Recently, I have been taking whatever film courses online that I can find. I’ve been an avid lover of film since I was pretty much born but I never went to film school. In high school, I took film studies courses and those were the best classes I have ever taken in my life. Since that time, I’ve learned as much as I can about the art, except for actually going to school for it. While I know a great deal, challenging oneself and learning more is always something that has driven me. Also, I miss those old film classes I took, back in the day, and wanted something similar.
While taking some classes and talking to others, I was told about this book from two different people.
Ed Sikov’s Film Studies: An Introduction is a great piece of work on the subject. It is, however, exactly what it says: an introduction.
Most of the stuff that Sikov talks about in the book, I already knew. That doesn’t mean that the information isn’t important or useful. This book is incredibly well written and organized and it covers vital areas regarding the actual art of filmmaking. This goes beyond common knowledge. As an introduction, it isn’t for the casual filmgoer, it is for someone who wants to know how to look at or make their own movies. It is an introduction for those who are more serious about the craft.
The book covers different aspects of mise-en-scene, such as camera movement, cinematography and shot-to-shot editing. Later chapters delve into sound, narrative and making a screenplay work for film. It also gets into filmmakers themselves. After that it discusses acting styles and overall performance. It covers film genres, special effects and how to put all the pieces together. Ultimately, the book covers a great deal, which is impressive for being 232 pages.
Film Studies: An Introduction is a pretty quick read, even if some of it may seem heavy. It is a solid primer on where things should start in creating a film. And while I know a great deal of the things covered in the book, there is still a lot of new knowledge to digest. I only wish that the author would follow this up or make it the start of a series.
For the price, this book is more valuable than many of the similar textbooks out there.