We've all gotten into a debate about a movie with our friends. One says it sucks, another says it's great, and they go back and forth. If your friends are anything like mine, it probably gets personal after that.

But that's not the way it should go.

If you want to work in Hollywood, be a critic, or make films or TV shows, you should know how to speak about them in an educated way.

Late last year, I went on a rant about how important media literacy was to your film and TV career, and I'm back to tell you about this incredible course I watched FOR FREE on YouTube. It helped me in my ongoing journey to understand how to write and talk about filmmaking.

It's from video essayist Patrick (H) Willems, and it's spectacular. Over about 90 minutes, he takes you through the ins and outs of the process, theories, and coherent ways to make an argument. 

Check out this amazing video from Willems, and let's talk after.

Learn How To Analyze Movies With An Extensive Course

What I loved about that video was how it guided you through ways to break down and study a movie. It's not just about pot or characters but about the choices the filmmakers made in everything from lenses to music to the very genre of the plot.

If you watch that video, there's not much more for me to explain - Willems does it much better than I could. But I drew up a little cheat sheet for you if you wanted to practice analyzing films and TV shows at home. I use these whenever I write about film here.

And I hope it helps you too.

Tips for Analyzing a Movie or TV Show:

  1. Plot: Examine the storyline, conflicts, and themes presented.

  2. Character Development: Evaluate the characters, their motivations, and how they change over time.

  3. Cinematography: Analyze the visual style, camera angles, and lighting.

  4. Sound: Consider the soundtrack, sound effects, and dialogue.

  5. Direction: Evaluate the director's choices, such as shot composition and pacing.

  6. Acting: Assess the performances of the actors, particularly regarding their characters.

  7. Historical Context: Analyze the film in the context of the time period in which it was made.

  8. Cultural Significance: Consider the impact of the film on society and culture.

  9. Personal Response: Reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and opinions about the film.

Remember, the goal is to develop a critical and nuanced understanding of the film. Avoid making overly simplistic or subjective evaluations. 

The point of art is not only to explore someone else's vision but also to dig into your own. What does the material make you feel? what can it help you understand? What can you discover about yourself? 

Leave your tips and tricks for film analysis in the comments. 

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