Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Due 8/27

A. What is a shadow. Write a short response following your shadow gathering and brainstorming/freewriting response to your gather.

B.  Create a short presentation on the tradition of shadow puppetry of the country of your choice. Post your findings and links out to examples on your blog.
India -- Aminah
France -- Sean
Thailand -- Will
China -- 

C. Create a shadow puppet with 4 emotions -- Design and Performance//The show

Sharp scissors, exacto knives, utility blades, hole punch, needles, etc. etc.

Card Stock or Bristol Board Recommend

Control movement with wooden rods, bamboo skewers, thick drinking straws?
Attach rods with masking tape or aligator clamps/roach clips

For your first puppet try using only 1 or 2 manipulation rods. Many movements can be achieved 1 or 2 rods.

Use paper fasteners to attach joints -- see Jill for small size fasteners

Think about cut and color.

Opaque vs. Translucent vs. Transparent

Play with texture -- Fabric -- Lace -- Hair -- Fur -- Yarn -- Pipe cleaners etc. etc. etc.

We are focusing first on the puppet and it's design. Things we must consider along the way and to build in the future:

Casting the shadow
Translucent fabric -- cotton, linen, gauze -- must allow enough light to pass through the material to cast shadows but thick enough to keep puppeteer from being seen.
Lightweight white paper can also work.
To experiment stretch your screen across a frame like a doorway or cardboard box. Wrinkles will distort your shadow.
Screen will help to shape the shadow. Distance between the puppet and the screen.
Closer = smaller
Longer = larger -- However, the blurrier the shadow will become.

Carefully laid out and angled -- for testing a single desk lamp can work
Light intensity will depend on the size of the room or screen, and/or the time of day you want to translate
Generally want high enough the pupeteer's head is not obvious but low enough that the manipulation rods do not show through

Setting the scene -- Set pieces and props -- Soundtrack

Indonesia -- Wayang Kulit

Java - Puppet making studio images

Malaysian -- Wayang Kulit
New Hope -- Contemporary Malaysian
great detail shots of puppet construction and screen set-up -- towards end details switch from paper to transparent plastic

The art of shadowgraphy -- How it's done -- published 1900

Simple How 2's

Oregon Shadow Theatre
Matthew Robins
Richard Bradshaw
Stephen Mushin
Stephen Mushin 2
Shadowlight Productions
Shadowlight Productions 2
Theatre des Ombres
Book Art / Installation
Silhouette vs. Shadow
Interesting in terms of scale conversation in class
Show on the go

Fall 2014 Syllabus

DM 475 Experimental Cinema
Mac Lab 3
Jill L. Wissmiller
DM475 Blog

Office Hours:

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.

Learning Outcomes
Departmental Outcomes:
·       Students will demonstrate the capability to organize and present concepts verbally.
·       Students will demonstrate the capability to organize and present concepts visually.
·       Students will produce evidence of an understanding of the methods of media production.
·       Students will be able to communicate content in their media productions.
·       Students will demonstrate the time management skills necessary to complete the post-production process.
·       Students will demonstrate the capability to effectively publish their media production.
·       Students will research and identify screening opportunities.
·       Students will research and identify career goals.
Professional Practice Outcomes:
·       Students will demonstrate the ability to write a resume.
·       Students will demonstrate the ability to write a professional cover letter.
·       Students will demonstrate the ability to write an artist statement.
·       Students will demonstrate the ability to document their work.
·       Students will demonstrate the ability to exhibit work beyond the classroom.

·       Students will demonstrate basic computer/software literacy applicable to their field.
·       Students will demonstrate the ability to research graduate education and job opportunities in their field.
·       Students will demonstrate the ability to give a public presentation about their work.
·       Students will demonstrate the ability to research to stay current in their field.
·       Students will demonstrate development of a professional web presence.
·       Students will demonstrate basic knowledge of communication etiquette in their field.
·       Students will demonstrate the ability to work collaboratively.

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.

Assignments and Requirements
In Class Discussion, Critique, and Exercises
You will be expected to do original analyses 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.

Collaborative Group Projects
You will be required to design, produce, publicize and present a collaborative group project.

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.
Finding an Internship
MCA Internship Information
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 application.
Demo Reel Guidelines.
Demo Reel Breakdown Sheet Guidelines.
Online portfolio
Generate a professional online portfolio and clean up your web presence -- remove unprofessional facebook posts etc.. You must maintain a professional blog and vimeo page.

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.

Review Guidelines
Career Services Workshops
You must attend a minimum of 3 Career Services workshops 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 blog.

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 9am 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 three absences during the semester, credit will not be granted. If you have two absences, your grade will be lowered by one letter grade. Two 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

1 external hardrive
Equipment Deposit
Production Costs – to include props, costumes, sets, etc.
vimeoplus account

Department and Lab Policies
Immediately submit a detailed report of any problems with a lab computer or printer by emailing
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, tablet, pen and mouse should be placed in their proper positions.
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.