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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Jillian's Notes

While this is from a previous semester and different text, it is a good preview of things that will need to be researched and learned over the course of your communication studies. Please take the time to review these notes as you advance this semester.

Thank you Jillian!

-Art Lynch
12/14/06


Speech Notes (Partial)

Semantic Noise~ any noise that disrupts the symbols being expressed (i.e. language)


Transactional Model~

(For the model used in class, and on the tests,  refer to Jillian's Notes on Angel under Course Content, Resources and Study Material, 16. Reviews, Jillian's Notes.  The following are alternative ways of conceptualizing and understanding the basic communication model.)





Transmitter, sender, encodes message to the Receiver, audience, who decodes the message. The message is sent along a channel (media) and is disrupted by noise, interference, and screens. Three types- internal (thoughts, how you feel inside), external (things that happen outside of the body that you can’t control), and cultural (everything else that makes you-you!) When the Receiver becomes the transmitter, they are sending feedback. Same filters, screens, and interference will/can occur.




Film Basics pt 1

Intro to Film pt I notes


SUMMARY PART 1 
In this and other publications, the term mise en scène signifies the major aspects filmmaking shares with staging a play. It refers to the sel setting, subjects, and composition of each shot. Normally in complex film productions, the director makes final decisions about mise en scèn 

Settings 
■ A setting is the place where filmed action occurs. It is either a set, which has been built for use in the film, or a location, which is any plac than a film studio that is used for filming. 

■ Depending on the needs of the scene, settings may be limbo (indistinct), realistic, or nonrealistic. 

■ A setting can be the main subject of a shot or scene but usually is not. Settings often reveal the time and place of a scene, create or inten and help reveal what people (in a documentary film) or characters (in a fictional film) are like. Throughout a film, changes in settings can al changes in situations and moods. 

Subjects 
■ In films, fictional characters or real people are the usual subjects, and their actions and appearances help reveal their nature.

■ Performers may be stars, Method actors, character actors, or nonprofessional actors. There is some overlap among these categories: a st 

example, may also be a Method actor. Depending on the desired results, actors may be cast by type or against type. ■ Usually film actors must perform their scenes out of order, in brief segments, and often after long waits. 

■ Effective performances may depend on the script, casting, direction, editing, and music. There is no one type of effective performance: w judged effective depends in part on the viewers’ culture and the film’s style or its manner of representing its subject. 

Composition: The Uses of Space 
■ Filmmakers, especially cinematographers and directors, decide the shape of the overall image. They also decide how to use the space wit image. They decide when and how to use empty space and what will be conveyed by the arrangement of significant subjects on the sides of in the foreground, or in the background. Filmmakers also decide if compositions are to be symmetrical or asymmetrical. 

■ Composition influences what viewers see positioned in relationship to the subject and how the subject is situated within the frame; what in revealed to viewers that the characters do not know; and what viewers learn about the characters’ personalities or situations. 

■ Many films are seen in an aspect ratio (or shape of the image) other than the one the filmmakers intended, and the compositions, meanin moods conveyed are thus altered. 

Mise en Scène and the World outside the Frame
■ Mise en scène can be used to promote a political viewpoint or commercial product (the latter practice is called product placement). 
or a text (such as a film). It can also be used to pay homage or tribute to an earlier of one. 

NOTES

The section of settings, subjects and composition in film is referred to as mise en scene, or the directors’ choice.

A setting is a place where the filmed action occurs.

The scene is a section of the action, often separated from other sections by location and/or the narrative.

The take is one shot of one section of a scene.

Settings may be limbo (indistinct), realistic or unrealistic.

Throughout the film changes in settings may reflect changes in character’s emotions, moods, situation, position in the story arch, and / or specific story points.

Subjects may be the actual people (documentary), characters, topics, overall meaning, or topics of a project.

Performers may actors or real people who advance the story line, help us to understand the subject or provide other on an off camera services using their voices, actions, images or performance talents.

