Graduate Blog

Thinking of Film Studies?


If you have been thinking about studying film, then it is likely that you have been subjected to some form of gentle joshing. One of my best friends asked me if there was a McDonalds attached to our department so that we could learn to flip burgers and prepare for our future careers. Not everyone though is so witty. My Head of Year told me that Film Studies was a soft subject. Gonna watch some films are ya? Yes. Yes I am.

You shouldn’t let them put you off. These people forget that the most important part of spending three years at university is enjoyment. Not taking pleasure from what you’re doing for such a stretch really is a waste. A waste of everyone’s time and endeavour.

This blog should sieve out those who are suitable Film candidates from those who are just fanatics. There is a difference.

It’s for you if…

I suppose it all depends on whether you are considering studying a degree based on theory, or one that functions around the practical.

It might sound obvious to say but if you are thinking of undertaking a production degree, then you must consider whether or not you are technologically competent. Furthermore, a course such as this is better suited to those who adapt well to team scenarios.

Here’s a simple test for anyone considering a theory-based degree. Watch Abel Gance’s Napoleon from start to finish. Do you think you could write five thousand words about it? Remember that you will have to scrutinise it again to grasp it’s true understanding. Could you abide doing so? Now view Un Chien Andalou (Luis Bunuel, 1928) . Could you take down five thousand words of analysis on a short piece of twenty-one minutes? I mean, of course you couldn’t now but could you bear to?

The difference between being a big screen fan and a critic is the love of dissection. It’s all well saying ‘I thought that was good’ but would you like to explore why you liked it. Imagine a film is a jigsaw completed. Do you dare to take it apart knowing it will never look the same to you again? If that notion got you excited, welcome aboard.

Note: Production courses will invariably have elements of theory.

What’s involved?

Working with others, working alone, long essays every term, short essays weekly, theorists coming out of your nose, theories coming out of your ears, elbow grease and graft. No, you won’t be cutting out tumours or solving complex equations but commitment and drive is essential.

Get the skills to pay the bills

As well as the clear advantages of being well-versed in techniques, theories and approaches, reading film can be beneficial in other areas too.

You are going to acquire experience that will help you stand out from other hopefuls in a field that is already over-subscribed with wannabes. If you know how to write a succinct yet informative review, a magazine is definitely going to want to read more of your portfolio. If you can garner a comprehensive knowledge of the latest editing software and put that wizardry into action at the drop of a director’s cap, you are going to appear more employable than those who are a dab-hand at Windows Movie Maker.

Working  as part of a team is an essential challenge on anyone’s trajectory. As well as becoming more aware of your status amongst others, you will learn the importance of punctuality and organisation. You will have to grasp when it is necessary to speak to people assertively, and when it is better to approach them more cautiously.

As a graduant you will also be confident in compiling long essays and performing alone in order to complete exercises and tasks.

At the end of the three years, as with any course you have passion for, you will be where you want to be, with the skills you need to ignite your career.

What next?

More hard work and commitment. Don’t you just love it?

About the Author

Thomas Bell Thomas Bell

Graduate of Film Studies at the University of Warwick. Currently snatching every opportunity as a freelance writer. My advice on here always comes from personal experience; I've been to the places, done the things and worn the T-shirts you'd rather not. Let me be a warning to you. Regurgitates Morrissey lyrics (just like everybody else does) and supports Morecambe F.C. (because nobody else will).

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