You are on page 1of 7

JMS 220.

1W1 Introduction to Film Studies


Online Course- Blackboard
Gottshall
Office Hours online room
Email: Gottshall_cm@mercer.edu

Summer 2015
Instructor: Dr. Cynthia
Office Phone: 301-2979

Course Description: The course offers an introduction to the broad field of film
studies including formal analysis, genre studies, film history, film criticism and
film theory. Film screenings will be required.
This is an entirely online summer course offering. We do not meet face-to-face
at any time.
Course Goals: The course will introduce the elements of cinematic
language (including narrative, mise-en-scene, cinematography, acting,
editing, and sound) in order to analyze the way filmmakers convey
information, story, and meaning, develop style, and elicit audience
response within a single scene and over the course of an entire feature
film. The course will also explore the central critical approaches to the
study of film and examine a wide range of film styles and movements,
Student Learning Outcomes:
After taking this course, students will:

Identify the narrative, visual, and aural elements of films.


Analyze how these elements can contribute to a film's overarching aesthetic and
thematic concerns.
Discuss the basic terminology of narrative film form.
Be able to identify various film movements and styles.
Be able to distinguish between major film genres and subgenres.
Have a basic understanding of film history.
Understand the social and ideological functions of film.
Write a wellorganized analytical paper about narrative film.
Give a strong, original interpretive reading of a film.

Required Texts and Materials


By enrolling in this course you accept responsibility for acquiring all
required textbooks and materials. Failure to purchase them will not be
accepted as an excuse for late or incomplete assignments.
Text:
Pramaggiore, Maria and Tom Wallis. Film: A Critical Introduction, 3rd edition.
Boston:
Allyn & Bacon/Pearson. Also contains access pass to textbook
website.
Any additional readings will be put on Blackboard.

Read all materials from textbook and on Blackboard carefully and on time.
Films: You will be responsible for screening the required films by the
noted deadline in the course schedule. The specific titles are listed in your
syllabus. It is the responsibility of each student to view the films for the
class. These films may be found for rental at sites such as
www.amazon.com, www.netflix.com, or through iTunes or sometimes
through YouTube. There are a number of sites on the internet that offer
opportunities to view full movies online without downloading. It is your
responsibility to locate the films online or at the library, if possible. Please
start searching now to see where you can get the film. Dont wait until the
day before it is due.
Dont watch these films for entertainment; watch them for study. Like the
readings, the screenings form the basis of our class discussions, essay
work, and exams.
The course will be comprised of five units of study corresponding to the
weeks of class. For each unit you will be required to view one film.
The required films for this course are:
Week 1 (May 26 May 30): Pans Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro,
2006) Required

Week 2 (May 31 June 6): Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)


Required
Week 3 (June 7 June 13): No Country for Old Men (Joel & Ethan Coen,
2007) Required
Week 4 (June 14 June 20): Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960) Required
Week 5 (June 21 June 24): Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954)
Required

Films are to be viewed by Wednesday of the designated week.


Each week for the film viewed you will have discussion responses about
the film due by 11pm on the Thursday of that week. See below under
Discussion Board for Films Viewed for further information. The last
week (Week 5) requires a different viewing schedule. Please look
at the schedule at the end of syllabus for deadlines for week 5.
In addition to these complete films, there are several film clips that are
required viewing. There will either be links to the films within the weekly
materials or the clips will be on Blackboard under Course Content within a
chapters folder.

