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Attendance and Participation: 15%
-- Attendance is required after the lecture and screening, you sign in with your TA. Attendance is also required in discussion sections, additionally, you should engage (ask questions, answer questions) in sections to get full participation points.
Mid-Term Exam: 25%
-- One part is multiple choice (it was insanely easy, like I'm pretty sure Professor Paredes said that the majority of the class got 90% and above on this portion). However, as she recognized it was really easy, I'm pretty sure she's going to make it harder in the upcoming years. I only got a question wrong on the multiple choice by studying the slides in class (she uploads them on CCLE). Additionally, she makes midterm review slides which makes studying even easier. I only studied the day before and again only got a question wrong.
The HARDER part of the midterm exam is the shot by shot analysis of a film. You have to identify formal elements of the shots, as she puts it on loop on the big screen. (Don't worry, she gives you the portion of the film before hand on CCLE which you can identify the formal elements beforehand and memorize them and bring them to class. I really appreciated that she did this, it would not have been possible to do this in the 1 hour midterm exam.)
Take Home Essays: 30%
-- You have two take home essays, which are relatively easy. The first one is only 750-800 words, I felt myself wanting to write more but was limited by the word count. The second one is 1000-1100 words, and is a little bit more difficult because you have to recreate a scene with different elements. (It's much more creative than the first one.)
Final Paper: 30%
-- Final is a paper! You have to present in your discussion section your thesis and your ideas about your paper. Your essay is about 2000-2200 words, and it has to be about a film that you didn't watch in class in where you analyze diversity themes such as sexuality, race, ethnicity, disability, etc...
90 is an A !!! (80 is a B, and so on.)
-- Professor Paredes is a super nice, warm, and welcoming person. She's really educated (she got her PhD from USC), and she can some times be funny. But not the most entertaining lecturer, she's very monotone and I would sometime just zone out. HOWEVER, she's super organized and uploads EVERYTHING on CCLE which is super awesome, and I really appreciate that about her. She genuinely cares about your learning, she cares about the TAs, and she cares about her class.
-- This class is really easy if you're a good writer and you can memorize certain stuff. I stopped going to lecture and the screenings after the midterm, and just signed up for attendance after the screening (she might change the way of taking attendance in the future.) I still got an A however.
This class is fun, interesting, and easy, and Professor Paredes does a very good job organizing her lectures and providing examples to illustrate key concepts. This a great choice to fill GE requirements in my opinion, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about the intricacies of film.
Now, to break down the grading scheme. 15% is participation and attendance. Attendance is taken via iClicker, so make sure you either have one or have the app. Participation is during discussion section, and I spoke a moderate amount and got 100%, so this component shouldn't be a concern. There are two short papers of about 800 words each that are due during the quarter, each contributing 15% of the grade. The first was graded tougher than the second from what I could tell, but both were doable.
There was a midterm that is 25% of the grade, but the multiple choice is very similar to the study materials that she provides, and the essay component is based on a film clip that she provides beforehand. Considering that there's an extra credit component as well, the midterm is not particularly difficult. The final paper is 30% of the grade and is about 2000 words long, but the COVID-19 outbreak during my quarter led to Professor Paredes making it optional. I had already completed the paper by the time she made that announcement, but I believe the grading was nicer due to the circumstances and therefore may not be applicable to future quarters.
There is a required textbook that contains assigned readings. The readings do aid comprehension, so I definitely recommend doing them. At the same time though, the midterm was heavily based on the slides presented in class, and therefore it is possible to do well on it even if you are unable to keep up with the readings.
TL;DR: This is a good choice for a GE, as it is interesting and easy without too much workload.
I absolutely loved Professor Paredes! She's funny, understanding, patient, and and an amazing lecturer. I could tell she really cared about students and her lectures/slides. This is about a 3.5 hour class but there are usually movie screenings at the end (and don't worry, there are breaks). Sometimes we had the creators of films we watched come in and talk to us to have a Q/A and I loved those days a lot.
There was only one test, the midterm, and three essays. The first one is analytical, second one is creative, and the Final essay is kind of a combo of the two and much longer. I often found myself writing too much for these assignments so I wouldn't worry about the difficulty of the prompts. I also really love everything about film but I can't tell if that's why the papers seemed easier for me.
I don't like redoing anyyy classes or repeating stuff but this class was so cool that maybe I would consider retaking. I highly recommend trying to take any classes with Professor Paredes!
Professor Paredes is a very nice, organized lecturer who cares about her students and is clear about how to do well in the course. However, as someone who is passionate about film and was really looking to this class, I was disappointed. Many of the films we watched were difficult to sit through and were chosen simply for their historical importance as opposed to their relevance today. I appreciate that Professor Paredes allows students the option to leave as the time commitment to this class would otherwise be overwhelming, but felt like I would've stayed more if I connected more with the films. Additionally, I felt like the readings often were not always relevant to her lectures and not really necessary after the midterm exam as the final is an essay that doesn't explicitly test course reading knowledge.
A very important point for doing well and enjoying this class is the TA you get. I had Ray who was awesome and would highly recommend as he was a very fair grader, showed us interesting clips from current films and filmmakers, and led fun discussions However, I had a friend in this class who really did not connect with his TA and was a much stricter grader, so I would say to figure out early if you are in this situation and try to avoid it. To do well in this course you need to do well on the 3 essays (2 short ones with one longer final one) and having a good TA is important for this. The midterm exam was very fair and Professor Paredes is extremely clear about what is important to study. Overall, there is nothing horrendous about this class, professor is a really nice person, class is extremely doable (I had two other difficult classes and this helped to balance it), but I was disappointed as a film lover.
She is super helpful and a really good professor overall. Even if you’re not a film or related major I recommend this class!!! Definitely watch all the movies and read the required readings and you’ll be more than fine!!!
Great professor, especially for a GE and diversity class. Professor Paredes did a great job of introducing various elements of film and teaching how to analyze a movie. As someone who enjoys film casually, this was a very interesting and straightforward course to take that introduced me to formal elements as well as cultural context of various films.
Frame Analysis Paper - Self-explanatory; fun and simple assignment to complete if you like writing
Midterm - Fairly straightforward if you come to class
Formal Elements/Culture Assignment - Short assignment applying topics you have learned to a specific scene from a movie
Final - Just a paper! Final essay about a film not viewed in class.
Overall, highly recommend to anyone vaguely interested in film. Some commented about the lecture + films being long and uninteresting but- it's a film class. Movies are long, and their level of entertainment is subjective.