In terms of how I felt my presentation went, I’m not entirely sure. People seemed to find it interesting, and Lane didn’t say anything negative, so I have to assume it went well. At the same time, however, I felt less prepared going into the presentation than I would have liked due to this semester proving much busier than I initially anticipated. I felt like I did not have a solid handle on my topic, and to be honest, I still feel that way (though I think the whole thing is starting to come together as we race toward the due date for the final projects). Ultimately, I was not 100% happy with my presentation, but I am at least relieved that it was somewhat well received by my classmates and my instructor.

https://d1qhuz9ahqnrhh.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/2-1-750x381.png
No idea how my presentation actually went, but I’m hoping it was received better than this one. Image credit: https://d1qhuz9ahqnrhh.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/2-1-750×381.png

In response to the question about what I would do differently, I think I would have preferred to present my project as a video essay rather than a more traditional conference presentation. For the final project, I have decided to put together a 10-minute video essay outlining my argument that Putney Swope and Sorry to Bother You both function as tactical media designed to critique and challenge capitalist and racist ideologies. I thought this might be more interesting than a standard 12- to 15-page research paper. However, I wish I had thought of doing that earlier, because I could have devoted more time to it and maybe could have had a version of it completed for the presentation. I think it would have been far more effective for me to spend five minutes briefly introducing my topic and then just showed the video for the reminder of my presentation time. I’m still not sure how the whole thing will turn out, but I feel like video essays such as those produced by Taylor Ramos and Tony Zhou of Every Frame a Painting are for more effective than traditional papers when discussing films from a scholarly or critical perspective, because the audience can then see how the examples work rather than be told.

With Every Frame a Painting, Tony Zhou and Taylor Ramos provided a template for creating successful video essays.

I think the ideal context and/or audience for this project is definitely grad students as it is mainly tailored as an academic argument, but I also think that it would appeal to hardcore film fans as well. Given my focus on public scholarship or intellectualism, I like to take scholarly ideas and make them accessible to a general audience. Therefore, I am attempting to conduct strong research but plan on discussing it using easily understandable language. I think this idea also speaks to how I will develop this project towards its fullest potential as creative and/or scholarly work. I want to provide my argument with a solid theoretical foundation so that other scholars will find it informative, but want to ensure that the essay is cut together and narrated in such a way that it is also enjoyable to watch.

As illustrated by this entry in his “Press Play” series, film critic Matt Zoller Seitz proves that video essays can be scholarly and enjoyable all at once.

Even at this late stage, however, I still worry that my theoretical foundation might be a tad weak and could definitely use some further development, but given the format I have chosen, I’m not sure just how much I can build on what I already have, particularly given the restraints of my 10-minute time limit. Right now, I am looking to other video essays to see how they present their ideas and their material in a way that is substantive and pleasurable. I honestly believe that the video format can yield fruitful results, because it uses the tools of film-making to deconstruct films and thereby disrupt the spectacle of cinema. It just remains to be seen whether I can pull that off in this project!

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