Film as Lit

Welcome to Film as Literature:

Unit Nine:  Lighting & Color

Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times on YouTube

Oscars 2019 Project:

From Long Shot to Close Up – photography and cinematography blog

PowerPoint Unit Three Hero Myth

Film as Literature Syllabus, Spring 2019

“Carpe diem.  Seize the day, boys.  Make your lives extraordinary.” – Robin Williams as John Keating, Dead Poet’s Society

Instructor:  Suzanne Bishop              Room # B204                        907-235-4600  web:

 Course Description

Welcome to Film as Literature! As a student in this course, you will learn how film is a form of literature.  By viewing classic and modern films, you will learn that good film, like good literature, has certain elements in common.

Students will be expected to understand motifs, symbols, metaphors, allusions, plot, theme, character, setting and other literary elements as they relate to both film and literature.  We will study the history of film, cinematography, composition, editing, sound, special effects, film genre, screenwriting, acting, and directing.  All concepts will be illustrated through film clips, comprising scenes from over 200 different movies. Additionally, we will also view, analyze, discuss, and critique a number of complete films, representing the highest achievements of the art form.

Supplies and Materials You will need the following materials every time our class meets:

  • A single subject spiral notebook for writing, notes, and reflection.
  • Pen or pencil
  • Assigned texts (novel, play, handout)


Assessment and Grading Scale

Grades based on points and rubrics in the following categories:

  • *Writing Journal 30%
  • Tests & *Quizzes 25%
  • Projects 20%
  • Class Discussion 25 %
*Writing Journals will be used daily for writing, notes, vocabulary and reflection.  At least once per grading period, journals will be collected and scored using the rubric.

*Quizzes may be retaken to improve the score and many quizzes will be open notes (from the Writing Journal).

Course Topics:

  • Hero’s Journey
  • Mise en Scene
  • Camera Distance, Angles and Other Shots
  • History of Film
  • Lighting and Color
  • Camera Movement
  • Composition, Lenses and Focus
  • Film Editing
  • Sound Design
  • Movements in Cinema
  • Auteur Theory
  • Animation and Special Effects
  • Film Genres: Musical, Comedy, Horror
  • Director Steven Spielberg

Classroom Expectations

  • Attendance: It is important to attend this class.  We will be viewing and discussing many clips and full-length films that I am unable to post online or make available for viewing outside of the school day.  Make up viewing will be during FOL and dates will be posted.  Projects and the Writing Journal should be turned in upon return and quizzes need to be made up within five days of the absence.
    • If you miss, check the Daily Agenda posted on the website ( for information about content and links to handouts.
    • I, also, strongly encourage you to e-mail and/or see me with questions or to clarify assignments.
  • Respect: Everyone in this class is to demonstrate and can expect respect.  This rule prohibits profanity, bullying, rudeness, vandalism and any other act deemed disrespectful.  If you are uncertain if something is appropriate, it is better to remain quiet.
  • Electronic Devices: Do not use cell phones or other electronic devices which will interfere with the learning process.  Failure to follow these instructions will result in surrendering the device to me for the class period and, if necessary, will be sent to the office for pick up at the end of the school day.
  • Homework:  Most assignments will be completed in class.  However, if you need more time or are absent, you may have homework.  All work, unless otherwise specified, should be printed or neatly handwritten.  Use standard MLA formatting:  a header with your name, teacher name, course, and date in the upper left; size 12 plain font; and 1.5 or 2 line spacing.  FOLs will be provided for make-up and extra help.
  • Late Work: If an assignment is given, it is worth completing and turning in.  Thus, late work will be accepted for partial credit (less 10% per day to 60%).  For major projects and papers details will be given in the directions and rubric for final deadlines and partial credit.  All due dates will be posted on the class web site and written on the board.
  • Film Ratings: While the films from which illustrative clips are derived range in their MPAA rating from G to R, rest assured that scenes portraying nudity, extreme profanity or violence will not be shown in class.
  • Plagiarism Policy: Taking someone else’s work without proper citation or credit given to the original author will not be tolerated.  Plagiarism will result in no credit for the assignment, a discipline referral and a call home.  Students may be able to make up the assignment for half credit.

Classroom Rules

  1. Be respectful.
  2. Be prepared with materials and ready to work.
  3. HHS Student Handbook and behavior plan are always in effect in this classroom. Students are responsible for knowing the handbook.
  4. Please consume all food before entering the classroom. You’re welcome to bring a water bottle to fuel your brain.

English Language Arts Support:

I am available for help and to answer questions.  If you have a question, send me an e-mail; I usually reply within a few hours.  Attend FOLs, I will post options weekly.  I am also available most days after school until 4:30PM.  Please stop by or make an appointment to guarantee that I will be available.