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Tips for Film essays

Here is my post on filmgeekwatching tumblr page on film essays

hello guys! sorry for the silence for tumblr…i have been at school and things are busy with assignments (i have cinematography and directing exercises coming up y’all). of course if you do film studies,the most horrifying thing for film studies (or film) students…is *dun dun* the essay

Not everyone is the studious “omg i love research and knowing stuff” person like me and rather struggle with that. often they often come up to me and asked “what essay topic i must do?” or “shit i really don’t know what to write ?”

As i shall quote a particular classic film moment,everyone become the cowardly lion when it comes to the scary forest of essays.

First of all don’t panic,it’s not a scary bela lugosi film or some detention centre. it can be executed without much pain.well based on my experience of writing essays for film or literature review (yes for thesis papers). i will give you my pointers to start writing essays without much pain.

  1. I *must* emphaize and there again…you must write something you like! yes your lecturers assigned a day to watch films,for discussion and stuff so you are given the choice what film to write. if you write a film you hated,you will not have the freakin’ willpower to even research the essay. so please please go for your gut feeling and write something you like. it will do you justice for yourself.
  2. choose a question you think you will be capable on writing! i know a particular classmate who is asking me which question to do,person x wanted to do editing or on the other-hand she want to talk about adaptation. the question may be intruging but do you have the writing capability to write this type of paper ? if in doubt ask your lecturers/professors they are the best people to ask for advice.
  3. try to do a film where people did lots of analysis on it,it took half of the time to do your research. i could say that you have a slimmer chance of doing hitchcock for your film paper than doing some obscure film that lack in essays wise.
  4. start your research early,i swear that there will be a gazillion people dying to get that book like you. reservation from the library is your best friend during that period of research,or even better get the book early! internet-wise they are some great research there but please check your resources….. i recommend that you play safe with getting articles/papers from reputable people who write film studies,not some random person analyzing it in their blogs.. as my dad said sometimes they bend the truth and make you believe it.
  5. consult! consult with your lecturers,they are not here to eat you up. they are here to help with you with the journey.
  6. do watch the film with a commentary-it may have some useful nuggets of information,you would not find it books. for my essay in rear window,when i should talk abt the fabula and syzhuet of that film,i managed to get the commentary of that film and there he gave a perspective of jeff eating the sandwich,as if he was watching a movie which i find it intruging. therefore i added that point for my film. be sure to take notes about the commentary itself!
  7. plan your essay! see the question and break it down what does your professor wants from your essay. classic example from my question,discuss the aspects of film form (cinematography,sound,miss en scene,editing) with the films that are screened in class (m,the man with the movie camera,the wizard of oz,blue velvet,a man escaped) helped in the narrative aspect of the film . what is the lecturer is asking? he/she is looking out how do these aspects helped to bring out the story meaning..for my case i am doing the wizard of oz and i will look through why they chose to have that particular style via mise en scene and cinematography to bring that feeling of escapism (btw the example i gave was a real question and yes i am doing that). so underline the main points so you have the direction how to write it. of course you must have a voice whenever it works or not
  8. it gets better if you practice more,i am talking to the film studies majors. i screwed it up at times,my professor said i have good research but i am terrible in organizing. i took that advice and there my lecturer said i am better in my lit review. you will get there
  9. last of all,don’t leave it to the last minute! it may be a slow process but you will get there. so good luck and have fun!

here are my fave resources (online) useful web by for good quality essays for free! her advice for film papers! check her resources for film essays. they are very helpful for me (some links are dead)

books and magazines

sight and sound-a must read for film studies nerds. you must read it…they have great articles on certain films!

i hope you find my advice useful in the future! keep writing and good luck!


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