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Unit information: Filmmaking through Hitchcock in 2015/16

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Unit name Filmmaking through Hitchcock
Unit code DRAM11011
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Ms. Katie Mack
Open unit status Not open

DRAM11007 Production Skills for Film



School/department Department of Film and Television
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will develop student understanding of and skills in filmmaking. In this unit students will learn to create sequences through hands-on camera and editing practice and a study of techniques used by director Alfred Hitchcock. The unit takes its cue from the French film-maker and critic François Truffaut's observation that "the art of film-making is an especially difficult one to master, inasmuch as it calls for multiple and contradictory talents ... In Hitchcock's work a film-maker is bound to find the answer to many of [her or] his problems, including the most fundamental question of all: how to express oneself by purely visual means" (Truffaut 1986: 14/17). Alongside close analysis of Hitchcock's work, students will undertake two group exercises to grasp the filmmaking structures that are key to effective screen drama. The unit will explore parameters of creative expression in and through screen practice to gain an understanding of relations between the creative impulse and some conventions of representation. In small groups, students will follow a selected creative process from initial ideas through planning and production, culminating in a short film.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

1. demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which aesthetic and formal qualities, as well as basic dramatic structures, create affects and meanings in film;

2. show analytical skills and practical understanding related to directorial style, specifically in relation to formal choices which realise, develop or challenge existing practices and traditions;

3. experiment with forms, conventions, languages, techniques and practices of narrative filmmaking;

4. apply key production processes and professional practices, such as storyboarding, cinematography and editing, relevant to film and television industries;

5. produce work within a group. showing abilities to listen, contribute and lead effectively;

6. evaluate their own work in a reflexive manner, with reference to academic and professional issues, debates and conventions;

7. reflect upon their own work in key production areas, engaging with issues of authorship and creativity;

8. demonstrate knowledge and use of safe working practices.

Teaching Information

Weekly 2-hour seminar / production tutorial; weekly 3-hour screening / workshop; practical work (both independent and partially supervised); weekly OLE independent research blog.

Assessment Information

3-6 minute film (50%) ILO 1-5, 8

2000 word reflexive account of practical work (50%) ILO 1, 2, 6, 7

Films will be made in groups. The required length of the film will vary, depending on the number of students involved and the specific nature of the project. Films made in groups will be awarded a single grade.

Reading and References

  • Truffaut, F. (1986), Hitchcock: A Definitive Study of Alfred Hitchcock (London: Simon & Schuster)
  • Krohn, B. (2003), Hitchcock at Work (London: Phaidon)
  • Durgnat, R. (2002), A Long Hard Look at Psycho (London: BFI Publishing)
  • Wood, R. (1989), Hitchcock’s Films Revisited (New York: Columbia University Press)