Grade Scale: A+: 100-96, A: 95-93, A-: 92-90, B+: 89-86, B: 85-83, B-: 82-80, C+:79-76, C: 75-73, C-“ 72-70, D: 69-60, F: 59-0
Short Essays 20%
Midterm Exam 20%
Paper Proposal 5%
Final Paper 25%
Participation: Group discussion of course material will comprise a large portion of our in-class activity. It is essential that you have carefully read/viewed the assigned material prior to class. All students are expected to participate actively in class discussion. Participation comprises 10% of the final grade, and your grade will be based on both the frequency and quality of your contributions.
Short Essays: Students will be required to complete four (4) short essays over the course of the semester. All essays will relate directly to screenings and/or assigned readings and are designed to hone your writing skills and argumentative focus.
Short Essay #1 (Due 1/25/16) – Using the library website, find a scholarly (peer reviewed) article on a film of your choice and write a brief (2 to 3 double-spaced pages) overview of the article. Consider the following questions: How does the article differ, if at all, from the kind of film reviews commonly found online, in newspapers, and magazines? How is the article structured? What kinds of claims (e.g. subjective vs. objective) are being made? How does the writer support these claims? How would you characterize the central argument of the piece (i.e. what is the article about)?
Short Essay #2 (Due 2/10/16) – In two (2) to three (3) double-spaced pages, discuss how Wes Anderson employs the various elements of mise-en-scène (sets and settings, costumes and makeup, lighting, and staging) in the opening moments (roughly the first six minutes) of The Royal Tenenbaums. How do these elements function in relation to the introduction and development of the film’s characters, plot and tone?
Short Essay #3 (Due 2/24/16) – Pick a scene from The Shining and, in a one (1) to two (2) double-spaced pages, provide an analysis (using the cinematographic terms explained in chapter three of your textbook) of the specific elements of cinematography at work in the segment. The goal of this assignment is not to merely provide a description of these elements, but rather to extrapolate on how they are being used. How do these elements function in the context of the scene, and the movie as a whole? What kinds of feelings, emotions or impressions do these elements privilege? How do they function in relation to the film’s narrative?
Short Essay #4 (Due 4/4/16) – Please note, I originally had the wrong due date listed here. As a result, I will accept this assignment up till the end of the day on Wednesday, 4/6/16. My apologies for any confusion. Write a two-page (2) essay analyzing some aspect of the use of sound in Saving Private Ryan. The exact topic is up to you. That said, this essay should have a short introduction that includes a clear thesis statement and a concise summary of your argument. Also, pay careful attention to the structure of your essay, making sure that your argument proceeds in a logical format that is easy for the reader to follow. This assignment is building towards the type of argument you will be expected to make for your final paper. As such, you should focus attentively on the way in which you present and defend your argument.
Take-Home Midterm Exam: Students will be given a take-home midterm exam approximately one (1) week prior to the deadline listed below. This exam will consist of three (3) or four (4) short writing assignments. Each response should be roughly two (2) double-spaced pages in length.
Quizzes: There will be a number of unannounced quizzes given during the course of the semester. They will generally be comprised of a combination of multiple choice and short answer questions. Quizzes will cover the reading material and/or screenings outlined on the syllabus.
Film Clip Presentation: You will be assigned at random to a group of fellow students. Your presentation will focus on one of the particular aspects of cinema we will be studying (e.g., editing, sound, cinematography, etc.). Your presentation should (1) focus on a brief clip (no longer than 3 minutes) from a film of your choice; (2) provide a reading of the clip focusing on the topic of class discussion; (3) draw summary conclusions as to how your clip is representative of the larger issues we are discussing; and (4) be between ten and fifteen minutes in length. Your group should meet with me at least a week prior to your presentation. At the close of the presentation, each group member will be required to submit a short (1-2 paragraph) description of his or her role in the presentation.
Final Paper Proposal: Students are required to submit a final paper proposal on 3/23/16.
Your proposal should include the following information:
a) The title of your final paper.
b) A thesis statement/research question and summary of your argument. Be specific. Let me know exactly what argument you’re going make, the main points of the argument, and how you’re going to support it.
c) An outline of your final paper.
d) A “working bibliography” made up of at least four (4) academic sources. You are not required to use these sources in your final paper, as you may find better ones as you continue your research. Nevertheless, the idea here is to illustrate the fact that you have begun your research efforts.
Remember, the more thorough and detailed you are, the better feedback I can provide.
Final Paper: Students are required to complete a seven (7) to ten (10) page final paper. This assignment is meant to showcase all you have learned this semester though an analysis of a film of your choice. Papers should reference a minimum of five (5) credible, academic sources (sorry, no Wikipedia). We will talk more about this assignment throughout the semester.
Note: All written assignments should be double-spaced, employ one (1) inch margins, and be typed in a clearly legible twelve (12)-point font (e.g. Cambria, Times New Roman). All pages should be numbered and include your last name in the header. Your name, my name, course name and assignment name should be included in the upper left hand corner of the first page. No title page is required.