A Possible Paper Topic

I was just thinking about this upcoming research paper and what I wanted to write about.  It occurred to me that I have two general criteria for writing a film paper– 1) the topic idea must be good, entertaining, and provocative, and 2) the text must be something that I like to watch and won’t get bored with.  If my topic meets these two criteria, then I will generally write a better paper because I will legitimately be interested in the essay.

That said, I have one broad idea that thus far meets these criteria.  I am thinking about writing on “The Office” for two reasons– 1) because I like the show and think it is very well made, and 2) because the role of the camera has always intrigued me.

Now the tricky part of this topic is narrowing it down so that it both meets the criteria for the class and is still entertaining to me.  I haven’t quite formulated a specific direction yet, but here are some ideas.

Although we haven’t really talked about it yet, I was thinking about addressing the idea of a narrator in the office and how the camera acts to present the syuzhet information to the viewer.  Basically, the relationship between the camera and the plot– does it act as a narrator?

I could also talk about the role of the camera in terms of presenting the syuzhet, creating gaps, and therefore formulating the viewer’s fabula.  

So these are my very basic ideas.  I would really appreciate it if anybody could give me some feedback and help me find a good direction to go with this topic.  Also, if anyone knows of any scholarly essays or books on “The Office” can you please let me know so I can get started with the research.  Thanks!!

1 thought on “A Possible Paper Topic

  1. Jason Mittell

    Allen – this is a good topic, with clear connections to the theories we’re reading. We’ll be talking more about the issues of narrator & author in the coming weeks, and the show poses interesting questions about this – what do we know about the documentary film crew seemingly in the storyworld, and how its presence impacts our understanding of the events? Do we draw upon this “template” in our understanding of the narrative, or is it more just a gimmick that we forget about?

    There is a book in the library on the BBC version (called “The Office” by Ben Walters) that might be helpful. Good luck refining your ideas!

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