Author Archives: Maya Salganek

The Messenger

The Messenger Poster

The Messenger Poster

If God sent an Angel to Earth, would you listen to what he had to say? That is the overarching premise of this season’s ambitious production of “The Messenger” by faculty professor Kade Mendelowitz.

After hearing reports of a self proclaimed Angel and Messenger of God, Michael is invited as a guest of America’s latest talk-show phenomenon: “The Jessie Show”. The host, Jessica Lamech, has been facing her own private crisis of faith when this unique opportunity presents itself. The network, recognizing the huge ratings potential of such an event, has heavily advertised a live prime-time special – and you will be surprised where the interview goes from there. Join us for the first joint production of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Theatre & Film Departments.

Designer, playwright, and director Kade Mendelowitz created this multi-faceted production to match the distinctive nature of the programs at UAF. “I have been percolating this idea of combining a show that could be both a live theatre production and movie for a few years now, as we have been developing the Film program. Now that the Film Degree at UAF is official, I felt this was the perfect time to produce this piece.”

Mendelowitz has authored two multimedia educational theatre titles, and produced“Water Stealers” – a platinum award-winning science fiction adventure which premiered at the Goldstream Regal Cinemas in 2004. He’s also created the animated shorts “Hounds” and “Love at First Light” which won “Best in Animation” at the Fairbanks Film Festival.

In 1999 he adapted and directed a production of “Alice in Wonderland” in which the audience actually followed an Alice and White Rabbit through Wonderland. “It was truly wonderful! We had 10 scenes located throughout the Salisbury Theatre complex. The audience had tickets that broke them into groups of 12 spaced 10 minutes apart. Each of 4 Alice’s and 4 Rabbits took each audience group on a 40 minute adventure, each going 3 times. This meant the other characters they visited and interacted with (like the Mad Hatter, Mouse, Queen and Caterpillar) each performed their scene 12 times each night. It was a blast, and the audience loved it! Some parents bought their kids numerous times to see different Alices…but the show sold out quickly…it was a great experience” says Mendelowitz.


Parental Guidance Suggested
Due to some mature subject matter, parents are cautioned. The UAF Theatre Department believes that if this production were rated by the Motion Picture Association it would be rated PG-13.
In the movie there is some discussion of a sexual assault. Matters of religion an other complex issues are discussed. Additionally, there is a non-graphic depiction of a sexual assault.
Parents should use their discretion for whether this is appropriate for children under 16.
Parents: The opening sequence is the most graphic.  It is also available online for you to watch so you may judge whether the movie is appropriate for your youngster (although there is discussion of intense subject matter later in the movie as described above).
If you e-mail us stating your interest, and where you are considering seeing the movie, we will send you a link to the clip mentioned here.

AlaskaLand feature film

AlaskaLand Poster

AlaskaLand Poster

AlaskaLand: a feature film by Chinonye Chukwu
Produced by Film UAF

ALASKALAND tells the story of Chukwuma, an Alaskan-raised Nigerian struggling to balance the expectations of his traditional Nigerian parents and the larger world around him. After a tragic car crash, Chukwuma is separated from his younger sister, Chidinma, who moves to Nigeria with their Uncle until she becomes of legal age.
Two years later the siblings reconnect to find their estrangement has created new personal and cultural frictions in ways that bring them closer to each other and their roots, as well as help them define what it means to be a Nigerian in Alaska.
CHINONYE CHUKWU (Writer/Director/Producer): CHINONYE CHUKWU is a Nigerian-born, Alaskan-raised screenwriter, producer and director. A recipient of the prestigious Princess Grace Award, Chinonye’s short, THE DANCE LESSON, premiered at the Ritz Theater of Philadelphia and was later acquired by mindTV for regional network distribution The film was also a Regional Finalist for the 2010 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Student Academy Awards and an Honorary Mention at the Los Angeles International Film Festival. Chinonye’s other work include IGBO KWENU!, a recipient of the PIFVA Subsidy Grant from the independent film community and both the “Best Motion Picture Award” and “Best Screenplay Award” at the 2009 Diamond Screen Festival. She has recently completed her first feature narrative, ALASKALAND, which began its festival run in Fall 2012.
Film UAF‘s own MAYA SALGANEK (Producer): MAYA SALGANEK is an Assistant Professor of Film/Video at  the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, and director of the UAF Film Program. She  as co-producer for the independent feature film, Chronic Town (2008)  released by Grey Jumper Productions – and was featured in 2008′s Sundance Film Festival; Associate Producer for the independent feature film, Dear Lemon Lima (2009) by Sanguine Films, and Director of Photography of The Messenger (2012) by Kade Mendelowitz.

488 Dramatic Writing


DRAMATIC WRITING

ENGLISH / FILM 488 – Fall, 2013 

Instructor: Leonard Kamerling

Email: ljkamerling@alaska.edu

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

English / Film 488 introduces students to the craft of dramatic writing for film and theater.  This is a course about how to successfully plan, structure and write an original dramatic work. Students will gain a practical understanding of the use of story structure, setting, character, plot, dialogue, and how these elements work together to create compelling drama.

English 488 is a writing intensive course.  Graduated writing exercises will be assigned that focus on developing a play or screenplay’s dramatic premise, plot structure, and characters.  This is to help lay the groundwork necessary for students to begin their own original dramatic writing projects.  In the workshop phase of the course, students present their works-in-progress for group readings, critical feedback and suggestions for revision.

In order to have a common body of work to draw from, selected theatrical scripts and film screenplays will be read and discussed in class. Through readings and critical discussions we will explore specific narrative problems presented in each work.  We will also examine the history and evolution of dramatic writing and how the conventions of the past have shaped modern day theater and film.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS:

1.         Completion of writing and reading assignments.

2.         Completion of one of the following final projects:

• An original one-act theatrical play – minimum length of 20 pages.

