Author As Producer Essay

Terry Eagleton 1943- (Full name Terrence Francis Eagleton) English critic, novelist, essayist, nonfiction writer, screenwriter, and playwright.

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The emergence of VHS tapes and, later, of DVD allowed greater access to film material, as well as – in the case of DVD – information in the form of commentaries, featurettes, cuts and out-takes.

But it was only with the development of non-linear, video-editing programs (allowing you to dismantle the original footage, even separating image and sound) that it became possible not only to demonstrate and comment on certain features of the film, but to transform it.

Some audio-visual essays relate to a film-maker’s themes or elements of style, such as visual motifs, recurrent settings, or a specificity of framing.

Adrian Martin and Cristina López’s essay Melville Variations astutely identifies a number of props used by the French director of the “noir” era Jean-Pierre Melville, including guns, phones, fedora hats, white gloves, and black and white tiles.

A Cal grad and Bay Area native, Michelle now calls San Francisco home.

Michelle cut her teeth at Diablo magazine, Via, and most recently, View Find, where she was Lead Writer.

But the new creative and critical potential of the audio-visual essay was also gradually appreciated by film critics, cinema scholars and educators.

Many universities now offer courses on audio-visual practice.

There is still considerable resistance to the genre from a large group of scholars who believe that film analysis should remain what it has been for decades: writing that is grounded in methodologies and infused with theoretical concepts, and only invoking the film material as “evidence”.

Another camp believes that the most productive use of the audio-visual essay format for scholarly purposes is one that combines it with more traditional textual explanation, reflection or commentary.


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