Introduction to Film Syllabus for 2021-2022
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Instructor Information


Office Location

Online only.

Office Hours

By appointment only.

Course Information

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COMM-2366-002 Introduction to Film


Course Description

An introductory course in film studies which surveys the American film industry as an art form, a business and a means of communication. Extensive screenings and analysis of representative films from various genres. An examination of how Hollywood films work technically, artistically and culturally.

Student ResourcesStudent Resources Website

Department Expectations

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Students enrolled in an educational program in preparation for obtaining certain occupational licenses are potentially ineligible for such license if the student has been convicted of an offense. For further information, please contact:

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(3 sem hrs; 3 lec)

Class Type

Online Course

Syllabus Information


Film Art: An Introduction, 11th Ed. | David Bordwell, Kristin Thompson, Jeff Smith


Disclaimer: Films in this course range from a PG rating to an R rating. R rated films can feature violence, language, sexual content, substance abuse and nudity. If you are unable to watch a film due to personal convictions, please contact me at the beginning of the semester for alternative assignments. 

Student Performance

Student Performance

  • Analyze film through written response.
  • Applying knowledge of the cinematic language in formal analysis.
  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge of film history, form, and genre.
  • Describe the collaborative nature of cinema and the many jobs required to develop a motion picture.
  • Discuss/Describe the relationship of cinema to society as it relates to his/her perspective.

Students Rights and Responsibilities

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Log in using the AC Connect Portal

In order to receive your AC Connect Email, you must log in through AC Connect at .

If you are an active staff or faculty member according to Human Resources, use "Exchange". All other students, use "AC Connect (Google) Email".

Expected Student Behavior


  • No form of scholastic dishonesty will be tolerated.

Plagiarism is unacceptable. Plagiarism is considered serious academic misconduct. All written assignments presented in this class must be original work by the student. Any student caught plagiarizing or cheating will receive a failing grade for the course.

Scholastic dishonesty shall include, but not be limited to, cheating on a test, plagiarism, and collusion. Cheating on a test shall include: 1. Copying from another student’s test paper. 2. Using test materials not authorized by the person administering the test. 3. Collaborating with or seeking aid from another student during a test without permission from the test administrator. 4. Knowingly using, buying, selling, stealing, or soliciting, in whole or in part, the contents of an unadministered test. 5. The unauthorized transporting or removal, in whole or in part, of the contents of the unadministered test. 6. Substituting for another student, or permitting another student to substitute for one’s self, to take a test. 7. Bribing another person to obtain an unadministered test or information about an unadministered test. Plagiarism shall be defined the unacknowledged submission or incorporation of another person's/organization's work as one’s own written work for purposes of receiving grades in this course and/or publication in a student media outlet, regardless of whether the lifted material represents the original work in its entirety or in part. Collusion shall be defined as the unauthorized collaboration with another person in preparing written work for fulfillment of course requirements. A complete statement regarding scholastic dishonesty can be found in the Student Code of Conduct inStudent Rights and Responsibilities in this syllabus.

Grading Criteria

Grading Breakdown:

Online Discussion | 20%

Short Formal Analyses | 30% (2 assignments, 15% each)

Shot-by-Shot Analyses | 30% (2 assignments, 15% each)

Group Project | 20%

Assignment Summaries

Online Discussion | 20%

As an online course, the bulk of your interaction with other students occurs in our online discussions. Beginning in Week 1, you will be required to write two responses each week to the discussion question posted in connection to the assigned film. Your responses must answer the discussion question and also react to at least one discussion post of your classmates. However, you are more than welcome to pose other questions to bring about other discussions in a separate post. In order to receive full marks in the discussion, your post should demonstrate that you watched the film, and also incorporate the knowledge gleaned from lectures and assigned readings. Therefore, posts resembling plot summaries attainable on Wikipedia, IMDb, or other movie review sites will not be accepted. Additionally, posts without in-depth responses (approx. 100 wds.) will not receive a grade—that being the case, you need to write more than “I agree” or “I disagree.” 


Short Formal Analyses | 30% (2 assignments, 15% each)

Beginning in Week 3, you will be given a brief clip from the assigned film to analyze. This course is primarily concerned with understanding the cinematic language and formal elements of film, therefore your analysis should be focused on using the terminology and methods (stylistic, historical, and theoretical) of analysis discussed in the readings or lectures provided. This is not a film review. For example, focus on how the lighting influences perceptions of character types, how the camera movement carries the narrative flow, or how the editing conveys urgency. The options are endless and completely up to your observations of film form in the assigned scenes. To ensure your analysis has a central point, like the aforementioned examples, each analysis must have a thesis statement in the introductory paragraph. Following the thesis statement, your body paragraphs will support your argument with sufficient evidence to prove your argument. As this assignment is short, you will not be required to have a conclusion.

