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This class was probably the most chill that I've taken at UCLA. You can get an A on the midterm and final exams as long as you memorize some of the stuff you learn. Apply yourself with the 2 papers if you really want a good grade (I got a B in the class, but both essays I got C's). Class should be easy to pass even if you miss a few lectures. Participation in discussion counts for your grade, but you can get this done by asking questions here and there. The movies presented can get a little boring, but towards the end they get more and more interesting. Highly recommend this course, especially to STEM majors looking for something easy to balance out classes.
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INFO ON FILM & TV 106A
- Professor Kuntz was very knowledgeable about the topics in American film history that were presented in class.
- In fact, his knowledge goes beyond the general facts the textbook mentions. He puts more historical and present-day context into the formations of movie studios, the transition from the silent era to the sound era, major actors and directors, among other topics covered in the class. He could be described as a walking encyclopedia of American film history.
- That being said, ATTEND THE LECTURES. Much of what is said by the professor will show up in the midterm and the final exam. You can get the book if you wish if you are into the subject or want it as a secondary reference, but it’s not really necessary – the lecture information is what matters the most, and it is simpler than how the book lays out the information.
- He has a great sense of humor and applies it well within the lectures.
- There are films you view for the class. This is why the class lasts 4 hours: the first 1.5 hours is lecture while the rest is a movie screening. The class takes place in the campus movie theater, so there is a huge screen to view these. You are not required to stay during the movie screenings. However, you will have to have knowledge of some of these films when it comes to a couple of assignments for this class: the film analysis paper and the film analysis section of the final.
- Full-length films screened in Fall 2013 were Singin’ in the Rain, Sunrise, Trouble in Paradise, Footlight Parade, Stagecoach, Citizen Kane, Sullivan’s Travels, Casablanca, The Best Years of Our Lives, Sunset Blvd., On the Waterfront, Psycho, The Godfather, Hannah and Her Sisters, and Do the Right Thing.
- 20% of your overall grade is attending and participating in discussions. As you will find out, the TA you sign up for is the one who is in charge of your entire class grade, not the professor.
- Another 40% of the grade is the two exams – the midterm and the final, each at 20%.
- In the midterm, there are two identification sections where you write on 2 out of 6 people/events/studios/etc. that you are given. One of the sections is comprised of the biggest names in the history of the film industry, and the other is important studios/documents/events in the history of the film industry. In essence, you write every fact that you can recall about that particular person, event, etc. Each choice is worth 15% of the exam grade, and in a blue book, a typical answer is the front of one page and halfway down the backside of that page.
- In the final, there is only one identification section, two choices at 15% each. It will be a mix of every person/studio/event/etc. covered AFTER the midterm (i.e. the final is not cumulative). Replacing the second identification section is analysis of a film screened in class (30% of the grade on the final exam). You will have the choice of one of approximately 12 of the films screened during the entire 10 week period to write on in a similar fashion to the film analysis paper. A typical answer is the front and back of a page.
- In addition, there is an essay section in BOTH exams worth the other 40% of the exam grade. In this section, you get the choice of one of the three more detailed prompts that you could write on. This one revolves around an event’s development, and these prompts do mention particular kinds of answers sought for. A typical answer is front and back of one page, and the front of the next page.
- Another 20% of the grade is a 6-8 page research paper. You can choose your topic, but that topic has to be something specific about a person, event, piece of technology, or something else prior to 1940 that was historically significant to the development of American cinema. That specific topic has to be approved by your TA before you can write on it.
- The remaining 20% of the paper is a 6-8 page film analysis paper. Here, you would be talking about particular styles or a theme or in a historical context that you find in one of the films viewed in class using film vocabulary and strong commentary. In other words, consider questions such as why the director uses that particular style or theme in the film, or what kinds of messages arise from that style or theme you select. In similar fashion to the research paper, your TA has to approve the topic first before you can write on it.
- For both papers, you must BOTH hand in a physical copy to your TA in lecture AND upload the paper to turnitin through the class link in the MyUCLA portal.
- As for the TAs, each one will have his/her own way of grading for attending section and in how tough the exams and papers are graded. For Fall 2013, I had Laura Swanbeck as TA. The high points in this section were preparing for exams, learning about analyzing films, and getting our papers focused and specific to the assignment at hand.
- In the case of exam preparation, small groups were formed to discuss briefly to the entire section an important subject in film history on a flashcard handed out to the group. For analyzing films, there were multiple times where we saw a mix of pieces of classic and contemporary films to get a feel for how to analyze a film and what to keep in mind when doing so for the paper and the exam.
- Finally, help was given in focusing the topic for the papers. She was open to extending additional office hours at those times, and if you sign up for one of her sections (each TA has two sections), I would suggest that you attend as many of those hours as you can because you will need them to get your paper topic in the right direction. You could keep that same contact through email, but from those of us such as me who used many of those office hours, we found it extremely helpful when the help was face-to-face because it all helped to make sure that the development of the papers always stayed true to the assignment and always focused back to the thesis.
- I hope all the information I mentioned about this class was not too overwhelming for you, but I simultaneously want to describe as much of the class for you as possible so you can make an informed decision.
- Overall, this was a fairly easy class as long as you keep up with the lecture material for the exams and keeping your papers on track in following their requirements. It was a fun class to be a part of, and it certainly enhanced the film viewing experience for me in a way that I had not previously had.
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For FILM 106A (not 106B):
The class was a great upper-div GE. Professor Kuntz is very knowledgeable about the course, and is very rehearsed and his lectures are very organized. The class is graded on 5 components, 20% each: 2 papers (1 historical and 1 formal analysis), 2 exams (1 midterm and 1 final) and discussion participation. It was a lot of work, and it's easy to see why the course is 6 units; there is a LOT of information required for the papers and exams. While the class is long, there's only about 1.5 hours of lecture per class, about a 10-15 minute break, then a movie; usually you'll get out about 15 minutes before class officially ends. Staying for the movies is a great idea, especially with the beautiful projector, but it's not as needed because you only need to see a few of them for the exams and papers. There is apparently no curve, but they "consider your improvements in the class." Overall, it's a great class if you're willing to dedicate the time to it.