Film Studies

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Articles on Film Studies:
   Major in Film Studies
   A future in Film Studies

Major in Film Studies

Article by Rachelle Wiggins

“When we create, it pleases God, because He sees us reflecting his image. He sees us ‘imaging’ him to the rest of the world. God loves to see his image shine throughout the world.”  ~Stephen Altrogge

When friends sit around talking about movies their eyes light up, they laugh about identifiable characters and repeat funny lines. We watch movies in order to experience a real or imagined story “come alive” before our eyes. Film has the potential to draw an audience in and provide inspiration, humor, escape, insight and healing to those who watch with engagement. It delights our senses, opens our mind, engages our emotions and influences our beliefs. As a film studies major, you will delve into both the theoretical and practical sides of filmmaking. You will view, discuss, and write about films with a critical eye that analyzes social, cultural and historical impact. You will also develop the technical expertise needed to work in the filmmaking industry, including skills in camera operation, staging, lighting, audio production, and editing.

Chances are, if you are considering the fast-growing major of film studies you not only love movies, but also have a combination of tech talent and artistic flare. In addition, there are other highly desirable traits for a film studies major. One is the ability to communicate effectively in both oral and written form. A huge part of filmmaking is about conveying a specific message to a special audience. It’s important to be a good listener, to observe detail and pick up on subtle nuance so that you correctly “read” the intention and purpose a producer or director has for a project. You must also be able to clearly explain a plan, process or concept to teammates. A film studies major must strike a fine balance between flexibility and self-discipline, and the ability to work independently yet also in collaboration with others. Finally, determination and resilience are necessary in a field that tends to be highly competitive. 

As a film studies major you may choose an area of specialization, depending on your school. Some of these include film journalism, screenwriting or media and culture. You may have the opportunity to write scripts or work on short film projects which may be entered into festivals or competitions. It’s possible you may participate in an internship on a set with a local media company or cinema. You’ll likely complete a senior project on some dimension of film production. Some of the classes you’ll take might include:

  • Acting and directing
  • Survey of world cinema
  • Film criticism 
  • Location shooting
  • Film theory
  • Broadcast production
  • Film history
  • Visual storytelling
  • Film technology

Film studies majors end up in a wide-range of film-related fields including advertising, marketing, digital design, education, public relations and communications. If your long term goal is to direct or produce, a bachelor’s degree in film studies makes it possible to take a mid-level job in production work as an assistant producer or editor and work your way up. There are many employment opportunities in the technical end of production including lighting or sound specialist, special effects technician, prop maker, make-up artist, costume designer, rerecording mixer, cinematographer and colorizing technician.  Other film-related careers include:

  • Casting assistant
  • Film critic
  • Location manager
  • T.V. production coordinator 
  • Film curator/archivist 
  • Talent agent 
  • Script supervisor
  • Film distributor 

If you are excited to learn about filmmaking from all angles: creative art form, technical craft and commercial business, and desire to engage the culture through storytelling with messages of hope, truth and purpose then prepare to jump into what God has for you in the exciting major of film studies!