianos were used as Ballyhoo and intermission music for the audience. Which makes you think that he neglects the fact that Ballyhoo music was playing during films, which means that it was a background soundtrack to audiences. Since they could hear this music during the films I feel that this would count as music accompanying a film.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

ATPS: Chapters 3 & 4

What first struck me as amazing in chapter three is the clout that the south obtained. I know that American was still VERY racist in the early 1900’s so I guess it all makes sense, but how could the south be able to dictate film subject and audience attendance when they ranked lowest for theater attendance and revenue. It’s a shame how the ‘moral’ opinion of the closed minded and racist south was able to curtail the films that were shown and stop African-Americans from entering certain theaters.

Another thing that I found amazing but this time very funny, is how hard it was for people to come up with names for their cinemas. There were literally articles and competitions held for people to come up with names for what to title the space in which films were exhibited. They went from Nickelodeon, to Photoplay and then settled on theater with a variance in what names people could put on it. I know it was a big deal back then, but it just seems funny now that there was such a big discourse on what to name such a now seemingly simple event. It was also funny to read about all of the confusion and mixed emotions that surrounded the dark aspect of the theater. I can completely understand how people slightly were freaked out about being next to strangers in a dark area. Today theaters aren’t as dark but it’s still an interesting experience to sit next to strangers in a pretty dark confined space.

Lastly, I like the way the Fuller systematically takes us through the process of how nickelodeons tried to attract people from their advertisements, exterior displays, and film programming. I was really able to get a feel of the process that these film exhibitioners went through when deciding on how to present films and what resources they had. It’s amazing that films were produced in the hundreds a week and that nickelodeons could change there programs each day! We have the same programming in theaters with slight weekly changes for about three weeks now if not more! Of course then their movies were about 5 minutes so it’s very understandable to see why things are different now.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Make 'em Laugh

Kramer: “Slapstick comedy…[was] crucial for the film industry’s production of short films and its overall programming strategies.” Cinema during the 1920s needed to transition from an elementary medium that focused on astonishment and gags for the credulous audience to forming a distinct narrative plot line that incorporated the cinema of attraction. The shorts from 1904-1906 display the film medium briefly establishing a character to identify with and then astonishment ensues. These movies were successful because they catered to a credulous audience that watched movies just for the featured spectacle. In Coney Island the character is Coney Island and viewers are immediately supposed to be wowed by the amazing light show. The next year, 1906, Dream of the Rarebit Fiend establishes a character and a reason for the attraction. Establishing the character and his actions, he ate and drank too much, is created in order for the film to implement its “wow” factors for the audience. Slapstick comedies were placed right beside these attractions on screen and or on stage. Especially during the transition from stage to the screen, stage performances would sometimes occur right before Chaplin would appear on screen. However, as time went on the astonishment factor was not enough and the credulous viewer started to become incredulous. The audience demanded more.

The audience had become desensitized to the 3-5 minute slapstick stage acts and special effects on screen. The film industry needed the audience to not look for the astonishment but to become concerned with the story. From there the incredulous viewer would be sucked into the reasons and opportunities for the actors to fall into situations that provided astounding effects. Steamboat Bill Jr. accomplishes this balanced medium in 1929. The film sets up a narrative and uses slapstick comedian Buster Keaton to work within this story first spectacle second model and then take advantages of moments that allow for comedic acts and tricks. The story provided many an opportunities for the audience to expand their entertainment into gaining pleasure from knowing what to expect from Keaton but getting involved in a love story that provided many opportunities for him to display, what he did best, his amazing acrobatic and comedic talents. Now we see that cinema learned how to use the old feature of slapstick comedy by weaving it into a narrative to keep the audience concerned with characters while entertaining them situations that resulted in slapstick comedy.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Laterna Magika

