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Meet our CISL Pathway Partner, New York Film Academy! (+10 Movie-related Vocabulary Words)

March 24, 2017

Do you dream of a life making movies . . . in English? CISL’s Pathway Program + New York Film Academy might be for you!

New York Film Academy 10 movie-related vocabulary words

With CISL’s Academic Pathways Program, students attend CISL (including the afternoon English for Academic Purposes course) to improve their English skills. Students then choose a CISL Pathway Partner school to attend: at this college or university, students receive a post-secondary degree (associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s). With CISL Pathway Partners, international students do not need to take the TOEFL exam: students who pass the EAP course automatically meet the requirements for admission!

New York Film Academy 10 movie-related vocabulary words

Happy graduates!

Students at the New York Film Academy have many location options for studies: the school has campuses in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami. The New York Film Academy uses the educational philosophy of “learning by doing,” which allows students hands-on experience with their field. Students graduate ready to enter the world of cinema and use their degree: in the first year alone, each student writes, shoots, directs and edits eight films!

The list of degrees is long for potential NYFA students. The school offers an “accelerated three-year Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree programs in Filmmaking, Acting for Film, Producing, Screenwriting, 3D Animation, Graphic Design, and Game Design. Students also have the option of a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Media Studies.” Phew! NYFA additionally has a “two-year Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in Filmmaking, Acting for Film, Screenwriting, Producing, Cinematography, Documentary, Game Design and Photography, and two-year Associate of Fine Arts (AFA) degrees in Filmmaking, Acting for Film, Producing, Screenwriting and Game Design, and a Master of Arts (MA) in Film and Media Production at the Los Angeles campus.”

New York Film Academy 10 movie-related vocabulary words

The beautiful New York campus on a snowy winter day.

While receiving their degree, students have access to the NYFA’s incredible events, which often include informal talks by industry professionals. Kevin Spacey, Glenn Close, Bryan Cranston, Jamie Lee Curtis, and many more have visited the NYFA to speak to its students!

New York Film Academy 10 movie-related vocabulary words
For more information on attending NYFA through CISL, contact Converse International School of Languages.

Movie Industry Vocabulary

Before starting your academic career with NYFA, make sure you know these industry-related words! These terms all come from the International Movie Database. Check out the entire (lengthy) list of terms online!

New York Film Academy 10 movie-related vocabulary words

B-Movie

A low-budget, second tier movie, frequently the 2nd movie in a double-feature billing. B-films were cheaper for studios because they did not involve the most highly paid actors or costly sets, and were popular with theater owners because they were less expensive to bring into their theaters while still able to draw revenue.

Back lot/Backlot

A large, undeveloped area on studio property used for constructing large open-air sets or for filming wilderness scenes.

Director’s Cut

Contracts under the terms of the Hollywood Director’s Guild usually allow 6 weeks for a director to assemble a cut of the movie without studio interference as he or she would like it to be seen. This director’s cut is fully edited and has a synchronized soundtrack. This cut is usually not color corrected or density corrected and may not even have the final music and effects tracks. In more recent times the term Director’s Cut has taken on a popular meaning that implies a polished final cut of the movie that the director has complete artistic control over.

Layout Artist

A person responsible for staging every shot and plotting the action that will take place within each scene, whether it be live action or CGI-based.

Magic hour

The minutes just around sunset and sunrise, where light levels change drastically and quickly, lending a warm orange glow to earlier shots, and a clearer blue in later minutes that allows a crew to shoot night scenes while light still remains.

Scenic Artist

A member of the crew responsible for work which includes the preparation, painting and/or coloration of all textures, plastering, appliqueing on scenery, sets, and properties; the application of all decorative wall or surface coverings; all lettering and sign work (including signs and murals; miniature sets and/or models and properties and the painting and aging in the (construction) studio or on the set of costumes and costume accessories as specified by the costume designer.

Screen Actors Guild

An association with jurisdiction over some works that can be recorded by picture or by sound.

Walla

Background conversation. Historically, when a script called for “crowd unrest” or “murmuring”, the extras would be required to mumble the word “rhubarb”, as this produced the required effect.

Working Title

The name by which a movie is known while it is being made. This is sometimes different from the title with which it is released.

Wrap

To finish shooting, either for the day or the entire production.

All NYFA photos from NYFA’s Facebook page. Director’s cut photo is from Pixabay.  

