Micro essay booklet 2013


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Support Booklet for Film Studies Micro Essay task including research activities,

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Micro essay booklet 2013

  1. 1. Film Studies Coursework Guide The film I have chosen is______________________________________________________________ 1. Who directed this film? What other films have they directed? Do they have a unique style (Auteur)? 2. Who produced the film? How much money did it cost? How much money did it make and over what time scale? 3. Who is the target audience? How did the TA respond to it? How did this film appeal to its target audience? What did critics say about this film? 4. What is the dominant message/reading of the film? What emotional response was the director going for? What scenes could you write about? Teacher Approval given____________________________________________________________________________
  2. 2. Micro Analysis Getting Started Once you have chosen your film sequence you should watch it several times making notes on your chosen aspect. If you have not yet chosen which aspect of film language you are going to focus on then these screening will help you to do this. Remember you should focus on a maximum of three aspects of film language. The analysis must have detailed references to the text so you may find it easier to write your notes in three columns to help you do this: Observation Costume is used to show details about how the characters are feeling Example When Jeff enters the brightly lit bar, he is dressed in grey where all of the other characters are dressed in bright colours Evaluation This suggests he is alienated from those around him and gives the audience a sense of his depressed state of mind You should then start to group your ideas and see if you can come up with an overall reading of the clip: After looking at the cinematography in the sequence from Jurassic Park it is obvious that the camerawork is used to make the audience feel the panic that the characters feel. From this you should be able to formulate a question or hypothesis. Your response will focus on answering this question. The Analysis Your introduction should outline the film, the director and the sequence that you are to focus on. You may which to include a short (2-3 sentence) synopsis of the film (outline of the story). The main body of the essay should be your analysis. There are two possible ways of approaching this: Chronologically Thematically Whichever you choose, you should stick to it throughout the analysis.
  3. 3. Assessment of Sequence for Micro Study  Why is this an important section of the film? Describe the impact it had on you. Show it to someone else and record what their emotional response was.  What theme/ideas are presented here? (eg romance, identity, good vs evil, comedy)  What is being established about character motivations and relationships?  What aspect would you choose to analyse and why? Teacher Approval given for sequence___________________________________________________
  4. 4. Detailed Scene Analyse: Scene___________________________________________________________________ Timing__________________________________________________________________ Observation Example Evaluation
  5. 5. Observation Example Evaluation Final Hypothesis with specific micro elements: Final Teacher Approval given______________________________________________________
  6. 6. Micro-Analysis THE MICRO ANALYSIS Film Studies How to write the Micro essay Once you have completed all of your study and research into the micro elements, you will be at the stage when you can complete your micro essay. This should be between 1000 and 1500 words and should focus on a 3 – 5 minute sequence from a film of your own choice. You must, however agree the film with your teacher first. You must choose to write about one to three of the micro features: cinematography, mise-en scene, sound, editing, performance. Introduction Your introduction should show your reader that you understand the importance of micro elements in the creation of meaning and generating an audience response. You should summarise the main types of meaning which can be generated by the micro elements you have chosen to study. Your introduction should end by identifying which film and which sequence you are going to use in your analysis. You should ‘place’ the sequence in the film briefly and again briefly outline what happens in your sequence. Middle Paragraphs The main paragraphs within your essay should show a systematic and thorough evaluation of the impact/effect of your chosen micro elements on your film’s audience. You could evaluate one micro element in the first few paragraphs and then move on to the next micro element, however, your essay will appear more fluid and fluent if you work systematically through your sequence in the order it runs, identifying and discussing micro elements as they ‘appear’. Micro features are used interdependently by filmmakers and you will need to discuss how your chosen elements work together, as well as separately, to create meaning and response. Don’t forget to back-up each of the points you make with a clear example from your film. The exam board encourages you to use screen shots in your analysis. This is to avoid too much description and will allow you to focus on analysing the effects. Conclusion Your conclusion should summarise the meanings and responses you think your chosen micro elements have generated. You should also comment on whether or not you think the micro elements you have analysed have produced meaning and response effectively in your chosen sequence. You should also feel free to include images – sketches of key frames or film stills if this helps with your analysis.
