If I had to use one word to describe this year in video essays it would be "growth." We've seen the number of video essays grow astronomically. We've seen the number of video essayists grow astronomically. We've seen video essayists grow in popularity, even in celebrity. Some have grown to become the creators of that which they have been analyzing all of these years, as in with kogonada's feature debut Columbus, while others have grown out of the space they helped create, like Tony Zhou.

As 2017 comes to a lumbering close, we get to look back on all of the video essays that dug deep and opened our eyes to all the fantastic cinematic knowledge hidden beyond the high visibility of entertainment and surface-level criticism. Here is your 2017 Cinema Studies curriculum, complete with links to our write-ups of each informative video:

Screenwriting and Writing for the Screen

A good film can't come from a bad script. Hopefully, these video essays will give you a few tools to ensure that you don't write one of them.

Directing: How to Earn That Khaki Safari Vest

You can't just go to Cabela's and buy a khaki safari vest; you've gotta earn it through years and years of doing what great directors have done. Luckily, we've covered some video essays that break down the creative philosophies and cinematic approaches of some of the best directors in history.

Cinematography and You

Creating images is more than just pointing and clicking. You've got to tell a story with those images, and these video essays show you how some of the world's best directors and DPs do it on the daily.

Genre Studies: Labeling Stuff Just Because

Genre: what's the big idea? In these video essays, we get to dig into the common tropes, themes, and characteristics of all sorts of genres and subgenres.

Editing and Beyond

The final stage of production: your last chance to get it right! Here's how you can jazz up your edit.


When you need something light and breezy, you know, something you can check out over a latte and a scone...or on the toilet (I don't judge), you can check out these very excellent and very entertaining videos.

Screw it...let's skip class

Because sometimes school's for fools.

This is only a taste of the truly great video essays we have covered over this past year. We encourage you to not only check out the ones that have appeared on No Film School but to also venture out and discover the ones that speak to you.

See all of our 2017 Year-in-Review coverage.