Filmmaking and Moving Image Arts

Sarah Lawrence College’s undergraduate Filmmaking & Moving Image Arts program (FMIA) offers a vibrant, dynamic, creative incubator to ignite the imagination of the next generation of media makers. The program seeks to help students navigate the intersection of art and technology as they acquire the tools and skills of the discipline and develop their critical and creative voices.

Cognizant that not every student will graduate to be a writer, director, producer, or game developer, the program believes that—with the enduring power and influence of cinema, television, the Web, and social media—students in all fields of study benefit from media literacy and theory and a deep understanding of the ways and means of media development and production. The program explores a broad scope of media making, including narrative fiction, documentary/nonfiction, experimental film, animation, cinematography, storyboarding, and directing actors, as well as editing, producing, screenwriting, writing for television, writing and producing for the Web, writing for games, and game development.

Interdisciplinary work across the liberal arts is encouraged and formal and informal collaboration among the music, dance, theatre, writing, visual arts, and other disciplines continue to emerge and flourish.

Our program offers an intensive “Semester Away” program—Cinema Sarah Lawrence—where students work on the development and production of a feature film shot on location on Nantucket, MA. We also offer exchange programs in animation with CalArts and study abroad opportunities in film in Paris, Cuba, and at the world-famous FAMU film school in Prague, amongst others.

Sarah Lawrence College offers state of the arts facilities for the Filmmaking & Moving Image Arts program including the Donnelly Film Theater that seats 185 people and has a state-of-the-art 4K Digital Cinema Projector, an intimate 35 person screening room, a teaching/editing lab, a 1400 square foot soundstage, an animation studio, and a sound and foley recording booth. Our equipment room offers Sony, Canon, Blackmagic, RED, and ARRI cameras, sound, grip, and lighting packages.

Recent graduates routinely have their work represented at some of the world’s most prestigious film and media festivals, most recently at Cannes, Palm Springs, and Slamdance. Graduates who choose to pursue advanced degrees are finding traction at the top film schools in the United States and abroad.

2018-2019 Courses

Filmmaking and Moving Image Arts

Documentary Filmmaking: Truth, Freedom, and Bearing Witness

Open , Seminar—Year

Nonfiction is our search for the truth; it is an exploration in humanity—our beauty, complexities, and the often unimaginable. This class is designed for students who, through filmmaking, hope to move humanity one step closer to understanding who we are and how connected our life experiences may be. In this yearlong course, students produce one 15- to 30-minute documentary on the subject of their own choosing. Students will develop treatments, pitch their projects, create production schedules, and work in small teams to create their films. Each week, students must demonstrate clear progress on their projects, including outlined shoot dates, updates on production needs, screening of unedited material, assembly cuts, rough cuts, and the eventual final delivery of their conference films. During class, we will screen short- and long-form documentary films from around the world, complemented by hands-on production techniques and experience. Although this is an open class, students must be prepared to learn camera operation, sound recording, and lighting with diligence and professionalism. Each student will direct his/her own project; however, the crew will be made up of the student’s peers, who will be entrusted with delivering strong technical material. This course will challenge students to think beyond the beautiful gates of Sarah Lawrence and take on subjects and opportunities that are new spaces both emotionally and physically. Nonfiction requires passion for storytelling and, ultimately, a passion for people. We hope to finish the year with a lens on the world that’s evolved to new heights of understanding and compassion.

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The Art of Editing: Aesthetic and Practice

Open , Seminar—Fall

No previous editing experience is required.

In this course, we will examine the art and craft of motion-picture editing, from both an aesthetic and a practical viewpoint. We will explore how the combination and order of shots manage to convey both information and emotion. We will ask if a cut works and, if it does, why it works. Just as importantly, we will ask why a cut does not. This course will serve students pursuing editing specifically but also filmmaking in general: Editing is the language of cinema. There will be screenings of films, both professional and student work, with an emphasis on their editing style. Examples may be drawn from films such as, but not limited to, Citizen Kane, Touch of Evil, Rope, Vertigo, Jaws, The Godfather, Raging Bull, Amadeus, Requiem for a Dream, The Hurt Locker, Birdman, The Babadook, We Need to Talk About Kevin, and Arrival, among others. When possible, two different versions of a film will be shown to discuss how different editing choices affect the film’s emotional impact. We will also explore the tools of digital editing and how they can be used to achieve the filmmaker’s desired artistic results. Weekly assignments will provide students with the necessary building blocks and skill sets to see a project through from a hard drive of footage to a picture-locked film. Assignments will range from mastering assistant editing techniques to editing scenes from feature films and television, short films, as well as commercials and short documentaries. Technical instruction will focus on media management, import and organization, utilization of keywords and smart collections, basic storyline editing, split editing, sound editing, color correction, export, and delivery.

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The Art of Editing: Postproduction

Intermediate , Seminar—Spring

This course aims to build upon the work of the fall semester; however, it is expected that students will have a rough cut of a student film that they intend to edit as the core of their work for the semester. Students who did not take the fall course, but who do have a rough cut of a film ready to cut, may join the class with permission of the professor. A rough cut is an opportunity for a new jumping-off point. Dailies will be reexamined for “hidden gems,” little moments that may have been filmed unexpectedly or captured between takes. A deep review of this material can help the editor to fully reveal a beat, flesh out a moment, or realize an emotion that the director may have wanted but was not fully achieved in the initial rough cut. Is this shot too long? Is this scene necessary? Is this emotional beat realized? The work of the editor is not to cut just to cut but often not to cut and to hold a shot. As editor Walter Murch says, “The editor is actually making 24 decisions a second: No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. Yes!” The aim of this class will be to do a deep-dive on an existing student project and make it as good as it can be. Students will polish a rough cut to picture-lock, so that the color grading and sound mix can be completed by the end of the year. Collaboration with students in other filmmaking courses will be encouraged and fostered. Specialized guest artists will be brought in, as needed and where possible, to provide expertise in focused areas. For the ambitious student, conference work may include editing multiple peer filmmaking projects from other production classes, re-editing films on which a student has worked, serving as an editor on the Sarah Lawrence College Web series project, or editing other material shot previously. Students will have the opportunity to screen their current projects in class and receive feedback, which will also show the class how a project evolves and comes together through editing over the length of the semester.

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Cinematography: Color, Composition, and Style

Open , Seminar—Year

This yearlong course will explore the roles associated with film production, focusing on cinematography and lighting for the screen. In addition to covering camera operation and basic lighting techniques, students will explore composition, color palettes, and application of a visual style to enhance the story. The first semester of the course will revolve around scene recreations, followed by creating and producing original work in the spring term. Students will produce scenes, in class, on a weekly basis. Work will be discussed and notes incorporated into the next project. Students will be required to produce a short project in addition to the work completed during class times, incorporating elements discussed throughout the semester, as part of conference work. Students will develop, write, draw floor plans, shoot, edit, and screen a final project by the end of the term. This is an intensive, hands-on workshop that immerses the student in all aspects of film production. By the end of the course, students should feel confident enough to approach a film production project with the experience to take on introductory and assistant positions with the potential for growth.

