I have included files containing the instructions, the rubric, and an example submission below. Please let me know if you need me to clarify anything. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions:
This is almost overwhelming! How do I decide what to write about?
Always choose something that you are interested in. If you like the production elements of television or film, choose one of those for your analysis. If you like a particular actor, focus on his or her performance. (Be careful to focus on the actor’s PERFORMANCE rather than his or her appearance!)
The more specific the topic you choose, the stronger your analysis will be. Also, the more interested you are in a topic, the more willing you’ll be to take the time to make it great!
Ok… I think I can do this! How do I get started?
Just like when you prepare to write any other analysis, you need to have multiple interactions with the material. In this case, watch the film or television show numerous times, looking at a different element each time. For example, you might watch it the first time for the plot, the second time for the actors’ abilities, and a third time for the production aspects (camera usage, special effects, etc.) After the first viewing, start taking notes as you watch to get ideas and examples.
How do I develop a thesis for this protect? Just what do I need to say?
Set up your thesis statement for a media analysis by choosing a specific topic and offering a claim. Look for a balance: don’t try to support a thesis that’s too narrow or too broad. For example, if you want to focus on the music within a production, you might need to limit the thesis statement to just one aspect of the music. You could discuss how the music affects the viewers’ emotions (Is the music motivational, suspenseful, etc.?) or how it sets the tone for the action. A good thesis is narrow enough to be focused, but broad enough to be developed into a full paper. A thesis limited to just one example won’t work.
I have a thesis. Now, how do I support it?
No matter what topic you’ve chosen, include specific examples from the television show or film to support your claims about it. Examples show the readers that your opinion is substantiated by the media piece, but the examples won’t mean anything if you don’t explain them. Go back to each example and discuss what it means and how it proves your thesis. Don’t assume readers can figure it out or that they see things the way you do. The only way to be sure is to write it out yourself.
I’m confused about analyzing versus summarizing. Tell me more!
Summarizing the plot (storyline) is what you’d do if a friend missed a television show or film and asked you to tell him/her about it. Your focus would be on retelling the story.
Analyzing a television show or film is different in many respects. First, your friend wouldn’t care about the camera angles, special effects, etc. because he/she is probably watching the show just for entertainment, like most people. Most likely, your friend wouldn’t care about a specific actor’s technical performance or the musical score either. These are just a few of the topics that you can choose to analyze from a film/television show.
In addition to having more topics to choose from in analysis, you are also going to do more than retell the story; with an analysis, you need to explain why the production was created in this way and how those choices affect viewers. An analysis involves a lot more insight.
I think I’ve got it! Is there anything else I should know before I get started?
Like literary analyses, the biggest mistake with media analyses is that writers simply summarize the television show or film. It’s important to remember that anyone can watch the television show or film that you are analyzing; just seeing the show isn’t enough. You need to become an expert on the piece you select.
The only place you could include a summary (if desired) is in the introduction; this will give your readers necessary background information about the film. Starting with the second paragraph in the essay and throughout the body, you need to move away from summarizing and focus on how each element proves your thesis statement.
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