A PDF version of your original schedule is here: film critic 2017 calendar schedule
August 24 – Introductions, course outline, expectations, final project overview. Questions for consideration: How do we view films? What is the purpose of film? What films do you prefer and why? How do you decide on what to see? Beginning your film blog. Assignment due August 30 by 5:59 pm: Create a film review blog with general introduction of yourself and a short essay on “What Film Means to Me.” Email the link to email@example.com. The GWU Film Critics site will be where you are involved in online engagement, assignments, & readings.
August 31 – Topics: What is “story” and why does it matter? Character, inciting incident and ambition. Character conflict, crisis, and resolution. Character vs. Characterization? Arc and character arc… is there a difference? What is a hero? What is baggage? The film evaluation outline. Assignment: Diagram a selected film using the film evaluation outline as a guide (500-800 words) *Due September 6 by 11:59 pm. Load onto your blog & email the link to firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 4 –Online Assignment due in relation to “film story.”
Due September 7 – Final Project Notes: Identify possible filmmaker or character study for final project.
September 7 – Topics: The world according to Blake Snyder. The Freytag Formula, Writing reviews –what do I need to know? How deep should I get? Assignment: Interview someone over 55-years old and write a 500-700 word report/story capturing his/her movie history (start-up questions to be provided) and post to your blog. *Due September 14 by 11:59 pm. Load onto your blog & email the link to email@example.com.
September 11 – Online Assignment due. Respond to online post after listening to interviews from Ami Brown, Emma Thompson or Aaron Sorkin and read the posted chapter 2 articles.
Due September 14 – Final Project Notes: Identify (3) three films for review from filmmaker or featured character.
September 14 –Topics: We will view in-class film. Understanding film 101 (lights, camera, action) & the filmmaking process (Pre-production – Marketing/Distribution). Film history overview. Writing my first review. Online guest speaker – interview with long-time film critic of the Charlotte Observer Lawrence Toppman. Assignment: Write film genre evaluation (400-500 words) examining the Blake Snyder “genre study”. *Due September 20 by 11:59 pm. Load onto your blog & email the link to firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 18 – Online Assignment due. Listen to Lawrence Toppman interview and respond to writing prompt.
Due by September 21: Final Project Notes: Identify 3-5 (three to five) strong sources for your biographical sketch (print, online articles, audio, video sources are acceptable). Do not use Wikipedia. If you use IMBD, you should still add 3-5 more sources. If you need guidance, ask me before this date.
September 21 – Topics: The importance of cinematography & lighting. What is Drama? Exploring biopics, reality-based films, film adaptations, franchise films, remakes and films based on a true story. Online Guest Speaker interview with Film Critic Matt Brunson from Creative Loafing (Charlotte, NC) and Savannah News (Ga.). – Assignment: Write a 500-600 word review on an adaptation, biopic, or based on a true story film (approved list to be provided). You will also have adaptation-biopic-cinematography-evaluation-rubric details that require evaluating the cinematography selections of the film.*Due September 27 by 11:59 pm. Load onto your blog & email the link to email@example.com.
September 25 – Online Assignment due: (Story songs, video store visit or Matt Brunson reflection ) Three options. Read chapter 4 materials, and listen to the interview with Matt Brunson and respond to writing prompt.
September 28 – Topics: Sound and music – what the mind hears. The musical. Online guest speaker will be a feature film composer and Blind film critic Jay Forry.
October 2 – Online reading/posting for chapter 5 assignment due. After reading materials, listen to a select interview with a feature film composer and blind film critic Jay Forry and respond to online writing prompt.
Due October 5 (before 11:59 pm) Final Project Notes: Turn in draft (for grading) of the introduction section for final project.
October 5 –Topics: Acting –why does it matter? Family films, Animation, Children’s films, and coming of age films. Finding the right title for your review. Assignment: Write film review (450-550 words) on music-driven film (from this list). You will be provided a rubric. Load onto your blog & email the link to firstname.lastname@example.org. *Due October 11 by 11:59 PM.