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Working With Light and Shadow

Open , Seminar—Fall

This introductory-level course will present students with the fundamentals of cinematography and film production. Students will explore cinematography as an art of visual storytelling. The cinematographer plays a critical role in shaping the light and composition of an image and in capturing that image for the screen. Students will investigate the theory and practice of this unique visual language and its power as a narrative element in cinema. In addition to covering camera operation, students will explore composition, visual style, and the overall operation of lighting and grip equipment. Students will work together on scenes that are directed and produced in class and geared toward the training of set etiquette, production language, and workflow. Work will include the re-creation of classic film scenes, with an emphasis on visual style. For conference, students will be required to produce a second scene re-creation, incorporating elements discussed throughout the term. This is an intensive, hands-on workshop that immerses the student in all aspects of film production. By the end of the course, participants should feel confident to approach a project with enough experience to take on introductory positions with the potential for growth.

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Fundamentals of Cinematic Lighting

Open , Seminar—Spring

In this introductory-level production course, students will explore the art of cinematography by producing weekly exercises designed to create and break down visual styles. Students will select and re-create a scene from a motion-picture film, television series, or music video. The goal of each class will be to work with available resources to replicate the selected scene to the smallest detail, focusing on composition, color, framing, camera movement, costume, and set design. Each student will come prepared with key elements, including talent, props, and set design needed to set up, shoot, and break down each assignment by the end of each session. Throughout the semester, students will alternate crew positions, allowing the opportunity to experience everything from directing and working with the camera to lighting and gripping. Conference work will consist of an additional scene re-creation or original script completed outside of class.

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Storyboarding for Film and Animation

Open , Seminar—Fall

This course focuses on the art of storyboard construction as the preproduction stage for film and animation. Students will be introduced to storyboard strategies, exploring visual concepts such as shot types, continuity, pacing, transitions, and sequencing. Both classical and experimental techniques for creating storyboards will be covered. Emphasis will be placed on the production of storyboard drawings, both by hand and digitally, to negotiate sequential image development and to establish shot-by-shot progression, staging, frame composition, editing, and continuity. Instruction will concentrate primarily on drawing, from thumbnail sketches through final presentation storyboards and animatics. The final project for this class will be the production by each student of a full presentation storyboard and a hi-res animatic in a combined visual, audio, and text presentation format. Knowledge of storyboards and animatics from this class can be used later for idea development and presentation of your project to collaborators, for pitching projects, for professional agencies, and—most importantly—for you, the maker.

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Drawing for Animation: Character Design

Open , Seminar—Fall

This course focuses on the concepts of animated-motion and character-design development as a preproduction stage to animation. Students will gain knowledge in drawing by engaging with formal spatial concepts in order to create fully realized characters, both visually and conceptually. Through the development of character boards, model sheets, beat boards, and character walk-cycle animatics, students will draw and conceptualize human, animal, mechanical, and hybrid figures. Students will research characters in their visual, environmental, psychological, and social aspects to establish a full understanding of characterization. Both hand-drawn materials and digital drawing tablets will be used throughout the semester. Photoshop, Storyboard Pro, and Final Cut Pro software will be utilized for character boards, model sheets, and walk-cycle animatics. The final project for this course will include a concept-based, fully developed, multi-character animatic. Knowledge from this course can be used to create and enhance animations, to establish a character outline for an interactive media project, or to help in developing a cast of characters for a graphic novel or narrative film.

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Drawing for Animation: Concept Art

Open , Seminar—Spring

This course will explore the preproduction aspects of animation concept development. Students will gain knowledge in character development, background environments, object and prop design, flora and fauna, scene building, color keys, aerial mapping, and techniques for digital painting. Through the development of matte paintings, model sheets, and animatics, students will draw and conceptualize spaces, characters, and props that are visually harmonious and consistent in both form and function. Students will research and produce narrative outlines that include visual and environmental components to establish a full understanding of an animated project. Both hand-drawn materials and digital drawing will be used throughout the semester. Photoshop, Storyboard Pro, and Final Cut Pro software will be utilized for character design, background paintings, and concept presentation animatics. The final conference project for this course will include a fully developed, multicharacter/multi-environment animatic. Knowledge from this course can be used to create and enhance an animation portfolio, to establish a concept outline for an interactive media project, and to help when developing a cast of characters and environments for a graphic novel or an animated film.

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Hand-Drawn Animation

Open , Seminar—Spring

This course focuses on the fundamentals of drawing as they pertain to two-dimensional, hand-drawn animation. Students will gain an understanding of value, motion, and light logic and learn to establish form and structure utilizing concepts in perspective. The course will introduce students to traditional techniques of hand-drawn, frame-by-frame animation, where movement is created through successive, sequential drawings. Students will learn about body mechanics and motion flow in the development of animated characters through techniques that include walk cycles, turning of forms, transformations, holds, squash and stretch, weight, and resistance. Students will design and create pencil test projects using Dragon Frame and Final Cut Pro software. Examples of animations illustrating hand-drawn techniques will be screened regularly. The course will conclude with a final project, for which students develop, conceptualize, and produce a fully animated, hand-drawn short film. Information and skills established in this class can be used to improve basic drawing proficiency, to establish fundamentals for later digital animation production, to create and enhance an animation portfolio, and/or to develop tangible skills for producing graphic novels.​

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Environmental 3D Modeling for Animation

Open , Small seminar—Year

In this class, students will be introduced to the theory and practice of three-dimensional (3D) modeling and compositing for animation. We will explore 3D animation, design, and architectural concepts in the lecture room, on the computer, and in the studio. The purpose of this class is to build the skills necessary to leverage the use of a professional 3D program (Cinema 4D) in storytelling and animation projects and to develop a critical dialogue with the medium through selected essays and topics. Instructional topics include: 3D navigation, primitives, polygon modeling, symmetries, splines, rendering, keyframes, lighting, morphing, expressions, rigging, texturing, and compositing. The course will also cover compositing 2D animation with 3D animation and live action footage using After Effects. Weekly assignments will provide students with the building blocks necessary to take their projects in individual creative directions. Cinema 4D is an industry-standard 3D design-and-animation software package used in a wide range of projects, from motion graphics to full-length feature films to experimental animation.

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Digital 2D Animation: Shorts

Open , Seminar—Year

No prior drawing experience is necessary.

In this class, students develop animation and short storytelling skills by focusing on the process of creating animated shorts. Instruction includes story development, visualization, character, continuity, timing, digital drawing, rotoscoping, and compositing. All of the production steps required to complete a short animated film are demonstrated and applied through exercises in the fall term, aimed at the production of a final short animated film or PSA by each student or team of students in the spring semester. Participants will develop and refine their personal style through exercises in story design and assignments directed at translating ideas into moving images. Digitally-drawn images (with the option to include live action and photographs) will be assembled in sync to sound. Compositing exercises cover a wide range of motion graphic features, including: green screen, keyframing, timeline effects, 2D and 3D space, layering, and lighting. Exercises will enable students with a working knowledge of the software Harmony by Toon Boon. Harmony is a creative, efficient software used in the film and TV animation industry.

