Mass Communication II

Select a three to five minute sequence out of a film of your choice. Provide
a Plot Segmentation at the beginning of the analysis (see recommended text,
Bordwell & Thom pson, 2013, pp. 68 – 9, pp. 101- 2 ) , then u sing mise- en- scene,
cinematography, editing and sound show me the ways in which these
four elements combine to help you understand the meaning of this three
to five minutes in relation to the rest of the film.
Students may select a three (3) – five (5) minute continuous sequence from a
film of their choice. However, if the word count reach es approximately 1,540
(1,400 plus 10% , not including in – text citations ), then the sequence can be less
than three (3) minutes… but never more than five ( 5 ) minutes. In short, the
word count & a detailed analysis is the key. You MUST use the
recommended te xt (textbook) when answering this question.
And make it interesting; this assessment is often difficult to do with some
‘mainstream’ films. Be sure to check with me first to ensure that your
choice is suitable, not only for sequence analysis, but also so that I can
adequately mark it. You have 3 choices: 1. Select the same film you chose for
your Critical Film Review; 2. Select another film from the list in the Unit Outline
(provided another student has not chosen that film); 3. Select a film of your own
choice… but t he film must be one that has been shown in Australian theatres & I
must be able to view your sequence (either via YouTube or another film clip
website .) You are required to tell me the precise time the sequence begins &
ends. In- class activit ies will prepare students for this task.
Evaluative criteria:
x Capacity to clearly address the exact terms of the question and do so in
your own words
x Ability to accurately use the terms in this course (terms must be
referenced, recommended text MUST be us ed) and demonstrate how they
relate to each other
x Demonstration of a clear understanding of the course readings and some
further research
x Construction of an argument that convinces the reader of your position
Before you submit your assignment check the following:
x Provide a Plot Segmentation at the beginning of the sequence analysis;
(see recommended text, (Bordwell & Thompson, 2013, pp. 68 – 9, pp. 101-2)), for details on how to complete. The
segmentation is NOT part of the
word count.
x All books, journals a nd web site information to be fully referenced using
the Harvard System or Harvard Style of referencing (footnoting or
Oxford system is not acceptable)
x Provide a reference list at the end of the Sequence Analysis (not
included in the word count). These ref erences have to be cited in the body
of the essay whenever applicable; e.g. (Bordwell & Thompson, 2004 p.7)
x Follow the written presentation guidelines on page 15 of the Unit
x Refer to the Tutorial Exercises on Sequence Analysis & the sample
Sequenc e Analysis on the Portal.
Melbourne Institute of Business and Technology
COM105 A Mass Communication II Assignment 2 Sequence Analysis
Assignment: Overview – Sequence analysis 1,400 words
1. The sequence analysis worksheet, as well as work we have done with
sequence analysis in class, should guide you as to what stylistic and
technical details to note. (Bordwell/Th ompson ’s Film Art, especially
Chapters 4- 7: mise – en- scene, cinematography, editing, and sound – are
the key). Observations you make watching your chosen sequence
following these guidelines represent the ‘raw data ’ on which you will base
your analysis.
2. Use your ‘raw’ findings to write an essay that discusses the sequence and
its relation to the film as a whole. Analyse stylistic details (mise – en- scene,
cinematography, editing, and sound): that is, do not just describe them,
but try to determine their functio n in the sequence .
Why might these stylistic choices have been made?
What do they seem to mean for the sequence and the film?
To do this, you will need to make connections between a) the technical and
stylistic details you have isolated and b) narrative e lements (story , plot and
character development) and c ) thematic content (message / theme / genre
possibly with regard to political, social, religious issues, etc. ) in the sequence.
How do these elements work together and/or determine each other? How
does this interaction within the sequence relate to the film as a whole? Do
stylistic, narrative, and/or thematic elements in the sequence reinforce or
contrast with the style, narrative, and thematic content of the film as a whole?
