Having finished the program and presenting my project it’s interesting to see how far my project has come. It feels like yesterday when my project was originally analyzing the social impact of film. I remember my scope being massive and what I limited my scope to is still pretty huge. It did feel like for a while my project had no real direction and I had no sense of what it would look like when it was done. With the help of Courtney, Carrie, Rennie, Minglu, and Tyler my project turned out to be way better than I thought it could be. All of the feedback on the direction I was taking my data and case studies in was extremely helpful and I couldn’t be more grateful for it because without the feedback I received I probably wouldn’t like where my project ended up.
Overall, the help of L&IT and the research staff made me feel comfortable with research. This is the first time I’ve really created something based on film rather than making a film itself. This reaffirmed my love for the field because with digital tools there are so many more ways to look at film rather than just watching it. Tyler spoke a lot about the different types of reading and I’ve attributed some of that to how I watch films now. I do wish we had more time to learn certain tools more in depth because I do believe there are some that would have truly helped improve my project, but in the 8 weeks we had we got through a lot of material.
I had never realized how large of a field Digital Scholarship is until we visited Bryn-Mawr and Gettysburg, but it was definitely interesting to see how many different passions people were bringing into the field. I’ve started viewing Digital Scholarship as this range of scholarly work that is all-inclusive of individual passions and interests.
I feel comfortable conducting research especially on cinema which is something I’ve never really experienced. Research has always seemed daunting and even impossible for me to conduct sometimes since I never really learned how. I’ve always been taught to analyze and use that analysis to create, but in this sense I was analyzing to present and it’s different from making an actual film obviously. Creating this site allows other people to discuss cinematic representation of minorities which is a conversation I truly believe should happen more. I always imagine the types of films I plan to make being films that start some type of real social discussion and I feel like I got a taste of that with my project.
I loved this program and it really brought me closer together with the medium I’m passionate.
The tools I plan on using are:
- Timeline JS
I’m using Tableau in order to create data visualizations from the data I’ve been collecting on the 2016 year from films from 12 production companies. Tableau has so many ways to customize the visualizations that it would make sense to use it so that my data visualizations are both clear and easy to read while also being interactive and making the user experience better.
Scalar is a great way for me to present my project. At Bryn-Mawr, I got to see the different ways other students were using Scalar and now I have an idea as to how my project will actually be structured as a site. It will start with an introduction to LGBT representation in both Hollywood and Independent cinema. I’ll use the timeline feature that Scalar has or Timeline JS in order to display a timeline of important moments relating to LGBT representation in cinema. The next part will be the data visualizations from the 2016 year, so people can get a sense of what representation looks like today. This will aid in the final part. The part after the data visualizations will be my case studies of specific films and an important concept relating to LGBT representation in film such as “Race and Culture” and “Authenticity.” I want to create at least one or two more case studies. The final part will be the discussion section. With all of the data that was presented and the different concepts relating to representation being explained people who are well versed on LGBTQ+ issues and people who aren’t will be able to have a constructive conversation about representation in cinema.
Voyant is one of the tools I plan on using for my case study on Moonlight. I’m going to analyze the script and discuss the representation of an LGBT character in regards to race and culture. I won’t need it for my case study on Authenticity, but depending on the other case studies I decide to do I may use it.
Representation in Cinema is becoming a prominent issue with the film industry with the growing focus on identity. One of the areas the film industry seems to have trouble representing is the LGBTQ+ community. While Hollywood seems to have a harder time getting representation right, Independent film picks up the slack. The questions that shaped this project are: Why does Independent cinema do a better job at representing LGBTQ+ people than Hollywood cinema which reaches a larger audience than Independent cinema? Is the Hollywood film industry playing it safe with their general audience? How are films that represent LGBTQ+ people produced (Hollywood and Independently) and does representation affect how the film is received financially and qualitatively? Is the representation positive or negative?
According to GLAAD’s 2016 Studio Responsibility Index out of the 126 films that were released by the 7 major Hollywood Production companies only 17.5% actually depicted LGBT characters and according to their 2017 Studio Responsibility Index only 18.4% depicted LGBT characters. While there is an increase in the amount of representation, there’s clearly room for improvement. LGBT adults make up 4.1% of the US population and (as of 2014) about 3% of the Canadian population. It goes without being said that 4.1% or 3% of an entire country’s population is a substantial number and these people aren’t being represented as well as they could in mainstream Hollywood cinema.
In order to answer these questions, data was collected from films that are both produced by Hollywood and Independently. This data includes production companies, budgets, profits, screenplays, and reception of films released in North America from the past 40 years. This data will be used to give people an insight to what representation currently looks like in both film industries and what some of the reasons behind it are. With this information people will be able to discuss representation and come to a conclusion that can be different from my own or similar. The point is to get people talking about the direction of representation in cinema because that’s the only way solutions can be found.
