Final Project Presentations
Mas.845 Special Topics in Cinematic Storytelling:
Course Syllabus
Spring 2007
  • Part One: Learning stories: life experience, time, space, telling & sharing
  • Part Two: The cinematic sequence: defining the moment; framing; sound & light; structure
  • Part Three: Distributed Digital Story Environments. Issues of time, continuity, participation and interpretation.


  • Participation in class discussion. Construction of a personal learning story and development of two prototype storyteller projects.

Three Assignments for the Course:

  • Assignment One: relate a personal learning story; focus on how time is transformed as you convert information to narrative.
  • Assignment Two: select, build and populate a small story world using rich media. Focus on your scenario for the world, your story representation, and a navigational strategy for sharing.
  • Assignment Three (final): a personal work that builds upon the prior work of the semester (can be a continuation of 2); the topic is chosen by the student in discussions with the instructor.
Week 01 -
February 06
Learning Story:
a personal narrative
Story world defined:

dynamics of situation, character, time
Role of expectation, anticipation and tension
Make a rich media version of your learning story; due Feb 13.
Week 02 -
February 13
Time and experience as axes of narrative:
the art of the sequence
Bruner, Jerome. Acts of Meaning. Chapter 1.
Michael Roemer, Telling Stories, ch 1-3
Paul Ricouer, selections
Bachelard, G. The Poetics of Space. Translated by Maria Jolas. New York: The Orion Press, 1994. (optional reading)
View one movie of your choice to discuss in light of readings.
Learning story as rich media narrative due.
Week 03 -
February 20
NO CLASS - MIT is on a Monday Schedule
Week 04 -
February 27
Making "Life. Research.":a documentary about Hugh Herr
Guest: Edward Shen

Making Media for Confectionary
Guest: Jacqueline Karaaslanian
Kelliher, Aisling. Everyday StorytellingJanuary 2007.
Kearney, Richard. On Stories. Chapter 11.
1. Guidelines for Project 1
2. Submit written description of first project (post on wiki).
Week 05 -
March 06
Storied Objects
Guest: Hyun-Yeul Lee
Unseated Documentary
Guest: Michael Epstein
Lee, Hyun-Yeul Storied Objects: Design Thinking With Time. January 2007.
Epstein, Michael et al., Un*travel Media:
Week 06 -
March 13
Focus on narrative, social interaction, and the changing dynamics of audience
Flickr, Blogs
Other Sites

Guests: Aisling Kelliher and Bakhtiar Mikhak
Davenport, G., Barry, B., Kelliher, A., Nemirovsky, P. Media Fabric : a process-oriented approach to media creation and exchange. BT Technology Journal (2004).
Davenport, Glorianna. The Storied Machine. RTE Radio Science Lecture, 2004. Radio Broadcast of live lecture.
Mueller, Erik. Story Understanding.
Week 07 -
March 20
First project presentations First project due.
Week 08 -
March 27
NO CLASS - Spring Break
Week 09 -
April 03
Art and Research
Guest: Barbara Barry;
Vogler, Christopher. The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Storytellers and Screenwriters. pp. 13-31.
Davenport, G. and Murtaugh, M. Automatist storyteller systems and the shifting sands of story. November 1999.
Week 10 -
April 10
Stories of the Environment & the Citizen Scientist
Guest: Dale Joachim;
McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics. Chapter 6.
Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnson, The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation, Chapter 3: The Principles of Animation.
Davenport, Glorianna. Desire versus Destiny: the question of payoff in narrative. Position statement: for Caixa Forum MetaNarrative[s] Conference Barcelona, Spain, January 29, 2005.
Final project defined in email before class.
Week 11 -
April 17
NO CLASS - Patriots Day
Week 12 -
April 24
Final project discussed in class.
Week 13 -
May 02
Guest: TBA
Week 14 -
May 08
Final Presentation Program