Curriculum Overview


Choice: North by Northwest, Dial M for Murder, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Notorious, Charade, Rear Window, Double Indemnity, Psycho

The Fugitive

The Sixth Sense



Choice:The Manchurian Candidate, It's A Wonderful Life, Gone With the Wind, Say Anything, A Beautiful Mind

Dead Poet's Society


Duck Soup

Some Like It Hot

The Princess Bride

Choice: Groundhog's Day, Tootsie, Ghost Busters, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Juno

Sci Fi/Fantasy


The Matrix

Choice: Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, The Dark Knight, Avatar, Edge of Tomorrow, Arrival, The Martian


Singin' in the Rain

Moulin Rouge

Choice: Animated choice (i.e., Beauty and the Beast, Toy Story, Aladdin, Up, etc)

Important film terminology


1. extreme long shot
2. the long shot
3. the full shot - full body
4. medium - knees or waist up
5. close-up
6. extreme close-up


1. bird's-eye view
2. the high angle - crane
3. eye-level shot
4. low angle
5. oblique angle - tilt

Light & Dark

high key - bright, even illumination and few conspicuous shadows (musicals, comedies)
high contrast - harsh shafts of light and dramatic streaks of blackness (tragedies, melodramas)
low key - diffused shadows and atmosphere; pools of light (mysteries, thrillers, gangster)
available lighting -
backlighting -
lenses -
over exposure -

The Moving Camera

1. pans - movements of the camera that can a scene horizontally, taken from a stationary axis point
2. tilts - vertical movements of the camera around a stationary horizontal axis
3. crane shots - airborne dolly shots
4. dolly shots - shots taken from a moving vehicle
5. zoom shots - this doesn't involve actual movement of the camera, but on the screen their effect is very much like an extremely
fast tracking or crane shot
6. handheld shots
7. aerial shots - usually taken from a helicopter, really a variation of the crane shot

Mechanical distortions of movement

1. animation
2. fast motion
3. slow motion
4. reverse motion
5. freeze frames

Final Project Options

Original film using above film concepts: Film a 10-15 minute short movie utilizing the film concepts covered in class. Since this assignment is from the perspective of the director, no more than two students may be credited with the movie, while others in the class who appear in it may receive extra credit for doing so, it will not count as their final project. A written or video taped explanation of the film concepts illustrated will need to accompany the film.

Director Study: Choose 3-4 movies that span a ten-year period of the director's career and analyze and discuss how the director has grown/changed over the course of his/her career.

Remake Compare/Contrast: Watch both an original movie and a later remake of the same movie and write a 2-3 page paper comparing and contrasting the two films.
Ideas for films

For Remake Compare/Contrast, points to compare:

Changes to story
If story was updated and how that went
Changes in characters or characterizations
Changes to focus of movie
Special effects
Pace (slow moving, constant action, etc)