DePaul University Down in The Delta 1998 Film Analysis Paper Guidelines for the Analysis of Cultural Communication Style on Film
For this assignment, write a 3-6 double-spaced page analysis of communication a film, demonstrating what you have learned about human communication in this course. Alternatively, you may create a 7-12 minute extemporaneous presentation [not read word-for-word but delivered from a few notes] covering all the same material and requirements.
This assignment is due on the last day of regular class; it will not be accepted after the first day of the final exam week without prior arrangement with your instructor. You will have 4 weeks to complete this paper.
The purposes of this paper are:
to analyze how a specific culture or co-culture–including age, gender, socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, national heritage, different physical abilities, or religion–affects a communication situation depicted in a film. (See Chapter 3, p. 85-97)
to analyze a culture different from your own in order to become more aware of your own cultural biases
to apply the term “communication competence” to a specific situation. See p. 25-26.
to demonstrate your intercultural communication competence
to summarize your communication skills improvement this semester
How to Complete This Assignment…in Three Steps:
Step One: Select a film from the list of film choices. All films are available in one of several formats: a DVD from your local library, Netflix DVD, or streaming via Amazon Instant Video or Hulu. If violence or sex offends you, I have highlighted certain films–look for PG or lower ratings, too. Please choose wisely; you’ll need to view this film several times!
Step Two: View your chosen film. Within 1 week of viewing the film, copy/paste the following questions into a new document, and answer each question in a worksheet-style question and answer. These will become the main sections of your paper:
Introduction: Why did you pick this film? Why does the culture depicted in this film interest you? Why? [For example, do you have little knowledge of it or a lot of knowledge about it? Before viewing this film, what did you know about this culture?]
Body Points A&B: Pick ONE character in the film you’ve seen to focus on. As depicted in the film, in what ways is this person a competent communicator? A definition of competent communication would be a great start. In what ways is this person NOT a competent communicator? Argue whether this person is or is not a competent communicator, based on two of the following (find and define two characteristics of a competent communicator, which are):
character uses a wide range of communication behaviors [Do they have a wide range of supportive behaviors, for example?]
character has the ability to choose the most appropriate behavior
character demonstrates skill at performing behaviors [How are their listening skills? Can they read non-verbals well?]
character exhibits empathy/perspective taking
character exhibits cognitive complexity [Do they see situations from more than just their own perspective?]
character exhibits self-monitoring [Are they aware of how they are perceived?]
character exhibits commitment to the relationship
Use the character’s behavior in the film as evidence to support the definition and analysis.
Body Point C: At some point in the film, the character you are focusing on experiences conflict. Identify the conflict strategy this character uses, and provide evidence of why you think they have this conflict style.
Body Point D: Explain a strategy, skill, or behavior you’ve learned here that might help the character you’re analyzing when he or she is trying to solve conflict. Make sure to use your textbook to define and cite the item. Explain what the character COULD have done, if they’d been a participant in this course.
Conclusion: How has your overall attitude towards oral and interpersonal communication changed over the course of this semester? Select one area you think your communication skills have improved. It doesn’t have to be an earth-shattering point, but I want to hear how you’ve been able to use the material in this course to improve your skills.
Step Three: Using the material you took notes on above, write a paper or compose a detailed outline for a presentation. You should REMOVE the questions above, and write logical transitions between sections, so the paper flows without the writing prompts.
Here is a breakdown you may find helpful–it will help keep your paper balanced:
1/2 page: Introduction
1/2 to 1 page: Body Point A
1/2 to 1 page: Body Point B
1/2 to 1 page: Body Point C
1/2 to 1 page: Body Point D
1/2 to 1 page: Conclusion
Cautions and Requirements of This Assignment:
Assume your audience (your instructor) has viewed the film and is quite familiar with it. I do not want a comprehensive plot summary, but I do need a specific description of the behavior you are using as evidence for your analysis of the character. Avoid discussing the film chronologically–you will fall into the trap of creating a plot summary instead of analyzing the film.
Do not use or consult secondary sources for this paper OTHER THAN YOUR TEXTBOOK. Your paper should not paraphrase or quote from any source other than your textbook and the film itself. All other sources are prohibited, and using a prohibited source may be considered cheating.
Evidence means you describe behavior, actions, or dialogue in the film. Please be specific rather than abstract in citing info from the film–help me see the scene you mean in your head. Your description can help me understand how you are interpreting the behavior you see.
Have Fun! Enjoy this assignment!
Formatting Your Manuscript:
Apply the information you learned about formatting papers in Written Comm or English 1:
Please double-space your paper. Use Times New Roman in 10-12 point size. While formatting is not graded in this assignment, please keep your paper neat. Make sure your name is on the paper!
(Optional) If you like, format your manuscript in MLA format, or whatever format you learned in Written Communication.
Avoid vague & wordy sentences. Don’t rely heavily on”I feel” or “I think”…we assume everything in your paper/presentation is your own thought. Just eliminate those constructions–your sentence will be clearer.
Be sure to define terms from the textbook and cite page numbers where you found the definitions (Adler 35). That’s just showing that you know what you’re talking about and did your reading/research.
If you struggle with writing, please plan on sending or taking your paper to the Madison College Writing Center. If you cannot come to a campus, you can send your paper to the online Writing Center for critique. Please be aware they have a minimum turnaround of 48 business hours.
If you wish to make this a presentation rather than a paper, plan on uploading your presentation to YouTube as an unlisted video
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