Communicating Ideas with Film, Video, and Multimedia: A Practical Guide to Information Motion-Media / Edition 3

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Written for a broad audience of professional informational and corporate filmmakers, film students, technical writers, and clients, Communicating Ideas with Film, Video, and Multimedia: A Practical Guide to Information Motion-Media is an insider’s perspective on the informational media industry. With over thirty-five years of experience, award-winning filmmaker S. Martin Shelton presents his astute views on the state of the profession and offers sage, constructive advice for the successful design and production of information motion-media.

Forgoing discussions of technology, Shelton instead concentrates on the communication principles that can motivate an audience to achieve a particular goal—a goal that must be realistic, worthwhile, and appropriate. His inventive approach coalesces theory of the media with its philosophy, analysis, history, and application, as well as his own informed personal opinions. This valuable guide examines how to effectively encode information in motion-media by using in-depth communication analysis and pertinent filmic design. Throughout, Shelton emphasizes that kinetic visuals, rather than audio, are the defining elements of the best motion-media communication. Organized into five parts that can be used independently or in sequence, the volume frames key topics in the industry that collectively form a cohesive strategy for motion-media design and production. First, Shelton discusses the essence of the medium as a communication tool. In the second part, he addresses the forms and functions of motion-media. The third part details communication analysis and its application. Next, Shelton delves into script design, distribution, and career growth. Lastly, he offers advice on business aspects of the profession. Told from the vantage point of a seasoned expert, Communicating Ideas with Film, Video, and Multimedia is a “how to do it” book as well as a treatise on “why to do it.” Shelton’s narrative is complemented by twenty-six illustrations (including multimedia flowcharts, sample forms, and photographs of some of the great documentary filmmakers), a variety of script formats, and a listing of the all-time best documentary films.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“We’re in the communication business. All else is irrelevant. We use film, video, and multimedia as the carriers of our encoded messages. It’s the message and our audience that count.”—S. Martin Shelton, from the Prologue


Society for Technical Communication - 2004-2005 Southern California Spotlight Competition:

  • Best of Show
  • Distinguished Technical Communication Award in the Book category

Comments from Judges:

  • "If I were still teaching I would use this book."
  • "An excellent book, it gets straight to the point."
  • "A great resource for media professionals."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809326037
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2004
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

S. Martin Shelton has over thirty-five years of experience in all phases of information motion-media planning, production, and management. A regular contributor to professional journals and trade magazines, he is a Fellow of both the Society for Technical Communication and the Information Film Producers of America and has garnered numerous awards in national and international motion-media festivals and competitions. Shelton is also a frequent lecturer, workshop and seminar leader, and speaker for professional organizations. He earned his M.A. in cinema at the University of Southern California.

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Table of Contents

1 Prologue 3
2 The message and motion media 6
3 Motion-media in the communication society 12
4 Information, communication, and meaning 16
5 Creativity may not equal communication 24
6 Information motion-media 33
7 Film and video 42
8 The false reality of motion-media 56
9 Documentary film a learning tool 71
10 Introduction to multimedia 77
11 Multimedia flowchart 84
12 Stating your objectives or what's this show about? 91
13 Who's our audience? 100
14 Creating a communication analysis plan 107
15 Filmic design 119
16 An information motion media writer should be a script designer 125
17 Scripting for information motion-media 132
18 My contrary principles of script design 140
19 Guidelines for writing narration and dialogue 146
20 The talking head 151
21 The sound track 160
22 Distribution 166
23 Your career growth in our profession 168
24 Our client isn't the enemy 181
25 Contracting for information motion-media 192
26 Managing an information motion-media group 208
App. 1 Evaluating information motion-media 221
App. 2 101 classic documentary films 227
App. 3 Communication analysis plan, split-page script, and storyboard 239
App. 4 Information teleplay 257
App. 5 Split-page script with voice-over narration 261
App. 6 Teleplay and split-page script combination 265
App. 7 Shelton's fundamental verities of information motion-media 269
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2006


    ¿Why didn¿t they teach us that at school?¿ That¿s what many readers of this insightful book will ask themselves as they come to understand and appreciate the unique perspective the author provides into how and why filmic communication works. Shelton ¿ drawing on his experience of some forty years as a motion-media communicator ¿ is passionate about his subject, and he clearly loves and respects his profession. In laying the theoretical groundwork for examining what makes information motion media (meaning film, video, and multimedia shows) effective, he analyzes how we human beings send and receive messages and how visual communication takes place. He makes the case that it is the job of the motion media professional to communicate messages via sight and sound, and compellingly argues that the main objective of all information motion media is nothing less than to influence the thought and behavior of the target audience, whoever they may be. All else is secondary or even irrelevant. Shelton counsels that to achieve the elusive goal of elevating a motion media program to the level of what he calls a ¿near-perfect communication experience for the audience,¿ multimedia professionals must first ask themselves, ¿What are our communication objectives, and whom are we communicating with?¿ The answer to these questions (arrived at in consultation with one¿s client) will dictate the choice of media and style that are appropriate for the program, be it film, video, or digital multimedia. But in addition to examining why motion media work, this widely respected filmic communicator also reveals his ideas of how to make them work. His cogent advice on creating a communication analysis plan, designing an effective script (he uses the term script designer instead of script writer, a deliberate choice that shows the importance he attaches to beginning a project with a well-crafted design), working with one¿s client, contracting, and even on how to manage a motion-media group will be of immeasurable value to both student and working professional. Though it deals with some complex ideas, the book is mercifully devoid of technical jargon. I recommend it highly.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2005

    S. Martin Shelton's book on Multimedia

    S. Martin Shelton¿s 'Communicating Ideas With Film, Video, and Multimedia: A Practical Guide To Information Motion-Media' is not only an excellent read, it is a very informative book. His vast experience in the profession show¿s through on every page. Shelton covers all aspects of the motion-media experience and he helps you with the how-to. For the first time, I¿m beginning to understand the fundamentals of this profession. Shelton's humor shows through when he shares some of his more 'notable' experiences in the appendix dubbed 'Quotable Quotes.' Also included are ten real-world communication problems for the reader to solve. If this is your field, or if you plan to enter it, read the book¿you¿ll not only like it, you¿ll learn from it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2005

    Shelton is a guru of knowledge and experience

    A very credible and well-researched book, Shelton references the best of the best including Kopel, Burns and Grierson. He gives food for thought on subjects such as 'talking heads' and communicating a message vs. a bunch of special effects.

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