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FAO 1st Years - Film reviews - some hints and tips !

I just thought I would drop by with a few hints and tips for you, as you prepare to write your first film review...

Some of you might be confused by what a CAA film review actually is; it's possibly easier to say what it ISN'T!  It is NOT you writing a 2000 word essay, recounting the plot of the film.  What we are looking for, is evidence that you have thought about how the film maker has used techniques to convey a message, or the relationship between the narrative and the environment; in 'Caligari', the use of the warped sets to depict the insanity of the protagonist, for example.  As you get deeper into the film programme, you might start to consider how the films use sound to build tension, or how editing techniques can enhance the viewing experience.

You are asked to support your own ideas with quotes from at least 3  different published sources.  This means you will need to do some background reading; try and find sources that allow you to develop a discussion.  You should introduce the quote, rather than just dropping it in; a good way to do this is via the author's name -
'As Ebert says in his review, "blah blah blah..."(Ebert, 2009)' (...believe me, Roger Ebert will become your best friend ;)

You need to reference your writing using the Harvard method; this is so that you cannot be accused of plagiarising other people's work.  This is particularly important when it comes to writing essays that are submitted through the system called 'Turnitin', a plagiarism detecting tool.  So that's why we ask you to do it from the off... so by the time you submit essay number 1, you will have had plenty of practice! There is a guide on myUCA that tells you how to reference most sources, and shows you how a bibliography should look; there has been some debate over whether quotes should be placed between single marks ' ', or double " ".  Turnitin wants you to use the doubles, so that is what we are going for, for the film reviews too...

So the long and short of it is - don't get stressed about the reviews; no one is expecting you to be writing perfectly referenced pieces right away! BUT!!! - do read your feedback comments and act on them - there is nothing more frustrating for me than saying the same thing to the same person, week after week!

If you are after an example of a film review, this was written by current 3rd year Dee, when she was in the same spot as you, contemplating Dr. Caligari - HERE

A summary!

1. Be prepared; read up on the films before you watch them.  You have the details of what you will be watching for the next few weeks on your timetable, so get ahead of the game, and get reading!

2. Watch the film; not only as an entertainment, but look out for themes, topics and ideas.

3. Start the review right away; you will be amazed by how quickly you get a backlog, if you don't keep on to of the reviews.

4. Use academic writing; no "it was great!!" Get into the habit early on.

5. The importance of using quotes correctly; they are the backbone of your review. You should use them to bolster your own arguments and open up discussion.

6. Likewise, images; choose images that are relevant, and that you can discuss.

7. Use the library for books on film studies etc.; don't just rely on online film reviews...

8. ...which will lead to you producing a comprehensive bibliography.  Use bibliographies in the published sources as a 'springboard' for further research.

9.  When you first mention an author/director etc., use his full name ie; 'As Roger Ebert says in his review...'.  When you mention him again in the same piece of writing, you should just use his surname - 'As Ebert mentions...'

For some more info, please see HERE