More 205 Early American Lit video essays: “Allusions”

This group’s video essay from last spring’s 205 Early American Lit class shows that even with literary topics, it’s still possible to have fun: “Allusions”

From the group:

“Hearts racing, pulses pounding, adrenaline rushing….One of the biggest documentaries of the year, a visually stunning epic film to see, ‘Allusion’ will transform your very thoughts of American Literature. Watch the phenomenal acting of Robert, Brooke and Amy as they take you down the breathtaking road to answer to life’s burning question, “What is an allusion?” These ‘very professional’ interviews were conducted locally, in Lafayette’s retail stores, UL campus and personal homes! Now we will get to find the answer of this lifelong question!!”

Like the group’s video from my previous post, this group also use their different questions as section headers to transition/introduce the different segments. Where they differ from the other video essays, however, is that they decided to capitalize on their own personalities/voices. Tone is something teachers spend a lot of time on in freshman comp courses. That is, most students (and even some writers) believe that the formal structure of an essay requires a stuffy or boring tone (and consequently an elevated language). But this group’s use of a humorous, conversational style/tone still manages to convey a thoughtful and well-organized discussion of their initial question (What is an allusion?). Again, I can imagine using this as an exercise for a freshman writing course to show how all the elements work together to create a tone. For instance, part of what made their use of humor work so well for them was also due to their decision to keep in the interviewer’s voices–what would happen if they re-cut the video removing those voices? How might that affect the overall cohesion in terms of tone?

Although a number of groups made use of mixing in other videos, this group used them as direct examples to support their evolving definitions (as well as for comic effect). One thing I’ve noticed in this as well as the other videos, is that the students really do have a solid idea of how different cutting works–from the the fade out/in, to the jump. I can’t help but believe that in terms of the writing process, pointing out such moves to students might help them see those same transitional moves within their writing.

One of my other favorite things about this video is how it shows how a seemingly simple question like theirs can open up still more interesting questions.

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