Episode 17. Jason Mittell & Christian Keathley

Will is joined by his former teachers and mentors, Jason Mittell and Christian Keathley, who are professors at Middlebury College, two of the co-founders of [in]Transition, co-conveners of the Scholarship in Sound & Image Workshop, and leading practitioners and teachers of the scholarly video essay. Their conversation centers on their collaborations, the history and practice of the workshop, aka “video camp,” and features an in-depth discussion of the videographic exercises that listeners have been making in recent weeks. Listeners are assigned their final (for now) videographic assignment: abstract trailers.

Black Lives Matter Video Essay Playlist

Cydnii Harris, Kevin B. Lee, and I have partnered to create a list of videographic work pertaining to the Black Lives Matter Movement, the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, police brutality, protest, and other pertinent topics. Click here to learn more.

Don’t Forget The Pod Now Has a Newsletter!

“Notes on Videographic Criticism” is a weekly newsletter and companion to the podcast. What does this newsletter entail? Short writings on video essays, news, links to newly published videographic work, information on the podcast, short interviews with creators, and more. Have thoughts on what should be in this newsletter? Tips? Videos? Articles? Events? Email me: willdigravio@gmail.com!

SUBSCRIBE HERE

Homework: Abstract Trailer (and don’t forget Voiceover!)

Your final assignment is an abstract trailer. Here are the instructions from The Videographic Essay (Grant, Mittell, Keathley; 2019):

This form asked participants to consider features of both the scholarly abstract (subject and critical approach) and the motion picture trailer (style and tone). One key goal of this video, as with a movie preview, was to make others want to see your final project. We asked participants to spend the weekend producing an abstract trailer, lasting no more than two minutes, of their final videographic project.

And don’t forget about voiceover! Click here for the assignment.

Preview to Episode 18. Cydnii Wilde Harris

Our next guest will be Cydnii Wilde Harris! In addition to be one of the co-organizers of the Black Lives Matter Video Essay Playlist, Cydnii is a brilliant video essayist herself. Listeners may remember that Catherine Grant discussed her video essay, “Cotton — The Fabric of Genocide,” on the first episode of the show! In addition to her work and the playlist, Cydnii and I will also discuss what it’s like to make video essays as a students and what its like to be budding scholars interested in this kind of work. Here’s your homework:

Follow & Subscribe

iTunes: podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-video-essay-podcast/id1474512070
Spotify: open.spotify.com/show/3TxVowomAlLCKrRExfxeG5?si=4z64qluVT1Gzd3ZZdpnYMQ
Twitter: twitter.com/videoessaypod
Facebook: facebook.com/videoessaypod

Episode 16. On Publishing the Video Essay

We are finally back! Today’s episode is the first of our new roundtable series, which will center on topics related to all aspects of video essays. Will is joined today by Michael Leader of BBC’s Inside Cinema, Adam Woodward of Little White Lies, and Joost Broeren of Filmkrant. We discuss what it’s like to edit publications that publish videographic work, tips for freelance video essayists, what video essays bring to a publication, and more! Listeners are also assigned the penultimate videographic exercise homework: voiceover narrations.

Black Lives Matter Video Essay Playlist

Cydnii Harris, Kevin B. Lee, and I have partnered on a list of videographic work pertaining to the Black Lives Matter Movement, the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, police brutality, protest, and other pertinent topics. Click here to learn more.

Don’t Forget The Pod Now Has a Newsletter!

“Notes on Videographic Criticism” is a weekly newsletter and companion to the podcast. What does this newsletter entail? Short writings on video essays, news, links to newly published videographic work, information on the podcast, short interviews with creators, and more. Have thoughts on what should be in this newsletter? Tips? Videos? Articles? Events? Email me: willdigravio@gmail.com!

SUBSCRIBE HERE

Homework: Voiceover

Thank you so much to everyone who made multi-screen compositions! They are all collected here, and those uploaded to Vimeo are in the showcase below. If you didn’t get a chance to make one, don’t worry! Email me the link at willdigravio@gmail.com and I will add it to the showcase and webpage. If I missed yours please let me know!

Your next assignment is a voicover narration. Here are the instructions from The Videographic Essay (Grant, Mittell, Keathley; 2019):

For this assignment, we asked participants to select a continuous video sequence from their media object and record a voiceover to accompany it, with the final video running no more than three minutes. The voiceover should relay an anecdote, tell a joke, read from some piece of writing, or otherwise provide an independent verbal channel of material not overtly related to the chosen media object. The content could be the participant’s own original material or something that others had written/spoken. … The video should be one continuous sequence from the film; duration and/or scale could be manipulated, but it could include no new video edits.

