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Old March 21st, 2004, 12:49 PM   #1
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HEY EVERYBODY!
I hope nobody minds a kind of off subject question - it is actually very related to the world of DV just not something youve probably ever been asked...

For my ENG-212 Technical writing class I have been assigned to write a paper about the importance of technical writing (or any writing) in a field I plan to pursue out of college.
I have chosen videography because thats what I want to pursue and while it makes me very happy now and I know that it will continue to make me happy, writing a paper about the importance of writing in filming is not making me happy.
The paper calls for an interview(s) from people in the field and so far the one I have from a pro filmer basically just says writing isnt important in filming (which i pretty much agree with)

If anybody has any comments on this topic or wouldnt mind being quoted saying a few things that can keep this paper grade from being an F i would really appreciate it!

Thanks in advance guys
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Old March 21st, 2004, 01:01 PM   #2
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//The paper calls for an interview(s) from people in the field and so far the one I have from a pro filmer basically just says writing isnt important in filming (which i pretty much agree with)//

Who is this "pro filmer" who says that writing isn't important in filming?

Why do you think this, yourself?
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Old March 21st, 2004, 01:07 PM   #3
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I would rather not say, he does make the best snowboard films year in year out and has been a huge source of very good advice for me in the past.
I should also say that was only the gist of what he was saying - he didnt put down writing or anything like that directly but did point out that the ability to write well for the video industry has been all but eliminated with the advent of emails and spell checker.

As for me, as a double major and a professional writing minor, writing is important to me but i personally have never had to rely on it with regard to filming besides just some casual emails. Since I am no export and have little experience, I posted here asking pro's what they think...

If it helps, the papers outline requires I touch on the following things:

•Brief description of the job/occupation
•Description of the specific types of writing done in this occupation
•Information about the preparation needed to enter this field
•Information about where people seeking this occupation work
•Information about the current prospects for employment in this occupation
•Preparation that the person prior to entering this occupation
•Specific types and genres of writing that are central to the person’s job
•Information about how the person learned to write successfully for this occupation
•Any advice the person has for students interested in entering this profession, specifically regarding their writing skills and requirements

I hope that helps, and thanks again anybody who will be contributing to this thread!
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Old March 21st, 2004, 02:27 PM   #4
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Jerry,
Quote:
I should also say that was only the gist of what he was saying - he didnt put down writing or anything like that directly but did point out that the ability to write well for the video industry has been all but eliminated with the advent of emails and spell checker.
This fellow's response reflects a very lame, myopic perspective that is unfortunately shared by all too many young people today. The ability to communicate your thoughts precisely and concisely is absolutely fundamental in general life, far beyond the confines of specific technical niches. In fact, email's rise as a predominant form of interpersonal communication has greatly promoted the importance of writing skills. "Spell-checkers" have little relevance to writing.

Writing skills are directly related to thinking skills. The act of writing forces you to order your thoughts into a coherent stream decipherable by others. Unfortunately, we are bombarded by, and often addicted to, media messages that discourage coherent critical thought and encourage impulsiveness. Concurrently, the quality of public education has gradually declined for many decades leaving advertising and entertainment as the principal communication tutors of our children.

My advice: don't let yourself slide into the abyss. If I had to choose one skill set to emphasize over others in school it would be writing and spoken communication. Those skills, and their associated thought processes, may well be key determinants in how successful you are in life.

As the old saying goes, "If you cannot say what you mean, you certainly will not mean what you say."
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Old March 21st, 2004, 02:37 PM   #5
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Writing is always one of the most important aspects of film making.

Making great snowboarding videos is not the same thing as writing a great script for a dramatic feature film. The number of written lines—well-written lines—before production starts probably far exceeds the number of individual film frames in the finished film.

Having managed a technical documentation team for high-tech products (and written a few myself) I will testify that the lack of good technical writing in the film and video industry is real and of critical proportion.

A good example would be the terrible User Manuals from companies like Adobe, Canopus, and a lot of others.

And poorly written scripts? Ugh! Stilted English, non-English word useage, patois written for teen-age gang members that a 40 year old WASP librarian must have penned (no offense to anyone, real or imaginary intended here). It goes on and on.

Yes, one can make snowboarding films without a script. They are a genre. I make good videos, the best videos, of Model Engineer Exhibitions (my customers all say so; and nobody else creates these so by default, mine are the best). I don't need a script. I know the subject matter and am purely documenting an event. I can spice it up with difficult-to obtain shots, etc. but it is a formula process.
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Old March 21st, 2004, 02:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
writing a paper about the importance of writing in filming is not making me happy.
Why? Just write it, polish it, re-write it, sit on it, and polish it once more. :-))
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Old March 21st, 2004, 03:50 PM   #7
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Most movies begin with a script. You want to see what a bad script can do, take a look at "Battlefield Earth." You want to see what a good script can do, look at any of the "Lord of the Rings" episodes.
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Old March 21st, 2004, 04:03 PM   #8
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Thanks so much guys!
Ken, your response in particular is very inspring and draws a relationship between two things that had no relevance to eachother in my mind before reading your response.
I hope you dont mind if i quote you all for this paper as interviewees.
And Frank, as for the paper not making me happy - it still isnt, but only because it is a bluebird sunny day and I could be filming but instead I am juggling school work indoors (makes me wish i had a laptop)

Anyways, thanks again for all your advice - This is such a great forum and everyone's willingness to go above and beyond the call of answering technical questions and stopping to help a college kid out with his paper means a lot to me.

jr
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Old March 21st, 2004, 04:56 PM   #9
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Jerry,
If it offers you any comfort in your uncomfortable mission I did not like to write papers in school, either. That discomfort remained with me even through writing a research thesis for my post-graduate degree.

Writing is an acquired skill, just like filmmaking and film editing. The more you thoughtfully exercise that skill the more adept you become. Today, with writing being the de-facto format for communication, you have the chance to hone your skills every day (something I didn't dream of in high school). One day you may realize that, again like filmmaking, you are able to influence others' views and awareness through your writing skills. That's when it really becomes a kick, perhaps a very profitable kick.

Good luck on your project, Jerry!
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Old March 21st, 2004, 05:26 PM   #10
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Thank you ken, that helps a lot. I realize the necessity in writing but something I had never given much thought to was the everyday "honing" of my writing skills I get as a result of the times we live in.
For the record, i throughly enjoy writing, which is why I have decided to overwhelm myself with school work and go for a certificate in professional writing. Your post made me realize the distinction in my formal (class) writing and the "impulsive" writing I do in many emails and on message boards - perhaps I should try harder to write better on message boards and such because you are right, it is a good way to hone my writing skills

thanks again for all the help, if the paper turns out to be something I am proud of, I mightpost it here.
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