John B. Moore Documentary Studies Collaborative
John B. Moore Documentary Studies Collaborative

Spring 2016 Classes

Video Sorytelling '15

Production Fundamentals

Documentary Studies

Production Fundamentals

DS 202A 002 Video Storytelling
Vickie Riley
Tu, 4-6 pm

Students will learn the basics of video storytelling through this one-credit video production course. Over the course of the semester, you will move from concept to completion of a single video project (3-4 minutes), which you will shoot, edit and present.  Skills developed may include storyboarding, DSLR camera workflow, setting up video interviews and how to tell a visual story.  Students will present a project on the first day of class.  Project stories and approaches are open based on student interest; they may range from documentary and narrative to experimental and creative.  They may be drawn from a previous or current course or your expertise and interests.   This is a skills-based visual course that has been designed for students at any level of experience. 

DS 202A 003  Interview 101: Skidmore Stories
Susan Bender
Th, 3:40-5:30 pm, LI 113 (1/21-3/3)

Students will learn the basics of oral history interview practices, ethics and techniques, including how to digitally record and transcribe an interview.  We will begin by working on Skidmore stories with retired Skidmore faculty, staff, and/or alumni.  Each student will record, log and transcribe two interviews, one from a pre-selected pool of interviewees and another of their own choosing.  Completed oral histories may become part of the Skidmore-Saratoga Memory Project.

DS 202A 001  Photography 101
Michael McCabe
W, 12:20-2:10 pm, LI 113 (3/23-4/27)

Students will explore techniques and methods of photographic storytelling working with DSLR cameras. Lectures, demonstrations and exercises will build ability in composition, exposure, and seeing. Class will also address organizing, adding metadata, and adjusting images. No previous experience necessary.

DS 302A 001 Video Projects
Ron Taylor
M 4:00-5:50 (1/21-3/21), 1 credit
This course is for students interested in developing a documentary project based on existing or in-progress research in any discipline with the support of a documentarian and visiting practitioners in the field. Proposed projects may employ video, photography, and/or media work. Students will workshop an individual short project through written reflections, rough cut screenings/presentations and group and individual critiques. Students will focus on finding an approach to form that suits both subject matter and their personal creative and academic goals. Students will also work with readings, technical workshops, screenings, and discussions. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

DS 202B 001  Radio (Podcast) Storytelling
Eileen McAdam
Th 3:30-5:30 (3/21-5/1), 2 credits
Students will focus on how to write for radio and craft a story using interview, ambient sound, music and narration. Using professional equipment and software, this hands-°©‐on class will cover the basics of story for sound, recording and editing.

Eileen McAdam fell in love with sound recording when she first put on a pair of headsets, held a microphone in her hand and pushed that little red record button. A whole new world opened up to her and she has not stopped recording since. She began recording ambient sound and the stories of some of the old timers in her rural town of Stone Ridge, NY. She learned how to do sound editing and production while producing personal audio profiles for families. She now runs the Sound and Story Project of the Hudson Valley.

Documentary Studies

Adam Tinke
Adam Tinkle

DS 251D  Introduction to Audio Documentary
Adam Tinkle
TTh 9:40am-11:00am, 3 credits

In this course, students will learn the technologies, tools, and skills to create audio documentaries. Working individually and in small production teams, we will produce original sound works for radio broadcast and podcast. Closely linked to the development of our studio and field practice as audio recordists, editors, and producers, we will also listen to and critically analyze examples in the medium, ranging from classics of international radio art to today's most innovative podcasts. Analyzing the aesthetics, extrapolating techniques and getting inspiration from these exemplars, we will try our hands at varied ways of sculpting an audio experience, telling stories, and representing reality. The course assumes no prior knowledge of audio technologies, and should interest budding documentarians, writers, performers, and digital artists regardless of primary medium. Through a partnership with WSPN, students may have the opportunity to appear live on the radio to introduce, air and engage in a discussion about their projects. Note: an optional fourth credit is available for students to work, alongside the instructor, as a collaborative production team on the Skidmore-Saratoga Memory Project in DS-202A.

