Functional Aspects The Field Report: Assignment Questions of Meaning
Finally: Include a photo of your ticket, and photos of the venue after your three full pages of text.
From the list of venues I gave you, find a film screening to attend. Classic films and international films are
to be favored. Current Hollywood releases are allowed only 1) at the drive-in, or 2) if there is an industry
guest in attendance. This assignment aims to move you beyond the multiplex.
I suggest you purchase your tickets online in advance, where possible. Many film events sell out.
Here are five subject areas for you to consider, as you write your Field Report. Please do write about each
of these subjects, though it is not necessary to answer every single question. Your report shall be no less
than three full pages of text, double-spaced, with 12-point text. Use MLA format, please.
I. The venue
Observe both the exterior and interior of the theater. Is it opulent? Run-down? Is there a dominant
architectural style? What is the ambience—is it a welcoming place, or does it leave you cold? Does the
theater have modern amenities, or is it from an earlier era? If you are attending an outdoor screening, what
is that like? What is your emotional response to the space—how does it contribute to your experience?
Describe the other people at the venue. Are they mostly younger, older, men, women, prosperous, workingclass? What sort of people did this screening attract? Why do you suppose that is?
II. Before the movie
Did someone from the theater come out to introduce the film? Or was there a film industry guest present?
What was said before the lights went down, and how did this set the stage for your experience?
III. The movie
Engage with the film. Which elements make a special impression on you? How does the director use film
techniques to create a meaningful work that affects the emotions? If the film is successful for you, describe
why—if the film does not succeed for you, describe why. Does the director challenge your beliefs, or
reinforce them? Is there anything in the storytelling or visual style that you find innovative or exciting?
If there is something unusual about the presentation—such as live musical accompaniment, live
performers, or other live effects—describe how these things contribute to the overall experience.
IV. After the movie
If a film industry guest speaks after the film, what does this person say? How does this person’s comments
alter your impression of the movie? If you ask a question, what do you ask? What is the artist’s reply?
Some venues have after-show entertainment—DJs spinning music, live bands performing, karaoke, or
other unusual attractions. Describe anything like this which takes place, and how it adds to the event.
After the screening, observe the audience—and yourself—on the way out of the theater. Do they applaud
during the credits? Do they exit in silence? Do they discuss the film—and do you join in the discussion?
How does seeing this movie in this place—rather than at home on your television, laptop, tablet, or
smartphone—alter your experience of the film?
Lastly, close your report by addressing the following question in some form:
What have you discovered—about movies, about film culture, about the city, or about yourself?
NOTE: No outside sources—beyond the film—are allowed for this paper. The Field Report is about what
you take away from experiencing a film and its screening context. Your observations don’t have to be
brilliant, but they do have to be yours. I don’t care if you completely misinterpret the film, so long as you
make an earnest attempt. Drawing on outside sources violates the spirit of this assignment.
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