Throughout Sharon R. Sherman’s writing piece titled “Projecting the Self Filmic Technique and Construction,” she explores the idea of how film construction is used to manipulate the viewers understanding and take on a certain film. She mentions multiple directors and their opinions on using some of these techniques to make their films. She explores editing tricks, the recreation of individual actions to that of an act, and the use of sound in film.  Sherman talks deeply about the idea of narration and how some filmmakers have embraced it, while others cursed the use of it. Encompassing her knowledge on film and through her research and interviews with various directors she supports her argument that making films is a manipulation by the director to convey what they want the audience to see on their behalf.

Gordon Harvey’s “Elements of the Academic Essay” is applied throughout this piece of writing. There is a clear understanding in the first page of the chapter where Sherman starts off with a quote by Sontag stating “Film is always a construction. Film “truth,” whether it be ciema verite, kinopravda, or observational cinema, is a misnomer because film is never objective….” This is the basis of Sherman’s thesis because throughout this chapter she explores these various ways of constructing a film and the idea of portraying what is “reality” in film. She talks about the usage of sound, with or without narration, sound over and sync-sound, manipulation of acting, recreation of actors and editing of films to show the reader that these techniques affect our understanding of a topic. This is also the motive of Sherman, to tell us through writing that the ideas of film are never objective due to the director’s manipulation through various film techniques. Sherman provides many instances of evidence and sources throughout her passage. She interviews various directors, uses their quotes and their take stance on each of the elements of film that I’ve mentioned above. She evaluates and analyzes both sides of the argument between the use of certain significant techniques through the habit of citing multiple quotes and passages from those directors to help support her thesis. She frankly states their view points, whether they oppose a certain type of technique or they favor it in their use of producing a film. The structure of her passage, in my opinion, was well written. She started off with a relevant quote in the beginning of her chapter and then used that quote to explore multiple view points of directors who choose to use or object the usage of certain film techniques in making their film.

Reading this passage gave me a good understanding about incorporating Harvey’s elements of the academic essay and it taught me that film can be very biased as well as expressive. The various directors that Sherman mentions in her article and what they believe appears to be appropriate or not for a film were very interesting to read. For example, narration was one of the techniques that Sherman explores intimately. Hawes uses narration, however only to the extend he says that “Narration should not be used if the person in the film explained his or her own behavior, but that rules for filmmaking should be based on the needs of the individual project” (214).Ferris and Cohen both aren’t inclined to narration because they believe it may create additional problems. Cohen writes “Too often the narration sets both the mood and the direction of perception and gets in the way of communication between film and viewer. Narration makes it too easy for an audience and can remove the element of challenge from viewing by offering easy explanation instead” (215).  While this can be the case sometimes, Sherman herself states that she uses narration for purposes of analysis only. She says “For films without any narration, future audiences will be at loss to interpret the actions of the people, for example, what certain ceremonies are and what they mean. Allowing the action to dominate the structure of the film will alleviate some problems with narration. Of course, film is a representation. The filmmaker uses narration to show openly what that representation is. In doing so, the narration represents the filmmaker as well” (216). I think this line from Sherman summaries her take as a director very explicitly. She states that the making of film is influenced by the director. Whether the director chooses to have narration, sound or color in their film is based completely on their vision of what they believe is best for their film. Initially the product of the film reflects the person as a whole, and I believe that by understanding this, the creator of film and writing can take these components and for themselves decide on what is best for their final product in carrying out their vision.

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