Semester Project – Guideline and Format Template


  • For your semester project, you should explore either one filmmaker, one film genre, or one film character (who has been in at least three films).
  • Examine three films for your project.
  • You should utilize four -six sources (outside of your films).
  • If you choose a creative alternative (Doc-podcast, or video essay) you will still need to engage in (and apply) the research and submit a support document that includes: Title Page,  Abstract and APA-formatted sources.

These are the structural expectations for your semester project (for the written version):

  • Title Page (Adapted APA Format) – Name of paper/project, Name of student, Name of College, Name of Class, Name of Instructor, Semester and Year.
  • Abstract (details in link) – In 150-300 words, the Abstract will provide a general summary of the paper including: your topic, purpose of the paper, the research methods & critical evaluation methods you engaged (how did you research and develop your conclusions of study?), your general overview (of your research and critical evaluation), and a short summary of the findings, interpretations and conclusions you found. Remember, this is where you hit the highlights of the paper; your next several pages will offer all the elements in detail (use APA style for subheading).
  • Introduction and Thesis Statement – The introduction should be one-three paragraphs and should be a set up (or launching pad) for where the paper will take you. Tell the audience what you’re going to be telling them. This is where you catch the attention of the reader and offer a tease for what is to come (use APA style for subheading).


  • Research & Findings Section -This is where you pull together and share your key research findings that are appropriate and relevant on your topic. This is not the personal evaluation component; that comes next (use APA style for subheading).
  • Critical Review and Evaluation Section – This is where you will critically explore and analyze your filmmaker’s work, your film character, or a specific genre. You should consider everything from Blake Snyder’s story formula, to the Hero’s Journey, to the universal theme, to color theory, character conflicts, acting, character development, cinematography, sound design, etc. Areas for you to investigate are listed on the semester project page. The materials that you will examine have been covered within this course previously; you’re ready for this (use APA style for subheading).

***Note: More than likely, there may be components of your research that will show up in the Critical Review and Evaluation Section. That is perfectly OK and expected, just make sure that you use in-text citations to note original thoughts vs. researched thought. But mostly, this section should reflect your personal critical exploration.  

*** Note 2: Some of you may find it flows better in your writing style to combine your Research & Findings and Critical Review and Evaluation completely into one section. I’m fine with that as long as there is a clear distinction between original thoughts and researched findings.  

  • Conclusion   These are the combined summary thoughts that you’ve found from research and the critical analysis. This is also your chance to make a final statement in regards to the film’s merit and impact on society, history and the cinematic experience. If you haven’t already proven why this film is considered one of the best of all time, now is your opportunity for a closing statement to make the case.


  • References in APA format (*Note -this is not the annotated bibliography, these are your references noted in appropriate APA format).

*Notes -check APA expectations for running head, name placement, page numbering, and in-text citations.

APA General Formatting Guidelines

Sample APA Paper



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