Planning the Presentation

Use this document to make notes about your extract and to begin to plan your Oral Presentation. Make sure that you not only identify key filmic features and techniques, but that you FULLY ANALYZE them too – this is where you gain your marks. You may not find much to talk about in every single category, but there will be things worth saying for most of them.

Textual Analysis
The Presentation is ALL about textual analysis. The text, of course, being the film itself. Textual analysis of film requires observing and questioning all the elements that create meaning within the piece, such as acting, directing, lighting, cinematography, mise-en-scene, and more. Besides noticing the individual elements that create a film’s meaning, textual analysis also involves understanding how the film fits into the larger context of its social, historical, cultural and political environment. So textual analysis also requires researching a film’s genre, audience, and its historical, institutional, and socio-cultural significance. It’s only in combining all of these elements that we can create a thorough understanding of the film.

For the oral exam, HL students are expected to complete a 15 minute presentation (10 minutes for SL) that addresses these two areas of focus:
 1. Analyse and Research the film as a whole focusing on the film’s genre and audience as well as its historical, institutional, and socio-cultural significance.
2. Complete a close textual analysis of a specific scene. Be sure to cite specific examples from within the film that relate to its larger frame work.

Getting Started:

  1. Preview the questions for each of the sections below that address the areas that must be included in the presentations
  2. Watch your film and then focus on what you think is important about the film. As you take notes on the film, refer back to the questions. Be conscious of the many aspects within the film that create meaning.
  3. Focus on one scene that seems to really illustrate your interpretation of the film. Try creating a Quicktime clip of the scene to be used in your presentation. You should not watch these films on the internet through streaming as quality is very poor. Buy or download the movie.
  4. Begin your research and take notes in order to explore areas of genre, history, institutional and socio-cultural context as they relate to your selected film. Please cite your research in order to show where your information came from.

Research and Analysis: Areas to be Covered in your Presentations

Part 1 

Background and Context
I. Genre and Audience
Consider the historical context of the style and genre as well as factors that shaped the directors decisions. Other films, novels, or artistic genres that were referenced in the film should be considered.

1. What tradition or genre is it part of?
2. What are the features determining genre?
3. What other work might it be connected to?
4. Who made this? Why?
5. What can we tell about its’ creators?
6. How does it fit within the director’s other work?
a. Does it share significant narrative or thematic concerns?
b. Does it share particular visual or technical elements?
7. What is the film’s theme?
8. What is the target audience? How does it address its audience?

II. Historical and Institutional Factors
Consider the film as a text that is part of the industry of critics, and awards.

1. What do we learn about the film in relation to the body of critical reviews that surround the film as well as the awards and special recognition the film has received.
2. What evidence do you find in the film’s financial/economic to the film’s success?
3. What are the institutional factors that may be important?
a. As a production of a specific producer (eg Walt Disney)?
b. As a production of a specific institution (eg Disney Studios)?
c. Any specific economic factors (independent or studio film)?
d. Is there a political background? (eg U.S. politics in 1959)
4. What is the film’s historical significance?
a. as a document of its time?
b. as a part of history of film?

III. Socio-cultural context
Explore what the film says about it’s country of origin and the artists who made it.

1. What do the film’s themes say about the culture it’s part of?
2. What is the film’s geographical and historical context?
3. Where does it fall in the evolution of the genre?
4. What is the film’s socio-cultural context? So, what does this film say about the world?
a. What does it say about the society it takes place in?
b. What does it say about the culture it takes place in?
c. What does it say about the time period it takes place in?
d. How does it fit the context of the specific country it was made in?
e. Was it made for a specific audience?
f. Was it made for a specific reason?
g. Were there any social factors that influenced the film?
h. Were there any cultural factors that influenced the film?
5. Has the film changed through time?
a. Do audiences react differently to the film now as opposed to when it was released?
b. If so, why? If not, why?

Part 2 – Focused Analysis

IV. Narrative

1. How is this film constructed according to narrative/story being told?
2. Is the narrative organized by plot or time sequence, or some other way?
3. Does the film use other principles than narrative sequence as a structure (for instance, an argument?
4. What is the nature of our engagement with the story or characters?

