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Today in class, we started off with the FYI representative coming in to tell us about CUNY first, when to use pass/no credit for a class, and certain events during our free period. After he left, we began talking about Dzigo Vertov. We went over the readings- Vertov’s Manifesto. Professor Ferguson asked us to identify (3) important claims Vertov states (posted on the blogs). We then thought about how this Manifesto would look like as a college paper. We picked the best sentence from the Manifesto, which turned out to be “”Cinematography” must die so that art of cinema may live.” We talked about that sentence- what it means, if its the main idea, etc. We took this sentence then rewrote it to look like a more academic way. Afterwards, we used the new sentence and added evidence and analysis to it, making it look more like a paragraph in a college paper.

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Sharon R. Sherman’s Projecting the Self explains how documentary can be changed and manipulated towards the directors way. In her piece, she states how directors use this to their advantage to show what the director feels is important/to show certain items to truly show the idea behind his/her film. She even explains different techniques directors use (narration, editing, sound) to help them portray their images. Sherman uses many of Harvey’s “Elements” with this piece.

The first element Sherman uses is one of the more important ones- thesis. She states her thesis in the first few sentences: “”Film truth…is a misnomer because film is never objective…Most filmmakers believe, however, that their manipulation creates a ‘greater truth…'” This thesis, which is her main insight, is again repeated in the end of her piece: ” Filmic structure combined with content focus tells the viewer as much about the filmmaker as the content does about the topic.” Another element Sherman uses is evidence. Sherman describes a variety of techniques many documentarians use to convey certain beliefs or ideas, and she shows these descriptions by using other filmmakers and other works of texts as examples of what she wants to explain. A third element she uses is analysis. Right after (or sometimes even before) she gives us the evidence, she gives us a summary/a more descriptive view on the text/quote she use.

Sharon R. Sherman uses many of Harvey’s “Elements” to convey her meaning and other filmmakers of what directors do in terms of manipulating the audience.

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Grierson begins his work with the explanation of how documentary is a type of film that is made from “natural material.” That is, material that hasn’t been in any way tampered with or changed. I completely agree with Grierson in the sense that documentary is the filming of certain images or stories that, in some manner, show truths. He then goes on to explain an example of what he believes is type of documentary- the “peace-time newsreel.” Of course, Grierson believes that this type of documentary is “just a speedy snip-snap” of something that is “unimportant”, like the “babblings of a politician.” I think that Grierson does have a point in that, many times, this journalistic documentary is less entertaining. But I think this is because journalism aims more at informing, and less on entertaining.

Grierson then brings up the filmmaker Flaherty, stating that the documentaries that Flaherty makes are the ideal documentaries. Grierson states that Flaherty believed the story of the documentary must be “taken from the location…” Grierson defines the principles of documentary that Flaherty accomplishes with his own films- the documentary must master its material it is showing and it must “follow him in his distinction between description and drama.” Grierson goes on to say how Flaherty uses “story” to go about his documentary. But, even though a certain stories are used in his films, they in no way change facts. And this ties up to what Grierson was saying earlier- in the end, all documentaries are formed though natural material. They just happen.

Grierson brings up many good points about what documentary really is. And although they can be shown in different forms (newsreel, with a story, expanding on the individual) they all have one thing in common- they tell the truth with facts.

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Montage of attractions script:

1. Medium shot on the face.
2. Pan away to show rest of John.
3. John says “I live in Stormville, NY”
4. cut to image of imporrtant location in Stormville (building, etc)
5. Cut back to John.
6. John explains hobbies- history and movies.
7. Cut to history books and movie theater.
8. Cut back to John
8. John explains favorite movie- Clerks.
10. Cut to scene from Clerks- Jay and Silent Bob talking to Dante.
11. Back to John stating he dorms.
12. Camera zooms in on The Summit.
13. Cut to John’s dorm room. Door opens.
14. Panoramic view of John’s dorm room.
15. Cut to John back in the interview room.
16. John explains how he likes Queens College.
17. Camera zooms out of the interview room.
18. Full shot of Queens College.

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