Films are made out of sequence, usually based on using a location or being close to other locations to reduce set-up, travel and other production costs.

Films are an ensemble product, with many artists and technicians contributing. Films depend on writing, directing, casting, cinematography, video shootists, editing, computer and other effects, Foley, lighting, sound, set designers, continuity, actors (or talent), costumer, make-up, researchers, crew, transportation and all tied to budget.

Usually the editor and/or director, and/or producer are responsible for the final product.

Composition: the use of space.

Shaping the overall image to tell a story, paint and emotion or have the desired effect, overall for the film, scene-by-scene or even frame-by-frame.

Aspect Ration: the final image height and width as a ratio.


Mise en Scene can be used to promote political viewpoints, in advertising, advertising product placement, in comic contrast, to parody human behavior, to parody text or content, and/or to pay homage or tribute.

FILM BASICS part 2



Cinematography involves the choice and manipulation of film stock or video, lighting, and cameras. Some of the main issues in cinematography are film grain, color, lenses, camera distance and angle from the subject, and camera movement. As with other aspects of filmmaking, the choices made in filming affect how viewers respond to the film.

Film Stock
Film stock, which is unexposed and unprocessed motion-picture film, influences the film’s finished look, including its sharpness of detail, range of light and shadow, and quality of color. Often professional cinematographers use different film stocks or videotape in different parts of the same film to support certain effects.

Generally, the wider the film gauge is, the larger are the film frames and the sharper the projected images.

Slow film stock, which requires more light during filming than fast film stock, can produce a detailed, nuanced image. In older films, fast film stock usually produces more graininess than slow film stock.

Color associations vary from culture to culture, and a color’s impact depends on context—where and how the color is used.

In most Western societies, warm colors (reds, oranges, and yellows) tend to be thought of as hot, dangerous, lively, and assertive. Greens, blues, and violets are generally characterized as cool colors. In Europe and the Americas, cool colors tend to be associated with safety, reason, control, relaxation, and sometimes sadness or melancholy.

Color may be saturated (intense, vivid) or desaturated (muted, dull, pale), and saturated and desaturated colors can be used to create or intensify countless possible effects.

Lighting
Hard lighting comes directly from a light source, such as the sun or a clear incandescent electric bulb. Soft light comes from an indirect source. Hard lighting is bright and harsh and creates unflattering images. Soft lighting is flattering because it tends to fill in imperfections in the subject’s surface and obliterate or lessen sharp lines and shadows.

Low-key lighting involves little illumination on the subject and often reinforces a dramatic or mysterious effect. High-key lighting entails bright illumination of the subject and may create or enhance a cheerful mood.

The direction of light reaching the subject—for example, from below or from only one side—can change an image’s moods and meanings.

Like light, shadows can be used expressively in countless ways—for example, to create a mysterious or threatening environment.

The Camera
During filming, one of three types of lenses is used: wide-angle, normal, or telephoto. Often all three are used at different times within the same film. Each type of lens has different properties and creates different images.

Choice of lens, aperture (or opening), and film stock largely determine the depth of field, or distance in front of the camera in which all objects are in focus.

Diffusers may be placed in front of a light source or in front of a camera lens to soften lines in the subject, to glamorize, or to lend a more spiritual or ethereal look.

Camera distance helps determine how large the subject will appear within the frame, what details will be noticeable, and what will be excluded from the frame.

By changing the camera lens and the camera distance between shots or during a shot, filmmakers can change perspective: the relative size and apparent depth of subjects and setting in the photographic image.

The angle from which the subject is filmed influences the expressiveness of the images. There are four basic camera angles—bird’s-eye view, high angle, eye-level angle, and low angle—and countless other angles in between.

In point-of-view (p.o.v.) shots, the camera films a subject from the approximate position of someone, or occasionally something, in the film. Such camera placements may contribute to the viewer’s identification with one of the subjects and sense of participation in the action.

