Project 2 Assignment

This is a group project and has four components: a short video (either a documentary or a movie preview), a written analysis, your presentation of that analysis by two members of your group, and a question and answer session.

Group Work: You will select your own groups of three or four students to work on this project together.  You’ll be allowed to work together during conferences, but you’ll also have to meet outside of class.  Each group member will present progress reports whenever we meet during conferences to ensure that everyone is doing their part.  If a member does not do the work s/he has agreed to do, s/he will be removed from the group and will have to complete the project on her/his own.

Short Video: The video should be between 3-5 minutes long and you have two options:

Option 1. You can make a short documentary about a person, organization or company that you believe is doing heroic work.  You would have to interview at least two people and also have footage of their professional/volunteer work and/or daily life to use as B-roll and intersperse throughout.  You will have to talk to your subjects in advance and get permission from them, as well as work around their schedule.  Shooting will take place on the weekend of March 25-27. If your subjects need to shoot during the week, you can do it on Friday, March 25.  You will not be ready to shoot prior to that time, so make sure that those dates works for your subjects.  You must have a film plan when you show up to shoot.  The plan will encompass the questions you want to ask, the topics you want your subjects to discuss, as well as the B-roll you want to shoot.  For this assignment you need to interview at least two people about your topic and use B-roll effectively.

Option 2. You can make a preview for a film about a new superhero of your creation.  You should choose a problem that you find particularly disturbing in our society and create a superhero who would be able to either address it or inspire others to address it.  Be creative.  Your hero could be a woman, man or child, or it could be an animal, an object, or a digital being—whatever you envision, as long as you’re able to bring it to life on film.  You are welcome to mix you own footage with footage from other works that fit your vision.  You will need to have a detailed storyboard and a screenplay for this option.  Feel free to use humor if that’s the tone you think best fits your work. Shooting will take place on the weekend of March 25-27. If your actors need to shoot during the week, you can do it on Friday, March 25. You will not be ready to shoot prior to that time, so make sure that that date works for your actors.

Editing the Footage:

During this section, we will learn basic storyboarding and screenwriting to help you work on your videos.  You will also be taught how edit digital video using IMovie.   You can use your own video cameras or borrow them from the DLC.  If you borrow one from the DLC, they are on loan for three days only, so you’ll have to shoot and capture the footage to a hard drive during that time.

To check out a video camera and/or a tripod from the DLC, you can go to this link: or call 765-494-3751.

I understand that not all students own Mac computers—which is needed to run IMovie.  The DLC has a number of Macs that students can reserve in order to edit their footage.  Students with regular Macs will be able to download the footage directly into their computer using the firewire cable that comes with the cameras.  Students with MacBook Pros, however, will need to reserve a Mac at the DLC in order to download the footage since MacBook Pros do not have a firewire port.

In order to reserve Mac computers at the DLC, please go here: You will be asked to log in using your Purdue ID, then you will go to “Select Operating System” and choose Mac.  You will also go to “Search by Computer Name” and choose Macs 1 through 5.  Only these five computers have the firewire port required to download footage.  Footage is downloaded in real time, so that if you film for an hour, it will take you an hour to download it.  Make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to download the footage, since sometimes it takes a while to get a handle of the process.

NOTE: You must reserve a computer and do so in advance or there may be no computers available when you go to download your footage.

Once you have downloaded the footage, you want to save it into an external hard drive (whether or not you are using your own computer, since video footage takes up a lot of space).  If someone in your group owns an external hard drive, please use that one.  If not, we have a limited number of hard drives you can borrow from Cathy Archer in Heavilon 302. Mention that you are Alexandra Hidalgo’s student when you ask her for one of the drives that have been reserved to be used by my students.  You will save your project on the external hard drive.

If you have your own Mac computer, you can use it to edit the footage once you have it in the hard drive.  If you don’t have your own Mac computer, you can reserve a Mac at the DLC and work on editing your film there.  The staff at the DLC is knowledgeable about IMovie and will be able to answer your questions as you work.  Whether or not you decide to work on your own computer, you could do your editing at the DLC so you can take advantage of the staff’s guidance.

I will provide you with templates of releases, which you will ask every one of your subjects to sign before you film them.  You will turn in scans of the releases along with the rest of the assignment and keep the originals for yourselves.

