Movies are dreams. They stem from the imagination of writers, producers, directors, and actors — all of whom invite us into their world and ask us to consider seeing life in a different way.
Movies are persuasion. We’ve all seen a thousand movies, and we all know the kind of movies we like. We probably don’t realize, though, that movies are categorized to sell, and each type of movie is called a “genre”. You seen “genres’ all over the place. You go to Blockbuster, Netflix, or iTunes and what do you see? Action-Adventure, Drama, Documentary, Romantic Comedy, Horror. Each of these movies speaks to a different audience, yet each of them relies on the same techniques to convince the audience they should spend their time and money to sit within their dream.
Movies are products. Film as Lit looks to show you the movies, but also aims to put you in the mind of the director (the storyteller), the actors (the characters), the cinematographer (the designer). By the end of the class, you will understand how scripts are put together, how scenes are shot, how light, music, and camera angles manipulate you as a viewer and cause an emotional response designed to bring you back for moe.
By the end of the class, you will become a critic: someone who can watch a movie, recognize the plot, see the scene within the scene and clearly communicate (in writing and speaking) why someone should spend their time and money to spend two hours in another person’s dream. As we do, I invite you to dream along with the dreams, but also I want you to take a deep look the tricks of the trade. Not to make you crusty old people who don’t dare to dream, but to make you more discerning of the stories that bombard you every day of your life, that influence your culture, and that — as much as anything — influence you most if you never stop to think about them.
* Please note the majority of these on-line exercises come as a result of two books: John Golden’s Reading in the Dark and William Costanzo’s Great Films and How to Teach Them