The Musical

What is it?

  • The musical is a genre of cinema that incorporates and significantly emphasizes singing and dancing
  • In most traditional musicals, the cast members are the ones who sing and dance
  • Considered the most escapist of all major film genres
    • Many characters search for something more than the “mundane” life they live, have escapist vision of reality
    • For example, many musicals are based on the quest for wealth, love, success, popularity
      • i.e. West Side Story and love,  The Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy tired of boring Kansas

A Brief History

  • The genre of musical emerged from various types of live performances
    • Stage musicals, operas/operettas, cabaret, musical comedies, music halls, and vaudeville
  • The musical was the last of the major film genres to emerge simply because it could not exist until the advent of sound in movies
  • As talkies (sound films) took over the film industry and silent films quickly disappeared, the path was paved for musicals
  • The Jazz Singer, a 1927 film is regarded as the first full-length talkie, containing both speech and song
    • Though not technically a musical, it is the first film to incorporate musical elements
  • 1929’s The Broadway Melody is considered the first genuine musical film
    • Fully integrated song and dance into plot
    • Advertised as “All Talking – All Singing – All Dancing”
    • Won Academy Award for Best Picture
    • Revolutionary for two sound recording firsts:
      • Used a pre-recorded track for a particular sequence
      • Had post-production sound effects and editing
  • After the success of The Broadway Melody, a great increase in musicals followed
    • The 1930’s began what was considered the “Golden Age of the Musical”
      • 42nd Street, The Wizard of Oz
    • Many directors, actors, singers, producers headed west to Hollywood to join the action
    • 1937- Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves– first full-length animated movie, as well as first animated musical
    • Singin’ in the Rain (1952) is considered by many the greatest musical of all time
  • After about a twenty year period, musicals began to decline in popularity with a few exceptions:
    • Damn Yankees, as well as many classic Disney animated features like Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, The Lady and the Tramp, and Sleeping Beauty
    • To compensate, Hollywood cleverly adapted many stage productions for film with great success
      • Annie Get Your Gun, Kiss Me Kate, Oklahoma
  • Musicals bounced back between 1958 and 1968
    • Musicals like West Side Story, My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, Gigi, Mary Poppins, Gone with the Wind, and Oliver! had great success in the Academy Awards
  • However, after this period, the amount of quality musicals again greatly declined
    • Only a few really stand out as great works:
      • The dance film Saturday Night Fever and the musicals Grease, Fame, Footloose are a few
  • Disney revived the animated musical that we all grew up with, but besides that only a few musicals appear now and then, some with great success, others with limited success

Contemporary Scene Example:

Contemporary Scene Depiction:

Across the Universe

The contemporary scene we are doing is from Across the Universe is called “I’ve just seen a face”. It takes place in a bowling alley.

Décor: The décor sets the mood for this scene. All the young people bowling, talking, dancing and flirting inside the bowling alley stresses the social theme and gist of people having fun. The bright and vibrant colors set the retro and kind of cool feeling.

Lighting: This scene is filled with a lot of  “High-key lighting” which is very popular in musicals. This type of lighting shines lots of light on the main subject making them very bright and with little to know shadow. This lighting was used in this scene to suggest an upbeat mode.

Space: This scene contains frontality. Frontality is used when the actor is staring directly into the camera, almost as if they new the viewers were present. In this particular scene it is used when the main character is singing. This is done to have interaction with the audience, almost as if he was singing to them.

Costume: In this scene the costumes and clothes the people are wearing tell a lot about the era they are in. You can tell that the movies is supposed to be taking place in the late 60’s early 70’s because of the girls high socks, dresses and sweaters and the boy’s clean cut looks.

Acting: In this scene the main character is using typage through his flirting body language and facial expressions. Through this he is playing a role of a boy who is in love with a girl. By using his body language the viewer can already determine he into the girl before he even mentions it.


PHOTO ESSAY: America the Beautiful…

Photo Tampering:America’s favorite trend

Monica White

March 1, 2010

Photo manipulation has been around for years and is being used in the media more and more every day. This process is used to modify our opinions and to get us to buy into products. On the up side photo manipulation can improve a picture and make it look better, for example changing the lighting, sharpness, and colors. But where does the line get crossed? When magazines and editors start to tamper with body image and remove or add things to the photo that wasn’t originally there, this is where the line needs to be drawn.

                “Photo Tampering throughout History” gives a perfect example of bad photo manipulation. On September 2009 Ralph Lauren had a magazine ad with model Filippa Hamilton in it. In this ad she was poorly digitally manipulated to look like an abnormal skinny girl. This was most likely done to promote their brand more, and sell more jeans.   In the end Ralph Lauren apologized and took full responsibility for the poor photo manipulation and retouching. This reaction is a step in the right direction, most magazines or companies are resistant to admit to photo tampering or manipulation because it might affect their reputation.

                I think that this trend will be hard to put to an end to all together, but there are precautions we can take to lower the numbers. If magazines and papers enforced or made stronger codes of ethics maybe photo manipulation would be harder to do without a consequence. Also if editors would stop to think they are violating the trust of their readers, and if word got out there might be chance revenue can decline, they would think twice before changing a photograph. Only time will tell what is going to happen with this trending topic.