• An original one-act film screenplay – minimum length of 20 pages.

The final project should build on an original story idea.  Adaptations of published stories or creative writing works-in-progress are strongly discouraged.

This class combines lecture, discussion, and group critiques of work-in-progress. As students begin to submit work for review, the class will gradually take the form of a writing workshop.  Every student is expected to participate in discussions and workshop critiques.

GRADING POLICY:

The majority of the final grade will come from the final project – the original one-act play or screenplay.  I will be looking for signs of developing craft, knowledge of dramatic theory, and careful attention to criticism and revisions suggested in class. The remainder of the grade will come from writing assignments, weekly readings, and class participation.

50% – Final writing project

25% – Writing and reading assignments

25% – Class participation

Your perfect attendance is expected. Two unexcused absences will result in a lowered grade.

READING LIST:

Plays:

A Doll’s House,  by Henrik Ibsen

Fool for Love, by Sam Shepard

Death of a Salesman, By Arthur Miller

Night, Mother, by Marsha Norman

Screenplays:

The Verdict, by David Mamet

Moonstruck, by J. Patrick Shanley

 

WEEKLY SCHEDULE (Subject to Change)

 Week 1: Course Introduction.  What is drama and how does it work?  Introduction to the elements of dramatic writing.

Week 2:   Classic Dramatic Story Structure. Dramatic conventions from Aristotle to Mamet. READING: A Doll’s House, Ibsen (from Modern and Contemporary Drama).

Week 3:  What Happens that Makes Something Else Happen?

READING: The Verdict,  by David Mamet (screenplay reading and film viewing).

Week 4:  The Law of Conflict – Nothing Moves Forward Without Opposition.

READING: Fool for Love, by Sam Shepard (from Modern and Contemporary Drama).

Week 5:  Psychological Realism and the Suspension of Disbelief.

READING: Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller  (from Modern and Contemporary Drama).

 Week 6:  Structure Elements in Harmony. READING: Moonstruck, by J. Patrick Shanley

Week 7:  Point of View and The Character’s Journey.  Playwrights /Screenwriters Workshop.

 Week 8: Writing from Within: The Moral Argument.

READING:  Night, Mother, by Marsha Norman  (from Modern and Contemporary Drama).

Weeks 9 & 10 Playwrights / Screenwriter’s Workshop.

Week 11: The Midpoint Crisis – Act Design and Scene Construction.

Playwrights / Screenwriter’s Workshop.

Week 12:  Fantasy and the Absurd.  – Trends In Contemporary Theater and Cinema

Playwrights / Screenwriter’s Workshop.

Weeks13-15:  Playwrights / Screenwriters Workshop.

 

IMPORTANT DUE DATES:

Week 5 –   First five pages of play/screenplay due.

Week 8 –  Second five pages of play/screenplay due.

Week 14 – Final Projects due.

172 Previsualiztion and Preproduction for Film

Previsualiztion and Preproduction for Film

a.k.a “Written, Produced, and Directed by…”

University of Alaska Fairbanks

Fall 2012

ART/FLM/THR 172 – 3 credits

CRNS:  74010/ 75425/ 76322

  1. A.  Instructor:

Maya Salganek, Assistant Professor

Office Location: 105B Fine Arts/Theatre

Office Phone: (907) 474-5950

Office Hours: T/R 11:30-12:30 & M/W 3:30 -5PM appointments available at: http://tinyurl.com/mayaFall2012

Or by appointment , check my Google Calendar: https://sites.google.com/a/alaska.edu/salganek

Email: maya@alaska.edu

  1. B.  Required Reading & Equipment
  • · Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting by Syd Field ISBN: 0385339038
  • · The Complete Film Production Handbook-  4 Edition by Eve Light Honthaner ISBN 9780240811505
  • Film Directing Shot by Shot: Visualizing from concept to screen by Steven D. Katz. Michael Wise Productions publishers. ISBN: 13 978-0-941188-10-4 On reserve at the library.
  • Any additional readings or films are on reserve at the Rasmuson Library for 2 hour check out or will be posted to Blackboard
  • External hard drive I highly recommend that all video production students purchase their own external hard drive – at least 200GB (500GB recommended) for storing your video projects.  The drive can be formatted for Mac or Mac and PC (using FAT32 format), according to your preference.  All video projects stored on the department’s computers will be deleted by May 15, 2012.
  • Writing Journal – In class exercises should be done in writing journal. May be electronic if so desired.
  1. C.  Suggested Reading and Resources:
  •  “Making Short Films” by Clifford Thurlow ISBN: 1845200632
  • Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee  ISBN: 978-0060391683
  • Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joeseph Campbell.
  • http://www.frameforge3d.com/kb/  Knowledgebase for FrameForge software
  • http://www.simplyscripts.com Thousands of screenplays online for free
  1. D.  Course description:
    Laying a foundation for cinema production, this course will explore screenwriting, storyboarding, previsulization animation, animatics, and film pre-production approaches. This course will focus on developing original stories for animation or dramatic film productions.

What is Previs?

“Previs is a collaborative process that generates preliminary versions of shots or sequences, predominantly using 3D animation tools and a virtual environment. It enables filmmakers to visually explore creative ideas, plan technical solutions, and communicate a shared vision for efficient production.”

-Definition formulated by the ASC-ADG-VES Joint Technology Subcommittee on Previsualization, 2009.

