Skip to Main Content

ENGLISH 1301 - Wylie: Analytical Essay

This guide serves as a place for resources, assignments, support and guidance for all the research assignments you complete in English 1301 with Mrs. Wylie

Email us at

Call us at 903-693-2052

Or click the "ASK PC!" green box at the top of this column!

Literature Databases

Important Questions in an Analytical review of of a Music Video


Warm Up Questions

  • What does this video mean to you? What did you see in the video that made you come to this conclusion?
  • Does this video bring any questions to mind?
  • What does this video say about you? Can you relate to the video?

Semiotics (the study of signs and sign processes (semiosis), indication, designation, likeness, analogy, metaphor, symbolism, signification, and communication)

  • Do you see any symbols in this video? What do they symbolize?
  • Why do you think that the artist used these symbols?
  • What culture do these symbols resonate with? Would they symbolize the same thing in another culture? Do they resonate with you?

Social and Cultural Issues

  • What does this video assume about its audience?
  • Is the artist for or against anything?
  • To what age group does this video appeal?
  • Is the video racist or sexist?
  • Does this video support any stereotypes?
  • What political or social issue does this video bring to mind?
  • Does the video use any historical video/film clips? How does it use the clips?

Formal Qualities and Analyses

  • What process do you think was used to create some of the images in the video? What software and editing program do you think they used?
  • Describe how the color in the video is used to portray certain emotions, feelings or meanings?
  • Write a visual description of a particular scene or image in the video.


  • What does this video say to you?
  • What does it say about the artist?
  • Is there anything of which this video reminds you? Is there anything in the video that reminds you of something you have studied in school?

Artist Intent

  • Do you see any works of art in this video? Do you believe the artist was influenced by someone else?
  • Do you see any product placement in the video? Is this video selling a certain product?
  • Do you think your interpretation of this video is what the artist intended? Does it matter?
  • Can we always know an artist’s intent? Is an artist’s intent, when available, always relevant to the meaning of the video? To a work of art?
  • Can an artist mean to express one thing, but then express more than that, or something different from that?
  • Should the artist’s stated intent be the final arbiter when determining the accuracy of an interpretation?


  • Do you like this video? Why or why not?
  • What are the most effective parts or aspects of this work of art?
  • How would you persuade others to appreciate this work of art as much as you do?
  • How could you convince someone to appreciate an artwork that they thin is not could? How could you counter this person’s argument?

Helpful Online resources for music video analysis

A crowd sourced website that breaks down text with line-by-line annotations, added and edited by anyone in the world (consider yourself warned).

As the only peer-recognized music award, the GRAMMY is the music industry’s highest honor. We’re counting on you in the music community to continue that legacy by participating in the process. 

AllMusic is a comprehensive and in-depth resource for finding out more about the albums, bands, musicians and songs you love.

Make sure you visit the archive option on this site.  Books, articles, and a blog by the music critic of The New Yorker

Smithsonian Folkways Recordings is the nonprofit record label of the Smithsonian Institution, the national museum of the United States. 

Production/Film Review Concepts

Analytical Film Review Process

  1. Just watch the film the first time; take notes on your observations, only after you viewed the movie. Watch it several more times in the course of your essay writing preparations.
  2. Research the director: he is considered the be all and end all of all films. Read the book on which the movie is based, if applicable.
  3. View some of the director’s other movies, if applicable. See if he or she favours a particular editor, cinematographer, actor, and so on.
  4. Consider the following aspects of the film:
    1. Theme – identify and consider how the film supports the theme
    2. Spectacle –“(consider) all aspects that make the experience of viewing a performance different from reading the same work on the page.” (Miller)
      1. Art Direction – the way the world looks in the film (including sets, locations, costumes, hairstyles, and props).
      2. Cinematography – the ‘mood’ of the film as created through lighting, camera angles and movement, and filtering.
      3. Soundtrack – influences the ‘mood’ of a film by complementing, contradicting, enhancing, commenting on, or undermining the image and the story with sound/music.
      4. Editing – the way in which the footage is spliced together determines the ‘flow’ from shot to shot; it enhances or disrupts the narrative and plot.
      5. Acting – the performance of an actor (as directed by the director) to visualize a character. Discussions of acting should keep previous performances, under the same and other directors, in mind.
    3. Plot – provide a minimal plot summary (do not give too much away).
    4. Character – do not confuse the actor with the character. Character analysis in film analysis is always external. A character’s inner life is revealed through mannerisms, vocal inflections, other characters’ commentary, as well as all the spectacle elements listed above.
    5. Tone – primarily determined through the elements of spectacle, the tone of a film is either consistent throughout or, by weakness or design, shifts somewhere along the line. Different film genres tend to employ different tones.
  5. Draft your review, roughly responding to the following questions:
    • What do the makers of the film intend to do?
    • Explain why you think so. Did they manage to do it? Explain why and how.
    • Was it worth their effort? Explain why or why not.
  6. Carefully read your work once again and revise and edit it to take out any remaining grammar, mechanics, or other errors you find.

Adapted from Joyce Miller’s “Writing a Film Review”

Updated November 03, 2020 

Databases which house video

M.P. Baker Resources which house reviews

Open Education Film Resources

Internet Film Resources

Early Film

The Edison Motion Pictures Collection, hosted by American Memory at the Library of Congress.

Public Domain Comedy, hosted by


The Internet Movie Database - The most extensive movie database on the Web, this site contains information concerning every film and director in our syllabus.

Regional Film Resources

The Harvard Film Archive - Daily film screenings.

MIT Resources

The MIT Communications Forum often sponsors talks and conferences relevant to the subject matter of this course. Leading film and media scholars are frequent participants in Forum events. The Forum's website is an archive on which you may wish to draw for your essays and for class discussions.

Theatre Blog