A motion-picture camera may remain in one place during filming. While filming with a camera fixed in one place, the camera may be pivoted up or down (tilting) or rotated sideways (panning).

Panning too quickly causes blurred footage. Such a result is called a swish pan.

Ways to move the camera around during filming include dollying, tracking, using a crane, and employing a Steadicam. Like other aspects of cinematography, camera movement can be used in countless expressive ways.

Digital Cinematography
Film and video images can be scanned or transferred into a computer, changed there, and transferred back to film. Computers can be used to modify colors and contrast (digital intermediate), correct errors, and change the images in ways impossible or more troublesome and costly to do with film alone.

Mainly for reasons of economy and convenience, more and more movies are being filmed in high-definition video and transferred to film for theatrical showings, though the results do not yet match the detail and nuance of the best film stocks.


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Film Basics Part 3



Editing involves decisions about which shots to include, the most effective take (version) of each shot, the duration of shots, the arrangement of shots, and the transitions between them. Regardless of the equipment used for filming and editing, editing can strongly affect viewer responses. It can be used, for example, (1) to promote continuity or disruptions; (2) to superimpose images; (3) to juxtapose shots to make a point, support a feeling or mood, intensify the viewer’s reactions, or show parallel subjects or events; and (4) to affect the viewer’s sense of pace, compress or expand time, and convey an enormous amount of information in a brief time.

Early Film Editing
The first films of the 1890s consisted of one shot or a series of one–shot scenes.

By the time of The Birth of a Nation (1915), editing was used to maintain continuity while telling complex stories.

In the 1920s, the editing of some Soviet filmmakers conveyed a story and promoted ideas by the juxtaposition of shots.

Building Blocks
The shot is the most basic unit of editing. It is a piece of continuous film or videotape depicting an uninterrupted action or an immobile subject during an uninterrupted passage of time.

A scene is a section of a narrative film that gives the impression of continuous action taking place during continuous time and in continuous space. A scene consists of one or more shots although on rare occasions, a shot will convey multiple scenes.

A sequence is a series of related consecutive scenes that are perceived as a major part of a narrative film.

Editors can use one or more of many possible transitions between shots, such as a cut, lap dissolve, or wipe. Depending on conventions and context, editing transitions can be used to convey or reinforce information or moods. For example, often a lap dissolve suggests that the next shot takes place at a later time or different location—or both.

Continuity Editing
Continuity editing, which is used in most narrative films, maintains a sense of clear and continuous action and continuous setting within each scene.

Continuity editing is achieved in filming and editing by using eyeline matches, the 180-degree system, and other strategies. The aim of continuity editing is to make sure viewers will instantly understand the relationship of subjects to other subjects, subjects to settings, and each shot to the following shot.

Image on Image and Image after Image
A momentary superimposition of two or more images is possible in a lap dissolve, as in the ending of the 1960's Psycho.

Consecutive shots can stress differences or similarities. They may also be used to surprise, amuse, confuse, or disorient viewers.

Reaction shots often intensify viewers’ responses. Usually a reaction shot follows an action shot, but it may precede one, or it may occur alone with the action not shown but only implied.

Parallel editing can be used to achieve various ends, including to give a sense of simultaneous events, contrast two or more actions or viewpoints, or create suspense about whether one subject will achieve a goal before another subject does.

Pace and Time
Usually fast cutting is used to impart energy and excitement. Slow cutting may be used to slow the pace or help calm the mood.

Depending on the context, a succession of shots of equal length may suggest inevitability, relentlessness, boredom, or some other condition.

Shifting the pace of the editing can change viewers’ emotional responses, as in the excerpt analyzed from near the end of (Battleship) Potemkin.

Montage compresses an enormous amount of information into a brief time, as in the montage of Susan’s opera career in Citizen Kane.

Editing usually condenses time (for example, by cutting dead time), but it can expand time—for instance, by showing certain fragments of an action more than once.

