Monday, January 28, 2019

100+ Films of All Time; Storyboards; Film Vocab. & Spike Lee

Introduction (of sorts): 20 min.

This course is designed to provide you with a wide foundation of Film History and Film Studies, while also giving you experience writing film scripts and film reviews/critiques (as such found in the field of Journalism). By its end, you will understand the art of film hopefully more than you do now, and will gain a better appreciation for the art of filmmaking. Some of you may like this course of study so much you will take film courses in college, major in film studies, or become professional filmmakers. Others will at least benefit from knowing (and appreciating) the art of film.

This course (as Playwriting) will mostly be found online. Deadlines and assignments (with instructions) will be posted on the blog as needed. Please check the blog daily (even when absent) so you do not fall behind.

To start, please note the following resources that you will be able to access throughout the course.
Handouts (Film vocabulary/terms; storyboarding; resources)
1. Today, please take the quiz on the top 100+ Films of All Time to see which films you have seen. It will serve as a basis for our course.
2. Keep the handy handouts throughout this course. You can find extra copies in our Google classroom. We will be using these terms and the vocabulary will help you analyze and criticize films we watch. We'll start using this today!
3. Begin to design your own "script":
  • Complete the concept creation worksheet. Since you will not be "making" this film, per se, you can have an unlimited budget to make this "film". Choose a movie genre you like, consider your characters, setting/locations, budget, audience, content of the story, your interests help you make a film you like, and quick impression (premise) of your story. Ex. This film is about...
  • Once you have a concept, outline the plot: exposition, rising action, conflict, climax, falling action, resolution, denouement. 
  • Choose one of your plot segments and use the idea to create your scene. Identify where the scene falls in the film, name the characters present, describe the visual part of the scene, identify the key action in the scene, what single line of dialogue is most important in the scene, and what does the character/protagonist or audience learn from this scene? Finally, summarize the scene (just like your premise). Ex. "This scene is about..."
  • Complete 6 shots that occur in your scene (1 shot per box). Draw a representation of what the camera sees in the box, then on the lines below the box, identify the type of shot and/or angle. Use the handout on "The Different Types of Shots" to help you.
Complete the handout for Monday, Feb. 3! See homework below. If you need a sample, look here:
sample storyboards from Do the Right Thing (or see handout for Jurassic Park).

Spike Lee: Examining a Film

As we study film, one thing we will consider, apart from an examination of the history and context of a film, is the auteur or maker of the film. This is often the director, but directors can sometimes star in their own films and also be credited with the authorship of the script. Some directors are also producers--handling all the financial and promotional aspects of the film, as well as the writing, directing, cinematography, editing, and sometimes acting. We will discuss the concept of auteurs later in the course.

Directors like Spike Lee are encouraged to make films for a black audience. Many other actors, directors, and writers begin expanding the ground opened by blaxploitation films, while other black directors are searching for voices that include black experiences or culture, some assimilate the subject, like the most recent films: Black Panther (Ryan Coogler, 2018), Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016) and A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay, 2018), while others continue to examine Black cinema's traditional themes of racism, slavery and freedom (Amistad (directed by Steven Spielberg, 1997), Belle (Amma Asante, 2013), Dear White People (Justin Simien, 2014) Selma (Ava DuVernay, 2015), and Mudbound (Dee Rees, 2017) as just a few examples.

In any case, Spike Lee's films helped pave the way for black directors and writers in feature films. His films are often thoughtful, satiric, violent, and sexist. They represent the times in which they were made (for example life in the late 1980's in the film we will watch), but remain important reminders of how far and how far we still need to go on the issues of race and inclusive culture in the U.S. Here are a few sample films from Spike Lee.
Do the Right Thing (1989); Read the background information about the film. See the script handout and notice the way a film script is formatted. Script to Screen: Do the Right Thing

HOMEWORK: Work on your film concept. Complete and turn in by Monday, Feb. 3. As you watch the film, please complete a film analysis sheet (this can also be found on our Google classroom site). 

Friday, January 18, 2019

Playwriting End of Course

All missing or late work for this course is due today! MP2 assignments not turned in will receive no credit. Including revisions if you have not yet turned these in.

Today we will workshop various revised plays that were turned in this week until Thursday night at 11:00.

Those students who have had their plays revised have the option of raising their grade (extra credit) if they revise and resubmit the plays we workshopped in class. This option is due by Friday, Jan. 25. Our labs will be open during mid-term week if you need computer access.