LGBTQ+ Representation in Cinema: Hollywood vs Indie
Representation in Hollywood Cinema is and has always been a reoccurring issue. Despite the pace at which society is advancing in terms of identity acceptance, Hollywood Cinema is somewhat behind. Indie Cinema (Independent) however, seems to be doing a way better job. A few of my research questions are: Why does Hollywood lack proper representation of the LGBTQ+ community? Is there a such thing as proper representation? What are the reasons representation is such an issue? Is it the audiences of America or are producers and directors playing the movie business safe by respecting older values?
My project will identify the different ways in which LGBTQ+ representation in cinema over the last 30-40 years as that’s about the same time that the LGBTQ+ movement has become one of the most powerful movements in the United States. The scope of my project is limited to about 50 films with plans to expand. By the end of the summer I need to have at least 35 films included into my research, but my ultimate goal is to get 50 included. This includes films that are both Hollywood produced and independently produced. I want this project to be something that identifies some of the problems with the film industry, but I also want people to be able to use my project as a way of finding films that have LGBTQ+ representation in them, so that they can judge the film’s approach at representation for themselves while also being able to express what they think and respond and share. This has the possibility for growth if the proper seed is planted and people are actually interested. So far I haven’t found any projects that really discuss representation using digital tools, but I have found projects that gather films for preservation and restoration. I can build upon these projects by starting an actual conversation about them; even if that conversation is one that’s central to Bucknell. With digital tools I will be able to identify key parts of screenplays (as they’re available), significant moments in the motion picture, as well as the audience’s response to the film (again, as they’re available). Some of the issues I can see myself running into with this project are copyright issues since I am using films in my project, but fair use might help me out since I would only be using portions of the films for educational purposes and for non commercial use and with proper credit given. Jason Snyder was a huge help in helping me figure out if the project I had in mind before was actually feasible and if it was doing anything that John Hunter’s database or the Library Catalog was already doing. Instead of creating a place for people to find LGBTQ films, I’d rather help people start a conversation while being able to see actual data from the film to reference. “Show me the data.”
Over the next six weeks I plan to analyze and gather data on whatever films I can find that have some sort of representation of LGBTQ+ people; whether it’s negative or positive. Within the next four weeks I hope to have a site designed that will allow people to easily access all of the data used and exchange information using something such as a comment section that people would be able to use.
As I said before, I want this project to be fueled by conversation after the data is gathered and presented. I don’t know if I’ll keep this going after I graduate, but it would be fantastic if the LGBTQ+ office on campus wanted to get involved after it’s done.
- Week 3
- Develop a clear list of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender films
- Budget, release date, profit, number of screens
- Organize them by decade
- Talk to Glynnis, Erica, Rebecca, Ken
- Find as many screenplays as possible
- Develop Scalar site
- Week 4
- Voyant analysis
- Analysis of films using John Hunter’s method + ELAN
- Continue scalar site development
- Week 5
- Continued analysis of films (screenplays and motion picture)
- Continued development of site
- Start loading films onto site
- Week 6
- Complete analysis of films
- Complete development of site
- Week 7 + 8
Working in a group setting with productive and honest people is helping me shape my project. Before this week I only had an idea of what I’d do for my research, but after talking with the group about what I had in mind really helped me gain a stronger understanding of my project. My project will be studying films and their screenplays that were released during periods of mass social activism, A few movements I had are the LGTBQ+ movement, the Civil Rights movement, and the Women’s Right’s movements. The argument I’m trying to make is that film can do more than entertain people, and that it can be used as a political and social device that either aids or harms the movement they were released during. From three periods of social activism I will gather about ten films and their screenplays each. Lately, I’ve been thinking that I should gather more films and that ten isn’t enough. I’ve been trying to determine the scope of my project and there are only so many films I can actually watch. I met with John Hunter and he may have a way for me to analyze these films faster and more accurately. This way involves ripping the metadata off of a dvd, specifically the closed captioning which can give you a line and a timestamp of when it was said in the film. It also fins the image that’s on screen at the time. This makes it so I can spend more time gathering films and analyzing what I get in order to create a better argument because I’ll have more films to reference. John’s way of gathering data from the dvd also finds the ten lines before the specific line you decide to choose and the ten lines after in order to provide context. I’ve also been toying with the idea of only doing one social movement with large collection of films. This movement being the LGBTQ+ movement. There aren’t many digital scholarship projects that address the history of the LGBTQ+ movement and cinema and cinema may have aided or hurt the movement. There are archives and projects that attempt to restore and preserve cinema and media, but not many that try to make arguments based on those collections. This makes me feel like my work is meaningful because there aren’t many projects like mine for people to access. I’d like for people to be able to search for films during a specific ranges of time such as ten years and understand what was being depicted in the media as LGBTQ+.
While being able to structure my project in a better way thanks to our daily meetings I’ve been able to understand topics such as copyright and open source. My project shouldn’t run into any copyright issues as my use of the films are educational and informative. While going over fair use my project didn’t seem to fall under what didn’t constitute as fair use.
I have my project somewhat figured out, but it definitely needs work in how it’s being shaped before I actually begin gathering and analyzing data.