Advanced Screenwriting
An intensive workshop designed specifically for someone who plans to make a film for moderation or senior project. In a seminar setting, we will work on: script analysis, staging, rewrites, and a shooting script. The goal will be to develop a concise and polished script to become the basis for a short film. Prerequisite: Film 256 – Writing the Film or the successful completion of a sophomore level production class.

Cinematic Adaptation
Is adaptation translation or response? This workshop takes on all kinds of inspirational forms: music, science, painting, literature, dance, philosophy etc. and uses them as roots for cinematic adaptation.  We’ll explore the process of adaptation by looking at a number of different works and their source materials then, through a series of exercises, students will engage an outside work and not simply translate it to film, but respond to the initial work in their adaptation.

The Conversation
This is a live-action film workshop. This production class will investigate approaches to storytelling and the narrative form with a goal towards identifying the subtext within given dialogue scenes. Students will locate “the lie” in the spoken word and “the truth” through visual indicators; exploring the impact that camera placement, blocking, the use of narrative beats and editing have on a particular scene. Students will discover how their filmmaking choices support, undermine or contradict what their characters are saying.

Ethnography Through Various Media
Cross-listed:  Experimental Humanities. The relation between self and others, the problems and pleasures of cross-cultural encounters, the sensory aspects of culture, the relation of subjectivity to broader institutional and ideological forces – these are all themes found in a range of productions that might be called ethnographic in nature. In artistic circles there has been a turn towards work that is conceived as ethnographic in terms of deep engagement and immersion in a social world, while in anthropology there has been a turn towards representing sensory worlds in ethnographies that use media other than/in addition to traditional genres of ethnographic writing. In this course, we will use the tools of anthropology — participant-observation, interviews, and immersion – to create ethnographies in several different media, including film, video, audio, and experimental writing. The course will introduce students to some of the basic assumptions and methods of ethnographic research while also viewing and listening to the work of filmmakers, audiographers, and anthropologists, including Jean Rouch, Raymond Birdwhistel, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Tracey Moffat, Peter Kubelka, Juan Downey, Robert Gardner, Margaret Mead, and John Marshall. The course will be co-taught by an anthropologist and filmmaker, who will each bring the expertise of their field to facilitate the making of ethnographical work in various media.

Experimental Ethnography
Cross-listed:  Experimental Humanities; Human Rights. The definition of self in relation to others, the hermetic history of subcultures, the trouble with defining an “other,” the pleasures and problems of intercultural encounters: these are a few themes found within a strain of experimental film and video that might be defined as experimental ethnographies. In this course, we will use the tools of media production (film, video, audio) and ethnography (observation, interview, immersion) to make work that may be defined as ethnographic; course participants may also use devices of fiction, performance, animation, or other approaches to produce films and videos.  Course time will also be devoted to discussing media screenings and related readings, including work by Jean Rouch, Raymond Birdwhistel, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Tracey Moffat, Peter Kubelka, Juan Downey, and Homi Bhabha. Prerequisites:  Intro to Video or similar production course.

In the Archive
Cross-listed: Art History. Starting with readings from Derrida, Benjamin, Enwezor and Sekula among others on the archive, we will discuss the impulse to preserve, guardianship, access, the politics of collections and collective memory. Various preservation models will be examined through visits to film archives, discussions with film preservationists and screenings. A variety of work by contemporary artists who engage with the history and logic of the archive will be studied, such as Marcel Broodthaers, Joseph Cornell, Renee Green and Walid Raad. As a group, we will establish dossiers (including: an interview, filmography, bibliography, catalogue of works) on a number of contemporary film/video makers, and begin to form an archive of significant experimental works and related materials at Bard for study, education and exhibition.

Interactive, Non-Linear Narrative
This workshop provides an introduction to writing interactive non-linear narratives for film, video and new media. We will first investigate concrete interactive strategies then use them to provoke existing linear narratives. Next, students will build short interactive scripts using multiple lines of unique narrative inquiry and resolution. For the final project, students will work in teams to create complex interactive worlds, the success of which will be determined by the complexity of questions raised by the multi-modal paths. All work will be done in script form with some visual mapping required. Skills gained in this workshop help deepen the relationship between writer and viewer and can be applied to a wide variety of narrative development including– but not limited to–game narrative. Screenwriting is strongly recommended as a prerequisite.

