Th/F–June 2/3–AP

Reminders:

  • Finish your 4 books for Semester Nonfiction Project. I’ve decided to drop most of the non-book requirements. I’ll only ask that you either watch one documentary, read one longform article, or interview one real-life expert.
  • Complete 4 Rhetoric in the Wild Experiences. For each, you need a 1-page report that explains what happened and what you learned.
  • Contact me if you want to redo or take the 2nd half of the Final exam.

OK, let’s get moving…

Here are the rules to help you plan your blocking:

  • Don’t just stand still. After 3-5 lines, usually someone should move somewhere.
  • When you move, move for a reason. Just wandering from point A to point B pointlessly will be distracting. Create a motivation for the movement. Know why you’re making this choice.
  • It doesn’t have to be entirely realistic. Actors need to look at the audience more than each other, so allow them to “cheat” so that they can be seen. Sometimes, they’ll talk directly to the audience rather than each other. It’s not real; it’s drama!
  • Use levels. Find reasons and excuses for people to stand/sit/climb a ladder so that there isn’t just a flat level of people talking to each other. It’s boring to see a bunch of people standing on the stage all the time.
  • Give people things to do. Depending on what’s happening in the scene, actors should be doing something, completing a task so that they’re not just gawking at each other.
  • Create Stage Pictures. Think about how the actors are arranged in the scene. Does it look aesthetically pleasing? Are we engaged? Does their placement tell us something about the relationships and events of the play?

Ok, we’ll look at the early parts of Death of a Salesman to get an idea about what this looks like and you’re ready to go.

Wed, June 1st–Film

First, we’ll finish IB. And then have our discussion.

  1. Depiction of Nazis. How did you feel about Landa? Is he all evil? Complicated? Cultured? How does the movie seem to see him?
  2. Depiction of American violence? What are we asked to enjoy? Why? Does that make you feel uncomfortable?
  3. Jewish revenge and alternate history. WWII didn’t end like this. Does it matter?
  4. Female Avengers. What do Shoshanna and The Bride have in common? Is it feminist to have women commit spectacular violence?

Now is a good time, I think, for a group project. In groups of 3-4, create a pitch for the next Tarantino movie. Here’s what you need:

  • A Keynote/PP with a minimum of 5 slides.
  • A movie title that is appropriately Tarantino-esque
  • A logline–an explanation of the plot in about 50 words. “The Bride” was the deadliest assassin of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, until the day she decided to leave the business, assume a new identity, and get married. But it was on the day of her marriage that her old “friends” – O-Ren Ishii, Vernita Green, Budd, and Elle Driver, not to mention her boss, Bill – find her and assassinate the entire ceremony while Bill shoots her in the head, putting her in a coma. Well, Bill and his people should have tried a little harder because, after four years, the Bride has awakened from her coma. And Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned…  
  • Characters: Name and explain at least 4 characters in your movie and who should play them.
  • Settings: Where will the movie take place?
  • Set Pieces: What Big Scenes should this movie have?
  • Influences: Which influences are you going to pull from to inform this movie.

 

Essay Questions for Tarantino–Due June 10th–Minimum 600 words

  1. Some critics have suggested that Quentin Tarantino may be one of the most influential directors ever. Trace Tarantino’s influence in modern movies by giving specific examples of his techniques, camerawork, attitude, and style being used in other movies by other directors. What about him is so appealing? See this article to get started.
  2. Some critics suggest Tarantino might be one of the most overrated directors ever. Critic David Denby wrote, “Tarantino has become an embarrassment: his virtuosity as a maker of images has been overwhelmed by his inanity as an idiot de la cinematheque.” Agree or disagree with this assessment of the director. Give specific examples of evidence.
  3. Read the analytic essay on Inglourious Basterds and answer the question: Is the movie moral? Can a movie be evil or lacking in righteousness? Does the movie ask us to revel in things it shouldn’t ask us to revel in?
  4. What should the rules be for ripping off other directors? What kinds of borrowing should be considered legitimate and what kinds are wrong? Give several examples of each. See this documentary for some ideas about the issues involved.
  5. Take a look at this interview. Connect anything he says to either movie. Does the interview give specific insight into his directorial choices?
  6. Scene Analysis. Choose a specific scene from either movie to do a deep dive on. Describe the mise-en-scene and other cinematography elements with as many specifics as possible. Trace those examples to effects the director is trying to invoke or thematic ideas.

