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Through out the reading I feel Sherman conquered many aspects of Gordon Harvey’s “Elements of an Academic Essay.”  I think the most obvious elements that Sherman uses is a Title. I think the title alone is very catching and interesting and would pull any reader into guess how we “Document Ourselves” With her great title I also noticed great amounts of paragraph structure to the reading. Sherman makes good use of indenting and makes it very easy to understand the point she’s making and the flow at which the passage should be read.

I think the third element that I found easy to point out was Sherman’s use of Stitching. Halfway through the passage she starts to quote very many different sources. Not only did she also use Harvey’s element of Sources but she also linked them together after each quote. She quotes a film maker by the name of Ferris but at the end states “Thus, Ferris insists that narration should not be used for analysis” . She then goes on to quote another famous film maker by the last name of Cohen and starts off her comparison with the sentence “Like Ferris, Cohen believes that…” and so on. I found this very easy to follow and make comparisons with.

The last element that i found Sherman uses is Analysis. I think the perfect example of Analysis which is breaking down and interpreting your statement is the very last paragraph. Though it is short, Sherman sums up chapter 5 with saying “The structure of the film can sometimes give you a good idea of how the director meant it to be, as long as the content of the movie is related to the topic. I find Sherman really brings it home with that last paragraph because even if you didn’t read the chapter, after reading that paragraph you can have somewhat of a vague idea of what Sherman is trying to convey.

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This will be the picture I’m using for the upcoming project

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Last Thursday was the first day of the semester that Prof. Ferguson was absent. After realizing that this wasn’t highschool and that it would not be a free period I got to work on the assignment at hand.

On the blog Prof. Ferguson asked us “what makes a film a film.” To me, this was a very in depth question that i feel a lot of us in the class overlooked. We were asked individually to come up with a list of 10 aspects that make ALL films, “films”. After easily listing the top 10 things to come to my head i quickly realized my list needed some revision. I cut out many of the elementary school answers like “a camera crew” thinking that a story or plot is much more relevant.

After we as a class, individually came up with our lists, came the hard part. We were asked as a class to come up with ONE list that had the best answers from everyones list. My classmate John took initiative in making the list and taking charge. He connected his laptop to the smart board and as a class we debated what should be up there. After the majority of the class shared their input we were finally content with out list. I think what we learned most in last thursdays english class was that a lot goes into making movies. Not only the actual labor of it but the storyline and brainstorming that constructs the movie its self. I personally think that as a class our list came out very well.

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From first glance I noticed this reading was a  lot longer than the last reading we had to respond to. I found that a little relieving in the sense that there were a lot more topics of discussion compared to a smaller reading where one would have to grasp very few ideas. The only problem I had reading this was pin pointing one idea that I myself could expand on.

The first thing that stood out to me, which might be the most overlooked sentence in any reading, was  the very first sentence. Grierson says “Documentary is a clumsy description, but let it stand.” I found this sentence to be very “Eisenstein like” in the sense that he said how he felt about the word documentary but then almost erased it with practically saying “but we’ll go with it anyway.” Grierson says the French, who first used the word, only meant it to replace “travelogue.” Again sounding very “Eisenstein like” because he’s basically telling us how the French felt. Right off the bat I got the almost cocky attitude from Grierson and changed the way I would’ve read the reading if I hadn’t caught his gestures.

The next part of the reading that popped out to me was a lot deeper in. On the bottom of Page 105 Grierson speaks about beauty. From what I’ve extracted from it I think that what he’s trying to say in this short tidbit is that the best documentaries come in time. He refers to the Documentary makers as “tyros” or novices. He says “The best tyros know this.” I think what he is trying to say is that any good Film maker knows that the best works come from the beauty and heart. He says the film makers who don’t do it for the arts sake but do it for the product reflect selfishness and aesthetic decadence. As a film maker myself I couldn’t agree anymore with what Grierson is saying. It’s just like anything in this world, your best work comes from the soul. I find the best works i ever do come with the most satisfying prize of all; self accomplishment.

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When i first opened the reading i was pleased to see that the reading wasn’t going to be too long. After reading the first paragraph the thought of a long but comprehendable reading seemed like thanksgiving dinner. Right at the start of this reading i was stuck trying to grasp the main ideas that Barthes had intended but i tried my best!

What I took from Barthes reading was that in many instances the depiction of characters can be one of the most important aspects in a film. The first one that stuck out to me was right in the beginning of the reading about the Romans hair style. He observes how in the film Julius Ceaser all of the Romans have long, curley hair and the bald are not admitted yet  many bold men played huge roles in Roman history. After talking about the hair he quotes “What then is associated with these insistent fringes? Quite simply the label of Romen-ness.” After reading that i was almost at the point of understanding what i my eyes were absorbing. To me, he is saying the hair to the romans is what makes them “Roman” in Mankiewicz’s film.

The second reference that stuck out to me was his shout out to Portia and Calpurnia. To be honest the only reason this stuck out to me more than the other bland text in the reading was because Calpurnia is my grandmothers middle name. After that caught my eye i decided to further analyze the paragraph and realized what Barthes wanted to state. He says that in the movie Portia and Calpurnia are awoken at the dead of night. Both wake up with different reactions to what is at their sight. Regarding the actual reactions they had, i’m not sure but the point he wants to make is that the signs they make are, as he quotes, “excessive and ineffectual”. Barthes‘ actual tone in the reading to me seems a bit cocky or as if he knows it all. I think what he’s saying makes sense but in terms of ethics I wouldn’t be so sure as to tell how they’re any different than mine.

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