Volume 1, Issue 33: Rio Bravo Diary II
A Preview to Episode 24, Video Essay News and Links, & An Interview on Movie Trailers
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Yesterday marked day one hundred and twenty-two of Rio Bravo Diary. For those not familiar with the project, the diary is a Twitter-based, videographic project and study in film analysis. I am watching Rio Bravo (1959), directed by Howard Hawks, over the course of one year and chronicling my journey via Twitter. I have divided the film into 365 (roughly equal) parts and am tweeting one clip per day and commenting on what I watch in no more than the 280-character limit of a single tweet. The project began on November 01, 2020. You can follow the project here. Read the project’s introductory essay here.
I started the project without any specific research question, but one of the goals of the project is to consider how the Twitter feed itself might be considered a form of videographic criticism. But as the project has developed, I’ve also grown interested in exploring how the feed could be used as a launching pad for other videographic work. Last week I published the first of what I am calling “adaptations” of Rio Bravo Diary. “Domestic Spaces” blends together a number of tweets from the project, including an exchange with Johannes Binotto. The video, to borrow a phrase from Johannes, explores what happens when we mold one medium into another.
Also, riobravodiary.com is now live! It has links to all of the relevant material related to the project, including my past work on Rio Bravo. I will continue to post updates in this newsletter, but in the meantime please enjoy the video and let me know what you think!
Student Spotlight: Otto Urban
Otto Urban created this video essay under the supervision of Jiří Anger and Kevin B. Lee at Charles university in Prague.
How did you come up with the idea for this video essay? What drew you to movie trailers in particular?
Trailers are usually the first experience with the film for many people. They are almost everywhere. They precede movies in the cinema, and on the TV and on the internet. Even when you do not want to see them you will accidentally come across them. There are a lot of people who choose a film they want to see after they watch the trailer. Many trailers use their “best” scenes from the movie. I began to think about it when I saw a trailer before the movie. During the film I could anticipate what was going to happen because I knew that there were some scenes in the trailer I had not seen yet in the film. Therefore the movie could not end surprisingly because of that. You are also prepared for the development of the movie plot. There are so many indications you can detect from the trailer of a movie and they can change the way you watch the film.
Why did you choose the desktop documentary format? What did it allow you to say/show?
I saw Kevin B. Lee´s Transformers: The Premake and desktop audiovisual essays and I thought it was very interesting. I wanted to show how I got to the trailer on the internet. You can see on YouTube other recommended videos which are attached to the movie. The desktop format allows you to show the work with the topic.
There are some video essayists who work as freelance movie trailer editors in their free time, and I’ve heard others draw connections between the movie trailer and the video essay as a format. Do you see any similarities between the two?
In my opinion it depends on what kind of video essays you are doing. You can choose among many approaches to make a video essay. Movie trailers contain scenes from the film. Video essays are more movies than trailers. I am very interested in the topic of how a trailer changes our way of watching the movie. I would like to get more into the topic and perhaps to make a bigger project.
Preview to Episode 24. John Gibbs, plus Douglas Pye on Victor Perkins
The next episode of The Video Essay Podcast will be released (hopefully) in the next week or so. The episode will feature a conversation in the usual format with John Gibbs. We will discuss John’s video essay, “Say, have you seen the Carioca?”
And also talk about Patrick Keating’s “The Strange Streets of a Strange City: The Ambersons Montage” and Liz Greene’s “The Elephant Man’s Sound, Tracked.”
The episode also features a conversation with Douglas Pye, who is the editor of the new book, V.F. Perkins on Movies: Collected Shorter Film Criticism from Wayne State University Press. We discuss the book and how the work of Perkins relates to videographic criticism.
News & Notes
I need your help curating this section! Have things I should include? Email me at email@example.com.
The program for the Essay Film Festival (March 25 - April 3) is now live. More here.
In last week’s newsletter, we plugged B-Film’s workshop on videographic criticism. The event is now on Vimeo, here.
I’ve had a great time making my way through Criterion’s “Directed by Guy Maddin” collection. More here.
Watch a great collection of video essays made by the students of Johannes Binotto on The Conversation.
Learn more about The Essay Library Collaboration Project! From the call for videos: “Hello, fellow essay enthusiasts! If you weren't aware, r/videoessay has a Discord server! We're kicking it off with a community project, and invite you to participate! The project entails people submitting 60 second micro-essays on the theme "beginnings", which will then be included in a final compilation. Feel free to bend and twist the prompt to something you would like to talk about; it has been left intentionally vague for this reason.”
A new article from Cydnii Wilde Harris in Hyperallergic, “An Invaluable Black Public Broadcasting Archive Is Now Accessible Online”
The essential journal Another Gaze has launched a new free streaming platform called Another Screen. More here.
An article by Caroline Golum in MUBI, “Cinema Year Zero: Tik Tok and the Grammar of Silent Film”
An essay from 2004, but recently posted to his website, by Jonathan Rosenbaum on Los Angeles Plays Itself
And finally, I’d urge everyone to check out a Twitter account launched last month, “every shrek frame in order”