Short Paper Guidelines

*** All of the items listed below will affect your grade. The full grading rubric for this paper can be found here

*** The sections in italic below are suggestions. They are meant to help you understand what I expect from your paper, but you should build your argument based on the film you selected and discuss the elements that will give the reader the most complete and original understanding of it.


Length: 3-4 pages double spaced, 12 point font.

Deadlines: The first draft/outline of this paper is OPTIONAL (but I highly recommend you submit one as). If you decide to do so, it is due on XXXX, emailed as a Word document or in PDF format. Paper copies will not be accepted;  it will be handed back the following week. The final version is due on XXXX. Failure to submit the draft and/or the final version on time will affect your grade.


Select one of the short or full feature films we’ve discussed between Week 1 and Week 5. 

Describe the film: What is the story? Who are the characters? What does it look/sound like? What is the tone of the piece (funny, sad, serious etc.)…

Contextualize the film: Consider the significance of major movements that shaped the film(s): Can you see the influence of works from other cultures and periods in this work? Identify these influences. Who created the film(s)? When and where was it produced? How many people worked on it? What animation technique was used to bring it to life? How was it presented to the public? Was it a commercial success?…

Analyze the film. This is where I want to hear YOUR thoughts on the piece. Your paper shouldn’t just be an accurate description of the film and its historical context but should express your reaction to it. Consider the role that race, ethnicity, class, gender, language, sexual orientation, belief, or other forms of social differentiation played in the creation of the piece:: How is it visually distinct/similar to what came before it? What are it’s influences outside of animation (painting, comics, live-action film etc.). How did it influence what came after it – technically and/or aesthetically? What is the filmmaker trying to express/convey? How does it hold up today – does the visual style/animation feel old-fashioned or modern? Is it representative of the place and time it was created in (or is it trying to )? Is it offensive in any way? Do you think the filmmaker could have made different choices that would have led to a stronger piece?…

Quote from at least one of the assigned readings to support your analysis. You should demonstrate that you are able to interpret and assess information from an external source. 


Organize your paper. Clearly state the focus of your paper (along with the name of the film and director) as a thesis in the opening paragraph.  Once your topic is clearly established, the following paragraphs should each start with a topic sentence to help you develop the thesis and support a major point of your analysis. In each paragraph, provide specific references (examples) within the film that support your ideas and thesis. The final paragraph (conclusion) should tie together the threads and leave the reader with a final thought or question that has emerged from your study. Your arguments should be well-reasoned and support your conclusion. 

Please check your paper for errors (spelling, grammar etc) prior to submission. Points will be taken off your grade for spelling errors.