V. Film Language and Representation

1. How are characters and issues represented?
2. What is the style and effect of acting and performance?
3. How is meaning created by the camera?
a. camera angles?
b. camera shots?
c. camera movement?
4. How is meaning created through use of space (proxemics) and staging?
5. How is meaning created by editing and sequencing?
6. How is meaning created by lighting, shade and color?
7. How is meaning created by sound and music?
8. How is meaning created by location, set design and mise-en-scene.?
9. Does the film make use of symbols, metaphors, or allegories? If relevant, explain what they are and how do they work within the context of the film?
10. How is meaning created by technical elements such as production design, special effects (matte paintings, models, animation, computer generated images etc.)
11. What emotional information is conveyed through the filmmaking process?

How to Use Your 4 Weeks

Note: Use this day by day planner below in conjunction with with the notes above on Textual Analysis. 

There is a huge amount to do for your oral presentation. Do not be fooled – as students have done in the past – into thinking that 4 weeks is long time and that you can “do it later”. The time will fly by and unless you stay on top of things, you will be in a last minute rush and panic and this will likely affect your final performance and your score. Whilst you make want to amend my planner slightly, by doing more on one day so you can rest the next, PLEASE make sure that you are on track as far as the weekly requirements go. Remember, this is an exam and I cannot help you at all from the moment I have given you the films, so you are on your own (well – you have this wiki to be your guiding light, but other than that, you are on your own… you know what I mean…).

Week 1 – Film Watching & Clip Selection

Day 1. Watch first film
Day 2. Watch second film
Day 3. Watch third film
Day 4. Day off 😉
Day 5. Re-watch selected film and decide exactly which clip you will analyse (Max 5 mins – but can be less) 
Day 6. Read widely on the film. Look through imdb. Find useful articles on the film and check the film department for any resources that might be useful (books/DVD commentaries etc)
Day 7. Make notes on the extract’s relationship to film as a whole (specific grading criteria) and on why you chose this extract (specific grading criteria)

Week 2 – Background & Context

Day 1/2. Make notes on Genre and Audience (specific questions on wiki)
Day 3/4. Make notes on Historical and Institutional Factors (specific questions on wiki) and make notes on Sociocultural Context (specific questions on wiki)
Day 5. Make notes on the critical and commercial success of the film.
Day 6/7.Begin analysis. Make notes on the narrative aspects and structure of the film.

Week 3 – Focused Analysis

Day 1/2. Film language – VISUALS. Ensure that you watch the clip through a few times with the sound turn off. Focus solely on what you see. Analyse and make detailed notes on the use of:

camera angles
shot types
camera movement
tone of the extract – vs tone of the film
space and staging
framing and composition
lighting, shade
set design
production design/special effects

Day 3. Film language – SOUND. Analyse the sound of the extract. Ensure that you listen to the clip through a few times withoutwatching it. Focus solely on what you hear. Analyse the music. What does it tell you? What does atmosphere does it create? Think back to the classes we had on musical analysis and work out its tempo, pitch and dynamics. What instruments do you hear? Try to use musical language.
Day 4. Themes and Symbols. What are the major themes present in this extract? How are they brought to the fore?
Day 5. Grading criteria. Have another look at the grading criteria. Ensure that you have something to say on all of the 8 distinct markband descriptors. 
Day 6/7. Type ALL of your notes out into an essay, making sure that you are addressing ALL of the distinct markbands from the grading criteria. Think about the structure of your presentation. Have a look at the possible suggested structures of your oral (below) and decide which one you will follow.

Week 4 – Practise, practise, practise…

Day 1/2. Read your essay out loud and record yourself onto garage band. Do not stop reading at 15 minutes, but keep going until you have finished. Check back to see how long you took. You will most likely be way over the 15 minute limit. Go back through your essay and begin to cut out extraneous information, or whittle down aspects that you simply took too long on – WITHOUT cutting out all information on any one particular markband feature (you MUST cover them all). Repeat this process until you get to 15 minutes. Begin to break down your essay into note form.
Day 3/4.Esnure that you no longer have an essay in front of you, but just notes. These can be on a couple of pages of paper, or on flash cards, but they MUST BE NOTES. I will not allow you to enter the exam room with an essay so do not try. Practise again and again. Record yourself many many times and listen through to what you say. Check your oral against the grading criteria. Download the ‘Presentation Marksheet’ document from the wiki and being honest – strict even – what grade would you give yourself? Consider doing some peer assessment with a friend.
Day 5/6. Practise, practise, practise. Record yourself over and over and ensure that you can address all of the features of analysis and all of the markband descriptors within the time limit.
Day 7. Exam time!

