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Academic Analysis Project
It is the student’s choice whether they will complete the project (Proposal 8%, Essay 8%, Presentation 8%) based on a film analysis. The other option is to research a topic suggested in Macfarlane’s The Old Ways (pages 413 onwards).
In the case of film analysis, students should consider features/aspects of a selected movie (from the list given to the class) that may include the theme, plot devices, characters, symbolism or setting. Students will narrow their research focus and develop an insightful discussion.
You may narrow your focus to something like “The use and meaning of silence in (selected film)” or “Character traits and genre in (selected film)” Likewise, you may choose a topic suggested by the Macfarlane text such as “Artists and their relationship to nature” or “Artefacts in the past and the present”. From here you will develop an argument, i.e., your thesis statement. For example, “The use of silence in (selected film) symbolizes the life of an outsider who suffers for being different but who nonetheless represents a critique of modern life.” or “An appreciation of the importance once given to ancient artefacts brings an awareness to the growing divide between man and his relationship to the natural world.”
The proposal is similar to an outline that you may prepare in preparation for writing an essay (in fact it should provide all the research that informs your essay). However, in this proposal you will discuss your academic sources and how they inform your interpretation (your argument and thesis statement; basically, what you will highlight as being meaningful).
Lastly, you may use two academic sources and the textbook The Old Ways to support a film analysis. That is, your academic sources and the textbook together allow you to analyze a movie.
WRITING ABOUT FILM
In response to email concerning the project (essay & proposal)
The movie should be briefly summarized in the proposal and perhaps at a bit greater length in the essay. But this is not the focus of an analysis. Analysis (especially in a project of this size) should ideally focus on one aspect of a film or selected topic (stated argumentatively in a thesis statement).
General consideration/summary of the film is necessary, but this is only to orient or familiarize the reader/audience as to the topic under discussion. The summary of the film should be subordinate to a particular focus/argument. Say, focusing on just one thematic consideration: i.e., character development (perhaps focusing solely on a single protagonist), symbolic representation (may be something like “Christian symbolism in Harry Potter”) or the director’s use of setting in order to convey irony.
The objective of the essay is to define or bring clarity to a problem or issue (that the film itself identifies through certain techniques or a particular approach, usually, in an implicit manner). The clarity that the essay will bring to the issue will ideally include observation of the film’s representation of a problem as well as criticism of this representation. Therefore, criticism of an approach to an issue may very well address the way in which a general social issue (such as, drug abuse, religion or heroism) is represented in the film in question.
Length of Academic Essay on the sheet handed out in class it states that the essay should be 3-5 pages (not including a cover page with student’s name, instructor’s name, course and college as well as Section Letter), 12 pt. Times New Roman font. Double spaced. However, students may aim for 3 or 4 pages. This is fine : ) Include your email address on your cover pages for the Academic project (importantly: include email on the first page of your proposal).
The Academic Analysis Project (step by step)
The academic analysis project includes (for each individual student) a proposal, essay and presentation. This is ONE project, for each individual student.
Step one = the proposal. The proposal discusses what each academic source (3 sources total) will contribute to the essay. The proposal also presents a thesis statement (a specific argument concerning the film).
Step two = the essay. The essay elaborates/develops the thesis statement. In the essay you will support your thesis statement by referring to each academic source you have selected.
Step three = the presentation. The presentation provides an overview and/or representation of the work accomplished/actualized in the essay.
If your topic is a film analysis then each member of a presentation group will be analyzing the same film. However, each student should have a different topic of analysis. Hence, each student develops their own thesis statement focusing on a particular aspect of the film under investigation.
For instance, using a hypothetical example, one student analyzing the film 300may decide to analyze the film’s portrayal of male masculinity, whereas, another student writes a thesis statement that focuses on the historical accuracy of this film and yet a third student considers 300 as a film that is successful as an adaptation of the graphic novel which inspires it.