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Keeping a Journal: Film Studies

During the course of this semester, you are expected to view and write journal entries on at least 15 films. Follow these steps to receive maximum credit for your work.

1. View a film on your own or with friends or family.

Our library offers a fine collection of videotapes which you may borrow for overnight viewing.
You are required to view at least one silent, one pre-World War II, and one non-narrative film. Thus, all of the other films you view are a matter of personal choice. The goal here is to expose you to a wide variety of material but, also, to demonstrate that course topics can be applied to any film.
Writing about a film which you haven't seen in its entirety is academic dishonesty.

2. Compose (type or write legibly) a short journal entry in which you discuss the film you have viewed in terms taken from current course readings and class discussions. For example, when you come to class for our second meeting, you should have read our text on the topic of editing. That means, your journal entry should explain how a particular scene from a movie was constructed from clips of film.

Your discussion should be 500 words, more or less. Remember, journal entries are, in effect, take-home quizzes designed to test how well you are applying course materials to films that you view. You may submit a journal entry on a film that you plan to discuss at greater length in a paper, and you may submit a journal entry on the film that our class chooses to focus on during its final exam.
Unless your comments demand that you discuss an entire film, focus on how course topics can be used to illuminate a scene from the film you have viewed. (Be careful not to put cart before horse by showing how a movie illustrates points made in class or in your text.) Avoid diffuseness.
Your analysis should follow a three-beat structure (which you may modify to suit your own aims). First, identify a topic noticed in your reading or reviewed in class. Second, show how that topic can be used to describe (a scene from) the film you have viewed. Third, suggest how (or whether) your observations might be generalized across film studies. Through your particular analysis, have you uncovered some sort of rule?

3. Here are some fine points (or ways to stay out of trouble).

To receive maximum credit, you must submit at least 15 journal entries: one every class meeting (except for the first and final nights of class). Late entries will receive a maximum score of five points. Extra journal entries must be submitted on or before the regular term ends.
You are not to write movie reviews (whether or not you like a film is, on one level, immaterial), you are not to write about the same topic or the same film more than once, and you are not to write about a film that I have screened (in its entirety) during our regular class time.
If you watch a movie with friends, your insights (or the particular section of film examined) should differ from theirs.
If you view a film discussed in our text, do not recapitulate its discussion. Single out a scene or a topic that Bordwell and Thompson left unexplored.

4. This assignment is worth 150 total points; 10 points maximum for each journal entry written. Note, however, that you can write extra journal entries and be assured of receiving 150 points. But there is no extra credit. You cannot score--I will not record--more than 150 points on this assignment.