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SUBJECT OUTLINE

54031 Composing the Real


Course area UTS: Communication
Delivery Spring 2017; City
Credit points 8cp
Result type Grade and marks

Subject coordinator
Andrew Taylor

Teaching staff
Tuesdays

Tutorial #1 Tuesday - 12noon Dr. Andrew Taylor

Email: andrew.taylor@uts.edu.au

Tutorial #2 Tuesday - 12 noon Dr. Bettina Frankham

Email: bettina.frankham@uts.edu.au

Tutorial #3 Tuesday - 1.30pm Assoc. Prof. Gillian Leahy

Email: gillian.leahy@uts.edu.au

Tutorial #4 Tuesday - 1.30pm Dr. Enda Murray

Email: enda.murray@uts.edu.au

Tutorial #5 Tuesday - 3pm Dr. Andrew Taylor

Email: andrew.taylor@uts.edu.au

Tutorial #6 Tuesday - 3pm Dr. Bettina Frankham

Email: bettina.frankham@uts.edu.au

Tutorial #7 Tuesday - 4.30pm Dr. Aaron Burton

Email: aaron.burton@uts.edu.au

Tutorial #8 Tuesday 4.30pm Dr. Georgia Wallace-Crabbe

Email: Email: georgia.wallace-crabbe@uts.edu.au

Tutorial #9 Tuesday - 6pm Dr. Enda Murray

Email: enda.murray@uts.edu.au

Subject description
This subject explores conceptual and production approaches to documentary media forms. Students are introduced to
key documentary modes and examine and develop documentary projects involving a range of outcomes from photo
essay to video and sound documentary to emerging online and interactive documentary projects. Activities include
short documentary exercises across a range of media and the development of a short documentary treatment. The
main focus of study and production is on linear moving image documentaries but hybrid forms and boundary blurring
such as animated documentaries, reality TV, and other cross-overs between fiction and non-fiction are also examined.
Throughout the subject, students investigate the issues facing media producers seeking to work with the 'creative
interpretation of reality'.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)


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Subject learning objectives (SLOs)
a. Analyse documentaries critically
b. Describe different techniques, approaches and forms of the documentary
c. Create documentary work demonstrating professional production skills
d. Reflect on their contribution to the group project
e. Evaluate ethical and health & safety issues in relation to documentary production

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes


This subject addresses the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes:
1. Professional Readiness
1.1 Possess a well-developed awareness of professional practice in the context of the communication industries
1.2 Apply theoretically-informed understanding of the communication industries in independent and collaborative
projects across a range of media
2. Critical and Creative Inquiry
2.1 Possess information literacy skills to locate, gather, organise and synthesise information across diverse platforms
to inform the understanding of the communication industries
2.2 Be reflexive critical thinkers and creative practitioners who are intellectually curious, imaginative and innovative;
with an ability to evaluate their own and others work
6. Effective Communication
6.1 Possess well-developed skills and proficiencies to communicate and respond effectively and appropriately across
different contexts
6.2 Demonstrate digital literacy and production skills across a range of media and media texts

Teaching and learning strategies


The subject is delivered using a mixture of teaching and learning strategies: screenings, lectures, tutorials, seminars,
workshops, online exercises and collaborative group activities. The first third of the subject is delivered in screening/
lecture / tutorial mode. The last two thirds of the subject is delivered in three hour seminar blocks. Face-to-face
classes are complemented by independent student viewing, reading and participation in online discussion and
activities.

The screening / lecture program will focus on examining ideas, concepts and creative practices in the production of
documentaries. The lectures are employed to introduce screenings and ideas that are not online or otherwise readily
available to a large cohort. The tutorials are the venue for discussion, critique and in-class exercises. The face-to-face
seminar classes are used to develop craft skills and strategies for working effectively in small collaborative groups.
Students receive formative feedback from class teachers and peers in the later seminar classes on their work in
progress. The range of teaching and learning strategies includes short presentations, video and sound exercises, and
discussion and critique of documentary work.

The subject also has 2 mandatory workshops. These are run by Media Lab staff and are used to introduce technical
equipment and software. They also cover some essential Health and Safety matters.