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Secondary Currents: Experimental Film in Place

Intermediate , Seminar—Fall

This course is part of the Intensive Semester in Yonkers program and is no longer open for interviews and registration. Interviews for the program take place during the previous spring semester.

This production seminar explores, in depth, the rich world of moving images as artistic expression. Students participate by completing a series of exercises and projects supported by lectures, discussion, and screenings. We explore moving-image forms and styles that blur the boundaries between narrative, documentary, and abstract filmmaking. There is, by definition, no formula for this kind of work. Rather, the course introduces the language and techniques of film production alongside strategies for the use of film, performance, and audio design as a means to creatively examine our relationships to place. We direct our concerns to an investigation of our relationship to the legends, histories, topographies, politics, and language of place in its broadest context. Assignments are geared toward generating an ease and familiarity with one’s engagement with place as a media artist. Over the course of the semester, we look at and analyze the pioneering work of many experimental artists, including Gilliam Wearing, Doug Aiken, Pipolotti Rist, Seoungho Cho, Mike Kelly, Shana Moulton, Ragnar Kjartansson, and others. Labs and screenings are designed to introduce the tools and technology necessary for each project. A major component of the course is the ongoing analysis and critique of each other’s work.

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Experimental Film and Animation

Open , Seminar—Spring

No prior experience is necessary.

Whether dealing with abstraction or narrative sequence, experimental films reflect the unique vision of their makers. While most forms of animation serve the particular needs of commercial media, the inclusion of animation in experimental film has the ability to deconstruct an idea or movement and reassemble it in a new way. This course introduces the concepts and practical study of stop-frame animation production as it relates to both sequential and nonsequential narration, movement, space, and time. In a series of short, independent, and collaborative projects, students will learn the techniques and materials necessary to explore a variety of experimental and hand-animation practices and to assemble this work with live-action film/video. The central focus of this course will be on concept development and material exploration for the completion of several short, hybrid films. Students will work in both film and animation and learn to composit this material for the production of their work. A variety of frame-by-frame animation techniques in under-the-camera destructive and constructive animation—including object animation, paper cut-out animation, abstract drawing for animation, and sand animation—will be taught. Through technical instruction, readings, discussion, screenings, and experimentation, we will seek to refresh, extend, and redefine traditional modes of animation and video production. The aim of the course is to explore freely with materials in order to trailblaze fresh narrative and aesthetic possibilities. Final projects may be executed as experimental films, animations, or video projections.

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Script to Screen

Open , Seminar—Year

This class will introduce students to all aspects of filmmaking, from conceiving a script through exhibition of the final work. The first semester will focus on screenwriting, and students will write short scripts that they will then produce and direct in the second semester. Simultaneously, students will learn to use the school’s filmmaking equipment and editing software and utilize those skills in a series of short, targeted video exercises. These exercises will not only familiarize the students with the gear at their disposal but also will introduce them to concepts of visual storytelling (e.g., where to put the camera to tell the story). The second semester will focus on preproduction and previsualization of the student’s conference film. Students will learn how to craft shot lists, floor plans, look books, and other tools to help them organize their film shoots. Students will also practice directing actors and finding a method for effective communication with their cast. They will also learn some basic production management skills, such as breaking down scripts for production and scheduling. After shooting their conference films, students will workshop their rough cuts in the classroom and fine-tune their edits in preparation for the final class—THE SCREENING!

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Ghouls, Cyborgs, and Elves: Making the Genre Film

Intermediate , Seminar—Fall

This is a hands-on production course with a focus on producing genre films. Working within a genre can greatly assist the fledgling filmmaker by suggesting content and stylistic elements, thereby freeing the artist to focus on self-expression. While exploration of all genres is welcome, our class discussions and video exercises will explore various ideas present in the so-called “lesser genres” of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. Students will shoot several short video exercises, both individually and in groups, each with a certain directing and thematic prompt. Film viewings will demonstrate how genre films handle sexual politics and repression, societal and personal anxieties, naturalism as opposed to fantasy, as well as the smart use of special effects and other strategies for the low-budget, independent filmmaker. In addition to class exercises, students will each produce and direct a short video project for their conference work.

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Writing Movies

Open , Seminar—Spring

During the course of this seminar/workshop, students will learn how to write narrative screenplays with an eye toward completing a feature-length work. The course will cover basics of format and style, and there will be weekly assignments aimed at developing students’ screenwriting muscles. Students will “pitch” ideas, rigorously outline stories, and write and revise pages of their blueprint for a feature-length film. The class is designed to help the beginning screenwriter find his or her voice as a film artist, using the written language of visual storytelling.

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Writing for Television: Advanced Projects

Advanced , Seminar—Fall

Permission of the instructor is required.

This class builds on fundamentals learned in Writing the Spec and Writing the Pilot, with the focus on creating new work: original TV pilots. Students will be expected to enter the class with a completed 8- to 12-page beat sheet. That beat sheet will be revised and turned into an original one-hour or half-hour show (no sitcoms). Focusing on engineering story machines, we power characters and situations with enough conflict to generate episodes over many years. During the second half of the semester, you will generate a second original beat sheet within one week and write the pages for that script for the rest of the semester. This will mean that you will complete first drafts of two original shows within the semester. Having taken all three classes in the series—spec, pilot, and advanced—you will have the majority of material, in first-draft form, that you will need for a professional portfolio. In conference, students will do rewrites and begin to develop character descriptions and a series “bible” for their original show. Prospective students are expected to have an extensive working knowledge across many genres of TV shows that have aired domestically during the past 25-30 years.

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Television Writing: Writing the Spec Script

Intermediate , Seminar—Spring

Permission of the instructor is required.

The fundamental skill of successful television writers is the ability to craft entertaining and compelling stories for characters, worlds, and situations created by others. Though dozens of writers may work on a show over the course of its run, the “voice” of the show is unified and singular. The best way to learn to write for television—and a mandatory component of your portfolio for agents, managers, show runners, and producers—is to draft a sample episode of a pre-existing show, known as a “spec script.” Developing, pitching, writing, and rewriting stories hundreds of times, extremely quickly, in collaboration, and on tight deadlines is what TV writers on staff do every day, fitting each episode seamlessly into the series as a whole in tone, concept, and execution. This workshop will introduce students to these fundamental skills by taking them, step-by-step, through writing their own spec (sample) script for an ongoing dramatic television series. The semester will take students from premise lines, through the outline/beat sheet, to writing a complete draft of a full one-hour or half-hour teleplay for a currently airing show. No original pilots will be pursued in this semester. In conference, students may wish to develop another spec script and/or begin to develop characters and a series "bible" for an original show in preparation for more advanced classes in original pilot writing. Prospective students are expected to have an extensive working knowledge across many genres of TV shows that have aired domestically during the past 25-30 years.

