Category Archives: Lectures

The Lousy Archive that is YouTube

I was a late adopter to YouTube. I never liked that it used only Flash to display its videos in its early days, making my over-clocked PowerBook get hot from watching a video. I also disliked the low default resolution of its videos. For years, the typical YouTube video had 360 lines of horizontal resolution, […] Continue reading

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American Film Industry, Fall 2013, Syllabus

Here’s yet another syllabus. This one is for American Film Industry at Queens College. From the course description: This course examines the economic history of the American film industry since 1912. We will also focus on the technological and cultural changes of the industry, and pay special attention to how film has responded to successes […] Continue reading

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Class 14: Hollywood’s Second Century

In today’s class, we surveyed some of the ways that Hollywood produces, markets, and exhibits films at the beginning of the 21st century. The methods include heavy focus on research, packaging of stars, heavy marketing, and innovations in exhibition. We … Continue reading

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Class 13: Independent Hollywood

In today’s class, we covered some of the changes to exhibition that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, particularly those which disrupted the old models of theatrical exhibition and even television distribution. Those changes made possible for certain filmmakers to work … Continue reading

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Class 12: Lew Wasserman, MCA, and the New Media Conglomerate

In today’s class, we surveyed some of the contributions Lew Wasserman made between the 1940s and 1980s to the Hollywood system. With the fall of the studio system, the role of the movie mogul had become all but irrelevant. Wasserman as … Continue reading

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Jaws and the New Hollywood Industry

While scholars debate when the auteurist New Hollywood movement ended—it was either Apocalypse Now or Heaven’s Gate—Hollywood began to abandon the auteur centered film for the big blockbuster in the mid 1970s. No film represents that shift more than Jaws. The film’s theatrical trailer sets the tone using the conventions of the horror film. The […] Continue reading

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When is Non-Diegetic Sound Actually Diegetic?

In my American Film Industry class, we voted on what film we would screen for our discussion of New Hollywood, or what I call “The American New Wave.” The class voted, among a list of six films, for Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (Martin Scorcese, 1974). Aside from talking about the cinematography in the film, […] Continue reading

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Cinematography for Emotional Distance

As I mentioned in class, the varied use of focal lengths is another technique that Scorcese manipulates, even in the same scenes. This is in addition to the heavy use of handheld camerawork, which itself was not widely used except in news and documentary filmmaking. I mentioned that the scene with Alice and Tommy in […] Continue reading

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Class 11: New Hollywood

In today’s class, we reviewed many of the factors that led to the US New Wave of filmmaking, which was known as the New Hollywood era. The movement was characterized by a reinvention of film style, re-imagining Hollywood genres, and … Continue reading

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Next Week’s Seventies Flick

The votes are in. The winner of this year’s student selected Pick a Seventies Flick is Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. Twenty students voted in the poll, and each of the 20 students will receive four point extra credit on … Continue reading

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