  1. E.  Goals:
  • ·         Students will learn to write visually for film/television/animation.
  • ·         Students will evolve their approach to filmmaking through storyboarding, shot composition, and visual design. 
  • ·         Students will produce animatics and animated storyboards to express their cinematic ideas.
  • Students will be prepared to produce an original film using their ideas developed in this course.
  1. F.  Student Learning Outcomes:
  • ·         Students will write an original screenplay and realize it through storyboarding and animatics with a firm grasp of preproduction requirements.
  • ·          Students will understand setting up shots and scenes to match their vision of the film.
  • ·         Students will be prepared to launch production of an original film project.
  1. G.  Instructional methods:
    The class will meet for lecture and “hands-on” demonstration and practice of various techniques and exercises.
  1. H.  Course policies:
    1. 1.    Attendance:

       Attendance is mandatory.  Students begin will 100 points for attendance worth 10% of final grade. 5 min late = -1 pt; +5 min late = -2 pts; absence= -3pts.  Class participation and preparation is essential for this course.  Your classmates are counting on you!

Take responsibility for getting assignments or handouts from classmates.  If you miss class for any reason, it’s your responsibility to arrange for a classmate to collect copies of any handouts, or to provide you with information on any assignments, activities, lecture materials, or dates changed. Studies have shown that students who attend class regularly and participate fully, find assignments and exams much easier and more meaningful, and (surprise!) tend to get better grades than those who do not attend class regularly.

Be in class to earn a grade for an in-class activity or exercise. Students will be responsible for presenting and critiquing video material in class, should you miss this portion, you will take a zero for the day. In-class activities and exercises may not be made up at a later date.  Missed in-class assignments will need to be performed on your own time, and will be expected in your writing journal. In rare instances, students may have to miss class for a valid, university-sanctioned reason (In general, an absence is considered “official” when the student is: (A) participating in an approved field trip or other official UAF activity [e.g., athletics, music, theater arts]; (B) confirmed under doctor’s orders; or (C) granted a leave of absence from UAF for reasonable cause by an academic dean or director).  Except for medical emergencies, which require documentation, absences must be approved by the instructor prior to the class session that will be missed.  Alternate assignments to make up for any in-class points will be given only for instructor-approved absences.

  1. 2.  Blackboard/Assignments:
      • The “Course Information” folder includes a copy of this syllabus, research materials, software links, and instructor contact information, and instructional videos.
      • Assignments are posted in the Assignments folder, and organized by Week.  You are responsible for all the assignments listed there. This syllabus is just an outline for class assignments and developments.
  1. 3.  Cell Phones:

       Cell Phones are helpful tools in film production, but should your cell phone ring during a shoot you will be asked to leave for the day and will receive zero points. If it happened on a working set, you would be fired! Texting is prohibited during class.

  1. 4.  Equipment:

Film Students have access to check out equipment from the equipment checkout located in Bunnell 101A (Journalism department). Checkout hours TBD. You can look at available equipment at http://lend-items.com .  Login with your Facebook account.

  1. 5.  Editing Labs:

The Alaska Media Center computer lab (Music 305) has 20 imacs or MacPros loaded with Final Cut Pro 7 (Studio 3), Premiere CS6, and Avid Media Composer 6 for you to use. The labs also feature Celtx screenwriting software, and FrameForge Previz software for storyboarding and animatics. You will need your polar express card to access the lab. Each entrance to the Lab is recorded, so should there be a problem we know who was in the lab when.  Please sign-in and out when you use the computers (so I know how often you were really there editing).

  1. I.    Evaluation of Work & Grades
    1. 1.    Values

All work will be evaluated using a +/- grading system. You must earn a “C” or higher for this course to count towards a film major/minor degree.

A+ = 4.0 100-97%

A = 4.0     96-93%

A- = 3.7    92-90%

B+ = 3.3   89-87%

B = 3.0     86-83%

B- = 2.7    82-80%

C+ = 2.3   79-77%

C = 2.0     76-73%

C- = 1.7      72-70%

D+ = 1.3     69-67%

D = 1.0       66-63%

D- = 0.7    62-60%

Value of Assigned Work toward Final Grade:
Attendance/participation & discussion       10 %
Written assignments …………………………………………………… 30 %
Production Assignments……………………………………… 40 %

Final Projects…………………………………………………………………………………… 20 %

Total………………………………………………………………………………… 100%

  1. 2.  Grading Written and Production Assignments:

The ability to communicate ideas clearly is the cornerstone of a great filmmaker.  To demonstrate your vision, you should plan to organize your ideas clearly, use correct grammar, spell words and names correctly, and demonstrate that you’ve thoroughly conceptualized and edited your work.  Effort put in to the pre-production will make up for problems during production and post.

All production assignments should be turned in with accompanying production material. Screenplays, storyboards, production schedules, contact sheets, etc.

It’s not “cheating” to ask for opinions and editing skills of others.  Instead, the discussion is positive and can bring new insights to your work. The Writing Center (http://www.alaska.edu/english/studentresources/writing/) is available for students to develop their writing skills. Please visit or contact them for assistance, Gruening 801 or    474-5314.  For assistance with video production, please consult me, or your production team members.

WRITTEN ASSIGNMENTS may include:

  • Writing journal/ in-class writings
  • film reviews and film director papers
  •  play critique from a directorial standpoint
  • directorial concept paper/ directors’ notes
  • screenplays

PRODUCTION ASSIGNMENTS may include:

  • storyboards
  • animatics
  • an illustrated script or prompt book including analysis of script, scenes, characters
  • designs, renderings, etc.
  1. 3.  Late Papers/Assignments

ALL ASSIGNMENTS (written or performed) WILL BE SUBMITTED ON TIME OR BE PENALIZED 5% FOR EACH LATE DAY. All written assignments, unless otherwise noted, are to be typed double-spaced and attached to assignments on blackboard.    