Content (topics)
The subject covers the following aspects of documentary theory and professional practice: research and scripting the
documentary; examination of different modes of documentary; the voice of the documentary: narration, interview,
commentary and reflexive forms; ethics of documentary practice; the art of the interview; the role of the director in
pre-production, production and post-production; location sound recording; introductory location lighting; camera
techniques and coverage; documentary crew roles and the art of effective collaboration; production matters planning,
preparation, permits & permissions; health & safety essentials; and emerging modes of documentary (interactive,
online, animated, mobile and other emerging forms).

Program
Week/Session Dates Description

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1 24 Jul Lecture / Screenings

Introduction what is this thing documentary? A genre? A mode? Forms,


definitions and shapes changing through time. Questioning of the form.
Possibilities for the form. What is it? What is it not? (AT)

Notes:

This introductory lecture / screening provides an important introduction to the


subject and overview of documentary. Attendance is compulsory (to say
nothing of thoroughly worthwhile and in your best interest).

There are no tutorials in Week1. Tutorial program begins on August 1

2 1 August Lecture / Screenings:

The Documentary Short & other recent innovations.

An introduction to research, writing, and composing documentaries. (AT)

Tutorial

Discussion (following Tuesday morning lecture): How are documentaries


created and composed? How can they be written or pre-imagined?

In-class exercise: Imagining a short documentary - introductory in-class


exercise.

3 8 August Lecture / Screenings:

Observational Documentary (GL)

Tutorial

Observational exercise

Coverage. Filming with editing in mind. Devising an observational


documentary sequence - sound, image and action.

4 15 August Lecture /Screening

First Person Documentary - Personal & Biographical Documentary (AT)

Tutorial

Words and images

Approaches to narration, using text on screen, working without words.

Parramatta Road exercise - writing narration in different 'voices'.

5 22 Aug Lecture/Screening

Baxter & Me: A Case Study - inc. research, scripting, collaboration with
producer, funding, exhibition & distribution (GL).

Tutorial

Assessment Item #1 (A/V essays) due in class for in-class and online
presentation, critique and discussion.

Creative work and the delicate and important art of criticism.

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Notes:

Assessment Item #1 (A/V essays) due in class for in-class and online
presentation, critique and discussion.

6 29 Aug Lecture/Screening

The Art of the Interview (AT)

Tutorial

Considerations of craft - approaches to lighting documentary.

Introduction to permits, permissions and key concepts of OH&S for


documentary media work.

Preparation for Week 7 Interview exercise.

Notes:

This it the last lecture - from Week 7 ( Sept 4) classes switch to 3 hour
seminar mode - check start times - similar to tute times but slightly different in
most cases.

Compulsiory Lighting Safety Workshops in CB03.02.021

7 4 Sept Seminar - The Art of the Interview

Crewing, craft skills and interviewing exercise.

Considerations of sound atmos. recordings, spot effects, location surveys,


dealing with noisy locations.

Discussion of ideas for short documentary proposals. QA re Assignment #2

(Due in-class Week 8)

Notes:

Compulsory Location Sound recording Workshops in CB03.02.021

x 11 Sept MId session Stu Vac - no classes

Notes:

In break students miust complete mandatory online quiz re permits,


permissions, legals, OH & S for documentary production.

8 19 September Seminar - Short Documentary Project Ideas - Production Planning and


Preparation

Students pitch short documentary project ideas.

Class selects projects to be developed and produced by the class in small


groups.

Project teams are formed.

Assignment #2 (documentary proposals) due in class.

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Notes:

Assignment #2 (documentary proposals) due in class.

9 26 September Seminar Rushes Screenings

Assessing progress, problem solving and feedback on work in progress

Each group to screen a carefully curated selection of 5-10 minutes of rushes/


assembly edit.

10 3 October Seminar - Rough Cut Screenings

Problem solving and feedback on work in progress

Each group to screen a rough cut of their project.

Sound and sound design for documentary.

11 10 Oct Seminar Rough/Fine Cut Screenings

Dialogue and atmos tracks - Music, sound design and mix

Problem solving and feedback on work in progress

Each group to screen a rough/fine cut of their project.

Sound and sound design for documentary.

12 17 Oct Seminar Project Screenings and In-class Criticism.

