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Friday, March 3

March 3, 2017

Poetry Workshop: Today: Erb-White, McDanel, Koscinski and Hamilton.

No assignment for Monday — I will be absent — but come ready to work. There will be new packets for you, and you will need to show Mrs. Baringer your completed annotations.

Fiction Workshop: Today we workshopped Bailey and Cassidy. Two new stories were handed out for Monday (Henry and Joanie).

Please stay aware of your Round 2 due dates. There was one minor calendar change (for Round 2, all due dates remain the same but Cassidy will be workshopped on a Wednesday and Henry on a Friday).

Also don’t forget about what you need to do for next Wednesday.

See you Monday.

Family Values: We watched this episode of The Honeymooners — “The Adoption” — from The Jackie Gleason Show, on March 26, 1955.

This was a longer-format sketch; although the actual, half-hour sitcom only aired for 39 episodes, these characters also appeared in sketches on Gleason’s various variety shows for years before the sitcom — and for decades afterward.

We added these figures about adoption and abortion rates to our notebooks:

Adoptions per 1,000 live births/abortions:

1941: 17/706

1951: 18.8/673

1955: 22.7/328

1960: 25.1/292

1970: 46.9/195,092

1980: less than 40/about 1.6 million

Obviously, there isn’t a direct correlation between these numbers, but we discussed some of the social trends that might have influenced both.

Then one more set of figures:

Children in two-parent homes/one-parent homes/no parent homes (i.e., foster care, orphanages, etc.):


1940: 34 m/4.2 m/1.9 m

1950: 40 m/4.1 m/2 m

1960: 56 m/5.8 m/2 m

1970: 60 m/8.4 m/2.1 m

1980: 48 m/12.3 m/2.3 m

1990: 46 m/16 m/1.8 m

There’ll be plenty of time for takeaways soon, but the key figures there are 1) the tremendous growth in single-parent homes, which should come as no surprise, and 2) the fact that numbers of adoptable kids have stayed surprisingly stable. That is further reminder that we ought not read too much correlation between adoption and abortion rates.

However, the adoption figures do show that the Kramdens were very much of their time when it comes to the episode we saw today. As for single-parent families — we’ll get there. But slowly, and by unexpected means.

BatCat: Today we talked about weekend classes. Monday will be a new adventure.

Comedy: We finished The Philadelphia Story. (See me if you need to finish it.)

We watched Arrested Development, season 1, Episode 12, “Marta Complex” (2004; dir. Joe Russo) — an episode filled with dramatic irony and wordplay.

And you have an assignment for Wednesday: watch a film (preferably a comedy) from the last 10 years, and use your copy of the Hays Code to cite all the violations. You can do this in list form, though it must be typed.

Survey: Screenwriting: Today you handed in your notes for Strangers on a Train. Absent? Please get these to me on Monday.

In class, we went over a checklist of things to check over in your screenplays that were due today. EVERYONE in class had something that needed to be fixed; many of you had questions and I tried to answer as many as I could. You have until Monday to revise and fix these screenplays.

Absent? Here’s a the checklist:

– Is it in Courier or Courier new? It needs to be.

– Is your screenplay double spaced throughout? It shouldn’t be. Empty lines should appear between scene headings and chunks of exposition/description, but nowhere else – make sure that your word processor doesn’t mess this up! Turn off auto-formatting!

– Do you reference the camera? If so, this is a problem – remove direct references to “camera,” including “shot,” “close-up,” “pan,” etc. – find another way to suggest the camera placement/movement without being so overt.

– Do you ever use past tense or go into something that isn’t purely visual? If so, this is a problem – you need to write in 3rd person objective, present with a focus on sight and sound.

– Do you have any chunks that are longer than 4 lines? If so, this is a problem – break up thick passages with white space or see if you can rewrite so that it’s tighter. Remember, you need to maintain the 1 page:1 minute ratio and make it easy to read.

– Did you indent or center anything? If so, this is a problem – right now, all of your lines should be left-justified and should just run normally across the page. No funny stuff.

– Do you introduce your characters? You need to – the first time we see their name, put it in ALL CAPS and give us an age and brief intro.

– Do you use ALL CAPS to highlight important props, sounds, actions, or words that appear on screen? You should! But only if these things are truly important. Don’t over- or under-use.

– Do you have scene headings? You better! Make sure they are formatted properly and that they are all consistent.

– Does your screenplay start and end with the words FADE IN and FADE OUT? It should!

– REFERENCE THE SQUIRREL SCREENPLAY – yours should look like it in terms of layout. If they don’t look similar, there’s probably a problem.

After this, we did an in-class writing activity. If you were absent, you’ll find the details waiting for you in the box. In class you worked in pairs; if you were absent, you should do this by yourself.

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