Course Description & Expectations

Course Description/Objectives:

  • This class will explore the power of filmmaking and the evaluation and appreciation of film through different genres (Drama, Comedy, Family, Thriller, biopic, etc.). Through online lectures, face-to-face dialogue, outside film viewing, assigned MV5BNDcwMDc0ODAzOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTY2OTI1MDE@._V1_UX214_CR0,0,214,317_AL_readings, online guest speakers, written assignments, weekly postings and creative projects – we will discover the art of film interpretation by examining scriptwriting, visual techniques, acting, musical score, special effects, and more. Through this course, students will also get a closer look at why films have individual interpretations. Our perspectives are unique and different, and that will impact each person’s film analysis.

This class also hopes to give students a better understanding and appreciation for the director’s intention and target audience.

In this course, students will work towards mastering the fundamental aesthetic and technical tools needed in understanding and evaluating filmmaking (acting and character, directing, camera, sound, story structure, editing, etc.) in the context of individual filmic style and taste.

The course has two main components – evaluation lab (outside film viewings) and dialogue seminar (online and face-to-face). Each student will view films that represent the select genres and topics of our film dialogue, and conduct regular online-discussion, outside reading, research, written and verbal evaluation.o-ALMOST-FAMOUS-facebook

  • Class Expectations: Students must attend at least 75% of scheduled meetings to receive credit for the course. Students must complete all written assignments, online postings, and other projects at scheduled times. Failure to do so will reflect on student’s grade (-10 points for each day late. The next day begins one minute after the announced deadline). All work that is turned in must be your own. You cannot afford to take unethical shortcuts in this class.
  • Format of written assignments: Unless otherwise specified, all assignments must be printed and submitted on unlined paper (standard copy/printer paper), emailed to me, or posted on the student’s blog (instructions will be given for each assignment). The nature of the assignment will dictate the line-spacing and other format features. Students are to turn in all assignments in the specified format. No handwritten papers will be accepted unless discussed and approved beforehand.
    • Communication with the class & resources: Check your Gardner-Webb Email and the GWU Film Critic Website each week. I will use this to post readings, assignments, dialogue topics, links, lectures, podcasts, and videos. Here is that site link


  • Grading Scale:

A+ = 100 – 97, A = 93-96, A- = 92 – 90

B+ = 89 – 87, B = 86 – 83, B – = 82 – 80

C+ = 79 – 77, C = 76 – 73, C- = 72 -70

D+ = 69 – 67, D = 66 – 63, D – = 62 – 60

F = 60 – 0


  • Grading Distribution

20% – Weekly Online Posts (in-class dialogue)

40% – Films Reviews & Weekly Assignments

40% – Final Project



Grading Evaluations: There will be required weekly online dialogue posts, film evaluations/reviews, and a final film evaluation project. There will be several grading opportunities this semester for each student.

Your work should be your own: It is crucial that any work you turn in is your own original work unless otherwise cited. Unethical shortcuts can cost you a failing grade in this class. If you are unsure that you’re turning in original work (or properly cited work) ask me.

Incompletes: Incompletes will only be given with a written agreement between the student and the instructor. These will only be given in extraordinary circumstances.

Extra Credit: Options are available for extra credit upon approval. Please contact me if you’re interested in extra credit opportunities. The last day to turn in items for possible extra credit will be the Tuesday before Thanksgiving break.dont_breathe_2016_film

Gardner-Webb Class Competencies:

  1. Students will develop skills in formulating well-organized thoughts for the purpose of effective communication.
  2. Students will demonstrate the ability to analyze written, oral, or visual forms of communication and create appropriate responses.
  3. Students will compare and contrast intra- and intercultural realities to cultivate attributes necessary for adapting to and functioning in a globalized world.
  4. Students will develop skills in effective research using traditional and technology- based research methods.

    GWU Writing Center, Tucker Student Center – http://www.gardner- – The Writing Center is a resource for all students, regardless of major or level of study. Writing Center consultants are fellow students who have a solid grasp of the English language and enjoy assisting others. They will help you with developing and revising your ideas as well as polishing your final draft. You can make an appointment for a consultation or walk in to see if there’s an available consultant. Visit the Writing Center website each semester for important information, like hours of operation. Phone: (704) 406-4393

Learning Assistance Program – The Learning Assistance Program offers peer tutoring services supporting academic work in undergraduate courses. If you find yourself struggling in a class, you can request a peer tutor. Once a peer tutor request is made, LAP finds a peer tutor who has been successful in the course requested. This tutor is authorized to provide up to two hours of additional peer tutoring support each week. This service should be reserved for students who are earnestly trying, but somehow not performing at an acceptable level. Peer tutoring cannot be used as a replacement for missed class time, as peer tutor relationships are semester-long commitments. To request a peer tutor, please complete the Peer Tutor Request Form located on the LAP website. Phone: (704) 406-4390


mr-smith-goes-to-washingtonThe Noel Center for Disability Resources – If your learning or participation in this class (either in a seated or an online environment) might be affected in anyway by a disability recognized under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), you will need to do the following; (1) register with the Noel Center for Disability Resources (704.406.4270); and notify me as soon as possible preferably within the first week so I can work with you and the Noel Center to arrange necessary accommodations.

All students needing accommodations to participate fully in class activities and fulfill requirements of the class should be registered with the Noel Center for Disability Resources.



*This course description is available in an alternate format upon request

A PDF is available here: film critic Course Description 2017