for all papers you submit/post for this class (review/essay), you MUST include the following information at the top of your paper; include it as part of the text of the paper: Your Name • The Assignment (Review One, Essay Two, etc.) • Date • The semester for which you are registered.
... eGroop 2007-2008 UAF
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Writing a paper critiquing (analyzing) film or movie?
What's your thesis? Thoughts? Ideas?
What theories of analysis will you employ?
Think -- and write YOUR OWN paper!
OUTLINE:... other "students" pages.
Title & Subtitle
Remember, you do not need to write the whole paper at once, give some indication of your thesis and basic arguments in class so we can give you feedback before you get into writing your essay. First Draft (points, ideas) should be tested in class discussions.
How to research your paper: Library, Internet.
Questions: ask, or use my e-mail box.
General instructions & requirements for class papers (W):
1) Draw upon the ideas and methods of course readings (or outside readings) and lectures and incorporate them into your research or analysis. It is appropriate and expected that you borrow ideas so long as you cite your sources. See the MLA Handbook for proper format for references. Underline or italicize titles of books, movies, TV shows, journals or magazines, put individual episodes or article titles in quotation marks. Include a bibliography.
2) Be sure your introduction clearly sets out your thesis or main argument. Make sure your introduction contains a precise, concise thesis statement. Be sure to signal to the reader in your introduction exactly what you propose to argue in the main body of your paper.
Following paragraphs should offer fully developed arguments that support your thesis. Most paragraphs should be at least 4 sentences long. Conclude with a summary of your arguments and a restatement, in different words, of your thesis. Overall, keep you paper focused and develop arguments fully.
3) Avoid vague terms and informal language: "basically," "I mean," etc. Use of first person pronouns is o.k. but only if it is done very sparingly. Focus attention on the issues in question, not on yourself.
4) You will not be judged on your opinions, but on your arguments. Begin with insights and arguments and support those with observations and conclusions. Take a stand, challenge yourself and your readers toward new insights and ideas. A string of observations does not constitute an academic paper.
5) Demonstrate all the effort, thought and care that went into writing your paper with a good looking presentation! Double space with a 12 point, basic font, use one inch margins on all sides, number your pages and staple your paper. Do not use plastic covers, folders or paper clips. Cover pages are not necessary for short papers.
6) Tests in class are based on our reading, viewing and lectures (terminology).
The topics for your papers will be assigned, the films to be analyzed are of your preference. There are several main methods of Film Analysis.
... Film and Movies.
FILM ANALYSIS: HOW TO[ film.vtheatre.net ]
COMPOSITION: FILM NARRATIVEFirst, separate Dramatic & Filmic Structures
I. SCENE AND EPISODE:
SEGMENTATION: think about how films are put together, specifically about their narrative organization. The primary tool for narrative analysis is the segmentation. Select one of the films from the course as the basis for your first exercise. Prepare a segmentation of that film. Your segmentation should be detailed enough to facilitate a close analysis of the film's narrative structure. Once you have completed your segmentation, write a series of short paragraphs:
1. Briefly describe the basic principles structuring the film. What do you see as significant patterns emerging from your analysis?
2. Briefly compare and contrast the film's introduction and conclusion. What issues get posed in the opening sequences? How does it build our expectations about the film as a whole? In what ways does the conclusion respond to the introduction? How important is it to the filmmaker to provide closure to the film?
3. Select one scene from the film (other than the introduction and conclusion). Identify it's function(s) within the film as a whole.
