For this paper, you will write a film proposal for one of the stories that we have studied together in class (either “Sonny’s Blues,” “Without Inspection,” or “A Pair of Tickets” or “The Lesson”). A film proposal is a plan or outline, with specific details included, for how you would create a film from a short story. This paper asks you to be creative in reimagining your chosen story for a film and also requires that you analyze and closely read the original text in order to refashion it in a new way. This paper does not require the use of secondary sources, but if any sources are cited in your paper they must be documented using MLA format in the body of your paper (in-text citations) and on your Works Cited page.
Generally, a film proposal is a written presentation of a story (a kind of sales pitch) for film production. It is not a screenplay or a script, but it is the first offer or step you take in the process of transforming a story into a film. This paper does not require that you write a Hollywood script or screenplay; instead, write a proposal that follows each of the template guidelines below. Do not include any dialogue in this paper, but just describe the filmed version of the story you have chosen.
In your proposal, dramatically present your story using descriptive language and vivid details. Consider how the original text puts forward an important scene, placing it in context and using sensory details to reinforce a rhetorical effect. Watching a movie, however, is different than reading a story. When we read, we create images (colors, landscapes, appearances) in our mind’s eye; when we go to a movie, this ‘work’ is done for us: instead we sit back to see, hear, and feel what is dramatically presented before us on screen. Your film proposal will need to enliven and describe these images for your audience.
Remember, even as you adapt the story you select, your paper must pay attention to core elements and/or themes from the original narrative. To get started, think about your overall task and purpose: What do you want to get across to your audience? Perhaps you want to dramatize a specific struggle, open a window of awareness, challenge a particular stereotype, or update your story to a different time and place. Perhaps you want to highlight or re-see a different angle of character or ‘tell’ the story from a different perspective, one that might give voice to a major or a minor character, to a new conclusion, or a different rendering of an important event.
Remember to title your paper! Also attach a Works Cited list if you used any sources.
Template – Required Format:
The template below is a required format and guide for your paper. Although your introduction may be one paragraph, some of the other sections that follow will most likely be two or more paragraphs. You should label the sections of the paper as follows:
Introduction: Your introduction sets up your film proposal for your audience and lets them know what your film will be about. Tell the reader which story you are adapting and why, then describe what your film will be like—what changes you’ll make and the theme of your film. Your introduction should include (usually toward the end) a kind of “elevator pitch,” an overriding idea expressed in a sentence or two (similar to a thesis statement) that pulls together and pitches the main idea, purpose, and perspective for your adaptation.
Overview of Your Film: Follow your introduction with a presentation of your film adaptation. This section should be a more specific discussion of your film. Think about and discuss genre: will your film be a romantic comedy, a tragedy or tragicomedy, “dramedy,” an animation, action movie or sci-fi adventure, etc. You can change the story in some ways, but do not change the basic plot or the characters. You can tell the story from another character’s point of view, re-cast the story in a different time or place, highlight a certain theme, but DO NOT alter the plot. Describe your vision for the adaptation using specific language and details!
Actors, Roles, Theme Song or Music: After summarizing your adaptation, identify particular actors you wish to play important roles. You have an unlimited budget for this film. If you hope to cast famous stars (often a selling point), say who will they be and why would you select them for the role? If you believe it’s best to cast a relatively unknown actor in the role, what particular qualities or features should this actor have? Do not cast family members or personal acquaintances, but you may cast yourself. Include any music or songs that you will incorporate in your film to enhance a notion of character, plot event, setting, or theme.
Aesthetic Vision: In this section, you will describe the film techniques and overall aesthetic vision for the film: what is the look and feel you’re going for, and how will you use color, style, and camera work to achieve it? Think about the following questions: will you use flashbacks, flash-forwards, jump cuts, longshots or short ones? Close-ups or distanced shots? Will your film be dark or bright? Will you use saturated or muted colors? What will the color palette of the film be? Will you employ a dense or minimalist style for settings?
One Key Scene: In this section, describe one of the most important scenes in your movie using very specific language. Give lots of details. You may describe the turning point or climax of the story/film, or you may choose to describe another important scene: for instance, the first or last scenes. You may add dialogue to this section if you like.
Conclusion: In your conclusion, sum up and ‘re-pitch’ your film treatment to close the deal.
Paper Length and Format: Minimum of four pages (at least 1,000 words). You can write more, but no less than four pages. Type and double-space your paper, one-inch margins, no larger than 12-point font, New Times Roman.
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