Birdman (2014)


You should see a film first


Dir: Alejandro Inarritu

length: 3 pages, double space

Because of the extensive use of the Long Take, it can be said that the film is not edited. Discuss how the film is orchestrated-without using conventional editing structures such as the Shot Reverse shot or the POV edit-and still has the impact of an “edited film”

Fs 1 Weekly Writing Prompts
Papers should include:

• Thesis paragraph
• Body that includes both examples from the film and critical evaluation
• Concluding paragraph
• Terms used in lecture/reading referring to film grammar
o Do not clutter your paper with terms, use them when appropriate
Thesis paragraph
• The purpose of a thesis paragraph is to succinctly state a position that you will discuss in you paper (argue)
• It is the outline or ‘blueprint’ of your paper.
• Thesis paragraph should be 6-8 sentences (approx) and include the following:
• Intro (1-2 sentences)
o Begin with a sentence (or two) introducing your paper. This may include the film, director, date OR may be a broader introductory comment.
o Consider your reader
o Do not include a ‘shopping list’ of accolades such as academy awards, box office success, stars, or other ‘meta’ information that is irrelevant to your paper.
• Summary (1-2 sentences)
o Include a brief summary statement, (1 or 2 sentences)
o This may include a general summary of the film or themes within the film. It should have relevance to the topic you are discussing
• Topic (1-2 sentences)
o Make it clear what prompt you intend to address
o Do not state topic #, or recite the topic prompt. Put this in your own words
• Thesis Statement. (1-2 sentences)
o Present an ‘argument’ or position, directly framing the topic question.
o This is not a simple fact presented in the film, it is a position you need to ‘argue’
 In the film Casablanca, Rick Blaine goes through a significant character change, from Barman to hero.
• Fact – no need to argue
 In the film Casablanca, Rick Blaine goes through a significant character change, due to the emergence of his long lost love. Without Ilsa, he would not have become the man he turned out to be,
• Position- you need to argue.
o One or two succinct sentences near or at the end of your paragraph.
o This is the most important sentence in your paper, refine it..
o Remember, ALL of the examples you choose to discuss in the body of your paper must be relevant to your thesis
• The two basic components of your body are: Example and Analysis
• Use PARAGRAPHS to separate your examples and analysis. Structure your paper.
o A topic sentence should begin each paragraph
o Refrain from overt statements such as: ‘and next,’ or, ‘in my second example.’ Try to have your ideas ‘flow’ from one to the next.
• Choose relevant examples in support of your thesis.
o Be specific-dialog, a scene, a shot, or passage from the film.
• BRIEFLY describe your example. What is on the screen?
• ANALYZE. This means your evaluation. Make it clear HOW are you using this example to support your thesis.
• Do not follow the narrative flow of the film, STRUCTURE your discussion around your thesis
o Begin your paper with your strongest example. Work through your paper, citing other relevant examples.
• Do not have a string of sentences describing long excerpts from the film…and then this happens and then this…stay focused on your thesis
• Remember you are trying to ‘prove’ your thesis. All examples should directly relate to and support your position.
• Be mindful of redundancy, some overlap is acceptable to ‘drive your point home’ however, you do not want to make the exact same point over and again.
o Expand your argument, go into detail, cover it from as many sides as you can.
• With some examples it may be obvious you have supported your thesis, with others you may need to clarify. In general, it is good writing to occasionally reference your thesis, overtly stating how this example supports your claims
• Use cinematic TERMS referred to in class, this will give an authority and specificity to your analysis.
o Protagonist is a term
o Be sure you are using the terms accurately. Review the term if necessary.
o DO NOT clutter your paper up with terms. Use them only when appropriate
• At the end of your paper you may find that you have not definitely proved your position. What is important is that you have developed a well supported argument.
A short concluding paragraph,
• The main content of a concluding paragraph is to describe how you have supported your position
• Do not abruptly end your discussion. Ease out of your paper, consider your reader.
• You may include passing remarks on importance of film, how it relates to other films, or how it addresses the topic discussed in a larger context.
• Remember, you are concluding your discussion, refrain from leaving the reader hanging, or introducing topics not covered in your discussion

Last Updated on February 11, 2019

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