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Writing Moving Pictures

Open , Seminar—Year

This yearlong course for the beginning-to-intermediate screenwriter is a rigorous, yet intimate, setting in which to explore and immerse oneself in the screenwriting process. Students may work either on short or feature-length screenplays or on an original television pilot or Web series episode. They will read peer work, with the entire process supported by in-class analysis and critiques thereof. Students are expected to contribute heavily to the class discussion. Fundamentals of character, story, universe and setting, dramatic action, tension, conflict, structure, and style will be explored. In conference, in addition to honing their class screenwriting project, students are also welcome to craft a series of short screenplays for production courses or independent production, rewrite a previously written script, adapt original material from another form, and so forth.

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Bulletproof Screenwriting

Open , Seminar—Fall

Pursuing the fundamentals of developing and writing narrative, fiction, motion-picture screenplays, the course starts with a focus on the atomic element of a screenplay: the scene. We’ll explore the nature of writing screen stories for film, television (and its many iterations these days), and the Web. The approach views screenwriting as having less of a connection to literature and playwriting and more of a connection to the oral tradition of storytelling. We will dissect the nature and construct of the screenplay to reveal that the document—the script—is actually the manifestation of the process of “telling your film” (or movie, or Web series, or TV show, et al). In Bulletproof Screenwriting, the emerging screenwriter will be encouraged to think of and approach the work as a director—because, until someone else appears to take the reins (if it is not the screenwriter), the writer is the director, albeit (for now) on the page. Indeed, the course will explore filmmaking from a director’s point of view—yet in the hands of a screenwriter. With the class structured as a combination of seminar and workshop-style exchanges, students will read selected texts and produced screenplays, write detailed script analyses, view films and clips, and, naturally, write short narrative fiction screenplays. While students will be writing scenes and scripts starting in the first class, they will also be introduced to the concept of “talking their stories,” as well, in order to explore character and plot while gaining a solid foundation in screen storytelling, visual writing, and screenplay evolution. We will migrate from initial ideas through research techniques, character development, story generation, outlining, the rough draft, and rewrites. Students will be immersed in the fundamentals of character, story, universe and setting, dramatic action, tension, conflict, sequence structure, acts, and style. In-class analysis of peer work within the context of a safe and productive environment will help students have a critical eye and develop skills to apply to the troubleshooting of one’s own work. Overall, the student builds a screenwriter’s toolkit to use as various projects emerge in the future. The aim of the class is for students to complete a series of short-form screenplays and a final written project. In conference, students may research and develop a long-form screenplay or teleplay, develop a TV series concept and “bible,” initiate and develop a Web-series concept, craft a series of short screenplays for production courses or independent production, rewrite a previously written script, adapt original material from another form, and so forth. Research and screen storytelling skills developed through the course may be applied to other writing forms.

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Advanced Projects In Writing for the Screen

Advanced , Seminar—Fall

This one-semester class is for the serious, advanced screenwriter. Consideration for the course requires a writer’s statement about the project you wish to pursue, a list of courses taken, and screenwriting experience, as well as a five-page screenwriting sample that must be emailed in advance of any fall interview to fstrype@sarahlawrence.edu. Once the materials are received, an interview will be scheduled between instructor and student. The seminar will be devoted to reconceptualizing, redeveloping, and restructuring your project-in-process, naturally depending upon your starting point. We will then pursue a rigorous schedule of weekly workshops and diagnostic trouble-shooting critiques. By semester’s end, you will be expected to have a polished draft.

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Less is More: On Camera Performance

Open , Seminar—Year

This course will focus on both the natural and technical aspects of camera performance. The student will learn how to create living, breathing characters constructed and crafted with an emotional inner life that is supported through organic impulses and analytical comprehension of text. The student will learn to create characters drawn from one’s own life experience, emotional substitution, and the limitless possibility of the imagination. The work will require a concentrated attention and expansion of emotional perceptions. The student will develop the ability to actively listen and see and not to anticipate or expect. The scene work will be taken from published screenplays, both contemporary and historical. Period work will require a richly detailed and historically accurate character study, paying attention to both the social and historical demands and the language. The scenes will be memorized, rehearsed, further explored with improvisational exercises, and reviewed with monitor playback. The scenes will then be camera blocked and shot in a workshop atmosphere that concentrates on performance rather than production value. Students will learn how much physicality is required for the master shot and for the two shot and how to harness the physical and emotional focus for extreme close-up work. There is the required movement aspect to this workshop, as well. Each session will begin with physical and emotional exercises that will allow the performers to move, to breathe, and to play. Students will be offered the opportunity to step behind the camera and observe what the DP sees in order to better comprehend the framing of a shoot. They will learn how to maintain and match continuity while using props and physical movement. Voice-over and ADR skills will also be explored. In the spring semester, the students will work on final scenes that will be either original or published. Those scenes will be costumed, with props and production value. Conference work will be discussed individually with each student. The course will include short writing assignments, weekly performance journals, short reactions to the required texts, and perhaps writing original monologues to be performed. This course of study is equally valuable to the emerging performer, director, and screenwriter seeking to understand the alchemy of performance for the camera.

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Creating the Web Series

Open , Seminar—Year

Each student, without exception, must interview with the instructor.

During the fall semester, the students will develop a community that supports a judgment-free working environment, where the goal is to collectively create the best original work possible. This class is not about competition but, rather, about creating collectively. During our Monday sessions, the students will conceive and develop 3- to 5-page film scenes that thematically capture a specific moment in time. The concept and materials to be developed will be revised and finalized for shooting by the end of the fall semester. (These scenes can also be the genesis of a larger script to be worked on later.) During our Thursday sessions, we will begin with warmup exercises developed to get outside of our passive selves and play like children. These exercises will expand our vocal and physical creative base. We will work on intimacy and trust exercises that address issues such as blocking, negating, and posturing. We will read both published and original scenes that will be memorized for the following week. We will break down the scenes dramatically to demonstrate what works and what does not. The students will work on improvisational exercises—taken from beats within the script—that will explore and expand the complexities of a character’s inner life. For our conference work, we will view and discuss feature films and documentaries that primarily focus on the Central American revolutions—such as El Norte, Finding Oscar, Under Fire, and Salvador—but will also include the historical origins of religious and cultural conflicts with films such as The Mission, Apocalypto, and Where the River Runs Black. The fall semester conference work will involve writing about a specific aspect of the films viewed and discussed in class. The spring conference work will be shooting the vignettes. The students will be required to experience all production areas, (editing, lighting, sound, camera, and directing) and to keep a weekly journal of the journey throughout the year. The goal is to make the class self-sufficient, in that students will write, direct, film, and edit their own material. We will have tech-lab workshops that help students better facilitate skills in lighting, cameras, sound, and editing. This class is open to writers, actors, and directors interested in creating through collaboration.

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Producing for Filmmakers, Screenwriters, and Directors

Open , Seminar—Year

Tech Lab: Mondays, 6pm to 8pm, Heimbold 136 (Ziskin). This lab may not meet every week, but students should have this time available for labs to be scheduled at the discretion of the professor.

