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Joni Varner

Cinema 1 : Introduction to Motion Picture Production Syllabus

Varner China Ball Demo





Class Schedule & Dates

Joni Varner's classes have migrated to online only for spring semester 2020. I will be holding office hours in Canvas Conferences during class meeting times.

In Cinema 1: Introduction to Motion Picture Production, we will go behind the scenes in movie making (cameras, lenses) and post production (editing, effects, color) and learn all about the technical equipment operation, producing techniques and occupational knowledge needed to be to pursue the profession of filmmaker.

Learn how a movie crew works and who is the leader over each area. Get answers to questions like what is the difference between an AD and an AC? Is the Best Boy always a man? Most professional movie crew members made more than $200 a day for these jobs so learn about the freelance lifestyle and how to get started in the business.

If you are a novice or even if you are working in the entertainment industry, you will learn something new with every unit. This course is good for anyone who would like to go Behind the Scenes (B-T-S) in movie making.This class has transferability to the University of California and California State University systems (UC:CSU).

Class Meeting Times: Spring 2020: (Day) Wednesdays 12:35-4:55 OR (Night) Wednesdays 6-10:20pm

Class Section Numbers: Spring 2020: (Day) 15997/9 OR (Night) 16003/6

Download Copy of Class Syllabus

Cinema 1 Required Textbook
filmmakers handbook 5th edition Current Textbook Recomended: Steven Ascher & Edward Pincus: The Filmmaker's Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age 2019 Edition - ISBN: 978045229728-9;  
This older 2013 edition of the book can be used instead:
Cover of The Filmakers Handbook

Older Text Allowed:  Steven Ascher & Edward Pincus: The Filmmaker's Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age 2013 Edition - ISBN: 978-0-452-29728-9 (This older version is OK to use for this semester

Copies of textbook are available in the LACC Library

Teaching Assistant : Moisés Pérez Cinematographer:

About This Class (All online instruction begining 4/1/20):