America the Beautiful

Graphics AD: Misha’s Cupcakes

Final Draft:

This is my final draft Graphics Ad, I took a whole different direction from my first one!

Rough Draft:

Nigel Barker:Taking the World of Fashion by storm..


Nigel Barker, is a genius when it comes to using a camera. He has taken photography in the fashion industry to a new level. Nigel was born in London and did not always want to be a photgrapher. He started out as a model and traveled all over the world to model for the most prestigous designers . It was from modeling that he realized his true passion was on the other side of the lense. In 1996 Barker decided to open his own studio, known today as Studio NB, in beautiful New York City.

 What makes Barker so famous and well known are his classic and simplistic twists to his photographs. When he is shooting he not only captures the product or piece he is shooting but also the essence. By treating  his models with comapssion he is able to capture things that other photographers cannot. Today he is also greatly known for being a famous judge on Americas Next Top Modle. Nigel Barker is a man of many colors.


“Eyes Above Water”

This photograph is of a a woman almost fully into the water, making only a portion of her face and arms visible. It is trying to show the audience that she is not only a beautiful woman, but a strong and fierce person too. Barker is well known for capturing the concept of “saying alot with a little”. This photograph is a perfect example of this method. Also, the deep blended colors of the background and the texture of the wrippled waters draws the audience right into the photograph to seem as if they were almost there.


Pictured here is a woman posing in a dress against the wind. The soft pastel colors in this photograph give it a visual appeal to its’ audience. The flow of the dress and the hair brushed back in the air capture the concept of movement in this photograph. The audience can actually visualize the wind in the photo.


In this photograph there is a woman with what looks like a snake wrapped around her body. She is holding a pink umbrella and is sitting in a forest. This shows the natural essence and inner beauty of the woman. The deep colors of the greens, yellows, and pinks depicts her freedom from the world. Although there is so much going on in this photograph you still get that sense of simplicity.

Culture Design: Southeast Asia

By : Monica White, Kelsey Yonce, and Andrew Williamson

Critique: South East Asia is such a diverse region made up of so many different countries.  Each of these country’s has something unique to contribute to its culture. Because of its diversity Southeast asia is known for its ellaborate design schemes with its different textures and patterns. The five major aspects that represent South East Asia’s culture literally and visually are; Fashion, Art, Religion, Architecture, and Writing style. Although all these aspects are different in their own way according to the country they all share a common background and style.


Fashion is a huge part of Southeast Asian culture. The way someone is dressed can tell alot about the person; whether it be class, religon or status. Southeastern Asian clothes tend to be filled with color and very ornate. When making their traditional clothes lots of dyes and patterns tend to be used.


This an example of Thai fashion. Women are taught at a very young age to wear these rings around their neck to ward off evil spirits.


Southeast Asian art has a variety of forms and influences. Silk painting are a very popular type of art in this region. Silk paintings allow artists to add a sensual and mystical appeal to their works. Often silk paintings portray scenes of everyday life and consist of neutral colors. Another very popular form of art in Southeastern Asia is Batik or “dieing of fabric”.

This is a Vietnamese painting. In this piece a ceremony is depicted. It emphasizes alot on nature and symbols. Nature and religon are two very important factors in Southeast Asian art.


This is an example of Batik. This is a popular Indonesian art form. This art form has very close ties with rank and power. Only nobility can wear certain colors and patterns. Lots of stripes and curvy lines are common to this technique and usually the wider and curvier your lines are, the higher up in rank you are.


When it comes to religion Southeast Asia is a diverse melting pot. Some of the more popular religions include Buddhism, Confucianism, Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism. Religion is not just a practice in Southeast Asia, it plays a much bigger role than that. It influences and affects their culture as a whole. Religion reflects in their architecture, art, food, fashion and just way of living over all.

This is Pure Ulun Danu temple. (a temple important to both Hindu and Buddhist religion.) The tranquil and peaceful aspects of the religion took affect in the design process of the temple. This was made possible with the balance and unity of the architecture.


Architecture in the Southeast Asian culture come in two extreme forms. For their higher classes and more important buildings for example, palaces or temples lots of elaborate ornamentation and gold plating is used. On the other hand houses for the normal and working class are based more on practicality rather than visual. Most of their houses are simple and minimal.



Writing Style/Symbols:

Because Southeast Asian culture is very visual symbols play a big part in their culture. The most obvious and important way symbols are used is right in their very dialect. Southeast Asian alphabets have many unique symbols that compile it.

Connection to today:

One very popular aspect of Southeast Asia in today’s culture is its cuisine. It has made a huge dent in the modern day resturaunt industry. It is even becoming known today as a comfort food. It has became so popular becuase of its unique flavors and spices. Southeast Asian cuisine is very differnt from any other style of food and that is what contines to make it more and more popular today.


Breakdown of Southeast Asia:

Map of Southeast AsiaThailand Buddah Temple

Cambodian Sculpture