What to Expect from Your Capstone Course

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This article is specifically for Communication and Media students who are interested in taking the CM 499 film course. I took my capstone course this past Spring with Professor Carl James Grindley, Ph.D. However, it should be noted that the Communication and Media program is expecting a new academic director*. Sometimes under new leadership, some aspects of a curriculum or an entire course may change.

My overall experience with the course was a positive and straightforward one. It was very clear what was expected of us as students for the course. For the first half of the semester we took a sort of crash course in film, where we read and saw videos about the different pillars that go into making a film; from different themes, lighting, angles, color symbolism and more. We were required to watch a film weekly (for the first 8 weeks) and answer a discussion board post with regards to the film and a particular topic we learned during that week about filmmaking. The other half of the semester we worked on our final project and we were required to do a conference call with the professor. The final project was a minimum 4,000-word multimedia essay on the study of six films of your choosing. The films that you pick must have something in common as your theme that you are going to explore in your essay. I picked superhero/villain movies and my topic was the lack of women in these particular type of films, why that is, and how are we seeing a shift in that. You are required to add videos, pictures, and links in your essay and it is submitted through the CUNY SPS ePortfolio.

There is another option besides the film capstone course if you’re not really into films, I chose this course because I’m an avid lover of films. Also keep in mind that watching a film weekly does take a lot of time because you’re not simply watching it for enjoyment, but you are pausing taking notes and analyzing the film for the question that is presented for that week.

*Update: The new Communication and Media Academic Director is Elizabeth Alsop, Ph.D.  Her background is in film and television studies. Dr. Alsop earned her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature with a certificate in Film Studies from the CUNY Graduate Center and has over ten years of experience teaching at institutions including Queens College, Hunter College, and Western Kentucky University. More recently, she helped direct the new Teaching and Learning Center at the Graduate Center.

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