There is a difference between the film (or theory) you decide to work on, and your topic. To define your topic is the first and maybe most important step working on your paper. You first determine the problem, the question you want to answer in the course of the paper. Basically, you state what you will select to talk about. If your film is, say, Fight Club, questions could be: Gender, Masculinity and the Function of Violence, or, Social Criticism without a Solution.
If you decide to cover a theory, find a challenging example. Do not discuss the theory as a whole, but choose something you can discuss properly and relate to a cultural example on 12-15 pages.
Develop a Question and state in the introduction your research interest, your motivation to choose the text and the topic, how it relates to the larger narratives / theories discussed in class
Develop an argument – the answer to that question.
At the end provide a summary of your findings and conclusions An example could look like this:
Imagine you recently saw a film called, say, “The Return of the Living Dead 5 ”, which sparked public outrage for being very violent. News outlets describe how dangerous this film could be for younger audiences. If that film became your object, you would closely analyze one typical scene or two with regards to what happens and how it is done (what filmic devices are used, how is the editing, the music, the light, etc.).
Your analysis of said scene, and a comparison to similar films of the same genre could become a central part for your explanation of the public outrage. In a next step, you could analyze the public debate: what are the assumptions behind the claim that this film is dangerous? Is it some version of social learning theory (claiming that there is a causal relation between being exposed violent media representations and violent behavior), or is it catalyst theory? Does the debate qualify as a moral panic? – Make sure the 5 sources are peer reviewed. – Make sure to connect arguments to one of the two theories listed above: Social learning or catalyst.