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.

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