Winter Assignments


Step 1—seminar ticket: write a thoughtful summary of your understanding of the main points of the reading. Compose an equally thoughtful question that you would like to discuss in seminar. Make sure there’s a clear relationship between the summary and the question. Upload your seminar ticket to the Moodle site by Sunday midnight.

Step 2—seminar facilitators collect the summaries and questions and use them to help create a structure for the seminar.

Step 3—synthesis paper: use your reading notes, summaries, seminar discussion, lecture notes and screenings to write a thoughtful 2-page double-spaced synthesis paper—due Friday to your seminar faculty.


As in fall quarter, the winter production journal is the place for you to record a significant amount of content that we cover in the program, as well as your own ideas and responses.  The work we are asking you to do in this journal is worth two credits. It includes:

1.     Journaling to develop ideas for productions that you will work on this quarter and next.  On Tuesday, 1/11 we’ll have a workshop with guest artist and Evergreen Faculty Emerita Marilyn Frasca who will help you get started with this.

2.     Keeping logs of your progress throughout each production that you participate in.  This includes serious reflection on each significant part of the work that you do.  Consider what went well, what didn’t, how you would do things differently, and ideas for future work.

3.     Pre-production notes, including schedules, contact lists, scripts, lighting plots, interview questions, releases, etc. Post-production materials, including transcriptions of interviews (required for all interview audio or video footage that you use), video logs, editing scripts, text of final narration,  performances, etc.)

4.     Inspirational sketches and thumbnail storyboards.

5.     Take written and visual notes for each film, video or audio work presented in class.  Include the title, director or studio, year, aesthetic or historical context in which it was made, context for viewing (usually given through lecture in class), media and techniques used, sequence of imagery, possible meanings for and effects on viewer including yourself, allusions and associations, and discussion comments you find relevant.  Your visual notes could include sketches of people, places, shapes, motions, and/or compositions, or even diagrams of temporal structure.  This is not the place to “review” works by trying to judge whether they are good or bad, or whether you like them or not.

6.     It follows from # 5 above that you should also use your journal to take notes on lectures and seminar.  You may decide to use the journal for your notes on readings.  This is optional, but highly recommended.

7.     During technical workshops, take written and visual notes on concepts and techniques presented.


The Media Critique project involves deconstructing, decoding or intervening in a mainstream media text.  We’ve seen some examples of media critiques in class, including Joan Does Dynasty, Production Notes; Fast Food for Thought, Manifestoon and photomontages and various culture jamming works by Adbusters and others.  We’d like you to turn your critical eye onto a specific mainstream media text (a single print or video ad, a segment of a broadcast or cable cast news report or other show, a web page, etc.) and respond to it creatively.  Create a short piece in the format of your choosing.  If time based, it should be no longer than 3 minutes.  This means you could create an audio piece, a short animation, a still poster in Photoshop, a short video.  You decide what the most appropriate form for your piece should be.

You may work on this on your own or with others.  You may focus your critique on a media text related to your Crisis Response Project, or you could select a topic and text suggested by one of our readings, or by the self-exploration you’ve done in your Self-Representation Project and journaling.

Some approaches you might consider:

  • Decoding/deconstructing: overtly laying bare the decisions and assumptions underlying the targeted piece (as in Joan Does Dynasty, or Production Notes)
  • Parodying or appropriating conventions of a form or brand (PL, p. 231, p. 292-3).
  • A cut-up (as in Kahn’s Reagan Speaks for Himself).
  • Appropriation or détournement (PL, p. 301)

A written treatment for your media critique is due Friday of week 5 (Feb. 4th) to your seminar faculty.  In the treatment address the following:

1)    Identify the specific media piece that is the target of your critique, its ideological basis or the “myth” that it promotes, and its position in the flow of media cultures.

2)    The approach you will take and the form of the final piece, and justification for those choices.

3)    How you might distribute the work, and where you anticipate your piece will fall on Lacey’s continuum of positions that artists might take between private and public (Lacey, p. 174).

4)    A working title and a list of collaborators on the project.

Note: As we’ve seen, some artists use humor to deconstruct or talk back to the media. What makes the humor effective, though, is the ability of the artist to explain the real message of the media piece they are critiquing. So whether you choose to use humor or approach a media image more seriously, please remember that your work starts there, with a clear and articulate explanation of what the image is trying to say and do.

Media Critique work in progress presentations will take place weeks 8 and 9.

Finished works are due week 10, with an Artist Statement in which you describe your intentions and approach, and something about your process.


Part I: Due Winter Quarter, week 10, Friday March 11

Part 2: Due Spring quarter, week 1, Tuesday, March 29

(Spring Project Presentation Friday, March 11)

Project Description:

As a culmination of your work in Nonfiction Media, you have the opportunity to do an independent project in spring quarter.  This could be a production, a series of very short related productions, an internship, or some combination of internship and small-scale project.

Students must be in good standing in the program to be enrolled in spring and pursue independent production work.  That means earning full credit in winter.