W, May 25th–Film

OK, first, let’s make sure we’re ready for Ty West on Friday. I’ll show you a trailer and a scene from Innkeepers and we can talk about good questions to ask.

Next, we’ll finish IB. And then have our discussion.

  1. Depiction of Nazis. How did you feel about Landa? Is he all evil? Complicated? Cultured? How does the movie seem to see him?
  2. Depiction of American violence? What are we asked to enjoy? Why? Does that make you feel uncomfortable?
  3. Jewish revenge and alternate history. WWII didn’t end like this. Does it matter?
  4. Female Avengers. What do Shoshanna and The Bride have in common? Is it feminist to have women commit spectacular violence?

Movie Pitch for Quentin

  • In small groups, create a short 5-slide Keynote/PP that attempts to convince Quentin Tarantino to make your movie. Ex: The lead character, called ‘The Bride,’ was a member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, led by her lover ‘Bill.’ Upon realizing she was pregnant with Bill’s child, ‘The Bride’ decided to escape her life as a killer. She fled to Texas, met a young man, who, on the day of their wedding rehearsal was gunned down by an angry and jealous Bill (with the assistance of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad). Four years later, ‘The Bride’ wakes from a coma, and discovers her baby is gone. She, then, decides to seek revenge upon the five people who destroyed her life and killed her baby. The saga of Kill Bill Volume I begins.  
  • Characters: Name and explain the details of at least 4 characters in your movie. Give suggestions about who might play them.
  • Settings: What are some of the places your movie will take place?
  • Fitting into the oeuvre: Explain how this movie fits into the larger pantheon of Taranitino movies.
  • Ideas for set-pieces. What Big Scenes do you envision in this movie?

 

Essay Questions for Tarantino: Choose 1. Minimum of 600 words. Due June 10th.

  1. Some critics have suggested that Quentin Tarantino may be one of the most influential directors ever. Trace Tarantino’s influence in modern movies by giving specific examples of his techniques, camerawork, attitude, and style being used in other movies by other directors. What about him is so appealing? See this article to get started.
  2. Some critics suggest Tarantino might be one of the most overrated directors ever. Critic David Denby wrote, “Tarantino has become an embarrassment: his virtuosity as a maker of images has been overwhelmed by his inanity as an idiot de la cinematheque.” Agree or disagree with this assessment of the director. Give specific examples of evidence.
  3. Read the analytic essay on Inglourious Basterds and answer the question: Is the movie moral? Can a movie be evil or lacking in righteousness? Does the movie ask us to revel in things it shouldn’t ask us to revel in?
  4. What should the rules be for ripping off other directors? What kinds of borrowing should be considered legitimate and what kinds are wrong? Give several examples of each. See this documentary for some ideas about the issues involved.
  5. Take a look at this interview. Connect anything he says to either movie. Does the interview give specific insight into his directorial choices?
  6. Scene Analysis. Choose a specific scene from either movie to do a deep dive on. Describe the mise-en-scene and other cinematography elements with as many specifics as possible. Trace those examples to effects the director is trying to invoke or thematic ideas.

Memorial Day–Humanities

HW: Read Chapters 16-18 (finished!) in BNW.

What we’re up to:

  • Consciousness: What is it? Why do we have it? How can matter conjure up the ability to recognize oneself?
  • Brave New World

Woody Allen Quote:

“I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality through not dying. I don’t want to live on in the hearts of my countrymen; I want to live on in my apartment.”

