Welcome to the Department of English at Rutgers University

01 M 2,3  CAC 68562 BELL MU-038
03 T 3,4 CAC 72458 BIELECKI MU-038
05 TH 2,3   CAC 68561 SEIDEL MU-038
07  M 7,8 CAC  71081 AKESSON MU-038

01& 07-Digital Storytelling
This course provides students with the opportunity to put basic film theory, language, grammar and dramatic structure for the screen into action to produce original 4-8 minute digital stories.  The first part of the semester focuses on narrative structure for the screen as well as film grammar and language used to create film narratives. Specific attention is paid to how frame, lighting, composition, placement of dialogue and sound along with editing choices affect and drive digital narratives. Through in-class group exercises and referencing assigned readings, students will become conscious of filmic techniques that they can employ to assemble a story for the screen. Each student will then produce an outline and storyboard for an individual digital essay that includes either written dialogue or voice-over. The rest of the class will consist of creative workshops in which digital stories, shot and edited outside of class time, are reviewed and re-edited in class. During creative workshops we review how film theory and narrative structure is being applied to original digital essays exploring filmic and stylistic choices students make when shaping a creative 3 act narrative for the screen. Mid-semester, a quiz will be given to test students understanding of basic concepts in film language, grammar, theory and narrative structure. At the end of the semester, each student will write a 5 page paper analyzing their film process and explaining how theory discussed in class was applied in their filmmaking. We will be editing our digital stories with Final Cut Pro editing software. Students not familiar with the software should consider registering for one of the Video Editing Labs that are offered to all students through the Mason Gross School of the Arts.

03-Creativity and Expression in the 21st Century
We are only ten years into the 21st century, yet in the span of that decade we have seen unprecedented advances in technology that is used to create and communicate ideas.  YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, blogs, and podcasts are only a few examples of commonly used digital media platforms that have been used so much that it seems as if they have been with us forever.  The reality is that all of these platforms are still quite new.  

In this class we will be critically examining different ways in which digital media has help to contribute to modes of thinking about creativity and expression.  Through assigned texts and selected videos, podcasts, and other examples of popular digital media we will be meditating on what creativity and communication means in the 21st century.  In addition to working with the assigned course texts, students will have the opportunity to develop projects that utilize digital media in order to generate their own ideas around the question, what does it means to be connected in the digital age?

All reading materials for this course will be provided by the instructor.  Access to flip cameras or portable travel drives (if needed for storage) will be made available upon request.

 

The only required item that students need to purchase for the course is Snagit, a program that will allow you to capture and manipulate still images and video/audio from the Web.  The price of the software is $50.00, and can be securely downloaded from http://www.techsmith.com/snagit/default.asp?gclid=CJXE-Ijc_qoCFRDe4AodXTA42A
http://www.techsmith.com/snagit/default.asp?gclid=CJXE-Ijc_qoCFRDe4AodXTA42A

 

This is the only material purchase required for the course, and once purchased can be used indefinitely by the student for any future projects/assignments that they may have.  This is an invaluable and highly functioning software program that will be central to the creation of the projects that will constitute your digital portfolio.  If there are any questions or concerns about purchasing this software please speak with the instructor immediately.

05- Documentary Filmmaking for Writers
Documentaries are the creative selecting, organizing and presenting of factual material. In this class, we will explore how recorded material (images, sounds and dialogue) from the real world and real people become the ‘words’ we use to shape a documentary story. Students will learn how to conduct an interview, a fundamental component to documentary filmmaking. This process allows the storyteller behind the camera to establish a relationship with a real life character. Students will be trained to be good listeners for it is with the recorded words of a real life character that students compose their stories. This course provides students with the opportunity to employ basic documentary film theory and dramatic film structure to produce original 4-8 minute documentary stories.  The first part of the semester focuses on documentary history, documentary theory and documentary ethics as well as narrative structure for the screen.  Specific attention is paid to use of frame, lighting, composition, placement of dialogue and sound along to drive a documentary narrative. Through in-class group exercises and referencing assigned readings, students will become conscious of filmic techniques that they can employ to assemble a non-fiction story for the screen. Each student will then write the story of a real life person with accompanying interview questions. The rest of the class will consist of creative workshops in which student documentaries, shot and edited outside of class time, are reviewed and re-edited in class. During creative workshops we review how the material students are capturing from the real world can be shaped into a narrative structure. Mid-semester, a quiz will be given to test students understanding of basic concepts in documentary theory, history and ethics as well as narrative film structure. At the end of the semester, each student will write a 5 page paper analyzing their film process and explaining how theory discussed in class was applied in their filmmaking. We will be editing our digital stories with Final Cut Pro editing software. Students not familiar with the software should consider registering for one of the Video Editing Labs that are offered to all students through the Mason Gross School of the Arts.

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