Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Directing Hamlet Assignment

Complete the following project by Friday, December 20.

Directing Hamlet Assignment
You are applying to be the director of a new film version of Hamlet set to begin production in 2014. After studying parts of several versions of Hamlet you have begun work on an application consisting of (1) a screenplay excerpt based on a passage you’ve chosen from the play, (2) a proposal explaining your choices (including proposed actors), and (3) a visual representation of some significant aspect of your screenplay excerpt.
Additional Directions (READ THE DIRECTIONS)
(1) screenplay excerpt:
Turn the excerpt you have chosen into a screenplay with interpolated film directions about elements such as setting, movement, speaking, facial expression, sound, music, camera shot selection, etc. Use the screenplay format. (See screenplay format handouts. You might also be interested in looking at parts of Kenneth Branagh's screenplay.)

(2) proposal:
Write a proposal to the producers of Hamlet 2014.
* The first section will provide an overview of your vision for a complete, new Hamlet. Consider visual style and setting, acting choices and character depictions, edits to (and versions of) Shakespeare's script, etc. Consider how these choices will contribute to a particular interpretation of the play's meaning and to a particular effect on the audience. (Here's a website where someone named Ulrike Bohm has explained ideas for a screenplay. I don't expect your explanation to be this lengthy but exemplary explanations will be equally thoughtful. See rubric below.)
* The second section will explain specific, meaningful ways your Hamlet will differ from and/or build upon famous productions of Hamlet by the likes of Olivier, Zeffirelli, Branagh, Almereyda, and Doran.
The Excerpted Passage
* The third section will explain and justify the choices you've made in the screenplay excerpt. Consider setting descriptions, camera shot selection, acting directions, sounds and music, etc. How do the choices help you express your interpretation of the scene and its significance?; 
* The fourth section will explain and justify choices in your visual representation of the selected passage. (How do the choices you've made help you express your interpretation of the scene and its significance?) If you consulted any sources to help you understand visual components of film making, such as storyboards, costuming, lighting, blocking, etc. discuss those sources here.
Overall (again)
* The fifth section will explain and justify other choices for your Hamlet. Consider actors and a soundtrack for example. What other elements might be worth highlighting in your proposal?
* Conclude in the sixth section with a summarizing, final pitch to the film producers: convince them to choose you.

(3) visual representation:
Your visual representation could be a storyboard1, costume sketches, stage/film lighting scheme2, stage/film blocking scheme3, live performance, demo film4. The visual representation will be assessed for choices, clarity, care, and creativity.
1 A storyboard is a series of illustrations (or other images) used to depict a film (or other moving) sequence before the production of the actual film (or other moving sequence). Do some research for directions, examples, and advice.
2 A theatre/film lighting scheme is a plan for the use of lights (what type and color, where, and when) during a performance or during filming. Do some research for directions, examples, and advice.
3 A blocking scheme is a plan for the movement (where, when, and how) of actors during a performance. Do some research for directions examples and advice.
4 See me if you are interested in this option.

All of this is due by the end of the school day Friday, December 20*.[Assessment worth two end-of-unit grades.]
* You may ask for an extension on the visual representation but must still complete the script excerpt and proposal (including including section four in which you explain your visual element).
Hamlet Screenplay Project
Grading Rubric

Proposal (40%)
The following elements should be developed persuasively with description, detail, and explanation: vision for film as a whole, comparison with other film versions, explanation of screenplay on a single passage, explanation of visual component, other film considerations (actors, music, etc.), and final pitch. The writing should demonstrate a lively, mature style and shows command of standard English conventions.

Advanced: Persuasive development of elements; vivid, meticulous writing
Proficient: Reasonable development; clear writing with few errors
Adequate: General development; clear writing with several errors
Needs Improvement: Partial, incomplete development; errors detract from clarity

Screenplay/Script (30%)
Visual directions and acting directions should be inventive and demonstrate an understanding of the passage. Screenplay conventions and English language conventions should be followed with attention and care.

Advanced: Visual and acting directions are inventive, vivid, dramatic, suggestive, and revealing. Writing shows a command of style, syntax, diction; use of format is accurate and meticulous.
Proficient: Directions include vivid and revealing moments. Writing and formatting are not quite ready for formal presentation to potential producers, but show evidence of attention and care.
Adequate: Enough appropriate directions and setting directions for the reader to picture the scene. The writing is clear but contains several errors in writing and/or script conventions.
Needs improvement: The script contains some plausible directions but too few to constitute a viable screenplay. Errors in writing and formatting conventions detract from clarity.

Visual element (30%)
The visual element should, like the screenplay, be inventive and demonstrate an understanding of the passage. It should be substantial, perhaps even ambitious, and should be produced with attention and care.

Advanced: The visual element is vivid, inventive, insightful, revealing, and suggestive. The visual element is ambitious and was produced with substantial care and is ready to be shared with potential producers.
Proficient: Overall, the visual element is appropriate and includes vivid and revealing aspects. The visual element is substantial and was produced with care and could be made ready for a presentation to producers with some additional work.
Adequate: The visual element is accurate and appropriate overall but with less invention and insight. The visual element could be presented in an emergency with out embarrassment.
Needs improvement: The visual element contains some implausible, inaccurate, or inappropriate elements. Or, perhaps it shows too little evidence of understanding.  It was produced hastily and sloppily, needing substantial improvement before a presentation.

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