This shot-by-shot project will refine your ability to analyze all aspects of film form. Through close study of a specific series of shots, you will demonstrate your command of the terms and concepts first encountered in Introduction to Film, now mastered at an advanced level.
You and several classmates will be assigned one of the films by Alfred Hitchcock listed below. View them via the free streaming hyperlinks in the Shot-by-Shot Analysis folder on D2L, or all of these DVDs are available via library reserves. You may also decide to rent or purchase the film on your own, but purchase is not required.
| Shadow of a Doubt (1943, 108 min.): Hitchcock's own favorite film! Written
Byron, Hannah, Ariana, Joseph T., Alexandra
| The Birds (1963, 120 min.): violent, threatening birds! Video
Gabriel, Tatiyana, Joseph L, Chassidy, Gaby, Jared
| Suspicion (1941, 99 min.): suspicous romance/threatening marriage Video
Michelle, Amber, Samantha, Jalen, Imani, Ethan
|Psycho (1960, 109 min.): violent, threatening innkeeper! Written
Anthony, Kassidy, Dennis, Quentez, Kenne
|To Catch a Thief (1955, 106 min.): beautiful, colorful French Riviera
||Notorious (1946, 102 min.): suspenseful espionage thriller|
First, watch the entire film as a group if you can, or individually if need be. Then, study the film together as a group in order to evaluate and describe everything seen and heard in the first ten shots of the film.
IMPORTANT: Do NOT work separately on this project and simply collate your analyses later and certainly do not rely on one member or a few members of the group to perform the entire project. This is a GROUP project; you will earn a drastically lower grade if you do not follow these directions and work together and equally on this assignment. To help ensure parity, everyone in the group will complete a short evaluation of yourself, your groupmates, and your group overall when you've finished the project.
IMPORTANT: Shot 1 is the first shot after the credit sequence. That is, the shot immediately after the words "Directed by Alfred Hitchcock" and that shot's edit is Shot 1, followed by Shot 2, etc. Be careful because some might mistake the shot that ends the credit sequnce as Shot 1, which means you would miss an entire shot in your project! Each shot's analysis should focus upon how mise-en-scène, camerawork, editing, and sound cue us to understand the shot's meanings. Please use the following detailed, single-spaced examples as a guide for your project:
Shot-by-Shot Guide Form
Example: Strangers on a Train (See film clip posted in D2L)
2. CREDIT SEQUENCE WRITTEN ESSAY or VIDEO ESSAY
WRITTEN ESSAY OPTION: In addition to your ten shot analyses, you will write as a group a concise essay (1-2 double-spaced pages) explaining how the film's credit sequence in combination with the various formal elements of the first ten shots relate to the meanings and impact of the film as a whole. In what ways does the style of the credit sequence (beyond its list of production personnel) prepare you for the film that follows? How do the font style, graphics, music, and/or sound effects cue you to anticipate the meaning of the film? What formal relationships, questions, and narrative expectations about the film are set up by the credits in conjunction with the first ten shots?
VIDEO ESSAY OPTION: If you choose to create a video essay instead of a written essay for this portion of the assignment, use the mp4's posted on D2L to create a short video (4 minutes max). You may include moving images from this footage, still images, PowerPoint slides, voiceover, animation, etc., but be creative! (Bonus points if the style of your group's video reflects the style of your Hitchcock film.) Explain how the film's credit sequence in combination with the various formal elements of the first ten shots relate to the meanings and impact of the film as a whole. In what ways does the style of the credit sequence (beyond its list of production personnel) prepare you for the film that follows? How do the font style, graphics, music, and/or sound effects cue you to anticipate the meaning of the film? What formal relationships, questions, and narrative expectations about the film are set up by the credits in conjunction with the first ten shots?
IMPORTANT: You should consult ONLY Bordwell & Thompson's Film Art and Corrigan's A Short Guide to Writing About Film for advice on writing/creating your project. Conduct NO other external research for this assignment. All the information you need is in your keen eyes & ears, your group's collective film-scholar brain, and the film itself, including the credits. Do NOT consult any DVD commentaries, internet sites, books, articles, etc. The point of this assignment is for you to show off your analytical skills, not those of someone else. Use of any additional texts will be considered plagiarism and will result in a zero on the assignment and an F in the course.
Be sure to follow all of the following cautions/rules:
Your group will give a short (5-minute max) presentation to the class to illustrate your shot-by-shot findings. See the schedule for the date.
If your group created a Video Essay for Step 2, Dr. Bonner will play it for the class and then your group will answer any questions about it briefly afterward.
If your group wrote a Written Essay for Step 2, Dr. Bonner will show the opening credits and first ten shots of your film to the class (scrubbing through longer takes to conserve time), then every member of your group will take turns explaining the significance of the credit sequence and those ten shots--how they anticpate, foreshadow, or otherwise set the tone for to the rest of the film. Do not address each shot in full detail (you won't have time!); just highlight important details and connect them to the film's larger meaning. **Be sure to rehearse** your presentation together several times beforehand, so that all members of your group will have enough time to present--likely not more than a minute for each member.
Be sure to complete the Self-, Peer-, and Group Evaulation Form the day after your group presesnts!
Post your Shot-by-Shot and your Essay (and script if you choose the Video Essay) the day you present them as one document per group to the D2L Assignments folder before you present