Volume 1, Issue 17: Making a Video Essay I
Open City, Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival, Don't Forget Cary
I’m about to embark on my most ambitious video essay project to date and I’m scared as f-ck! I’m super excited, but the beginning, or, the stage before the beginning is always the hardest part. My plan is to document the creation of the essay here in this newsletter, which, if I’m being honest, is not exactly helping the whole “scared as f-ck part” of this situation. But, writing about the process here is my way of keeping myself accountable, and making sure that I actually finish this thing in a timely manner. Why? Because I want to get this thing done! It’s a project that I’m really excited about, one that I’ve been kicking around for awhile and I think has a lot of potential. I’ll say more about what the project is in a later newsletter, but in the meantime I figured I’d share some of the questions I’ve been asking myself as I begin this endeavor.
Is this project a good idea?
Is this project best served in videographic form?
Has someone tried this before?
Will anyone watch this?
Am I the best person for this project?
Can I do this project?
Do I have the editing skills to achieve my desired affect?
Is this video a piece of scholarship?
What else do I need to read?
What else do I need to watch?
Do I have all of the necessary materials?
I’ve never worked with so many films at once. How will I manage them all?
Is 31 minutes too long?
Is this something more than a video essay?
Am I being too open right now?
Should I run this idea by others?
Or should I keep it to myself?
When is the correct time to ask for feedback?
What parameters should I impose?
I have a strict format in mind, but is that the way to go?
Should I be more experimental?
Will that diminish the video?
Is the concept too simple?
Shit, I’m back to the first question again.
Why should this video exist?
Does that question even matter?
Do I have time for this?
Should I work on this in pieces?
Will this project push me out of my comfort zone?
Will it be any good?
How will I explain this project to others?
What genre of videographic essay is this?
Do any of these questions even matter?
Is it worthwhile to ask such questions in advance?
Are Blu-ray and DVD files the best way to present the material?
Do I now how to rip anything else?
How long will this project take?
Seen and Heard: Selections from the Black Lives Matter Video Essay Playlist
On Saturday, the Black Lives Matter Video Essay Playlist made its film festival debut at the London-based Open City Documentary Festival. It was a truly wonderful event and I was honored and thrilled to be part of it! Kevin, Cydnii, and I had the chance to to chat with Jazmin Jones, Nzingha Kendall, and Claire Borealis, also known as Professor Flowers on YouTube. I want to extend a big thank you to everyone involved, including the team at Open City: Chloe, Will, Oliver, and Jess. All of the proceeds for the event were donated to Black Minds Matter UK. Learn more here. Here’s the line-up from the event:
Cotton — The Fabric of Genocide by Cydnii Wilde Harris
I Feel, Therefore I Can Be Free by Nzingha Kendall
New Forms of Racism in the Post-Cinematic Dispositif by Jace Alexander Casey
UNLOCKED by Jazmin Jones
Lessons From the Screenplay: Get Out — A New Perspective in Horror by Michael Tucker
Real Talk: Is Breadtube Discussing Race “Right”? by Professor Flowers
Partnership with the Cary Comes Home Festival
Another reminder that the podcast is partnering with the Cary Comes Home Festival, the Bristol, UK-based festival honoring the life and work of Cary Grant, to present "The Journeys of Cary Grant: An Audiovisual Celebration."
Celebrating the 100th anniversary of Grant’s journey to the United States and international stardom, we are seeking video essays exploring journeys of many types. We are interested in exploring the idea of the journey, not only in terms of geography, place, space and physical travels (both real life and on film), but also in terms of psychological journeys: voyages of identity, self-discovery and self-invention. We are open to all kinds of journeys, including fan journeys, star pilgrimage, set-jetting, movie location tours and rephotography and all forms of audio-visual criticism, including video essays, fanvids, and any kind of video that reappropriates footage of Cary Grant. Videos of any length will be accepted but the ideal length will be between 5-6 minutes.
All submitted work will be featured on the Cary Comes Home website and on The Video Essay Podcast website. Some of the best work will be featured on an episode of The Video Essay Podcast which will be recorded live at the virtual festival in November. Creators will be invited to join the conversation!
The rolling deadline for submissions is Friday, October 16th. Submit here.
News & Notes
I need your help curating this section!! Have something that should be featured? Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
From Ariel Avissar:
The "Thinking Images" video essays program is a new addition to the Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival, which will take place next week and will be an online-only event. The program includes works by Chiara Berrevoets, Caitlin Lynch, Christopher Boulton, Chloé Galibert-Laîné, Alan O'Leary and Maayan Gutterman.
All of the festival content will be available for online viewing for the duration of the festival (21-26 September). A festival pass - at the price of 12€ - gives one full access to this content, which includes over 100 short films from all over the world - among them the video essays program - and other special events (such as masterclasses with Gus Van Sant and other filmmakers) - though there is a cap on viewers, so that some film and events might eventually be sold out.
The various festival programs are here (with the video essays program, the latest addition to the roster, at the bottom), and the special events here; and here is where one can order the festival pass.
The Fan Studies North America Conference invites submissions of short-form video reflections on fandom, fanvids, or both. Submissions can include fan vids, edits, or video essays/videographic criticism. Videos should be between 1 and 5 minutes long. Videos will be screened in their Vid Show. More here.
Apply for the Barbara Hammer Lesbian Experimental Filmmaking Grant. Deadline is October 31.
Tecmerin has put out a call for video essays, due Oct. 15. More here.
ScreenWorlds and [in]Transition have partnered on a call for video essays, “African Screen Worlds in Conversation with Other Screen Worlds.” Learn more here. The deadline is October 1, 2020.
And a very happy birthday to the one and only Adrian Martin!Happy birthday to the indefatigably brilliant and generous film critic extraordinaire, ! Subscribe to his website! A nice gift to him! And a wonderful present to yourselves!
The Video Essay Podcast — Episode 18. Cydnii Wilde Harris
The one and only Cydnii Wilde Harris joins the show to discuss her video essay, "Cotton — The Fabric of Genocide." We also discuss Ian Garwood's "SLAP THAT BASS Zoomed" and Jace Alexander Casey's "New Forms of Racism in the Post-Cinematic Dispositif." We also talked about what it's like to be a student of videographic criticism and how video essays have shaped our own scholarly pursuits!