Cambridge Exams Featured Learning Materials

Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II Vocabulary and Tips

March 23, 2017

CISL is proud to have taught intensive Cambridge FCE and CAE  exam preparation classes for the last 25 years (and is equally proud to be a Cambridge Testing Centre)! Would you like some Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II vocabulary and tips? Read on for some of our expertise!

Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II Vocabulary and Tips

Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II Vocabulary and Tips

Overview: Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II

In Part I, students speak about themselves for one minute (read our CAE and FCE Speaking Part I tips here).

In Part II, the focus turns to a visual prompt. Here’s how it works:

  • The students are given a piece of paper with photos (two photos for FCE and three photos for CAE)
  • Student A is given a task: to answer questions about the photos in one minute. The questions the student has to answer about the photographs are written at the top of the page in case the student forgets.
  • Part of this task is NOT to describe the photos: questions about about what the people in the photos might be feeling/thinking, etc. This is to test the student’s ability to speak on their own (without a partner) about something: it is testing the student’s use of language for comparing, describing, expressing opinions, and speculating.
  • Student A has one minute to speak about the photos.
  • Student B is then asked a question about the photos and has 30 seconds to respond.
  • The students are given new photos and now it’s Student B’s turn to speak for one minute.
  • After, Student A speaks for 30 seconds about the photos.

Example FCE Speaking Part 2

With the FCE Speaking Part 2, students are given two photos.

Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II Vocabulary and Tips Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II Vocabulary and Tips

Interlocutor: In this part of the test, I’m going to give you each two photographs. I’d like you to talk about your photographs on your own for about a minute, and also to answer a question about your partner’s photographs.

Student A, here are your photographs. They show people who are playing a board game in different situations. I’d like you to compare these photographs, and say how different the motives for the players might be different in each situation. 

All right?

(Student A speaks for one minute.)

Student B, do you enjoy participating in competitions? Why or why not?

(Student B speaks for 30 seconds.)


Example CAE Speaking Part 2

With the CAE Speaking Part 2, students are given three photos.

Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II Vocabulary and Tips Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II Vocabulary and Tips Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II Vocabulary and Tips

Interlocutor: In this part of the test, I’m going to give you each two photographs. I’d like you to talk about your photographs on your own for about a minute, and also to answer a question about your partner’s photographs.

Student A, here are your photographs. They show people who are playing a board game in different situations. I’d like you to compare two photographs and say how different the motives for the players might be different in each situation. 

All right?

(Student A speaks for one minute.)

Student B, in which situation do you think the players feel the most pressure? Why?

(Student B speaks for 30 seconds.)


Useful Vocabulary: Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II

Because students are being tested on comparing, describing, expressing opinions, and speculating, it is important that students know the language related to these concepts.

Comparing

We can use the following words for comparing two photos that are similar:

  • as
  • as well as
  • both
  • have in common
  • in the same way
  • like
  • more (adjective) than
  • the most (adjective)
  • similar
  • similarly
  • same
  • the same as

We can use the following words for comparing two photos that are different:

  • although
  • but
  • contrary to
  • even though
  • differ
  • however
  • instead
  • on the contrary
  • on the other hand
  • the reverse
  • unless
  • unlike
  • whereas
  • while
  • yet

Describing

Use the Simple Present and Present Continuous to talk about what is happening in the photos. If you don’t know the vocabulary words, check out our article What How to Answer an IELTS, TOEFL, or Cambridge Question When You Don’t Understand a Vocabulary Word.

Expressing opinions

  • My initial reaction is …
  • I (really) think that …
  • I believe (that) …
  • I’m sure that …
  • In my opinion / My opinion is …
  • For me/ From my point of view, …
  • Frankly, …
  • I do believe/ feel/think …
  • I tend to think that …
  • It seems clear to me that …
  • To the best of my knowledge, …
  • What I think is …
  • It would seem to me that …
  • I can’t help thinking that …
  • I think it’s fair/reasonable to say …
  • I’ve come the conclusion that …

Speculating

  • You could say …
  • I reckon/suppose …
  • It could/might well be that …
  • It could be said that …
  • My best guess is …
  • It’s possible that …
  • Perhaps

Tips: Cambridge FCE and CAE Speaking Part II

CISL is a Cambridge Testing Centre and has been providing successful FCE and CAE testing to students for over 25 years. Here are some of our tips for mastering Part 2 of the Cambridge Speaking Module!

