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Critical Analysis Paper Requirements
If you wish to substitute a paper in place of the short film, you may do so. Here are the pertinent deets.
4-5 page criticism paper. Choose a film, television show, or web series and answer the same question…
What is this piece of media saying about _______________?
(You pick the area of discourse.)
First, as this is a criticism paper, you will not have as many citations. You are still required to have no fewer than 3 sources. If you quote the film/tv show/web series – be careful to cite it properly. You may also have citations that reference what the filmmakers say themselves, what critics have said, or you may have sources that talk about related and pertinent themes.
Second, be sure to include a brief summary of the show you are analyzing – providing only enough details so that a reader can understand what is it that you are analyzing.
Third, in order to do determine these assumptions, I recommend that you watch the movie, television show or web series a MINIMUM of 3 times. Before you watch the first time, read the questions below. Don’t bother to take any notes the first time. After the first screening, re-read the questions. Then on the 2ndand 3rdscreenings, write down your observations. Remember that the following questions are not intended to be treated like essay questions. Not all of the them will be useful to you. Keep what’s helpful. Let go of the rest. In some cases, the questions below are really asking for the same type of information, but because each is worded differently it may jiggle loose new insights.
What is the text? What is the overarching story of the film/tv show/web series? (Take no more than 1 page to tell me this)
What images are used? How does the filmmaker use color, composition, light, and editing? What is seen in the frame? What is left out? (How is perspective shown in the narrative? How aware are we that there is another side to the story?) (What does this tell you about the ideology of the filmmaker?)
Who or what makes things happen in the story (social and psychological determination)? Whose POV do we see and hear things from? What structural role do people have in the narrative? How much back story do we have for supporting cast members? Or the suggestion of a back story?
What sequential order are events presented to us? If they were presented in a different order would we feel differently about the characters? Why do you think the director chose the order he did?
With respect to semiotics – what signs/signifiers or symbols are there in the movie/tv show/web series? What does the filmmaker assume you already know in order for that symbol to make sense (intertextuality)? What does this tell you about the filmmaker’s ideology?
What is the dominant discourse or hierarchy of discourses? What are the themes of the movie/tv show/web series? What issues are addressed intentionally? What themes/issues are addressed perhaps unintentionally?
Who is the “target audience”? What is their age, ethnicity, class, profession, interests, etc.? What about the movie/tv show/web series causes you to draw this conclusion?
What might this movie/tv show/web series be unintentionally condoning, supporting, or propagating?
Who made this movie/tv show/web series? Who created it? Who profits from it? In what way might this make a difference in terms of what you are seeing (or not seeing)? What part of the story is not being told? Does the absence of this voice make the show untruthful or appear to manipulate you?
How is the movie/tv show/web series most likely consumed? Under what circumstances do most people consume the product? (i.e. in their home, in a theater, standing in line, with friends, alone, etc.) How does this effect the content?
All papers are to be submitted using APA style. The page counts listed above do NOT include your title page, an abstract page (with a one paragraph summary of your paper), or your works cited page. Please be sure to add these additional pages to your research and/or criticism.
YOUR TITLE PAGE SHOULD CONTAIN YOUR ID NUMBER IN PLACE OF YOUR NAME. DO NOT PUT YOUR NAME ON YOUR PAPER.
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