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Aspect Style Guide

We’re thrilled you’re interested in contributing to Aspect

Pieces that do not adhere to the style guidelines listed below will be returned to authors for appropriate revision. In some cases, articles that do not adhere to the style guide may not be considered. To ensure proper adherence to the style guidelines, please consult the guidelines below.

If you have any questions about the house style, please email us at


  • Please use the Oxford/serial comma when writing a list of three or more items. 
  • Em dashes: when using an em dash, insert a space on both sides of the dash. 
  • Contractions: Aspect allows for contractions in both critical essays and other contributing work. On that note, please refrain from using slang or abbreviations. 
  • Apostrophe: if the noun ends with an “S,” just put an apostrophe at the end. E.g.,  Welles’, not Welles’s.
  • Ellipsis: Use three dots with a space on either side. E.g. “She said she likes cats … because she had them growing up.”
  • ‘&’ may be used for names of companies, institutions, etc. (Johnson & Johnson). Otherwise use ‘and’.
  • Spell out percent. Use “%” only in tables


  • Aspect uses American spelling conventions (i.e. “analyze not “analyse”, “color” not “colour”, “contextualize” not “contextualise”). 


  • Spell out numbers below 10, use digits for numbers over 10.
  • Comma is to be used in numbers with four or more digits (e.g. 1,000 not 1000).
  • Always put a number on either side of a decimal point, e.g., 0.6 (not .6)
  • Dates should be written out. E.g. 1930s not 30s. September 1, 1974 not Sept. 1 1974.


  • Any references to texts must be correctly referenced either within the text or in the bibliography, following MLA guidelines (8th edition).
  • Do not list film titles in the bibliography. 
  • Each article should include a Works Cited at the end. Title it “Works Cited” and use MLA guidelines (8th edition). Do not add all caps or bold to the title of your “Works Cited” page.
  • Do not add the online database from which you retrieved the article/book in your citation.
  • Citations should be formatted in alphabetical order, using a hanging indent and single spaced. Still use 12-point Times New Roman. 
  • On the Works Cited page, if there is a text written by the same author, write the second citation with “—” in lieu of the author’s name. 


  • Follow every quote with an in-text citation. 
  • Each quote should be surrounded by quotation marks, the in-text citation, and then the period. E.g. In the essay, she states “film is awesome” (She). 
  • Use double quotation marks for quotes and single quotation marks for quotes within quotes.
  • Quotations that are longer than five lines should be formatted as block quotes. 
  • Block quotes should be italicized. 


  • Discuss what happens in films using the present tense.
  • Make sentences use active, instead of passive, voice. 

Film-specific Rules

  • Film titles should be italicized.
  • At the first mention of a film title, the director’s last name and the year of the film’s release should be listed in parentheses. For example, “Old Joy (Reichardt, 2006) represents an examination of masculinity and nostalgia within the mode of slow cinema.” If the director’s name is in the sentence, only the year in parenthesis is necessary; for example, “Kelly Reichardt’s Old Joy (2006) represents…” After the first mention of a film’s title, the name of the director and the year are no longer necessary.  
  • Upon referencing a director in a sentence for the first time, include first and last name (e.g. Stanley Kubrick or Alfred Hitchcock, not just Kubrick or Hitchcock). After the first mention, only the director’s last name is sufficient.  
  • If the film title is not English, translate it to English on first reference, but put the original title in parenthesis. E.g. Tokyo Story (Tôkyô monogatari, Ozu,1953)
  • The first time you mention a major character’s name, you should list the actor’s name in parenthesis. For example, “Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) ran through the forest.”
  • Avoid language that suggests that “the camera cuts.” Use “the film cuts,” “the director cuts,” or, if specifically detailing the editing of a given film, “the editor cuts.”
  • Place dashes in between mise-en-scène and ensure the proper use of an accent mark. No need to italicize. 
  • Include dash in close-up. 
  • Include forward slash between shot/reverse shot. 
  • Add proper accent marks in film titles and director or actor names. E.g. André Breton. 
  • When analyzing a specific scene, noting the runtime in parenthesis is not necessary. 
  • Genres, such as the musical, horror, or western, are not to be capitalized.
  • Use onscreen and offscreen, not “on-screen,” “on screen,” “off-screen” or “off screen.”

Other Formatting

  • Submit all articles in 12-point Times New Roman font. 
  • Any subheadings should be formatted using 14-point Times New Roman and bolded. 
  • Captions for any pictures should be put in 9-point Times New Roman and bolded. Put period after the caption. 
  • Images should be relevant and appropriate. Do not add “Figure 1” or “Figure 2” to your selected images. 
  • Format all epigraphs in 12-point Times New Roman and italicized.
  • Do not number the article pages.


Your thorough adherence to these guidelines is much appreciated. And, as always, many thanks for your submission to Aspect!