  • This course is required of all first semester Cinema majors - open to all other interested students. This is a lecture class only, no "hands-on" equipment work in Cinema 1 - however it is a sister course to Cinema 2 which is a "hands-on" course. Cinema 1 and 2 can be taken together or separately. We strongly recommend they be taken together. This class leads to certificates in cinema and video production.
  • The course will be lectures with audio-visual materials. Advisory: Eligibility for English 8 or 28 or equivalent - we suggest this level of English skill - there is no formal language requirement. Your English comprehension should be strong, as you will be reading and taking notes. This website has a study guide, not the actual notes.
  • In the event of serious illness or other circumstances beyond a student's control a student must notify the instructor by email or telephone to keep from being dropped. A later meeting can determine if too much work or information has been missed to continue the class. According to LACC procedure a student can be excluded after 2 unexcused absences from this class. It is the student's responsibility to sign the roll sheet for each class meeting - if you do not sign, you will be counted absent. Each week, one unexcused absence counts off ten points and an excused absence (teacher notified) counts off five points. One class absence per semester is given with no points removed.
  • If a student stops attending a class it is the student's responsibility to officially drop the class in order not to receive a failing grade at the end of the semester (can be done through the Online system). Disruptive behavior can result in the expulsion of the student from class. Consult the current Calendar for its information concerning Holidays, Drop Dates, Registration, etc. It is the students responsibility to follow those dates see next paragraph:
  • Important! Drop Date Information
    The deadline to drop without a “W” is the first day of Week 3 (of the semester), OR Sunday, February 23 for Spring 2020. If you must drop a course, drop before the specified deadline for dropping a class without a grade of "W." Dropping after Week 2 will result in a “W” on your transcript. Effective July 1, 2012 students will only have 3 attempts to pass a class. If a student gets a "W" or grade of "D", "F", “I”, or "NP" in a class, that will count as an attempt. A student's past record of course attempts district wide will also be considered. Therefore, before the end of Week 2 you should carefully consider if you can reasonably manage this course with the other factors in your life (e.g. work, family, course load). If you think you will not be able to complete this course with a C or better, drop by this date: Sunday, May 10 for for Spring 2020. This is the last day to drop WITH a "W" grade. There will be a new Emergency W grade for spring 2020. If you have any questions, email the teacher before that date. You may also see a counselor in the Counseling Center in the new LACC Student Services Building.
  • If you need help paying for books and other college expenses, call the Financial Aid Office at (323) 953-4000 extension 2010, or see them at the new LACC Student Services Building or on the website: LACC Office of Financial Aid
  • At the beginning of each primary semester the LACC Foundation has a textbook loan program. Pick up an application at the LACC Foundation Office: Third Floor of the Student Union. Vouchers up to $350 for books will be given to qualifying students within the first two weeks of the semester.
  • If you need special testing contact: Office Of Special Services: Student Services Building Students with a verified disability who may need authorized accommodation(s) for this class are encouraged to notify the instructor and the Office of Special Services (323-953-4000, ext. 2270) as soon as possible, at least two weeks before any exam or quiz. All information will remain confidential.
  • If you are a Military Veteran, visit the LACC Veteran's Resource Center in the LACC Student Union Building, 2nd floor room 218, call (323) 953-4000 Ext. 2125, or email for the resources, support, and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education.
  • The LACC Campus Child Development Center is an on-campus preschool and school-age program for children of LACC students. Priority is given to full-time (12 units) students. Children two-six up to 5 years of age are eligilable for the preschool program. An evening school-age childcare program is available for children from kindergarten through age 10. The location is directly behind the Communications building. Contact the Center at 323-953-4000 ext. 2220.
  • LACC Extended Oppoprtunity Program is a specialy funded program for first time college students
  • LACC Ralph Bunche Scholars Program  is a special program for LACC students who want to transfer to a four year college. The program provides money and special classes to help students transfer into the college of their dreams.
  • Get Microsoft Office™ for your computer as an LACCD student.
  • Get a semester long MTA U-Pass for students for Metro rides all semester.
  • Classroom Rules of Conduct: Violations of Academic Integrity include, but are not limited to, the following actions: cheating on an exam, plagiarism, working together on an assignment, paper or project when the instructor has specifically stated students should not do so, submitting the same term paper or project to more than one instructor, or allowing another individual to assume one's identity for the purpose of enhancing one's grade.
Cinema 1 Student Learning Outcomes: 

1) Students will explain equipment procedures and production techniques for single camera, film-style production and post-production

2) Students will explain single camera workflow in pre-production, production and post production.

3) Students will explain the functioning of the below the line motion picture crew and post-production positions and responsibilities.

  • All Three Exams Must be Taken to Pass This Course. There will be only one chance for a make-up exam. It will be held thirty minutes BEFORE the next weeks class. For the day class that will be 12:00 pm and for night class that will be 5:30 pm - on the Wednesday following the original exam date. The make-up is only for students who were unable to attend on exam day - NOT for retakes! Note: there is no make-up period for Exam #3 (Final Exam). The exams will be true-false and multiple choice. You will need a Scantron form and #2 pencil - available in-person at the  LACC Bookstore   There will be no extra credit assignments. Each test can only be taken once. All exams are non cumulative and will include questions on lecture and audio-visual material.

Exam#1 Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 & lecture (2013 book Chs. 1,2,3,4,7,8) 150 points 
Exam#2 Chapters 9, 10, 11, 12 & lecture (2013 book same chapters) 150 points 
Exam#3 Chapter 13 (all), Chapter 14: only pp. 648-659, 690-703, 722-7 Chapter 6 pages pp. 246-260, 300-309, 334-355 only, Chapters 15 & 16 (all) & lecture (2013 book chapters 13, 15, 17 select pages from 14, 16) 150 points 
  Online Participation 50 points
Letter Grades / Course Points
A 500 - 450 points
B 449 - 400 points
C 399 - 350 points
D 349 - 300 points
F 299 - 000 points

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