martes, 28 de enero de 2014

Madrid Teacher: Do Hollywood films need stars to be good?

In our Madrid Teacher series, four teachers discuss how important it is for Hollywood films to have big names in the cast to be successful.

The video gives us a good opportunity to see native speakers of English interacting and the different strategies they use to keep their conversation going. Here are some of them:

- The use of so as a linking word.
- Involving the other people in the conversation through questions: 'or what do you think?', 'don't you think?'
- Showing agreement: 'Yeah!' 'Yeah, definitely', 'definitely, yeah'.
- The use of question tags to check information: 'Wasn't it?', 'don't they?'
- Use of I mean to rephrase information we have just said.
- Use of you know to gain thinking time.
- Use of sort of to express ambiguity or vagueness.
- Use of like as a filler to introduce our ideas.

Watch the video and identify some of the above-mentioned features in the conversation.

Then answer the question for yourself, do Hollywood films need stars to be good?, and try to use some of those features of spoken English when you talk.

So, do you think a film needs good actors to be good, or what do you think?
Not necessarily. Movies can be good if the script is good and… I think in that case it’s actually the script and the books that were released beforehand that make the actors become so famous. As I said, beforehand nobody knew them.
It was a good story. . .
Yeah. . .
Wasn’t it?
Yeah. . .
Yeah, a very good story. Did you enjoy it?
Is this . . . I don’t, I don’t . . .  Is this the vampire series?
Sorry. I’m not into vampires. Everybody’s reading up on all these vampires about this human . . . or she’s human and he’s a vampire or vice versa and . . .
That’s it.
I’m not a vampire fan, but it was a very good film.
Yeah, it was a good film but, I mean, usually good films have good stars, like very famous stars, don’t they? But then, what makes a film good if . . . if they are, these actors are not, are not known from before or . . .
Well I could think of lots of films that, that didn’t have a . . . for example Secrets and Lies was a really good film. It wasn’t a Hollywood blockbuster. It was one of Michael Lee’s, you know, he’s sort of an indie guy, and, I thought the film was great. Of course Brenda Blethyn I guess, or Blethyn? I don’t know how it’s pronounced in Britain.
I don’t.
Yeah, you see because this actress, like she’s more a stage actress, and she’s done a lot of TV things and she wasn’t so famous in movies. But what makes a, a, a good film, it’s not the actor it’s that it’s believable; that you believe that the person is upset, or you believe that the person is really in love, or whatever. Like for example, Brokeback Mountain. What I didn’t like about it, I mean, I’m not against homosexuals or anything, but I didn’t believe that the actors really loved each other. Like it didn’t seem credible to me. And that’s what I didn’t like about the movie. So I think what makes a movie credible is not such a great actor but, somebody who can do the part and believe in what they’re doing.
So there can be good films, but with actors that we have never seen, don’t you think?
Yeah, definitely.
Yeah, I’d agree with that, definitely, yeah. I suppose you concentrate less on the actor or actress, if they’re not famous, and more on the story, and what they’re doing, and the special effects, and everything else that’s happening. Yeah.
So, do you think an actor, a good actor, can make a film be good? Maybe if the film, the script is not that good, but it’s a very well-known actor so maybe they think it’s going to be popular.
Perhaps they cannot make the film good, but they can make the directors and the producers money at the box office.