Comedy Shoot, Academic Directions

It’s been a busy week. I’ve been working on several projects all at once, which will hopefully all pay off. Between a midterm essay about Herman and Chomsky’s propaganda model, an annotated bibliography, testing out the DSLR to Primiere process, a meeting with a faculty member, reaching out to a media literacy project in New Haven, public relations work and preparation for an upcoming social media workshop, and the shoot mentioned in the title, a lot of things are in the works.

Tuesday night I worked with some classmates to film a comedy show at Angels & Kings in Alphabet City. We used Panasonic DVX100B cameras, which have a lot of nice functionality, but I would have much preferred the HMC150s which are also available through The New School’s equipment center, for the simple reason that they don’t take DV tapes. In my experience tapes are a hassle. Aside from the fact that it was very weird to be deciding on an apature without a light meter (I could almost feel my cinematography professor from Missouri State, Mark Biggs, giving me a disapproving grimace under his moustache), and an interruption in recording when our tapes ran out, it went pretty well. Now, other classmates (who didn’t operate a camera) are going to log the tapes – I do not envy that part of the job.

Another thing I worked out this morning is my academic direction. I’ve always been interested in mythological studies and the work of Joseph Campbell (as much of a populist as he is) but the use of myth as an ideological force and its connection to narrative and dissemination in media is what I really want to study. A more simplistic way to to put it is “propaganda.” There are some opportunities for that at The New School, but I may also look into taking some classes at NYU with Mark Crispen Miller. The other day I realized FAIR is located in NYC and not in DC as I’d thought (I must have gotten them confused with the Center for Media and Democracy). I’m wondering if a research internship would be possible to study how myths (in Roland Barthes’s conception) get communicated in the popular media for political agendas. Maybe I’m just nostalgic for my political science courses, but I feel a stronger affinity for media when there’s a clear relationship to motivated practice. As my theory teacher puts it (presumably drawing from Jacques Rancière), this is “the politics of aesthetics.” Who knew I could find a reason to read materials I had never heard of three months ago?

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