Bryan’s review of “Mics, Cameras, Symbolic Action”

Here’s Bryan’s review of Bump Halbritter’s Mics, Cameras, Symbolic Action: Audio-Visual Rhetoric for Writing Teachers.  Check it out!

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9 Responses to Bryan’s review of “Mics, Cameras, Symbolic Action”

  1. Sarah K. says:

    I agree with Halbritter’s assertion about due dates and writing. I never consider any of my writing finished, but I do understand deadlines like many others. I also like the idea of thinking about the process of creation especially when it comes to film. I can understand your issue with Halbritter’s “handling of the material” toward the end. It’s too bad you didn’t like the book.

  2. chelsea says:

    The part you mention about institutions needing to “walk the talk” with writing and audio/visual rhetoric reminds me of the infrastructure we are talking about this week (if I’m understanding it correctly).

    I heard Halbritter speak about his book and about this topic at WIDE in October last year, at MSU, where he did point out that he’s fortunate to work at an institution that does have extensive access to the tools needed for audio/visual composition. I really enjoyed his talk, but also felt a bit disconnected simply because it isn’t my (our?) reality.

    I wonder about helping students recognize the technologies appropriate to their purpose… getting them to think outside the expectations of college classrooms (ie: write a paper) and getting them to realize what is available to them in terms of composing as students. I wonder how much work needs to be done ahead of time. I appreciate the connections you explain in Halbritter’s work between writing conventions and audio/visual composing (ie: punctuation errors, questions for revision). I wonder where Halbritter and Palmeri would find themselves – it seems like Palmeri is more interested in including audio/visual composing within the realm of writing, whereas Halbritter is making a distinction/related but separate?

    I’m having a hard time following the film reviews in relation to teaching audio/visual rhetoric, though I might understand if I actually read the book…and I can see why you felt he took a nose dive. I probably would have felt the same way.

  3. Bryan A says:

    Here is the link to my written review of the book on Google Drive:

    And I have also put it in the dropbox on emuonline

  4. Danielle says:

    I like that you point out the connections Halbritter makes between the 5 most common errors in audio-visual composition and written composition. It was interesting to see the parallels between the two. It seems like this book would be a decent resource for teachers, though you mention that it takes way too long to get to any practical examples of teaching audio-visual composing…so maybe not something you’d recommend reading cover-to-cover, but what about as a reference?

  5. Bryan A says:

    Danielle–I agree the connections Halbritter made between audio-visual texts and written texts were insightful and a nice way for students and teachers alike to see how processes transfer between the two areas, but again those seemed to be the most I got out of the book as a whole.

    Much of the text would be a revisiting of previous works by other writing experts and I’m not sure how useful that would be to many instructors. However, I could be wrong–it’s just my opinion.

  6. Jackie K. says:

    I’ll second this–I also liked the connections drawn using the five common errors. I think that would be helpful for writers interested in either analyzing or creating audiovisual stuff, because it’s kind of capitalizing on knowledge they already have and helping them translate it into a new genre.

    I can see why Halbritter kind of lost you as a reader with his Pulp Fiction analysis, though, Bryan. As he’s writing about rhetoric, you would assume he selected his words purposefully…? I wonder what his aim was in using such charged terminology. :/

  7. Melissa S says:

    Great job Bryan! It seems like a fairly dense reading and was not what I was expecting from the title of the book (not sure what I was expecting but I guess not something as theoretical?). I think you did a nice job presenting the theories in a way that was easy to understand and clear. In some of my other classes that topic of video as writing or multimedia as writing comes up fairly often. It was nice to hear of a book that directly draws parallels from composition and other media writing, even if it is only a small segment of the book as a whole.

  8. Steve K. says:

    And I’ll third this! I can see the point of the connection between writing errors and film errors, and one of the things I know Bump has said repeatedly is that he’s a writing teacher first. This is where incorporating audio and visual into writing classes can oftentimes break down because we’re not (typically) experienced with the production aspects of making movies. But the “writerly” aspects of movie-making and essay writing are interestingly similar and different.

    And I also have to wonder about the Pulp Fiction connection too. I have a copy of this book, and that is likely the first thing I’ll look for when I take it off my shelf.

  9. germaine says:

    A little late to this conversation, but I have to point out first…did I see comic sans somewhere in there?!?!?

    I agree with Danielle that it was interesting to see the parallels that Halbritter uses between composition and audio/visual rhetoric and noticed that punctuation was a common error. I wonder how much punctuation is really used or important in the audio/visual…would it be more of cues within narrative, i.e. pausing at the correct moments, emphasis of words, etc…

    Like others, the Pulp Fiction example seems a bit erroneous and wonder if Halbritter is purposefully demonstrating an extreme to make a point? Not that I’m trying to excuse this analysis, but maybe it came across very poorly. However, treading on racial overtones/undertones is an issue that should be treated with a great deal of sensitivity.

    Bummer that you didn’t enjoy the book :(

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