Individual progress report
Week 7, Thursday 19th April 2012
Stephanie Winkler 3282394
“Impressions of American Cultural Imperialism within the International Film Industry.”
State your specific role in the group.
Having only recently decided on a concrete idea to pursue in our research project, it would be fair to say that the roles we have delegated, while they cover all foreseeable bases, will need refining over time. At this stage, our project is divided into the following areas of research:
- Conceptual/Historical Research (The Popularity of the American Storytelling Technique)
- Interview with Dr. Mike Walsh– Why are American Films so popular?
- Economic/Statistical research (How the American industry continues to prosper – politics, economy, etc)
- Case study to substantiate these statistics
- External links and references
Currently, my role largely revolves around point one, i.e. conceptualizing the topic by researching the emergence of the American storytelling technique, and tying this into the factual research undertaken by Sofia. Charles will be focusing on the written case study, and Karina (Incan) will be researching and organizing the interview with our chosen scholar. We are all contributing to the introduction, conclusion, extra-curricular material and editing process of the final assignment.
State the progress we have made so far:
As it stands at present, we have decided on a layout for our research project, and a list of key priorities – something that had been quite sloppy and all-over-the-place until recently. We have also decided on the web platform Weebly as our main point of editing, as it can be easily manipulated to display information in the way that we choose. In terms of research, it is still early days for the group, however we are beginning to make strides in the right direction. Sofia has undertaken a lot of written research to do with this topic, and it was her knowledge of the American film industry that cemented our decision to stick with this path. I too have begun research on my contextual study of the American storytelling technique, but I have not yet begun compiling these ideas in essay form. The next step is to contact Dr. Mike Walsh from Flinders University for an interview – he is a foremost authority on this topic, so it’d be great to get his opinion (particularly in the contextual side of research). I feel it will be his opinion that shapes the way in which our project pans out.
What strategies have you utilized in your research?
Personally, I have found that the RMIT library, while it is very thorough, can often be time consuming – and in the case of this project, time is of the essence! Instead I have been using a lot of online databases (including the online library), as well as general searches for recorded studies and videos online, to help contextualize the tornado of ideas we have had so far. Now that we have narrowed our topic and confirmed our roles somewhat, I feel it will be easier to commit to a certain “style” of research.
What problems have you encountered?
As in any group project, there are bound to be some problems. The main ones that I have experienced within this particular group is, strangely enough, a lack of opinions regarding the project – in other words, while my intentions were to merely “get the ball rolling” in conversation, I have now become sort of a delegator in the research project – a role I am quite uncomfortable in, because I do not like to feel like I am hijacking the project! Recently we sat down and changed our topic to the study of film, rather than television, which seems to be in everyone’s field of interest a little more. Our original idea had not been thought through, and it was for this reason that we were off to a painfully slow start. Other problems we’ve had so far include group members being absent – albeit for perfectly good reasons, but it has made it incredibly hard for us to meet and discuss things that may be quite urgent. The lack of communication and opinion surrounding the project could be largely due to a difference in studying backgrounds, combined with the fact that we have never really worked with or spoken to one another outside of this project! I think the “problems” are coming to an end now, which is comforting, although it will be interesting to see how these things develop as we enter the collaborative editing and final stages of the project.
How do you plan to solve any problems that may arise?
I would like to increase communication within the group, again, because I feel like in our haste to come up with a project idea and “get the show on the road,” we have neglected to properly criticize and discuss our own ideas before putting them into action. I would also like to have more regular face-to-face meetings, so we can verbally air our concerns and deal with them collaboratively – at the moment, the project seems quite daunting to me, as it is clear that without regular interaction, we may start veering in different directions!
How do you feel that this project intersects with other research projects?
Throughout many courses at University, I personally have studied the homogenizing effect of globalization on the “local identities” of many cultures – largely, it seems, due to the popularity stability of American popular culture. As it applies to the film industry, there are many factors governing America’s success in the international arena – and yet, many people are unaware as to why this is. The work of Dr. Mike Walsh, a potential interviewee for this project, outlines and validates our topic, which shows that the phenomena is one that is often discussed. As media students, it will also provide an insight into how and why American media has succeeded so admirably, where many local media and film communities pale in comparison.