The information below will give you some sense of the reading, writing, and creative work you will be engaged with during this portion of the semester. There will be variations among each individual course section, so see your instructor for detailed daily schedule, directed writing, assigned reading, activities, deadlines, etc.
learning goals :: topics
Lots of introductory discussion of equipment and software. Literacy, visual literacy, semiotics (remember, basic). Thinking, creating, making. Seeing, hearing, paying attention. Video as a language for expression and communication. Exploring content selection, sequence, and timing as variables in the authoring process.
located in the campus library electronic reserves
“I Walk into a White Room”, Twyla Tharp
“Rituals of Preparation”, Twyla Tharp
“Your Creative DNA”, Twyla Tharp
“Before You Can Think Out of the Box, You Have To Start With a Box”, Twyla Tharp
“Scratching”, Twyla Tharp
- visual literacy + semiotics
“The Vocabulary of Comics”, Scott McCloud
“The Significance of Film Form”, David Boardwell
Your instructor will give you some basic suggestions for creating your electronic journal. Journal entries and directed writing for this module will focus heavily on two issues:
- creativity :: developing creative habits + methods
Directed writing assignments will be closely linked with the Twyla Tharp readings above. They are excerpted from a book titled The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It For Life. It includes a number of writing exercises that will be used in this course.
- paying atttention :: hunting + gathering
This is closely related to creativity. As part of your journal work you will be expected, everyday, to post a journal entry called 10 Things I Saw Today. This list can be text, still images (ala your cellphone even), and/or short video clips. Students are encouraged to mix it up and use multiple inscription technologies to record and collect what they see, hear, and experience. What do you pay attention to? What draws your interest? What is memorable? What are you missing?
This module incorporates two exercises intended to give students an easy entry-point into video production, and to provide the class with an opportunity to explore some basic aspects of communicating in a time-based medium.
exercise 1 :: noun, verb, adjective
a grammatical part of speech that names a person, animal, object, quality, idea, or time.
a grammatical part of speech that expresses action, a state, or a relation between two things.
adjective (and/or adverb)
a grammatical part of speech that expresses an attribute of something or acts as a modifier of nouns and verbs
Carry a camcorder around with you for a day (ideally, everyday, all the time) and start assembling a collection of very short video clips: try just 10-15 seconds. (suggestion: you could also combine this activity with the 10 Things I Saw Today journaling activity mentioned above). Try to collect at least a few dozen of these.
Transfer this footage as separate clips into an iMovie project file. After reviewing each clip, name the clip using one of the grammatical terms above: noun, verb, adjective (or adverb).
Once all of your clips are transfered into your project file and named, review your material. Then create at least 3 different ‘video sentences’ using your collection. Each sentence should use between 3 and 9 clips. No one piece should be longer than 30 seconds, though.
These pieces can be fun, serious, literal, straightforward, or mysterious. It is required, however, that you have a good time in the process.
Your section instructor will devise a scheme for the whole class to share and view finished exercises. S/he may also base some classroom activities around sharing and exchanging raw project files.
Become comfortable using a camcorder; develop a habit of always looking and listening — paying attention — to what’s going around you; get some experience using iMovie; start thinking of video as a language; experience how editing (choosing content, sequence, and pacing) creates interest and meaning.
exercise 2 :: manifesto/motif
1. a public declaration of intentions, opinions, objectives, or motives, as one issued by a government, organization, or individual.
1. a distinctive feature or dominant idea in an artistic or literary composition.
2. an important and sometimes recurring theme or idea in a work of literature. Also called motive
3. a short prominent sequence of notes forming the basis for development in a piece of music. Also called motto
Your section instructor will show you some examples of manifestos and you will be asked to draft one for yourself. With this text in hand, you will then engage in a process of attempting to translate some aspect of this written text into a video (media) text. How can you transform alphabetic communication into images that move and make sound?
You do not have to communicate the entire contents of the manifesto. Instead you will be encouraged to identify a single component, idea, or motif that you can work with. Is there a particular tone or energy that can be communicated visually? Are there particular subjects, camera angles, editing techniques, sounds, etc. that might relate conceptually to your manifesto?
Your video does not have to be a direct illustration. Instead the manifesto could be a jumping off point, have only a tangental relationship, or be an extension of the written text. You will, however, need to be prepared to describe and explain the relationship between the writing and the video.
A suggestion: review your raw clips and finished pieces from Exercise 1. Look for any hints of recurring interests or aesthetic habits. Examples: you might notice that you shot a lot of doorways or that many of your shots had circular shapes in them; perhaps you have a lot of shots of frenetic movement; maybe you always shot people, but pointed the camera down a lot and only shot their feet; perhaps you shot several clips with only subtle motion, very little sound, and no people. Look for patterns in the way you see, pay attention, and collect.
Are there ways to incorporate these aesthetic habits into this exercise? Is there already a relationship between your thoughts and beliefs, and the way you experience the world and gather information?
Take notes. Write about what you discover and where you think these habits come from. Then hatch a plan for shooting new footage that builds on these reflections.
Your finished piece should be roughly 1 minute long. It should have a clear visual and/or conceptual motif. It should be related in some way to your written manifesto and you should be prepared to explain this.
Review what you learned in Exercise 1 about shooting and editing. Exercise 2 gives you an opportunity to be more intentional about what you want to communicate, and to try creating a narrative that is longer and a bit more sophisticated: How will the piece begin? How will it end? What happens if you think about musical composition as an analogy (i.e. slow, fast, loud, soft, solo, quartet, orchestra)?
Have fun. Take risks.
Sort of already stated above: you’ll have the opportunity to extend what you learned in Exercise 1; think intentionally about how you experience the world and how you communicate that experience to an audience; get even more comfortable with equipment and software.
assessment :: grading rubric
All instructors use a grading rubric based on this template. However, students should consult with their section instructor for specific details. The assigned grade will reflect an assessment of all components of coursework: electronic journal, finished videos, and classroom participation (including personal skills).