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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.

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