Reading Film Pre-Draft Activity: Diagramming Difference

Reading Film, College Writing 1

Diagramming Difference

I. What makes a film a film? For the next assignment, you need to consider the difference between form and content–different media such as film, literature, or painting might share the same story or themes, but that does not mean they do so in the same formal way.

Consider what shared elements all films must have, and make a list of 10 “Elements of Film.”

II. Now, watch in class [something arty like Warhol’s Empire or Bruce Conner’s A Movie].

How many of your elements could you identify in the film clip? Revise your list, and contribute your top 2-3 elements to a class list.

III. For next time, compare our class list to Gordon Harvey’s “Elements of the Academic Essay.” Are there any elements Harvey has that also apply to film? Which elements definitely do not cross over? Bring an updated list, and we will practice in class identifying these elements.

[next class–have them apply the two lists to both a film and a short essay like Barthes’s “Romans in Film” to see where writing and filmmaking differ and what might be similar].

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