Digital Editing
Increasingly, computers are being used for editing. Images shot on film are scanned into computers; images shot on videotape are simply transferred to computers.


Once in the computer, the shots can be edited there and later transferred to DVD or film for showings.

Friday, April 25, 2014

LSD



For those who think you cannot tell a simple story.
For those who want their minds to wanter.
For my fellow Chicagoans of a certain era..
and no, I did not and do or encourage drugs,,
but I did music...theatre and film,,,
in a very creative and energy bursting
blue collar city...
the greatest city on earth...Chicago...

-Art Lynch


"There's a road I'd like to tell you about,
lives in my home town.
Lake Shore drive the road is called
and it will take you up or down.

From rats on up to to riches,
fifteen minutes you can fly
pretty blue lights along the way
help you ride on by.
With the blue lights shining with a heavenly grace
help you ride on by

There aint not road just like it
anywhere I found
putting yourself on Lake Short drive
heading into town
just slipping on by on LSD
Friday night trouble bound.

It starts up north from Hollywood
Water on the driver's side
Concrete mountains rearing up
throwing shodows just aout five
sometimes you can smell the green
if your mind is feeling fine
there aint no place to be
Then running Lake Shore Drive
and there's no peace of mind
or place to see
than riding on Lake Shore Drive

There aint not road just like it
anywhere I found
running south on Lake Short drive
heading into down
just slipping on by on LSD
Friday night trouble bound.


It's Friday night and your looking clean
too early to start the rounds
a ten minutes ride f rom the Gold Coast back
makes you sure your pleasure found
Now its four o'clock in the morning
and all the people have gone away
just you and your mind on Lake Short Drive
Tomorrow is another day
and the sun shines fin in the morning time
Tomorrow is another day

There aint not road just like it
anywhere I found
running sout on Lake Short drive
heading into down
just snaking on by on LSD
Friday night trouble bound.


Lake Short Drive is the road to drive

Alotta, Haynes and Jerimah, Chicago band, mid 1970's
Available on iTunes

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Using Power Point


V.            Using Power Point
Links on blog:


Click "read more" below for a brief outline on the use of PowerPoint or other screen presentation programs.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Improvisation as a life skill



From the for-profit site actingcareersnow.com with alterations by Art Lynch.


"Who's line is it anyway?" provided a popularized version of improvisational games, often used on a competitive basis from classrooms to bars, theaters to street performers.

The sketch comedy of "Saturday Night Live" grew from the mostly Second City Chicago cast of the early years, and many Second City actors brought on board over the years.

Improvisation as therapy or training has existed since long before there were any improvisational companies...dating back to the early days of Chicago's Hull House and the multi-cultural communication needs at the turn of the 19th to 20th centuries.

Improvisation has a proud history, a proud purpose and is of value to teachers, business leaders, actors and performers in all aspects of life.

Improvisation can be useful in developing the flexibility, sense of humor, and ability to accomplish things in business, church, with the family and other aspects of life. Listening skills, patience, the ability to change course and consider new options are all skills used and polished in improvisational workouts.
Improvisation is "acting in the moment." There are no scripts involved and no time to practice, rehearse, or memorize lines. Every movement, word, etc, is created in response to what is going on in an actor's immediate environment. It is often considered the most difficult form of acting because of the spontaneity involved. It takes a really skilled actor to perform it successfully. Improvisation, or Improv, classes are great for actors looking to challenge themselves, invent new thought patterns, and learn ways to act and speak in the spur of the moment.

Improv is not being the funny person on stage, upstaging others, talking over each others "lines" or dominating a scene. It involves listening, feeling, taking and giving "gifts", understanding scene structure and where the scene is going and knowing when to end, without cutting off your fellow actors. 

Improv is creating a real situation and in doing so bringing up the emotions we all fee, including sadness as well as happiness, drama as well as comedy. Many comedy troops and even a form of night club entertainment have evolved with the sole purpose of making audiences laugh. Some use full character development and scene structure, others may not.

