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)
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.
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.
- She's Gotta Have It (1985) interview with Spike Lee
- School Daze (1988)
- Do The Right Thing (1989)
- Mo Better Blues (1990)
- Jungle Fever (1991)
- Malcolm X (1992)
- Summer of Sam (1999)
- Bamboozled (2000)
- Inside Man (2006)
- Miracle of Saint Anna (2008)
- Red Hook Summer (2012)
- Selma (2014)
- Chi-raq (2015)
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).