Course syllabus

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Subject and Catalogue Number: SCREEN 303

SEMESTER 1, 2020

15 points
Course Convenor: Jake Mahaffy -

Course delivery format: Online Canvas and Zoom

Disclaimer- This syllabus is subject to change at the discretion of the professor contingent upon performance and overall class progress and special events.


A study of working methods for directing performance of both actors and non-actors as well as non-fiction subjects. The course will consist of workshops, lectures, exercises, rehearsals and discussions. Our class sessions will be spent in critiques of projects, discussions, demonstrations, exercises and screening films.

This syllabus is designed to provide you with the information you need to successfully complete this course. Besides the schedule, which gives a general outline of topics and assignments by date, included herein are the criteria for evaluation and the philosophy of the course. The student must take responsibility for what you learn. You must take an active and participatory role in understanding the material presented in class, each class session. Students will actively engage in the creative process and give and receive constructive criticism. This is an intensive studio course and will require work outside of regular class. This out-of-class commitment is not optional and will be required to complete the projects and exercises assigned.

Provisional class limits information for 2020:  Enrolment is limited to 20 students. Students must have successfully completed SCREEN 200 and 201. Selection will also be made based on the qualitative assessment of a 250-word statement. As an experiential learning course with intensive workshopping, demonstrations and project based teaching, small class sizes are required to adequately attend to each student.


Successful completion of the course should provide students information on how to: Communicate to actors in simple and direct ways; Use specificity in giving directions to actors; Create different genres through their actors’ performances; Create mood, tone, subtext, and texture through the performances of their actors; Develop a working vocabulary of acting terminology; Provide methodology for working with actors during casting, rehearsal and shooting. This includes making and keeping deadlines and consistency, presentation, and standardization of format; Analysing scripts, providing constructive critiques of peer-work.

Key Assignments

Scene Analyses:                          included in each director’s Project grade

Peer Assessments:                      credit   (end of term)

Self-assessment:                         credit   (end of term)

Group online dialogue                 30        Script 1 / filmed drama/comedy (indvl role mark)

Individual monologue                  30        Script 2 / 2-minute filmed scene (indvl role mark)

Group dialogue scene                 30        Script 3 / 2-minute filmed (indvl role mark)

Individual Participation:           10         (online feedback/ assignments/ discussions)

Total                                                   100


  1. All film projects are completed self-contained quicktime files uploaded before the Monday of class
  2. 16:9 ratio, 1080 res, 25p framerate, no interlacing, .mp4, normal volume/mix (no larger than 500MB)
  3. stereo audio (without clicks/glitches, no drop out)
  4. titles/credits, black slug 3 seconds before and after show
  5. all photo images must be hi-rez (no pixilation in the image)
  6. all documents uploaded must be PDF format (no Word docs)
    7. ALL project file naming: names_Project#.mp4 or .pdf (ie. JoeBillSally_Project3.mp4)

For the online course, it is important to remember that by participating you are agreeing to the copyright use of all course material which is owned by the university and respective IP creators. Videos, teaching materials, student projects etc cannot be shared or posted without written permission. Confidentiality and discretion still applies to all related coursework just as it did from the first day. Recordings, screen shots, etc of others aren't allowed without explicit case by case permission. Privacy is critical within the class. And finally, the same university policies for academic integrity apply as usual.

Per university and School of Arts general policy, assignments are marked down one point/day it is late (including the day of the deadline.) Marking grids and assessment details are provided below in detail.

Course summary:

Date Details Due