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Making "movie classes" more interesting

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Making "movie classes" more interesting

Hi everyone in the Educator’s Forum!

I’m practically new to teaching, this summer will be my third semester and I have been given three classes (amongst others) that are primarily “movie classes.” While I attended the school for my masters degree, the three classes were tossed back and forth between professors and it appeared that no one really knew what to do with them.

The classes are entitled Graduate Theory and Criticism, History of Animation, and History of Computer Graphics (Special Effects). So now I have the challenge of making the classes more interesting than just a movie class, and making each class different than the others. I would appreciate ideas anyone may have to make these classes interesting and books and/or movies that you feel are important for the history of animation, computer graphics, or just a film you find would open the student’s eyes.

If anyone would like to see the class descriptions, here is the link:

Thanks very much for your help!

EMac's picture
Ellen MacWilliam Professor of Computer Animation Digital Media Arts College

Ellen MacWilliam
Professor of Computer Animation
Digital Media Arts College

Thanks Animation Fan

Thanks for the suggestion AnimationFan. I like the idea of having everyone say something different about a piece and continuing it. That should translate well for animated shorts. Thanks for the ideas!

Ellen MacWilliam
Professor of Computer Animation
Digital Media Arts College

I would definitely utilize the Theory and Criticism to your advantage. Have the students discuss the film in different aesthetic theories. Teach them a little about how to critique a piece of art appropriately and have them write critiques - showing them examples would be them something to work off of. Your job should be to make them think about why the art made them react the way they did. A film is no different than art...allow them the freedom to right a criticism in which it is based on nothing but personal opinion. Give them room for self-expression in some of their critiques....have them write critiques on formal elements only, symbolic elements, etc.

I'm an Art Education major, who also has degrees in Animation and Commercial Art / Design. I currently have an Art Aesthetics / Criticism class and it's very interesting and thought provoking...

My teacher took a Rennaisance painting reproduction and sat it in the front of the class...he had us go through it once and everyone had to say something different about it (no duplicates), then we did it a second time, then a third (still no duplicates) and finally we did it a fourth time and still had no duplicate responses. That was over 100 responses out of our class on this one piece of art. The point of the exercise was to show how much you actually don't see when looking at a piece of art, until you actually take the time to look at a piece of interesting note is that a viewer in a museum generally doesn't look at any one piece of art for more than 10 seconds....

Movies or cartoons I'd focus on.....

Flowers and Trees (Silly Symphonies), Snow White (segemnts perhaps), Fantasia (it was rather revolutionary for the time), Bambi (the first example of more realistic animals in animation, I believe), Frank and Ollie (documentary about the two Disney Animators), Beauty and the Beast (Work In Progress), Robotech (first serialized TV cartoon)....those are mostly Disney tho....Iron Giant, Secret of NIMH, Titan AE (what not to do in a film)....

Computer Graphics films....TRON, Toy Story, Terminator 2, Star Wars Special Editions (or any Star Wars), Matrix...those kinda things...Jurassic Park..

I need to sleep tho, if I come up with more I'll let you know.