Writing About Film
ENGL 381 A (C) – Advanced Expository Writing:
Writing About Film
Professor: Jessica Campbell Winter 2016
Office: Padelford B-435 Class Meetings:
Office Hours: MW 10:30-11:30 MW 3:30-5:20
or by appointment Loew 222
A characteristic of advanced writers is their ability to adjust to the demands of various writing situations and various genres. Our primary texts for the course will be films—films that belong to several sub-genres but are all derived from the traditional fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty.” We will examine how filmmakers from different historical and geographical contexts interpret the same story in vastly different ways. For some films, we will also study trailers and posters in order to interrogate the relationship between the films themselves and the ways they are advertised. Meanwhile, we will read and write texts that are all about these films but are otherwise very different: reviews, academic articles, summaries, opinion pieces, and even DVD blurbs. Because this course fulfills the “C” (composition) requirement, you will produce a great deal of writing, some of which will undergo a revision process. The course grade will be based on writing assignments and in-class participation.
- Textbook available at the university bookstore: Rhetorical Grammar, Seventh Edition, edited by Martha Kolln and Loretta Gray. ISBN 978-0-321-84672-3
- A notebook for in-class writing
- A folder to keep handouts and other materials together
- Internet access and an active UWNet ID and e-mail account. Course readings may be found on our Canvas page: https://canvas.uw.edu/courses/1037807.
20% Summary & Analysis
20% Critical Response
20% Final Revision
10% Participation, Quizzes, Conference
Since this class bears a C credit, you will complete several writing assignments: a summary & analysis of a film, a DVD blurb, a film review, and a response to a critical essay. You will receive detailed prompts for each of these assignments as the due dates approach. The final paper will be a revision of one of these assignments; you will choose which paper to revise.
Except for the blurb, all of your three written assignments must comply with all of the following formatting guidelines (as a general rule, follow MLA format):
- 1-inch margins (be sure to check—the default is often 1.25 inches)
- 12-point Times New Roman font
- A double-spaced heading in the top left-hand corner with your name, instructor name, class (ENGL 381), and the date
- After the heading, include a centered title, NOT bold or underlined
- Include page numbers in the upper right hand corner of each page
- Proper MLA in-text citation (we’ll talk about how to do this)
- Works Cited page
First, this means coming to class regularly. I don’t want to hear that you’re missing class because you have an appointment or want to attend another professor’s office hours. Attending class needs to be a top priority; I learn names quickly so will know when you’re not here. But “participation” means more than just showing up. I expect you to come on time, to have the assigned readings with you, to have completed the assigned work, and to participate actively and respectfully in class discussions and activities. Our goal is to create a learning community in which everyone participates more or less equally. So if you are shy, challenge yourself to speak up a couple of times a week; if you tend to talk a lot, consider holding back when you have already contributed substantially. I will call on people. If you miss class for any reason, it is your responsibility to check with a classmate to see what you’ve missed. Although you need not attend the official class screenings of the films, you are responsible for having watched each film before the first day we discuss it in class. Even if you have seen an assigned film before, you still must watch it again; you will notice different things about it in the context of our class, and those are the things you’ll be asked to discuss and write about.
I give quizzes occasionally (and without warning) as an incentive to complete reading and viewing assignments. The stronger the evidence that students are not completing these assignments, the more quizzes I will give.
You MUST participate in one 20-minute conference with me in my office at some point in the quarter. You decide when – it might be before a paper is due, after you receive feedback on a paper, or perhaps toward the end of the quarter as you decide which paper to revise for the final. Talk to me in class or email me at least a couple of days in advance so that we can find a time that works for both of us. Naturally, you are welcome to attend my office hours or make additional appointments with me as many times as you like during the quarter; the single 20-minute conference is a MINIMUM requirement.
Writing Center and CLUE
Writing tutors are available to help you one-on-one with your writing at the Odegaard Writing Center. Check out http://depts.washington.edu/owrc and make appointments in advance. For drop-in help, try CLUE; their website is http://depts.washington.edu/clue/. Keep in mind that this tutoring isn’t “for bad writers;” everybody can use an extra pair of eyes on a paper.
Assignments should be submitted to the “Assignments” page on Canvas by the due date and the due time. If you turn in a paper late, I will not give you feedback on it, and you’ll lose a full point on the 4.0 scale for each day you fail to turn it in past the deadline. If an emergency situation arises, e-mail me or come talk to me and we will work something out.