There are two parts to the Spring Project Proposal assignment.  Part one involves research similar to what you did for the Crisis Response project.  Take this opportunity to build the conceptual groundwork for your spring project and use that to develop an idea of your subject, scope and approach.  (If pursuing an internship, you should research the organization you plan to work with, the activities the internship will cover and the skills you hope to learn. Consider also building in a modest production project of your own).  Compile your research into a 4-6 page paper with an annotated bibliography that includes both print and media sources.  Include a survey of other works similar to the one you are proposing and write something about how yours will differ.  Write a draft treatment that explains what you want to do, the approach you will take, and why.  This part of the assignment is due Friday of week 10. You will also make a 5 min presentation to the class describing your research and project idea on Friday of week 10.

Part two requires that you prepare a proposal package that includes a completed treatment, production schedule, budget and preliminary work orders for any facility or equipment use (see details below). There will be budget workshops in weeks 8 and 9 of winter quarter during which you’ll have time to begin your production budget. Part two is due week one of spring quarter, Tuesday, March 29th.



If your project includes an internship, you will still be enrolled in Nonfiction Media but you must go through Academic Advising to develop an internship contract.  Internships need to be approved by the time of your winter evaluation conference.


  • Nonfiction forms of film, video, audio, animation or other media type.  Please consider a wide range of possible forms including web piece, multi-media installation or performance.
  • You may work independently or collaboratively.
  • Linear, time based works are limited to 10 minutes maximum per person (so, for example, two people collaborating could produce up to a 20 minute piece).  If you are doing web, installation or performance work, keep it on a similarly reasonable scale. We want you to focus on quality, not quantity and to think about concise ways to communicate your idea.
  • You have two production weeks (weeks 4 and 6) when there will be no class. During these weeks you can focus on your production work, including any travel necessary to the production.

You may not begin your project work officially until faculty approve your proposal and initial your Media Request Form.  You need to complete this proposal correctly to start reserving equipment and working on your production.

Required Elements of the Proposal for Internships:

1)  A statement of what you’ll be doing and how this work extends your learning in Nonfiction Media.

2)  Identify internship site.  Describe the overall work and mission of the organization you’ll be working with. Identify your field supervisor and include contact information (email, phone and physical address). State clearly the role this field supervisor will play in supervising/supporting your work (i.e., how often you’ll meet with him/her, how much access you’ll have, how your field supervisor will support your educational goals).

3)  Internship contract developed in consultation with Academic advising.

Required Elements of Part Two of the Proposal for Productions:

1) Treatment: This is a 1-2 page description of your project.  It should include a discussion of the underlying concepts and description of your stylistic and technical approaches.  Articulate why you want to explore these ideas or concepts in this particular form.  In other words, what is the relationship between form and content?  For experimental work, explain in particular detail the visual and sonic language you’ll be inventing in the piece.  If there are specific production skills you need to do the project, mention them and what part of the piece requires them.  For example, if you want to produce stop-motion animation, you need a 3D lab Proficiency, or if doing 5:1 surround sound, you may need a short workshop or consultation. Give a working title for your production (this could be changed later if needed.)  If your project is collaborative, say how you plan to work together and what responsibilities each member of the team will assume.

The treatment must be typed, double spaced, written in clear, complete sentences and proofread for typos and errors in spelling and grammar.  This is a formal proposal similar to what you will very likely end up writing for grant applications  in the future. A draft treatment is due week 10.

2) Budget: Create a detailed budget for your project that includes realistic cash and in-kind expenses.  “In-kind” expenses are those that you do not have to pay for.  These could include volunteer labor by crew outside of Nonfiction Media, what it might cost to rent college equipment, other goods or services that are donated to your project, etc.  On Wednesdays, 9:30-11 am of winter quarter’s weeks 8 (Group B) and 9 (Group A) will be Excel workshops in the Mac Lounge to teach you how to create a spreadsheet and other details of budgeting for media.

4) Ethics Review: based on a questionnaire we’ll provide by Tuesday of week 8.

5) Media storage:  Say how you will store and back-up digital files that you create for your project.

6) Media Request Form:  In order to check out equipment or reserve media facilities, you need to complete a Media Request form (  Do this after you write your production schedule.  You may not book space or equipment until you have turned this form in and had it approved. Your faculty will review how to do this on Tuesday, week 1, spring.

7) Artist Statement: a well-written statement to accompany your completed media project. First draft due spring quarter week 8 to be critiqued in affinity group meeting, second draft due week 9 for work in progress critique. Final draft due week 10 with presentation of final project.

8) Production Schedule: Different kinds of projects necessitate different planning processes and production schedules.  The following are recommended ways to think about production schedules.  Use them to develop a detailed, day by day schedule for each week of the quarter tailored to your project (your project may be a hybrid of these).


Week 1:  Fieldwork methodologies: where, how and what.  Fieldwork methodologies will be linked to the style of documentary you intend to produce (observational, ethnographic, essayistic, performative, hybrid, etc.) Write extensively in your journal, including sketches, possible shot lists, notes for interview questions, etc.

