Monday, January 16, 2012

Spring 2012 Syllabus

DM 475 Experimental Cinema
Mac Lab 3

Jill L. Wissmiller
Office Hours: T, W, TH 3:45-4:45

Course Description
This class is an advanced level production course designed to assist students in the development of alternative means of production and exhibition of media. Topics include camera experimentation, the position of the viewer, experimental animation techniques, the performative nature of exhibition and the forms and means of disseminating media. Additionally, students will analyze selected works to enlighten their understanding of the history of non-traditional forms in video and film.

Course Outline
This course is broken up into evolving topical segments of approximately two weeks each. Online reading and film screenings outside of class will accompany these segments.
Upon successful completion of this course students will demonstrate the ability to:
-organize and present concepts verbally
-organize and present concepts visually
-communicate content in their time-based media productions
-produce evidence of an understanding of the technical methods of time-based media
-develop time management strategies to successfully complete the production process
-effectively publish their time-based media productions for DVD and Web delivery
-create a professional DVD portfolio of their work using DVD Studio Pro
-develop a professional web presence on blogger, vimeo and behance. 
-create a demo reel
-research internship and job opportunities 
-research and identify screening opportunities on
-research to stay current in their field
-work collaboratively
-exhibit work beyond the classroom
-give a public presentation about their work

You must receive copyright permission for all non-public domain media used in your film projects. Public domain material can be found at and Documentaries (but not fiction) may follow the “Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices.”(located on the class server as a pdf). Visit American University's Center for Social Media Website for detailed information regarding the difference between rights infringement and fair use.

Assignments and Requirements

In Class Discussion, Critique, and Exercises
You will be expected to do original analysis of your work and that of others – your peers and recognized professionals and to complete in class exercises illustrating the techniques presented. Extra time outside of class will be needed to master the skills and complete the exercises presented in class.

You will be required to keep a blog for this course that includes thumbnails, storyboards, assignment write-ups and final documentation for each assignment. You should also use these spaces for idea development exercises and reading /screening responses. Rolling Due Dates.

Collaborative Group Projects
You will be required to design, produce, publicize and present 2 collaborative group installation projects. You need to plan ahead for much work outside of class. Make requests for time off from work etc. Do not plan to travel etc.
The dates are:
3/1-3/5 -- Downtown Installation in conjunction with Arts Memphis and Live From Memphis Music Video Showcase. Public Critique 3/1 from 1:30-3:30 Powerhouse. Opening/Presentation of work 3/2 and 3/3.
4/27 -- Downtown Grad Center Windows -- Trolley Night Installation

Internship Research
Research internship opportunities within the animation or film industry. Internship opportunities to consider: animation studios, feature films/television production, independent short-form films, exhibition, installation, and corporate media. You must identify at least three current internship opportunities that relate to your career goals.

Job Research
Research entry-level work within the animation or film industry. Professional opportunities to consider: animation studios, feature films/television production, independent short-form films, exhibition, installation, and corporate media. You must identify at least three current job openings that relate to your career goals.
Job Resources.

Demo Reel
Research on the web to determine an appropriate style and format for a demo reel. Each student will produce a one page outline/concept using clips from past and current assignments, explaining the area of expertise they are highlighting (3D computer animation, 2D traditional, character design, cinematography, editing, etc.) Think of this assignment as the demo reel you would provide with an internship or job application. Demo Reel Guidelines.
Demo Reel Breakdown Sheet Guidelines.

Portfolio DVD - Your demo reel, resume, and artist statement should be included. It is best to work on your Portfolio DVD and Online portfolio in tandem aka use the aesthetics and resources from one for the other to create a cohesive look. 

Online portfolio - generate a professional online portfolio and clean up your web presence -- remove unprofessional facebook posts etc. You must develop a complete behance and vimeo page prior to the final day of class. These sites must me nurtured.

Festival/Screening Research - Research festival and screening opportunities to submit your final project to a larger audience.

Visiting Artist Lectures
You are required to attend 50% of these lectures and post a short review to your blog. If you are in more than one of my classes you may cross post your response -- you only need to write one response and post to each of your class blogs.

Reading to stay current/become grounded
Reserve 1hr/day to review blogs/periodicals.
Learning Accommodations
In compliance with MCA policy and equal access laws, I am available to discuss appropriate academic accommodations that you may require as a student with a disability. Request for academic accommodations need to be made during the first week of the semester, except for unusual circumstances, so arrangements can be made.

Health and Safety Precautions
As more and more work, education and recreation involves computers, everyone needs to be aware of the hazard of Repetitive Strain Injury to the hands and arms resulting from the use of computer keyboards and mice. This can be a serious and very painful condition that is far easier to prevent than to cure once contracted, and can occur even in young physically fit individuals. Paul Marxhausen – visit his site below

All students are required to follow the standards detailed in the "EPA Material Handling Protocols

Evaluation and Grading
Grading will be based on:
Creativity, aesthetic and conceptual development
Technical execution
Participation in critique and class discussions
Assignment write-ups
Visiting Artists Lecture write-ups

Assignments are due at 1pm on their scheduled dates. If you are to miss a scheduled due date, work must be handed in prior to absence. Points will be deducted for failure to participate in critique. Late assignments will not be accepted. Lost files are not an excuse for a late assignment. Loss of data, files, or other associated items needed for any assignment or project will require that you recreate your work, with no exceptions. You are solely responsible for the security of your files. Your files are not 100% secure on the server or computer desktop. You should have multiple copies on multiple sources at all times. No files are safe unless backed up to 3 locations.

Attendance Policy
Punctual, consistent attendance and serious participation in class is required for receiving credit. If there are five absences during the semester, credit will not be granted. If you have two absences, your grade will be lowered by one letter grade. Three late arrivals/early departures = 1 absence.

Readings and Resources
There are no required textbooks for this course. All readings will be made available online or handed out in class.

Materials and Supplies
(25) DVD-R’s
1 external hardrive

Department and Lab Policies
Immediately submit an online tech request to report any problems with a lab computer or printer.  

Main MCA computing info site =  -- go here for answers to frequently asked questions and online tutorials for MCA specific technologies.

Check out policy – refer to dept. blog

No Food or Drinks in Lab. $50.00 fine if you are found in violation.

Keep the Lab Clean. Dispose of all trash -- Paper scraps, old media etc.

Leave your workstation in an orderly fashion. All materials left on the desktop will be deleted. Organize files within the documents folder on your account. Delete your trash from your desktop and trash bin. 

Back up work to an external source. Remember files are only safe if they exist in 3 separate locations. MCA servers are not to be considered secure and used only for temporary storage.  

Log Out of your workstation prior to your departure. Upon your departure, the chair should be pushed in. Your monitor, keyboard and mouse should be placed in their proper positions.

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