Tutor profile: Connor H.
My writing sucks, why should I keep going?
You're right. Your writing sucks. Hate to break it to you, but it's true. Your writing is horrible, hideous, not even your mother would love it. You're smart enough to know it too. That's what really kills you. You know good writing when you see it, it's probably why you got into it in the first place. Some piece of media moved you so much that you went "I want to do that." Or some piece of media was so offensively awful you went "I can do better than that." Either way you started writing, and you found out that you're not good, now you're wondering if it's worth moving forward at all. I say it is. Everyones writing sucks, at first. Its the nature of the beast. Its tough, and humbling, and frustrating, but it's just the way it goes. Thankfully, there's a catch. You're a great critic to yourself, I'm sure you are, so why don't you use that to your advantage? Write the crappiest piece of work the world has even seen. Leave it for a while, read it again, wonder how in the hell you ever put this down on paper, critique it, make some changes, then repeat. And repeat. And repeat. I guarantee you it'll get better. Just keep writing and rewriting, allow yourself to be bad, then go back and be a little less bad and eventually it'll get better. Just keep going.
Subject: Film and Theater
What is the significance of shot size (Wide, Medium, Close-Up) in movies?
Shot size is an essential tool of move making, one that goes just beyond wide shots of mass destruction of cities and close up glamor shots of movie stars. Shot size is chosen by the director. The image of a director that usually comes to mind is a egotistical maniac with a giant megaphone yelling action to hundreds of extras while everything blows up. This is partially true, however, the main purpose of the director is in the word itself, they direct the audience's attention to what is most essential to the story. This is done in a variety of different methods. It could be a camera moment, lighting, mies-en-scene (the arrangement of objects/people in the frame), but the most pertinent is shot size. In the words of Alfred Hitchcock "the size of an object in the frame should be proportional to its importance to the story at that moment." Take, for example, the introduction of the headpiece to the staff of Ra in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Indiana Jones has just left Marion's bar, in an high angle wide shot we see Marion sit down at a table and reach for something, we then cut to a close up of the gold headpiece as Marion reveals she has been wearing it this whole time. Seeing the headpiece in a close up tells us that this is a significant piece of the story; the contrast from the wide angle shot of the bar, to the close up shot of the headpiece further amplifies its significance. This does not just apply to objects, however, it also to applies to actors, their words and their expressions. In "Titanic," for example, when Jack sneaks Rose away from Cal and her Mother to talk to her in the gymnasium. In a medium wide shot we see Jack pulls Rose into the gym, this allows us to see Rose's body language: tense, nervous, she shouldn't be doing this. She tries to leave, but Jack stops her, and she turns to face him. "Jack," she tells him, "I'm engaged." It is only then that we cut to a medium close up of Rose, and the word that motivates the cut is very important: "engaged." By cutting from the wide angle, to the medium close up on that word, the audience is being told that this is the core of the scene, what Rose is saying here is important to the story. Not only that, but her expression is being amplified as well, sadness at having to let Jack go and torn over her decision to stay with Cal or being with him. Shot size has significant meaning in movies. Next time you're watching one pay close attention to what is being shown in close up vs. wide, when are we seeing the actors in certain frames, what are they saying, etc...
What does it mean for an essay to have a good structure?
Structure is the means by which you lay out your argument/theory. Think of it like a kaleidoscope. The colors and patterns of the kaleidoscope come out differently depending on how you twist and turn it. If you hold it one way, shards of red and blue come together to make purple; twist it again and the shards collapse to make a smattering of reds and blues. The structure of an essay is very similar. Lets say you're arguing about how the color of the great white whale in Moby Dick is representative of the ultimate truth of the universe and Captain Ahab's obsessive quest to kill also signifies his search for meaning in a meaningless universe (perhaps I wrote something like this in college, who knows?). First, you would break down your argument into different points, or "shards" (like a kaleidoscope, get it? eh?) You could argue about the significance of color, or how color is used in the text, or some greater point about man's search for meaning. Whatever you choose, how you lay it out will impact your argument as a whole and contribute to the final argument (or picture) that the reader come to based on your text.
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