Jump to content

Help score my issue/argument essays 1-6?


Recommended Posts

The following was a timed essay I took on one of the Princeton practice tests. 


A movie producer sent the following memo to the head of the movie studio.


“We need to increase the funding for the movie Working Title by 10% in order to ensure a quality product. As you know, we are working with a first-time director, whose only previous experience has been shooting commercials for a shampoo company. Since the advertising business is notoriously wasteful, it stands to reason that our director will expect to be able to shoot take after take, without concern for how much time is being spent on any one scene. In addition, while we have saved money by hiring relatively inexperienced assistant producers and directors, this savings in salary will undoubtedly translate to greater expenditures in paying the actors and unionized crew overtime for the extra hours they will spend on the set waiting for the assistant directors and producers to arrange things. If we don’t get this extra money, the movie is virtually assured to be a failure.”


Although it may be true that increasing the funding for the movie "Working Title" is imperative, the memo the movie producer constructed makes some assumptions and jumps to the this conclusion prematurely. Until certain issues are investigated further, it doesn't make sense to increase the funding for the movie. 


Firstly, just because the director lacks experience outside the realm of shooting commercials for a shampoo company, does not mean he lacks the knowledge or abilities necessary to produce a successful movie. Perhaps he is the greatest producer of all time. Perhaps he was just working for the shampoo company as a way for him temporarily meet financial obligations, but it is significantly below his level of expertise. Perhaps he was actually trained by some of the greatest movie producers in the country and is fully prepared and ready to take on the task of "Working Title". We just don't know. We don't know enough about the background of the producer to make the conclusion he's incapable. 


Additionally, the conclusion that because the advertising business is notoriously wasteful, the direct will shoot multiple takes without concern or the time and money being spent is unfounded. This is an example of stereotyping. It may not even be true that the advertising business is wasteful. We are just taking the movie producer's statement as fact. Without actual numbers presented, we don't know how legitimate this statement is. It would be the same as saying because West Virginia has the lowest scores on an education assessment, everyone from West Virginia is uneducated.


Furthermore, the director may be the most astringently cheap director in the world! Simply because he comes from a certain group, does not mean he reflects that group. Although it could be the case that the producer's statement of the advertising business is true and the director has learned some bad habits about the way to film, it's premature to assume it is until a further investigation is had.


Thirdly, the statement that the money saved from hiring inexperienced producers and directors will translate to greater expenditures in having to pay the crew and actors overtime from their inexperience is unwarranted. It could be the case that more experienced crews, although more efficient, require higher operating costs. Perhaps because they charge a higher wage, demand better actors, mandate more developed sets, etc...It could end up being much cheaper to pay overtime for the inexperienced crews inefficiency than it would be to pay for a more experienced crew. Adding on to that point, it may not even be the case they are inefficient.They could come together brilliantly as a team. Perhaps they have great leadership, Maybe there are a few people within that crew that have all the experience the world has to offer. We just don't know enough about them to conclude that they are going to fail. However, it isn't irrational for one to assume a crew with lesser experience is going to have higher operating costs than a more experienced crew in certain arenas, we just don't know enough about costs holistically to make the assumption they are altogether going to be more expensive. 


Lastly, the "10%" number the movie producer seems to be arbitrarily putting forth may not even have any effect. What if the crew, from their inexperience, aren't able to extract that much value from the increase in funding? What if 10% isn't enough, when it comes to a movie, to have that much of an effect? What if 10% isn't enough to take a movie from being poor or average into a "quality product". It may be true that 10% could go a long way in terms of providing the necessary resources and covering the costs to give the team exactly what it needs, but we just don't know. The cost specifics definitely need to be further investigated before we know how effective "10%" will be. 


Based on these reasons, the conclusion that the movie is "virtually assured to be a failure" is unjustified. Many more questions need to be answered before this conclusion is made. It would be wise for the movie producer to change his wording around and get permission to increase the funding, if that time comes. This would allow the possibility of saving money that may otherwise have no effect and giving the team a chance to display their true colors. 

Edited by westy3789
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A person who knowingly commits a crime has broken the social contract and should not retain any civil rights or the right to benefit from his or her own labor.


Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim and the reason on which that claim is based


The following was a timed essay I took on one of the Princeton practice tests:


After investigating the merits of the claim that a person who knowingly commits a crime has broken the social contract and therefore should not retain any civil rights or the right to benefit from their labor it becomes apparent that there are situations in which the claim makes sense and in which it doesn't. Generally speaking, a person should lose certain rights if they violate the laws which govern society; however, to fully agree or disagree, would fail to take into consideration some important points.


I define the "social contract" as the laws and rules that govern a society. These laws are meant to create a system that's safe, sustainable, and civilized. It's important for that the citizens within that system follow those rules. If they didn't, the system would implode, collapsing inward violently. Therefore, it makes sense to have laws and consequences for those laws that prevent that system from destabilizing. 


It's important for us to acknowledge that certain crimes violate the social contract more than others. The severity of the crime, in return, should be correlated to the severity of the punishment. If we took away the civil rights and the rights to benefit from labor, regardless of the severity of the crime committed, then there would be many of us without those rights. For instance, how many people have gotten a speeding ticket at some point in their lives? Most of us have. A speeding ticket is technically a violation of the social contract. If there were no speeding guidelines, then there would be many more accidents. It's important that a certain social contract exist between drivers, so that they can expect safety while driving their vehicles. However, even though speeding is a violation of the social contract, how many of us still speed on occasion? Most of us do. Yet, we all feel relatively safe while driving. As you can see, speeding doesn't dismantle the system entirely. A more severe crime, like rape, theft, or murder, would however. If all of us took whatever we wanted without paying businesses wouldn't be able to make enough money to pay their overhead expenses. In return, it becomes obvious that just because a person "knowingly commits a crime and has broken the social contract", doesn't mean we should strip their rights entirely. 


Furthermore, the claim generalizes the label "people". This includes all humans. Should we punish adults in the same way we punish children and teenagers? Even though we all are governed under the same guidelines, there's a reason there are different consequences based on our age. Children and adolescents don't have the same level of maturity as adults do, making the likelihood of making a mistake greater. It would be unjustifiable to punish a 15 year old who stole a car in the same way a 55 year old man would be punished. 


If we were to strip one's civil rights and and benefits from their labor, simply for knowingly committing a crime, there would be no incentive for them to improve. That's why it's important that people have the ability to earn back their rights after a certain time passes where no crimes have been committed. Even though stealing a car is admittedly a heinous act, would be fair to strip someone of their rights for the rest of their lives? If they cannot benefit from labor, what incentive do they have in working? 


If we prevented all people who committed crimes from benefiting from work, then it would be counterproductive to the very purpose of stripping their rights to begin with: to uphold and sustain a civilized system. Since the majority of us knowingly commit crimes, most of us would not be allowed to benefit from labor and our labor force would not be great enough to support the economy. However, that's not to say we shouldn't strip people of their civil rights and benefits from their labor in certain instances. If we did not have a repercussion for our action, then people would be less willing to abide by the social contract. Yet as you can see from the specific examples above, it's important that each situation be looked at uniquely. If we try and generalize that rule to "all people across all crimes", there would be many more negative than positive effects. 


As you can see, there are situations where stripping someone of their civil rights and benefits from labor make sense, but if we were to make this a permanent rules across all conditions and people, the very system we are attempting to strengthen would collapse. 

Edited by westy3789
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. See our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use