"Metropolis" - centerspread from the original 1927 French Pressbook

Saturday, October 23, 2010

just watched eraserhead

Call me crazy, but where are the normal films? I don't get these types of films. I didn't really understand it, and I just kept waiting for it to be over. I don't see the purpose.
I guess this was sort of like a science fiction, dreamlike movie. It didn't make any sense. I definitely prefer more reality based films.
I suppose from this I need to ask myself, what can I appreciate in this film? I have to think hard to come up with something....maybe the way the lighting was done - simple, black and white with very dark areas and specific lighting...or possibly the way the music was used - in the beginning was more interesting music wise. Hmmmm what else? Certainly not the story line. Possibly it was a dream of this guy, because it didn't make any sense at all at least not to me.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Cabinet of Dr. Calagari

Although I didn't feel the end was very clear as to how the inmate would be cured, it was interesting to see the full connection of the plot. This movie was easier to watch, and it was also more visually coherent. I suppose it was an elaborate fairy tale, the man was trying to escape his prison or at least define why he was there in the first place. The set design reminded me of a fantastical place, a fairy tale of sorts, and the contrast of the shapes helped the focus of the acting.


Getting into the film was considerably hard. After watching the first 30 minutes it became easier. While I was watching it, It became very easy to pick up what was about to happen. I suppose that's because we've been inundated with visual storytelling for so long. After a while the acting became integral to understanding what was going on with the mood of the film.
I have to admit that I was surprised by the effects in the robot laboratory, they were quite convencing and well executed.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

which version of "The Cabinet of Dr. Calagari" do we watch?
1919 version?
2005 version?
1962 version?

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Halloween is coming up! It’s time to select your favorite fright films. We are studying film genres this term and horror is one of our stopping-off points. List the movies that scare you the most. If you are a real fan, you can put down your Top Ten. Photos and clips are welcome. We might even watch a full length feature in class before the fateful night itself.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Media Theory & Criticism - Syllabus Fall 2010

COURSE NAME: Media Theory & Criticism
CLASS BLOG: http://mediatheorycriticism.blogspot.com
PHONE: 813-900-4759
EMAIL: thammond1946@yahoo.com
OFFICE HOURS: Before and after class
CREDITS: 3 credits

In this course, students explore the different theories and approaches to media and their impact on society and culture so as to inform and enrich their own work.



1. Understand different filmmaking theories.
2. Develop an overview of film history and the progression of various film movements.
3. Define the elements of mise-en-scene and montage.
4. Recognize the conventions of the classic “Hollywood Style”.
5. Explore the difference between celluloid and digital filmmaking.
6. Understand the difference between film genre and film style.
7. Distinguish the various uses of propaganda throughout the media.
8. Explore the impact of TV on society.
9. Analyze the ethics of non-fiction work and reality programming.
10. Understand the range of gender studies in contemporary media.
11. Understand the implications of new media content and delivery.
12. Articulate the aesthetic elements in media, past and present.
13. Identify the connection between artistic movements and their expression in cinema.

This is a directed study course. Students will learn through individual research, interaction with the instructor, suggested viewings and shared discoveries. There will be weekly assignments and four review and research papers. Professionalism will be put into practice through the students’ promptness, class attendance, willingness to create a forum for shared ideas, quality and creativity of work, and the meeting of deadlines. Specifically, grades will be based on the following criteria:

• Mid-Term Exam 20%
• Final Exam 20%
• Research & Review Papers (3) 30%
• Class Participation & Attendance 30%

Appropriate quizzes, tests, and projects will be designed to measure the achievement of the major course achievements as listed above. Instructor will specify such quizzes, tests, and projects on the syllabus to be handed out to the students at the start of the quarter of instruction. In the syllabus, weighted values in percentage will be clearly indicated by the instructor for each category of assessment.


There are three (3) papers due during the quarter. Each is worth 10% of the final grade.

Each paper will be a minimum of 1000 words, printed out, stapled and following the standard rules of good composition including the proper citing of sources.

No late papers accepted.

Paper #1 – Film Theory – Due October 25, 2010
Discover, research and define one of the major Theories of Film. Philosophical background, examples and personal opinion should be part of the paper.

Paper #2 – Genre Study – Due November 15, 2010
Select a film genre, other than the one covered in class, and discuss it in terms of its history, origins, proponents and representative examples. Also include a review of a film that fits into this category.

Paper #3 – The Auteur Theory – Due December 6, 2010
Select a director whose main body of work was prior to 1990 and discuss their filmography in relation to the Auteur Theory. Cite at least three (3) films as examples to make your case either for or against the Theory. It is expected that you will watch these movies.


There are three areas of participation, each worth 10% of the final grade.

In-class Discussion
Blog Posting & Comments

Joining, posting and making comments on the Class Blog is a component of the Participation Requirement.