Producers are credited on every film, television show, and media project made. Producers are crucial—even seminal—to each and every production, no matter how big or small. Yet, even as a pivotal position in the creative and practical process of making a film, TV show, or digital project, the title “Producer” is perhaps the least understood of all the collaborators involved. What is a producer? This course demystifies and answers this question, examining what a producer actually does in the creation of screen-based media and the many hats one or a small army of producers may wear at any given time. Students will explore the role of the producer in the filmmaking, television, and digital process from the moment of creative inspiration through project delivery. In the fall semester, students will gain hands-on producing experience through nuts-and-bolts production software exercises, breaking down projects into production elements, script breakdown, schedules and budgets, logline, synopsis and treatment writing, script coverage, and final project presentation. In the spring semester, students delve into the “show business” side of producing and explore the 21st-century producer’s role in the real world and in cinema and television on a global platform; they will also experience an immersive day at the Tribeca Film Festival. Applying knowledge and skills from the fall semester, students will learn the fundamentals of TV pilot season; entertainment law; optioning material; music licensing; traditional and innovative financing models; daily industry trends; pitching; film marketing and publicity; global film industry trends; the roles lawyers, agents, managers, and sales agents play; and how relationships work among producers, directors, and writers. This course decodes the intersection of art and commerce, as it relates to the business and creative elements of producing. Course work includes written and verbal assignments, in-class presentations, readings, screenings, assignments based on invited industry guests, and in-class final presentations. Conference work may include producing a film or media project by a student in another Sarah Lawrence College filmmaking production class, research-based or in-depth case studies, and other producer-related work. Designed to provide real-world producing guidance, the course offers filmmakers, screenwriters, and directors a window into the importance of—and mechanics pertaining to—the producing discipline and a practical skill set for creating and seeking work in the filmmaking, TV, and digital content world after Sarah Lawrence College.

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Development and Pitching for Film and Television

Intermediate , Seminar—Fall

Permission of the instructor is required.

The first step in getting any project made is having the goods—a screenplay, an original TV pilot, episodes of a Web series, a short film, a documentary treatment or proposal—and then developing a rock-solid pitch. There is, indeed, a right way to pitch your ideas and projects. This course teaches students how to develop a project into a pitch package and how to pitch that project—an essential skill for all writers, filmmakers, directors and producers. With existing scripts and projects, this class guides students in how to understand studio and network needs, how to ensure that your script is ready to pitch, how to establish industry contacts, how to be a good communicator, how to understand and grapple with changing audience tastes, and, overall, how to sell your idea. Every development executive is looking for great stories and screenplays that will make successful films, TV shows, and digital content. This course coaches students to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their scripts, treatments, and projects and explore what platform will best suit their project and why? What kind of viewer will it appeal to? Is it practical? Has it been done before? Answering some of these questions will aid students in understanding the practicalities of development. Through a workshop process of analyzing scripts, creating pitch packages, and verbal pitching, students will learn what makes their particular project marketable, how to make their stories resonate, and how to engage with and pitch the gatekeepers of the myriad platforms where audiences seek stories on screen. Students should have a completed project for which they wish to develop a pitch.

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Done Deal: Marketing for Screenwriters, Filmmakers, and Directors

Intermediate/Advanced , Seminar—Spring

Permission of the instructor is required.

It is every writer’s dream that their script is the next breakout hit—or every filmmaker’s dream of getting into a prestigious film festival. The script just needs to land in the right hands, get to the right reader, or grab the attention of the right executive, and it will sell. The film just needs to get in front of the right programmer, and it will be smooth sailing. But the truth is, most screenplays and TV pilots remain unproduced because they are not marketable enough for production companies, studios, and networks to feel confident in buying or financing them. And more films than ever before are competing for those few coveted festival screening slots. For the student hoping to “make it out there,” this rigorous journey offers a critical lens into how best to prepare your screenplay, TV pilot, or completed film to be ready to take to market, identifying clear goals and marketing strategies for your completed material and projects so that they will sell. Through workshops and evaluating and re-working your script/TV pilot or finished short, this course guides students in how to understand the process to make their work “ready for battle,” to stand out from the herd and have the most successful shot at a launch in a world where there is no set formula for what is marketable. Students with finished films will prepare pitch packages, prep their projects for film festival submission, and navigate the marketplace. Writers with screenplays and TV pilots will prepare the elements for formal pitches. By finding their niche and genre, researching companies producing similar work, and understanding the entertainment business through the eyes of an executive, students learn how to market, promote, and network to provide the best opportunities to get their work sold and seen in today’s changing-by-the-second, fast-paced content world. This course will give you the skills needed to hook interest and make people take notice. To interview for this course, students must have a completed screenplay, TV pilot or finished film.

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Understanding Experience: Phenomenological Approaches in Anthropology

Open , Seminar—Spring

How does a chronic illness affect a person’s orientation to the everyday? What are the social and political forces that underpin life in a homeless shelter? What is the experiential world of a deaf person, a musician, a refugee, or a child at play? In an effort to answer these and like-minded questions, anthropologists in recent years have become increasingly interested in developing phenomenological accounts of particular “lifeworlds” in order to understand—and convey to others—the nuances and underpinnings of such worlds in terms that more orthodox social or symbolic analyses cannot achieve. In this context, phenomenology entails an analytic method that works to understand and describe in words phenomena as they appear to the consciousnesses of certain peoples. Phenomenology, put simply, is the study of experience. The phenomena most often in question for anthropologists include the workings of time, perception, emotions, selfhood, language, bodies, suffering, and morality as they take form in particular lives within the context of any number of social, linguistic, and political forces. In this course, we will explore phenomenological approaches in anthropology by reading and discussing some of the most significant efforts along these lines. Each student will also try her or his hand at developing a phenomenological account of a specific subjective or intersubjective lifeworld through a combination of interviewing, participant observation research, and ethnographic writing.

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Specters of the Subject: Hauntologies of Ghosts, Phantasms, and Imaginings in Contemporary Life

Advanced , Seminar—Year

“The future belongs to the ghosts,” remarked the philosopher Jacques Derrida in 1996. As his interlocutor Bernard Stiegler phrases the main idea behind this statement, “Modern technology, contrary to appearances, increases tenfold the power of ghosts.” With the advent of the Internet, various forms of social media, and the ubiquity of filmic images in our lives, Derrida's observations have proven to be quite prophetic, such that they call for a new field of study—one that requires less an ontology of being and the real and more a “hauntology” (to invoke Derrida's punish term) of the spectral, the virtual, the phantasmic, the imaginary, and the recurrent revenant. In this seminar, we consider ways in which the past and present are haunted by ghosts. Topics to be covered include: specters and hauntings, figures and apparitions, history and memory, trauma and political crisis, fantasy and imagination, digital interfaces, and visual and acoustical images. We will be considering a range of films and video, photography, literary texts, acoustic reverberations, Internet and social media, and everyday discourses and imaginings. Through these inquiries, we will be able to further our understanding of the nature of specters and apparitions in the contemporary world in their many forms and dimensions. Students will be invited to undertake their own hauntologies and thus craft studies of the phenomenal force of specters, hauntings, and the apparitional in particular social or cultural contexts.