(MORE EXAMPLES HERE)

Preview to Episode 17. Mittell and Keathley

On the next episode of the show, Will will be joined by the duo who first introduced him to video essays, Jason Mittell and Christian Keathley. Their conversation will center on their partnership, and in particular the Scholarship in Sound & Image Workshop. Mittell and Keathley, along with Catherine Grant, are the creators of the videographic exercises that listeners have been creating in recent weeks! They are also the co-authors of the open access webside, The Videographic Essay: Practice and Pedagogy. Here’s your homework:

Follow & Subscribe

iTunes: podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-video-essay-podcast/id1474512070
Spotify: open.spotify.com/show/3TxVowomAlLCKrRExfxeG5?si=4z64qluVT1Gzd3ZZdpnYMQ
Twitter: twitter.com/videoessaypod
Facebook: facebook.com/videoessaypod

Episode 15. Shannon Strucci

Shannon Strucci joins the show to discuss life as a YouTube video essayist, developing one’s own video essay aesthetic, the relationship between video essay making and podcasting, and more! We also discuss Shannon’s epic video essay “Fake Friends Episode 2: parasocial hell” and Harry S. Plinkett’s (Mike Stoklasa) review of Star Wars Episode I: Phantom Menacea seven part video produced by Red Letter Media. Listeners are assigned new homework: multi-screen videos.

Don’t Forget The Pod Now Has a Newsletter!

“Notes on Videographic Criticism” is a weekly newsletter and companion to the podcast. What does this newsletter entail? Short writings on video essays, news, links to newly published videographic work, information on the podcast, short interviews with creators, and more. Have thoughts on what should be in this newsletter? Tips? Videos? Articles? Events? Email me: willdigravio@gmail.com!

SUBSCRIBE HERE

Homework: Multi-Screen Compositions

Thank you so much to everyone who made Videographic Epigraphs! They are all collected here, and those uploaded to Vimeo are in the showcase below. If you didn’t get a chance to make an epigraph, don’t worry! Email me the link at willdigravio@gmail.com and I will add it to the showcase and webpage. If I missed yours please let me know!

Your next assignment is a multiscreen composition. Here are the instructions from The Videographic Essay (Grant, Mittell, Keathley; 2019):

When Chris was in graduate school at the Art Institute of Chicago, one of his professors reported that Dušan Makavejev, when he was teaching at Harvard, would randomly select two films and project them side-by-side, looking for ways in which the movies might show their potential for positive valence, echoing one another through visuals, sound, or dramatic intensity. The professor then tried it out himself with simultaneous projection of Persona (Ingmar Bergman, Sweden, 1966) and Battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo, Italy/Algeria, 1966)—and it took only about five minutes for the films to seem to begin to ‘talk’ to one another. We wanted to capture something of this effect, so with this exercise, we asked participants to use a multi-screen process to construct a ‘response’ to one of the exercises produced by another member of the workshop. That is, they were to use their chosen film and integrate it with clips from one or more films used by other participants’ exercises. The video had to contain moments of both full-screen and multi-screen, including images from the film(s) the participant was responding to. All audio and visuals had to come from the maker’s chosen texts, peers’ exercises, or the objects chosen by other workshop participants.

As I said on the podcast, you won’t be able to follow these instructions, in part because you don’t have access to the media of other listeners! So, for this assignment, just focus on making some sort of multi-screen video with at least two different media objects. Here are some examples of both exercises and video essays that use the multi-screen technique:

Preview to Episode 16. On Publishing the Video Essay

Our next episode will feature a roundtable discussion with three editors of publications that publish videographic work: Michael Leader of BBC’s Inside Cinema, Adam Woodward of Little White Lies, and Joost Broeren of Filmkrant. We will discuss what it is like to publish video essays, what video essays bring to a publication, tips for freelance video essayists, and more.

