Spring 2020 - CA 131 D100

Filmmaking I (4)

Class Number: 8833

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    GCA 4955, GOLDCORP

  • Prerequisites:

    CA (or FPA) 130 and prior approval.



An introductory course in film production, emphasizing creative use of the medium. Each student is expected to conceive, direct and edit a short film, as well as participate in the making of class exercises and other students' films. A laboratory fee is required. Students should be advised that film production will probably incur significant costs in addition to lab fees. Students with credit for FPA 131 may not take this course for further credit.


This intensive, applied course is the second part of an introduction to the fundamentals of film production. Through a series of exercises and projects, it will deepen students’ understanding of various filmmaking techniques and approaches in order to better equip them for advanced filmmaking courses. This will include further hands-on experience with various filmmaking tools, such as: camera, sound, lighting, grip and editing software. Additionally, it will encourage students to explore the capacities of film as a creative and artistic medium by challenging pre- conceived notions of what constitutes cinema.


  • Journal 10%
  • Project #1 (Documentary Film) 20%
  • Script/Treatment For Final Film, 1st draft 10%
  • Script/Treatment for Final Film, 2nd draft 5%
  • Weekly Screenings/Presentation of rushes/Rough cuts 10%
  • Project #2 (Final Film) 25%
  • Commitment: includes includes punctuality/attendance, class participation, lab exercises and collaboration with other projects of the cohort as well as crewing for other films from other cohorts 20%


Project Grading:

Assessment is based on a combination of factors including artistic merit, the student’s demonstrated ability to carry out the proposed work, pragmatic issues involving use of facilities and equipment, pedagogical value to the class as a whole, technical competency and presentation. Not exceeding the maximum specific length of the assignment will be part of the grade determination. Each assignment will be explained in class.

Assignment Submission:

Proper academic performance depends on students doing their work not only well, but also on time. Accordingly, assignment for this course must be received on the due date specified for the assignment.

Deadline and Lateness Penalty:

All deadlines for the assignments on the course syllabus will be announced in class. The penalty for handing in an assignment late will be a deduction of 5% per day. Exceptions to the lateness penalties for valid reasons—such as illness, compassionate grounds, etc.—must be approved by the course instructor and require supporting documentation (i.e Medical certificate). Each absence from class without a justified reason will result in a penalty of 5% of the final grade. Additionally, if the student is more than 15 minutes late to class, they will be marked as absent for that class.



Students are encouraged to purchase:
– A hard drive to store their projects after the course is over.
– A set of headphones (ideally a closed, over-ear set with a flat frequency response).

Students are also encouraged to have a notebook that is solely dedicated to this course.


The Visual Story, Bruce Block, 2007. 3rd ed. Focal Press

Available for free online, via SFU library, at https://proquest-safaribooksonline- com.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/9780240807799

There might be some assigned reading from this text. As noted above, the book will be available online for free, via the SFU library.

The Filmmaker's Handbook, by Steven Ascher and Edward Pincus, 4th Edition Plume Press

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html