  1. J.   Film Club:  Students are encouraged to participate in the UAF Student Film Club. Meetings take place the every Thursday from 1:05-1:55 in the Theatre Green Room.
  1. K.  Disability Services:  The Office of Disability Services implements the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and insures that UAF students have equal access to the campus and course materials. I will work with the Office of Disabilities Services (203 WHIT, 474-7043) to provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities. Please notify me immediately if you need special assistance in this class.

Course calendar:  Tentative schedule. Readings should be completed by the date assigned. All assignments should be reviewed on blackboard where explicit instructions and resource materials will be posted.  Items marked with an * are available on Reserve at the Rasmuson Library. All items marked with a † are available via Blackboard to download/print/ and read.

SCREENWRITING

Week Tuesday Thursday
Week 1WELCOMEAugust 30   Overview of syllabus. Intro to Screenwriting.Reading Assignment: c   Making Short Films Chapter 1 -The Script †c   Screenplay by Syd Field, Chapters 1-5VIEW: Sikumi by Andrew MacLean
Week 2Character is action9/4 & 9/6 Motifs, Heroes, and Enduring TruthsHave Read: c   Making Short Films Chapter 1 -The Script †c   Screenplay by Syd Field, Chapters 1-5IN-CLASS Writing Exercise:

  • Entering the world of the film
Adapt” Writing images, showing action.Have Read:c    The Laramie Project – Stage play†*c   Screenplay: Chapters 13 & 15Introduction to Celtx

Writing Assignment:

Adapt one Laramie Project “Moment” into a  Screenplay  – sections assigned in class. Due next Tuesday.

Week 39/ 11 & 9/13Script vs. Screenplay Have Read:c   Screenplay: Chapters 6-9c   Little Miss Sunshine – excerpts†Suggested Reading:

  • Making Short Films Chapter 9:  Greta May the Adaptation. *Warning* Graphic content.

Writing Assignment:

  • Cinematic Story – Due 9/18

DUE: Laramie Project Screenplay Scene

Write what You KnowHave Read: c   Selected short film scripts on blackboardc   Shot by Shot:  Pages ix – 6c   Screenplay: Chapters 10-12

 

View: short films & excerpts

  • “Spin” by Double Edge Films
  • Rubber

 

Identifying Character need.

STORYBOARDING & VISUAL DESIGN

Week 49/18 & 9/20Pre-production Design & Story-boarding “Designing the Frame: Shot composition, art design, and visual metaphors”DUE: Cinematic StoryHave Read: ÿ        Shot by Shot: Chapters 2 & 3. Words to Stills to Shots (Empire of the Sun, Citizen Kane, Graduate)View: examples of above plus Brother’s Quay, Chel White, David Lynch

IN-CLASS Writing Exercise:

  • Index card scenes

Writing Assignment: Outline of scenes for story in a Treatment format. Index card the scenes & rearrange. Write all of Screenplay in one sitting without editing (reworking). ROUGH in class 9/20. Refined Due 9/25

“Propelling the Action forward with Montage” DUE: ROUGH screenplay w/ class copiesHave Read:c   Shot by Shot:  Chapters: 5-7, 21& 22c   Eisenstein’s theories of Montage†.

 

Week 59/25 & 9/27Story to Storyline DUE: Screenplay 1Have Read: c   Shot by Shot: Chapters 4 & 8,Visiting Artist: Mareca GutheriePRODUCTION ASSIGNMENT:

Storyboard your screenplay + classmates as slide show. Due in 1 week.

Screenplays assigned. Visualize and design.

Have Read: c   Shot by Shot: Chapters 13 -16 Depth of Field, Camera Angles, Framing, POV, 

PREVIZ & PREPRODUCTION

Week 610/2 & 10/4Previz into DUE: Storyboards 1 & 2  – Class Critique  Animatics Introduced with Avid Production Assignment: Animatics from Storyboards 1. Due 10/16
Week 710/9 & 11 Producing: Have Read : c   · Film Production: Chapter 1-The Production Team,c   Chapter 2 – The Production Officec     Chapter 3 – Basic Accounting ,

c   Chapter 5 – Incentives

c   Chapter 7- Insurance Requirements

In Class: Animatics Production

Outsourcing – Finding the right person for the job. Have Read: c   Film Production: Chapter 9 – Building Relationshipsc   Chapter 10 – Deal Memosc   Chapter 11 – Unions and Guilds,

c   Chapter 12– Principal Talent;

c   Chapter 13 – Background Talent

Week 810/16 & 18   Final Cut Animatic DUE. Class Critiques. FrameForge introduced:Have explored:http://www.frameforge3d.com/watch-demo/http://www.frameforge3d.com/kb/“Reading between the lines”

Dialogue & Dramatic Need

Have Read:

c    Shot by Shot: Chapters 9,10, 11, 12 -Dialogue Staging

Production Assignment: The Messenger in Frame Forge. Due 10/25

 

Week 910/23 & 25 Have Read: c   Film Production: Chapter 17: Safetyc   Shot by Shot: Chapters 17-20Staging and Motion options via FrameForge

Production Assignment:

Final Animatics, with rendered audio, voice over, credits, soundtrack Due Week 15 (12/4) for Critique.

Production Preparations: Script BreakdownHave Read · Film Production:c    Chapter 4 – From Script to Schedulec   Chapter 6- Pre-Production

Production Assignment:

Do a script breakdown for classmate’s film. Include a budget and breakdown sheets.  Due 11/8.

DUE: 3D Animatic Exercise (The Messenger) Due.