First Question:

It’s Memorial Day! Some questions. Why do we try to remember those who sacrificed themselves for us? What is the meaning behind this impulse, behind this holiday? Do our memories matter? Does the possibility that people will remember you when you die motivate you to greater effort?

Now, let’s talk consciousness. We’ll read an article entitled: “I feel therefore I am.

  1. Say this in your own words: John Locke wondered if ‘the same object should produce in several men’s minds different ideas at the same time; for example, the idea, that a violet produces in one man’s mind by his eyes, were the same that a marigold produced in another man’s, and vice versa.’
  2. What is the “hard problem” of consciousness?
  3. What is physicalism?
  4. What is a Chalmers zombie? How do we know we aren’t one? Or that Mr. Stearns is or isn’t one?
  5. What is the medieval mind/body dualism?
  6. Why did Descartes want to keep dualism around? What do we lose, or so he thought, when our beliefs become purely materialist?
  7. What is the many worlds theory?
  8. What does Max Tegmark hope is true about consciousness? What would that mean?
  9. Your turn. What evolutionary benefit do we get from having self-awareness?
  10. Your turn. Chalmers thinks that the world is made up of something besides physical stuff? What do you think?

Then, we’re moving on to BNW.

Hopefully, we’ll watch a TED talk with Nick Bostrom about transhumanism.

 

Tue/Wed–May 31st/June 1st–AP

What we’re up to:

  • Looking back at the AP Rhetoric Prompt–Jane Addams
  • Questions for the Play
  • Choosing your Scene
  • Learning Lines

We’ll start by talking about the Addams prompt and I’ll return your finals. Anyone who wants to retake the prompt, let’s talk and figure out what we need to work on. Quick reminder. Rewrites for Fascination essay are due tomorrow.

Let me repost the info on the play:

  1. What is the main question this play seeks to answer? What are the offered answers and what seems to be the answer that is landed on by the end?
  2. Describe the world that the play creates. Are events guided by character choice or do the characters seem to be at the whim of some vengeful fate/God? Is this a believable or fanciful world? Explain.
  3. What is the inciting incident which gets the story started? What is the final conflict that is resolved by the end?
  4. How–if at all- do the characters change during the course of the play? Why do they change/fail to change? What does that say about the ideas the play seems to be dealing with?
  5. What are the crucial themes of the play? What abstract ideas–honor, loyalty, family, gender, love, etc.–reverberate through the actions and discussions of the play?
  6. How should this play–ideally–be staged? Should their be an elaborate set or a minimal one? Props? Lighting? Special effects?
  7. How does the medium of the dramatic play differ from other media? What advantages does it have over other media? What are some of the drawbacks? How does this play exploit the advantages? Would this work as a movie or TV show? Why/ why not?

The American Play assignment:

Requirements:

  1. Prepare a scene from your chosen play in which every student has at least 50 lines memorized. You can double parts, move/cut lines, or otherwise make alterations in order to make the workload more or less equal.
  2. Together, write a short plot summary and a statement of the play’s theme. Explain how the playwright uses character, language (dialogue and stage directions), and/or setting to communicate that theme. Each character should write a one paragraph explanation of your character’s motivation (what do they want in this scene and why) and contribution to the theme.
  3. Together, plan blocking (movement) that is visually interesting and conveys important information about character, relationships, conflicts, and themes. Consider how to use levels, stage areas, setting, and proximity to communicate this.
  4. Contribute basic costumes, props, and set elements to make the scene come alive. Keep it simple, but make creative choices. If you have essential elements that you cannot create in class, you can explain this before the beginning of your scene.
  5. Scenes are due the last week of school: June 20th-24th.
  6. Grade are not based on acting ability but rather the completion of the written part (#2), accuracy of memorization, and the skill in which the blocking contributes to the audience’s understanding of plot, character, and theme.
Skip to toolbar