In an Improv class, the coach will use different creative acting exercises to create scenes from nothing. In a performance, oftentimes, the audience is able to participate by offering ideas for a scene. The goal of many in Improv is that everything you do has never been done before! the reality is that in most professional troups, as with stand up comedians, lines and reactions have been rehearsed or developed during "workhouts" and previous performances. 

It is best to become a part of an ensemble. If the students are not the same from class to class or if there is too wide a range in ages, walk away. The goal is to get to know and read your partners, which takes time and a group working through the entire course content as a group.
Photo from Improlympia 2012 in Olympia, Washington.
Many actors think that if they memorize their lines and rehearse their movements, they will be able to have a great performance. What they forget is that acting is never an exact science. What if your scene partner forgets their line? What if your director doesn't like your interpretation of the part? What if the script is changed at the spur of the moment? This is where the true importance of Improv comes into play.

When you learn how to react to an unexpected situation without hesitation, you can save a play, or scene, or create an unforeseen nuance that betters the value of the entire project. Improv teaches you how to listen and react as opposed to just waiting for your turn to speak your lines. Your take in film, on television and even in commercials may be greater than the intended shot, and may remain in the script or in final edit consideration. In addition a greater number of producers and directors are relying on actors skills at improvisation to bring their story to life.

The tools of character, the five W's (who, what, when, where, why and how), scene structure, crafting a "reality' for the audience, the suspension of disbelief and all of the skills of an experienced actor come into play in impov, just as they do in other areas and styles of the art.
By bringing their personal awareness "into the moment" an actor is able to develop an acute understanding of the action they are doing. This means being comfortable revealing emotions, observations about life, often blunt reflections of others, and and honest or truth to your performance.

Over time, with more improvisation practice, an actor will get to a point where they can act with a wide range of options that best fit the situation. Improv training gives the actor the ability to read a script and see hundreds of different ways it could be acted out. Directors love an actor's ability to be malleable with their take on a role. This allows them to try different things with a scene to see what works best.
The benefits of improvisation extend beyond acting and can improve a person's abilities in their business and personal life as well. Many business executives take Improv classes to improve their interpersonal skills. Improv makes them better listeners, helps them pay attention to body language, and makes their response time quicker. Improv builds both dependance and trust. Once again, Improv forces you to pay attention!
The best thing about Improv is that it's fun! Most Improv lends itself to comedy. Interacting in an Improv class, or performance, is one of the most rewarding and gratifying things an actor can do. Some of the most classically trained actors use Improv as an escape from the rigidity of their genre, and also to keep their talent fresh. Improv gives you all the freedom in the world. An actor can let go and live in the moment of the scene.

On a note of caution. There are many improv groups, improv "teachers", improv games and improvisation workshops. Most are not taught by professionally improv artist.

There are several "schools" of improv technique and execution. The Groundlings in LA are comedy centered and very different in focus than the first professional improv troop, Second City Chicago (where story, local politics and local personalities dominate the scenes and improvisations). Theater Games in San Francisco differ from London's West End (think 'Whose line is is anyway?").

You should learn the basics and move on to what is right for you, your talents, your personality and your approach. Remember even the most serious drama can benefit from basic improv skills, as can presentations of everyday life and your approach to everyday situations or problems). Remember also that improvisation can and will help in developing the flexiblity and adapatability needed in most aspects of life.

From the for-profit site actingcareersnow.com with alterations.
Editor Note: My background includes Second City and other improv companies, so I am a strong believer in improv. Add Method and other acting traditions and you have a tool box that will help you with any character, scene or to get out of trouble in any situation. -Art Lynch
Below are links to select improvisation schools and instructors:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Persuasive Speaking


What is persuasive speaking?
How do we persuade?
How do you prepare a persuasive speech?
What do you have to consider and understand?
What are common mistakes?
What are fallacies of argumentation?
What role does ethics play?