Office Hours and E-mail
I’m available to help you or chat with you, and I want you to feel comfortable communicating with me about any concerns. Office hours are set periods during which I will be in my office, twiddling my thumbs until a student comes to talk to me. I also tend to respond to e-mails promptly. (I often send e-mails too—be sure to keep an eye on your inbox).
Plagiarism—Just don’t do it!
Plagiarism, also known as academic dishonesty, is presenting someone else’s ideas or writing as your own. I encourage you to refer to other people’s thoughts in your writing for this class—just be sure to cite them properly. Remember, improper citation counts as plagiarism. We’ll go over proper citation in class, and if you have any question about how to cite or about whether you need to cite something, play it safe and cite it, or ask me. As a matter of policy, any student found to have plagiarized any piece of writing in this class will be immediately reported to the College of Arts and Sciences for review.
If you need accommodation of any sort, please let me know so that I can work with the UW Disability Services Office (DSO) to provide what you require. This syllabus is available in large print, as are other class materials. More information about accommodation may be found at http://www.washington.edu/admin/dso/.
Preventing violence is everyone’s responsibility. If you’re concerned, tell someone.
- Always call 911 if you or others may be in danger.
- Call 206-685-SAFE (7233) to report non-urgent threats of violence and for referrals to UW counseling and/or safety resources. TTY or VP callers, please call through your preferred relay service.
- Don’t walk alone. Campus safety guards can walk with you on campus after dark. Call Husky NightWalk 206-685-WALK (9255).
- Stay connected in an emergency with UW Alert. Register your mobile number to receive instant notifications of campus emergencies via text and voice messaging. Sign up online at www.washington.edu/alert
For more information visit the SafeCampus website at www.washington.edu/safecampus.
All readings Available on Canvas Except RG
(RG = Rhetorical Grammar)
This Calendar is Subject to Change
1/4 Syllabus, Introductions
1/6 Watch in class: Disney version of Sleeping Beauty (1959)
1/11 Discuss Perrault & Grimm versions of “Sleeping Beauty”; discuss Short, Introduction to Fairy Tale and Film (all readings available on Canvas via the page “Readings for Monday, January 11)
1/13 RG Chapter 2; discuss Disney version of Sleeping Beauty
1/18 NO CLASS – MLK Holiday
1/20 RG Ch. 3; discuss Sleeping Beauty directed by Leigh (2011)
1/25 Discuss supplemental materials for 1959 and 2011 Sleeping Beauty versions
1/27 RG Ch. 4; Summary & Analysis peer review
Summary & Analysis due Friday, 1/29, at 6 PM to Canvas
2/1 Discuss Talk to Her (2002)
2/3 RG Ch. 5; look at DVD blurbs
Blurb due Sunday, 2/7, at 6 PM to Canvas
2/8 Find and bring in reviews of any of the films we have watched; screening in class of Sleeping Beauty directed by Reiniger (1922)
2/10 RG Ch. 6; discuss reviews
2/15 NO CLASS – Presidents’ Day Holiday
2/17 RG Ch. 7; peer review Review assignment
Review Assignment due Friday, 2/19, at 6 PM to Canvas
2/22 Discuss Maleficent (2014) and supplementary materials (reviews, articles, publicity materials)
2/24 RG Ch. 8; Discuss critical articles
2/29 Prep for Critical Response assignment
3/2 RG Ch. 9; peer review Critical Response
Critical Response due Friday, 3/4, at 6 PM to Canvas
3/7 Prep for Final Paper
3/9 Prep for Final Paper
Final Paper Due Friday, 3/18, at 6 PM to Canvas
Advanced Composition: Writing About Film
A characteristic of advanced writers is their ability to adjust to the demands of various writing situations and various genres. Our primary texts for the course will be films—films that belong to several sub-genres but all derive from the traditional fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty.” We will examine how filmmakers from different historical and geographical contexts interpret the same story in vastly different ways. For some films, we will also study trailers and posters in order to interrogate the relationship between the films themselves and the ways they are advertised. Meanwhile, we will read and write texts that are all about these films but are otherwise very different: reviews, academic articles, summaries, opinion pieces, and even DVD blurbs. Because this course fulfills the “C” (composition) requirement, you will produce 25-30 pages of writing, some of which will undergo a revision process. The course grade will be based on writing assignments and in-class participation.