Boyd, Spring 2010 1 FVS 2033, Spring 2010 K. Boyd 2 Writing about Film SYLLABUS: FVS 2033 - Writing About Film Course Description: FVS 2033 - Writing About Film Prerequisite: 1013, English 1213 or Expository Writing 1213. This course teaches specialized writing skills for writing about film. Topics covered will include the vocabulary of film writing, basic cinema research skills and techniques to write for academic and general audiences. Required Readings (ALWAYS bring the RELEVANT readings to class on the day they are scheduled): Textbooks (it may be possible to use earlier editions but you should consult with me): Writing with Style: Conversations on the Art of Writing (2nd edition) by John R. Trimble A Short Guide to Writing About Film (7th Edition) by Timothy Corrigan Film Essays, Writing Help and Other Required Readings: D2L: Any readings not in the textbooks listed above for the first two weeks of the class will be posted on D2L under the ?contents? tab for the course. Unless otherwise indicated these readings are also REQUIRED. You are to PRINT these readings for your reference. Course Packet (CP): A reader will be available shortly. Further instructions will be given when the packet is ready. Film Warning: Please be aware that we are watching a representative sampling of films. Some films have disturbing content. IF YOU ARE NOT ABLE/WILLING TO WATCH THESE TYPES OF FILMS, PLEASE SPEAK WITH ME IMMEDIATELY. If a crisis affecting your class performance arises, please notify me promptly. I am happy to accommodate students with special needs whenever possible. Please discuss particular needs with me as soon as possible. Supporting documentation may be required. Attendance of Lecture and Screenings Is REQUIRED: Given that this course will include many visual examples to clarify the terms and concepts encountered in the readings, it is critically important that you attend all class sessions and screening (see attendance policy). Even if you have seen a film before, you are required to see it with the class in order to be ready to discuss it at the necessary level of detail. Note: Although the screenings are a REQUIRED and vital part of the course, if you have a legitimate reason not to attend one or more sessions (such as an unavoidable conflict with another course), please discuss the issue with me as soon as possible. Dos and Don?ts for Class Meetings and Screenings: Good preparation and participation will enhance your enjoyment of the class and your grade, while inappropriate behavior will have the opposite effect (see grading policy section for details). It is always your responsibility to answer roll call or sign-in as necessary (see attendance policy). Actively take notes. DISTRACTING GADGETS MUST BE OFF: NO IPODS; NO CELL PHONES; NO WEB SURFING; NO TEXT MESSAGING; NO CAMERAS. You can be ejected from the class/screening for use of such devices. Laptops may be used but ONLY to take notes (if it does NOT disturb other students). Read the assigned pages BEFORE the day on which they are ?due.? Be prepared to discuss the readings and screenings. Engage with the perspectives of others; help make the class atmosphere supportive. Avoid Missing Classes and Screenings (see attendance policy below for ?excused/unexcused? absence policy): If you do have to miss class you should: Get the lecture notes from another student Check to make sure you did not miss any assignments (a quiz, etc.). You will only be allowed to make up assignments if you have an excused absence. Check D2L for handouts. If you miss a screening, you should: Watch the film BEFORE the next class session whenever possible. Although you are REQUIRED to make up the screening, doing so DOES NOT ?make-up? the absence. Seeing the films outside of the screening (for papers or if you miss a class): The films will be available for free in the Film and Video Studies Library in Wallace Old Science 322. I STRONGLY recommend that you call our FVS Librarian, Sarah, at 325-6639 during regular office hours: Mondays ?Fridays 8 -12 and 1:00 ? 5:00 You are obviously also free to rent films locally (but remember you may be competing with the rest of the class) or from internet services. Submit All Course Work Both in Class and on D2L (-1 pt. for failure to submit BOTH versions): With the exception of in-class quizzes and exams, all class assignments are to be turned in BOTH on paper (hardcopy printouts) and submitted to the appropriate dropbox folder on D2L. The deadline for submitting the electronic version IS THE SAME as the deadline for the hardcopy. Should you be unable to produce a hardcopy of an assignment by the deadline (printer problems, etc.), you should CONTACT ME ABOUT IT (via e-mail or in person, depending on the timing). The date/time of submission on D2L will be used to determine whether the paper