The Media Student Community Council finished a successful first semester as an official student organization. Their Master Class series brought Bob Mondello, NPR’s film critic, to campus to teach a class on how to be a movie critic. Social media expert and 2010 SMPA alumnus Nikki Rappaport held a session on personal branding through social media. Here’s a recap from two of our freshman participants.
Bob Mondello, A Man For the Movies
By: Miriam Smallman, JMC ‘16
In late November, I had a chance to sit in a Master Class with NPR film critic Bob Mondello to learn how to be a film critic. Mondello played the opening clips from a variety of movies—including Frankenweenie, The Sessions, and Beasts of the Southern Wild—and prompted the audience to analyze what we saw. What are the things film critics should be searching for? Cleverness, connections to other ideas, and—between the lines—the story the director is trying to tell, according to Mondello.
He also noted a few of the differences between writing a film critique for print, as opposed to writing one for radio. One of the most apparent differences is that radio critiques can use sound bites from the films themselves, a phenomenon that draws the listener in. However, a good film critique must walk the line between being descriptive and giving too much away. Mondello talked about an NPR host he previously worked with that would plug his ears whenever he heard him reviewing a film, because he was of the opinion that Mondello gave too much of the plot away.
The students who spent time with Mondello got a glimpse into the work of film critiques on radio, a subject not often covered academically by the School of Media and Public Affairs. One of the most memorable moments was Mondello's advice to go into things with an open mind—except “the Bieber.”
Being You Online
By: Joanne Zalatoris, JMC ‘16
To call myself a social media novice is probably an overstatement. Before taking my first SMPA class this fall, I had never even considered creating a Twitter account. I have a Facebook account, but I rarely post anything. The only blog I tried writing was for a high school Spanish class. The opportunity to learn how to use social media to my advantage from an expert, not to mention an SMPA alum, certainly piqued my interest.
Nikki Rappaport explained how her blog, Cupcakes for Breakfast, developed from two SMPA classes taken during her senior year. It was a great example of how class projects can translate into meaningful post-graduation work. Rappaport urged current SMPA students to start working on their online personalities and portfolios early in their time at GW so they could be used for career searches later.
This all could have been overwhelming for a freshman just beginning his or her time at SMPA, but Rappaport provided several valuable pieces of advice. The first, to be in control of your Internet personality. Since the “Internet is like ink,” Rappaport encouraged students to manage their own messages online. She also advised that every person create consistency across their social media outlets—including username, tone, design, color, font and content. By the end of the class I certainly wasn’t an expert, but I gained valuable knowledge that many people often have to learn after graduation through trial and error.
Fortunately for me, and all the SMPA students in attendance, we had our very own expert imparting her knowledge to be used to our advantage.
Make sure you check the weekly SMPA Rundown so you don’t miss any Master Classes and other events from the Media Student Community Council.