Taking Notes on Film

Taking Notes on Film

All the technical stuff we’ve been studying is designed to create an impact on the viewer and to hopefully move them to catharsis; we want to keep this in mind with every film we watch. Great movies have the power to make us better people for having watched them. Does [insert film title] accomplish these goals? Does it bring about catharsis and/or inspire us in any way? How did it do that?  

 

Watch the movie and enjoy it. But zoom in your focus; don’t just sit back and let it wash over you. Take it in. What are the movie makers doing and how are they doing it? Here are some aspects you should pay especial attention to:

  • Camera shots and angles: What do you see? What is the impact on the meaning/ message/ viewer?
  • Composition: How do the objects in the frame, the arrangement, the darkness and lightness contribute to meaning? Write what you see even if it isn’t immediately apparent. Sometimes things have symbolic value and you might not know it until you take in the the mis-en scene (work as a whole).
  • Music and Sounds: What do you hear? How does it contribute to mood and tone?
  • Important lines: What words, phrases and ideas stand out to you? Were you particularly moved by something? Did you laugh? Did you cry?
  • Actors: What stands out to you about the actors? Their actions, their facial expressions. How did the actors deliver the lines? Did it impact your experience or understanding?
  • Plotline: What is the movie about? What is it’s intended message? What impression/ experience/ idea did the creators of the film want you to leave with?