Shocker: Film Studies Really Does Involve Studying

People that have no idea what studying film is like seem to know a whole lot about it. I’ve been told my minor is “easy” and “all you do is watch movies”.

Why is it that when I tell people I’m taking film classes they hold it in such poor regard? Film is the art form of the modern world. Studying film is just as complicated as studying a novel. To the current generation, films could be held in the same regard as books. If all a film student does is “watch movies”, then all an English student does is “read books”. How many teenagers can you find that like to read for fun? Now, see how many you can find that watch movies for fun. The difference is astounding. And yet, when I tell people I want to analyze and make movies, they treat it as a joke.

The approach to studying a film is very similar to the way in which we study literature. Each requires a deconstruction of its parts. We search for the author’s symbolism in novels the same way we question a directors particular shots. The only difference is one is written down on pages, the other visually presented on screen. Either may be enjoyed leisurely or critically analyzed.

There is such a severe misunderstanding of what “film studies” means. According to Wikipedia, “Film studies is an academic discipline that deals with various theoretical, historical, and critical approaches to films. It is sometimes subsumed within media studies and is often compared to television studies.”

As a film study student, not only do I watch films, I also analyze them, learn different shots and camera movements, study cinematography, write essays, identify themes, memorize directors and their films, construct critiques, relate films to different cultures…those are just a few of the pieces of the film study puzzle.

Combine all of that with a comprehensive understanding of the film industry and you have more than “just watching movies”.







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