A (93-100)
A- (90-92)
Outstanding participation. The student is actively engaged in every facet of the class. He/She comes to every class session ready to engage in informed discussion based on a thorough and critical reading of their homework assigned material (if applicable), and he/she maintains complete critical reading notes and brings it to every class session and keeps copies of everything in their journal. The student makes extraordinary contribution to the class through consistently thoughtful, well focused, and original examples. The student works collaboratively with his/her classmates and instructor and the student seeks assistance should he/she need it. The student misses no classes.

Very Good/Good
B+ (87-89)
B (83-86)
B- (80-82)
Good participation. The student is actively engaged in most facets of the class. He/She comes to every class session ready to engage in informed discussion based on a careful reading of the assigned material, and he/she maintains substantial number of critical reading notes and brings it to most class sessions. The student makes a solid contribution to the class through regular relevant and thoughtful comments, questions and examples. The student works collaboratively with his/her classmates and instructor and the student is likely to seek assistance should he/she need it. The student misses the maximum of one class.

C+ (77-79)
C (73-76)
C- (70-72)
Average participation. The student is actively engaged in some facet of the class. He/She comes to many class sessions ready to engage in informed discussion based on a general reading of the assigned material, including few critical reading notes and brings it to many class sessions. The student makes a contribution to the class through general, incomplete and/or tangential comments. The student, for the most part, works collaboratively with his/her classmates and instructor and is not likely to seek assistance on his/her own. The student misses two class sessions.

Below Average
D (60-64)
Poor participation. The student rarely demonstrated an active engagement in some facets of the class. He/She comes to many class sessions unprepared for informed discussion, and his/her critical reading notes are substantially incomplete and rarely bring it to the class sessions. The student does not collaborate with his/her classmates and instructor and the student is not likely to seek assistance on his/her own or even with direction. The student misses two-three class sessions.

F (0-59)
Unacceptable participation. The student is not an active member of the class.

Grading Criteria: (i.e. thoroughness, neatness, concept, design, execution, professionalism, presentation, craft, cleanliness, following instructions) applies to all presentations and individual assignments. Handwritten work, no matter how neat you think it is, is not accepted. This is college and all work must be typed. Submission of handwritten work will not even be considered and will receive an F (0) for that assignment.

Grading Scale: A= 93-100, A-= 90-92, B+= 87-89, B= 83-86, B-= 80-82, C+= 77-79, C= 73-76,
C-= 70-72, D+= 65-69, D= 60-64, F= 0-59

Late Work: Since this course is dealing with industry success, all projects will be due on the date assigned and at the beginning of all classes. Late work will not be accepted. It will be an F/0. If schedule problems occur, notify the professor before any and all due dates. Putting the “final touches” on your homework/assignments such as stapling, printing out, mounting, cutting or even putting your name on the assignment, etc., prior to the start of class or during break is considered late (therefore an F/0). Regardless of when the work is collected, it should be 100% complete when you walk into class.

Attendance: The Art Institute of Tampa policy requires students to attend a minimum of 82% (36 hours) of scheduled course hours in order to receive a passing grade in a course. Attendance is taken twice throughout the class. If you arrive after attendance is completed, it will be marked down as half (1/2) an absence. Missing two classes will result in a lowering of your grade by at least one full grade. Missing more than two classes will result in the failing of this class.

Sleeping in Class: Sleeping in class is not permitted and will not be tolerated. If you are falling, or are a sleep, you will simply be asked to leave the class for the day and will be marked absent for the entire day.

Email: Check often, relay the information to your classmates. Ultimately you are responsible for checking email and following up with the instructor if you not receiving assignments, notes and correspondence for the class via email. It is CRITICAL you start the semester off fresh by clearing out your student account and adjust your forwarding address if necessary. I will correspond with the class quite often via email. Again, check often, relay the information to your classmates and ultimately you are responsible for checking your email. **Let’s exchange information now**

Plagiarism: Plagiarism will not be tolerated and may lead to immediate expulsion from the class and/or college. Plagiarism includes taking words, ideas, or artwork from anyone else and presenting it as your own or not citing properly in accordance with APA Style Guide.

Food/Beverages: Food and non-sealed beverage containers are NOT permitted in any classroom, lab or studio.

Cell Phones and other electronic devices: Cell phone usage is not permitted in any classroom, lab or studio. All cell phones, beepers, games, two-way radios (Nextel), or any other communication device must be turned off before entering the classroom. Leaving the class to take/make a phone call is not permitted unless it is an absolute medical emergency. If you do, you will be marked absent for the entire day. If I see you sending text messages, IMing or playing games or doing anything with any phone or electronic device you will be told to leave the class for the remainder of the day and you will marked absent for the entire day. Leaving devices in silent or vibrate mode is not permitted and text messaging during class is not allowed. In other words, turn all devices completely off and forget you even have them with you for just a few hours. Please take a moment to shut everything off now.

Add/Drop: The first six (6) academic days (not including Saturdays, Sundays and holidays) of each quarter are designated as the schedule adjustment period. During this time, students may make registration adjustments (adding, dropping, or changing days/times of courses) without financial penalty.

