FYS10: Fall 2020
Video and Diversity



In a 3 page essay, describe and reflect on one of the videos (or films, you should identify in your discussion whether the work was produced in film or video formats) you have watched in class thus far. You may write about any of the videos shown up till Week 4 of the syllabus. A feature-length film such as Flower Drum Song or Guess Who's Coming to Dinner would not be an appropriate choice for this assignment. If I showed a clip of the video in class, you must watch the video in its entirety before you can adequately describe it. All videos are available for viewing on Sakai in the Playlist.

In writing about media, it is important to begin with the film or video itself and your experience of it. Your essay should contain the following components:

  1. Introduction - What is the title of the video, who made it, when was it produced? Identify all titles by year of production, i.e. Video title - media titles should either be italicized or underlined in academic papers (Year) by Artist Name. How long is the tape? A lot of the information can be found on the syllabus and the beginning or end credits of the video. Also, is there noteworthy information about its production? For example, was it the first video the maker has produced? And why did s/he make the tape?
  2. Description of the video - what is the audio and visual language of the video? What kinds of shots does it contain, and how are they edited together? Is it in color, black and white, or both? Are the colors bright, muted - is there a dominance of a certain shade or color in the video? Is there music, narration, dialogue on the soundtrack? Is the soundtrack loud or soothing? What takes place in the video - is there a story, action, performance, interview, narration? Are there characters? Is the videomaker in the video? If so, what are they doing and saying in it?
  3. Reflection on your viewing experience - after describing the form and content of the video, discuss how the particular combination in this video makes you, the audience, react. Does it evoke a certain emotion in you? Is the video difficult to watch or listen to? If so, discuss why? Do you think your particular response to the video is different from other audience members, or do you think it is similar? When the tape was discussed in class, what kinds of reaction did you notice in your class mates? This discussion should move from a specific (your personal response) to a larger context (your classmates' reaction, your speculation of how the work addresses its viewers and situates itself within a social context).
  4. Conclusion - combining your insights from the first three sections, you can now discuss the tape as a whole. Why did the videomaker make the choices that he or she or they made in this tape? Do you think your reaction to it is what the maker intended? If so, why do you think this video makes you react the way you did? Or if not, why? What is the video trying to say? Consider the maker's intentions, (if the information is available) the form and the content of the tape in your discussion.

All papers have to be typed and double-spaced. Please use fonts that are 12 to 10 points in size. The document should have 1 inch margins on the sides, and 1-0.5 inch margins on the top and bottom. Outside sources and references are not required for this assignment. However, if you choose to cite other sources, including the class reading, use a standard citation format, such as the Chicago Manual or MLA style, in documenting them (see A Writer’s Reference or OWL, or make an appointment at the Writing Center to get feedback) Please hand in the assignment in your Sakai Drop Box. All assignments should be in MS Word format (with a ".doc" or ".docx" suffix) Assignments are due by 5PM the day of the deadline.

Your grade will be based on your ability to describe the video clearly and correctly. You may have to watch it more than once to understand all its elements. In addition to your description of the form, your articulation of the viewing experience and your synthesis of these observations will also be crucial to the success of this assignment. Be specific - use actual scenes and images from the tape as examples to support your observations. Write simply and clearly, avoid using words which meaning you are not sure of - look up a word in a dictionary or Thesaurus before you use it. Use spell-check and proof read the paper more than once before handing it in, I highly recommend you making an appointment to go over your draft of this paper at the Writing Center, and get feedback with enough time for revision (i.e. do not schedule your appointment right before the due date!)

Please turn the paper in on time, and follow the format I outlined: papers that are too long or too short, late papers, hand-written papers, etc. will lower your grade.

<Back to Course Listing

Back to top