 

 

 

Week 1010/30 & 11/1 Budgeting with MovieMagicHave Read: Film Productionc   Chapter 25 –Independent Filmmaking,c    Chapter 26, Low-Budget Filmmaking

Production : Prepare a preliminary budget for your film. Fantasy version! Due next class

 

LocationsHave Read: · Film Production: c   Chapter 18- Locationsc   Chapter 19 – Distant Location,

c   Chapter 20 – Foreign Locations

Enticing your crew: Housing, Food, and Fun

· Film Production:, Chapter 21: Travel and Housing, Chapter 22: Shipping

Production: Find locations for your film, and upload potential Fairbanks locations to ReelScout.

 

Week 1111/6 & 8 Audio & Effects  Enhancements: Adding Sound Design to your project. Voice-overs, score, and music rights.Have Read: Film Production: c   Chapter 15 – Clearances & Releases,

c    Chapter 16 – Guide to Music Clearance

c   Chapter 23 – Effects

 

Casting: What to look for, and how.

Voice over casting call. Preliminary readings for production casting.

 

Fundraising: Pitching & The BizSources for film producing, the reality of the independent film industry. Low and high budget models.Film Production: c   Chapter 24 -Specifically TelevisionGuest Speaker: Ronan Nagle

DUE: Production breakdown and Budget

 

Week 12 11/13 & 15 Wiggle Room Wiggle Room
Week 1311/20 Sharing and Exporting your projectsHave Read:Film Productionc   Chapter 29 – Wrapc   Chapter 30 – Post Production Overview

 

NO CLASSES. BE THANKFUL!
Week 1411/27 & 29 The Future JobHave Read:Film Productionc   Chapter 27- New Media,c    Chapter 28 – Commercial Production

c   Chapter 31 – Greener Filmmaking

c   Chapter 32 – Industry Survival Tips

Patience or Broadcast? Have Read:c   Shot by Shot: Chapter 23Avatar to the Max. Without a box. Self-publishing vs. Distribution vs. hulu. Can you go viral?
Week 1512/4 & 6 Critique of Final Previz Animatics. Critique of Final Previz Animatics.
FINALEXAM

8 – 10 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 13

FINAL FILM SCREENING for Public

Screenplay & Production notebooks due.

 

460 Cross-Cultural Filmmaking

Cross-Cultural Filmmaking

Educational Films for Diverse Audiences

Previously offered as:

“Visual Anthropology and Scientific Documentary with Digital Video” 

(Summer 2008)

University of Alaska Fairbanks

Film/Art/Anth 463

A.  Instructor:

Maya Salganek, Assistant Professor

109B Fine Arts. (907) 474-5950.

Office Hours: TBD

maya@alaska.edu

Required Reading:

Cross-Cultural Filmmaking: A Handbook for making documentary and ethnographic films and videos by Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Taylor.

ISBN 0520087607

Suggested Reading:

Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts. Latour and Woolgar. ISBN 069102832X

        The Anthropology of Media. Richard R. Wilk. ISBN 0631220941

  1. Course description:

The use of film as a documentary tool, for describing and understanding scientific and cultural phenomenon has led to the education of generations. Understanding the implications of our film work with a theoretical base for cultural understanding, scientific need, and educational potentials will strengthen the films integrity and outcome. Film students will learn about pre-production, production, and post-production methods in creating video documents useful as a scientific/cultural record.  Pre-production will include research of archival visual media, oral histories, and print materials; analysis of educational  and scientific funding and distribution options; and preliminary interviews, location scouting, and film treatment. Production will include time on location with small film crews, media logging, and record keeping. Post-production will include basic editing of sequences for distribution.

  1. Goals:

       Students will refine proficiencies in camera work, video production management, non-linear digital editing, and general field research techniques, with emphasis on the conceptual/cultural ramifications of video practices.

  1. Student Learning Outcomes:

Each student will participate in a live documentary field shoot, including pre-production and post-production.  In addition students will be responsible for camera equipment, production management, and field logistics.  Understanding the theoretical and practical applications of video research as it applies to cross-cultural issues, scientific records, and audience interpretations will also be discussed.

  1. Instructional methods:

All students will meet for hands-on lectures and seminars weekly. Course materials will be available via Blackboard (http://www.classes.uaf.edu) and all students are responsible for posted Blackboard material prior to class.

  1. Course policies:
    1. 1.    Attendance:

       Attendance is mandatory.  Students receive three points for every class attended; two points for each class arrived to less than 5 minutes late, one point for arriving more than 5 minutes late, and zero points for not attending. Class participation and preparation is essential for this course.  Your classmates are counting on you!

Take responsibility for getting assignments or handouts from classmates.  If you miss class for any reason, it’s your responsibility to arrange for a classmate to collect copies of any handouts, or to provide you with information on any assignments, activities, lecture materials, or dates changed. Studies have shown that students who attend class regularly and participate fully, find assignments and exams much easier and more meaningful, and (surprise!) tend to get better grades than those who do not attend class regularly.

Be in class to earn a grade for an in-class activity or exercise. Students will be responsible for presenting and critiquing video material in class, should you miss this portion, you will take a zero for the day. In-class activities and exercises may not be made up at a later date.  In rare instances, students may have to miss class for a valid, university-sanctioned reason (In general, an absence is considered “official” when the student is: (A) participating in an approved field trip or other official UAF activity [e.g., athletics, music, theater arts]; (B) confirmed under doctor’s orders; or (C) granted a leave of absence from UAF for reasonable cause by an academic dean or director).  Except for medical emergencies, which require documentation, absences must be approved by the instructor prior to the class session that will be missed.  Alternate assignments to make up for any in-class points will be given only for instructor-approved absences.

