(1) Final Film (40% of the final grade). A 5-8 minute documentary film. Suggested topic: create a character study of a single character. Ideally this character should be engaging in a struggle in their life, or striving to achieve a goal, which can serve as the basis for the dramatic, and visual, action that takes place. You are encouraged to tailor this project to your respective discipline, and you may also propose an alternate form of documentary that relates to your discipline. Films will evaluated on: the degree to which each element—cinematography, sound, editing—is used to support the subject matter; the degree to which a deliberate structure, theme, point of view, and style, as outlined in the proposal, is applied; the degree to which aesthetic principles taught in class are applied in the execution of the film; and the degree to which the overall work is refined through each stage of the process, from pitch through rough cut to final cut, based on peer and instructor feedback.
(2) Final Film Pre-production package and pitch (20% of the final grade). A portfolio of materials including: a brief synopsis, a statement of purpose, a written treatment, an aesthetic statement describing the form and style, a shooting schedule and crew list, a budget and equipment list, and a locations summary. In addition, an in-class presentation of the concept of the film.
(3) Midterm Exam (20% of the final grade). An evaluation of a student’s comprehension of the technical, aesthetic, and theoretical principles introduced in the course.
(4) Participation in critiques, exercises and class discussions (20% of the final grade). This course is a workshop, and is predicated on the active participation and contribution of all members to class discussions, but especially to critiques of student work. Each member has a responsibility to offer feedback in a constructive manner, and will be evaluated on the degree to which they do. Each filmmaker has the responsibility to listen and note that feedback, and to incorporate it into their creative process. The filmmaker may not speak while their film is being critiqued, until the end of the critique, when they may ask questions, and they must take notes during their critique. If they wish, they may prepare a brief questionnaire for viewers to fill out that addresses questions about the audience’s understanding of the film.
The exercises are video-based, completed in pairs or groups outside of class time, exploring and developing the specific skills discussed in class. Exercises will be evaluated on the group’s demonstrated grasp of the concept to be practiced, and the effort they put into the exercise. Exercises should be uploaded to the internet and turned in via email as a link, and will be viewed and critiqued in class, time permitting.