will be counted late. If you are unable to submit to D2L for some reason, you should send an e-mail version of the paper to me. However, you must also turn in a hardcopy at the next class session. Required Computer Resource: Desire2Learn (D2L) You are REQUIRED to familiarize yourself with OU?s online class support web site (learn.ou.edu). After you select the appropriate class link, navigate the site by clicking on the appropriate tab. This web site will provide several important aspects of the class, including: Announcements Page: I will post important class announcements, including any e-mails sent to the class. Content: This section of D2L is very important and will include the following types of information: Back-up versions of ALL handouts given out in class (screening sheets, syllabus, etc.). Some Readings (see above). On-line Quizzes: I may post quizzes online (see grading policy). These have the advantage of a) not taking up class time and b) being automatically graded so that the results are available quickly. Gradebook: The online gradebook will be updated periodically. Use it to check your standing in the class and attendance statistics. Dropbox: ALL WRITTEN ASSIGNMENTS MUST BE TURNED IN TO THE APPROPRIATE DROP BOX. NOTE THAT POWER POINT SLIDES WILL NOT BE ON D2L. Although a good bit of information will be presented via handouts and the course packet, you are to TAKE NOTES during lecture/discussion, including on material presented via power point. Pedagogically it makes a difference to write material down yourself. DO NOT USE THE ?PAGER? FUNCTION IN D2L (USE E-MAIL TO WRITE ME MESSAGES) Contact with Students: I am very happy to answer questions via e-mail or to meet with students in person. Here are some of my guidelines for taking full advantage of my availability during office hours, by appointment and via e-mail: Check your OU e-mail (forward your OU account to your primary account if necessary) regularly for important course announcements. These announcements will also be archived on the D2L page. Walk-in Hours (see office hours and location at the top of this document) Be aware that since these are ?walk-in hours,? no appointment is necessary. However, you should be prepared to wait if there are several students there. In general, I will meet with students for 10-15 minutes during walk-in hours. If you wish to meet for a longer time, you should schedule an appointment. Always let me know you are waiting (by knocking politely). If I am not aware that other students are waiting, I may spend more time with a student. Available by Appointment If my walk-in hours conflict with your schedule or if you wish to meet for longer than 10-15 minutes please feel free to schedule an appointment. Talk to me after class or via e-mail to schedule appointments. E-mail: email@example.com Response time: I try to acknowledge receipt of e-mails within 24 hrs. (Possibly slower on weekends). Whenever possible I will provide a solution to the issue raised in the e-mail immediately; if not I will suggest a time line for when you can expect a response. Please understand that I receive MANY special requests from individual students. As a rule, I will try to deal with any special requests within 2 weeks. From me to you: You should check your OU e-mail account regularly for course announcements From you to me: SUBJECT LINE: Indicate the course name (or number) up front AND clearly state the topic. This will help me access and respond to your e-mail more efficiently. RE: FVS 2033: J. Smith?s Paper RE: Writing: Julia M. Confirming Scheduled Appointment AVOID GENERIC SUBJECT LINES, such as ?hi,? because I?m likely to mistake this for junk mail. BE SPECIFIC; PROVIDE ALL RELEVANT INFORMATION. Avoid vague phrases: ?I?m the student who talked to you yesterday about that problem I was having.? CLEARLY STATE WHAT ACTION you would like me to take and ANY DEADLINES involved. ALWAYS SIGN CLEARLY USING BOTH YOUR FIRST AND LAST NAME. Grading Logistics and Grading Scale: While the short written assignments will be graded on a 10 point scale (10/10), most assignments will be graded on a 100 pts scale. The grades are WEIGHTED according to the point value below. To calculate your grade, you need to take the relative value of each type of assignment into account. You can do this by multiplying the points earned by the appropriate number to account for the value of the assignment. For example, since the exams are worth 250 points, you would multiply your score by 2.5 to get its real point value. Academic Dishonesty/Plagiarism: ACADEMIC DISHONESTY: As with all your classes at OU, cheating on exams (looking on another student's paper, bringing in notes, etc.) or other assignments is an extremely serious offence with dire consequences. PLAGIARISM: I will provide you with an explanatory