This site is a resource for my students as well as anybody who wants to learn about of visual storytelling. It is based on topics that I cover in courses that I teach at Northeastern University, including: ARTD2380 Video Basics, ARTD2100 Narrative Basics, ARTD3480 Video: Sound + Image, MSCR1230 Introduction to Film (Media) Production, and ARTE2500 Writing with a Camera (one of the two courses that comprised Latitude Zero: Ecuador and the Galápagos, a Dialogue of Civilizations travel course I co-lead with Jean Ormaza during the summers of 2016 and 2017). I welcome your suggestions for additional content and feedback on how to improve the site via the contact form. — David Tamés
In 1948 Alexandre Astruc, a filmmaker and theorist suggested the notion of caméra-stylo (camera pen) in his essay, “The Birth of a New Avant-Garde: La Caméra-Stylo” [pdf]. He imagines that cinema will eventually break free of the demands of classical narrative and images and will become a flexible means of writing with the same expressive power, complexity, and subtly, of written language. Astruc also envisioned a distribution system with “projectors for everyone,” anticipating what we experience with YouTube and other online video services today.
Today, writing with a camera has yet to achieve the expressiveness Astruc envisioned, but the trend towards its realization is palpable. Astruc would have loved our contemporary media landscape, especially artist’s videos, music videos, and personal essays challenging traditional film grammar. Astruc wrote that the future of cinema will revolve around the director as auteur, which was an important idea behind the French New Wave. Fast forwarding to the present: personal videos shared on Vimeo and YouTube and the renaissance of television series on subscription channels like Netflix and Amazon Prime have become the dominant narrative forms of a new generation.
Astruc’s idea of film as a language independent of literature provides the theoretical and historical foundation for this site. We are in the midsts of a cultural transformation in which the moving image is becoming more personal, a form of visual writing, we are both media producers and consumers as we enter a new age of “visual orality” (following Walter Ong’s analysis). The materials on this site are designed to prepare you to express yourself effectively in the contemporary media ecosystem.