This week I watched the video essay, The Dark Knight- Creating the Ultimate Antagonist. Michael, the creator of this video essay, structures his video very similarly to some of Tony Zhou’s work, introducing himself and his channel, and then immediately diving into his personal opinions of cinema. After the opening however, this video essay develops its own distinct style, making points based on Robert McKee’s book Story. Each quote that Michael reads from the book leads him into his next point about the antagonist in a story.

Whether or not it should have, by including quotes from a published book about film, the tone of the video felt more academic than other works I have seen. Even though written analysis of film and video essays both contain someone’s opinion, I was more willing to simply accept what I heard in this video essay because of the connection to a published book. These ideas made me think about the factors that influence my reception of different video essays. I think there are lots of factors that contribute to reception, including the platform the video is on, the background of the creator, the tone of any voiceover, who recommended the video, and any additional elements included. One great example I’ve encountered is the video essay Everything Wrong with Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Had I not been introduced to this video essay by my own professor (Jason Mittell) and Kevin B. Lee, I might not have considered it a particularly influential piece of work. The tone of the video is casual, with a staged element to the narrator. The author also consistently makes offensive jokes and doesn’t quote any other film critics, making it seem amateur. However, this video essay, along with many others, has gotten enough attention and views that is has inherently influenced the work of other video essayists.

In terms of film as a medium, Michael’s video essay The Dark Knight- Creating the Ultimate Antagonist focused my attention on the crucial elements of character design that are easily overlooked (specifically with villains). It is easy to create a villain that is just mean, destructive, and violent, but it is difficult to construct a villain who’s drive directly conflicts with the protagonist, pushing that main character to change and adapt in order to succeed. Creating these situations and developing good characters with convincing motivations is a crucial part in crafting a good film.