Writing on 7@7

I received an email with questions relating to your written responses to the 7@7 films (for each of which you are to provide a written response):

Hello Andy,

I have a quick question. When did you say the film responses should be turned in by? and what would be a general guideline how much information we should include in them?

Dear [student] –

As a rule, I think you should turn in your film responses by the following Sunday at midnight. They could be written separately from your journal or could be developed within the context of the journal. (To me, the second scenario seems appropriate, however you need to make sure you’re not skimping on your journal writing, ignoring other things taking place that week, while focusing just on the film.)

As to general guidelines, I know Bob would want me to be as vague as possible. His intention in this regard is not to unnecessarily cause confusion or anxiety rather it is to cause you to think. He wants you to ask yourself these sorts of questions:

• What was really important about this film in relation to the content of this course? What do you feel were the particularly salient points the film was trying to get at?

• Can you describe your immediate visceral reaction to watching the movie? Ideally you would write something about this shortly after seeing it. You might want to put down your immediate reactions in a stream of consciousness mode right away then revisit what you wrote a few days later after your mind has been processing the experience “behind the scenes.”

• What confused you about this film? Why? Can you describe what issues are the subject of your confusion? Can you “talk through” possible explanations for what you found to be confounding?

• What aspects of the film made me feel uncomfortable? Why? Can you examine your emotions from an objective viewpoint? Does thinking about your reactions a few days later make a difference?

• What do you feel/think were some of the finer points made in the film that were not entirely explicit? Was there anything you felt was left out or left unexamined that you wish was explored further?

• Do you believe there was anything misrepresented? What aspects of the film could be considered propaganda? Would you say that the filmmakers were being polemical in their decisions regarding what to include and what to exclude? Are there things that you wish were explored in greater depth?

• Do you have personal memories or preconceptions that the film brought into high relief? Can you describe what these things have to do with your own viewpoint on the world? Do you feel that some of your prior ideas were under attack or being criticized?

• Did anything seem unfair or biased in a way that you felt was manipulative? Why? Can you distinguish between your emotional reactions to scenes in the film that made an impression on you and your logical, rational reflections? Are they consonant or dissonant?

Further, with regard to how much you ought to write, I believe he would ask, “Have you investigated everything that deserves/requires examination? If someone who never saw the film and never took this class read your writing, how much sense would it make? What sort of impression would they have of the film and its relationship to ideas being addressed in the course in general? Is there anything more that needs saying?”

Finally, I doubt he would say it’s possible to write too much as long as you’re exploring new territory. Give it a day or so and come back to it. Are you sure there’s nothing else to say?
PS          If you have more questions, feel free to ask in the comments below!

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