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Public speaking critique EC

2012 December 8
by haynescm

On December 5th I went to Memorial and watched a film on American Meat. Graham Meriwether, the Director Cinematographer Producer of the film, was hosting the event. There was a relatively small crowd and his crew seemed very casual. They dressed in jeans and boots which seemed unprofessional, but I guess it fit the part of the movie. He opens by introducing the movie and talking about farmers. He stresses their importance to our everyday lives and how thankful we should be for them. He then approaches the organic aspect of agriculture and lets us know a little bit about that before he started the film. He seemed like a very natural speaker and just like is attire he was very casual with how he spoke to the audience.

The film was fairly well done and I definitely learned a lot about the meat process and how the industry works. I knew farming was hard work, but this film does a very good job of showing all the different jobs they do and the work that goes into it. The film was very well organized and got personal experiences from different areas of the country. They emphasized the importance of family. One farmer described farming as a “family business” and another said, “It brings them closer to God.” They showed everything from the mass production of the normal farms to the intricate details of the organic farms. It was really educational seeing the cycles they use to develop these animals and how they are treated differently. It was interesting seeing the philosophies of having different animals indoors and outdoors. I was very intrigued by the fact that Chipotle uses organic meat. The film did a good job of explaining how, like most people, Chipotle did not know much about organic meat. One of the biggest points that was continuously touched on was the fact that the average age of a farmer is 57. He did a very good job of pressing that and emphasizing the importance of young farmers. The film taught me twice as much as I already knew and did a great job of emphasizing the importance of farmers to the rest of the world.

After the film Graham brought up 4 people to be on a panel and to answer questions. That was really cool because one of the guests was actually in the film so we knew his story and how he got involved in agriculture. He was a great example of an everyday person who picked up farming and has made a difference. One of the things that hit home to me was when one person said, “We need to change to local farmer or we will be eating chicken from China.” This is actually legitimate because he mentioned all the things we already get from China and that we don’t know how their meat is raised and if it’s healthy. Meriwether also asked very good questions to the person from the farmer’s market. He had her describe what it was as well as the hours so the audience knew. When asked whether vegetarians are bad for farmers they responded by saying that vegetarians just don’t trust how the meat is brought up. Lastly, they believe that people are turned away from farming because of the way farming appears to the public and the lack of income.

Overall, I really appreciated this film and learned a lot about the agriculture industry. It does a great job of explaining everything about farming as well as accentuates the benefits of organic farming. I would definitely recommend the film to others and would consider going organic.

Extra Credit Critique

2012 December 8
by spriggem

This past Wednesday I went to go see the screening of the documentary American Meat which filmed the daily life of farmers in order to encourage that small-scale farming should be kept around. The man that introduced the documentary was very engaging and spoke enthusiastically about the world of farming. He was very adamant about the fact that young people should be reinforced to join the farming industry so that Americans can continue to rely on small farms instead of turning to the conventional meat industry. The speaker really caught my attention when he began to explain that the average farmers age was 62. I found it surprising to hear that at an age where most people retire, another occupation had its common workforce. I believe that the speakers goal of telling this statistic was to make the whole crowd put into perspective how the industry was dying and needed help. I could see how this information could encourage small-scale farming as it emphasized that people put their whole lives into the job and that new farmers are needed; however, it also seemed to me that the speaker opened a gateway for a counterargument. I was positive that he was encouraging the survival of small-scales farmers, but at the same time he made it easy to argue that possibly the industry was dying for a reason. It personally confused me a little and distracted me in a sense where I was trying to figure out what exactly stood for.