October 8 – You should view one of your select films by this date.
October 9 (by 11:59 pm) – Online reading/posting (TBA) assignment due.
Due October 13 (by 11:59 pm) Final Project notes: Turn in draft of intro & biographical sketch.
October 12 –Topics: Special effects, disaster, fantasy, comic book & science fiction films. The ‘Event’ film. What is a blockbuster? The Epic Film.Writing reviews for print, online, radio & television/video. Tone, voice, structure and other pieces of the puzzle. Grading your films with report card or star ratings. Watch group film. Online Guest Speaker interview with Film Critic Sean O’Connell from Washington Post, USA Today, Cinemablend. Catch up dialogue on final projects. Assignments: Focus on final projects for next two weeks. Review – Write 550-650 word review on one your final project filmmaker’s films or select from the list of science fiction, superhero or epic films. This is due Oct. 18 at 11:59 pm.
Final Project notes: October 12-27 – watch final two films (and make detailed notes).
October 16 (by 11:59 pm) – Online reading/posting (TBA) assignment due. Listen to the interview with Sean O’Connell and respond to writing prompt.
October 18 (by 11:59 pm) – Review – 550-650 word review due on one your final project filmmaker’s films or select from the list of science fiction, superhero or epic films.
Oct. 24 – Online response post. Indie films and why they are important.
October 26 – Topics: The importance of the international box office. Horror, Suspense, Thriller, Mystery. Getting started with a film-reviewing career (freelancing and starting your own website, Youtube channel, Blogs, podcasts, etc.). Writing reviews for Twitter. Listen to the interview with Adam Long and respond to writing prompt. Assignment: Write film review of 300-400 words and a separate 140 character-review for the Twitter-verse (approved list to be provided). Due Nov. 1 by 11:59 pm. Load onto your blog & email the link to email@example.com.
October 30 (by 11:59 pm) – Online reading/posting (TBA) assignment due.
Due Nov. 2 – Final Project Notes: Next draft of introduction, biographical sketch, and first film evaluation should be complete. Do not have to turn this in at this point unless you want feedback.
November 2 – Topics: Politics and the Spy film. Action/adventure films. Assignment: Write film review of 250-350 words and a separate 140 character-review for the Twitter-verse (approved list to be provided) on an espionage or political film. Load onto your blog & email the link to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due Nov. 8 by 11:59 pm.
November 6 (by 11:59 pm) – Online reading/posting (TBA) assignment due.
November 9 – Advanced reviewing concepts and techniques & what not to do when reviewing films. The Western film genre. Getting access to screenings and interview junkets. Reviewing post-theatrical releases (DVDs/Blu-Rays). Follow up with discussion on final project. Interview with S. Craig Mahler. Assignment: Write review (approved list to be provided) on Western or “Year I was Born” film. Load onto your blog & email the link to email@example.com. Due Nov. 15 by 11:59 pm.
Nov. 10 – Final Projects Notes: by November 10 you should have draft of introduction, biographical sketch, and two films complete. Do not have to turn this in at this point unless you want feedback.
November 16 –Topics: Comedy: Not just a laughing matter. Guest interview with film critic. Assignment: Focus on finishing final project.
Due November 17 – Final Project notes: You should have a draft of your completed project ready for review (including intro, bio sketch, 3 films, wrap). Do not have to turn this in at this point unless you want feedback.
November 20 (by 11:59 pm): Online reading/posting (TBA) assignment due.
November 23 – No Class – Enjoy your Thanksgiving Holiday
Due November 30 – Final project due (no late papers accepted).
November 30 – Topic: TV shows & the big screen, the Portable screen generation and the impact on film. Final thoughts and questions. Final projects due by 11:59 pm. today. Email or hand-deliver project to me. Assignment: Prepare for final oral exam & co-hosting freeform radio show.
December 4 (by 11:59 pm) – Online reading/posting (TBA) assignment due.
December 7 – Final Class – group film evaluation exam (schedule times)
**Schedule and assignments subject to change