Midterm Presentations will be held October 13+14.

Please have your midterm presentation ready to go by Oct. 13 so that you can present on either day, if need be.

Midterm Guidelines

Your job is to analyze a film currently in the theaters (previously approved by me), either as a written document (about 1,800 words). You must also be ready for a 5-7 minute oral presentation in class. Below is a suggested outline for the midterm paper. You can choose to discuss any or all of the sub-topics listed here, but you must discuss the main topics, those being Plot and Narrative StructureThemes and Thematic ElementsVisual Design and Production DesignCinematography, and Editing.

Suggested Midterm Outline:


  1. Introduction
    1. Introduce the film you saw and what made you choose it over any other film.
    2. Do you have any strong prejudices against this particular type of film? If so, how did these prejudices affect your responses to the film? Does this film have any special qualities that set it apart from other films of the same type? 
    3. How did this film meet, exceed, or disappoint your expectations, and what are your overall feelings about it?
  2. Plot and Narrative Structure
    1. Summarize the plot of the film, touching on the main characters, the significance of the title, the story’s credibility, and the dramatic structure.
    2. Discuss the conflict(s) in the film. 
    3. Discuss the use of symbols, metaphors, and irony.
    4. On Characterization: In what ways, if any, were the film’s characters introduced in a memorable and purposeful way? How did their introduction relate to their unique character attributes and motivations.   
  3. Themes and Thematic Elements
    1. What was the unifying, central concern of this film?
    2. Discuss the special focus that united this film together. Was it the plot, the emotional effect or mood, the characters, the style/texture/visual presentation, or a concept or idea that was given the most focus? How so?
    3. Discuss which overarching theme this film had and why you think so:
      1. Morality or moral implications
      2. Universal Statements about Human nature
      3. Social Ills
      4. The struggle for human dignity
      5. Complexity of human relationships
      6. Coming of age/loss of innocence
      7. Moral/philosophical riddle 
  4. Visual Design and Production Design
    1. Discuss your immediate thoughts about the visual qualities of this film. How did the setting and set design lend towards the believability and realism of the film?
    2. How did the setting and set design enhance or distract from the story? The costuming, the make-up, the lighting design, the special effects?  
    3. How did the production design compliment or impede the proposed time period the film was taking place in?
    4. Be sure to focus on the quality of light in the film you are watching, and how it aids or distracts from the story-telling. A sign of good lighting design is that we don’t notice it, but comment on what you thought about the lighting in the film.  
    5. How would you have designed the production differently?
  5. Cinematography
    1. How was this film cinematic? In other words, discuss how the use of camera movement, camera angle, and lighting not only helped tell the story, but enhanced the story. If you saw an animated film, in what ways did the animators strive to make their film cinematic, or ‘like a film?’
    2. How is the cinematography consistent or inconsistent throughout?
    3. How did the framing and angles of the camera bring you in – or perhaps distance you – from the action. Did you feel like you were in the room with the action, or just a passive observer, or somewhere in between?
    4. How did the filmmaker succeed or fail in keeping the scenes visually interesting? 
    5. How was the cinematography memorable?
    6. Comment on the use of special effects: how were they useful in telling the story? How subtle or overt were they? Etc. 
  6. Editing
    1. How did this film’s editing help to shape the story in your mind, enhance your emotional response to the scene, and maintain continuity between different angles?
    2. Describe the nature of the editing: was it disruptive, choppy, chaotic, or was it smooth, unobtrusive, almost unnoticeable?
    3. Were there any specific editing choices that jumped out as you as particularly memorable?
    4. How did the rhythm of the editing relate to the pace of the film?
    5. Describe any portions of the film that seemed to perhaps hold too long on a particular scene before cutting to another. Was it effective, or did it feel odd and unnecessary?
  7. Final thoughts
    1. Share with us any final thought you have about the film in general, or it narrative, thematic structure, symbolism and metaphor, production design, cinematography, or editing qualities.