The documentary excelled at its goal to show the day-to-day work of farmers and the importance of their occupation. In one case it explained how one of the small farms was the main provider of chicken and that its buyers were consecutively increasing. Showing the audience the graph that depicted the amount of costumers the farm had gained really emphasized the argument by proving they were indeed equip suppliers. It also emphasized that although these big time markets could purchase chicken from anywhere else, they all decided to stick with this small farm. The documentary also depicted the hard labor that is necessary in order to maintain the farm. They use of real farmers allowed for the film to also highlight the dedication of all these farmers. The most effective example of such labor and dedication,was the farmer that was teaching his son how to successfully carry on the business. He explained that this son was the only one of his children that wanted to carry the business and become a farmer. The amount of work that this boy was performing and the amount of work his father did everyday, allowed us viewers to realize how hardworking these people are. It appealed to pathos as it showed that a young boy at 12 years old already knew what he what he wanted to do with his life and was already working towards accomplishing it. It appealed to pathos as it made the audience feel happy and excited that this boy and his father were so dedicated to their work. This portion was definitely influential as it allows the audience to feel as if they have to fight for the cause so that this father and son can do what they love and know best.

The documentary immediately got a lot of attention the minute that it had incorporated the well-known and thriving restaurant, Chipotle. I know that personally it instantaneously got my attention because it is my favorite place to eat. When we were informed that Chipotle is supplied by a small-scale farm it really made a huge impact. This fact definitely secured my support to small-scale farming as I was amazed that such a nationally successful food place was initiated and supplied by the small-scale farming industry.

American Meat gave me a lot of insight on the farming lifestyle. It gave me perspective and allowed me to believe that the U.S can be supported by small-scale farming and that it needs to attract young farmers to sustain in the meat industry.

Extra Credit: American Meat Public Speaking Critique

2012 December 8
by lyonjl

Wednesday December 5th, I attended the film showing and discussion American Meat hosted by none other than the film’s own director, cinematographer and producer, Graham Meriwether. At the beginning of the discussion, Meriwether introduces himself and talks a little about the film and the activities planned for the night. He is dressed very casually with boots, faded blue jeans, a comfy-looking grey sweatshirt and a baseball cap. He seems to fit the look of a typical farmer or country-dweller. I appreciate his effort to identify with those which his film is centered around. He speaks to the crowd of about 75-100 people with ease and thanks us for coming out to see his film during this stressful time we call “finals week”. The more Meriwether talks about how greatly the farmers are needed and how much we can benefit from organic produce from these farmers, I begin to see what people admire about him. He has a sort of quiet pride and charisma associated with his work. He is proud to show people the way in which we should be headed agriculturally.

The film is an extensive, detailed documentary of farmers around America and how at one time things were going well for them but then other nations stopped buying American meat and the industry began to suffer. He shows very personal accounts of what exactly these organic farmers do day to day. He also shows why we as Americans should be interested in “going organic” with our meat consumption.

Lastly, the discussion on the documentary was the most interesting event of the night for me. Meriwether had four people come up on stage and talk about not only the film but also the ever-changing farming industry has affected their everyday lives. Each speaker seemed to be very knowledgeable in his or her own respects. This gained the audiences trust because they established a sense of credibility. First Meriwether asked a question and each speaker responded in their own manner on the subject.  In particular, Richard had a striking connection to the audience because we had watched him in the film only moments before.

In high school I took AP Environmental Science and we had a very similar film showing and discussion afterwards. This showing and discussion was even better in that real people that are involved with farming and agriculture were there to further enforce the message that Americans need to see the issues with the way in which we are producing meat today and also the much better, more efficient ways of producing it so that we lead much more sustainable lives. Thank you Graham Meriwether, this is truly a worthwhile cause.

Extra Credit Public Speaking Critique

2012 December 7
by solankl

I attended the film and discussion “American Meat.”  The producer/director of the film, Graham Meriwether, made an introduction before the documentary began.  I really liked his introduction.  He recognized and thanked all the farmers in the audience, which was very thoughtful.  Graham then discussed the basis for the documentary, and how younger farmers are truly needed.  He was a very good speaker, speaking clearly and moving around in a casual way.  He was also dressed very casual, which made him seem very comfortable in front of the room.  He obviously is passionate about the film, and thanked everyone for coming out to watch.

