John Mercer, Birmingham City University: On ‘Bad Acting’: Writing about Film Performance

As an area of Film Studies that has only recently began to establish itself in the field, studying film performance as a way to interpret and understand film stars is a relatively new concept. By using work by key scholars such as Dyer (1979) the seminar aims to add to previous studies where film stars, their representative qualities and their social and cultural contexts were the subject of critical evaluation.

As a result of this, the meaning of the ‘work’ of acting has slipped from view due to the function of stardom being at the forefront of scholarly discourse and analysis. Instead, the research introduced in this study is designed to make an intervention in this field. Looking at the ways we can discuss film acting in relation to the methods that can be used in our analysis of film performance whilst also posing the question of possibility of moving beyond a pre-theoretical discussion of what constitutes ‘good’ and ‘bad’ acting.

The seminar includes discussion on research informed by a forthcoming publication from the BFI Star Series book on the actor Rock Hudson, a leading actor in the 1950s and 1960s films, that led a secret homosexual life behind the screens through his career. Including discussions of the methodology for analysing film acting that is based on a triangulated approach encompassing the work of the actor, the technicians that frame their performances and the critical contexts the actor’s work is situated.


Oliver Carter, Birmingham City University: Stage One: From PhD to Publication

After successfully completing his PhD thesis, Making European Cult Cinema: Fan Production in an Alternative Economy,  Oliver Carter discusses turning his thoughts to the publication of his work. Talking specifically of the negotiation process with publishers and finding a suitable book series to associate his work with. Oliver talks of the troubles that early academics can experience when establishing themselves within a particular field, as this can have an impact on how fellow academics may view you in the context of other areas of study you engage with. In addition, the matter of the allowance of time is also considered, looking at how long certain publishers may take before responding to your initial emails. The implications of this are also discussed within the research context, as by the time you may have submitted your proposal for a journal article series or getting your work published your work may have become outdated or already done by other scholars. The process of time is a major factor as described in the presentation, which Oliver will highlight as key in the planning of new publications and what this may mean when considering the direction of his research career.


Inger-Lise Bore, Birmingham City University: Contract signed, best start writing.

This presentation discusses Inger-Lise and the start of the process into writing a first monograph (titled Screen Comedy and Online Audiences, Routledge), looking at the two phases to be completed before getting a publishing contract. This involves the order of developing a proposal accompanied by a sample chapter, followed by contacting the publisher and a summary of the experiences whilst completing the peer review process. Again, issues of time are a prevalent theme in the time it takes to contact the publisher and the resulting peer review, which can take up to a year in length depending on the organisation. There are also issues of pinning down the book’s focus and aims, the challenges faced when approaching the publisher and how key issues raised by the peer review process were dealt with. In particular, the how compromises must be made when the reviewers choose to edit and critique your work in order to place it within a specific field of journal studies, which may not necessarily one you imagined being placed within. The presentation also offers an honest insight into the fluctuation of emotions whilst attempting the manuscript such as excitement, boredom and terror.

 

Birmingham Centre For Media And Cultural Research

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