View a feature-lengthlive-action first-release American film (no documentaries, rereleases or animated films) by a notable director with an original American theatrical release date between 1940 and 1969* (films not meeting these criteria will earn a zero for this assignment). Such a list for example would include films directed by Frank Capra, George Cukor, John Ford, George Stevens, Preston Sturges, Billy Wilder, or William Wyler. These are just suggestions, but not a comprehensive list of possibilities. For a much more extensive list, you might want to visit http://www.filmsite.org/directors.html. This source is solely to help you select a director and film. It is not to be used for paper content or research. You are not permitted to use any other sources or other films in preparing your paper. This is not a research paper. This is entirely your own work; it is your own analysis of filmmaking elements as employed in a film. It will demonstrate your understanding and ability to recognize these methods. It is also not a traditional essay given that you will use the four-step process to detail your understanding.
You will use the four step process throughout sections one & two. Examples are available in the “Four-Step Process” document located in this assignment folder. Number each step (1), (2), (3), (4), within a single paragraph as you explain each element. So every four steps should appear in one paragraph. Your numbers are internal in the paragraph at the beginning of each step. Each paragraph will only refer to one filmmaking technique or one performance choice. Refer to the Four-step Process document for explanation and example.
Remember, you are not writing about what the shot shows. Please refer to the “All Shots Show Things” document under Week One>Additional Materials.
*The following films are excluded for consideration and thus may not be used for this paper:
Strangers on a Train
Just like using a film outside of the release date window, submitting any of the above films will earn a zero for the paper.
Section One: (You will not employ this section heading in your paper; this is solely to separate the requirements on this assignment sheet).
Do not write an introduction or conclusion. I’ll know the film from your title. Get right to a scene and filmmaking observation using the four steps. Comment in each paragraph on only one specific filmmaking aspect in that scene. You may only draw elements from these general areas:
Cinematography (camerawork, composition, & style are potentially viable options, but you may not use the 180° rule or shot reverse shot, which is derived from the 180° rule )
Sound (You can include Music, but only if you are skilled in musical terms; you may not discuss silence (the absence of sound).
Write about what you have learned and understand. You don’t need to comment on every filmmaking technique from the above list, but you may not repeat an element in another paragraph.
You must briefly identify a scene for each element. You are not writing about the film as a whole. One to two sentences at most for step 1. This is solely for the purpose of identifying the scene within the timeline of the movie. Your emphasis needs to be on how the story is being told rather than what the story is. Think about how things work and why. What filmmaking techniques, outside of the story, did the filmmaker employ to elicit those responses in you?
Restrictions for Sections 1 & 2:
Do not use the title sequence.
Do not write about the story/plot or themes.
Do not reference dialogue; that’s in the script.
Do not write about CGI or animation (live action only).
Do not reference box office numbers or awards.
Do not explain why you chose the film.
Do not discuss any other film or book in relation to this film.
Do not write that the camera position is designed to make you feel like you are in the movie. The audience does that with the willing suspension of disbelief.
Do not combine techniques or mention multiple techniques in one four-step process.
10. Do not repeat a technique in a subsequent four-step process. For instance, if you use a low-angle shot in one scene example, you can’t use low-angle shot from another scene for an additional four-step process. You have to write about different filmmaking techniques.
Analyze each filmmaking element that you select using the four-step process detailed in the assignment folder.
You must briefly identify a scene for each element. One to two sentences at most.
Identify one filmmaking element in that scene. Only one sentence is to be used.
Express an opinion about what it communicates in and of itself—not what it shows.
Explain how it technically works to communicate what you suggest.
Each paragraph will have four steps. You’ll need at least 4 to 5 paragraphs to complete section 1.
Section one needs to be at least one full properly formatted page. Please note it is always safer to write more than the minimum in case something is disallowed and you wind up being short.
Section Two: (You will not employ this section heading in your paper; this is solely to separate the requirements in this assignment sheet).
Now that you have commented on the specific film you viewed, see if you can draw some conclusions about specific work of the director in this film and one of the main on-screen actors or actresses. For example, let’s say you watched the 1969 film Easy Rider. Identify and comment on Dennis Hopper’s efforts as a filmmaker. Write about a specific scene for each filmmaking element you select.
Don’t discuss the plot. Support your opinion with screen evidence from this film. Discuss his direction. Use the numbered four-step process as in section 1.
Then discuss the work of one lead actor within one scene, citing one performance choice per paragraph (the actor has three tools—refer to Content Week 5 on acting) that Peter Fonda uses to create his character. What do we see on screen? You have to specifically describe what he does using physicality, voice or timing. If you were to write that Fonda looks sad in a particular scene that would be your interpretation of the choice(s) he makes to convey that emotion. That won’t be enough. How does he communicate sadness? What performance choice does he use and how does it communicate sadness? Use the numbered four-step process as in section 1 to identify and explain each performance choice that you select.
