Best New Video Essays: Your 2017 Cinema Studies Curriculum
This list reminds us what a big year it has been for video essays.
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.
- Writing Dialogue for Normal People
- What Makes a Perfect Movie Villain?
- How to Use MacGuffins Like a Real Boss
- Is Cinderella a Damsel in Distress or a Hellacious Heroine?
- The Humanity in Films About AI
- The Sympathetic Characters of Edgar Wright
- Blue Ruin and Green Room - The Art of Suspense
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.
- Is Orson Welles the Greatest Director of all Time?
- How Hayao Miyazaki Utilizes both Physical and Metaphysical Space in His Films
- Taika Waititi is Really Good at Relatable Films
- Emulate Paul Thomas Anderson's Shot List
- Keep it Simple Like Robert Bresson
- You Know it's a Paul Thomas Anderson Film if...
- You Know it's a Darren Aronofsky Film if...
- You Know it's a Sofia Coppola Film if...
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.
- Framing Strong Women: Reed Morano's Work in The Handmaid's Tale
- How Shallow Depth of Focus is Used in The Handmaid's Tale
- CineFix's "Best Shots of All Time" series
- The Stillness of the Coen Brothers
- Why the Restrained Framing of 'Fargo' is the Key to its Storytelling
- Creative POV Shots in Iconic Films
- A Masterclass in Staging: 12 Angry Men
- How David Fincher Hijacks Your Eyes
- Meet Stanley Kubrick's Beloved Cameras
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.
- How Does Horror Comedy Work?
- Explore the Horrible Delightfulness of the Tragicomedy
- The Big Short Director Adam McKay's Thoughts on Dumb Comedy
- Here's a Thought:A Nightmare Before Christmas is a Thanksgiving Movie
- Tobe Hooper Goes Beyond Genre
- What Was That?! Oh, it Was Just the Paranoid Thriller
- Get Out: The Importance of Empathy in Horror Films
- Why Superhero Movies Should (and Will) Die
Editing and Beyond
The final stage of production: your last chance to get it right! Here's how you can jazz up your edit.
- Creative Transitions in Stranger Things 2
- Why Our Brains Don't Explode When We See a Film Cut
- A Simple Equation That Will Teach You an Important Lesson on Editing
- Why You Should Let Your Edits "Breathe"
- Case Study: Requiem for a Dream and the Mastery of Editing
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.
- The Unofficial Reading List fromCaptain Fantastic
- Wes Anderson: Set Design
- The Power of a Scorsese Cameo
- Moonlight: Breaking Down an Oscar-Winning Film
- What Milk Symbolizes in Movies
- Breaking the Fourth Wall
Screw it...let's skip class
Because sometimes school's for fools.
- The Royal Tenenbaums Set to Early 2000s Pop Hits
- Rushmore Set to '90s Pop Rock Hits
- A Sweet Mashup of Psycho Shower Scene Parodies
- Why Richie Rich is the Coolest
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.