DS 251C: DS 251 Principles of Documentary Studies
Jordana Dym
TTh, 11:10-12:30 , 3 credits

This 200-level course will be the gateway to the Documentary Studies Collaborative. This course introduces local, national and global documentary traditions in film, sound, photography, exhibition and multi-media, through readings, screenings, classroom discussion, and engagement with practitioners. Students will engage with theoretical and practical issues related to documentary work, including critical analysis of existing work and of the distinct ethical and aesthetic concerns associated with developing and telling stories that matter. The course emphasizes how the narrative, analytical, and structural frames of audio, visual and written media shape the work, its audience and impact. Rather than focusing on the production of a documentary in any one form, students get a hands-on experience of various media, and an overview of technical aspects, to help them prepare for extended work in one or more documentary media. 

Jay Kernis (NPR, CBS) visits Principles of Doc (Spr. 15)
Senior Center Memory Project

DS-251B 001 Storytelling for the Screen I
Nicole Coady, F, 9:40-11:30 am, 2 credits
The craft of storytelling for the screen will be honed through examining landmark films, documentaries, television shows and an assortment of new media.  We will put what we learn into practice through writing our own visual stories and class discussion. Over the course of the semester, students will learn the classic three act structure for telling a visual story.  They will develop skills in how to craft a compelling log line, as well as learn to create a skeleton treatment from which to build a story.  They will develop a final treatment which can be shared with other participants in the often collaborative work of telling stories through the various visual mediums available to 21st century storytellers. 

DS-251B 001 Storytelling for the Screen II
Nicole Coady, F, 12:00 pm, -1:50 pm,  2 credits

Students who have successfully completed Storytelling for the Screen I may enroll in Storytelling for the Screen II to develop a screenplay for their project.  Permission of the Instructor required.

Nicole Coady: With over 20 years of screenwriting experience, Nicole Coady has written for such companies as MTV, New Line Cinema and 20th Century Fox.  In addition, she authored two video games for the top selling toy company MGA.  Currently, she is in preproduction on the feature film, The Twelve Dancing Princesses. She is very excited to pass on her years of industry knowledge on how to write successfully for the screen!  Prerequisite: Storytelling for the Screen I

AHDS 324 The Artist Interview
Ian Berry
F 12:20-3:10

An exploration of the artist interview as a form of original art historical research.  Students will learn how oral histories can function in a museum collection archive. Working in teams, students will closely examine and research artworks in the Tang Museum collection, prepare questions for the artists, and create videotaped interviews. Students will learn different methodological approaches to the interview and consider such questions as: how does editing play a role in making meaning; who defines the meaning of an artwork; and is the artist always the best source about his or her own work? Prerequisite: one art history course. I. Berry

EN 217:  'Film'
Cecilia Aldarondo
Tu, Th 12:40-2 and W 6:30-9:30

Is cinema dying? With movie theater attendance at record lows, serial TV shows surging in popularity, and online short-form media commanding ever-larger amounts of our attention, the fact is that movies are not what they used to be. It is a paradoxical situation, for, on the one hand, it seems that the value of film is fading; on the other, film’s supposedly endangered status makes it more precious to us than ever. But what is (or was) film in the face of this supposed death certificate? What is it that we are supposedly losing?   This course, Introduction to Film Study, will take this debate over the vitality or mortality of cinema as a starting point, in order to construct a foundational sense of cinema throughout its history. We will cover a wide range of cinematic styles and movements across genres and cultures, from the most celebrated Hollywood spectacle to the home movie decaying in an ordinary garage, from the mystique of film noir to the ethical quandaries of documentary, and from the rapid-fire editing of Soviet cinema to the bold experiments of Cuban revolutionary film. Through weekly screenings of documentaries, experimental films, and narrative features alike, we will develop a historical context for the hundred-plus years of cinema’s existence, practice some of the major analytic approaches to film, and examine the institutions that make films possible, in order to arrive at a sophisticated understanding of cinema as it faces its greatest crisis yet. Students will be assessed through a weekly film journal, a midterm exam, and a semester-long documentary film project in which they will research and design an original idea for a documentary, culminating in a written treatment and verbal pitch.