Film Subject Matter: Good film deals with a wide variety of subject
matter, some of which may be considered controversial or offensive.
Assigned films may include violence, various forms of sexuality, nudity,
and strong language, among other things. Because this is a college class,
our aim is to think critically about the films we are viewing and to gain
exposure to a wide range of materials, not all of which may be deemed
socially desirable by all. The intent is not to offend anyone. It may be in
your best interest to reconsider taking JMS 220 if you anticipate having
objections to the course material.
Assignments:
You will have several opportunities to demonstrate your knowledge and
understanding of the principles explained in this course. A primary means
of evaluating your work will be through practical application of the
material. In the event that you have difficulty completing any of the
assignments for this course, please contact your instructor immediately.
Here are the required assignments:
1. Chapter Responses:
For many chapters you will be given a question or set of questions that
you will need to respond to using your text, films watched, and/or any
external materials you wish. These questions will be posted on
Blackboard under the Course Content area in the folder titled Chapter
Questions. Your responses must be posted by required date listed.
There will be a maximum of 15 points per chapter (except for Week 5
chapter 14) where a response is required. Each of your responses should
fully answer the question posed. Not all chapters will have a chapter
response required.
2. Discussion Board for Films Viewed:
(Minimum of two postings per film @ 25 points per film)
Each of the five films we view will have a designated area for discussion.
The first four films require responses. The final film (Week 5) is a
voluntary discussion only with no points attached because this film will
be used in your answer to the chapter question.
Initial Substantive Posts: Submit an initial response to the prompts
provided for each film by your instructor. Your initial post should be
substantive (no less than a page in length, 4-5 paragraphs) and must be
posted by 11pm of the Thursday of designated films viewing
week. In your substantive post you are urged to use references (you
may use your textbook); show evidence of critical thinking as it applies
to the concepts or prompt and/or use examples of the application of the
concepts in the work. Proper punctuation, grammar and correct spelling
are expected. Please use the spell-check function.

Required Replies: You must reply to at least one of your peers'


responses. Your reply must build on what is discussed, offer a question
to consider, or add a differing perspective, etc. Rather than responding
with "Good post," explain why the post is "good" (why it is important,
useful, insightful, etc.). Or if you disagree, respectfully share your
alternative perspective. Overall, it is strongly recommended you visit
the discussion forum throughout the end of the week to read and
respond to your peers' postings. You are encouraged to post more than
the required number of replies. All responses to other person's posts are
due by Saturday at 5pm.
Your first film discussion is on Pans Labryinth which is to be viewed by
Wednesday 5/27 so your original discussion post is due by 11pm on
Thursday the 28th. Your response to at least one other persons post is
due by Saturday the 30th at 5pm.
3. Film Analysis Paper:
You will write one paper (5-7 pages) for the course. The paper will be on
a film you view from the list given to you. Your analysis will follow the
guidelines for a film analysis discussed in chapter 3 of your text (p. 43).
There will be a more detailed assignment explanation provided on
Blackboard. (100 points)
4. Tests:
There will be three tests (50-100 points each). The tests will be multiple
choice and true/false over the material.
Grade Breakdown: Each assignment will be worth a specified number of
points. Your grade will be based on how many points you receive out of the
possible number of points for the assignment. Your final grade in the
course will be determined by the percentage of points you earned out of
the total number of points possible in the course.
Grade Scale:
A = 90 - 100; B+ = 88 - 89; B = 80 - 87; C+ = 78 79;
C = 70-77; D = 60 - 69; F = below 60
Documented Disability Statement
Students with a documented disability should inform the instructor at the
close of the first class meeting. The instructor will refer you to the office of
Student Support Services (SSS) for consultation regarding evaluation,
documentation of your disability, and recommendations
for accommodation, if needed. Students will receive from SSS the Faculty
Accommodation Form. On this form SSS will identify reasonable
accommodations for this class. The form must be given to the course
instructor for signature and then returned to SSS. To take full advantage of
disability services, it is recommended that students immediately contact