statement on plagiarism when I give out the first paper topic. In a nutshell, plagiarism is presenting someone else's work as your own. Works that have been published must be appropriately cited whether you paraphrase or use a direct quote (even if we would know the source because it comes from articles read for this course). Please note that plagiarism also covers presenting the work of OTHER STUDENTS as your own (for example, using portions of a paper previously submitted by a student who took FVS 1013 in a different semester). Academic dishonesty/plagiarism, depending on the seriousness of the occurrence, can result in an "F" on an individual assignment, an "F" on the entire course, or expulsion from the university. Assignments and Grade Breakdown REGARDLESS OF YOUR AVERAGE, FAILURE TO TURN IN A MAJOR ASSIGNMENT (Such as the Paper) WILL RESULT IN AN ?F? Late Assignment Policy: You should make every effort to turn assignments in on time. Here is the policy for late assignments: When a hard copy (print out) of an assignment is not turned in at the assigned time, we will go by the date/time stamp for the document uploaded to D2L to determine the POINT PENALTY. If you fail to turn a written assignment in on time, you must: Upload it to the appropriate dropbox in D2L as soon as it is completed Turn a hard copy of the assignment in to your TA?s mailbox in Hester 170 You will lose points as follows: -3 out of 100 pt. scale for the formal paper, per day late. -.5 out of the 10 pt. scale for short assignments, per day late. Contact me (via e-mail) to let me know if you will be submitting the assignment late. If you have a legitimate reason (such as documentable illness), then you may not be penalized, but you must inquire about this and provide the appropriate documentation. COURSE OUTLINE, DUE DATES, SCREENINGS ****FOR COURSE READINGS AFTER THE FIRST TWO WEEKS, SEE SEPARATE READING LIST**** Lecture (Section 001): MWF 12:30 ? 1:20 p.m. (Science Hall 323) Screening: R 4:30 ? 7:00 p.m. (Dale Hall 112) In Case of Emergency: E-mailing Professor Boyd is the best way to leave word with me, but you may also contact the FVS Office, 325-3020. They can reach me via cell-phone if necessary. Professor: Dr. Katrina G. Boyd E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Mailbox: Science Hall 304 (Main FVS Office) Office Location: Science Hall 321 Office Phone: 325-5569 (e-mail is better) Office Hours: Schedule an appointment or use my standing walk-in hours (no appointment necessary): Tues. 3:00-4:00 & Wed. 2:30-4:00 Attendance and Participation: If you miss MORE THAN THREE class sessions (screenings included) your grade will be affected. Please let your me know of situations in which your absence should be excused (you may need to provide documentation of serious illness, family emergency, etc.). This is an active category (see ?Attendance of Lecture and Screenings is REQUIRED? and ?Do?s and Don?ts? above). It is not enough to be checked off on the attendance sheet for physically being present; you must also be mentally present and engaged in the course. Your grade will be negatively impacted if you are prone to sleeping, zoning out, and so on. If your behavior negatively impacts the class I will bring it to your attention. If you do not improve, more serious action will be taken. You are expected to come to class prepared, by having completed the reading and formed questions on the unit?s topic. I will actively keep attendance in class and at screenings. In addition to affecting 10% of your TOTAL/FINAL GRADE, poor attendance will have a serious negative impact on your ability to perform well on all assignments (especially exams and papers), because terms and concepts can easily be misunderstood without the basic information and visual examples used in the lecture. The attendance participation category is worth 100 points with 80 for attendance and 20 for participation. Although the attendance points are automatic and relate strictly to the number of days the student attended, the quality of student participation will be judged on the following scale, as indicated in the syllabus: 20 = excellent/exceptional participation; frequent and insightful comments 15 = very good participation; good comments made fairly consistently 10 = good participation; occasional participation/attentive listening 5 = fair; present but minimal contribution to discussion section 0 = poor; erratic/infrequent participation; distracting behavior in class Students who have no more than THREE UNEXCUSED ABSENCES will EARN all 80 attendance points. So a student with ?good participation? would have an ?A? in this category: 80 + 10 = 90. 