Week 2: due in critique session: written profiles of organizations, events, and people with whom you will be working in the field; research updates, script development; location scouting.

Week 3: continued field and text-based research; script outline, production dates.

Week 4: Production week  (no class meetings)

Week 5: Screen rushes in critique session. Logging and transcribing materials.

Week 6: Production week (no class meeting):  Complete filming, review, log and transcribe materials.

Week 7: Complete logging, transcribing; create editing script. Compression/DVD workshops.

Week 8: Rough cut screening. Sound Design, and fine tuning.

Week 9: Individual conference and affinity group screening for fine cuts.

Nonfiction Narrative Animation:

Week 1: Script/preliminary storyboard due.

Week 2: Final storyboard or animatic.  2d:  character designs & layout drawings.  3d:  character & set designs.  Optional: soundtrack design with dialog.

Week 3: Storyboarding, tests

Week 4: Production week  (no class meetings).  Animate and/or fabricate puppets & sets. In critique:  2d: screen pencil tests, 3d:  show finished puppets & sets

Week 5: Continue animation, begin soundtrack design. In critique: screen tests

Week 6: Production week (no class meetings): complete animation and sound.  2d: begin finished artwork.

Week 7: 3d: begin editing. Compression/DVD workshops;

Week 8: In critique: screen complete animation pencil tests with sound, show finished artwork in progress.

Week 9: Individual conference and affinity group screening for fine cuts.

Experimental live-action, animation, installation and/or performance:

Week 1:  Visual notes (sketches, photos & preliminary storyboards), script if applicable.

Week 2:  Shot list, locations, production design, crew, shooting schedule, identify and book spaces if installation/performance.  Layout and key drawings if producing figurative animation.  Sound design if doing soundtrack first.

Week 3: Screen animatics,

Week 4: Production week  (no class meetings)

Week 5: Screen rushes or edited sequences, soundtrack design

Week 6: Production week (no class meetings):  shoot pick-ups as needed, begin post-production work such as effects, soundtrack mixing, etc.

Week 7: Compression/DVD workshops

Week 8: Screen rough cut, work on completing edit/rehearse if necessary

Week 9: Individual conference to screen fine cut.  Install work if necessary.

Projects are due week 10 at the final critiques.

Affinity Groups: Affinity groups provide weekly critique, problem solving, and crew support. Your affinity group will also be working on a collective research project and scheduling times for written and shared reflection.

Other Assignments:

1) Research/curating: This assignment requires you, together with your affinity group, to select a nonfiction media artist, movement or genre that you wish to learn about. You will be: (a) reading texts (articles, reviews and books) that give you a sense of the aesthetic, historical and theoretical importance of your subject; (b) screening films related to your research with your affinity group and analyzing them; (c) curating the screening of one significant work for our class and providing context that explains its significance; (d) holding seminars with your affinity group on what you are learning.

You will produce a paper documenting your research. The paper may be written collaboratively, with different group members writing separate pieces, but it must be well edited and the sections should be well integrated. 13-15 pages, double-spaced; Times New Roman font, #12 size; standard margins, MLA citation. Curated screenings will take place weeks 3, 5, and 7.

Note: film analysis requires multiple viewings. At least once next quarter you should screen a film 2-3 times with your group. Use this screening to begin a detailed analysis of at least one scene from the film, and incorporate this into your research paper.

2) Community Service: You will be expected to design a community service project that shares your media skills and knowledge with a part of the community. This can be done individually or collaboratively. Possibilities include: (a) designing a visual literacy or animation workshop for a community organization or student group you are connected to; (b) organizing a screening and discussion of a significant work of media for a constituency outside our class; (c) participating in a CCAM production to document community issues or stories; (d) a public art project that focuses attention on an issue of public concern; (e) your own good idea. Proposals for your community service project are due Tuesday of week 2; the projects must be completed by week 9. Please document your project with video or still photography. Community service project plans and productions should be documented in your journal, and you should use your journal to reflect on what you learned through this process.

3) Production and Reflection Journal: During spring quarter you are expected to keep a production and reflection journal that includes:

a)     documentation of all of project materials, including proposals, treatments, pre-production outlines and schedules, production forms such as camera and sound logs, transcriptions, profiles of people and organizations you’re working with, contact information for everyone you’ve consulted with on your project, shooting scripts, editing scripts, sketches and diagrams, and all other pre-production, production or post-production notes.

b)     daily log of all production-related activities; observation, research, meetings, interviews, filming schedules, etc.

c)     reflections on your work: questions that arise; insights you’ve gained, exploration of new ideas, problems and emerging solutions, ethical dilemmas, and responses to issues raised in critiques.

d)     At least one hour of reflective writing each week, based on the research and production work you are doing in the program. You should choose a specific day and time to do this work. Journal writing could be done with your affinity group–and shared with your group members.

e)     each member of the group must maintain their own production journal.  It will provide the basis for your final self-evaluation and our evaluation of you.  In your proposal, outline how you will keep this journal and what form it will take.

Attendance and participation are required at all program activities, including screenings and work in progress discussions, unless given clearance to be absent by faculty.

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