  1. 2.  Blackboard/Assignments:
      • The “Course Documents” folder includes a copy of this syllabus, research materials, software, a link to schedule editing time, and instructional videos.
      • Assignments are posted in the Assignments folder, and organized by Week.  You are responsible for all the assignments listed there. This syllabus is just an outline for class assignments and developments.
      • Staff Information includes my complete calendar so you can be proactive and  make an appointment.
  1. 3.  Cell Phones:

       Cell Phones are helpful tools in film production, but should your cell phone ring during a shoot you will be asked to leave for the day and will receive zero points. If it happened on a working set, you would be fired! Texting is prohibited during class.

  1. 4.  Equipment:

Each student crew is responsible for checking out and returning equipment (video cameras, tripods, microphones, etc.). As instructor, I reserve the right to remove you from any group or restrict you from working with any equipment should there be abuse, misuse, or damage done.  You will be billed for any equipment damaged.

  1. 5.  Editing Labs:

The Alaska Media Center computer lab (Music 305) has four MacPros loaded with Final Cut Pro 7 (Studio 3) for you to use. You will need your polar express card to access the lab. Each entrance to the Lab is recorded, so should there be a problem we know who was in the lab when.  Please sign-in and out when you use the computers (so I know how often you were really there editing). You can sign up for no more than 3 hours of editing time per day. Should no one be using the computers, then you can continue to work. Sign up for your time online: http://filmuaf.genbook.com

If you are more than 15 minutes late, you loose your time to the first person waiting in line.

Evaluation:
Class Participation/Attendance:             10%

              Seminar Discussions/Postings:          10%

Preproduction Notebook:                    20%

Fieldwork Production Raw Footage:   20%

Critiques:                                        15%

Final Project:                               15%

Final Paper:                                    10%

All work will be evaluated using a +/- grading system as follows:

 A+ = 4.0   100-97%

A = 4.0     96-93%

A- = 3.7    92-90%

B+ = 3.3   89-87%

B = 3.0     86-83%

B- = 2.7    82-80%

C+ = 2.3   79-77%

C = 2.0     76-73%

C- = 1.7      72-70%

D+ = 1.3     69-67%

D = 1.0       66-63%

D- = 0.7   62-0%

 

 

Disability Services:  The Office of Disability Services implements the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and insures that UAF students have equal access to the campus and course materials. State that you will work with the Office of Disabilities Services (203 WHIT, 474-7043) to provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities.”

 

 

Course calendar:

Readings are due prior to class meeting.  This is a tentative schedule and will alter as needed.
Week 1:  Role of the Filmmaker in the Cultural Record

  • Introduction to theoretical concerns of using video in fieldwork. Particular attention paid to ethnographic documentaries and scientific video data.

Read:

  • Cross-cultural Filmmaking, pp 1-33

Week 2: Framing the Subject: Observing and Directing

  • How perception and interpretation shape our understanding of an event/ place/ people. Nanook of the North. The Ax Fight.

Have Read:

  • Cross-cultural Filmmaking, pp 1-33

Week 3:  Community Service and Collaboration

  • Working for communities – finding a need. Listening.
  • Translating, literally and metaphorically

Have Read:

  • Cross-cultural Filmmaking, pp 94-212.

Week 4: Research of the Cultural Record through Film and Media

  • Archival Video, Audio, and Print media sources

Have Read:

  • Cross-cultural Filmmaking, pp 34-93.

Week 5:  Support Structures

  • Funding, Educational Standards, Outreach. Screening of Inuk.

Have Read:

  • Cross-cultural Filmmaking, pp 213-279

Week 6:  Production Preparations

  • Permissions, rights, and waiversthe implications and applications of video footage
  • Equipment checklist and packing for transportation

Have Read:

  • Cross-cultural Filmmaking, pp 280-324 & 485-488

Week 7:  IN CLASS PRODUCTION

Have Read:

Cross-cultural Filmmaking, pp 325-369

Week 8:  IN CLASS PRODUCTION

Week 9:  Review of Raw Footage Highlights

Have Read:

Cross-cultural Filmmaking, pp 369-450.

Week 10:  The cut. Editing in and out

  • Reactions to Edits from around the world

Week 11:  Translations, Subtitles, and Meaning

  • Who is the audience? Example of Atanajarut.

Week 12: Rough Cut Critiques

  • Rough Cuts due of Film

Week 13: Community Responses

  • Public Feedback: Invite the public to critique

Week 14:  Distribution Outlets

Have Read:

Cross-cultural Filmmaking, pp 460-485

FINAL EXAM: Public Screening will take place during exam time. Final Papers Due.

271 Let’s Make a Movie

“Let’s Make a Movie”  –

University of Alaska Fairbanks

Spring 2011 – Example Syllabus

FLM/THR 271 – 3 credits-  CRN 34803/35811

Meets Mondays and Wednesdays 10:30 AM-12:30 PM in Theatre 101 “Green Room”

A.   Instructor:

Maya Salganek, Assistant Professor

Office Location: 109B Fine Arts/Theatre

Office Phone: (907) 474-5950

Office Hours:  Mondays 2-5 or by appointment

Google Calendar: https://sites.google.com/a/alaska.edu/salganek

Email: maya@alaska.edu

B.    Required Reading & Equipment

  • DV Filmmaking From Start to Finish by Ian Aronson. ISBN 0-596-00848-1 – O’Reilly Publishing.
  • Any additional readings or films are on reserve at the Rasmuson Library for 2 hour check out or will be posted to Blackboard
  • External hard drive I highly recommend that all video production students purchase their own external hard drive – at least 200GB (500GB recommended) for storing your video projects.  The drive can be formatted PC or Mac or both, according to your preference.  All video projects stored on the department’s computers will be deleted by JUNE 15, 2011.