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Architectures of the Future, 1780 to the Present

Open , Seminar—Year

Through PowerPoint presentations, readings, and discussion, the course gives a challenging, inclusive, and nuanced understanding of buildings and monuments; visionaries and builders; users and functions; and thoughts, practices, and theories of architecture from the Enlightenment to today—all claiming in one way or another to rethink the past, realize the present, and, most importantly, create the future. We will learn to read architecture and read with architects; to contextualize form and its urban, sociopolitical, and epistemological implications; and to see how architecture gives form to context, sense to experience, image to philosophy. Over 200 years, notions of ideal beauty, type, and function mutated to progress in form and function and contemporary iterations in theories of the unformed, the sustainable, the mysterious objective, the abject, and the playful. We will analyze major movements (neoclassical, arts and crafts, technological sublime, art nouveau, Bauhaus, postmodernism, deconstruction, new pragmatism, figural, digital, sustainable) and figures (William Morris, Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Peter Eisenman, Rem Koolhaas, Sam Mockbee, Zaha Hadid, Jean Gang). Readings will be drawn from history, philosophy, literature (realist, sci-fi, and visionary), Diderot, Edmund Burke, William Blake, William Morris, Buckminster Fuller, Heidegger, Foucault Benjamin, and others. Projects, papers, an architectural notebook dedicated to class notes, readings, drawings, musings, etc., and a conference project will be required in the history, theory, philosophy, and sociopolitical context, including women as users, patrons, and makers of art and architecture. Well-formulated design projects are a possibility. This course shares connections with visual arts, film, and a broad range of subjects in the humanities and social sciences.

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Landscapes in Translation: Cartographies, Visions, and Interventions

Intermediate/Advanced , Seminar—Fall

Open to students with developed skills in critical thinking and analysis of texts. A background in humanities, social sciences, or arts is preferred.

This course investigates the multiple ways in which landscapes have been imagined, interpreted, physically shaped, and controlled in a variety of historical and contemporary sites. The first section, Cartographies, explores ideas of landscape in Euro-America, Southeast Asia, and colonial-era Africa. The literatures of critical geography and political ecology provide theory and cases illuminating connections between the position of the cartographer and presuppositions about the nature of the territory being mapped and managed. We examine how landscapes on a variety of scales, from “bioregions” to nations, are imagined, codified, and transformed through representational processes and material moves. The second section, Visions, investigates how landscapes are embodied in fine arts and literature, as well as in garden and urban design. Readings draw on examples of landscape design in colonial New England and Indonesia and on contemporary examples of landscape design in response to climate change. We also study reworkings of the urban landscape to integrate more productive, biologically diverse “fringes,” as well as rooftop farms and apiaries. The third section, Control: Emerging Security-Scapes, investigates the rise of militarized “security-scapes” or “surveillance-scapes,” dating from slavery in the United States to the Department of Homeland Security in the post-9/11 era. We analyze the visual surround and landscapes seen by remote drone “pilots” scanning Los Angeles and Somalia and surveillance of the occupied Palestinian landscapes. We draw upon websites, advertisements, and new scholarship in security studies, media studies, and social theory.

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History and Aesthetics of Film

Open , Lecture—Year

This lecture is a superlecture and may enroll up to 60 students.

This class will provide a detailed survey of the history of moving-image art, as well as an introduction to key aesthetic and theoretical concepts in the study of film. We will study the major elements of film form—editing, photography, shot composition, sound, mise-en-scene—as phenomena emerging from specific historical contexts and chart their development both over time and as they travel around the world. While the emphasis of the earlier part of the course will be on film art’s European and American origins, we will approach it as a truly global phenomenon with considerable attention devoted to East and South Asian, African, Latin American, and Middle Eastern cinemas. While the basic structure of the course will be chronological, we will develop the vocabulary and viewing skills necessary to identify and analyze the key components of film texts as we proceed; for example, our examination of editing will be situated within our discussion of 1920s Soviet cinema, while possible uses and aesthetic implications of sound will be examined alongside a number of diverse early experiments with sound. Other key moments to be studied include the development of the “classical” Hollywood cinema (and challenges to it), the emergence of new national art cinemas in the post-World War II era, the radical cinema traditions of the 1960s and ’70s, and developments in film aesthetics since the introduction of digital filmmaking techniques in the 1990s. Key theoretical approaches in film studies will also be situated in their historical context, including early debates around film’s status as art from the 1910s and ’20s, inquiries into the relationship between photography and reality from the post-World War II period, and Marxist and feminist analyses of the ideological implications of film form and its relationship to the spectator from the 1960s and ’70s.

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Scandal! Surrealism across Poetry, Painting, and Film

Open , Seminar—Fall

This seminar will provide an in-depth survey of surrealism, one of the most important, exciting, and enduring artistic movements of the 20th century. Surrealism was also the first literary and artistic faction to seriously engage with the new medium of film, and its makers represent the first generation of artists to have grown up with film. Developing as an offshoot of Dadaism in the wake of World War I, surrealism was officially founded in 1924 with the publication of André Breton’s Surrealist Manifesto. The groundbreaking work of Sigmund Freud, exploring the unconscious, provided a major source of inspiration for these artists, who were struggling to understand themselves and the horror they had just survived. Surrealism would be not only transnational—moving beyond its original roots in Paris to become a truly international avant-garde movement—but also transmedia, whose proponents were poets (Breton, Louis Aragon, Robert Desnos, Paul Éluard), painters (André Masson, Max Ernst, Salvador Dalí), and filmmakers (Germaine Dulac, Man Ray, Luis Buñuel), who often collaborated. Our weekly screenings will begin first with a surrealist precursor, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, followed by two masterpieces of surrealist film, Buñuel and Dalí’s Un Chien andalou and L’Âge d’or, which not only changed the way most of us see and think about cinema but also paved the way for horror films. We will trace surrealism’s influence in Buñuel’s later career and, in Hollywood, through the work of filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock, David Lynch, the Coen Brothers, and Martin Scorsese. Our readings will explore, in translation, the writings of the surrealists themselves, along with key secondary literature. Student conference projects will concentrate on one visual artwork from the upcoming exhibition, Monsters & Myths: Surrealism and War in the 1930s and 1940s, from the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut.

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Women Make Movies, or Why Gender Representation Really Matters Behind and In Front of the Camera

Open , Seminar—Spring

Students should have some prior background in film history or in women's studies to take this seminar.

