Tuesday, August 21, 2018
The Reign Of The Lifestyle Vloggers

The Reign Of The Lifestyle Vloggers

In today's blog post I'm sharing an old essay from university. In my third and final year, I studied a module called 'Digital Cultures in the Americas'. For one of our essay projects, I decided to explore how two American lifestyle vloggers construct an aspirational lifestyle through their online identity. I've watched Youtube videos since I was a wee teenager, less so now as I get older, but am forever fascinated by the phenomenon of the 'vlogger' aka video blogger. I hope you enjoy this essay.

“Identity construction can be seen as the sense-making process by which people selectively organise their experiences into a coherent sense of self” (Papacharissi, 2011). In this essay, I will explore how two lifestyle vloggers organise their experiences into this ‘coherent sense of self’ and how they construct an aspirational lifestyle through their online identity and their choice of mise-en-scène in their Youtube videos. The first vlogger I will be looking at is Jenn Im - a Korean video blogger born and raised in Los Angeles, California. The second vlogger I will be looking at is Bethany Mota - a Mexican/Portuguese video blogger born and raised in Merced Country, California.

Bethany Mota

Monday, August 20, 2018
The Auteur Filmmaker: Jim Jarmusch

The Auteur Filmmaker: Jim Jarmusch

In today's post, I'm sharing another essay from my third and final year at university from a module I studied called 'American Independent Cinema'. My task was to compare the stylistic and narrative choices in Jarmusch's films Stranger than Paradise and Down by Law and discuss his position as an auteur filmmaker.

Previous studies in the field of American Independent Cinema has often discussed Jim Jarmusch as a director who goes against Hollywood cinema conventions and as someone who is persistent in avoiding traditional filmmaking. In Jim Jarmusch: Interviews, the controversial director said: “I’m a brat this way and I just wanta make movies exactly the way I want.” (Hertzberg, 2005) and claims that having artistic control is integral to his work (Levy, 1999). Jarmusch has a unique style of filmmaking, which can be seen in both Stranger than Paradise and Down by Law. I will discuss whether he can be discussed as an auteur filmmaker in both films, by analyzing his own signature approach to filmmaking.

Essentially, Jarmusch’s signature approach can be defined primarily by how his film style and narrative structure in both films differentiates from that of traditional Hollywood cinema. Stranger Than Paradise uses self-conscious artful minimalism by showing a combination of empty, deserted post-industrial landscapes and composing shots through long single takes. Typically, a Hollywood movie would consist of the complete opposite, such as colourful, perhaps dramatic locations and using a wide range of cuts, short takes and close-ups. The use of short takes and close-ups helps display a different range of emotions of characters and allows the audience to feel the different emotions. Contrastingly, Jarmusch purposely uses long takes and shots of his protagonists in order to distance the audience and let them make the decisions for themselves, witnessing the characters in the frame from an observational viewpoint, therefore making it more objective than that of the typical Hollywood style. The camera is often used as to “peer down on characters as if from the distant perspective of an uninvited visitor” (Belton, 1994).

Stranger than Paradise (1984)