Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Vote for Comment of the Week

Voting ends Friday, noonish...

Student #1 has left a new comment on your post "Video: Moments Before Sarah Jones’ Death Captured":

I really have to agree with Henry on his take from this article, specifically the importance of management in art. Maybe it was due to arrogance, or the determination to get that shot, or plain idiocy (or likely a combination of those factors) but the circumstances for this senseless tragedy were all created because there was nobody there actively thinking about the danger of the situation. According to the article many could sense that something was off about that day of shooting, and the only plan that existed to get out of the way of a train would be to run out of the way in under a minute. This lack of planing and blatant disregard for safety is what comes from a poorly managed production crew.

Now I can understand how the Producer/Director argues that it isn't his job to personally make sure everyone is safe every moment of the shoot, but as the producer it is damn sure his job to make sure that there is someone who is there who's job is exclusively safety. He had received a letter from CSX that morning about how they regretfully couldn't give him permission to shoot on the tracks, and he blatantly ignored that letter, apparently blinded by his goals as a director. I truly understand the compulsion as an artist to be willing to do something dumb for the sake of art and I honestly believe he would have made a different decision if he had a glimpse into the possible outcome of that choice, but because there was no dedicated manager of the situation the lapse in judgement of this one person ended with a senseless death. The take away from this is to always be thinking about what you're doing, why you're doing it, and the potential consequences of the doing what you are about to do.

My thought's are with victims of this unfortunate circumstance.
Student #2 has left a new comment on your post "This Is The Most Recognizable Pop Song Ever":
The part I was most interested in this article is when it talks about why these songs are so popular. It speaks to the fact that the songs are repetitious. The secret formula the author is referring to is something known as "stomp & swerve". The stomp is the drive of the song, what brings you in and sets you up for the rest. It dates back to the times of John Phillip Sousa and the rise of the march band. Represented in the songs on this list by a heavy kick drum or a strong synth bass-line, it sets a steady foundation for the entire song. Swerve, is what sets the song apart from the rest. It's the extra oomph that gives the song something almost sharp, yet sharp enough to stick in your ear. Examples here are: The heavy first down beat on the guitar strum on Eye of the Tiger. The triplet on just before the fourth beat of the synth line in Mambo No. 5. It's the meeting of these two musical components that bring the song to live and make it exciting and hot. The constant drive of Roy Orbison's kick drum interrupted by a wavering and faltering guitar riff. Micheal Jackson's guitar arpeggio rises at a constant beat and is punctuated by a sudden drop in key and downward tone. Most impressive is Whitney Houston use of the formula. The stomp is not there, but the listener can feel it. It's Houston's silky, flowing waves of vocal harmony that rebel and break the rules of a beat that isn't even there. It's in 4/4 time, but there's no tempo, just rebellion. So in truth, it's the song's use of the stomp & swerve formula that made them great to begin with, it's what made them popular and so easily recognizable. The great thing about this phenomenon though, is that the meaning of the words don't really affect the success of it, which explains why some of these songs became popular, but are not recognized as the "best" songs of all time.
Student #3 has left a new comment on your post "All The World’s A Stage… But Does It Need Sound Re...":
As a sound designer I have to agree with Sean. There is no NEED for sound reinforcement however there are times where I understand the desire to include it in the design. I think when done well sound reinforcement is something that can really add to the feel of a straight play. Most notably when utilizing microphones you can add effects to the voice that cannot be done otherwise. Granted you could always just record the voice with the effect that you want and have the actor mime the words, but there's so much that could go wrong with that. Despite these effects I still have to agree with Sean. Too many times I find actors get into the habit of speaking softer because they think that the mics will do the projecting for them. They could not be more wrong. It is very hard for an engineer a mix the show if they're not given any signal to work with. It is exactly this that will often cause the dialogue to sound like it is coming out of the speakers. If mixed right you can make the sound seem like it is coming from the actors rather than the speakers. Another common problem that I notice that is more annoying is improperly mixed surround sound. One thing I can't stand is going to a show and hearing the actors voices coming from behind me. That really takes me out of the show, more so than hearing the PA over the actors. Point is, the use of reinforcement can be beneficial in straight plays but more as a way of peppering in vocal affects and adding volume to quiet moments unlike a musical that requires the vocals to be heard over a band.
Student #4 has left a new comment on your post "25 Famous Women on Getting Older":
What an incredible article. I've always loved the concept of getting older and getting wrinkles and watching my hair turn grey. I wonder how I'll feel about it when I'm actually older.

For me, the best part of this article is how these women are so well known and saying such important things. Girls these days look up to people like Kate Upton who are the epitome of youth. And while I love that she's a little curvy and not the picture perfect typical image, I hope she takes aging as gracefully as these women have. It's important for people who are seen as idols for people to speak out about loving yourself in all your forms. This is something the entertainment industry has the opportunity to do more than anyone but doesn't often do enough. Some of the women in here are very transparent about how it feels to be a great beauty who is now aging, and I was surprised to hear Erica Jong's perspective about it being horrible. I think it's a great example of why we crave youth so much as a culture. However, I was struck by how honest that statement was and I really appreciated how honest she was about it. It's brave to admit when it's hard to like yourself as a celebrity too. Hopefully she starts to love her wrinkles and older qualities. 
Student #5 has left a new comment on your post "Time to join the rest of the world":
I'd love to read more by this author on this topic. I think often we do get into this box where we think that "Art" is confined to things like museums and theaters and great literature. We absolutely need these things (and we have to keep telling ourselves this, because otherwise we have no justification for our jobs), but we should also recognize how important and artistic other things are. Earlier today a group of us were talking about the shows that we watched when we were kids, and I realized that those shows are absolutely essential to our society. If you bring a kid to a museum once a month, they'll learn some cool things and maybe gain a real appreciation for classical art, but when it comes down to it it's the episodes of Spongebob and Pokemon they watch every day that really affects how they see the world and how they interact with our society. The writers of these silly shows have permanent effects on millions of kids, and what they do isn't so different from what we do. This isn't even a bad thing, it's just the way it is. Rather than sit in our cathedrals of Art, looking down at all the peasants who enjoy watching Vampire Diaries, while bemoaning the fact that we have low ticket sales to our 5th production of Romeo and Juliet, we could open our minds and recognize the artistic and cultural value of almost everything around us.

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