C.   Suggested Reading:

  1. D.   Course description:
    Students will be involved in the process of producing a short dramatic video including screenwriting exercises, production development and design, storyboarding, location management, digital video camera operations, sound mixing, lighting, working with actors / directing fundamentals, and post-production development. An introductory course, students do not need previous experience making movies to take this class.
  2. E.    Goals:
  • Make your Own Damn Movie: Secrets of a Renegade Director by Lloyd Kaufman
  • Rebel Without a Crew: How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker with $7,000 became a Hollywood Player by Robert Rodriguez
  • Students will collaboratively create a final film from pre-production through production.
  • Students will understand the mechanics of film production and the roles of various positions on the set.
  • Students will begin to determine their own unique skills and interests in film production.

F.    Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Each student will participate in pre-production of film.
  • Each Student will participate creating sceneography, light, and sound design of film.
  • Each student will participate in developing directorial choices for the film.
  • Each student will work in various departments in producing the film (including gaff, electric, PA, art, camera, and directing).
  • Each student will have a clear understanding of the requirements necessary to produce a film.

G.   Instructional methods:

  1. The class will meet weekly for lecture/ “hands-on” demonstration of various techniques described above.   The class as a team will participate in the production of a final film, following the expectations of working for a film production studio.  Transportation to additional locations may be necessary for film production.  Much of the course material is available online via Blackboard.

H.   Course policies:

    1. 1.   Attendance:

          Attendance is mandatory.  Students receive three points for every class attended; two points for each class arrived to less than 5 minutes late, one point for arriving more than 5 minutes late, and zero points for not attending. Class participation and preparation is essential for this course.  Your classmates are counting on you to help make this project work!

Should missing class be inevitable, please be courteous and email myself and your classmates who are depending on you.

  1. 2.   Blackboard/Assignments:
      • The “Course Documents” folder includes a copy of this syllabus, research materials, software, a link to schedule editing time, and instructional videos.
      • Assignments are posted in the Assignments folder, and organized by Week.  You are responsible for all the assignments listed there. This syllabus is just an outline for class assignments and developments.
      • Staff Information includes my complete calendar so you can be proactive and make an appointment as needed.
  1. 3.   Cell Phones:

          Cell Phones are helpful tools in film production, but should your cell phone ring during a shoot you will be asked to leave for the day and will receive zero points. If it happened on a working set, you would be fired!

4.   Production Communication

Students in the class will need to decide on a main method of communication for production information. Facebook has been a popular choice. Blackboard, email, twitter, and UAF groups are other options. Once the class decides the format, all communications must be made utilizing this medium. Should a student have any problems with that, it should be addressed immediately with myself as faculty member.

5.   Equipment:

Each student crew is responsible for checking out and returning equipment (video cameras, tripods, microphones, etc.). As instructor, I reserve the right to remove you from any group or restrict you from working with any equipment should there be abuse, misuse, or damage done.  You will be billed for any equipment damaged.

  1. 6.   Editing Labs:

The Alaska Media Center computer lab (Music 305) has four MacPros loaded with Final Cut Pro 7 (Studio 3) for you to use. You will need your polar express card to access the lab. Each entrance to the Lab is recorded, so should there be a problem we know who was in the lab when.  Please sign-in and out when you use the computers (so I know how often you were really there editing).

  1. 7.   Production Teams: 

Each student will be part of a production team, which will rotate responsibilities on the set from week to week. I recommend that teams work together to share information and experience. Each team will evaluate one another’s participation on a weekly basis as part of the evaluation process.  Expressed interests and abilities in class will determine teams. Should you have any issues with members of your team, please see me immediately. Do not wait with issues until the end of the class.

Production Teams:

  • Directing
  • Cinematography
  • Production
  • Design
  • Lights
  • Sound
  • Editing/ Post-Production

8.   Set-up:

On Production days, all equipment must be set-up on location by the time class starts (10:30 AM) or you will be considered late.  Production days will be determined ahead of time, but are anticipated to be March 27-April 1, 2011, and production teams should ensure that all equipment and set up needs are covered, particularly with a location shoot. There are often days and additional hours needed for students to work on the film. It is expected that you will make every effort to attend as many shoot days as possible.

  1. I.     Evaluation:

Class Attendance (including make-up work):       10%

Team Participation:                                                            10%

Written/Production Assignments:                           30%

Artistic Contribution                                                           10%

Final Film/Paper:                                                     20%

Final Production notebook:                                               20%

Grading Written and Production Assignments:

The ability to communicate ideas clearly is the cornerstone of a great filmmaker.  To demonstrate good directing, you should plan to organize your ideas clearly, use correct grammar, spell words and names correctly, and demonstrate that you’ve thoroughly conceptualized and edited your work.  Effort put in to the pre-production will make up for problems during production and post.

All production assignments should be turned in with accompanying production material. Screenplays, storyboards, production schedules, contact sheets, etc. It is your responsibility to provide this information along with your final cut of the film.

It’s not “cheating” to ask for opinions and editing skills of others.  Instead, the discussion is positive and can bring new insights to your work.

The Writing Center (http://www.alaska.edu/english/studentresources/writing/) is available for students to develop their writing skills. Please visit or contact them for assistance, Gruening 801 or 474-5314.  For assistance with video production, please consult me, or your production team members.

I generally evaluate video quality based on the following characteristics:

“A” Production:

•    Demonstrates a high level of insight about the story –concept is clear.

•    Exhibits creativity in both concept and approach to the story. Technique matches intention

•    Well organized production with complete supporting materials (screenplay, storyboard, production schedule, etc)

•    Displays awareness of the audience and the kind of production suitable for that audience.

•    Is virtually free from errors in mechanics: Shots and edits “work” without dropped frames, gaps, audio inconsistencies, continuity errors.