Two common (and related) pro blems students have writing this
a) They stick too closely to the narrative, merely re – telling the
events within the sequence without enough analysis of what is
going on and why;
b) Their discussion of the sequence has no overall argument about
its sig nificance within the film. Ultimately, to interpret a
sequence you need to relate it to the film as a whole, so you
have to start with some kind of interpretation of the film as a
This is why it i s necessary to watch the whole film several times . You need to
bring some understanding of the film as a whole to your attempt to analyse a
part of the film. Then, as you work with the sequence and understand it better,
your understanding of the film as a whole will deepen – which in turn will help
you see more in the sequence.
In class (on the Portal) you can check out a ‘model /sample’ paper
based on a sequence analysis.
The sequence you choose can be at the start, in the middle, or at the end
of a film – but you must tell me (at least a week prior to submission),
what film you are doing & when your chosen sequence begins. You MUST
use the recommended text (textbook) when answering this question.
Melbourne Institute of Business and Technology
COM105 A Mass Communication II Assignment 2 Sequence Analysis
Sequence Analysis Worksheet
(This worksheet is designed to help you prepare your Analysis, it
is not the co rrect format, refer to the Sample Sequence Analysis
for the correct format.)
A. Mise-en-scene (see Bordwell & Thompson, Ch. 4 ), or that which is selected,
arranged and/or constructed in front of the camera to be filmed. Power,
components, setting, costume, ma keup, lighting, staging, movement and
performance. Sets, locales, their composition and design; composition, design,
lighting, and movement of other objects in the frame – including animals and
people. Includes the appearance & movements of people: acting, gesture,
costume, make -up, etc. Print: both ‘ diege tic’ (billboards, magazine s, signs within
the story) and ‘non -diegetic’ (titles over the image or ‘in between images’ : inter-titles, as in silent film).
B. Cinematography (see Bordwell & Thompson, Ch. 5 ): Ton e, motion, perspective,
framing, onscreen / offscreen, camera position, duration of take; film stock;
colour, black/white, or tinting; lenses and changes in focus (deep focus, shallow);
camera angles (high/low/straight -on), camera mo vement (panning, tracking,
zooming), framing; shot duration; distance of camera to objects (close-ups,
medium & long shots etc. ).
C. Editing (see Bordwell & Thompson, Ch. 6 ): frequency, smoothness/ j umpiness ,
rhythm; logic of shot -to -shot relations: 1) narrative (plot psychology/dra ma):
especially ‘classical’ editing as consolidated in Hollywood during the heyday of the
studio system (1930s -1950s), including continuity cutting; or 2) thematic: making
intellectual/political associations through editing, as in ‘Soviet montage’ of the
1 920s (Eisenstein, et. al.).
D. Sound (see Bordwell & Thompson, Ch. 7 ): Power, fundamentals, dimensions,
functions, music, speech, noise (music, dialogue, sound effects); any voice-overs?
Use of silence? Diegetic? Non -diegetic?
I Mise-en-scene (see above) and Bordwell & Thompson Ch 4
1. Describe briefly what you see in the selected sequence
2. What is the filmmaker trying to communicate in the segment?
3. How do – visual image, print, speech music, and sound effects – work together to
communicate this message? Which is dominant?
4. Design, lighting, costume, make -up, etc.
Melbourne Institute of Business and Technology
COM105 A Mass Communication II Assignment 2 Sequence Analysis
5. Movement and appearance of people
6. Can you divide the segment into individual scenes (indicated, for example, by shifts of
II. Cinematography (see above) and Bordwell & Thompson Ch.5
1. Colour, black/white, or tinting;
2. Changes of focus; camera movement, etc.
3. Framing, shot duration; distance of camera to objects; camera angles , etc.
III. Editing (see above) and Bordwell and Thompson Ch 6
1. Position of segment
2. Frequency, smoothness, logic of shot-to -shot relations
IV Sound (see above) and Bordwell and Thompson Ch 7
1. Music, speech, noise (music, dialogue, sound effects )
2. Diegetic vs. non -diegetic (including voice-overs); use of silence

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