Short Guide to Writing about Film / Edition 8

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This best-selling text is a succinct guide to thinking critically and writing precisely about film.

Both an introduction to film study and a practical writing guide, this brief text introduces students to major film theories as well as film terminology, enabling them to write more thoughtfully and critically. With numerous student and professional examples, this engaging and practical guide progresses from taking notes and writing first drafts to creating polished essays and comprehensive research projects. Moving from movie reviews to theoretical and critical essays, the text demonstrates how an analysis of a film can become more subtle and rigorous as part of a compositional process.

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Editorial Reviews

Corrigan (Temple University) draws on the popularity of film as a way to encourage and develop students' writing skills, progressing through note taking, first drafts, essays, and research projects. The fourth edition adds discussion of electronic resources for film research and how to annotate them. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205236398
  • Publisher: Longman
  • Publication date: 7/21/2011
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 8
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 181,846
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.10 (d)

Table of Contents


I. Writing about the Movies

Why Write about the Movies?

Your Audience and the Aims of Film Criticism

The Screening Report

The Movie Review

The Theoretical Essay

The Critical Essay

Opinion and Evaluation


2–Beginning to Think, Preparing to Watch, and Starting to Write

Subject Matter and Meaning

Silent Dialogue: Talking Back to the Movies

Taking Notes

Visual Memory and Reflection


3–Film Terms and Topics for Film Analysis and Writing


Film and the Other Arts



Point of View

Comparative Essays

Mise-en-Scène and Realism


Elements of Mise-en-Scène

Composition and the Image

The Shot

The Edited Image


Sample Essay


4–Six Approaches to Writing about Film

Film History

National Cinemas



Kinds of Formalism


Sample Essays


5–Style and Structure in Writing

The Right Words

Concrete Language

Denotation and Connotation


Repetitions and Clichés

Effective Sentences


Varied Sentence Structures

Coherent Paragraphs

Introductory Paragraphs

Concluding Paragraphs

Revisions and Proofreading

Checklist for Writing an Effective Essay


6–Researching the Movies

How to Begin Research

The Materials of Research

Primary Sources

Video, DVDs, and Digital Downloads


Secondary Sources: Books, Indexes, Journals, and Electronic Sources

Film Research on the Internet

Taking Notes on Secondary Sources

Writing the Paper

Sample Essays


7–Manuscript Form

Manuscript Copy

Last-Minute Corrections


Acknowledging Sources

Common Knowledge

Documenting Sources

Notes for Documentation

Works Cited

Notes Supplying Additional Commentary

Common Conventions of Usage



Foreign Words and Quotation Marks

Sexist Language


Last Words

Appendix: Symbols Commonly Used In Marking Papers

Glossary of Film Terms

Works Cited



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