ENG 255-Audience, Analyst, Artist

ENG 255-Audience, Analyst, Artist

Weekly Journals

 

January 22, 2018

I can already tell that this class is going to make me think a lot harder about the dramatic literature I encounter in everyday life. While not everything I watch or read in my free time falls under the category of dramatic literature that will be specified throughout this course, I still think I’ll be able to use it to explore the topics we’ll cover. I am currently catching up on the ever-popular Grey’s Anatomy, which I enjoy because it tackles deep subject matter. It took a little bit of time for me to get into the show because some of it seemed a bit too staged and convenient—and unrealistic—but after a while I began to ignore these factors because I became captivated by the storylines. Professor Ramey briefly mentioned the “willing suspension of disbelief” and I definitely think it applies here.

Besides television shows, I also enjoy movies. My roommates love those romantic comedies full of slapstick humor and cheesy love stories, and while I like to watch those with them every now and then, if I’m sitting down to a movie myself I’d prefer it to require more brain power. I can’t multitask while watching movies, so if I’m going to fully invest myself in a film I want it to be worth it. That being said, I have a newfound love for Wes Anderson films. I’ve only seen three so far but my favorite has to be The Grand Budapest Hotel. I find the cinematography to be very clever, and the humor is so dry that you could miss it if you’re not paying attention. It sort of reminds me of Monty Python in a way.

 

January 24, 2018

Unfortunately, I had to miss class today. Looking on Blackboard, however, I know that there was discussion on the topic of style, the willing suspension of disbelief, conventions and theatrical devices, and the fourth wall. I’m hoping that I will get caught up on these topics as they were addressed in class, but I can say that I’ve encountered these things in my life already.

When I was a junior in high school, I was in a musical called Urinetown. You read that correctly—it told the story of a dystopian future in which drought has led to the necessity of banning private toilets in homes. This comedy is narrated by a police officer who works to quell the uprising that results from a rise in prices to use the public restroom. This officer, along with a little girl, work to break the fourth wall by taking themselves out of the scene to explain the situation to the audience before jumping back into the action. This technique is useful to give needed exposition to the audience while also making everyone feel more involved and included.

 

January 29, 2018

Today, we talked about Naturalism. I found the topic to be very interesting because I do find myself, when watching shows like Grey’s Anatomy, thinking about how despite the fact that the show tries to keep some aspect of real life about it, it feels so unbelievably staged. And yet, I continue to allow myself to be enveloped in the drama of the storyline. Why is this so? The discussion in class really helped me to think about why the show is embedded in reality but at the same time doesn’t come anywhere close to real life. The concept of beats, or pieces of dialogue that express clear thoughts, are a tool used in Realism, but not in Naturalism. Just like I’m doing now with this stream of consciousness (which, by the way, may be completely off the mark in terms of this journal-keeping assignment), Naturalism doesn’t bother always with staying completely and concisely on topic. Whenever I write stories—which is not often enough—I try to make the dialogue believable. Naturalism is a lot better at this than realism, or any other style for that matter. I find that really interesting because it takes a special attention to detail to be able to accurately mimic human speech patterns. The class today was undoubtedly interesting, but now I’m worried that instead of relaxing and enjoying my shows I’m going to just sit there and shout at the screen: “Come on, no one actually talks like that! And how convenient that the surgery you’re performing somehow perfectly analogizes your current dramatic situation, appearing at just the moment you need in order to prove your point or realize your true destiny!” Just kidding, I wouldn’t actually say that. No one talks like that in real life.

See what I did there?

 

January 31, 2018

I’ve been a little too busy lately to watch my usual Grey’s. Last night my roommates decided to put on the movie Trolls because, in a fit of distress, one of them watched it alone in her bedroom at one in the morning with a tub of ice cream. She loved it and had to show the rest of us. When watching an animated film, especially those aimed at young children, you really have to silence the voice in the back of your mind that screams in agony while trying to grasp at some sense of reality. If you’ve ever seen that film, you know what I mean. It felt nice, though, as I got into it, to accept what my eyes were seeing. Children’s movies don’t require a lot for its plot, so it works. It was a charming little movie. We were especially fans of the little worm character.

 

February 5, 2018

I really can’t decide if I’m a fan of Miss Julie. As much as I’d like to say I’m into the way it requires deep thinking and intense concentration, I’d be telling only a half-truth. I admit that I got lost in the hustle and bustle of naturalism. But that’s how I feel in real life, too. And isn’t that the whole point of naturalism? Realism is so much more popular in the world of drama and cinema because it’s easier to consume. So, I suppose it’s up to the viewer to decide whether they want to watch something as a way to escape and pass time or if they want to think deeply and reflect on their own lives as they see it on the screen or stage.

 

February 7, 2018

Everyone’s been talking about this Black Mirror show lately, so I decided to give it a try—and I was not disappointed. What really caught my attention was that each episode stands alone. That way, I’m not worried that I’ve forgotten some vital piece of information in a previous episode. Also, each episode is very well done. I can’t imagine the budget put toward this show. They really get you to think about where our future is headed and what could happen if we lose touch with humanity.

 

February 12, 2018

The semester’s really picking up and I find that instead of wasting my time with Netflix, I seem to make an even worse choice by participating in various existential crises. These take up a lot of time, but I digress. I’m just saying I’m not consuming as much dramatic literature as before. I have been keeping up with The Bachelor with my roommates. This is something I’ve never done, but I’m open to a suspension of disbelief every now and then; it’s an escape from dismal reality. I find myself yelling at the television with my friends as if we could change Ari’s mind, even though his mind was made up months before this post-production recreation of an extremely unrealistic polygamous dating life. He shouldn’t have kept Crystal around so long, though, real or fake.

 

February 14, 2018

Today was Valentine’s Day, and without getting too personal, I will say that a bouquet of very nice, very expensive flowers was delivered for me today. However, they don’t deliver flowers to your room or even to your respective dormitory. Upon receiving a call from the flower people, a surprise to me, I had to walk from Sokokis to Decary Hall and then all the way back with a vase of yellow roses (and blue flowers. What they were is beyond me). Anyway, the point isn’t that I got flowers. The point is that I felt awkward carrying flowers all the way across campus past all sorts of people. It’s moments like these that I imagine I’m in a movie and there’s some lesson to be learned from these little scenes.

 

February 19, 2018

Continuing from the previous topic, I often wonder if I am excessive when it comes to how often I score my life. I like to listen to songs and imagine what I’d do if I could turn them into a music video or use them in a movie scene. Does this mean I’m destined to be a filmmaker someday? Probably not. Just because I spend all my time doing this doesn’t mean I’m good at it. But anyway, the subject matter in this class so far is fascinating.

 

February 21

So far, my favorite skit that I’ve heard so far is the Philadelphia. I don’t know exactly why, but there’s something in the language structure that appeals to me. I really like how the guy who’s in a Los Angeles speaks; his attitude is how I want to live my life. I’m always too tense in social situations, but he is so carefree about all the negative things that life throws at him.

Anyway, I like how we’re presenting these skits for each other in class. It’s really effective not to watch the characters so we can actively imagine what how we would present the setting and characters if we were directing these ourselves.