Holidays: This quarter has no holidays for this class.

Suggested Text(s):
Image and Representation: Key Concepts in Media Studies – Ken Lacey
Amusing Ourselves to Death – Neil Postman
Hardboiled America – Lurid Paperbacks and the Masters of Noir – Geoffrey O’Brien
The Major Film Theories: An Introduction – Dudley Andrew

Required Items and Supplies:
• Netflix Subscription – All movies for required viewing are “streamable” on Netflix. The first month is free and every month after that is $9. Total cost for the quarter = $18.00

ADA Statement: To meet the needs of our students with disabilities, The Art Institute offers reasonable accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. Students or applicants who would like to request reasonable accommodations should contact the Student Services Coordinator for the school. Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact your instructor and the Dean of Student Affairs in advance of the quarter of study when accommodations are needed.

Saving Work: It is the student’s responsibility to save his or her work to disk. Multiple copies should be saved and verified prior to leaving the classroom. The teacher is in no way responsible for the work saved on hard drives, nor is he/she bound to give an extension on work improperly saved. The hard drives will get purged regularly. Students are expected to back up all work. Loss, theft, computer failure, etc. are not acceptable excuses.

Syllabus Changes: Syllabus is subject to change at the instructor’s discretion. Awareness of these changes is the student’s responsibility


WEEK 1 Monday, October 4
Introductions, Student Data, Course Overview/Survey
Theory and Practice:
• Overview of Film History and Media Theory
• Silent Cinema
• Technology and the Language of Film
Theory vs. Criticism
Viewing: Films of the Lumiere Bros. and George Melies
Assignment: “Metropolis”
Readings: Lacey – Chapter 1

WEEK 2: Monday, October 11
Theory and Practice
• Discussion of assigned viewings and readings
• Silent film and the development of montage
• Development of classic technique and the Hollywood Style of editing
• Expressionism in film
Viewing: Early Avant Garde Films
Assignment: “The Cabinet of Dr. Calagari”
Readings: Lacey – Chapter 2

WEEK 3: Monday, October 18
Theory and Practice
• Discussion of assigned viewings and readings
• Mise en scene
• Surrealism in film
Viewing: “Un Chien Andalou” & “L’Age D’Or”
Assignment: “Eraserhead”
Readings: Lacey – Chapter 3

WEEK 4: Monday, October 25
Paper #1 Due
Theory and Practice:
• Discussion of assigned viewings and readings
• Introduction to Genre Studies
• The Horror Film – origins and progression
Viewing: Horror Scene Compilation
Assignment: “The Exorcist”
Readings: Lacey – Chapter 4

WEEK 5: Monday, November 1
Theory and Practice:
• Discussion of assigned viewings and readings
• Genre vs. Style
• Film Noir – origins and history
Viewing: Film Noir Scene Compilation
Assignment: “Night and the City”
Readings: Lacey – Chapter 5

WEEK6: Monday, November 8
Mid-Term Exam
Theory and Practice:
• Discussion of assigned viewings and readings
• The Auteur Theory of Film
• Akira Kurosawa - a survey of his work
Viewing: A Kurosawa Sampler
Assignment: “The Seven Samurai”
Readings: Lacey – Chapter 6

WEEK 7: Monday, November 15
Paper #2 Due
Theory and Practice:
• Discussion of assigned viewings and readings
• Introduction to Gender Studies in media
• Sex and censorship in film
Viewing: Scenes from “The Devils”
Assignment: “This Film is Not Yet Rated”
Readings: Postman &O’Brien

WEEK 8: Monday, November 22
Theory and Practice:
• Discussion of assigned viewings and readings
• Introduction to Non-Fiction Films and Documentary Theory
• Propaganda and Society
Viewing: Scenes from “Triumph of the Will”
Assignment: “The Cove”
Readings: Postman & O’Brien

WEEK 9: Monday, November 29
Theory and Practice:
• Discussion of assigned viewings and readings
• Television – history and influence
• The ethics of Reality Programming
Viewing: Early TV Compilation
Assignment: “Network”
Readings: Postman &O’Brien

WEEK 10: Monday, December 6
Paper #3 Due
Theory and Practice:
• Discussion of assigned viewings and readings
• The Artist & The Audience
• The Artist’s Obligation
Viewing: A Fellini Sampler
Assignment: “8½”
Readings: Postman & O’Brien

WEEK 11: Monday, December 13
Final Exam:
Final Critique:
• Class evaluation

COURSE NAME: Media Theory and Criticism

• I have completely read and fully understand the contents of this syllabus
• I take full responsibility for living up to these obligations including, but not limited to attendance, participation, notes, quizzes, projects, etc.
• I will ask for help/assistance (both in and out of class) if needed

Student Signature: _______________________________

Print Name: ____________________________________

Date: _________________________________________

Instructor Signature: _____________________________

Print Name: ____________________________________

Date: _________________________________________