  • Speak for the entire time you are given. Students sometimes become nervous and do not use the full minute or 30 seconds.
  • Practice timing yourself by giving yourself impromptu one minute speeches. In time, you will gain a “feel” for how long one minute is and how long 30 seconds is.
  • Remember to fully answer the questions. If you forget what they are, do not worry: they are written on the paper for you.
  • View more tips (and see another Part 2 practice test) in our previous article about Cambridge FCE and CAE Part 2 Tips. You can view the tips here:

 

California Life CISL San Francisco Featured Social Media Vocabulary

ESL Vocabulary for Videos + Awesome SF Videos

March 20, 2017

From gorgeous parks to its iconic plazas and bridges, San Francisco is a city recognizable by most. But new drone videos on YouTube are providing us with birds-eye views of SF (and a perspective of the City by the Bay that we’ve never seen before)! Have you checked out some of these incredible videos? Enjoy this unique look of the city, and be sure to learn some of the ESL vocabulary for videos we’ve included to help you understand sites like YouTube.

Awesome Videos of San Francisco

Enjoy these videos of San Francisco, which were professionally shot using drone footage. These aerial shots make us love SF even more!



ESL Vocabulary for Videos

How many of these ESL vocabulary words for videos do you know?

Shots

Definition: photos or video

Example: You got some great shots of the sunset and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Footage

Definition: film recorded for a particular event

Example: Did you see the footage of the fog rolling in to the Bay?

Drone

Definition: a small machine that flies and often carries a camera to shoot footage from the sky

Example: They used drone footage to show how many people attended the festival.

Aerial

Definition: existing, happening, or operating in the air

Example: People use drones to get aerial footage of sites.

 

B & W

Definition: black and white

Example: We can’t decide if we like the footage better in color or in B & W.

Tripod

Definition: a three-legged tool to hold a camera

Example: We used a tripod for more stability.

High-def

Definition: high definition

Example: This new camera allows us to take photos in high-def.

Would you like to see similar videos of San Diego and also learn some more ESL vocabulary for videos? Check out our post on YouTube Vocabulary and Videos of San Diego!

Academic English EAP Featured TOEFL University Pathway Vocabulary Writing

Academic English Vocabulary: Verbs for Citations

March 14, 2017

When CISL English for Academic Purposes students learn to write academic English research papers, students often have difficulty citing their sources. The problem? Finding synonyms for the word “say” in order to avoid repetition in their paper. The following verbs for citations can be used in place of “say.” Some are more appropriate than others depending on the situation: to better understand their usage, we are providing the situation in which we can use this word (as well as an example, which uses the MLA format for citing sources).

With each example, we are imagining a research paper written on the effects of caffeine. We will cite an imaginary scientist with the last name “Jacobs.”

Verbs for citations

Verbs for Citations

Argue

Usage: to cite a person who says something contrary to another argument.

Example: While many believe caffeine is harmful, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania argue that in small doses, caffeine can stimulate brain function and awareness (Jacobs 2017). 

Assert

Usage: to cite a person who says something confidently or with force.

Example: Despite arguments against the validity of his research, the professor asserts that the study’s findings are accurate (Jacobs 2017). 

Claim

Usage: to cite someone who is stating or asserting that something is the case, typically without providing evidence or proof.

Example: The anti-environment group claimed that research about global warming was flawed (Jacobs 2017). 

Disclose

Usage: to cite someone who is making (secret or new information) known.

Example: Jacobs disclosed that the research was funded by a pharmaceutical company with the intention of making their new drug appear effective (199: 2017).

Divulge

Usage: to make private or sensitive information known.

Example: The summary divulged that the study was funded by the government (Jacobs 2017). 

Verbs for citations

Maintain

Usage: to cite a person who keeps their opinion, despite claims against it.

Example: Although over the years other studies have been published stating the dangers of caffeine, Jacobs maintains that the original study is correct and that caffeine in small doses is beneficial (199: 2017). 

Note

Usage: to cite a person who is pointing out something interesting, adding a fact or piece of information.

Example: Jacobs additionally notes that caffeine has been shown to help maintain steady sleep patterns when used effectively (198: 2017). 

Point out

Usage: the phrasal verb “to point out” means to bring attention to an important fact.