I really did enjoy the film.  I had absolutely no knowledge about agriculture coming into this documentary, so it really opened my eyes.  I thought it was organized well, as it was split up into three parts.  Because the film is a documentary, it really opens up your eyes to how things are really going on in the world right now.  Some of the farmers’ stories were sad because of how the farming industry has changed.  This really allowed the audience to connect with and feel for the farmers going through tough times.

After the film, Graham had 4 people come up to discuss with the crowd.  I found the discussion to be very interesting, because there were real people affected by farming sitting in front of us.  The discussion began with an introduction of each person, and then Graham asked each one a question.  First was the deliveryman for a company from the video.  He had a very inspirational story in the movie, and expanded well upon it in the discussion.  He spoke clearly, and definitely had everyone’s attention.  Next was a farmer from New Jersey.  He was a very informed man, and really knew what he was talking about, which showed in his speaking.  A woman who manages a farmer’s market in Harrisonburg spoke next.  She had a lot of nice things to say about food, but did seem rather timid and quiet at some points.  Finally was a man who raises cattle and chicken.  He was also very knowledgeable and used hand motions as he spoke.  However, he was slightly monotone, but still informative.

Graham then opened up questions to the audience.  When someone asked a question, he would summarize so the rest of the audience could hear, and I thought he paraphrased very well.  I was very impressed at how well the panel was prepared for the questions.  The audience would ask a question, and multiple people on the panel were able to give very good answers.

Public Speaking Critique (American Meat)

2012 December 7
by dizeea

Emilee Dize
6 December 2012
GCOM 123
Public Speaking Critique
The discussion panel opens up with Graham Meriwether, the director of the film American Meat, giving us a short introduction of the film we were about to be seeing. While speaking, he was confident in what he was saying and comfortable in front of the large crowd—walking around the front of the room and using hand gestures to add emphasis to his words. He talked smoothly, not as if he had memorized what to say but as if he was knowledgeable enough in the topic that he was speaking about to not have any script in his head. He wasn’t overly dressed in a suit or tie, he just had on a long sleeved t-shirt that made him seem like an honest, every day guy. Since he wasn’t dressed professionally, it made the audience aware that he wasn’t trying to promote any big business, he was just trying to make the students of JMU and the rest of the audience comfortable in knowing the fact he was like one of us trying to promote a healthy product.
After establishing who he was and who the people were that were going to be on the panel at the end, he started the video. The video was interviews and stories of people who were a lot like him. Most were southern family men who were farming because it made them happy and they wanted to continue on the family tradition. The language used by all the people in the video was pretty simple and easy to comprehend and the video consisted of a lot of visual aids that helped the audience vision how the concepts worked that the people were explaining to us. The video was a little long but the information was well organized and it was still interesting even to the last part of it.
The panel at the end was made up of four people and one of those four people was actually interviewed on the film so that was really cool that he was there talking to us. When the people on the panel were asked questions, they each answered them precisely and addressed the question fully. They were all confident and were knowledgeable in what they were discussing and it produced credibility among them because the audience could tell they were intelligent. They all spoke clearly and it was easy to understand what they were describing or elaborating on in their answers and explanations.
Over all, I enjoyed the film and the people involved with the film; they all seemed like every-day people just trying to inform the public about a local and global healthier product and they were persuasive as to why we should support them.