In 2018, women directors still have a hard time breaking through to receive recognition and steady funding. In fact, according to the Celluloid Ceiling Report, in 2016 women comprised just seven percent of directors of the top grossing 250 films in the United States—a two percent decrease from the previous year. This seminar will offer a historical, international survey of women filmmakers up to the present. In conjunction with certain feminist readings, we will consider the historical reasons for the slow emergence of women as creators, beginning with Linda Nochlin’s influential essay, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” (1971). And beginning with Alice Guy-Blaché, the class will survey some of the best films by women directors. We will also consider the success rate for women directors in other countries, notably Morocco, where women directors have won four times the top award in 17 editions. Germaine Dulac, Dorothy Arzner, Maya Deren, Leni Riefenstahl, Agnès Varda, Claire Denis, Chantal Akerman, Ava DuVernay, Mahassine El Hachadi, Margarethe von Trotta, Andrea Arnold, Sally Potter, Marjane Satrapi, Jane Campion, Célina Sciamma, Isabelle Adjani, Patty Jenkins, Anne-Marie Miéville, Gurinda Chada, Mélanie Laurent, Kathryn Bigelow, Sofia Coppola, Mira Nair, Julie Dash, Diane Kurys, Lina Wertmüller, Margarethe von Trotta, Lynne Ramsay, Simone Bitton, Farida Benlyazid, and Agnieszka Holland are some of the filmmakers whom we’ll consider both in class and for individual conference projects.

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Time in Film and Philosophy

Open , Seminar—Spring

The experience of time is so deeply engrained in our everyday lives that we tend to take it as a given; we rarely take the time to think about time. Our main objective in this course will be just that: to reflect about time. What is the meaning of time? How do we experience it? Is there a “right way” to experience time and to think about time? Our main register for addressing these questions will be philosophical, and we will get to know writings by some of the best philosophers of the last century and a half—including Bergson, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Kristeva. Since the filmic medium—the “movie”—embodies time and movement in its very structure, we will accompany our philosophical readings with watching and interpreting films, including (Fellini), La Jetée (Marker), Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (Akerman), 2001: a Space Odyssey (Kubrick), and Memento (Nolan) that explore their own temporality philosophically.

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First-Year Studies: The Senses: Art and Science

Open , FYS—Year

The perceiving mind is an incarnated mind. —Maurice Merleau-Ponty, 1964

Sensory perception is a vital component of the creation and experience of artistic works of all types. In psychology and neuroscience, the investigation of sensory systems has been foundational for our developing understanding of brains, minds, and bodies. Recent work in brain science has moved us beyond the Aristotelian notion of five discrete senses to a view of the senses as more various and interconnected—with each other and with the fundamental psychological processes of perception, attention, emotion, memory, imagination, and judgment. What we call “taste” is a multisensory construction of “flavor” that relies heavily on smell, vision, and touch (mouth feel); “vision” refers to a set of semi-independent streams that specialize in the processing of color, object identity, or spatial layout and movement; “touch” encompasses a complex system of responses to different types of contact with the largest sensory organ—the skin; and “hearing” includes aspects of perception that are thought to be quintessentially human—music and language. Many other sensations are not covered by the standard five: the sense of balance, of body position (proprioception), feelings of pain arising from within the body, and feelings of heat or cold. Perceptual psychologists have suggested that the total count is closer to 17 than to five. We will investigate all of these senses, their interactions with each other, and their intimate relationships with human emotion, memory, and imagination. Some of the questions we will address are: Why are smells such potent memory triggers? What can visual art tell us about how the brain works, and vice versa? Why is a caregiver’s touch so vital for psychological development? Why do foods that taste sublime to some people evoke feelings of disgust in others? Do humans have a poor sense of smell? Why does the word “feeling” refer to both bodily sensations and emotions? What makes a song “catchy” or “sticky”? Can humans learn to echolocate like bats? What is the role of body perception in mindfulness meditation? This is a good course for artists who like to think about science and for scientists with a feeling for art. This is a collaborative course. The main small-group collaborative activity is a sensory lab where students will have the opportunity to explore their own sensory perceptions in a systematic way, investigating how they relate to language, memory, and emotion. The other group activities include some museum visits: The American Museum of Natural History has a current exhibit devoted to the senses, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has an encyclopedic collection that will be the focus of a group curation assignment, and MOMA holds a wealth of abstract perceptual possibilities that we will investigate together.

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Beginning Spanish: At the Movies

Open , Seminar—Year

This course will enable students without previous knowledge of Spanish to develop the skills necessary to achieve effective levels of comprehension and communication. A combination of communicative and vocabulary-building exercises will prepare students to navigate everyday situations, while Spanish-language films by directors such as Pedro Almodóvar, Icíar Bollaín, and Guillermo del Toro will provide the cultural and historical grounding for discussion and enrich classroom exercises that reinforce the skills built into each unit. Students will also begin to develop a critical vocabulary for talking about cultural objects and will write descriptive profiles, creative works, and critical pieces. Students will view the films outside the seminar meetings; group conferences will reinforce the work that we do in class, addressing individual needs and introducing additional cultural materials in the form of songs and newspaper articles. Weekly conversation sessions with a language assistant are also an integral part of the course.

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First-Year Studies: Theatre Outreach: Theatre and Community

Open , FYS—Year

Students enrolled in FYS in Theatre are also allowed, but not required, to take one extra component in the theatre, dance, or music programs as part of their Theatre Third. All students enrolled in FYS in Theatre must complete the same theatre meeting attendance and technical support hours requirements that all students enrolled in Theatre Thirds must complete.

Students will explore the theatre artist working in the community, the theatre artist/activist responding to a population’s particular needs, sharing skills and creating work that connects and empowers their fellow citizens. Students will experience the impact of sharing creative skills in the community. Starting close to campus, the class will become better acquainted with the richness and diversity that is Yonkers. Exploring Yonkers, students will research the complex sociological issues surrounding this, the fourth-largest city in New York State. In addition to the political, we will venture into Yonkers to explore public parks, spaces, landmarks, and cultural institutions and meet and interact with the people who run them. Incorporating a vocabulary of theatre and everyday movement, students will design and develop their own art in the public sphere by constructing a site-specific environmental performance video piece in a Yonkers park, combining the political with the poetic. The class will learn about the work of theatre artists who listen, connect, and extend their theatre-making into communities—theatre makers who are catalysts for change. Students will also look into the mission of Sarah Lawrence College and its continuing commitment to experiential learning through community engagement, exploring the history of artistic practices and sharing of creative skills of the Sarah Lawrence College Theatre Outreach Program and other campus programs and initiatives. This course will include trips to New York City to view theatre that explores and provokes dialogue about race, gender, class, and other issues. Assigned readings, course discussions, and exercises will explore tools for making theatre in the community. A very strong interest in collaborative theatre-making and for sharing expressive skills connected to community work is required for students enrolling in this course. Conference work will entail research into Applied Theatre, Performance Theory, and Theatre for Social Justice movements.

