Communication and Culture | Production as Criticism (Topic: The Visual Short)
C335 | 6081 | Lahey, M.

Tu, 1:00 PM-3:30 PM, 800 E. 3rd St. – room 100

Students must also enroll in a lab section:
W, 1:00 PM-4:00 PM, 800 E. 3rd St. – room 102 (#6082)
Th, 1:00 PM-4:00 PM, 800 E. 3rd St. – room 102 (#6083)

Requires special fee

Fulfills College A&H Requirement

Instructor: Michael Lahey
Office: 800 E. 3rd St. – room 281
Phone: 856-3405

Over the past several years the internet has been a hotbed of
industrial and amateur activity. At the same time that media
industries have used the internet to attract potential audiences,
non-professionals have used it as a creative outlet. A by-product of
all this internet activity has been a renewed interest in short
video and film production. Yet, the short film/video has a history
that long predates the internet. This history includes: early
cinema, commercials on television, newsreels, soundies, music
videos, avant-garde films, and cartoons. In this class we will take
a historical look at various short film and video forms, culminating
with an investigation of their increased importance in the present
media landscape.

Thus, this class will center on interrogating the visual short. What
is it? What does it do well? How is it used and toward what ends?
What stylistic and formal techniques are used in the short? How do
we understand the internet as a new space of exhibition and
distribution for short video/film work? In addition, we will lean on
Tom Gunning’s notion of the “Cinema of Attractions” as a way to
understand what the short can tell us about the allure of looking
that an emphasis on feature-length narrative cinema often
backgrounds. We will limit our investigation to early cinema, avant-
garde shorts, soundies, music videos, advertisements, and web films.

This course is designed to bring two key elements of media studies
to bear on one another: production and criticism. In that sense,
this class is a hybrid: there will be more critical studies than in
other production classes, and more production work than in other
critical studies courses.  Thus, you will write papers about the
visual short while also trying your hand at making avant-garde,
music, and web videos.

While it helps to have had some experience in critical studies
(C190: Intro to Media, C205: Intro to Communication and Culture) on
the one hand, and production experience (video, film, photography)
on the other, there are no prerequisites for C335. Because this is
not a “typical” production class, we will not be producing any
overly complicated or involved projects.  In this class we will
shoot on Sony VX-2000 digital cameras and edit on Final Cut Pro.

Screenings of various shorts will be done in class. We will be
watching a plenitude of shorts ranging from the confessional to the
professional, the old to the new, the weird to the banal, the funny
and frivolous to the politically engaged.

Assignments will be: 4 papers, reading quizzes, production journals,
and three video projects. Please feel free to email me with any