It's a good idea to read an Extended Essay to see what you're aiming at. Read or glance through to get a sense of structure, layout, breadth, depth and so on.
- Choose a topic which sounds challenging. Read a little bit about it before suggesting it.
- Make sure the topic is about film, not history, psychology, gender studies, politics, drama, literature...
EG - 'How faithful are the Lord of the Rings films to Tolkien's original?'
'What do Alfred Hitchcock's films reveal about him?'
'Why did German film-makers ignore Hitler?
While these COULD become Film topics, at the minute they are leading us off into some other subject.
'How has Peter Jackson used generic and narrative structures in Lord of the Rings?'
'How are women represented in Hitchcock's 'Psycho' and 'Vertigo'?
'Is the German Expressionist aesthetic a manifestation of fears about the rise of Nazism?'
These are better; the focus is on Film.
- Try to phrase your title as a question. This automatically gives some direction and purpose to the essay. Have a film focus in the title.
- The focus can not be too broad or too narrow. It's hard to get this right - please pay attention if your supervisor suggests you need to adjust your topic.
- Choose films you like or which intrigue you. Choose them yourself. This is an independent task; if your supervisor has to tell you what to study, that's not good! IBO prefer you to avoid Hollywood.
- Don't have very many. It must be at least two. Three as a maximum.
- You can write about TV shows, but check with your supervisor first. Remember that TV and narrative film are not the same thing; don't treat them like they are.
- Get to know your films very well. You'll need to watch them a few times. If they're worth writing about, you'll find new things each time IF you're paying attention!
- The library is a good place to start. Sight and Sound magazine can be very useful. Chances are that the stuff you find on the first page of a google search won't be very useful.
- Academic databases are a must.
-Wikipedia is more use for the links at the bottom of the page than anything else.
- IMDB is useful because it provides links to practically every review of every film. Reading all reviews is a good place to start.
- Expect to have your brain stretched a little. That's a good thing.
- Differentiate between fans, critics, scholars and random people on the internet. All of them can have useful input, but you need to be aware of what exactly it is you are reading.
- Your target is to become an expert. By the end of your research, you should know more about your topic than your supervisor.
- Plan your essay in detail. You'll be grateful you did.
- You need evidence to support what you say. In a Film essay, this usually means you need to reference an actual detail from the film. It helps to have screenshots of the key scenes in front of you. More than anything else, IBO reward detailed analysis of mise-en-scene.
- Use theory well. IBO really do not like essays which throw in theoretical concepts for no real reason. If you are using ideas like Reflection Theory, Male Gaze, semiotic analysis, apparatus theory or whatever, then use them properly and extensively and make them part of the structural framework of your essay.
- Use the proper terms. You have a glossary on your website. If you don't, get someone reliable to share theirs with you.
- Try to enjoy the writing. You chose these films and this topic; you must have had some interest in them. Communicate that interest. Make the reader interested.
- Film essays tend to have lots of pictures. They keep your writing focused on the actual film.
- Pay attention to the requirements of the IBO in terms of formatting etc. A surprisingly large part of the mark - more than enough to pass the assessment - is earned simply by following instructions.
EE assessment is very systematic. Primarily, you are being assessed on your ability to form, research, write and present an academic essay.
Film EE tips
CITING AND REFERENCING GUIDELINES