PH 230C Film Truth
William Lewis
MW 8:10-10:00 AM

Stills from films by Paul Clipson
Stills from films by Paul Clipson

What is the real? Can we faithfully represent the world? Is reality truth?  Is there such a thing as objectivity? If so, how do we achieve it? Using various films from the history of documentary as examples, this class will attempt to answer such questions. To do so, it will examine the history of documentary practice as well as the history of thinking about documentary film. The course will include units on mimetic theory, narrative realism, scientific truth, juridical truth, institutional truth, film truth, direct cinema, self-reflexive cinema, and constructivism. As envisioned, this class will integrate methods and insights from philosophy, aesthetics, and film studies. In addition to being an interdisciplinary inquiry into the relationship among image, truth, and reality, this is a course about knowing, particularly about ways to come to knowledge, as well as how to present this knowledge truthfully. 

DS 302A 001 Storytellers' Institute Prep (3/21-5/10)
Adam Tinkle/Jordana Dym
Tu 4-5:30
For students accepted to summer 2016 Storytellers' Institute.  Preparation of projects and skill-building to prepare for a successful June fellowship.  By permission of the instructors only.


SO-351R 001 Video Ethnography Tu/Th 12:40-2, R. Scarce
Visual phenomena are central to everyday contemporary life, both their interpretation and their creation.  We will discuss key theoretical and empirical works in visual sociology/visual studies and will familiarize ourselves with ethnographic data gathering and analysis.  A major research project will have students producing a sociologically-informed work of video ethnography from start to finish, along the way becoming conversant in methodological and filmmaking best practices.  Prior experience with video equipment and editing software is not a requirement. By permission of instructor only.

AN-251D 001 Visual Anthropology 3:40-5:30, Tu/Th
An exploration of the theories and methods anthropologist use to create and present ethnographic images. Using photography and videos, students learn the principles for thinking visually and creating images to present ethnographic data.  Topics include ethics of images, cameras in social science research, organizing images, and analyzing images.  Students design small visual projects to gain experience in formulating research questions, visual ethnography, and analyzing and presenting results. Pre-requisites :AN-101 or AN-102

AN-352D 001 From Dig to Display W/F 12:20-2:10, W/F
In many people's imaginations archaeology is done through excavation. In reality, much of what we learn about the past comes from processing and analyzing objects back in the lab. This course introduces students to archaeological methods of artifact analysis and curation following excavation. It does so through hands-on experiences with excavated materials from Skidmore's various local archaeological field projects. Topics include artifact preparation, collection cataloging, laboratory analysis, and the public display of objects in museums or online settings. The experience will culminate in a final project designed by the students, which deals with preparing a set of artifacts collected in excavation for public exhibition. Pre-requisites:  AN102 and AN202 or permission of instructor.

AR-229 Beginning Photography  Tu/Th 8:45 -11:45 am or T/Th 2:00-5:00 pm
An exploration of the varied aesthetic and mechanical aspects of contemporary photographic process. Emphasis is placed on using the camera as a tool to increase one’s visual sensitivity and personal awareness. Lab work is digital using Adobe Photoshop. Each student must own a camera: 35mm or digital. Prerequisites: AR 131 or AR 133
Lab/ Credit Fee: $80 (does not include film or paper)

AH-375C Framing Photography Tu/Th 3:40-5:30
Explores practices and issues in the history of photography in Europe and the United States between the nineteenth century and the present, focusing on works in the exhibition “Borrowed Light: Selections from the Jack Shear Collection.” Students will study debates about the aesthetic value and social roles of photography; its use as a vehicle for self-definition, activism, and domination; and controversies in the history of photography exhibitions. Students will learn how the works in “Borrowed Light” were acquired by a private collector; talk with museum staff about exhibition design; and collaborate to re-curate a section of the exhibition. Designated a Documentary Studies course. This course counts for MF minor. Counts for seminar (AH375) requirement in AH major. For AH majors who have already taken AH375, counts for “exploration.” Open to junior and senior majors or minors in art history or studio art; others welcome by permission of the instructor.