Image: Spy vs. Spy is the property of Mad Magazine.
Answers to these and other concepts may be found if you click "read more" below.

Today is Shakespeare's Birthday: Shakespeare's Accent: How Did The Bard Really Sound?


Listen to the Story
How were William Shakespeare's words pronounced more than 400 years ago? A new recording from the British Library aims to replicate the authentic accent of Shakespeare's day. Above, a depiction of the dramatist at work in his study, by A.H. Payne.
Enlarge Edward Gooch/Getty Images
  How were William Shakespeare's words pronounced more than 400 years ago? A new recording from the British Library aims to replicate the authentic accent of Shakespeare's day. Above, a depiction of the dramatist at work in his study, by A.H. Payne.

"To be or not to be" may be the question, but there's another question that's been nagging Shakespeare scholars for a long time: What did Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio, Portia or Puck really sound like when Shakespeare was first performed more than four centuries ago?

The British Library has completed a new recording of 75 minutes of The Bard's most famous scenes, speeches and sonnets, all performed in the original pronunciation of Shakespeare's time.

That accent sounds a little more Edinburgh — and sometimes even more Appalachia — than you might expect. Actor Ben Crystal, director of the new recordings, joins NPR's Scott Simon to talk about the effort to perform Shakespeare's works authentically.

Interview Highlights

On the gradual shift in pronunciation and performance
"There's definitely been a change over the last 50 to 60 years of Shakespeare performance. The trend I think has been to speak the words very beautifully ... and carefully — and some might say stoically — and it's very, very different than how it would have been 400 years ago."

On how researchers study what people sounded like four centuries ago
"We've got three different types of data we can mine — one is the rhymes. Two-thirds of Shakespeare's 154 sonnets don't rhyme anymore. We know that the final couplet in ... Sonnet 116 ... you know it's:

"You can extrapolate those kind of rhyme schemes across the sonnets, and indeed some of the plays rhyme. That's one set of data.

"They used to spell a lot more like they used to speak, so a word like film in Mercutio's Queen Mab speech is spelled philom in the folio, and we know that's a two syllable word like phi-lom. And if you go over to Northern Ireland, and they invite you to the cinema, they'll invite you to see the 'fi-lm.' That's an Elizabethan pronunciation that's stayed with us. ...

"There were linguists at the time and they very kindly wrote books saying how they pronounced different words. And all of that data brings us to 90-95 percent right, which isn't bad for 400 years."

On how this accent feels familiar
"If there's something about this accent, rather than it being difficult or more difficult for people to understand ... it has flecks of nearly every regional U.K. English accent, and indeed American and in fact Australian, too. It's a sound that makes people — it reminds people of the accent of their home — and so they tend to listen more with their heart than their head."

On Shakespeare being for young people
"I gave a workshop at a school recently with a bunch of 13- and 14-year-old kids. And their idea of Shakespeare, having never studied it or even really read it, was that it would be difficult to understand and it wasn't for them, and I was like: No, listen, he's written a play about two 13-year-olds or 14-year-olds meeting and discovering life and love and everything for the first time. It's a play for you."
On class distinctions and changes in pronunciation
"You can't distinguish a character by putting on let's say a posh accent, for want of a better word, or a more common accent. How do you do it? The accent was pretty much the same. The accent was changing over Shakespeare's time.

When King James came to the throne after Queen Elizabeth — he was the Scottish King James VI — and everyone in court started speaking with a Scottish twang."

On connecting with the true meaning of the words
"One of the most famous sonnets ... Sonnet 116 ... everybody has [it] in their weddings because it has the word marriage in it: Let me not to the marriage of true minds / Admit impediments. When I started speaking this sonnet, it changed from something highfalutin and careful and about marriage and it became a real testament of love."
Audio extracts from Shakespeare's Original Pronunciation courtesy of the British Library Board.