Extra Credit Speaking Critique

2012 December 7
by kinneyhl

On December 5, 2012, I attended a film screening of the food documentary American Meat in Memorial Hall. After the film was complete, a discussion panel was held, which included the movie’s director, Graham Meriwether. Coming into the show, I knew very little about agriculture and its concerns towards meat. The film was extremely educational and, for the most part, easy to understand and follow.
Before the screening was shown, a man gave a brief introduction. He spoke very casually and loudly into the microphone. He moved around and used the space, while practicing the use of hand gestures. He spoke at a good pace and wasn’t rushing, which in result made him appear relatively comfortable in front of the audience. Although he practiced many good public speaking traits, he did need to work on using pitch variations in his voice. He was slightly monotone, which made the information appear slightly dull.
Concerning the documentary, I felt it was very effective. It explained two different arguments of how the meat industry should approach production. It revealed pros and cons of each argument and, at the end, explained that the consumers had a choice to make on which practice they want to support.
The video was divided into three sections. The first section focused on the current system that dominates the food industry, followed by a “different path” in which the industry could approach the situation. The third and final section was titled “up to us”, which talked about which side we would want to consume our meats from. I feel Meriwether purposefully included personal stories of different farmers to reveal how they were affected. It appealed to pathos, for the audience felt sympathy towards some of the farmers who had lost their jobs and had shut down production. It also appealed to ethos, for actual stories of actual people were included. This made the information more legitimate because the farmers were credible. Another aspect that made the video successful in the comprehension thereof, was the idea of labeling different sections, people, and places. When the location or person talking changed, a small caption appeared which identified who or where they were. If one wanted to conduct outside research, they could find the people and understand that the information was legitimate.
After the documentary, a table consisting of four people, answered questions asked by the interviewer. Richard, who was in the documentary, explained an amazing story, which caught the attention of the audience. He was, generally speaking, a good public speaker. He was comfortable, relaxed, and practiced a wide range of pitches in his voice. Chris, on the other hand, was quiet and difficult to understand. Physical noise coming from the projector disrupted the message getting delivered to the back of the auditorium. He used many fillers and used some unfamiliar jargon. The last speaker was Mike. He had an uncontrollable whistle in in voice, which was distracting. He did use hand gestures, but was quiet and could have enunciated his words more.
In general, I enjoyed the video. I felt it was well organized and very informative. The questionnaire session following was very casual and conducted in a relaxed manner. It was obvious that the speakers were passionate about their jobs and very knowledgeable as well. Although I am not particularly concerned with the meat industry, I did find the video interesting.

Extra Credit Speaking Critique

2012 December 6
by lynchma

On Wednesday, December 5 I attended the documentary screening of American Meat, which was part of the Young Farmers Screening Series. Before the film started, the director, Graham Meriwether explained that he had three objectives for this event, to thank America’s farmers, support young farmers, and educate people that their food choices are important. There were a few local farmers in the audience who had come out to the event, which showed the support for the sustainable farming movement in the Harrisonburg area. Meriwether explained that the average age of farmers in America is sixty and he wanted to promote the profession to young people. He thinks the new organic movement in farming will attract the younger generation. This was the perfect venue for that because it was at a college campus where young adults are thinking hard about their futures. However it is hard for college students to choose the food that the documentary encourages us to eat because we are either on a meal plan or a strict budget.

In the film itself, Meriwether showed both perspectives of the farming world, the factory farm and the organic farm. He interviewed all of the farmers from different parts of the country to get their perspectives on their own farming processes. This created a less accusatory tone toward the factory farmers. Meriwether explained that he did this purposefully to allow those farmers to have a say even if we might not agree with what they were doing.

At the end of the film, Meriwether had a panel of local farmers and experts to answer questions. It was nice to be able to meet the people who grow our food. One of the local farmers in the film even sells to the Joshua Wilton House in Harrisonburg. The only criticism I had with this portion of the event was that Meriwether asked all of the questions to the panel members. It would have been interesting to hear what the audience was curious about.

Overall, this was definitely a worthwhile and interesting event especially if a student is contemplating what they want to do with their life.

