Monday, 15 February 2010

Just To Recap

My chosen film to write about in the essay will be Saving Private Ryan, particularly focusing on the opening scene in which America invades Omaha beach.

My story idea in its most basic form is as follows...

There are two chefs, one being a Japanese sushi chef and the other an American Cowboy chef. The chefs both have caravan converted burger vans which they sell there food out of, both customised to match there type of food. These caravans are dead opposite each other on a derelict dusty high way. A passing by car stops to purchase food, with this customer being the first they have seen in a while, both the chefs get to work. The customer cannot decide which type of food he fancies and wonders in between caravans. With both the chefs eager to make a sale, one by one they offer a great deal on some extraordinary food, both taking part in a duel between bargains to make the sale. Whilst the chefs are battling it out between each other, the customer notices a highway sign for a fast food restaurant and decides to leave and go there. Leaving both chefs with a mound of food and no sale.

I'm still not happy with the dull way story ends, it seems to reach it climax then two have nothing happen. But for the essay part of this project, I'm rather happy and enjoying learning about it.


  1. Hi Richard! Well done this blog looks top notch lmao keep it up.

  2. Interim Online Review 16/02/2010

    Hey Richard,

    I'm pleased you're enjoying the written assignment... I bet you'd never thought you'd be saying that back in week 1... The truth is that you're a bright guy - maybe you're coming to believe it too.

    In the meantime, worry not about the 'downbeat' end to your story idea; I think it HAS to end in that way - for the laugh - and for the sake of your audience, who should be exhausted by Act 2. It's all an issue of staging - it's HOW the 2 characters come to notice that their customer has wandered off to eat a crappy hotdog that's going to nail it. Be confident and 'direct it with a pencil'... It will all be in the timing - in the number of beats.

    In terms of escalation narratives, you might want to take a look at the following - both of which are pretty wonderful and depict 'duels' between various, very well drawn characters (this, of course, is your big challenge too).

    I know you're well ahead with the essay and we've had a chat about it previously, but see the next 2 posts for further guidance - also, I know you asked before - there's a link re. using the Harvard Method to cite sources taken off the web... I look forward to seeing your character designs and your boards; for the conventions of presenting characters visit

  3. “1,500 word written assignment that analyses critically one film in terms of the relationship between story and structure; you should consider camera movement, editing, and the order of scenes”

    While the essay questions asks you to analyse one film in terms of the relationship between story and structure, you are nonetheless expected to contextualise your analysis – and that means you have to widen your frame of reference to include discussion of other, related films and associated ideas – and also the ‘time-line’ within which your case-study sits.

    So, for example, if you are focusing on a scene in a contemporary film which makes dramatic use of montage editing and quick-fire juxtaposition of imagery (the fight scenes in Gladiator, the beach landings in Saving Private Ryan, the bird attacks in The Birds…) no discussion of this scene would be complete without you first demonstrating your knowledge of the wider context for your analysis – i.e., the ‘invisible editing’ approach as championed by W.D. Griffith, and the alternate ‘Eisensteinian’ collisions adopted by Russian filmmakers (and now absorbed into the grammar of mainstream movies). In order to further demonstrate your appreciation for the ‘time-line’ of editing and its conventions, you should make reference to key sequences in key films – ‘The Odessa Steps sequence’ from Sergei Eistenstein’s Battleship Potemkin (as in scene in the Cutting Edge documentary, but also viewable here in full

    Also – if further proof were needed of the influence of this scene, watch

    The Cutting Edge documentary, as shown on Monday 15th Feb, is viewable on YouTube at

    If you choose to quote from any of the ‘talking head’ sections (Ridley Scott, Walter Murch etc.), in support of your discussion, ensure you put the documentary’s original details in your bibliography (as opposed to the You Tube url). For official title and release date etc. visit

    Put simply, whatever film you choose to discuss, you will need to link it to its ‘ancestors’ and also, where appropriate, to its ‘children’ – i.e., what influenced it/what it influenced.

    Regarding the ‘language of editing etc.’ the following site is useful – if ugly!

    I suggest you use it only as a starting point for focusing your research parameters – not as the fount of all knowledge (it isn’t!).

    Something that keeps coming up is how to cite websites using the Harvard Method:


  4. Stylistically, many students’ essays still lack the required formality and tone for a University level written assignment. Many of you write as if you’re ‘chatting’ to your reader or writing a blog entry. This is inappropriate and you need to cultivate a more appropriate style if your discussions are to be authoritative and properly presented. Below are some suggestions re. use of language; take note and use!

    Use good, formal English and grammar,

    Use objective language: e.g. rather than 'I find it difficult to identify ...'

    'It is often difficult to identify...'
    'It can be seen that...
    'There are a number of...'

    Adopt a cautious academic style; avoid conclusive statements: e.g. use may, might, it seems that, appears to, possibly, probably, seemingly, the evidence suggests that, it could be argued that, research indicates...

    Avoid assumptions and generalisations: e.g. everyone can see, everybody knows, public opinion is...

    If you make a statement, always present evidence to support it.

    Within your essay you will be hoping to demonstrate or prove something. You will have a point of view that you wish to convey to your reader. In other words, your essay should 'say' something.

    You should support what you wish to say with a reasoned argument and evidence.

    A reasoned argument consists of a series of logical steps you make in order to lead to a point where you can form some sort of judgement on the issue you have been examining, or come to some sort of conclusion.

    Paragraphs are organised in order to build your argument in a series of logical steps

    A typical paragraph is concerned with a single step in your argument

    The first sentence of a paragraph is the topic sentence. It clearly states which step in your argument you intend to deal with in this paragraph

    Subsequent sentences explain, define and expand upon the topic sentence

    Evidence is offered

    Evidence is commented on

    A conclusion may be reached

    Try to make each paragraph arise out of the previous paragraph and lead into the subsequent one

    Below are some useful ‘linking’ words and phrases that suit the formal tone of an academic assignment – get used to using them to structure clear, articulate and confident sounding sentences.

    To indicate timescales:
    when, while, after, before, then

    To draw conclusions:
    because, if, although, so that, therefore

    To offer an alternative view:
    however, alternatively, although, nevertheless, while
    To support a point:
    or, similarly, incidentally

    To add more to a point:
    also, moreover, furthermore, again, further, what is more, in addition, then
    besides, as well
    either, not only, but also, similarly, correspondingly, in the same way, indeed
    with respect to, regarding

    To put an idea in a different way:
    in other words, rather, or, in that case
    in view of this, with this in mind
    to look at this another way

    To introduce and use examples:
    for instance, for example, namely, an example of this is
    such as, as follows, including
    especially, particularly, notably

    To introduce an alternative viewpoint:
    by contrast, another way of viewing this is, alternatively, again,
rather, another possibility is..
    conversely, in comparison, on the contrary, although, though

    To return to emphasise an earlier point:
    however, nonetheless, despite, in spite of
    while.. may be true
    although, though, at the same time, although.. may have a good point

    To show the results of the argument:
    therefore, accordingly, as a result
    so, it can be seen that
    resulting from this, consequently, now
    because of this, hence, for this reason, owing to, this suggests
 that, it follows that
    in other words, in that case, that implies

    To sum up or conclude:
    therefore, in conclusion, to conclude, on the whole
    to summarise, to sum up, in brief, overall, thus