Notes:

Assignment #3 Due in Class

Additional information
Intellectual Property:
The University does not assert ownership of Intellectual Property created by students except under certain conditions.
See the UTS Policy on Intellectual Property (5.1.6) for more information. UTS reserves the right to use students
assessments (or parts thereof) completed in this subject for teaching purposes and for purposes of advertising for UTS
and as otherwise permitted under the UTS Policy on Intellectual Property. If you do not want your work to be used for
teaching or advertising purposes, you must inform your lecturer of this in writing.

Assessment
Assessment task 1: Archival audio-visual essay (individual)
Objective(s): a, b and c

Weight: 30%

Task: Using archival materials for example, written text, letters, photographs, home-video, pre-existing
audio or music recordings students conceive and develop a short audio-visual documentary essay.
In addition to the central archival ingredient(s), students are encouraged to use text, voice, music &
/or sound design in order to complete the work.

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Length: The final piece will be approximately 3 minutes in length.
( 2 minutes minimum and 4 minutes maximum)

Due: Week 5
Assignments due Week 5 ( Aug 22) in-class ready for playback.

Criteria Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs


linkages:
Strength, originality and clarity of idea 50 a, b 2.2

Creativity of approach (verve, wit, flair, 25 b, c 6.1


spark, skill and freshness of
imagination in story, sound and vision)

Degree of aesthetic and technical 25 c 6.2


refinement in sound and image

SLOs: subject learning objectives


CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Further Assignments are due ready for presentation in-class Week 5.


information:
This is an individual personally-authored assignment but students are encouraged to seek feedback
from 1 or 2 class members on work-in-progress or near final edits. The finished work must be
submitted as a password protected post on Sound Cloud (audio essays), Vimeo, YouTube or similar
with a link to the project posted to the UTS online class group space or Facebook group set up for
the class. Students are expected to watch each other's completed work and offer feedback through
the comments for the project post. A brief will be distributed in class clarifying the use of additional
elements and other parameters of the assignment.

Assessment task 2: Written Project Proposal (individual)


Objective(s): a, b and c

Weight: 30%

Task: Students are to research and write a project proposal for a short documentary project. This will
involve the initial research and creative visualization of an original idea for a documentary. It will
include a synopsis, treatment, information regarding intended style and approach, and pertinent
technical, safety and ethical considerations.

Length: 1500 word plus and 1-2 pages of indicative photographs, maps and graphics

Due: Week 8
Due in-class Week 8 ( September 19)

Criteria Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs


linkages:
Strength and originality of idea 30 a, b 2.2

Depth & degree of research 25 b, c 2.1

Creativity and effectiveness of intended 25 b, c 2.2


style and approach (including quality of
synopsis and treatment)

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Effectiveness of communication (including 20 c 6.1
quality of written work & supporting
graphics, clarity of the content, layout and
design)

SLOs: subject learning objectives


CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Further Projects must be submitted in printed out, hard copy form at the beginning of the Week 8 seminar.
information:
Linear moving image project ideas to be approximately 5 minutes in length. The scale and scope of
non-linear (e.g. interactive works) and sound/audio projects is to be determined in consultation with
the lecturer.

The lecturer will provide a specific brief on the project proposal indicating the level of detail required
and the need for students to consider the likelihood of obtaining relevant access and permissions.
These projects will be pitched and presented to the class during the week 7 seminar.

Assessment task 3: Short Documentary Group Project Work


Objective(s): b, c and d

Weight: 40%

Length: Linear moving image project ideas to be approximately 5 minutes in length. The scale and scope of
non-linear (e.g. interactive works) and sound/audio projects is to be determined in consultation with
the lecturer.

Due: Week 12
Projects are due in-class Week 12 ( October 17) ready for playback.

Criteria Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs


linkages:
Depth and insightfulness of reflection on 20 d 1.2
crew role and contribution to group
project

Level of participation when collaborating 25 d 1.1


within the group

Creativity and effectiveness of project 40 b, c 6.1

Degree of aesthetic and technical 15 c 6.2


refinement in sound and image

SLOs: subject learning objectives


CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Further Projects will be screened / presented in class in Week 12.


information:
Delivery requirements and level of completion for the documentary project to be specified by the
lecturer. Students make a learning contract with the group and lecturer before commencement of
production to clarify their intended group role and responsibilities this entails. Each student must
submit a one-page report on their contribution to the project and achievement of the goals set out in
their learning contract in Week 12.

