Film Studies: AS Level Coursework Essay Advice
Brief: Write an analysis of how two micro-features create effect and meaning in a 3-5 minute extract from a movie of your choice.
Word count: 1500 – In order to stand any chance of writing the appropriate amount of detail you MUST meet the word count. 1500 words. No less.
Structure: Make sure that you follow a plan. There is a sample plan on the other side of this handout. Use it.
Analysis: You are not re-telling the story or simply saying what happens. You must ANALYSE the micro-elements to really ‘get under the skin’ of the movie.
Depth and detail: Always try to go deeper in your analysis. Look beyond the surface layer.
Proof reading: Spelling and grammar mistakes lose you A LOT of marks. There is no need to make them. Use a spell check and proof read your essay.
Images–It is an essential part of the assessment to include images from the film. These should back up or illustrate major points from your essay.
Meanings: You MUST explain what meaning is created in DETAIL.
What emotions and feelings are created by the sequence?
Think about as many different words which describe the meaning as possible - Drama, tension, fear, horror, revulsion, suspense, tension, anger, sadness, love, lust, terror, wonder, awe, excitement, envy, pity, loathing.
Genre– How is the genre shown in the sequence? Are there any genre conventions you can talk about?
Character– What information are we told about the characters? Are they strong, weak? Happy? Sad? Angry? Calm? Powerful? Powerless?
Narrative – Do the micro-elements tell us anything about the story? Any clues as to what may happen or insights into what has happened already?
The exam board issues a set of criteria which the highest achieving essays will meet. You should all be aiming for the very highest level and as such would benefit from examining the mark scheme very carefully.
Make sure that your essay meets the following standards:
Level 4: 24-30 Marks
• Candidates will be distinguished by an excellent knowledge and confident understanding of the micro features of the film they are concentrating on.
• This will be reflected both in their ability to refer in detail and with accuracy to their chosen film and in their analysis of how micro features produce meaning(s).
• Personal response will be characterised by a high level of analysis of the production of meaning(s) through the interaction of film and spectator.
• The interaction between film and spectator will be perceived as complex, subtle and resistant to simplistic assumptions.
Quality of written communication
• Excellently structured and accurate use of appropriate language to communicate clearly.
Basic Essay Plan
INTRODUCTION: Introduce what film you are analysing and which micro-elements you are focusing on. Briefly explain the main storyline, genre and any relevant background info. No more than 150 words.
PARAGRAPH 1: State which sequence you are analysing. Briefly explain what happens in the sequence. Explain what overall meaning is created in the sequence.
PARAGRAPH 2: Begin at the start of the sequence and start explaining how the micro-elements create meaning. Analyse both elements at the same time. Use a new paragraph for each major point.
PARAGRAPH 3 +: Continue through the sequence making your points.
CONCLUSION: Sum up your main points and state the main meaning created in the sequence. Do not evaluate how well the director has done his job.
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