On (Not) Using Outside Sources for Your Film Responses

On Using Outside Sources for Your Film Responses

 Do not consult outside sources before writing your responses.  Here’s why:

 I want you do develop and trust your own judgments about film, novels, art, etc.  This is much more valuable than repeating the opinions of others.  You can’t develop your sense of judgment unless you use it.  Relying on borrowed ideas will not help you think for yourself or have confidence in your ideas.

 Part of the process is making mistakes, being off-target with some of your ideas.  That’s ok.  I will grade good tries almost as well as brilliant insights.  So do not be afraid of being “wrong.”  The fear of being wrong is a barrier to your learning.  Besides, having a different outlook doesn’t necessarily make you wrong.  I love being surprised by fresh ideas.

 If you did consult outside sources, you would be creating a lot more work for yourself.  You would have to document sources according to MLA format.  That means parenthetical citations for others’ ideas, whether or not the wording is borrowed.  If wording is borrowed (this could mean as little as two consecutive words), then it means using quote marks and parenthetical citations  Lastly, in addition to the citations, you would need to provide a list of “Works Cited” (similar to a bibliography).  Failure to follow MLA guidelines is plagiarism, which has serious consequences.

 On plagiarism:  In my view, what you may gain (a couple points on your average or a few minutes saved) in no way compares to what you may lose (your grade, a potential learning experience, your reputation, and most importantly, your integrity). 

 So stay away from outside sources.  Just get into the movie and think about it, and empty your brain onto the paper.

 I’m looking forward to reading your responses!

 Mr. Welden