The project team in collaboration devises a group charter which sets out the ground rules and
expectations for the conduct of the production process.

A copy of this group charter signed off by all members of the project team must be submitted to the
class Lecturer in Week 8.

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class Lecturer in Week 8.

Minimum requirements
Completion of Online Health & Safety Quiz and Lighting Proficiency Test are essential to ensure safe operation of
video and sound recording equipment. Students must successfully complete the Online Health & Safety Quiz and
Lighting Proficiency Test.
Attendance at tutorials is essential in this subject. Classes are based on a collaborative approach that involves
essential work-shopping and interchange of ideas with other students and the tutor. A roll will be taken at each class.
Students who have more than two absences from class will be refused final assessment (see Rule 3.8).
It is essential to attempt all assessment tasks to pass the subject as each assessment meets unique subject learning
objectives.

References
Beattie,K. 2004, Documentary Screens - Non-fiction Film and Television, Palgrave Macmillan, Hampshire and New
York.
Bruzzi, S. 2000, New Documentary A critical introduction, Routledge, London.
FitzSimmons,T., Laughren, P., & Williamson,D., 2011, Australian Documentary History, Practices and Genres,
Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne.
Nichols, B. 2010, Introduction to documentary, 2nd edn, Indiana University Press, Bloomington.
MacDougall, David.1998, Transcultural Cinema, Princeton University Press.
Plantinga, C.R. 1997, Rhetoric and representation in nonfiction film, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K.
Rabiger, M. 2009, Directing The Documentary, Focal Press, London and Boston.
Renov, M. (ed) 1993, Theorizing Documentary, Routledge, New York.
Rosenthal, A. 1996, Writing, Directing and Producing Documentary Films, Southern Illinois University Press,
Carbondale.
Russell, Catherine. 1999, Experimental Ethnography: The Work of Film in the Age of Video, Duke University Press,
Durham and London.
Sutton, D., Brind, S., Mckenzie, R. (eds) 2007, The State of the Real, I.B.Taurius, London & New York.
Vaughan, D. 1999, For documentary : twelve essays, University of California Press, Berkeley.
Ward, P. 2005, Documentary : the margins of reality, Wallflower, London.
Winston, B. 2000, Lies, Damn Lies and Documentary, British Film Institute, London.
Winston, B. 2008, Claiming the real : documentary : Grierson and beyond, 2nd edn, BFI ; Palgrave Macmillan,
London, New York, NY.

Film References:
Cane Toads: an unnatural history, 1987, Mark Lewis, Film Australia.
Eternity, 1994, Lawrence Johnston, director, Vivid Pictures.
Grey Gardens, 1976, David Maysles and Albert Maysles, Maysles Films.
Jabe Babe: a heightened life, 2005, Janet Merewether, Go Girl Productions.
Homemade Histories, 2003, Robert Herbert, Arcadia Pictures.
The Illustrated Auschwitz, 1992, Jackie Farkas, Australian Film, Television & Radio School.
My Mother India, 2001, Safina Uberoi, Chili Films.
Painting with light in a dark world, 2002, Sascha Ettinger-Epstein.
Rats in the Ranks, 1996, Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson, Film Australia.
Reassemblage: from the firelight to the screen, 1982, Trinh T. Minh-Ha, Women Make Movies.
Regen (= Rain), 1929, Joris Ivens, Netherlands.
Sherman's March, 1991, Ross McElwee, New York, N.Y.: First Run Features.
Shoppingtown, 1987, David Caesar, AFI Distribution.
Seven hours to burn, 1999, Shanti Thakur, Women Make Movies, New York.
Sunless (= Sans solei), 1982 Chris Marker, Argos Films.
Tarnation, 2005, Jonathan Caouette, Wellspring Media.

Links:
Korsakow System: http://www.korsakow.org
The Whale Hunt: http://thewhalehunt.org
Media Storm http://mediastorm.org/
ITVS Interactive Projects http://www.itvs.org/

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ITVS Interactive Projects http://www.itvs.org/
World Without Oil http://worldwithoutoil.org/

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Disclaimer
This outline serves as a supplement to the faculty's student study guide. On all matters not specifically covered in this
outline, the requirements specified in the guide apply.

This outline was generated on the date indicated in the footer. Subsequent minor changes may have been made.

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