For this expository essay you will need to go to a local theater and view a current movie. Yes, that’s right; you get to watch a movie! You may also choose to watch a DVD instead; however, it must be new release. Also, I would prefer that you pick a movie that you had already planned on viewing, rather than one you would not normally see.
The idea behind this assignment is to get you to start looking at media entertainment—in this case movies—in an objective and critical way, and to open your eyes to the various ways we are persuaded by what we see.
You will need to bring a pencil and paper with you to the movie so you can take notes on the following questions:
- What ideas or beliefs are being projected as acceptable (i.e. drugs, sex, underagedrinking, religion, state of mind, ways of viewing society, political)? How does the director show this in his or her movie?
- What are the actors/actresses trying to persuade you to do? How are they doing this? Look for hidden or not so easily recognized persuasion (i.e. characters are all drinking the same product or vacationing in certain place). How might this be part of a hidden marketing technique to sell products?
- Which products are being promoted (this can be as simple as a high school character wearing a designer label shirt or as complex as a party scene with multiple items being promoted)?
- Where and when are persuasive messages used in the film, both directly and indirectly?
When you are finished, write a 2-3 page expository essay about the film and its use of persuasion. Please use your answers to the above questions in your expository essay as support/evidence.