A (mostly) visual analysis

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Each student will analyze the visual humor in a short film by Buster Keaton. The entire assignment is worth 35% of your final grade.

  1. You will be assigned a short Buster Keaton film.
  2. Read these two resources
    1. Keaton's Wikipedia article.
    2. The section of James Curtis, Buster Keaton, that deals with your short film. You may want to read the entire segment on Keaton' work during this time period.

Part one

Create screenshots with VLC Media Player or other software from your Keaton short. You must capture at least one from every shot in the short. (There will probably be about 200 screenshots.)

  • How to configure VLC for screenshots, which it calls "Video snapshots."
  • Submit all of your screenshots on via UA Box. Share them with jbutler@ua.edu by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, 9/27. Worth 5 points.

Numéro deux

Create a Wikipedia-style article for your short on Screenpedia. (The best articles will be uploaded to Wikipedia.)

  • Here's a handy 7-minute video tutorial to help you out.
  • Your article must be written on Screenpedia using your assigned account.
  • Your article must contain the following elements, with appropriate subheadings (as can be seen in this Screenpedia article: The Frozen North:
    1. Introduction (two or three sentences, in Wikipedia style)
    2. Plot (minimum two paragraphs)
    3. Cast
    4. Production (a few notes about the making of the film; does not have to be detailed, but should include information from a Keaton book)
    5. Two screenshots from your film that you captured.
  • One bonus point each for:
    • Creating at least two links to Wikipedia articles.
    • Properly inserting a wiki-style citation for any reference material you used.
  • Submit your article by emailing its URL to jbutler@ua.edu by 11:59 p.m., Tuesday, 9/27. Worth 10 points.

Section C

Select a short segment (minimum 5 minutes) and write an analysis of comic moments in it.

  • 600 words minimum.
  • Use Carroll's theories of humor and my lecture on the types of humor in Keaton films to explain why they are comic.
  • Illuminate the comic moments with at least five screenshots.
    • You may wish to use this screenshot template to organize your images in Microsoft Word.
    • Submit in print in class Tuesday, 10/4. Worth 20 points.