Monday, 13 February 2012

Unit 4: OGR Part 2

Goldfish Bowl OGR


  1. OGR 14/02/2012

    Hey Anthony,

    Okay - well, I like very much the surrealism of your idea; it has an Alice down the rabbit hole quality - but I can't help observing that you're keep your 3 components very separate and they're not actually powering the story in any real sense; so, let's imagine that the goldfish bowl is HUGELY important to that bit of high-tech equipment - and it's important BECAUSE it's a goldfish bowl - why? If you could replace that goldfish bowl with any other sort of object, then, in truth, you're 'not' using the object in a creative sense. Likewise, your 'void' makes for an arresting concept, but it's also a bit of cop-out narratively, because just like the bowl, it's not functioning in a fully-materialised way. What possible function could that machine have? Why would it need goldfish as part of its circuitry? By answering this question, the environment to which it transports the window-cleaner, might be given more of a functional identity. It's not that the essential surrealism and WTF? of your idea need change, it just needs to feel more satisfying in narrative terms - for example, how would it stand up to the 3 act structure model of story-telling, that demands, in the third act some kind of resolution. Your window cleaner just 'running away' feels pretty weak to me; if you think about it, there's not a single aspect of your story that couldn't be replaced with another kind of aspect; you story isn't deriving in a legitimate sense from your components. But your machine powered by a goldfish bowl is a great, tantalising idea - but what does it do?

    Some ideas - what are goldfish characterised by? Their inability to remember anything - so maybe your machine is an identity-wiping machine or memory-destroying gadget; or maybe it's simply a machine that swaps identities around - the point is, the only way to 'use' the goldfish bowl is to 'use' it to power your story. The idea of your character being transported into another dimension is fascinating - but why can't it be a 'goldfish dimension' - or maybe it's a machine that makes the window-cleaner feel the pain and suffering of imprisonment as felt by all goldfish in bowls everywhere?

    It's these sort of questions that drive original, quirky stories - and while your story is that, I don't think you've got an Act 3 that works because, basically it all ends up in a 'it was all a dream' place - your character is unchanged. Give it some thought and see if you can enrich this experience a bit more.

  2. some general advice re, your written assignment:

    1,500 word written assignment that analyses critically one film in terms of the relationship between story and structure; you should consider camera movement, editing, and order of scenes.

    Okay - so while the challenge of the assignment doesn’t state it explicitly, as soon as you start to discuss narrative, editing or sorts of shots, you’ll be using a technical or specialist language – with specific terms with specific histories and contexts. Therefore, in common with all your assignments so far (and all future assignments!), you need to introduce and define your specialist/technical terms BEFORE you start discussing your specific film or case-study.

    For example, if you were planning to discuss the famous shower scene from Psycho, which is an example of ‘montage editing’ – you would first need to introduce and define the term ‘montage editing’ – and in so doing, refer to its origins and cultural ancestry (i.e. its broadest context). In written assignments you have to ‘show that you know’ – you have to demonstrate your knowledge of the subject area by showing that YOU understand its various components. You couldn’t discuss Psycho’s shower scene effectively WITHOUT referencing Sergei Eisenstein (the ‘father’ of montage editing), and, by extension, the ‘rules’ of Hollywood ‘invisible editing’ (from which Eisensteinian editing was such a departure).

    Likewise, if you were interested in the ‘continuous take’ of ‘Rope’ – then in order to discuss this technique in context, you’d still have to introduce and define ‘editing’ in general terms, in order to prove Rope’s distinctiveness.

    If you’re dealing with narrative structures – i.e. the ‘non-linear’ structures of Christopher Nolan’s Momento or Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, you first need to demonstrate your awareness and understanding of the ideas and uses of ‘non-linearity’ in story more generally.

    Another reoccurring weakness in your assignments is your introductions; remember, there is no actual content in your introduction.

    Your very first line should state plainly and clearly what the investigative thrust is of your assignment – and that’s all. “This assignment analyses critically the use of non-linear narrative in film, with particular reference to Christopher Nolan’s Momento (2000).”

    Job done! That’s it. No more – nothing else.

    Next, you list the KEY research sources you’ve used (i.e. the ones your essay will now go on to reference), and your reasons for consulting them (i.e. their usefulness to your argument). You should be specific here – give titles, authors and publishing date etc. Put your titles in italics. There should be no waffle here at all, so avoid sentences like ‘Sources include websites, books and films…’ Also, you don’t need to give the film you’re studying as a source, because that’s been made obvious by the first line of your introduction. If, however, you’re looking at some associated films, then you should include them here – but always give your reason for their usefulness to your discussion.

    Finally – your intro should offer the reader a summary of points – the logical sequence of subject matter that will take your reader from ‘not knowing’ about your subject to ‘understanding’ your subject. This is where you – the writer – must give this ‘logical sequence’ some proper thought – get this bit right and your assignment will flow from one point to the next in a satisfying way.

  3. in addition, re. the character design aspect of the unit, please refer to the various resources available to you on myUCA/Story/Unit Materials: key sources are Dynamics of the animated drawing, Andrew Loomis's Basics of drawing Cartoons and Poses, and Preston Blair's highly regarded Cartoon Animation. There's loads of good stuff on myUCA - go make use of it.

  4. Hey Anthony - can you drop me an email at - don't worry, nothing to worry about - I just want to follow-up on our earlier conversation. Cheers!

  5. Hi – sorry for any duplication, or if you’ve done it already, but I’ve been prompted to prompt students about completing the Student surveys before the deadline – which is fast approaching. It’s possible that some of you are experiencing difficulty logging in or finding your login details. If you are experiencing difficulties, can you email

    When you’ve completed it, can you leave a ‘done it’ on the original blogpost below.

    Many thanks – and remember, this is your opportunity to create change and assist course teams in terms of resources etc.