Laterna Magika is a very cool and “fresh” concept. I say “fresh” because I know that it has been around for decades but it is a medium that is not commonly used in mainstream performances. Reading this article after reading Kramer’s article on the interweaving aspect of theater and cinema makes Laterna Magika almost look like the baby of Kramer’s thoughts. Imagine if Keaton was able to act out his stunts on stage while simultaneously trying to out do his onscreen character. Obviously Laterna Magika goes further than that though. It’s a great opportunity for theater to use film aspects to further the audience’s experiences, present character depth/insights, and a range of other previously recorded aspects to this performance. What Burian mentions in this article is that this medium needed its own scripted play for itself. With this great opportunity comes a very good chance to mess it up and material needs to be made specifically for it, as directors started to do.

What really stood out to be in this article was one person’s integration of television, that were showing a live actor somewhere else that could react to what people onstage and onscreen where doing. The show is more theater now than film of course, but presents a neat interaction. Also, the audience could start to get involved with the way that these performances play out, for example a screen could show the audience, actors could address them at times, and ask the on screen character (the audience) what to do in a situation, thus making every performance different. Either way, I can’t wait to see one of these Laterna Magika shows.

I keep thinking about if this medium should or could be implemented into mainstream theaters and I keep coming up with no and no. It should be integrated with theater. Film right now from a completely technical and presentation standpoint could not support this format. Theater is far better suited to handle this format because of the acting space and access to stage actors.

A Slapstick Comedian at the Crossroads

Kramer too easily glosses over the differences between stage acting and film acting. There is a distinct way that actors have to transform their acting techniques from theatrical moves into filmic gestures. At the end of this article he talks about how actors in the 20th century do the same thing as Keaton did. He says that the two mediums "can be seen as complimentary" however there is still a great divide between theater and film performances as well as competition for audiences between the two. Keaton was able to easily make the switch from Vaudeville to musical theater to the "dirty screen" because he did the same thing in all of these acts. It was slapstick comedy in every instance and the way that he performed most likely didn't change drastically. Probably what changed the most was his ability to pull of more complex stunts when he got to the medium of film, which was mentioned in this article. I have not seen his "The Three Keatons" act but I feel that they could not have been drastically different than what he was doing in Steamboat Bill, Jr. He is carrying out the same interactions with this actor that he probably did with his father.

As the article mentions, studios were looking to grab slapstick comedians because this is what was bringing audiences to theaters. It was easy for them to scoop these acts up, even though pay was less, because these actors didn't need to drastically change their performances. It might have even been easier for these actors then ones now because they didn't even need to talk. Everything was silent so their gestures just got bigger and their stunts more elaborate. This is much easier than someone going from the theatre to the screen now days because acting styles are very different.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Boundaries of Participation

I think this article did a good job at describing the ways that the audience interacted with films and the way the films were represented in society. The distinction between lower and upper class audience attendance is interesting to look at. She says that movies were perceived to be lower class when films were pre-narrative. During this time people would participate more in the film whereas when the films started becoming more narrative based the audience became more subdued and sat silently in their seats. What would be said about todays society and the way we watch films. She briefly touches on this at the end of the article by saying that people are starting to talk more again because of the fact that there are signs asking people not to speak during the movie. But what about those attending films. Are films going back to a lower class audience attendance? I think that audience participation is making a strong comeback especially with the popular interactions that people take with making their own spoof videos and remixes on youtube. Kathryn speaks about an experiment with the audience having their pictures being cast on the screen to be seen next to movie stars. This is what we are doing now, remaking movies with our own takes on what we liked, didn't or however we want to interact with the films. Magazines provide ample information to read, see, and learn about actors fans more than ever have complete access to the characters and actors that they see on screen. I think that with the lull in audience participation during the talkie films, I think participation quickly picked up again just more outside of the theater and into everyday live of moviegoers.

Also, this article mentions that people brought bag lunches and there were people selling peanuts. This answers part of my question about food during the early 1900's.