II. DRAMATIC STORYTELLING
NARRATIVE ANALYSIS: Taking your segmentation as a starting point, write a short (3-5 pages) analytic paper focusing on the narrative structure of a film from this course. Be sure to cite to specific points on your segmentation when referencing scenes in your analysis. ie. (Segment 1 - scene 2, episode A & B). Your goal should be to combine generalizations about the film's structure with specific examples drawn from the film. Your essay should both describe the formal structures operating within the film and offer some interpretation of why the film is organized the way that it is. Your explanation might consider issues of aesthetic norms, genre traditions, authorship, or ideology. Remember that an analytic essay is making an argument about the film. It therefore requires an over-riding thesis and a series of sub-points which make arguments in support of that thesis. For each sub-point, you need to provide one or more examples which support your basic claims. You should be as precise as possible in discussing these examples. Do not assume that they speak for themselves. Rather, couple your reference to a specific scene with an interpretation of that scene that proves its relevance to your argument. You should not be afraid to go over the recommended page count but your goal should be to combine precision and conciseness. Please include your segmentation when you turn in this paper. You should try to account for as much of the film as possible within your analysis, though you will not, of course, be able to say all there is to say about the film. I will be looking for moments in the film which may contradict, challenge, or complicate your reading. You should anticipate my objections as far as possible and address them in writing your essay.
III. VISUAL COMPOSITION
MISE-EN-SCENE: Review the instructions on the last assignment. You are asked to write a short (5 pages) analytic essay focusing on patterns of mise-en-scene within one of the films from the course. You may choose to build upon your analysis from the last paper and continue to work on the same film, but you are encouraged to try your hand on a different film, preferably one which is of a different genre and/or period from the one you choose for the initial assignment. You may choose to narrow your discussion to focus only on acting or lighting or set design or costume or color, though these issues are often closely interwoven. You should look for repeated patterns which shed light on the film's overall formal and thematic development. Your task will be to identify consistent patterns, describe them in technically precise language, and then draw on them as the basis for your analysis and interpretation of the film. Prepare a narrative segmentation to accompany your analysis and cite to it in discussing each scene.
SHOT BREAKDOWN: Select a 5-7 minute sequence from one of the films we have seen in the course. Prepare a shot-by-shot breakdown of that sequence using the terms which we have learned. Your breakdown should include an indication of the duration of each shot, the narrative action represented, the camerawork employed (including a sense of framing, position, and movement). You will be employing this breakdown as a basis for your next analytic essay so you should be as precise as possible. Write a one page abstract of your next analytic essay to accompany the shot-breakdown.
CAMERAWORK AND EDITING:
Write an essay exploring camerawork and editing in a brief (5-7 minute) segment from one of the films we have seen in the course. Your analysis should consider some of the issues discussed in Eisenstein "FF" chapters. You should consider the segment's function within the film as a whole. How does the camerawork and editing here compare to larger strategies in the film? Is the segment representative of the film as a whole or does it represent a dramatic break stylistically? If the later, explain why the director might have chosen a different style for this segment. If the former, explain why the director chose to use these techniques for this film. What does the camerawork and editing contribute to the emotional impact of this sequence? To the organization of space? Of Time? Of narrative causality? Of character psychology? Of audience identification?
VI. SOUND TRACK
FILM SOUND: the film soundtrack. The soundtrack consists of three basic materials -- spoken words, sound effects and music -- which can shape in various ways our emotional response to the narrative action. As with other elements of style, the soundtrack may be self-effacing, another aspect of the "invisibility" of the classical Hollywood cinema, or self-conscious, a source of excess, a vital element in the formal system. Based on these readings, develop a paper which addresses the role of the soundtrack in the cinema. You can confront this problem in several ways: one approach would be a fairly local analysis of a specific sequence from a film, such as you did for your camerawork and editing assignment. You would want to develop a segmentation based on the soundtrack. You would want to attend closely to what types of sounds the director employs and what functions they serve. A second approach would be to prepare a reading of an individual film, such as you did on your narrative and mise-en-scene papers. Here, you would look for general stylistic patterns that run across the work. Another option would be to develop an argument that involves more than one film, though here, your claims should be anchored in specific examples drawn from the films we have seen in this class.
VII. STYLE AND ATMOSPHERE
CLASS PROJECT: During the final weeks we will be working as a critical collective to walk through the single film sequence by sequence, posing questions about the interplay of film style and ideology. As the class discussions draw to a close, we will be dividing our analysis of the film into parts. Each person will be responsible for writing a segment of a larger analysis of the film which is being jointly constructed by the class as a whole.
Please, in your papers always use film terms (see FILM GLOSSARY). Also, Recommended Reading, Forms and Tests
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