Tuesday, January 26, 2010

First Week's Examples

I used the following examples for my first week of lectures, which were keyed to Ch. 1 of Hearing the Movies:

I started with the scene from Catch Me If You Can (2002), discussed in the introduction to Part 1 (pp. 1-3) and again in Ch. 1 (pp. 7-8). I played the scene twice, with class discussion after each viewing. We then did a masking exercise, using the Second Botched Meeting sequence from Sleepless in Seattle, discussed on pp. 20-25. We first watched the sequence with no sound, and I had the students talk about what sort of sound they expected and why. We then watched the sequence with sound.

The second class—my class meets twice a week, 75 minutes for each class—we started with a masking exercise using the same scene from Sleepless, this time reversing the procedure, beginning by masking the image and then watching the sequence with image and sound. I led the class in discussion after each.

We then worked with part of the Waterloo Station sequence from The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), starting again with a masking exercise: first, no image (we did this twice); then, no sound track; then both together. In this case I divided the students into three groups and had the first group concentrate on the dialogue, the second group on the music, and the third on the effects. I instructed the first group to note the number and type of voices as well as tempo and dynamic of delivery; the second group to note the basic mood, tempo, dynamic and instrumentation for major points of change; and the third group to identify sound source or to describe sound as best as they could. I thought this example worked exceptionally well, and I would recommend the example.

The third example came from The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), discussed on pp. 11-12. Here, I had the students discuss the five types of music in the sequence and how they differed in narrative function: 1. the atmospheric music as Frodo awakens (this music also appears at the very beginning of the film over the New Line Cinema logo); 2. the "mythic" music accompanying Gandalf's flashback; 3. pastoral music accompanying the appearance of Sam; 4. enchanted vocal music for Rivendell; 5. pastoral music accompanying appearance of Bilbo.

The final example was simply a viewing of Boston Common Scene from Good Will Hunting (1997), pp. 25-30.