  7. 7. Straight from the Horses Mouth: Advice from those ‘in the know’ Structure of Hypothesis/Question: How are (name the micro features) used in (name the film) to (be specific about ‘effect: gain sympathy for – name the character, establish the theme of – name the theme, create a particular response – name the response).  You need to state exactly where the clip is from and to in minutes and seconds; and how far into the film it is.  You need to outline why this sequence is so important and what the impact was that it had on you.  What is the significance of it to the meaning of the film as a whole  If it is from anywhere other than the beginning or ending, a sentence is needed to put the sequence in context  Don’t write about one micro feature, then another, then another. Discuss how they work together to create meaning and emotional impact.  You don’t need to write about everything that you see or hear  Identify key moments in the sequence, the ones that have significance for the meaning of the film as a whole and have a particular impact on the spectator – state precisely what that impact is: tension, suspense, comedy, sympathy, identification, emotion etc  Personal response is encouraged  Consider how other people might have responded (is it different to how you responded -why?) and what was the intended emotional response – ie how was the film maker trying to make you response (effectiveness of sequence)
  8. 8. Micro Essay Example One How are cinematography and sound used to create tension in ‘127 Hours’ The start of my clip (14.50-19.50) from ‘127 Hours’ starts where Aron Ralston is walking through Blue John’s canyon. The camera is following from behind him, with a mid, over the shoulder shot. The music played from his headset is a techno rock genre, which emphasises his surroundings. Also while the music is playing we can’t hear much else and for him it will be as if the rock music is all around him, which will symbolise that all around him will be only rock. The music changes to a softer tone and rhythm, which creates the feeling that he belongs and feels at home in this place that he’s in, which may symbolise that he spends a lot of time here. The camera is at a long distance of a moving subject walking into space. The composition of the scene is of Aron being central between two walls of rock almost as if he’s encased, walking down this narrow walkway. Next, there is an extreme close up of his hand, moving up and down freely across the wall, emphasising the value of what it’s like to feel and symbolises what a loss it would be to lose it. This prepares you for what is soon to happen. Only the hand is in focus to show the huge role that it plays. The next shot of him is at a tilted frame, panning right (which gives off the feeling of insanity) still strolling through the canyon. This shows to me that something is soon to go wrong. The next shot is at a low angle, looking up at Aron making him look powerful and in control (for now anyway) as he descends down the wall, with ease. This contradicts what is soon to come. The camera is now at a high angle shot, looking down at Aron to show how weak and incompetent he is compared to the enormous and powerful rock that will soon get the better of him. It also shows him descending, getting deeper into the canyon, to a more isolated and desolate place, almost as if he is getting closer to a deeper and darker hell, that will trap him there and keep him there as a prisoner. We then see Aron at a medium close up of his compacted body as he shimmies through the narrow gap between the wall and the rock. This almost shows how lucky he is to not to have trapped his entire body by this overpowering rock. It then shows Aron going under an enclosed walkway where rocks have fallen down to the deeper part of the canyon, this gives you a hint of what is coming and prepares you for the hell Aron will soon have to go through. The next shot is a high angle shot looking down on Aron (which starts off being a long shot that zooms in closer to where he will descend and finally meets what the movie has been preparing us for) as he moves into space, as well as showing us where he will descend and where the deepest part of the canyon is showing us the deepest part of his soon to be hell. As it zooms down to the bottom of the canyon it almost re-enacts a fall, through our eyes, as if we are falling. The camera is being hand held and it pans right, this makes the shot unsteady, this symbolises the rock being unsteady and maybe also symbolising how his hand will be lost. It also seems as if something is creeping round the corner, which makes us feel as if something is out to get him and it gives off an evil presence. You can also hear the sound of cold air as if something evil is breathing.
  9. 9. The next shot is being moved on a pedestal so that the camera is above him and zooms in slightly to his hand being on the rock so that we can see the rock move and slide out of place. Following that there are around five shots in a very brief moment in a short amount of time as he falls, this picks up the pace and makes the movie flow in a fast tempo. Through these shots we have a high angle looking up at the rock making it look more powerful over Aron, this makes the rock almost seem more of a being and humanising it. His ear phones stop and start and then they break, leaving only silence, showing only himself and hearing only himself, creating isolation, separating him from the rest of the world, alone and unknown of his whereabouts to others. As this happens there is a gravelly, low pitched tone almost like a moaning, which creates tension. The next shot where it finally displays the title of the movie (127 Hours – where the timer starts) it is at a medium, close up of the wall, which takes up more than half of the frame, with the wall stuck to the side of him. The composition of this creates the effect that the wall is taking and looming over him, making the wall more powerful in this frame. Aron looks up and with it the camera, watching a plane pass by, this greatens the distance he feels he is from humanity and hope. We watch over Aron at a bird’s eye view which makes him look small and weak and it also builds suspense and tension as he slowly and steadily hovers his hand over the rock to his hand. We then hear him breathing through his nose and grunting heavily and fast as he is attempting to break free of this devilish clutch this creates tension as he is scared and stressed. For the next five shots we have incredible close ups, which really helps us see the true pain and anger he has bestowed upon his face, scrunching every muscle