Final Paper (700 words, not including the title or quotations) due by 11:59 p.m. (Please email your paper to me at richardburt33@gmail.com). Before emailing your paper, return to this page and rread it. Ask youself: Did I do what I was asked to do? If the answer is "yes," please email me your paper. If the answer is "no," then do what you need to do until you can answer "yes."

Please read this email very carefully so that you can understand clearly what you are to do for your final paper.

Turn in your draft (700 words) and the final draft of your first paragraph (100 words). (The document will look like a regular document. There is no need to format it differently).


1. You are to do a close reading of a scene or sequence composed of approximately 4-8 shots. Write on a scene or sequence we have not discussed in class from a film assigned for the course. How do you know you have chosen a sequence or scene worth discussing? That is a good question and difficult to answer. In a great film, every shot is theoretically worth discussing. Some shots, scenes, and sequences invite or even demand closer attention than do others. A shot-reverse-shot sequence is usually not worth reading closely. But there are exceptions. There is no way to predict what is worth discussing, although people tend to be drawn to the same moments in a given film or text.

If you are uncertain what doing a "close reading" means, go here and here. For a classic book of close readings, see Cleanth Brooks' The Well Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure of Poetry(1947). Here is an exemplary chapter from the book.

2. Close reading, or slow reading, requires repeated viewings. So watch the film again. Do not write your paper based on your memory of a single viewing. Watch the film on a device that allows you to pause it (the way you would have a book open to a page your were discussing). Have a computer or pen and paper with you so you can take notes as you watch the film again. These notes are the basis for the first draft of your paper. As you start to write your draft, keep the film available to you so that you can keep watching the scene over again or so you can pause on certain shots as you write about them. Watching or reading and writing are continuous, overlapping activities, Writing and watching are not discontinuous, separable stages (first watch, then write). As you write, you are in dialogue both with what you are writing about and with your reader.

2A. Include screen captures of each shot you are discussing. You can do with with a VLC player on a computer. Or you can google "screen captures" and see what kind of software you need to download. Insert this in the body of your paper where they are most relevant. Number them so you can refer to them in your paper as needed. The shots are like passages from a text you would quote.


3. In your final draft of your first paragraph, you need to give the following information in your first sentence:

(a) the title of the film; (b) the first and last names of the director of the film; and (c) the year the film was released.

4. In your first sentence, you also need to indicate the scene or sequence you will discuss.

5. In your second sentence and, if you need it, your third sentence, vividly describe the sequence or scene you will discuss. By “vividly,” I mean describe it so well that your reader can remember the scene or sequence you say you will discuss. “Vividly” also means describing in an analytical way what is notable, worth discussing. Your selection is based on something you have observed others may have missed or may have noticed but not thought about. (By the way, this is why it is important to keep the film close to you. You may well want to watch it again or go back--or forward-- to other shots in the film.)

6. In the final sentence of your first paragraph, state your thesis. Your thesis should primarily address the scene or sequence you are discussing and secondarily, the relation between that scene or sequence and its relation to the film. Your thesis must be one sentence.

7. Give the time stamp of the scene or sequence you are discussing.

8. Your paper must have a title, and in the title you must put the name of the film you are discussing and the director. Your reader should know quite easily what you will be discussing in your paper based on reading your title alone.

Be sure to proofread your paper carefully. Your final draft should not have any typos or ungrammatical sentence constructions.

If you have any questions about this assignment, now is the time to ask them.