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Jan Ballard


Education:   AA Long Beach City College Focus:  Business  1990 Summa Cum Laude


                   Double major with B.A. in Psychology and B.A. Communications  Chapman University

                   Double minor in English (Rhetoric and Composition) and History Focus (Northern and Southern America 1300-1870)                   (Over 18 units in each focal area completed) 1994 Cum Laude


                   Master's Degree in Education Focus: Curriculum and Instruction/& Research 2000 Cum Laude

                   Cum Laude

                   Master's Degree in Communications Film and Television Critical Writing and Production 2004 Cum Laude



President Psi Chi Psychology Honor Society 1991-1993

Special Leadership Award from Chapman University President 1994

Who's Who of Students 1994

Film Analysis Syllabus

Film Analysis Syllabus                    Ms. Ballard     Conference Period 6   Ext. 5495


Film Analysis is an opportunity to examine the cultural history, of our country (primarily) and analyze through along with cinema, via critical writing and thought, how this medium impacts every one of us.  The world of film has a deep impact on not only our society and culture but it has an effect throughout many parts of the world.  In this class, we examine through genre exploration and historical chronology, the cultural, psychological and other theories, as to how and why film strikes a chord in human beings, making it a relevant medium of expression, as well as, a means of communication.  We utilize readings, some of which films are based upon as the connecting thread that enables us to further understand both literature, as well as, film. This cultivates many discussions, group work, reading/writing assignments with responses, learning how to conduct academic research, as well as, fosters appreciation of the connection between literature and film.


In addition, the students will learn appropriate terminology used in the film industry in both technical and critical/analytical forms.  The historical importance of film history and its origins as a storytelling medium is useful to understand.  Students must be able to do various writing assignments, reading text and viewings/reading from electronic sources.    The students shall write portions of their own scripts and will produce their own project by the end of the semester.  This may be a short film/video project or an animation.  Students finish the course with a stronger understanding of research work, taking detailed notes and with improved writing and reading skills, as well as, understanding how to analyze film/literature.  These skills along with a basic understanding of how to put together a short documentary will hopefully aid their overall entrance into college courses.


We will also read two novels of the student’s choice that have been portrayed in film.  The choices are: A Tale of Two Cities, War of the Worlds, Mice and Men, The Razor’s Edge, Emma, or the Grapes of Wrath—others TBA.  Any other novel choice must be subject to my approval.  Students shall conduct research and then analyze the differences between the two mediums of literature and film revealing how they are perceived.

The list that follows contains some of the titles that may be viewed, time permitting.

We will use genre as the means for our vast exploration of film, and all films are subject to availability (there may be substitutions):


Unit One and Two: The Horror Film/Science Fiction. Why are we fascinated with being frightened?

Das Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Metropolis, The Uninvited, Dracula 1931 and 1993, Frankenstein 1931, A Christmas Carol, 12 Million Years to Earth, It, Terror from Outer Space, Gravity, Apollo 13, The Others, The 6th Sense, Signs, Beetlejuice, Fallen, X-Files: Fight the Future, Star Trek, The War of the Worlds, The Strain.

Writings:  Why are we fascinated with being frightened?  Journal entries, reflections and short opinion writings are developed.  Beginning research methods are introduced and focused upon and continue throughout the entire course.  Poster Project on genres of film.


Unit Three:  The Gangster Film/Crime/Film NoirCrime and Notoriety?

The Postman Always Rings Twice, Detour,  The Front, The Thin Man, North by Northwest, Shadow of a Doubt, The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, Bridge of Spies and others TBA  British TV:  Examples of detective shows:  Lewis and Morse plus TBA

Writing:  Character comparison and contrast.  Students work in groups of five or six and develop a group essay after much discussion and learn to write in “one voice”.


Unit Four:  The Comedy Film.  Why all the world loves to laugh.

The Great Dictator, Arsenic and Old Lace, The Philadelphia Story, To Be or Not to Be, Young Frankenstein, Being There, Annie Hall, Tootsie, What About Bob? Little Miss Sunshine. Others TBA

Writing:  How do we know a good comedy when we see one?  Understanding critical analysis and writing it.  (Research Paper)

Poster project on procedures such as: The Basics of Script Formatting, The Basics of Sound Production, The Basics of Camera Angles, The Basics of Constructing Film Scores, The Basics of Film Editing, and many more. The students research on their own, and work with the teacher reviewing the basic elements of film making and then they chose an area of interest and construct an informative poster that conveys the easy steps in order to achieve a particular objective such as starting a script to write a short film or documentary.


Unit Five: Animation.   What roles does animation play in our society?

Wall-ee, Ratatouille, Antz, Hoodwinked, The Iron Giant, Persopolis, Chicken Run, Beauty and the Beast, Up, The Incredibles, and Howls Moving Castle and anime examples plus TBA

Writing:  The relevance of animation for adults and children. What messages are found and conveyed in animated film? Essay


Unit Six:  Films with a Message and Classics.   What is the true message of a film?

Citizen Kane, Unbreakable, Invincible, Rudy, Pursuit of Happyness, Ordinary People, The Notebook, A Tale of Two Cities, The Grapes of Wrath,  Here Comes Mr. Jordan, The Razor’s Edge, Chinatown, Forrest Gump, We Are Marshall, Of Mice and Men, The Blind Side

Writing:  The message found in film. What are the psychological effects of film? Essay

Textbook:  Film and Art: An Introduction by David Bordwell.

Additional reading in the form of handouts are provided to the students that focus upon genre studies etc… in order to supplement the textbook.


Grading is based on the spiral notebook (60%) which contains film notes, class notes, reading handouts, reflections on each film, rough drafts, and multiple other types of writing assignments.  Students will be required to write film analysis papers (15%) throughout the year with varying degrees of content requirements.  Some students may choose to write about films not viewed in class or assigned.  That is fine as long as you make arrangements with me in advance and I approve your concept choice.   Classroom Projects (25%).  Students write a minimum of four complete essays with multiple drafts.


Requirements for the Class:  One two-hundred-page spiral notebook (Academic Notebook), one or two glue sticks, one black pen, one yellow marker (only yellow), and a couple of pencils.