Please complete the film survey on the Google Classroom!


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Playwriting: Final Exam; Workshop/Revisions

Please take the first few minutes of class to look over your notes and prepare for the final exam. When you complete the exam, please use the time in class to work on your revision. Final revisions are due by Friday.

When we are done with the test, we will workshop the plays that were turned in last class, then today's class, if possible.

HOMEWORK: None. Complete your revision if you have not yet done so.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Revision/Workshops; Realism & Ibsen

This morning, please revise and submit your revised script to our Google classroom for a class workshop/revision session. We'll continue this Wednesday and Friday as well.

When revising:
1. Do a global review of your script.
2. Focus on one character at a time.
3. Review story arc & structure.
4. Focus on one scene at a time.
5. Review grammar/mechanics/formatting.
6. Do another global review of your script.

When workshopping:
1. Examine play in a global way.
2. Consider character development & details. Do they add to the overall structure of the play?
3. Examine story arc/structure of the plot: inciting incident, rising action, conflict, complications, turning point, climax, falling action, resolution, etc.
4. Do scenes or beats add or detract from the business and meaning of the play?
5. Does the play have a meaning or message that you can identify?
6. Do you notice mistakes or weak points in the script? Point these out. You don't have to provide an answer to these problems--that's for the writer to own.

Your final exam for Playwriting is Wednesday, Jan. 16. See previous posts for details about what may be covered on your exam. It is a good idea to study your play analysis notes, review vocabulary & theatrical terms, review handouts and scripts and look back over this year's course on our blog (starting in September 2018).

Depending on what's happening in class (if there are scripts to review by 2nd period or not), I may introduce to you the "father of modern drama": Henrik Ibsen.

Details About the Father of Modern Drama: Henrik Ibsen

A major 19th-century Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet, Henrik Ibsen is often referred to as "the godfather" of modern drama and is one of the founders of Modernism in theatre. His works started out as romantic, moved into and through realism and ended up naturalistic (see Naturalism below) and symbolic (symbolism).

To understand Naturalism, it is important to know that it was a reaction against the two literary periods that came before it. These are:

Romanticism (1798-1832/1850): Reaction against reason and the Neoclassical/Enlightenment periods, it celebrated nature, spontaneity, imagination, the supernatural and subjectivity. The ode comes back into favor. As well as women writers. Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, various poets: Byron, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, etc. How lovely!

Realism (1830-1900): The period of literature that attempts to portray life honestly, without sensationalism, exaggeration, or melodrama. Characters and plots are taken largely from middle-class for middle-class readers. Ordinary contemporary life. Dickens is probably the best example of this, although he did tend to be a bit Romantic (Christmas Carol, for example...)

Naturalism (1865-1900) attempts to go further from realism to suggest that social conditions, heredity, and environment affects human behavior. Plots often revolve around social problems, characters are often drawn from lower classes and the poor, perhaps in an attempt to explain their behavior.

What Happened After Shakespeare (crash course #17)
Zola, France, Realism & Naturalism (crash course #31)
Symbolism, Realism, & a Nordic Playwright (crash course #33)

HOMEWORK: Revise your play drafts; study for your final exam. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Titus (Conclusion); Revision Project: Day 1; Final Exam Prep

We will screen the gory conclusion of Titus. Please turn in your viewing notes at the end of the film.

With time remaining in class, please continue to work on your play revisions. Choose the script you are revising and revise it. See the post below and the handouts for help revising your play scripts.

If your play script is revised, please submit it to our Google classroom. Once a play is submitted, I will be able to prepare it for the class to read/review on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday of next week.

Our final exam occurs Wednesday, Jan. 16. To help prepare, you should know the following content:

The Final Exam for Playwriting may cover any or all of the following items, please review the following:

