Reflection on the Video Essays

I first want to say that I thought this was a great project.  I feel like we don’t often get too many creative or abnormal projects here at Middlebury and it’s really refreshing when they do come around.  I also find myself much more motivated and interested in something like this rather than normal 10 page, 12pt font, double-spaced paper.

Anyways, I think the project was definitely a success.  It made it really easy to see how editing can greatly effect a narrative.  We were able to use the chosen material from a film (or tv show) and make our own narratives, which, if you think about it, is pretty impressive considering that the editor of the film has already eliminated so much material in order to express his own narrative.  That said, I think the project could exceed a little more if we had access to the dailies or raw footage of an entire episode, and then were expected to make our own narrative arch out of all of the source material.  I think if each team were to create some narrative out of the same footage it would even better illustrate how editing can influence the narration of a film.

For example, in Bee’s J-term class we were all given the dailies to  a chrysler commercial, and to a reebok Shakira commercial.  Of this footage, we each created commercials/dances/music videos out of the same source material, but everyone’s final product was drastically different.  In this light the difference between each spot was what each student included and what they left out– as well as what they accented and when they cut.  The end result was several completely different narratives simply because of the choices of the editors.

Anyways, that is just an example and possible suggestion for how to take this project one step further.  But on the whole I thought the project was a success and it was interesting to see how everyone put their essays together.  I also thought it was interesting how so many people picked The Prestige and wanted to illustrate something about the two Borden’s or their relationships.  I find it intriguing that so many people wanted to illustrate the individuality of the two brothers, and I don’t know whether it was just an obvious choice to do or because it was like putting together the pieces of the puzzle that Christopher Nolan left out.  I guess magic and/or twist movies always lend themselves to being judged and tested, and putting together the film so that it makes sense is a common procedure (such as seeing Momento in continuous time).

Anyways, those are just my brief thoughts on the video essay project.  I hope everyone has a great weekend and we’ll see you all on Tuesday.

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