What is a Video Essay?
For the assessment exercise, you are required to produce a "video essay". Some of you may be wondering about the rationale of this exercise and, more importantly, how to go about it. To that end, these guidelines are designed to assist you in mastering the hows, whys and wherefores of the video essay.
As its name would suggest, a video essay is a critical commentary and/or analysis that is expressed via audiovisual means. Video essays come in a wide range of styles and formats. Some are poetic and experimental, some are formal and didactic. Some assume a personal and subjective voice, others foster a detached and objective point-of-view. Some use voiceover narration, some superimposed titles and text, while others use nothing but image and music. Regardless, the central aim of the video essay is to offer an engaged and, hopefully, thought-provoking meditation on a given topic by using the dynamic expressive materials of videographic media.
Video essays have been around for a while but, in recent years, they have undergone a veritable explosion of growth and popularity. Indeed, they have even made the pages of Wikipedia. As part of this surging popularity, there is an evolving archive of online resources devoted to video essays and we would encourage you to explore these independently. A good comprehensive starting point is the following TED talk given by Evan Puschak, creator of The Nerdwriter website and a video essayist of some note:
The scholarly significance of the video essay in film and media studies has developed to such an extent that it has generated a peer-reviewed online journal, [in]Transition. A collaboration between MediaCommons and the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, [in]Transition is now in its fourth year of publication and it offers a dazzling overview of the current state of videographic film and moving image studies. As you might expect, the contents of the journal are of a very high calibre –– well beyond anything expected of our assessment exercise –– but they offer a good insight into the art of the video essay at its very finest. So check out some of the work and, hopefully, feel inspired...
Another good forum for film-based video essays is the No Film School website. It is a little less structured than [in]Transition and so requires a bit more foraging but the link below will take you to a search result feed for posts tagged #video essay:
The first thing is to choose a topic. The Unit Guide lists seven broad topic areas:
- What is stardom and celebrity?
- Fandom and celebrity
- Commodity culture and stardom
- Dressing stars and celebrities: desire and identification
- The industry of celebrity
- Celebrity is the new religion
These are broad options and you can either address them at a general level and/or narrow them down to tackle a specific facet. Whatever you choose you need to approach it as you would any academic assessment exercise: with thought, background reading and research, and careful structural organisation.
Once you've selected your topic and done your research, think about the style of video essay you want to make and then plan your ideas accordingly. Remember the video is only 5 minutes (+/- 10%), so don't go overboard or try to encompass too much. Write your "script" and source whatever visual and audio materials you need. A good idea is to devise a storyboard where you visually map out the basic structure of your video with 'scenes' and shots. An overview of storyboarding and how it can be used in the creation of video essays is available at the following website:
The first slide talks about the meaning of the word “stardom” that has a connotation of an individual who has been able to win a distinct position in the society. It is generally referred to an individual who has evolved to become popular among the people by dint of their superior skill of acting or for having a versatile voice. A person who is a star easily wins the favour of the people and he amasses a lot of wealth owing to the position that he has in the society. Stardom puts a person at a position above the rest and he is respected by a large number of people in the society (Barker, Holmes and Ralph 2015). A person who becomes a star can easily make the common people follow him and hence positive actions on the part of a star has a good effect on the society.
The second slide discusses about meaning of word “celebrity” which is generally used to talk about someone from the entertainment industry. An individual is able to win a lot of glory in the society because of his celebrity status. The celebrities are followed by many people and he is generally looked up by many people in the social structure. The celebrities are made to do the advertisements as by portraying the actors the brand or the product can become popular among the people (Keller and Ringrose 2015). The lifestyle and the way of life of the celebrity is followed by many people and in the event of a celebrity having good qualities it can have an overall good impact on the people of a country. The celebrities are instantly recognized when they go into the public domain and the actions of the celebrities leave a great impact on the minds of the people.
The third slide talks about how the celebrities wins the attention of the mass media that helps them in leaving a deep impression on the minds of the people. The celebrity stars are able to win wealth in the society by taking recourse to their talent. In the event of a person having a successful career in the arena of sports or that of entertainment one is able to gain celebrity status in the society. The political leaders often attain the status of being celebrities and it has been found that the people become celebrities with the help of their unique lifestyle, wealth or any kind of controversial actions (Leonard and Negra 2018). Television is an important medium that helps in showing the lives of the celebrities. The mass media in the present age also plays an important role in showing how the celebrities lead their lives. The social media plays an important role in the present age in popularizing the lives of the celebrities.
The fourth slide talks about the advantages that one can get in the event of becoming a celebrity. The celebrities are easily recognized by the people on the streets and the celebrities acquire a sense of the ego owing to the prominent position that they have in the society. The celebrities receive fan mails along with other forms of the appreciation proves to be inspirational for the celebrity stars (Marino 2015). The celebrity can win many opportunities in the event of becoming famous. In the event of becoming famous, one can win many opportunities in life. There are many doors that are opened for the celebrities and fame helps them in achieving a lot of things in life. The celebrities are in the centre of the news for the good along with the bad things that they do. The celebrities are able to enjoy power in the society due to the respect atht they are given in the society.
The fifth slide talks about the disadvantages that the people who are stars have to face in the society. The celebrities along with famous people cannot lead the lives of the normal people. The celebrities are compelled to dwell within their secluded world and they are unable to do the things that the average people can. The celebrities cannot indulge themselves in the regular pleasures of life and they are often left with frustration owing to this incident. The people who are famous are often harassed on the phone or in the email (Hamad 2016). This is a negative effect that stardom can have an individual. The celebrities are judged by many people owing to their personalities along with their habits. The celebrities do not enjoy any kind of privacy and they are always dragged to the limelight.
Barker, M., Holmes, S. and Ralph, S., 2015. Audiences for stardom and celebrity.
Hamad, H., 2016. Introduction: politicised iconicity, adaptable stardom and Generation X celebrity in the contemporary mediascape. Celebrity Studies, 7(3), pp.419-420.
Keller, J. and Ringrose, J., 2015. ‘But then feminism goes out the window!’: exploring teenage girls’ critical response to celebrity feminism. Celebrity studies, 6(1), pp.132-135.
Leonard, S. and Negra, D., 2018. Stardom and Celebrity. In The Craft of Criticism (pp. 219-230). Routledge.
Marino, S., 2015. Transnational stardom: international celebrity in film and popular culture.
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