The plays & playwrights: [we read 22 plays during this course]
  • The Colored Museum by George C. Wolfe
  • Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhry
  • Spic-o-Rama by John Leguizamo
  • 'Night Mother by Marsha Norman
  • Oleanna by David Mamet
  • "The Loveliest Afternoon of the Year" by John Guare
  • "Words, Words, Words"; "Arabian Nights"; "Variations on the Death of Trotsky" by David Ives
  • "The Zig-Zag Woman" by Steve Martin
  • The Dutchman by Amiri Baraka
  • The Dumb Waiter by Harold Pinter
  • The Baltimore Waltz by Paula Vogel
  • The Mystery of Irma Vep by Charles Ludlam
  • "The Play That Goes Wrong" & "Peter Pan Goes Wrong" by Henry Lewis, Henry Shields, & Jonathan Sayer
  • The Vampire Lesbians of Sodom by Charles Busch
  • Red Scare on Sunset, Tale of the Allergist's Wife, Psycho Beach Party, The Woman in Question by Charles Bush
  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee
  • Hamilton, An American Musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda 
  • Antigone by Sophocles
  • Agamemnon by Aeschylus
  • Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare
Proper script format
How to create characters/characterization; tips about writing effective characters, plots, themes, and writing effective dialogue; etc.
Techniques to motivate and gather ideas

Play Vocabulary:
  • Premise: a deeply held belief by the playwright which shapes a script.
  • Conflict
  • Structural Unity: all parts of the plot (exposition, rising action, turning point, climax, resolution, etc.) should work and fit together.
  • The classical unities: the unity of time, place, and action. A well-written play should encompass only a short amount of time, use one main setting, and have only one main plot (subplots can occur, but only one plot should be the main plot). 
  • Inciting Incident: the point of attack, the inciting incident forces the protagonist into the action of the play's plot.
  • Events
  • Major Dramatic Question (MDQ): the hook that keeps an audience interested in a play; a dramatic question that a reader/viewer wants answered.
  • Major decision: A decision a character makes in the plot that creates the turning point for their character.
  • The three C's: Conflict, crisis, complication: obstacles characters must face for an interesting and dramatic plot.
  • Rising Action
  • The dark moment/crisis: the lowest moment of a character's struggle--when all the world seems lost, the fight unbeatable, the "darkest hour before dawn" -- a stunning reversal of fortune and sense of failure.
  • Deus ex machina: a contrived ending. Often one in which the characters did not have a hand in solving. (It is more interesting to see a character deal with their own problems rather than an outside force solving it for them.) literally, a "god from a machine"
  • Enlightenment: When the protagonist understands how to defeat the antagonist. A revelation that begins the movement toward a climax.
  • Climax
  • Catharsis
  • Roots of Action; Dramatic Triangle(s)
  • Developing character, plot, and theme in a script 
  • Ten-minute play format
  • One act plays
  • Full-length plays (2, 3, or 5 act)
  • Monologues/Soliloquies
  • Theatrical conventions
  • Commedia d'ell Arte 
  • Cross-dressing; pantomime
  • Generating ideas for plays 
  • Shakespearean/Elizabethan Theater
  • Ancient Greek Theater
  • Aristotle & his 6 parts of a play
  • Peripety (Peripetia)
  • Anagnorisis
  • Hamartia 
  • Chorus
  • Farce
  • The Event: a uniquely significant moment in the character's lives
  • Time lock: setting up a time limit or specific deadline characters have to meet in order to spur them into action (for example having a script project due...)
  • Place & setting
  • Theme
  • Scenario: an outline for a writer to identify major/minor characters, plot, and setting used BEFORE writing a script
  • Catalyst: the event in the play that causes a character to take action
  • Character flaw or tragic flaw
  • Creating credible characters
  • Protagonist
  • Antagonist
  • Subtext: what is not said in a character's line. The subtext are the subtle details or clues used by the actor to develop their character.
  • Beat: a short exchange of dialogue
  • Different types of beats: physical, behavioral, inner-life
  • Time lock: a deadline for a character to achieve his/her goal in a scene or play
  • Signpost/Pointer: foreshadowing or hints that something will happen in a play
  • Backstory
  • A Confidante: a character the protagonist or antagonist can talk with to reveal necessary backstory
  • Verisimilitude: the semblance of truth in characters and setting. "a king should act like a king, not a foul-mouthed beggar."
  • Dialogue (tips and advice) 
  • Types and categories of comedy
  • Theatrical/literary periods: realism, modernism, comedy, Elizabethan, Greek tragedy, comedy, etc. 
  • Contributions of various playwrights: (see list above)
  • Play development & workshopping a play 
  • Writing and rewriting a script (advice)
  • At Rise: indicates the beginning of the play or act or scene
  • Exits/enters
  • Cross: indicates how a character moves from one place to another on stage. 
  • Curtain: indicates the end of an act or scene break
  • Lights 
  • End of Play: indicates the play is over
  • Motifs: repeated objects, symbols, or actions that hold significance or meaning in a story
  • Synecdoche: parts representing the whole
HOMEWORK: Work on or complete your script revision. Revisions are due next week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or finally Friday as the last day to submit your work. Plays submitted Friday will not receive a class reading or workshop evaluation.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Revision Project; Titus: Day 3