Remember, this is not a research paper. You are not allowed to use other sources. You are applying what you’ve learned to evaluate a film element. I am interested in what you have learned, not in what you can repeat by reading up on that film or the filmmaker. In fact, that would be off task and result in a score of 0. Any similarity number outside of what would normally occur with the citation will result in a 0. No additional sources are permitted.
Section Two also needs to be at least one full properly formatted page.
Section Three: (You will not employ this section heading in your paper; this is solely to separate the requirements in this assignment sheet).
You will use this heading: “My Criteria for Quality in Film.” Under that heading, propose five general statements indicative of your personal taste in movies. These criteria should encompass all films that you consider having quality. They are not solely focused on this film; however you may certainly use this or any film to support with an example. These statements should appear as a list and be numbered (1) through (5), and they should be written as complete sentences and/or a short paragraph. It might be useful to introduce each statement with such language as “Excellent movies feature,” or “A movie is more likely to be good if it employs,” or “A characteristic of high-quality cinema is.” (For example, if you liked the acting because it was realistic and you liked the script because it had a happy ending, you could propose these two statements as criteria for quality: “(1) Excellent movies feature realistic acting. (2) A movie is more likely to be good if it ends happily.” You must explain your answers. Do not just put something like “Good movies feature good acting.” The point here is for you to think about—and then explain—what such quality words as good, excellent, and effective actually mean. You will be adding more items to this list with the second paper, later in this course. Your numbering for this section should line up with the 1” margins.
Total Paper Length: Three full pages minimum – Four pages maximum. This count does not include the film citation. Shortages or overages will be penalized. Under or over will result in a maximum possible score of 70. Any issues with the paper will be deducted from the 70.
Citation: You must cite the film per the MLA document posted under Content>Course Resources>Writing Resources. This is your style sheet. You will need to do this manually and not employ services to automatically format the citation. Services are frequently incomplete. Do not use a citation block provided in Word. A citation copied and pasted that prevents comment isolation will be disallowed and penalized. Do not put the film’s citation on a separate page. Place it immediately following your Quality Film Criteria.
Submission: Must be submitted as a Word™ document. The file extension must be .doc or .docx. If you submit as any other document instead of Word, it will be considered as no submission. Post in your Paper One assignment folder. It is safest to post drafts in the assignment folder as you write. The folder is set up for unlimited submissions but will only keep the latest submission. If you don’t have something in the folder, I no longer have access to it to upload your evaluation. And if something comes up and you are unable to finish your paper, at least you would have something in the folder to earn some points. Failure to submit a timely paper for any reason will result in a 0 for the assignment.
If LEO is problematic, you may email it, provided it is date stamped by the due date and you previously posted a draft in the assignment folder to give me access to the folder. Be aware that date stamps are assigned when processed and not when submitted so do not wait until the last minute. Email submissions date-stamped Monday, April 10 or after will receive a zero for the assignment, so make sure you submit something on time to earn some points. If you email, make sure that you look for a reply email from me acknowledging receipt. The fact that you emailed it does not mean it transmitted successfully. Don’t procrastinate until the night of the due date; that’s when problems arise.
Originality: I will submitpapers to Turnitin to verify originality. You may not use other sources for this paper. Papers with similarity scores indicating source appropriations of verbatim or paraphrased material other than citations will receive a zero for the assignment. This is solely your work! There’s no reason for you to process it through Turnitin because you aren’t permitted to use any other sources for this paper, so you have nothing to check. If you were to make an attempt at Turnitin through another avenue and it triggers a similarity index when I submit it, you will still receive a zero for the paper. Just do the job properly; don’t use other sources.
Grade Value: 10% of final grade
No title page
1” margins top, bottom, left and right.
Number your pages in the lower right corner
12 pt. Times New Roman font (normal, not expanded or condensed).
Do not place anything in headers or footers (aside from page numbers)
Upper right corner – Your name, course & date three lines single-spaced (0 pts. before and 0 pts. after, under paragraph formatting in Word) first page only.
Skip one line
Film Title (centered & italicized)
Skip one line
Begin your Paper Double-spaced (0 pts. before and 0 pts. after, under paragraph formatting in Word)
Indent paragraphs ½”
No line spaces or section headings (aside from “My Criteria for Quality in Film”) between paragraphs.
Cite only the movie at the end of your paper per MLA standards (handout under Course Content>Course Resources>Writing Resources)
Spelling checked with www.m-w.com
· Proof your work aloud. You will catch grammar issues that a silent read will miss.
· Spell-check will not catch misused words that are spelled correctly (e.g. then vs. than).
· Double-check the formatting requirements before submitting your paper for grading.
· Film titles are italicized.
· Film references are written in the present tense.
· Employ active voice rather than passive voice.
· Maintain subject-verb agreement.
· Keep your sentences to the point. Communicate. At these margins settings, if your sentence extends to three lines, think about revising it. If it extends to four lines, revise it.
· Support your opinions with screen evidence and explain in detail how the choice functions to evoke the feeling or communicate the message that you suggest.
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