The purpose of this assignment is to introduce (or re-introduce) you to some of the tools needed for basic research in film studies. You will have to use online databases available through Oviatt Library, such as ProQuest Newstand, LexisNexis, Ebscohost, Gale Virtual Reference Library, JStor, Project Muse and online encyclopedias. You should also be familiar with the Internet Movie Database, Metacritic and Findarticles.com. Any other databases or film-related websites, such as Senses of Cinema (an online journal from Australia), Film Comment and Cineaste (two excellent American film journals) and Sight & Sound (another key publication, from Great Britain) should also be used for this paper.
The category “Research Assistance” of the Oviatt Library website contains a useful link to Citation Styles Guides. Wikipedia is not a scholarly resource, and should not be used for this assignment. It can be, however, a point of departure and provide good leads.
1. Choose two films from the Viewing List and find one newspaper/magazine review for each one, plus one interview with its director. You will have four articles, which you need to transfer to a word-processing format. Standardize your presentation with a heading that includes author, title, publication and date. List the search engine or database you used (e.g. LexisNexis, ProQuest). Do not include any other additional information. At least two of these four pieces should be from the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Variety, Newsweek, Time magazine and The New Yorker.
2. Choose one director from the films screened in class and write, using your own words, a short biography, including a concise filmography – only of films directed by the filmmaker. The filmography should include only the title of the film and the year of production.
You can use IMDb to compile the filmography, but not for biographical information. Utilize a word-processing program and standardize the presentation of this piece. Cite the sources at the end of each director.
3. Choose a documentary film or a documentary filmmaker – studied in class or from the Viewing List, but excluding those of 1 and 2 – and compile a bibliography listing at least five relevant entries. You should include books, scholarly articles, magazine articles, reviews and interviews.
Present the bibliography in a word-processing format, avoiding a cut-and-paste job.
Use the MLA format, 7th edition, for your citations.
4. Utilizing the online catalogs of the UCLA or Stanford University libraries, compile a 5-item bibliography on survey histories of the documentary cinema. Use the MLA format, 7th edition, to organize your bibliography.
5. Choose any of the filmmakers from the course or the Viewing List, excluding those you have chose already, and find one scholarly or general interest magazine article that offers a critical assessment of this director’s career. Photocopy or print out the article, listing the author, title and publication, and the search engine or database used. .
6. Using at least two sources write a short description (no more than two paragraphs) about any of the documentary series regularly shown on PBS – Frontline, P.O.V., American Experience, American Masters, Nova. Cite your sources accordingly.
7. At the end of this assignment, you will have a dossier of nine pieces, including articles, reviews, interviews, filmographies and bibliographies. Please make a table of content, arranged in a logical fashion, according to the criteria you deem appropriate. You should include pager numbers, so that it is a useful tool.
If you are not sure about how to organize a table of contents, please check one in any book. The way you present it will reveal your logical and visual thinking process.
If you feel strongly about the cost of printing out complete articles, reviews and interviews, you can print out only the first page, with a note at the end that only the first page is submitted. This exemption, however, does not apply to bibliographies and filmographies.
Please remember that all your materials should be in a word-processing format! When formatting these articles, eliminate any non-pertinent information. Do not forget to number your pages.
The grade for this paper will be based on the form and content of your materials.
Bear in mind that for this paper to be successful you will have to accomplish four very different tasks: 1) gather information using the databases demonstrated in the library workshop; 2) process the materials, that is reading them to discern their relevance and pertinence; 3) organize the materials according to the instructions of the prompt – formatting, table of contents, etc; 4) revise the layout and content of the various items, so that you present the information in a clear, well organized and consistent manner.