Once you have finished your video, you will create a free account on by going to: and you will post your video on vimeo.

Written Analysis: Your analysis essay should be double-spaced and 5-8 pages long (around 1,500 – 2,400 words).   You will need at least three sources.  One from the web, one from print or the library catalogue, and a third that can be whatever you wish as long as it’s credible.  You can have more than three sources but don’t get carried away.  No more than eight would be advisable.  The essay serves two purposes:  it reports your research findings and then it analyzes your video.

Option 1: Your research for this project will comprise the subject you are featuring as well as different people, organizations or companies that are doing similar things to your subject.  If your subject is involved with a particular issue, such as education or gay rights, you should also do some research on that issue.  For the second part of your paper, you will analyze your choices as documentary filmmakers.  How did your questions, camera angles, editing and mise-en-scène help you make the points you wanted to make about your subject?

Option 2: Your research will focus on the problem you are hoping your superhero will address or inspire others to address.  For the second part of your paper, you will analyze your choices in terms of screenplay, camera angles, mise-en-scène and editing.  How are your filmic choices helping your preview make people want to see the whole film?  How do they present the problem you see in society and show your superhero as being able to help solve it by his/herself or through interaction with others?

Presentations: Two group members will present the video during our screening days.  The first member will speak before we watch the video and will share the research information that was found on the issue, as well as why as a group you found it to be an issue worth addressing.  The second member will speak after we have watched the video and will analyze it for the class.  The information you are presenting will come from your written analysis.  You are welcome to use Powerpoint but you can also do an oral presentation.  It’s up to you.

Question and Answer Session: The whole group will answer questions from classmates about both the video and the analysis.  You will be evaluated on your ability to reply in a coherent and knowledgeable manner.

Keep in mind the concepts of ethos, pathos, logos and having a clear thesis that we have discussed in class, as well as audience awareness, tone and language.  Remember to take into account what your audience knows about this topic and what their already established opinions are. Visual rhetoric is vital to this assignment.  Make sure to integrate what we have discussed and read about visual rhetoric as you work on your videos and the analysis.

Your names must be on the assignment and you need to give the video and the written analysis a title. The film plan, screenplay and storyboard workshop will take place on Wednesday, March 23. Bring one hard copy of each to share with other groups.  Video screenings and presentations will take place on Monday, April 11 and Wednesday, April 13.  You will email me the vimeo link, the written analysis and the scanned releases on the day of your presentation. I will return work electronically.  Everyone will receive their graded assignments within a week of turning them in, but not all at the same time.  I will return them as I grade them, and I will grade them in the order that they reach my inbox at:

A “C” project should:

• Meet all requirements of the assignment.

• Provide appropriate description so that an audience can understand the situations and issues


• Have a thesis that follows logically from the body of the written analysis.

• Control surface errors.

• Use MLA citation to document all sources.

• Demonstrate an understanding of film elements such as editing, framing, mise-en-scène and lighting.

A “B” project should do everything a “C” paper does but should also:

• Show evidence that possible audience objections have been anticipated and responded to.

• Incorporate sources smoothly.

• Include an analysis that interrogates the experiences, observations and sources critically.

• Create filmic images that correspond with the topic being explored.

• Craft an entertaining and informative video.

An “A” project should do everything a “B” paper does but should also:

• Arrive at a thesis that is original, insightful and sensible.

• Show a flair with language and/or visual rhetoric.

• Have a clear organizational strategy based on audience needs.

• Use B-roll in an original and pertinent manner.

• Create a video that produces a strong (intended) reaction in the audience such as laughter, compassion, admiration, etc.


Information Treasure Hunt

Students will work in groups of three or four, but each student will be researching the topic they selected for project 1.
Each group member needs to find:

1. Two credible websites/pages/internet sources
2. Two articles from a peer-reviewed journal (those you can find under the library catalogue)
3. One multimedia source (a video, an image, a podcast)
4. Two books currently in the Purdue Library Holdings

Compile a word document of the URLs, titles, and citation information (in MLA format) of all three group members.
For information on MLA format, you can go the Purdue OWL.
If you’re done with your project, you should stay at the library and continue to explore the Purdue OWL or the library website till class time is over.

To get your participation point for today, all members of your group must submit your completed assignment by midnight and email it to me at