Extra Credit PSC

2012 December 6
by hoganbl

Earlier tonight I went to the movie viewing and discussion of American Meat by Graham Meriwether who was the actual producer of the movie! At the beginning Graham Meriwether introduced himself and explained why he was there, and how important it is to thank our farmers because they do more than we know – and especially support our young farmers because the average age of farmers is 60 and that is bad. He also thanked all the people that made the event possible which made the environment more professional, serious and sweet. We then watched the documentary, which was interesting and very well documented. I realized how hard farmers work and it’s definitely not easy and they do not get paid enough. I was enriched by the documentary. After the documentary they had a panel discussion which included Richard who was actually in the documentary which was really cool, a man who is part of Applegate, a farmer and a lady from the farmer’s market. During the panel discussion everyone was very calm and confident. I felt engaged in their discussion because they each had dedicated their lives to being farms or working closely with farms and they were very knowledgeable about what they were talking about; each person and host was credible. I really liked how they made the last part of the event interactive because the whole rest of the event was informational so it was a good balance and added a little something extra. The farmer man when answering question, although knowledgeable, was kind of monotone and sort of boring but he had interesting insight to the questions. The applegate man was humorous and answered the questions very efficiently. I really appreciated the good job that the producer/host did, he was clear in his speech and when the audience would ask questions he was very professional and would repeat the question so the rest of the audience could hear. He was also confident in his talk. I overall had a good experience at this event. It was VERY informational and the people in charge did a good job with making it a successful event.

Extra Credit Public Speaking Critique

2012 December 6
by thackezc

Tonight I attended the extra credit public speaking event of the American Meat screening, which was directed by Graham Meriweather. Meriweather began the presentation by introducing his film American Meat and proceeded to show the film to every in attendance. After the film, he brought up a panel of knowledgeable people on the subject, one man who was in the film, a farmer, a farmer’s market manager, and a food distribution company owner.

During the first brief introduction, Meriweather described his film and its main premise. He described the process by which he came to making the film and how they actually made it. The documentary was about the american meat industry and an ever-growing movement of farmers who are raising their livestock outdoors without any chemicals. The film features well-known farmer, Joel Salatin, who raises his livestock this way and eventually signs a contract with Chipotle. Throughout the film, there is dispute by other farmers that small-scale farming can not produce enough to feed America. Also, the documentary was about how farming has changed from being a sought-after, lucrative, family business to a job that many are not seeking and many do not make much money at. After the film, Meriweather brought the panel up and opened the floor to questions or comments from the audience. He also asked questions of his own directed towards the panel members.

I thought that the film was very interesting and after watching it I am interested to learn what will happen to the future of the agriculture industry. The film and discussion session afterwards really helped Meriweather send his message effectively and I believe that it was received well also.

Extra credit

2012 December 6
by hardca

Today I attended the American Meat screening put on by the producer of the documentary Graham Meriwether. This was set up like no other presentation I have seen this semester due to a few reasons. In the beginning Graham gave a quick brief of what would happen and who was then we began to watch his documentary. After his documentary he brought up a person who was in the documentary, two farmers, and a lady who is the manager of the local farmers market. This was a point in time for anyone to ask questions about the movie or any topic related to the subject.

In the beginning Graham Meriwether gave a brief talk about who he was which helped build his credibility because it was there when I realized he was the producer. Then after watching his hour and a half film I realized what he was all about and his purpose for being at a college with young students and putting this on for the local community. This moved in to a question and answer with a discussion panel of people who know a lot about the topic or live it firsthand. This forced the audience to become interactive which made people pay more attention to the topic if they may have dozed off during the film. I had never attended a real discussion panel so this opened my eyes to many things. Each member of the panel was given a few minutes to give remarks about who they were and why this topic has to do with their lives. Their purpose was evident and it was because they all work in the business of meat and they are worried about where it is going in the youth does not step forward and make a change. Since they all new as much as anyone could know about the topic there answers contained a lot of backing in them and they could give answers straight forward without twisting the truth. As people asked questions they did their best to relate to the film for guidance for the audience and also expanded on the questions with their own experience.

After this experience I was very impressed with the presentation and the discussion panel. It really opened my eyes up to what the future has in store and how I could affect the food industry of America.  I was completely satisfied by everything the discussion panel had to say and I liked how it was interactive with the audience.