Period 1: (Until 7:50)

Apart from your final exam, the last bit of writing we will be doing is revising one of your previously written scripts. No matter what assignment created it, work to improve your previous draft. For those of your plays we are seriously considering for the playwrights' festival in March, please choose these scripts to revise and edit. If your play was not initially chosen for the festival you may revise any script you have written. Look through your portfolio and select one. In general, plays not selected could either not be produced on stage, were incomplete or undeveloped, or were not dramatic enough--the stories were not compelling enough to hold the attention of the audience/reader.

In any case, when revising (required):
  • If your problem was:
    • Character development (review handouts/exercises: Basic Character Builder; Dramatic Triangle; Where the Character Lives/Works; Secret Lives of Characters, Defining Trait; Character in Contrast; Finding your Character's Voice, Causing a Scene, and advice on my blog, etc.)
      • Get to know your protagonist & flesh out details and backstory details that are delivered through the dialogue of characters on stage. 
      • Give characters a goal & a purpose for each scene.
      • Use monologues to develop backstory and off-stage action/characters
      • Make sure your characters are different enough and distinct. Similar characters can be combined into one character.
      • Characters that are unsympathetic or whose needs and goals are trivial is a problem; fix this.
      • Heighten the problem/conflict in the scene/play to develop your character's objectives (goals). 
    • Conflict
      • Make sure the scene objective/goal/motivation for each character is heightened enough so that the character (and therefore the audience) cares about the outcome. 
      • Keep your characters in a dramatic scene; we need to watch characters try to work out their own problems by making decisions or by revealing wants/needs, etc. Remember to use that "time lock" and "trap" your characters on stage, particularly when stakes are getting high.
      • Keep your stakes high. Characters need a good reason to fight for what they want. The greater the challenge or conflict, the stronger the motivation to reach that goal should be.
    • Structure
      • If it takes too long to get to the "meat" or main conflict of the scene/act, cut extraneous scenes, beats, or lines of dialogue that do nothing to increase the tension or develop character or conflict. 
      • If the conflict is too easily solved or your play is too short, develop the conflict and increase the stakes for characters in the scene. Plays tend to be short as well when we don't know the character's backstory or motivation/scene objective or when we have no theme.
      • Know what your scene or play is about. Know where key points of your plot occur (inciting incident, rising action, crisis, dark moment, major decision, enlightenment, climax, falling action, resolution or exposition & backstory). Use the basic scene starter, thinking in beats, or causing a scene exercises to help you.
      • If your play wanders about without a point or nothing happens, be able to explain the reason (premise) or main event for each beat/scene/act. Introduce a theme.
      • Remove or edit/cut redundancy in your script/story. Combine similar actions into one important one instead of dragging your audience through a series of boring scenes or beats. [This goes for boring characters doubly so...]
      • If you have no purpose or lack focus in your play/scene: build your story by making sure you know who your characters are. Your protagonist, furthermore, should be an active participant in the story. We want to see characters "act" and be involved, not be told about them or never deal with them.
      • Construct your play's last moment as a compelling image/sound or scene that suggests future action by your characters.
    • Theme
      • Clarify what your story is about. 
      • Have characters talk about issues/events/characters related to the theme in beats. Each scene, furthermore, should develop your theme in some manner.
      • Design your characters' goals/objectives with your theme in mind.
      • Know your premise and why you are writing. If you don't know figure it out and fix your story/play. 
    • Dialogue
      • Characters/theme/setting/plot and conflict should be developed through dialogue. Make sure this is happening.
      • Aim for specificity in your diction and word choice. Be specific as opposed to vague or general!
      • Heighten your language to make it poetic/pretty/infused with conflict. Use imagery.
      • Remove all stage directions. Is the story or action of the scene still clear through your use of dialogue? If not, fix it.
    • Format
      • Fix your format, grammar, and writing mechanics. There is no excuse for this to be incorrect at this point.
  • See the exercises in the handout on revision. Do that.
  • Use the advice from the blog, online videos, or handouts to help you revise your play draft. 
Revisions are due Jan. 18.