he has, showing us the true power of him. As he does this he makes an intense grunting as if his voice belonged to an animal – a caged, wild animal. While this is happening in the background you hear a melodic, string instrument being played quite loudly yet doesn’t overcome the grunting of the character. We then hear the character speak in an unsettled and antagonised tone, which amplifies the tension and situation that the character is in. We then hear him speak again but the anger in his tone has increased highly to show us that he is getting even more antagonised. The melodic string instrument has increased in volume and tempo, which also shows how much more antagonised he is but also amplifies the tension in this scene, then the music gradually fades, until only silence is left, except for the heavy breathing of the character. We then see one of the main props that we will now see throughout the movie. There are around 4 shots of the character with the water bottle, which shows how important it really is, as it is the number one main aspect of his survival. We also realise this when his eyes widen and he stops drinking immediately and he becomes more aware of how he needs to ration his food and water so that he can survive longer. After this we see him tighten the lid of the water bottle securely. We then see the character take off his watch so that he can check on the time as time is the key factor in this entire movie and the title of the film, it also creates suspense. We then hear the character shout for the people he had met not that long ago to see if they
  10. 10. are still close to his whereabouts and to make his location clearer to them. In his tone of voice there is fear and desperation, to show that he is in dire need of his companions. We then start off at a bird’s eye view, close up looking down on the character which makes him look weak and puny. The camera then pulls back and zooms out to a vast landscape of a mountain range, this gives the feeling of isolation, that the character is completely unknown and oblivious to humanity and this shot makes you give up all hope of the character escaping his ‘animal cage’ and surviving. As this happens the voice of the character slowly and gradually fades into the distance as the distance itself amplifies. We now know that no one will surely be able to find him because he is at such a great distance from all of humanity.
  11. 11. GCE AS/A FILM STUDIES 32 8 INTERNAL ASSESSMENT GUIDELINES ASSESSMENT CRITERIA FOR FM1: EXPLORING FILM FORM It is intended that the mark range for the unit as a whole should be as follows: Level 4 Level 3 Level 2 Level 1 64-80 Upper: 56-63 Lower: 48-55 Upper: 40-47 Lower: 32-39 0-31 The analysis will be marked out of 30 with reference to the level descriptors below. The creative project will be marked out of 50: the sequence, in whatever form, will be assessed out of 40 and the reflective analysis out of 10. Analysis of Film Extract (30) The following level descriptors should be applied to the analysis. Level/Marks Level 1: 0 - 11 AO2 Apply knowledge and understanding, including some of the common critical approaches that characterise the subject, when exploring and analysing films and when evaluating their own creative projects, to show how meanings and responses are generated. • Candidates will give few indications that they have gained knowledge and understanding of the micro features of the film they are concentrating on and will tend to rely on 'common sense'. • There may be some reference to their chosen film but this will have no clear analytical purpose. • There may either be little attempt at personal engagement or only a set of personal statements that fail to demonstrate any learning. Quality of written communication • Struggles to communicate clearly. • Level 2: 12-17 [12-14] • • Candidates will show a basic ability to identify and describe specific aspects of the micro features of film but, compared with work at higher grades, knowledge will be insecure, generalised and with significant inaccuracies. There will be basic reference to the chosen film but only indicating basic analysis. Personal response may be strongly stated but be characterised by description of personal feeling and unsupported assertion. Quality of written communication • Basic ability to structure ideas and use appropriate language to communicate. ………….............. …………………………………….............................................................
  12. 12. GCE AS/A FILM STUDIES 33 [15-17] • • • • Level 3: 18-23 [18-20] Candidates will demonstrate some ability to identify and describe specific aspects of the micro features of the film they are concentrating on. This will be reflected in work that is generally accurate, though inconsistent in its level of detail. References to the detail of the micro features of film will sometimes be clear but there will be a tendency toward imprecision. Personal response may be strongly stated but lacking in any conceptual focus on how meaning is made. Quality of written communication • Some ability to structure ideas and use appropriate language to communicate. • Candidates will demonstrate a sound knowledge and understanding of specific aspects of the micro features of the film they are concentrating on. • This will be reflected in their ability to refer in some detail and with a generally high level of accuracy to particular films. This will be supported by sound analysis of aspects of the micro features of film. • Personal response will focus on the process of making meaning(s) in particular instances but may reveal limitations in broader conceptual understanding or in interrogating the interaction between film and spectator. Quality of written communication • Soundly structured and reasonably accurate use of appropriate language to communicate clearly. ………….............. ……………………………………............................................................. [21-23] • • • • Level 4: 24-30 Candidates will have a good knowledge and 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 show a competent appreciation of the production of meaning(s) through the interaction of film and spectator. However, compared with the very best candidates, more will be taken for granted and a less exploratory approach will be adopted. Quality of written communication • Well-structured and accurate use of appropriate language to communicate clearly. • 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.
  13. 13. Title: Introduction: First Key Point: Second Key Point: Third Key Point: Fourth Key Point: Supporting Evidence: Supporting Evidence: Supporting Evidence: Supporting Evidence: Conclusion: