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Mme Laurin
Independent Study Unit
For your ISU you will select a novel and its corresponding movie to analyze, contrast and
compare. Here are a few ideas:
The Help
Memoires of a Geisha
Fight Club
Water for Elephants
The Colour Purple
Lord of the Flies*
Dr. Zhivago
The Kite Runner
The Girl With the Pearl Earring
One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Pride and Prejudice*
Ian McEwan
Kathryn Stockett
Arthur Golden
Bram Stoker
Chuck Palahniuk
Sara Gruen
Alice Walker
William Golding
Boris Pasternak
Khaled Hosseini
Tracey Chevalier
Ken Kesey
Jane Austen
Sense and Sensibility
Jane Austen
Gone With the Wind *
Margaret Mitchell
The Godfather
Mario Puzo
Jane Eyre*
Charlotte Brontë
The Count of Monte Cristo
Alexandre Dumas
Silence of the Lambs
Thomas Harris
The Road *
Cormack McCarthy
Circle of Friends *
Maeve Binchy
No Country for Old Men
Cormac McCarthy
Under the Tuscan Sun
Frances Mayes
Oliver Twist
Charles Dickens
Silver Linings Playbook
Matthew Quick
The Da Vinci Code
Dan Brown
Angels and Demons
Dan Brown
* = Teacher has either movie or novel
Director and year of movie
Joe Wright (2007)
Tate Taylor (2011)
Rob Marshall (2005)
Frances Ford Coppola (1992)
David Fincher (1999)
Frances Lawrence (2011)
Stephen Spielberg (1985)
Peter Brooks (1963)
David Lean (1965)
Marc Forster (2007)
Peter Webber (2003)
Milos Forman (1975)
1995 miniseries or Joe Wright
Ang Lee (1995)
Victor Fleming (1939)*
Frances Ford Coppola (1972)
Cory Funkunaga (2011)
Kevin Reynolds (2002)*
Jonathan Demme (1991)
John Hillcoat (2009)
Pat O’Connor (1995)
Joel and Ethan Coen (2007)
Christophe Beck (2003)
Roman Polanski (2005)
David O. Russell (2012)
Ron Howard (2006)
Ron Howard (2009)
Should none of these interest you, do a Google search of film adaptations of novels
to find more.
Mme Laurin
Independent Study Unit
Components of the ISU
1- Novel Study
2- Compare and Contrast Essay 1500 words (about 6 pages)
a. In this component you will learn how to write a compare and
contrast essay about the novel and the film you have selected
for your ISU.
3- Film Sequence Analysis
a. In this component, you will learn the terminology and the “how
to” to complete a Film Sequence Analysis of one scene.
4- “Director’s Cut”
a. You will use the information from your Film Sequence
Analysis, and provide an oral-visual presentation of your work.
Mme Laurin
Independent Study Unit
Reading and Interpretation
Novel Study
As you read your novel, you will:
Write a paragraph that provides the following information:
The setting
The rising action
The climax
The denouement
Write a paragraph that provides a psychoanalytic profile of the main character (protagonist)
of the novel. Make sure to provide proof from the novel to support your analysis.
Provide at least four important quotations from the novel, and a paragraph that details the
significance for each. Make sure you provide page numbers for your quotations..
image from:
Mme Laurin
Independent Study Unit
Writing and Interpretation
How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay
Your introduction should begin with a generalized statement such as a quotation,
anecdote, common-knowledge statement – like the five-paragraph-essay – and should
provide a strong statement as to whether this was or was not a strong adaptation,
followed by a solid and well thought-out thesis statement.
All Comparisons (Topics A and B)
This section — which should consist of several paragraphs — should go through all
similarities that you have found between the two topics on which you are writing (in this
case, the novel and the film). There should be at least three formal comparisons
(essentially three short body paragraphs) in which you give an example from both
topics of comparisons in each.
All Contrasts (Topics A and B)
This section — which should consist of several paragraphs — should go through all
differences that you have found in the two topics on which you are writing (in this case,
the novel and the film). There should be at least three formal contrasts (essentially
three short body paragraphs) in which you give an example from both topics of
comparisons in each.
This conclusion is wrapping up everything you have just proven in your paper. It should
restate the thesis in a new, more official way, and you should show confidence in your
ideas. Make sure to explain whether this film was a successful adaptation.
If you are writing an essay that compares apples (A) and oranges (B) your Essay
structure will look like this:
Paragraph 1 = Compare A and B (Example: They are both fruit)
Paragraph 2 = Compare A and B (Example: They are both healthy)
Paragraph 3 = Contrast A and B (Example: You eat the peel of one and not the
Paragraph 4 = Contrast A and B (Example: you can make pies out of one and not
the other)
***Refer to your MLA Guide to format your citations for both the novel and the film.
Mme Laurin
Independent Study Unit
Example of structure for compare contrast essay
Mme Laurin
Independent Study Unit
Specifics for your essay:
1- Your essay should be about 1500 words in length (6 pages).
2- Your essay should be double-spaced and in a 12-point font, in Times New Roman or
3- Your essay must be accompanied by all brainstorms, and at least THREE drafts that
show your revisions and editing.
4- Your essay should contain at least FOUR print or web sources.
5- Your essay should contain a title page and a Works Cited page.
6- All citations and references should follow proper MLA (Modern Language Association)
Mme Laurin
Independent Study Unit
Oral-Visual Communication
Film Sequence Analysis Presentation (“Director’s Cut”)
You will present a Film Sequence Analysis to the class, transforming it into a visual
Your “Director’s Cut” should include the following things:
o A brief synopsis of the storyline
o Names of characters and actors, description of setting, and of themes
o Similarities and differences between the novel and film
o Choices that the director made to represent people, places or things in the
movie, and possible reasons why the director chose to change things or keep
o A clip of the sequence you have chosen, which you will give a play-by-play for
and which you will use to support your ideas
o Your general reaction to the adaptation.