the Office of Student Support Services. The office is located on the third
floor of the Connell Student Center.
Honor System
Mercer University operates with an honor system. You have agreed to
abide by that honor code by enrolling in the university. Any violations of
the Honor Code will be referred to the Honor Council.
Deadline and Extra Credit Policy
In keeping with new Department of Journalism and Media Studies policy,
there will be zero tolerance for work turned in after a deadline. Late
submissions will not be accepted. Each late assignment will be given a
zero with no opportunity to make-up the work or raise the grade. In
addition, extra credit assignments will not be given.
Waiting until the last minute to submit assignments electronically
increases the possibility of technical malfunctions contributing to missed
deadlines. My internet was down or my computer messed up are not
acceptable excuses for lateness. Just as you would in a paid position, use
your imagination and find a way to make it happen, even in the face of
technical difficulties.
Do not ask for or expect exceptions to this policy. Remember, work may,
and should, be turned in early if you have a conflict with a deadline. This
applies to excused absences as well. If you have a doctor's or dean's
excused absence, assignments must be submitted before the deadline and
tests must be taken before the day(s) you will miss.

Schedule
Week One: May 26th May 30th
Chat Session: Tuesday, May 26th at 6pm. Drop in between 6
and 6:30pm.
Email me prior to that time if there is a problem
with your dropping in at that time. This session is just for me to
check in with you to introduce course and to see if you have any
questions after you have looked at syllabus.
o Chapters 1,2,3, and 4. Read chapters in text and material
found on Blackboard under Course Content and Chapter
folders.
o Chapter response questions found on Blackboard under Course
Content.
Chapter responses due no later than Friday, May
29th at Noon.
o Film: Pans Labryinth must be viewed by Wednesday, May
27th.

Initial discussion post on film due Thursday, May 28th at 11pm.


Required Reply to a classmates post due by
th
Saturday, May 30 at 5 pm.
Week Two: May 31st June 6th
Test One: due Tuesday, June 2nd by 7pm. Covers chapters 1-4,
Blackboard
materials and Pans Labryinth.
o Chapters 5 and 6. Read chapters in text and material found on
Blackboard under Course Content and Chapter folders.
o Chapter response questions found on Blackboard under Course
Content.
Chapter responses due no later than Friday, June 5th at
Noon.
o Film: Citizen Kane. Film must be viewed by Wednesday, June
3rd.
Initial discussion post on film due Thursday, June 4th at
11pm.
Required Reply to others post on film due by Saturday,
June 6th at 5pm.
Week Three: June 7th June 13th
o Chapters 7 and 8. Read chapters in text and material found on
Blackboard under Course Content and Chapter folders.
o Chapter response questions found on Blackboard under Course
Content.
Chapter responses due no later than Friday, June 12th at
Noon.
o Film: No Country For Old Men. Film must be viewed by
Wednesday, June 10th.
Initial discussion post on each film due Thursday, June
11th at 11pm.
Required Reply to others post due by Saturday, June 13th
at 5pm.
Week Four: June 14th June 20th
Test Two: due Monday, June 15th by 5pm. Covers chapters 5-8,
materials on
Blackboard and films from Weeks 2 and 3.
o Chapters 10, 12, and 13. Read chapters in text and material
found on Blackboard under Course Content and Chapter
folders.
o Chapter response questions found on Blackboard under Course
Content.
Chapter responses due no later than Friday, June 19th at
Noon.

o Film: Psycho. Film must be viewed by Wednesday, June 17th.


Initial discussion post on film due Thursday, June 18th at
11pm.
Required Reply to others post due by Saturday, June 20th
at 5pm.
Week Five: June 21st June 24th
o Chapter 14. Read chapter in text and material found on
Blackboard.
o Chapter Response question found on Blackboard. Response
due no later than Tuesday, June 23rd.
o Film: Rear Window. Film must be viewed no later than Sunday,
June 21st.
No required discussion posts.
Your chapter question involves this film in its answer.
Film Analysis Paper: Due no later than Thursday, June 25 th at 6pm.
Your film analysis paper should be on one of the following films:
Fargo
Pleasantville
True Grit (2010)
Shutter Island
The Hurt Locker
The Dark Knight
North by Northwest
Raging Bull
Captain America: The Winter Soldier 2014)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Chef (2014)
Test 3: due Friday, June 26th by 5 pm. Covers material from chapters
10, 12, 13, and 14; materials on Blackboard and films from Weeks 4 and
5.