At The Picture Show (ATPS): Preface and Chapter 1

Kathryn Fuller does a good job at describing the small-town movie scene in Cooperstown. One thing that immediately stuck out to me is the attention span comment that she made about audiences back in 1896. She claims that Bert and Fannie Cook were very popular because they realized the audiences desire to not only watch short films but to be entertained by other means such as people singing, music to accompany action, and other such attractions. It took me to the topic that always comes up with audiences and youth culture now. Back then there were 20-25 short films within the time span of two hours and now we have 2 and a half hour plus movies, dare we compare. I know this is before the narratives were completely formed but it's definitely worth taking note of when people try to make the comment that audiences have short attention spans.

It's pretty neat to see all the competition that quickly arose with traveling cinemas as well as the adaptation that these groups had to quickly do with the introduction of nickelodeons. It was awesome to see how audiences grew tired of having the same traveling acts exhibit the same films, which led to nickelodeon's being instated so they could set up shop and receive many new films and immediately implement them, which changed the industry demand for a consistent pipeline of new films.

This whole time I did wonder when popcorn became a staple and what people ate during these shows. If they did resemble Vaudeville type environments, what were they eating at these attractions? Not that this is a big deal, I am just curios to know what foods people started to bring or that were sold during these events. Because if these were traveling shows, did they get profits from vending food at the given establishment or did the theater provide the food services? Just some "food" for thought.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

An Aesthetic of Astonishment

This article was great to read because it broke down and demystified the stereotypes of the “first audience” reactions to Arrival of a Train at the Station. What I found interesting was the many different takes that authors from then and now have on it. I particularly like Gorky’s interpretation that the viewers were experiencing doubt and belief at the same time. Last year professor Keathley made a great comparison to this mythic audience to people trying to touch holograms now. Like Gorky said, we know that these presentations are illusions however we are shocked at the event that is unfolding before us. The Trump l’oeil is active here and will continue to be active. If you think about it whenever we look at a representation such as film, photography, projections, etc. we are always looking at a representation of life. Aren’t these already manifestations that cause the viewer to judge based on realism? If we belief the image is in fact real because it was taken somewhere at some point in time aren’t we falling subject to believing everything we see, when in fact it is a real event that is altered by the photographer? It is he that is causing or allowing us to feel these feeling of thrill, joy, excitement, that we get from whatever medium we are consuming it through.

Kracauer, I believe, also explains the reason for 3D’s success during recessions. During recessions there is a general pessimism to life or negative outlook that causes a lack of excitement. People need to feel a thrill again and since narrative forms of media have shown to be what films are structured around now, it makes sense that people want to feel a thrill within these constructs.

The Cinema of Attraction

It’s cool to learn about early cinema and the form of presentation that it took on. As not being quite a theatrical performance it was very interested in not keeping to a narrative story line but to a watch an event occur. To capture the viewer by showing an elephant be executed or women undress. It was this type of voyeuristic, watching of events that people came to watch. The cinema of attraction was a movement that showed audiences’ events rather than telling them about them. It was a neat experience and interaction that went on between the two parties. On one-side filmmakers wanted to dazzle the audience and engage them by acknowledging them while the audiences gave their eyes to the filmmaker and presenter in trusting them to be wowed. It was a mutual understanding, I feel, that these two parties didn’t mind being involved in. Whereas now, audiences may react negatively to being acknowledged when the self-contained screen world is broken and their suspension of disbelief is intruded upon. Films back then were different in their aims because they aimed to create amusements for people not through their narrative but through events. It seemed like a great atmosphere where the audience participated with the films by reacting be it yelling at the screen or jumping in their seats. It reminds me of the cult movies, for example The Rocky Horror Picture show, wear audiences see this as a social event, recite lines together, bring props, etc. all while watching a narrative film. This is a cool aspect of films now, but to my knowledge has not been utilized too often. I think there is a great opportunity for audience participation to occur in theaters once again and very well may bring people to the theater not only to be passive participants but active in their involvement with the material presented.