You will have to present your director’s cut to the class using some visual medium, including
the trailer of the film, and a clip of the sequence you have chosen to support your ideas. You
will need to use the terminology that you have learned, and to know your stuff.
Mme Laurin
Independent Study Unit
Tips on How to do a Film Sequence Analysis
A film sequence is a “scene” within a film. In your film sequence analysis, you will choose a
particular sequence (“scene”) in the film adaptation that you have chosen, and explain its
importance within the larger context of the film. You would want to make sure that the
scene you choose is an important one, and provides you with a point from which you can
show similarities or differences between the novel and its film adaptation.
Here are the steps in planning, organizing, and writing your Film Sequence Analysis:
Step 1
Watch the film in its entirety. Then watch it again. Take notes
during the first viewing and, if you are analyzing a movie that
is available on DVD, be ready with your remote control to
pause and rewind.
Step 2
Choose a sequence (scene) that is particularly important in
terms of how the director chose to portray the novel. Make
sure the scene isn’t too long, but it could consist in a number
of things, including symbols, characterization, setting (place
and time), storyline, etc.
Step 3
Take detailed notes of what you see and hear, such as facial expressions, dialogue,
background music, and action. Do you like the actors’ performances? Are they convincing?
Are they effectively depicting the novel’s characters?
Step 4
Get familiar with filmmaking terminology, understanding the differences between the
different elements such as the importance of lighting, sound, transitions, camera angles and
Step 5
Begin to organize your analysis, thinking about your scene, and how it depicts the director’s
choices such as set design, background music, special effects, costume design,
performances, props, etc., and how it is similar to, or different from, the novel.
Step 6
Make sure to think critically and creatively about how you will present your work. For the
best and most fulfilling results, think outside the box!
Mme Laurin
Independent Study Unit
Glossary of terms used in Film Study
 The process of photographing drawings or objects a frame at a time; by changing a
drawing or moving an object slightly before each frame is taken, the illusion of motion
is realized.
 Traditional (Ex. Lion King, The Iron Giant, Spirited Away, etc.)
 Computer-generated (Ex. Wall-E, Toy Story, Shrek, etc.)
Background Music
 Music accompanying action on the screen, but coming from no discernible source
within the film. For example in “Jaws,” the background music lets us know the shark
is coming, but you don’t see a symphony sitting on the beach playing the famous
background music. (some scary images)
 Ensemble of actors chosen to play the roles of different characters in a movie.
 Art and technology of motion-picture photography. It involves the composition of a
scene, lighting of the set and actors, choice of cameras, camera angle, and
integration of special effects to achieve the photographic images desired by the
director. (
A brief segment excerpted from a film.
Costume design
 The clothing worn by the characters, which will serve to reflect the film’s setting and
era, but often doesn’t. It’s important to focus on how well the costumes bring the
characters, the action, and the setting to life.
 A transition between two shots, where one shot fades away and fades in.
 The recording of dialogue in a sound studio, after the footage is shot, where the film
and dialogue match the lip movements.
 A transition from a shot to black where the image gradually becomes darker is a Fade
Out or from black where the image gradually becomes brighter is a Fade In.
 A single image (of a series of them) on a piece of film. There are 24 frames per
Mme Laurin
Independent Study Unit
 Everything that is present within a sequence (or “scene”), such as setting (where and
when the scene is taking place), characters, props, and anything else that is required
to create the scene.
Voice-Over Narration
 The use of a human voice off-screen for a variety of reasons.
A horizontal camera move on an axis, from right to left or left to right. In a pan the
camera is turning on an axis rather than across space. Not to be confused with Tilt,
technically it is not correct to say “pan up” or “pan down,” when you really mean tilt.
P.O.V. Shot (Point of View Shot)
 A shot from the perspective of one of the characters, as if the audience were seeing
the scene from their eyes. It is often important to get a Reaction Shot to establish
that any given shot really is a P.O.V.
 The actor’s rendering of his or her role, and how convincingly he or she achieves this
 Also called “scene” which is really the theatrical meaning. A sequence in film means
several shots that come together to form a specific part of a film.
Soft Light
 A type of light with a built in surface to act as a bounce card, providing soft, indirect
light on the subject.
Special effects
 Illusions that are created in film using sounds, images, computer graphics,
camerawork, makeup, etc. (
 Sound effects:
o “A sound other than speech or music made artificially for use in a play,
movie, or other broadcast production.” (
 Visual effects:
o “Various processes by which imagery is created and/or manipulated
outside the context of a live action shot. Visual effects involve the
integration of live-action footage and generated imagery to create
environments which look realistic, but would be dangerous, expensive,
impractical, or simply impossible to capture on film. Visual effects using
computer generated imagery has recently become accessible to the
independent filmmaker with the introduction of affordable and user friendly
animation and compositing software.”
Mme Laurin
Independent Study Unit
Tilt Shot
 A vertical camera move on an axis, up or down. Not to be confused with pan. It is not
really correct to say “pan up” or “pan down,” when you really mean tilt.
Time Lapse
 Time lapse is when single frame shooting is used to dramatically speed up the action
over the course of a long period of time. Typically it is a process where a single frame
is shot after a consistent pause. It could be one frame every ten seconds, or one
frame every hour, and such.
Tracking Shot
 A tracking shot is one where the camera is placed on a dolly and is moved while
filming. Also known as a dolly shot.
 “A camera shot that changes smoothly from a long shot to a close-up or vice
versa” (
 A zoom-in would be a close-up of a subject, while a zoom-out would be a shot
that moves away from the subject