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3D Modeling

Open , Seminar—Spring

This course introduces students to the process of constructing digital objects and environments in the virtual space of the computer. Emphasis will be on a strong grasp of form, space, and composition. Fundamentals of hard-edge and organic surface modeling will be thoroughly exercised, while further exploration of the digital tools will cover shading and texturing, lighting, and rendering with the virtual camera. Over the course of the semester, students will be challenged to create increasingly complex objects, environments, and imagery. Through readings and discussion, students will also be encouraged to consider the conceptual ramifications of working in computer space. Contemporary examples of computer-generated imagery in art, film, and media—juxtaposed with historical views on visual illusion from art and philosophy—will form a broader context in which to examine the medium.

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Introduction to Digital Imaging

Open , Seminar—Fall

This course covers contemporary digital practice, with an emphasis on Photoshop skills and imaging techniques from scanning to printing. Proper digital workflow is the focus, while working through the basics of image manipulation tools, color correction, and retouching. The skills covered will build a solid basis for further exploration of photography, fine-art printing, and more radical digital experiments. The broader classroom discussion emphasizes computer-generated and -manipulated imagery as a new paradigm in contemporary art, photography, and culture in general. Students are encouraged to explore the potential of digital tools in the context of their personal work—visual arts-related or otherwise—stressing open-ended visual possibilities, as well as technical and conceptual rigor.

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Wood, Dust, Nail

Open , Seminar—Year

This yearlong class gets its name from the materials list for a sculpture by the artist David Hammons. What can these three things tell us about contemporary sculpture? How can a wall, dust, and a nail work together to produce sculptural meaning? Hammons was an elusive figure and made artworks that reflected his belief that sculpture could function within the space where the poetic overlapped with the absurd, where absence was just as important as visibility, and where the mundane could reveal profound truths. In this class, we will use this artwork as inspiration as we take a broad look at what it means to make sculpture against the backdrop of contemporary art. We will focus on sculpture’s ability to act as commentary, critique, or even perversion of the existing physical world. Assignments will deal with all aspects of making, including, but not limited to, technique, materials, textures, scavenging, sleep, Metamucil™, omelettes, Amy Winehouse, the state of Georgia, thirst traps, a semicolon, dirt. We will spend time really LOOKING at things and trying to unpack all the ways in which objects in the world can produce complex ideas. The act of looking informs how we think and how we feel, and this class will dwell at length on this. Experimentation will be highly encouraged, as students learn to work within sculptural language and realize the way it can produce meaning on a material, emotional, and even psychological level. The fall semester will focus on assignments aimed at getting students familiar with basic concepts. The spring semester will work toward more individualized projects geared toward students’ interests. In addition, studio demonstrations, in-class presentations, related readings, and field trips to galleries and museums will supplement class time, as we absorb contemporary sculpture in all its possible forms. While this is an open-level seminar, students should expect a demanding class. Be prepared to bring a strong work ethic, along with a desire to challenge yourself. This class is ideal for students with some familiarity working sculpturally and who have ideas they already want to explore.

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First-Year Studies: Forms and Fictions

Open , FYS—Year

This class explores the gift of form as it comes to us from writers from around the world. We will read and then write our versions of folk and fairy tales, epics, short stories, short plays, and anything else we care to try. Second semester will involve writing seven episodes of a fiction. In other words, we will learn how to use a short form to write a long work. Class may involve a discussion of literature, a sharing of our writing, an exercise, a collaboration. While we are exploring the boundaries and premises of various forms, we will step over other boundaries—between the real and the imaginary, this world and another, text and picture, and one form and another. Students will be invited to add visual and sound components to their work, if they wish. In addition to classes, students will have an individual conference every other week and a half-group conference on alternating weeks.

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Poetry: What Holds The Unsayable

Open , Seminar—Spring

Poems are not merely feelings, the poet Ranier Maria Rilke has written, but experiences. What is the difference between a feeling and an experience? How can a poem become an experience? How can a poem, originating from the personal, transcend the personal? How can writing the poem transform the writer? Every poem holds the unsayable. How does a poem do that? How can we attempt to do that—using words? If you are interested in these questions, take this course. The course is open to experienced writers, as well as to absolute beginners. If you are interested in these questions, you are welcome. This is a reading/writing course. We will spend time every week reading poems that have already been published (by dead poets and living poets) to see how they were made: music, syntax, line, sound, and image. We might spend time generating new work in class through exercises and experiments. And we will spend time looking closely at one another’s work, encouraging each other to take risks and to move even closer to the mystery of the poem. Each writer in the class will meet with another class member once a week on a “poetry date.” Each writer will be responsible for reading the assigned work and for bringing to class one written offering each week. We will work hard, learn a great deal about poetry and about our own poems, and have a wonderful time.

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Writing Our Moment

Open , Seminar—Spring

It would be safe to say that journalism and nonfiction writing are currently undergoing a transformation. Our most storied publications are in a state of crisis. Big-city newspapers are failing by the day. Magazines are imperiled. Book publishers face encroaching competition from handheld electronic devices and online search engines that do not recognize copyright laws. What is an ambitious, intuitive writer to do going forward? Quite simply: Harness all of the strengths of the storytelling past to a new world of few space restrictions; more flexible tones; the ready presence of video, audio, and animation—which can either enrich or encroach upon text; and comprehend the role of writer in such a way as to include and exploit new media. We will examine the relationship between literary nonfiction, which has always been cinematic in focus and flexible in tone, and the once and future practice of journalism. Masters of 20th-century nonfiction such as V. S. Naipaul, Truman Capote, Joseph Mitchell, and Roger Angell—steeped as they are in the journalistic practice of their time—can serve as guideposts to our uncertain future. We will examine, through reading and writing, the ways in which the formulas of journalism are transformed into literature. We will emphasize the importance of factuality and fact-checking and explore adapting modern storytelling to video, photography, and sound. As the semester progresses, literary nonfiction will be both discovered and reinvented to fit our new world.

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A Kind of Haunting: A Poetry Workshop

Open , Seminar—Spring

In James E. Young’s essay, “Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum in Berlin: The Uncanny Arts of Memorial Architecture,” Young describes Libeskind’s designing of the Jewish Museum in Berlin and how essential to its design was the folding in of fragment, void, interruption, and other iterations of rupture. Of Libeskind’s project, Young writes “His drawings for the museum thus look more like the sketches of the museum’s ruins, a house whose wings have been scrambled and reshaped by the jolt of genocide. It is a devastated site that would now enshrine its broken forms.” In this poetry workshop, we will examine the different ways in which poetry can allow for what cannot be articulated—either because there are simply no words to convey what must be said or because the speaker cannot utter what must be said—and how allowing space for the unspeakable can result in a kind of haunting in a poem. Each class will begin with the discussion of an outside text and then move on to the workshopping of students’ poems. Texts we will be reading and examining include James E. Young’s essay, as well as writings by Jacques Derrida, Mark Fisher, Darian Leader, excerpts from Laura Oldfield Ford’s ‘zines Savage Messiah, excerpts from films, contemporary artwork, and, of course, poetry. Readings from poetry may include work by Cathy Song, Fred Moten, Dionne Brand, Denise Riley, Helene Dunmore, Sean Bonney, Novalis, and the fragments of Hölderlin.

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