Landscape & Media
A class designed for Junior level film and video majors. The class will study and compare representations of the American landscape through the history of film and painting vs. the depiction of landscape and environmental issues manifest through television and video. Students will be required to complete a short film or video every two weeks referencing sites visited. Required reading: B. McKibben’s The Age of Missing Information.

Notes on the Cinematographer
“Provoke the unexpected. Expect it.” “Make the objects look as if they want to be there.” “Build your film on white, on silence, and on stillness.” “Debussy himself used to play with the piano’s lid down.” Robert Bresson’s elliptical and influential book “Notes on the Cinematographer” contains twenty-five years of the French director’s memos, observations, and critiques of his own filmmaking. With these brief aphorisms, one discerns his philosophy of filmmaking and its relationship to theater, painting, music, literature, and nature. Using “Notes On the Cinematographer” as our guide, course participants will produce a series of short film/video works in response to specific “directives” chosen from Bresson’s book. We will also view Bresson’s films “A Man Escapes,” “Pickpocket,” “Mouchette,” and “Au Hasard Balthazar” as iterations of the ideas expressed in “Notes” and use these as texts to respond to with our own productions. Through these exercises, course participants will develop a deeper understanding of Bresson’s work and develop their own personal philosophies of cinema. A final project that is designed, shot and edited during the second half of the semester is required of each student. All genres of film and videomaking are welcome and expected.

This course will use weekly screenings to survey the styles and meaning of re enactments, including remakes, homages, reinterpretations, sequels, conspiracy rants and reruns to pose questions about history, trauma, memory and forgetting, narrative and authenticity as they is presented in both experimental and mainstream media. Themes such as fictionalizing historical events (Kiarostami, 9-11 docudramas), repetition in experimental media (Arnold, Jacobs), performance and playacting (Ra’ad, Dougherty), memory and repression (Hitchcock) will be screened. Issues regarding gender, identity, politics, history, technology, and copyright will be addressed as raised by the work. Students are required to write weekly responses to the films and readings and produce their own video work, as the syllabus for the class will specify.

Sound & Picture
This course will explore the principles and practices of sound design in motion pictures. Through analysis of existing narrative sound works and through student’s own sound creations, the class will explore the mutual influence of sound and picture. Over the semester, students will have the opportunity to deeply explore the editing process and discover how sound comes into play when making a cut.  In the first part of the semester, students will record and build layered tracks (ambient, foley, ADR) for sequences from existing films. In the second part of the semester, students will shoot their own footage to integrate with existing soundtracks. Students who wish to take the course should be familiar with the fundamentals of computer-based media and should be willing to share their work with others.

Stereoscopic 3D Video Production
Cross-listed:  Experimental Humanities. This course introduces methods for producing three-dimensional video using stereo cameras and projection systems that exploit binocular vision. We examine moments in the evolution of 3D technology and historical attempts at what AndréBazin called “total cinema,” considering the perceptual and ideological implications of apparatuses that attempt to intensify realistic reproductions of the physical world. Students attend weekly screenings of a broad range of 3D films, including classic Hollywood genre movies, contemporary blockbusters, short novelty films, independent narratives, animations, industrial films, documentaries, avant-garde and experimental artworks. Creative assignments challenge students to explore the expressive potential of the 3D frame (the “stereoscopic window”) while developing new and experimental approaches to shooting and editing 3D images.

Virtual Environments
Cross-listed: Experimental Humanities. In this course students create cinematic works using digital technologies that simulate the real world and replace/enhance live production environments. Topics include: 3D modeling and animation, machinima, motion-capture, 2D to stereoscopic 3D post-conversion, and other methods for compositing real and virtual sources. Weekly readings reflect on the psychological and cultural impacts of the increasingly prevalent use of computer-generated imagery in contemporary media. We will view artworks that use and strategically misuse CGI. Students are not assumed to have any previous experience with 3D animation. Prerequisite: Previous coursework in video production or permission of the instructor.

Writing the Film: Science Fiction and Adaptation
An intensive workshop-based course is designed to explore the sci-fi genre and develop an original or an adapted science fiction screenplay. The course topics will include discussions on a wide range of possibilities within the genre from biological threats to killer robots. Students will be asked to read classic science fictions for adaptation exercises and analyze classic science fiction films such as La Jetée, Solaris, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Bladerunner. The goal of the course will be to complete a short science fiction script. Pre-requisite: Film 256 – Writing the Film or the successful completion of a sophomore level production class.