Ms. Bryan - 2013-14


Film Study - Syllabus

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Film Study

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The A.F.I.


Course Description

In a nutshell, by the end of the school year, you are going to know a good deal about the American movie industry, from its birth in the 1890s until the end of the 1990s. You'll become familiar with the people involved in the development of the American cinema (inventors, directors, studio heads, actors/actresses. . .) and with the changes that took place in the industry itself (the silent cinema, the birth of sound, scandals, censorship. . .).

More importantly, you will improve your communication skills during the next nine months. In other words, you will become more adept at writing excellent sentences, coherent paragraphs, and eloquent essays. In addition, you will be a better reader and a better speaker. After all, that's what English electives are all about.

There are two important things you should know right off the bat. First of all, for the first 35 or so years of its existence, the American film industry produced silent films. Needless to say, we will watch silent movies, though all of them are accompanied by music of some kind. Secondly, a good many of the films we will watch are black and white. I realize black and white films are somewhat foreign to you; however, if you are like Film Study students of the past, before long you will barely notice that a film is in black and white. Don't despair, though. Color films are in the game plan both semesters.

What We Do In Film Study

Let me tell you that we are going to be very, very busy in this English elective, so I'll give you an idea of what to expect. First, we'll be watching approximately 36 films, some of them black and white and six of them silent. You will take a quiz over most of these films. In addition, you will be doing a good deal of writing. Writing assignments vary from short reflections on each film to much longer essays in which you will discuss one or more films that we have viewed. Each film (or sometimes a pair of films) will also be accompanied by reading assignments in your text and a reading guide.

You will complete at least two projects during Film Study. Projects vary from year to year.

What you are holding in your hands right now is your text for this class. Please bring it to class each day (even when you suspect you may not actually need it), along with your notebook and a pen or two. It is important that you take good care of your Film Study book since they are not cheap to reproduce.

I'll finish up this portion of the syllabus by telling you that the number one reason that students in the past have performed poorly in Film Study relates to their attendance. If you are in the habit of missing a lot of school (personally, I think more than five days in a semester is a lot), it's time to improve, and I know you can do it. If you're absent, you will miss portions of films, and then you will have to arrange time to make up what you've missed. In fact, if you don't make up a movie within a week of missing it, you earn a zero on the quiz. Not good. In addition, it's difficult to speak and write intelligently about the films if you have not watched them in their entirety. The bottom line. . .be here just as often as is humanly possible.