Structure of the Oral Presentation – HL
It is important to have a clear and focused structure to your presentation. If you just ramble on about the clip and jump from one component to the next, your work will suffer as a result. By careful planning and by practising going through your presentation multiple times you will formulate a clear and logical structure that enables you to include all the key components without rushing or leaving anything out.

Please not that these two options below are just that – they are options. Please feel free to create your own individual structure. It is important to find a style that works for YOU. Just make sure you include all the key elements (as outlined in the documents above) and make sure you talk for as much of the 15 minutes as possible, without going over of course.


1. Opening Remarks (0:30)
a. Name of film, director, year etc
2. Context (2:00)
a. Place the film
i. As part of the director’s work
ii. Time when Made (historical, socio-cultural etc)
iii. Relation to other films
b. Place the extract
i. Position in plot
ii. Foreshadowing
iii. Thematic Threads
3. Setting, Acting, Costume, Props (1:30)
a. Visual Style
b. Actors
c. Production Design/Set Design
4. Cinematography and Lighting (2:30)
a. Style: realistic/formalistic/stylised
b. Angles, Framing, Lens Choice
c. Camera placement and actor blocking
d. Dominant Imagery/symbolism/Colour
e. Camera Distance/Space/Staging/Territory,
f. Lighting
5. Editing (2:00)
a. Style
b. Manipulations of time and speed
c. Length of cuts and pacing
d. Narrative techniques such as flashbacks/forwards, parallel action
e. Montage or Visual Metaphor
f. Types of fades and cuts
6. Score (1:00)
a. Style
b. Repeated Motifs
c. Foley or FX
d. Diegetic/non-diegetic (aka synchronous/nonsynchronous)
7. Script (1:00)
a. Narrative Structure/Style
b. Character Driven vs Plot Driven
c. Nature of Dialogue
d. Use of humour, subtext or irony
e. Message
8. Genre (1:30)
a. Features determining genre
b. How extract meets genre
c. How extract subverts genre – if at all
9. Business and Criticism (1:30)
a. How well was the film received by critics at the time?
b. How well is the film received by critics now?
c. How successful was the film financially? At the time of release?
d. Subsequently?
10. Rationale (0:30)
a. Why I selected this extract
11. Closing Remarks (0:30)


1. Context in film (2:00)
a. “I selected this section for the following reasons…”
b. Explain how the extract relates to the rest of the film narrative and to the structure of the film as a whole.
2. Analysis (7:30)
a. “My view of the director’s intent is…”
b. Detailed analysis and support of your statement above by looking at:
i. Mise-en scene
ii. Framing
iii. Composition
iv. Shot choices and camera angles
v. Lighting
vi. Costume/Make-Up/Prop choices
vii. Presentation of time
viii. Shot length and movement
ix. Space and staging
x. Acting/Characterisation choices
xi. Editing choices – cuts, fades etc
xii. Visual symbolism
xiii. Script/dialogue
xiv. Use of Narrative and structure
xv. Sound, score and foley
xvi. and whatever else is significant…
3. Context in History/Genre (4:30)
a. Explanation of the extract’s significance in terms of:
i. Genre
ii. Target audience
iii. Film history
iv. Socio-cultural significance
v. Institutional factors
vi. Critical reception
vii. Financial success
viii. and whatever else is significant…
4. Final Summary and conclusion (1:00)
a. Reinforce key points and reasons for you choice of extract

General Tips

  • DO NOT do a shot by shot breakdown of the extract, but instead group comments into sections as outlined in both models above.
  • Always use FILM LANGUAGE
  • Avoid Repetition
  • Make sure to explain how meaning is created in the film through film language.
  • Do NOT talk for more than 15 minutes. You WILL be penalised!
  • But do not talk for much less than 15 minutes – otherwise you will have left too much out!
  • Make sure you refer to director’s intention
  • Consolidate your evaluative interpretation into a focused oral paragraph for each section
  • NEVER have the first time you present your oral presentation be the real thing in front of your teacher. Practise practise practise! Record yourself on a computer and listen back to make sure you are speaking clearly, to make sure that you are talking about every aspect of the extract, and to make sure your timing is perfect!
  • Relax. Breathe!  

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