Follow & Subscribe

iTunes: podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-video-essay-podcast/id1474512070
Spotify: open.spotify.com/show/3TxVowomAlLCKrRExfxeG5?si=4z64qluVT1Gzd3ZZdpnYMQ
Twitter: twitter.com/videoessaypod
Facebook: facebook.com/videoessaypod

Episode 14. Leigh Singer

On today’s show Will sits down with journalist, programmer, and video essayist Leigh Singer. We discuss his most recent essay, “The Movies Behind Your Favorite GIFS” and kogonada’s 2014 video essay, “Linklater // On Cinema & Time.” Listeners are also given their next homework assignment: videographic epigraphs.

The Pod Now Has a Newsletter!

“Notes on Videographic Criticism” will be a weekly newsletter and companion to the podcast. What will this newsletter entail? Short writings on video essays, news, links to newly published videographic work, information on the podcast, short interviews with creators, and more. Have thoughts on what should be in this newsletter? Tips? Videos? Articles? Events? Email me: willdigravio@gmail.com!

SUBSCRIBE HERE

Homework: Videographic Epigraphs

I was overwhelmed by the response we received to the PechaKucha homework! More than 30 PechaKuchas were made by listeners, and many of you made more than one! They are all collected here, and those uploaded to Vimeo are in the showcase below. If you didn’t get a chance to make a PechaKucha, don’t worry! Email me the link at willdigravio@gmail.com and I will add it to the showcase and webpage. If I missed yours please let me know!

Your next assignment is a videographic epigraph. Here are the instructions from The Videographic Essay (Grant, Mittell, Keathley; 2019):

“Loosely following Catherine [Grant]’s model, we developed a ‘videographic epigraph’ assignment: we asked participants to select a sequence from their media object, and also a quotation from a critical text (not specifically related to the object) of no longer than five sentences. We asked them to alter the video sequence in some noticeable way using at least two different types of transitions or effects (but not editing multiple clips). The quotation should then appear onscreen in some dynamic interaction with the video. Further, they had to either replace or significantly alter the soundtrack. The completed exercise could not be longer than three minutes.”

Some changes for our purposes: the alterations are optional! Introduce transitions or effects and replace the audio for extra credit! Typically, attendees of the Scholarship in Sound & Image Workshop use the same media artifact for all exercises, but if you’d like to switch to a new media object go ahead! Please send me your videos by Saturday, May 16th! (I previously had the wrong date and day of the week. This is just general deadline to make sure I have received enough to talk about on the next episode of the podcast. If you miss the deadline, please still send it in!) Email willdigravio@gmail.com with links and any questions.

Here are some examples:

Catherine Grant has assembled a wonderful collection of epigraphic videos on Vimeo. Watch here.

Preview to Episode 15. Shannon Strucci

Our next guest will video essayist (StrucciMovies and Scanline) and podcaster (Critical Bits and Struggle Session) Shannon Strucci. We will discuss Shannon’s 2018 video, “Fake Friends Episode Two: parasocial hell” and Harry S. Plinkett’s (Mike Stoklasa) review of Star Wars Episode I: Phantom Menace, a seven part video produced by Red Letter Media. Watch below:

Follow & Subscribe

iTunes: podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-video-essay-podcast/id1474512070
Spotify: open.spotify.com/show/3TxVowomAlLCKrRExfxeG5?si=4z64qluVT1Gzd3ZZdpnYMQ
Twitter: twitter.com/videoessaypod
Facebook: facebook.com/videoessaypod

Episode 13. Scout Tafoya

We are finally back! On today’s show, Will sits down with Scout Tafoya, aka Honors Zombie. Scout is a prolific video essayist and critic, who regularly contributes to RogerEbert.com among other publications. We dive deep into his essay film Beata Virgo Viscera and “Deep Focus: Mike Figgis’ STORMY MONDAY, as reviewed by Roger Ebert,” a video essay edited by Matt Zoller Seitz, narrated by Kim Morgan, and based on a review by Ebert.

Let’s All Make PechaKuchas

You have additional homework this week! When I asked listeners for feedback on the show, Ariel Avissar wrote in and suggested we all begin making small videos together. What better place to start than the videographic exercises Jason Mittell, Christian Keathley, and Catherine Grant developed for the Scholarship in Sound & Image Workshop at Middlebury College? At the workshop, the first exercise participants are asked to make is a Videographic PechaKucha. Here’s a description from The Videographic Essay: Practice and Pedagogy, an open access, multimedia website by Mittell, Keathley and Grant:

The first assignment was a new form of videographic expression that we invented for the first workshop: the Videographic PechaKucha. A typical PechaKucha is an oral presentation format that has strict parameters for the timing of slides: 20 slides lasting exactly 20 seconds, each auto-playing, resulting in a presentation lasting precisely 6:40. The concept behind such strict but arbitrary presentational parameters is to force presenters to adhere to a rapid pace of a ‘lightning talk’, while creating a uniform rhythm for visual materials. The effect is that every PechaKucha feels similar on one level, but allows for great creative variation within this uniform rhythm and structure.

