Assignments

All assignments will be posted to a Qwriting “digital portfolio” site you create and maintain. The assignments will all relate to a film adaptation you choose to study during the semester, so your site will ultimately offer an analysis of that film and its source text.

Learn Things: You’re going to no-joke come to every class and participate every time. This means: you will always have read the text or watched the film before class, thought about it enough to have either one brilliant or three mediocre things to say, will actually say those things in class or at least think them very hard at other people, and will do your utmost best to learn something new. I will ask you what you have learned, so be ready to say something.

Review Essay: You will prepare a review essay of film reviews. Selecting an adapted film from a list, students will find a range of three substantial contemporary reviews of that film, such as those found in film magazines, newspaper supplements, or respected websites (see MRQE). Students will post copies of the original reviews along with a review essay that 1) discusses in general how the film was initially received and 2) identifies what specific concerns reviewers focused on.

Investigative Proposal: You will submit a research proposal that guides a semester-long research project analyzing an adapted film. In four paragraphs, present a specific text and investigative question to pursue, examine the purpose of the investigation and how it contributes to the study of adaptation, consider a method for approaching the subject, and identify possible resources that you would need to explore the topic.

Annotated Paragraph: Select a paragraph of around 100 words from your adapted text. Perform a “close reading” of the paragraph by first annotating it. Using html, you should offer commentary on every relevant word or phrase; this might include identifying rhetorical techniques, defining unusual words, noting repetition, or identifying images or symbols. Accompany your annotated paragraph with your close reading: an essay that analyzes how the author’s word choice and syntax (word order) create literary meaning (not just literal meaning).

Film Segmentation: For your chosen adapted film, you will create a film segmentation, which is just a scene-by-scene description of the narrative action of the film. Think of it as an outline of the film that indicates the major and minor divisions of action.

Mise-en-scène Analysis: For your chosen adapted film, you will create a mise-en-scène analysis. This is a close analysis of a single important scene in a film. Think of it like a close reading of a literary passage. Your analysis will offer details about the individual components of the scene (up to 15 elements) in order to draw conclusions about the scene’s meaning and how it connects to the rest of the film.

Annotated Bibliography: You will find four to five scholarly secondary sources to inform your investigation (i.e., journal articles, book chapters, book reviews, author interviews). Use electronic databases like JSTOREBSCOHost, and the CUNY+ catalog. Following MLA style, create an annotated Works Cited page with citations and one-paragraph evaluative summaries of each article. Hint: PN 1997.85 and PN 1995.3

Self-Guided Conference Presentation: Imagine you have been asked to present at an on-line academic conference on adaptation studies. The keynote speaker is Robert Stam, who we have been studying. Drawing on your previous assignments, create a brief slide show presentation that applies one theoretical concept from Stam’s text to your chosen film. Your presentation should quickly introduce the adaptation to reasonably educated viewers, and then spend most of its time on supporting an argument about how your chosen film does or does not reflect an aspect of adaptation theory that Stam raises.

Final Essay: Based on your investigative proposal, you will prepare a final essay that offers an analysis of your chosen film adaptation. The essay should use some adaptation theory, comparisons to other adapted films we have read, and some secondary research to pursue an investigative question of your choosing. Specific details will be distributed midterm, but the final paper should be a concise 5-7 pages (an 8-10 page draft is due earlier).

Final Project: For your final project, revise the materials from the semester to create a site on your adapted film. In addition to the above assignments, you might also add Pages with historical context, analyses of the story from other perspectives, or visual information like graphs or images. Introduce your website with a cover letter explaining the process you went through to create your digital portfolio, describing the strengths you have gained by producing this project and the challenges you still face as a writer.

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