Writer’s choice

Writing assignment one.

Length: two – three pages double spaced,  typed, 12-point Times New Roman font.

Topic. For this assignment, you need to choose a no longer than 20-minute segment of a film, one complete song and or video, or youtube video of under 45 minutes (hour long episode of a series, for example). You cannot EVER have written on the thing you choose before this class. Also, all entries must be no more than R, but preferably PG-13 rated; this is fairly polite.

F*** a****** asinine tedious


Friday 1/31/14. Email me proposal: What do you want to write about? Why? What sections are you thinking of focusing on? Explain in five sentences your interest in that particular piece of media/art.

Monday 2/3/14. Outline due; bring one copy to class. This outline should explain roughly which topics about your song/episode you plan to discuss with a sense of what detail will be used from the song/episode/film to explain/explore that topic. Look at the sample we did from class.

Wed. 2/5/14. Two full pages draft due; bring three copies to class. This should look like a normal essay, with paragraph breaks, etc.

Sun. 2/9/13. Bring a copy of the final draft to class, with your outline and other drafts attached behind the final version.  This version will be graded and can be revised only if all four drafts up to this point have been submitted on time.

The structure of this essay needs to include five to seven paragraphs total, and be divided up as follows:


  1. Clincher
  2. Background context of the thing being discussed. What is the history surrounding the topic? What kind of artist is the singer usually? Is what you discuss a departure from his or her typical style? If the episode/song/film is fantasy, what is the problem at hand? Where are they? Set the scene briefly for a context for your discussion.
  3. Themes, details being discussed?
  4. The thesis you devise after studying your subject. This you will be working on throughout the writing process. Include your best guess at the purpose of your paper and be clear to yourself that that “so-what factor” takes time to develop.

Body one.   In five to nine sentences, describe your subject. Remember to include who, what, where, when and why (the journalists’ questions).

If it is a song, what kind is it? Under what genre does it fall? Who is the artist? What is she or he known for? What kind of instrumentation is used (acoustic guitar, digital mixing, sampling, etc.?). What is the overall message of the lyrics/words?

If you are discussing a scene of film or short episode of a tv show, what is going on? Who are the characters and what are they like? What actors play these roles? What is the conflict in this scene? How does it relate to the film overall? Who directs the film? What are his films known for? How does this excerpt relate to his or her greater body of work?

Bodies 2-4. Discuss specific details of the song, video, film excerpt, or episode. Talk about the instrumentation in depth. How does it impact the mood of the piece? Why? What do you like or dislike about that? What does the dialogue between characters signify to you? What do the lyrics teach? How does the editing change the impression of the piece? What are some of the overall lessons are points associated with the excerpt?

Conclusion. Good conclusions end on a different note than the one on which they began. Keep reflecting on a theme or point you discussed, show how this relates to another field of life, struggle people face, etc. Restate your thesis, but in totally new language.