Our videographic variant consisted of 10 video clips of precisely six seconds each, coupled with a continuous minute-long audio segment, all from the same film. This 1-minute video proved to be an ideal first assignment because its limited scope allowed participants to become familiar with some of the basics of video editing, while also enabling them to make new discoveries about their films through their search for clips and to experience new revelations through image/sound juxtapositions.

In summary, your homework is:

1. Find one movie/TV episode/media object.
2. Upload the file to whatever video editing software you use.
3. Find ten, six-second video clips and line them all up however you like.
4. Pair the clips with one minute of continuous audio.
5. Export the file.
6. Upload the file to Vimeo or YouTube.
7. Email me the link (willdigravio@gmail.com) or Tweet me (@videoessaypod or @willdigravio).

Make sense? I will collect all of the essays and post them on this website. Sounds fun, right!? Please send me your PechaKucha by Saturday, April 25th so I can have them all posted by the time you receive your second assignment on the next episode of the podcast. (If you missed this deadline that’s ok! Still make one and send it in.) Finally, I will just add that even if you’re an experienced videographic critic or have made a PechaKucha before, please consider making one anyway! Join the fun! Please feel free to email me with any questions, and be sure to check out The Videographic Essay for more information.

Here are some examples to get you started (if you’re wondering why some are longer than a minute it’s because black screen has often been added at one or both ends of the video):

And check out this great compilation PechaKucha Shane Denson made at the 2015 Workshop:

Episode 14. Leigh Singer

Our next guest will be London-based journalist, programmer, critic and video essaysist Leigh Singer. Leigh’s video essays have been published by the BBC, Little White Lies, Sight & Sound, and more. His journalism has appeared in The Guardian, The Times, The Independent, Empire, among others. He is currently a program advisor at the London Film Festival. We will discuss Leigh’s recently published video essay, “The Movies Behind Your Favorite GIFs” and kogonada’s 2014 video essay, “Linklater // On Cinema & Time.” Watch below.

Follow & Subscribe

iTunes: podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-video-essay-podcast/id1474512070
Spotify: open.spotify.com/show/3TxVowomAlLCKrRExfxeG5?si=4z64qluVT1Gzd3ZZdpnYMQ
Twitter: twitter.com/videoessaypod
Facebook: facebook.com/videoessaypod

Episode 12. Liz Greene

Liz Greene is a scholar, sound professional, and video essayist. On today’s show, she and Will discuss her essay, “Do it for Van Gogh: Detecting and Perverting the Audience Position in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet.” They also discuss Tracy Cox-Stanton’s recently released video essay, “Gesture in A Woman Under the Influence.”

Follow & Subscribe

iTunes: podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-video-essay-podcast/id1474512070
Spotify: open.spotify.com/show/3TxVowomAlLCKrRExfxeG5?si=4z64qluVT1Gzd3ZZdpnYMQ
Twitter: twitter.com/videoessaypod
Facebook: facebook.com/videoessaypod

Next: Episode 13. Scout Tafoya

Scout Tafoya will join us on the next episode of the podcast. Scout is a filmmaker, video essayist, contributor at RogerEbert.com and elsewhere. Learn more about him here. We will discuss his essay film Beata Virgo Viscera and “Deep Focus: Mike Figgis’ STORMY MONDAY, as reviewed by Roger Ebert,” a video essay edited by Matt Zoller Seitz, narrated by Kim Morgan, and based on a review by, of course, Roger Ebert.

Episode 11. The 2019 Sight & Sound Poll

Host Will DiGravio is joined by his fellow co-editors of the 2019 Sight & Sound magazine poll of the best video essays of the year, Grace Lee (What’s So Great About That?) and Ariel Avissar. They discuss what it was like editing the poll, what changed about the poll this year, how they’d like to see the poll evolve in the future, and how they made their own selections. The second half of the show features commentary from nine contributors to this year’s poll: Chloé Galibert-Laîné, Scout Tafoya, Jason Mittell, Philip Brubaker, Andrea Moran (on behalf of FILMADRID), Shannon Strucci, Ian Garwood, Oswald Iten, and Johannes Binotto.

