How to Write a Screening Report

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Writing a screening report is not that much different from writing any other report about something you have studied, observed or researched. Your screening report should convey to the reader your interpretation and understanding of the movie your report addresses. Point out certain qualities or aspects of what you have viewed, so that you demonstrate to the reader the message the author intended to relay to his/her viewers.

  • View the movie completely through at one sitting. Write down your overall impression of what you have just watched. Include within your reaction what you think the main focus or meaning or intent of the movie is. Name its socially redeeming qualities or lesson taught.

  • View the movie completely through in a single sitting again. This time, pay more particular attention to the essential elements of the story itself. Describe how the story is told. Identify its point of view. Mention the level of drama involved in the telling of the story. For example, does it have many surprising twists and turns to keep the viewer's attention, or is it relatively drama free and boring?

  • Write about the story's conclusion. Describe how the central conflict was resolved. Relate how the characters were changed through or by their experiences within the plot. For instance, did the main characters grow or degenerate in any way through the sequence of events within the story?

  • Discuss the more technical aspects of the production. Describe the dialogue, narration (if any). Did they work in unison to contribute to the overall message and film's effectiveness? Explain how the sound effects and the important use of silence played significant roles with message delivery.

  • Critique the use of lighting, camera angles, locations and their use. Tell how these combined to present the overall setting and viewer impression of the film. Explain how the editing worked to help make the presentation more effective. Describe the rhythm, continuity and sequencing of the rise and fall action sequences, and tell how these combined to improve message delivery.

  • Mention any other literary devices used to effectively tell the story, such as historical context or social/cultural standards and expectations. Write a brief summary of how all the above details worked to present/deliver the movie's central message. Was the message delivered via emotional appeal, established authority, point of view or other?

Tips & Warnings

  • Combine your description of the story with detailing the cinematic qualities that reveal your understanding of what was presented.
  • View the movie at least two to three times (uninterrupted each time) ,paying attention to different aspects of the presentation each time.
  • Avoid simply retelling the story.
  • Photo Credit camera and film image by Nicola Gavin from Fotolia.com writing pen image by Edward White from Fotolia.com movie scene image by Nicemonkey from Fotolia.com
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