100 Short Assignments (Short Essays and Quizzes): These will take a variety of forms from short written assignments (such as the film review assigned for the first week) to online quizzes over the reading and course material. I am leaving the number of these is variable so that they can be used as necessary, but there are likely to be 5-7 of them. However many there are, you can drop the lowest grade. The 100 points are derived from the average of the remaining assignment grades. 100 2 Short Papers (5-6 pages): Short analytical papers with topics selected from a range of possibilities related to the various units of the course (150 pts. each) 300 1 Research Paper (8-10 pages): A star study on a film performer of your choice modeled after the material presented in our unit on star studies. This paper will require both library research and analysis of the types of information provided on fan sites, etc. 300 Pre-Writing: Paper outlines for papers 1-3 (10 pts. each) and an Annotated Bibliography for the star study (70 pts). 100 Final Assignment: Based on Class Performance: Students Will Be Assigned Either Option A or Option B, or Possibly Both 100 Option A: Paper Rewrite Either of the first two papers may be rewritten for this assignment. The rewrite grade is entirely separate from the original grade. I will have you practice rewriting with some of the short assignments. Be aware that it is actually possible to do worse on a rewrite than on the original paper since it is being judged on its merits as a rewrite (on how much the argument has been strengthened, etc.). Option B: Take Home Final: This will cover issues and readings used in the course, with special emphasis on the material at the end. TOTAL POINTS 1000 1 Introduction to Writing about Film and Media Introduction to the course: Danny Boyle as auteur, Millions and character subjectivity R (1/21) Millions (Danny Boyle, 2004) 98 min. Read: Corrigan, Chapter 1. Short Assignment 1: Film Review of Millions due Monday (1/25) at the start of class 2 Unit I: ?More Stars Than There Are in the Heavens?: Classical Hollywood Stars The Boy Next Door: Jimmy Stewart: An introduction to ?star studies?; Capra as auteur; classical Hollywood Filmmaking R (1/28) Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Frank Capra, 1939) 129 min. Read (on D2L): Trimble, ?Thinking Well,? Bingham on Jimmy Stewart & selected film reviews (as models for the assignment) 3 Class and Stardom: Major Hollywood stars: Jimmy Stewart, Katharine Hepburn and Carry Grant R (2/4) The Philadelphia Story (George Cukor, 1939) 112 min. 4 A Bit More of Everything Covered so Far: Preparation for the First Paper R (2/11) NO SCREENING 5 The Women?s Picture and the Female Star: Betty Davis The women?s picture and melodrama; industry vs. film studies definitions of genre, shifting attitudes towards genres R (2/18) Now Voyager (Irving Rapper, 1942) 117 min. 6 PAPER #1 DUE MONDAY (2/22) at the beginning of class Unit II: Post-War Hollywood The Tough Guy: Bogart: From Bit Player to Hollywood Star to Cultural Icon; Introduction to Film Noir; Adaptation; The Production Code R (2/25) The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks, 1946) 114 min. 7 ?Maybe There Was Only Frank Capra? Jimmy Stewart?s post-war persona; Robert Ray on classical Hollywood?s thematic paradigm: outlaw hero vs. the official hero; Capra and Ideology R (3/4) It?s a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1946, 130 min.) 8 Post-War Masculinity: Bogart After the War More on Bogart as Star; Gender issues in Film Noir; Female subjectivity R (3/11) In a Lonely Place (Nicholas Ray, 1950) 94 min. Spring Break 9 Unit III: Reworking Genre History of Hollywood Parody, Part I 70s American Cinema; Revisionism vs. Revivalism; Parody vs. Pastiche R (3/25) Young Frankenstein (Mel Brooks, 1974) 106 min. ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR PAPER #3 DUE FRIDAY 3/26 (beginning of class) 10 Rewriting the Horror Genre R (4/1) Night of the Living Dead (George Romero, 1968) 96 min. REQUIRED PAPER #2 CONFERENCES 11 Danny Boyle as Auteur: Reworking Genre The auteur approach to film studies: benefits and limitations; character subjectivity R (4/8) 28 Days Later . . . (Danny Boyle, 2002) 113 min. PAPER #2 DUE MONDAY (4/5) 12 Contemporary Parody Parody and Social Satire R (4/15) Shawn of the Dead (Edgar Wright, 2004) 99 min. 13 R (4/22) NO SCREENING; NO CLASS FRI. 4/23; REQUIRED PAPER CONFERENCES, Read TBA 14 PAPER #3 (Star Study) DUE MONDAY 4/26 (Start of class) Danny Boyle: Reworking the Social Problem Film A twist on the drug-problem film; character subjectivity; alienation and contemporary culture R (4/29) Trainspotting (Danny Boyle, 1996) 94 min. 15 The Problem of Representation Movie Formulas; Globalization and the global film market R (5/6) Slumdog Millionaire (Danny Boyle, 2008) 120 min. FINAL EXAM and/or FINAL ASSIGNMENT: W 1:30 ? 3:30 p.m. (May 12th) Updated 1/20/10
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