Descriptive Essay

Descriptive Essay Instruction

This assignment asks you to describe an assigned scene by selectively applying the film terminology that we have discussed so far. This description should not simply catalog or list these formal features as they occur onscreen. Instead, the description should offer a synthetic account of how different formal features develop and change over the course of the scene. No plot summary is necessary. To write a successful paper, it is necessary to carefully re-watch the scene multiple times.

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Paper Requirements The paper should be in 12-point Times New Roman font with double line spacing. The exception: headers (which may include no more than your name, the course title, and the date) must be single-spaced and restricted to the first page. Margins must be 1-inch. Computer trouble is not an adequate excuse for a late paper.

Descriptive Essay #2 should draw on the vocabulary of mise-en-scène, cinematography, and editing. Such vocabulary includes but is not limited to the following: Blocking and dialogue* Props * Color * Lighting * Camera angle * Camera height* Camera level * Camera distance * Camera movement * Lenses * Continuity editing No doubt many of these terms must be further refined in order to provide accurate descriptions. For example, camera distance ranges from extreme long shots to extreme close-ups; a discussion of lighting might focus on shadows, directionality, and/or contrast. Likewise, any discussion of continuity editing will need to use terms such as the 180-degree rule, eyeline match cut, match on action cut, shot-reverse shot, and crosscutting. Other terms—for example, camera height and camera level—do not warrant mention unless the scene deviates from the norm.

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