List any background information a reader will need

Assignment: How to Analyze Visual Media - Film, Art Works:

A. "How to Analyze Visual Media" by Dr. Michael Pinsky,

The following tips are useful whether your whole paper is about a single film, a film comparison, or on a theme which you trace through several visual media.

If you are analyzing visual media, you should consider the following suggestions to help you organize your notes prior to your writing project. In any analysis of a film or television show, you will need to use a semiotic approach or something similar: observe the signs in the film in addition to the particular words spoken from the script. Pay attention to the language (including vocabulary, diction and emotional tone), behavior and appearance of the characters, appearance of the sets, the use of lighting and framing, and the situations in which the characters are placed. Remember to look for non-verbal communication as well as verbal ones. Once you have watched the show/film (jotting down observations as you notice them), prepare yourself with the following steps:

1. List any background information a reader will need. For example, describe the show/film. What is the basic plot? What are the key moments of change? What is the setting and time period?

2. List any necessary background on the characters. For example, describe the main characters using demographic characteristics (age, class, education, gender, ethnicity, etc.), supporting your points with evidence.

3. List the values or themes supported in the show/film (gender roles, definitions of success, moral/ethical arguments, standards of beauty or happiness, etc.), including the consequences of the characters' actions. Use specific examples as evidence.

4. Describe the intended audience for the show/film, using demographic characteristics. What evidence led you to conclude this group was the intended audience?

5. State what this show/film reveals about contemporary culture: values, goals, acceptable roles in society, etc. List evidence to support your conclusions.

6. Now turn to your specific writing project. State your claim/thesis, along with your plan to support it: preview the organization of your writing project. You may find that you have more information prepared from steps 1-5 than you will need for the final project: you are not obligated to use every observation you have made, but you will find any writing project much easier if you have plenty of options (as opposed to scrambling to review the show/film to find more evidence at the last minute).


Identify a question that interests you ...

1) about some aspect of a particular film, such as (but not limited to...)

* character development, locating it within its historical and filmic context
* the relationship between sung and spoken and purely visual parts to the development of the plot or story
* gender relations as illustrated between the main characters
* method of getting across the film's message
* relationship between editing, lighting, and other camera techniques and the emotion of specific parts of the story; OR

2) a comparison between two films (or between a Japanese animation film and a film from another cultural domain -- though, in this case, the paper should focus 2/3 of its length/discussion on the Japanese animation film) ; OR

3) choose a pressing social, or historical, or sexual, or political, or religious, or aesthetic problem and discuss its ‘place' and ‘dynamism' within Japanese animation, using two or more films to draw examples from.

4) other topics you are drawn to (please discuss with me)


Academic sources: Your bibliography will consist of a minimum of four full references to academic sources not included in textbooks and assigned readings

In addition, you can cite Internet sources and general film studies sources (i.e. not focused specifically on Japanese animation), and assigned readings, -- as many as you wish!

Minimum two footnotes of type ii, below.

The Two Main Types of Footnotes:

i) Plain Citation: Giving the citation/reference for the information/quote/data you just presented in your paper text.

Please note that you will have to make active reference to specific page numbers in these sources, in the body of your text (or in footnotes or endnotes), from where you have paraphrased or quoted information, for it to count as a reference: just having something in the bibliography with no footnotes referring to it does not count.

ii) Discussion Footnotes: ‘expand the discourse' of your main text, or ‘give a more detailed explanation' than what you find necessary in the main text, but which still is of potential relevance and interest to the reader. Hence, here you can explain difficult terms that, in the main text, would break the flow of the reading too much; you can cite another opinion, or an association to something somewhat outside of the scope of the present paper but that would be interesting to have further research done on, by future scholars, etc.

Format your assignment according to the following formatting requirements:

1. The answer should be typed, double spaced, using Times New Roman font (size 12), with one-inch margins on all sides.

2. The response also includes a cover page containing the title of the assignment, the student's name, the course title, and the date. The cover page is not included in the required page length.

3. Also include a reference page. The Citations and references should follow APA format. The reference page is not included in the required page length.

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