Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Arbitrary? A response to Randy

This just in from Smiddy McKelp:

In response to Randy Maxwell's suggestion that we film students all be required to take acting, art history, and philosophy: that's a really specious suggestion. By what method did he arrive at those three disciplines? Why not sociology, anthropology, and psychology? If anything, film students should be encouraged by their advisors to use their electives in ways that might be beneficial to their artistic sensibilities, to further their abilities to create powerful, meaningful work. Who says his suggested three disciplines would be the best for that, though? Seems pretty arbitrary.

So whatcha think? Arbitrary -- or the right combination of art and theory?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's pretty arbitrary. Being a film student here in Park and having taken a number of courses on campus outside the film degree program I can say there are still some you haven't listed that can be quite beneficial as well. Things like rhetoric and marketing could be just as useful to a film student, depending on what aspect of the industry they want to indulge in.

Is this not why the B.S. degree in Cinema & Photo require students to take half of their credits outside of the Park School? I think being able to pick and choose these course is much more beneficial to a film student.

Maybe it would be more fitting if students would talk with their advisors to find out what kinds of additional courses they should be taking along with their film degree.

12:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Randy's suggestion-that film students should be required to take acting. I also think that requirement should be spread to TV-R majors also. If you are on one side of the camera, you should really know whats going on on the other...
Acting also gives students a sense of self-exploration, confidence, and a chance to meet students outside of Park. I took acting 1 and 2 and would reccomend to anyone and everyone on campus to take an acting course, especially cinema and tv-r students-because they work with actors. You cannot fully understand anything until you see all sides...

3:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, man, I'm gonna have to disagree. Neither Cinema majors nor TV-R majors should be at all required to take acting. Doesn't make sense. I certainly see your point about understanding what it feels like to be on the other side of the camera, but it's too much of a stretch to think that they should be required to do so. It reminds me of one of Mitch Hedberg's stand-up bits. He complains that he's a comedian, but people are always trying to get him to write movies, or act on sitcoms. "It's as if I was a cook, and I worked my ass off to become a really good cook, and they said, 'all right, you're a cook. Can you farm?'"

I feel like it would be great to understand how it feels on the other side of the camera, and you obviously had a really good experience with your acting classes, but that doesn't mean it should necessarily be included in a major that's already too full of superfluous requirements. Some of us aren't even going to be working with actors in our careers, if we pursue news or documentary or something. It's not a good suggestion.

3:46 PM  
Blogger Joe Taylor Jr. said...

You should get some acting experience, ESPECIALLY if you're going to be pursuing news or documentary! You could have the best interview subject in the world, who looks awful on tape because they have little presence. With a little coaching (and I'm talking about things like posture and projection -- not juicing their responses), you can turn a bad shoot into a really dynamic element of your piece. You'll also find it easier in post-production when you don't have to make internal cuts. An acting class is a great shortcut to learn how to get non-actors to shine on screen.

Think beyond whatever scheduling challenges you might be looking at now. In a job market where a hundred folks apply for every open gig, the elements that make you and your work special are the elements that get you paid. Those outside-the-box classes WILL give you that extra edge.

4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, ok, I think everyone agrees that "outside-the-box" classes should be part of every Park student's academic experience here at IC. No one disputes that, not even the course catalog -- remember, half of our credits are outside of Park. I just find it difficult to make the connection between acting classes and filmmaking / videomaking that everyone here seems to find so obvious. I also took Acting 1, and it was enjoyable, but I'm gonna go ahead and say that I feel like there was very little I learned in that class that I'd ever be able to apply to my work as a videographer.

When faced with that unsightly interview subject, I'm going to think back to what I learned to what I learned about shooting interviews from reading my field production textbook long before I think back to the monologues or improv games I did in a semester of basic acting. "Getting non-actors to shine on screen" is a worthwhile ambition, but I'm tempted to think it's something that can be learned from a couple chapters of reading and a few days of practice, and not necessarily the mandatory enrollment in a semester-long course.

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Couldn't you consider "getting non-actors to shine on screen" also be considered staging an interview in many circumstances?>: )

Besides, one could make the arguement that any non-park course could be extremely useful for the major, and should therefore be required...for example, should we be required to take an accounting course because it will help us develop budgets? How about a course in basketball, just because many of us might end up shooting sports for a living? The thing is, I think the departments have enough faith in individual tudents to develop their own interests without being led to water.

2:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the comment that you could make a case for taking any classes outside of Park. Ithaca College prides itself on being a liberal arts college and offers a wide array of liberal arts courses. Other than some suggestions, I think students should be left to their own devices to decide which non-Park courses to take. After all, what is valuable to you could be of absolutely no value to me in my intended career (after all, we're not all going to LA and Hollywood after graduation). I think advisors should simply encourage their advisees to take a wide range of classes to learn about many different things... as Meg Jamieson once told me (to paraphrase) "You need to learn something to be able to make a movie about something".

9:18 PM  

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