Period 1/2: 7:50 on, more screening of the film Titus. Continue your "death" sheet while viewing.

HOMEWORK: Choose a play script draft you have already written and revise for our workshops next week (Monday/Wednesday/Friday). Use the handout exercises and this advice to assist you.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

One Act Play Draft Due!; Titus: Day 2; Beginning Prep for Final

Please proofread, check your formatting, and only after you have prepared your one-act script, please submit your draft here for writing/course credit. Late drafts will receive 1 grade lower per class period, as per usual.
  • If you have your play written and it's ready to go before 7:59, please spend this time making vague language specific in your script, reducing stage directions, adding imagery to your lines, and generally tightening up your writing. 
  • Take some time to review your own work...proofread and catch errors or mistakes that may lower your grade for this assignment.
  • Check the rubric and circle the "grade" you feel your play draft fits. I will, of course, consider what you think, but remember a successful play script is producible, is nearly publisher ready (in regards to formatting and grammar control, etc.), has interesting and creative characters, a creative plot, well-written dialogue, and ultimately provides a theatrical experience for the audience that cannot be easily gotten by TV, film, books, or other entertainment and media sources. Finally, plays involve conflict and usually attempt to answer an important human question or have some relevant human message or theme for the audience to consider. Review your play with this POV and select where you think your play script falls. Turn this sheet in today in my inbox (or with your completed play draft). 
At 8:00, we will continue watching Titus. Complete the viewing handouts as participation credit as you watch. These will be due at the end of the film. Take notes on the play for our final exam if you wish.

Our final exam is coming up in about 2 weeks. So far we have read the following plays during this course:
  • The Colored Museum by George C. Wolfe
  • Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhry
  • Spic-o-Rama by John Leguizamo
  • 'Night Mother by Marsha Norman
  • Oleanna by David Mamet
  • "The Loveliest Afternoon of the Year" by John Guare
  • "Words, Words, Words"; "Arabian Nights"; "Variations on the Death of Trotsky" by David Ives
  • "The Zig-Zag Woman" by Steve Martin
  • The Dutchman by Amiri Baraka
  • The Dumb Waiter by Harold Pinter
  • The Baltimore Waltz by Paula Vogel
  • The Mystery of Irma Vep by Charles Ludlam
  • "The Play That Goes Wrong" & "Peter Pan Goes Wrong" by Henry Lewis, Henry Shields, & Jonathan Sayer
  • The Vampire Lesbians of Sodom by Charles Busch
  • Red Scare on Sunset, Tale of the Allergist's Wife, Psycho Beach Party, The Woman in Question by Charles Bush
  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee
  • Hamilton, An American Musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda 
  • Antigone by Sophocles
  • Agamemnon by Aeschylus
  • Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare
  • Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
Make sure you know the names of playwrights and which plays they wrote, the major protagonists, premises, and basic plots of each play we read during the last 20 weeks--your notes and play analysis sheets are a great resource for this!--and consider how the styles of these plays serve as reminders or role-models for the writing techniques we have examined and covered in class. Our blog is a good resource and help as well!

HOMEWORK: None. If you didn't complete or turn in your play drafts, please complete and turn in ASAP.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Play Project; Titus Andronicus: Day 1

Welcome back!

Your play projects are due Friday. Please use the first period today to work on them. Remember to check your grammar, mechanics, and play script formatting. By now you should understand how American play scripts are formatted. You can find examples of the format on the blog and the Google classroom under "resources". You could also ask while I'm here to check anything in your script you feel is incorrect.

This play should illustrate why you should pass this course. Did you understand what I've been teaching you about play scripts? Do you understand the basic principles of playwriting? Do you understand that plays are fundamentally about characters in conflict? Do you understand that plays incorporate ideas that are important for an audience to consider, experience or think about in our human condition? Do you understand that there are limitations to stage plays (they are not movies or novels) and that there are tried and true theatrical conventions that have existed since the Ancient Greeks? [Many of the 20+ plays we have read or watched so far in this course are excellent models!] Have you incorporated Aristotle's 6 elements of a play in some way (your play should have characters, a plot (with all that plots entail), a central idea or question around which the play's conflict revolves, sound cues or music--humans like music and sound cues help establish setting or off-stage action--characters, just like people, might even sing..., some visual image or spectacle upon which artists and technicians and designers and costumers and directors and actors and audience find compelling or interesting--you are writing a PLAY, and finally, does your language use poetic devices like metaphors or similes to help create imagery and effective dialogue--is your dialogue interesting and creative? Or have you used one of Polti's 36 dramatic plots (that was the goal for this play after all)? Have you used the various points I've made in class to strengthen or write your script? Have you used what you read as a way of gathering ideas, sustaining those ideas, and delivering a script that would be producible by a theater like our own?