You have one week to complete your short formal analyses. 

The Short Formal Analysis must be approximately 400-500 words, double-spaced, Times New Roman, with your thesis statement bolded. Comments will be provided, if needed, on your submissions to establish where improvements can be made in future assignments.


Shot-by-Shot Analysis | 30% (2 assignments, 15% each)

The shot-by-shot analysis will be a technical and written exercise that will require you to watch a designated scene from North by Northwest and Jurassic Park (Weeks 5 and 7) and break it down into separate shots. Once they are dissected into shots, you will describe the shot, its shot scale (close-up, extreme long shot, etc.), length of the shot, and camera movement in the shot. After discerning these elements of the shot, you will write a 300 word reflection on the patterns recognized and how they are used to build suspense

Group Project | 20% The group project will be assigned in Week 6. It requires you to research a major motion picture company and answer the prompts as it relates to the company. The purpose of this assignment is to understand major motion picture studios, their business models, and the types of films they make, produce, and distribute. After answering the writing prompts, write a 800 word research summary of the chosen Independent Film company with a cohesive writing voice.


• Students are expected to login 3 to 5 times a week and participate in Online Discussion.


The following are suggested due dates. Students who wish to receive comments or feedback (if necessary) can submit by the dates listed below. The final due date for all assignments and discussions is  May 9, 2022.


Part One: Early Cinema, Film Style, & Genre

Week 1 | Introduction & The Silent Era

Read: Film Art: Ch. 2: The Significance of Film Form

Watch: Selected Silent Shorts

Discuss: Introduce Yourself (Suggested due date March 27)


Week 2 | Narrative and Melodrama

Read: Film Art: Ch. 3: Narrative Form

Watch: Waterloo Bridge (LeRoy 1940) 

Discuss: Waterloo Bridge (Suggested due date April 3)

Link to the film:


Week 3 | Mise-en-scène and The Musical

Read: Film Art: Ch. 4: Mise-en-scène

Watch: Singin' in the Rain (Donen 1952)

Assignment: Short Formal Analysis (Suggested due date April 10)

Discuss: Singin' in the Rain (Suggested due date April 10)


Week 4 | Cinematography and Film Noir

Read: Ch. 5: Cinematography

Watch: Night of the Hunter (Laughton 1955)

Assignment: Short Formal Analysis (Suggested due date April 17)

Discuss: Night of the Hunter (Suggested due date April 17)


Week 5 | Editing and Suspense

Read: Film Art: Ch. 6: The Relation of Shot to Shot: Editing

Watch: North by Northwest (Hitchcock 1959)

Assignment: Shot-by-shot Analysis (Suggested due date April 24) 

Discuss: North by Northwest (Suggested due date April 24)


Week 6 | Sound + New Hollywood

Watch: Bonnie and Clyde (Penn 1967)

Read: Film Art: Ch. 7: Sound in the Cinema

Assignment: Group Project (Due May 9)

Discuss: Bonnie and Clyde (Suggested due date May 1) 


Part Two: Contemporary Cinema & The Film Industry


The Film Industry and Blockbusters

Watch: Jurassic Park (Spielberg 1993)

Assignment: Shot-by-shot Analysis (Suggested due date May 9)

Discuss: Jurassic Park (Suggested due date May 9)


Week 8 | Contemporary Cinema + Independent Films

No Readings

Watch: Jojo Rabbit (Waititi 2019) 

Additional Information

Help in navigating the course website can be found at and clicking on "AC Connect."

Students may use the computers located in the Mass Media Lab in Parcells Hall 214 or in the Lynn Library on the fourth floor of Ware Student Center to access AC Connect.

Students are encouraged to follow the Matney Mass Media department and The Ranger on social media and read The Ranger at

Matney Mass Media Department on Facebook:
Matney Mass Media Department on Twitter:
The Matney Mass Media Messenger
The Ranger:
The Ranger on Facebook:
The Ranger on Twitter:
The Ranger on Instagram:

Department website:

AC offers many opportunities to explore the mass media.  Ask your instructor how you can become a D.J. on FM-90, can write for the College newspaper and can join the crew shooting live football video this fall.  Don’t miss your chance to take photos for the College magazine or work as a videographer, graphic artist or web designer for the College’s news website. In addition, AC mass media faculty can help you find paid positions in the local media industry.  Don’t just sit there—get involved!

Syllabus Created on:

03/21/22 8:45 PM

Last Edited on:

03/21/22 8:48 PM