How to Write a Research Paper on Animated Films

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Writing a paper about animated film is no different from writing about a live-action film or a book. It's all about whittling down the information to a concise, organized analysis of the elements that make the piece successful, or not successful.

  • Watch the film three times at a minimum. The most important part of writing about animation is watching animation. Become an expert on your selected film by watching it once for pleasure, twice for understanding and a third time for analyzing.

  • Investigate what type of animation you are dealing with. There are many types of animation, including hand-drawn, computer-generated and clay animation. This can help you determine the time frame it took to create the film and analyze the skill level of the artistry.

  • Note the social elements. If set in a specific time period, are the social attitudes and issues accurate? If not time period specific, look for social issues in the context of the plot. This alone can open a floodgate of speculative thought. For example, look for racist, feminist or coming-of-age themes or hero archetypes.

  • Dissect the animation for elements of filmmaking. With the film being created on paper or in a computer, not on a set, consider how the artists compensated when using light and dark. What kind of transitions are used between scenes? Are there any other notable elements like flashbacks or narration?

  • Look for symbolic elements based on history and culture. For example, if the animation is a new spin on a folk tale, find the consistent symbolism or note what the animator changed in his interpretation. You can even study the elements of film and attribute them to symbolism. For example, light and dark have many symbolic meanings if used heavily. Other characteristics such as color and music or a lack thereof can be telling. Control over the senses is a filmmaker's bread and butter, so paying special attention to how the animator is trying to control tone and emotion is critical to understanding the message of the material.

  • Gather your research and prepare to write your paper. Based on your findings, create an outline by breaking the information into several sections that will serve as subheadings, such as symbolism or social themes. When considering the arrangement of your sub-topics, be mindful of smooth transitions.

  • Read your formatting material thoroughly. Different formats such as MLA and APA may be required, and the manner in which you organize your material may be determined by those requirements.

  • The conclusion should be a well-rounded summation of your findings that leaves the audience in full understanding of the film without taking away the desire to see it. This is where you may be able to offer your opinions of the film.

  • Include an accurately formatted bibliography.

References

  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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