Follow & Subscribe

iTunes: podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-video-essay-podcast/id1474512070
Spotify: open.spotify.com/show/3TxVowomAlLCKrRExfxeG5?si=4z64qluVT1Gzd3ZZdpnYMQ
Twitter: twitter.com/videoessaypod
Facebook: facebook.com/videoessaypod

Read the Poll Below

BONUS: Ariel put together an in-depth statistical analysis of the poll results. Click here to access the data.

Preview: Episode 12. Liz Greene

On the next episode, Will sits down with scholar Liz Greene. Learn more about Liz via her website. They will discuss Liz’s video essay, “Do it for Van Gogh,” which was featured heavily on last year’s Sight and Sound poll, and Tracy Cox-Stanton’s recently released video essay, “Gesture in A Woman Under the Influence.” Watch both essays below.

Episode 10. Charlie Shackleton

Filmmaker and critic Charlie Shackleton joins the show to discuss his background, philosophy when it comes to making videographic work, and his most recent essay, “Criticism in the Age of TikTok.” In a first for the show, Charlie and Will also discuss a performance piece by Zia Anger, My First Film.

On the next episode, Will is joined by his co-editors of the annual Sight and Sound magazine poll of the best video essays of the year, Ariel Avissar and Grace Lee. The three will discuss what it was like to edit the poll, the results, and how this year’s poll differs from years past. They will also be joined by several of the poll’s contributors, who will offer extended commentaries on their selections. The episode will be released on January 31.

News

Episode 9. Johannes Binotto

Scholar Johannes Binotto joins the show to discuss his video essays on John Ford’s Stagecoach and François Truffaut. He and Will also discuss Hartmut Bitomsky’s 1991 essay film, Das Kino und der Wind und die Photographie (The Cinema and the Wind and Photography).

Preview to Episode 10 – #DoYourHomework

Our next guest will be Charlie Shackleton, the London-based filmmaker, producer and video essayist. Learn more about Charlie via his website and Twitter.

Will and Charlie will discuss his essay “Criticism in the Age of TikTok,” which was published by Sight and Sound in October.

They will also discuss Zia Anger’s performance piece, My First Film. No video of the performance is available online, but the trailer is below and an article published by Sight and Sound can be found here, and more about Zia Anger can be found on her website.

News & Notes

Video Camp

The Scholarship in Sound & Image Workshop at Middlebury College is back! Spend two weeks in Vermont learning how to produce videographic criticism. More here. Plus, the workshop conveyers — Christian Keathley, Jason Mittell, and Catherine Grant — have just published a new online book, The Videographic Essay: Practice and Pedagogy. The website collects their previous and new writings about video essays, and also includes examples of videographic exercises from the workshop.

“Thinking Images” at the Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival

From Ariel Avissar: “Thinking Images” is a new program launched at The Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival dedicated to video essays and videographic works. The call for entries is now open for submissions by students, teachers, scholars, critics and filmmakers worldwide. They are looking for works that are distinctive, and that use innovative approaches to express their ideas. Works selected for the program will be screened at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque during the upcoming festival, on June 21-27, 2020. The submission deadline is January 30th.

More on the program and requirements.
To submit a video to the program.
For more on the festival.

“Creating Insights” Video Essay Symposium

New Project From Ian Garwood

New Video Essays Published in Latest Issue of NECSUS

Episode 8. Chloé Galibert-Laîné

Chloé Galibert-Laîné, one of the leaders in the video essay genre of “desktop documentary” comes on the show to discuss her film, “Watching The Pain of Others.” Chloé and Will also discuss Ross Sutherland’s 2015 film, Stand By for Tape Back-Up.

Learn more about Chloé via her website.

Preview to Episode 8 – #DoYourHomework

Our next guest will be Johannes Binotto, a lecturer in film theory and film history at the Lucerne School of Design + Art and a post-doctoral researcher in the English Department of the University of Zurich. We will discuss two video essays by Johannes:

Will and Johannes will also discuss Hartmut Bitomsky’s 1991 film, Das Kino und der Wind und die Photographie (The Cinema and the Wind and Photography).

Apply to Attend Video Camp!

The Scholarship in Sound & Image Workshop at Middlebury College is back! Spend two weeks in beautiful Vermont learning how to produce videographic criticism. More here.