Course Information



“No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.”
- Ingrid Bergman

This course will focus on film as an art form. We will begin with a brief look at the history of the motion picture, from the conception of visual storytelling, to the development of film as a medium, and the development of the industry we know today. Secondly, we will focus on the breakdown of the techniques used to create today’s films. Finally we will explore the basic fundamentals of digital editing and compositing.

The best thing about this class is that you already know everything there is to know about making great films. You can walk into any theatre and come out saying “That was a great film” or “I wish I could get my money back.” This class will help you articulate why you did or did not enjoy a particular film, and help you understand the artistic intent behind that film, even if you didn’t necessarily enjoy it.

WARNING: To quote a great film instructor of mine: “If you currently like the way you watch movies - leave now!” This class will change the way you watch movies. You may not believe it now, but without fail, by the end of the first semester you will know exactly what I’m talking about. In essence, we will spend this year pulling back the curtain and showing you how all the magic works. Don’t worry, in time, you’ll be able to mentally adjust so that you can watch films normally again. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you!


  1. RESPECT - My first and foremost rule is that we need to respect each other. That means you are positively supporting each other in this environment.  You are welcome to your opinions, but they should be presented in a constructive manner.
  2. NO FOOD OR DRINK – Doesn't matter if it’s in a bottle, a can, a bag, or a backpack, don’t bring it out in this class.  The equipment in this room is too nice to have crumbs, spills, or cheesy fingerprints on. There is a sink in the bathroom if you need to wash your hands, and there is a ledge outside the door if you have an open beverage you need to set aside. If you choose to ignore this rule, expect to have your food or drink thrown out.
  3. BE ON TIME – We will often start classes with a discussion or demonstration of the day's activities. If you are late you will miss this information, which may put you at a disadvantage for the rest of the class period.
  4. YOUR WORKSTATION  - Every time you leave the classroom, you should ensure that your workstation is returned to its initial state. This includes logging out of your account, straightening the keyboard and computer, returning the headphones to their shelf, and pushing in your chair.
  5. LAB CARE – Take care of our lab. Do not write on the furniture or equipment, do not pick at or tear the desks, and do not throw your trash anywhere but the trash can. It is up to us to ensure that this lab stays in nice shape for future students.

You will need one spiral bound notebook and a 2-pocket folder for this class.

Each week, you need to watch at least one film that is new to you. This film could be on TV, something you rent, or something you borrow from a friend, something on,, Netflix, in the theatres, or in your friend's home theatre. I encourage you to try genres or styles of films you have not watched before. Try watching films by particular directors to analyze their specific style. The AFI Top 100 list is a great place to start if you’re not sure what to watch. Each week you will complete a written observation, articulating your thoughts on that film. These assignments will reflect on the concepts and techniques we discuss in class, so they are essential to your final grade. Here is the prompt for your weekly responses:

1) Title of Movie (Year it was released)
2) 3 things you liked about the movie --> For each item, explain why, and provide specific examples.
3) 2 things you disliked about the movie --> For each item, explain why, and provide specific examples.
4) 1 thing you would change about the movie --> Explain why, and how, specifically, your version would be different.

You may switch the likes and dislikes if you disliked the movie more than you liked it. (i.e. 3 things you disliked, 2 things you liked)

Things to remember:
- Your opinions can't really be wrong, but they can be unsupported, which will result in an incomplete or low score.
- You will be able to revise and resubmit your work based on the feedback you receive, so take advantage of this opportunity!
- The whole point of this assignment is to better articulate why you feel the way you do about movies.
- Date your response with the Monday it was due.
- Keep these in your notebooks or organized nicely in a small 3-ring binder or 3-clip folder.
- I will collect these approximately every 2 weeks, so if you fall behind one week, get caught up before the following week.
- You still need to follow your household guidelines on what you are allowed to watch in terms of content.
- Late responses will be accepted up through the day before the next round of responses are due, but without the option to revise.


This class addresses the Nebraska K-12 Fine Arts Standards for Media Arts.

Create FA 12.1.1 - Students will analyze and synthesize processes, techniques, and applications in media arts through the creation of media arts.
FA 12.1.1.a Engage in pre-production processes to prepare content and systems for production in media arts (e.g., scripting, storyboarding, choreographing).
FA 12.1.1.b Apply media arts vocabulary along with elements and principles of design in the creative process. 
FA 12.1.1.c Develop strategies, processes, and plans for creating work in media arts that reflect understanding of multiple resources and media.
FA 12.1.1.d Demonstrate understanding of, and respect for, the accepted procedures regarding the responsible care of media arts equipment and materials.

Present FA 12.1.2 - Students will communicate an idea/message by presenting their work in media arts.
FA 12.1.2.a Research, organize, and integrate media arts content, processes, and aesthetic elements to convey meaning in media arts.
FA 12.1.2.b Refine and enhance expression through media arts, ideas, and skills over time while gathering and responding to critical feedback. 
FA 12.1.2.c Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of message perception to diverse audiences (e.g., age, gender, ethnicity).
FA 12.1.2.d Construct, distribute, and manage works in media arts through a variety of contexts (e.g., live audiences, digital display, web). 

Respond - FA 12.1.3 - Students will analyze, interpret, and evaluate work produced in media arts.
FA 12.1.3.a Analyze and describe various forms, methods, styles, and qualities in media arts to reflect experience and create intention. 
FA 12.1.3.b Evaluate and interpret multiple perspectives, key components, and relationships in media arts (e.g., intention, form, context). 
FA 12.1.3.c Engage in self-directed and teacher- directed critiques of media arts. 

Connect - FA 12.1.4 - Students will analyze and integrate personal and global connections through media arts.
FA 12.1.4.a Use historical, cultural, aesthetic, and critical frameworks to examine the capacity of media arts to reflect, affect, and catalyze personal reflection, action, or social change.
FA 12.1.4.b Apply the concepts of digital citizenship in media arts (e.g., copyright, plagiarism, citations, liability, validating resources). 
FA 12.1.4.c Incorporate and analyze personal or collective experiences, perspectives, and ideas of others in media arts.  FA 12.1.4.d Evaluate the necessary training and lifelong learning skills for careers in media arts. 


A = 3.51 – 4.00 A-= 3.01 – 3.50 
B = 2.51 – 3.00 
B-= 2.01 – 2.50 
C = 1.51 – 2.00 
D = 0.76 - 1.50 
F = 0.00 – 0.75

If you need to get ahold of me with a question regarding a project, you may reach me via school e-mail. Please do not abuse this privilege. I check my e-mail at least once a day. My e-mail is: david.weisser (