NOTE ABOUT FORMAT: You are writing a one-act play. One-act plays do not need to indicate that they are one-act plays. You would only indicate Act One, if there is an Act Two, or Act Three, or Act Four, or Act Five. If you have more than one scene, you would need to indicate the division of scenes. If you only have one scene, even naming scene 1 is unnecessary.

Common terms:

  • At Rise: (indicates the beginning of the play or act, usually after the lights turn on or the curtain rises...)
  • Character exits/enters
  • Character crosses (moves) from one place to another on stage. Aim to avoid these directions. You are not directing your own play (usually) and actions should be revealed in dialogue, as opposed to nit-picky writers telling actors what to do. Actors have brains...usually.
  • Curtain (indicates the end of an act break)/Curtain rises; Curtain (falls)--not all theaters have curtains...
  • Lights (up or down or fade)
  • End of Play (indicates the play is over)
  • Plays are written in present tense. If you must refer to the audience, you may use the pronoun: we. Ex. We hear a strange gurgling sound from offstage--as opposed to "the actor spoke to the audience."
  • Review your interjections and where your commas go! Avoid too many stage directions--especially actor notes. They are annoying.
  • Fragments and short sentences are easier to remember. Specific language is easier yet to memorize for your actors. Be kind to your actors. Finally, remember that actors like to ACT.
Please include a title page with your name on it, and a character/set description page indicating characters, set (place), and time. Start your dialogue on the 3rd page in this case. Please also add a header to number your pages since there will be more than 10.

Period 2: A brief note about essay analysis writing:
  •  Use MLA format for formal English essays (Yes, creative writing falls under English...); in particular, an MLA formatted heading and works cited page is helpful when you use outside sources.
  •  Start an essay off with a hook or attention grabber. This is followed by a "lead-in" that connects the two ideas to the subject matter you are writing about. This is then followed by a thesis statement. 
  • Use textual evidence to support your thesis. It's okay to reference the text, but you should also indicate line # or page # that you are using as part of your citation. See in-text citations and paraphrased citations. You still need to indicate where you took an idea, even if you summarize a section of the text or summarize the source material! Never be vague when you are writing a scholarly paper. Never! That just proves you don't know what you're writing about. Middle or elementary school students rarely know what they're writing about. High school students should. College students must. 
  • Titles of major works are italicized. Always. Short works (like the name of a poem, as opposed to the name of the poetry collection is quoted.) Learn more about all that here for the last time (I hope). 
  • Strengthen your writing by using sophisticated vocabulary (as long as you're right!) and by being specific and accurate. Aim for conciseness. Avoid blathering and sounding like you understand things you don't--a teacher or professor can tell when you're trying to dodge the fact that you really have nothing new to say about the subject, haven't read closely, or that you haven't done your work and come up with interesting viewpoints regarding the text. Varying your sentence structure is also helpful. Topic sentences and main points should be clear and concise! Details can be written in a longer and more intricate sentence style.
Period 2: 

We will begin screening the 1999 film Titus. Information about Julie Taymor (director; also directed The Lion King on Broadway, Across the UniverseSpiderman the Musical (on Broadway) and Fridaand the cast of Titus (1999) can be found at the hyperlinks.

While we're not exactly ready to discuss the finer elements of a film, Julie Taymor's film is an effective visual work.

Notice what the camera is doing while watching the film. The camera provides POV in a film and conveys meaning, both literally and symbolically. As you watch look for examples of:
  • Motifs (repeated objects, symbols, or actions)
  • Frequency (how often a thing occurs)
  • Synecdoche (parts representing the whole)
Listen to how TONE is created by the use of diegetic and non-diegetic sound elements. As you watch, also keep in mind the key themes and development of plot and characters Shakespeare uses in this play. (See the previous post!)

HOMEWORK: Complete your reading of Titus Andronicus. Keep writing. Your play projects are due next class! See tips above for help. 

The Murky Middle (Even More Advice)

Aristotle wrote that stories should have a beginning, middle, and end. Middles can be difficult. You might have a smashing opening to a stor...