•    Addresses the task set by the assignment.

“B” Production:

•     Demonstrates great skill in one or more area of production.

•     Exhibits competence in both approach to the assigned problem and use of cinematic language.

•     Features good organization of pre-production, although it may have minor flaws in organization.

•     Displays awareness of the audience and the kind of production suitable for that audience.

•     Is generally free from errors in mechanics.  May have some editing or filming errors.

•     Addresses the task set by the assignment.

“C” Production:

•     Story conveys general understanding of video production skills.

•     Production is adequately developed and organized.

•     Displays some awareness of the audience and the kind of production suitable for that audience.

•     May display some errors in mechanics, on multiple levels.

•     Addresses the task set by the assignment.

“D” Production:

•          Demonstrates a weak concept and/or pre-visualization– unclear story structure or concept.

•     Displays weaknesses in development or organization, or

•     Reveals the director’s unawareness of the kind of production suitable for the audience, or

•     Reveals a pattern of errors in mechanics

•     Suggests a lack of understanding of the assignment.

“F” Production:

•     Work is incomplete, unedited, or

•     Unorganized for production

•     Reveals the director’s unawareness of the kind of production suitable for the audience, or

•     Reveals a pattern of errors in mechanics on multiple levels

•     Complete lack of understanding or disregard of the assignment.

All work will be evaluated using a +/- grading system as follows:

A+ = 100-97%           A = 93-96%                A- = 90-92%

B+ = 87-89%             B = 83-86%                 B- = 80-82%

C+ = 77-79%              C = 73-76%                C- = 70-72%

D+ = 67-79%             D = 63-66%               D- = 60-62%

F = 59 – 0%

Disability Services:

The Office of Disability Services implements the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and insures that UAF students have equal access to the campus and course materials. Should you, for any reason, need additional assistance in meeting the demands of this course, please contact the Office of Disabilities Services (203 WHIT, (907)474-5655). I aim to provide reasonable accommodation to all students with disabilities. Should you need special accommodations or provisions, please meet with me after class, during office hours, or call me to discuss your needs as soon as possible.

Course calendar:   Tentative schedule. Readings should be completed by the date assigned. All assignments should be reviewed on blackboard.

Week Monday Wednesday

PRE-PRODUCTION

Week 11/24 &1/26WELCOME/FILMMAKING 101 Overview of syllabus. Intro to production teams/ Equipment/ Labs/ KUAC/ Schedules/Communications. Cost of Education. Have Read: DV Film– Preface & Chapters 1, 2 & 3.Filmmaking 101 Presentation. Assignment: READ excerpts of screenplay FROZEN RIVER by Courtney Hunt by 2/2.  Have read ENTIRE Screenplay of ALASKA LAND by 2/7.
Week 21/31 & 2/2THE STORY/THE SCRIPT Screenplays.  Have Read: all items on Blackboard:   Assignment:  Who are you on a film crew? Understanding the Story, examples from FROZEN RIVER.  Due: Who are You on Set? Assignments: Screenplay skits: U-A-F
Week 32/7 & 2/9THE VISION Production Teams Assigned Have Read: ALASKA LAND by Chinonye Chukwu.  Location Scouting – Alaska Land Breakdown.Screenplays Due: U-A-F Storyboarding, Animatics, Pre-visualization. Shooting to Edit/ Editing the Shot Have Read:  DV Film – Chapter 6 – Camera Motion
Week 42/14© 2/16THE LIGHT Working with Actors-Casting/Auditions:  Recording setups, log sheets, audition forms, model releases.  Location photos uploads Due for Alaska Land. Due:   Due Break Down and Storyboard photos for U-A-F Have Read: DV Film – Chapter 4 – Lighting, Guest speaker: Dave Selle
Week 52/21 & 2/23THE SOUND SHOOT: “U” Have Read: DV Film­- Chapters 7-8 Audio. Voice-overs, Audio effects, soundtracks, Audio editing. SHOOT: “A”Have Read: DV Film­- Chapters 17-18 Sound Design
Week 62/28 & 3/2THE BODY SHOOT: “F” Have Read: DV Film – Chapter 5 – Shooting for Effects   Alaska Land AUDITIONS – Salisbury LAB Theatre(May be held prior or following weekend, depending on director.)
Week 73/7 & 3/9THE CUT Have Read: Dv Film: Chapters 9 – 10 EditingIn Class Editing Projects MIDTERM  Editing Exercise Due.
Week 83/14 & 3/16  Spring Break No Class Spring Break – No Class
Week 93/21 & 3/23THE LOOK Have Read: Dv Film: 11-13 Effects.  Rehearsal.Producing Feature Film – Breakdowns  

 

PRODUCTION

Week 103/28 & 3/30 PRODUCTIONAlaska Land: Feature Film Production 3/27-4/10 & Making Of…(EPK) PRODUCTION
Week 114/4 & 4/6 PRODUCTION PRODUCTION

POST-PRODUCTION

 

Week 124/11 & 4/13 Wrap Post-Mortem
Week 13  4/18 & 4/20 Have Read:  Dv Film: Chapters 14 &15 – Titles Rough Cuts Due. DVD Production Overview of DVD Studio ProWinter’s Tale Opens Friday 4/22/11 @ 7:30 PM
Week 144/25 & 4/27 Have Read:  Dv Film: Chapter 16 – Color Have Read:  Dv Film: Chapter A (pg 253) Release Print/ DVD Production
Week 155/2 & 5/4 Have Read:  Dv Film: Chapter B (Pg 273) – The Sale FINAL – Production Notebooks Due
FINAL EXAM Wednesday May 1110:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m., Final Exam Scheduled (11:45-12:45 Slot)Wrap Party & Screening