Example: Jacobs also points out that many of the studies regarding the benefits of caffeine were paid for by the coffee industry, while his study was funded by a government grant (198: 2017). 

Reason

Usage: to cite a person who draws a conclusion based on information, evidence, or knowledge.

Example: Scientists reasoned that the study’s results were due to the use of regulated doses of coffee, as opposed to studies that gave subjects higher doses of caffeine (Jacobs 2017). 

State

Usage: a more formal synonym for the word “say.”

Example: Jacobs also states that the study was the first of its kind (194: 2017). 

Did you notice that each of the above words are followed by the word “that?” This is optional. To find out why, read our article on Defining vs. Non-defining Relative Clauses.

Would you like some more examples of verbs for citations? Check out the University of Toronto, Scarborough’s list of Verbs for Citing Sources, the University of Portsmouth’s Verbs for Citations list, or Centralia College in Washington’s useful Verbs of Attribution download.

Business English Featured Idioms and expressions

English Business Idioms with Animals

March 8, 2017
English-Business-Idioms-Animals

The famous “Charging Bull” statue, located in the Financial District of Manhattan, has become a symbol of Wall Street. It’s also a symbol of one of the most common English business idioms with animals!

Animals probably do not belong in the workplace . . . but why are there so many English business idioms with animals? It seems as if animals are the perfect way to express some of the situations and experiences in business. Want to learn about English business idioms with animals? Keep reading! How many of these can YOU use in your workplace, or in the CISL Business English classroom?

English business idioms with animals

Bear market

English business idioms with animals

In a bear market, investors sell portions of their investments in companies.

Definition: a market in which share prices* are falling, encouraging selling

Example: They are predicting a bear market the end of this year.

*shares are the pieces of a company that are owned by the public. When people buy and sell on the stock market, they are buying and selling “shares.” 

Bull market

English business idioms with animals

A bull market is great for companies, whose stock prices often rise considerably. 

Definition: a market in which share prices are rising, encouraging buying

Example: Because of the bull market this month, we invested heavily in three new technology companies.

Cash cow

English business idioms with animals

The cash cow is different for each company or business. In Hollywood, for example, Adam Sandler comedies and Jennifer Aniston romantic comedies are cash cows (despite critics always saying the movies are terrible)!

Definition: someone or something that makes a lot of money for a business, organization, etc.

Example: She owns a yoga studio, but her real cash cow is the studio’s cafe, which earns most of the profits.

Eager beaver

English business idioms with animals

“Hard work gets you more work” is a common expression. Is it a good thing to be an eager beaver? What do you think?

Definition: a person who is extremely zealous about performing duties and volunteering for more

Example: He was an eager beaver when we first hired him, but lately he’s been much less productive.

Fat cats

English business idioms with animals

Now that’s a fat cat!

Definition 1:  a wealthy contributor to a political campaign fund

Example: The politician invited all of the fat cats to his fundraiser in the hopes that they would contribute to his future campaign.

Definition 2:  a wealthy and privileged person

Example: All of the fat cats from Wall Street live in this neighborhood.

Lame duck

English business idioms with animals

“OK . . . which of you is the lame one?”

Definition: one that is weak or that falls behind in ability or achievement; an ailing company (used more commonly in British English)

Examples:

Note: a “lame duck” is also used in politics to refer to the last few months of a President’s term before the new President takes over.

Lion’s share

English business idioms with animals

The lion’s share comes from Aesop’s fables. Do you know one of the many versions of this story?

Definition: the largest portion of something

Example: We take the lion’s share of the profits and invest them back into the company.

Example: We made a huge sale today! I gave the lion’s share of the credit to my business partner because she did most of the work.

Monkey business

English business idioms with animals

“No monkey business, you guys!”

Definition 1: playful tricks or jokes

Example: No monkey business while the boss is gone!

Definition 2: illegal or improper activity or behavior

Example: They looked at the company’s portfolio, and it seems as if there is some monkey business happening in accounting.

Top dog

English business idioms with animals

He think he’s top dog . . . but maybe the cat disagrees!

Definition: a person, group, or thing in a position of authority especially through victory in a hard-fought competition

Example: My second interview with the company is tomorrow, and it’s with the top dog. I’m nervous!

All photos from Pixabay except “Charging Bull,” which is from Flickr.