BA Music and Drama / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Video Project 1: Documentary

Unit code DRAM21091
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Drama
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

This course is designed to teach students different documentary styles and modes of production by integrating theory and analysis with practical work. The course runs in collaboration with a cultural partner in the city to commission short student films that respond to an external brief. Students work creatively to this brief, receiving practical training on industry level camera, sound and editing equipment whilst developing their critical investigation of documentary modes, narrative form and the ethics of storytelling.

 

Students work in smaller production groups under the close supervision and guidance of the tutor to develop, pitch, research and produce 5-minute films. Each student will be required to carry out a variety of functions which could include director, camera-person, sound-person, editor, production assistant and researcher. Through the partnership and filmmaking process students learn how to respond creatively to a professional brief and the responsibilities and sensitivities of working with communities and archives.

 

The course is preparatory for third year courses in film and screen studies, including documentary and docufiction film practice.

 

Pre/co-requisites

Available on which programme(s)?

L2 Drama, Drama and Screen, Drama and English, Music and Drama

Available as Free Choice (UG) or to other programmes (PG)?

No

 

Pre-requisite units

Any L1 Drama Practice module – Performance Practices 1; Performance Practices 2

 

Co-requisite units

Any L2 Drama or Film Core Study module - Theatres of Modernity ; Performance after Modernity; Screen, Culture and Society.

 

 

Aims

  • ·         To give students an introduction to documentary film preproduction, production and postproduction

    ·         To learn to conduct practice-based research on documentary film by drawing on documentary film history and theory

    ·         To equip students with a grounding in how to work responsibly and effectively with cultural partners, communities and archives

    ·         To stimulate students creatively to produce short films with real world impact and purpose

Syllabus

Indicative syllabus (representative only – all of the topics listed below may not be covered every year).

 

Week 1 -  Film brief and introduction to the course - Why do we document?
Week 2 – Introduction to camera and sound

Week 3 – The grammar of documentary film

Week 4 – Whose film is it anyway? Personal testimony and agency within documentary film

Week 5 – Film pitching session and techniques of observation

Week 6 – Reading week. The students are expected to use parts of their reading week for shooting

Week 7 – Editing software workshop

Week 8 – Shooting week and trouble-shooting workshop

Week 9 – Shooting week

Week 10 –Edit week 1: Creating a rough assembly and Reflexive Essay Writing workshop

Week 11 –Edit week 2: Final cut of film

Week 12 –Screening and appraisal of documentary films

Teaching and learning methods

The course will be taught by weekly practical classes, providing students with an opportunity to learn filmmaking via hands-on work with a camera, editing software and groupwork. Additional film screenings will be arranged as appropriate.

 

The course unit will be complemented by a Blackboard site that conforms to minimum requirements including a course handbook, production handbook, weekly course breakdown, provision of reading material, reading lists. Supplementary material from workshops will be added as appropriate. The blackboard site will be prepared and available to students at least one week prior to the beginning of the first teaching week each semester.

Knowledge and understanding

·         Demonstrate a basic contextual understanding of documentary film theory

·         Demonstrate a capacity to use documentary film production processes in producing their own films

·         Demonstrate an understanding of how to work to a professionally set brief

·         Demonstrate an understanding of how to establish and maintain relationships with individual, community and institutional participants in filmmaking and research practice

·         Demonstrate an understanding of the critical issues surrounding agency and storytelling, particularly in relation to marginalised voices and under-represented communities

Intellectual skills

·         Demonstrate their abilities in critical documentary film analysis

·         Demonstrate an ability to use reflective practice in order to develop and evaluate their own practical work in film-making

Practical skills

·         Demonstrate their skills in preproduction of documentary film

·         Demonstrate their skills in production of documentary film, including the use of industry-standard camera and sound equipment

·         Demonstrate their skills in postproduction of documentary film, including the use of Adobe premiere editing software

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • ·         Work to a professionally set brief

    ·         Demonstrate a good level of interpersonal communication and team-working skills

    ·         Demonstrate creative group-work skills (problem-solving, thinking innovatively, drawing on creative approaches of others, evaluating creative approaches of others, giving and receiving feedback, time-keeping)

    ·         Use effective leadership and group-work skills to solve problems and sustain a creative process

    ·         Perform with confidence and precision for specific audiences/contexts, making use of diverse creative approaches and media as appropriate to the module)

    Exercise ethical and social responsibility when working with externals partners, individuals and communities

Employability skills

Group/team working
¿ Ability to work independently and as part of a group to conceive, plan, undertake and evaluate original, well-developed responses to briefs (overseeing a creative process from inception through production, post-production and evaluation) ¿ A good level of skill in managing a group-work process ¿ leadership skills, ideas-sharing, giving and receiving feedback, taking initiative, negotiation, flexibility, compromise, collaboration, making contributions, reliability, time-keeping et cetera
Leadership
¿ Maintaining professional standards as regards self-presentation, including ability to speak to an audience with confidence and precision, and to effectively adapt presentation and material to specific contexts
Oral communication
¿ A good level of skill in managing a group-work process ¿ leadership skills, ideas-sharing, giving and receiving feedback, taking initiative, negotiation, flexibility, compromise, collaboration, making contributions, reliability, time-keeping et cetera ¿ Maintaining professional standards as regards self-presentation, including ability to speak to an audience with confidence and precision, and to effectively adapt presentation and material to specific contexts
Other
¿ Entry level industry-standard training in camera, sound and editing software

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 40%
Practical skills assessment 60%

Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Group film - written

Summative

Reflective essay - written

Summative

Ongoing feedback during workshops –peer to peer and tutor to student - oral

Formative

 

Recommended reading

Barnouw, E. 1993. Documentary: a history of the non-fiction

Barsam, R. 1992. Nonfiction Film: a critical history

Curran Bernard, S. 2007. Documentary Storytelling: making stronger and more dramatic nonfiction films
Millerson, G. 1992. Video Production Handbook
Murch, W. 2001. In the blink of an eye

Quinn, J. 2015. Adventures in the Lives of Others: Ethical Dilemmas in Factual Filmmaking
Rabiger, M. 1992. Directing the Documentary
Rosenthal, A. 2002. Writing, Directing, and Producing Documentary Films and Videos

 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Practical classes & workshops 33
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Johannes Sjoberg Unit coordinator

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