Throughout high school, you were one of those kids who loved watching films. No, not only for Harry Potter or other summer blockbusters. I’m talking about classic films like Chinatown (1974) and Casablanca (1942). Were you the kid who always tried to explain the symbolic meaning behind the last scene in The Graduate (1967) to your friends or can name all the films that Gossip Girl uses to title their episodes (which is quite an impressive list)? Quite plainly, do you aspire to work in, talk about, and even direct film? Even if you are not this kid, but this post so far peaked your interest, maybe you should consider becoming a Film Studies major! This post will explore what some film studies programs are about, the skills you can acquire from this major, as well as possible career paths from it.
What is Film Studies?
Defined by Wesleyan’s Film Studies program, Film Studies is a major that explores how motion picture through cultural, historical, and formal analysis of filmmaking from the production process to the final product. Compared to just production and technical majors, Film Studies examines the underlying meaning, references, and expression of motion film. Most Film Studies programs ask students to understand specific directors such as Alfred Hitchcock (nicked name the “Master of Suspense” such as Psycho) or understand the differences in the creation of documentaries and drama.
What skills do you get from Film Studies?
As a Film Studies major, you will develop strong reading and writing skills from the academic literature you will be reading. The practice of articulating visual media into writing is also a valuable skill to develop. Depending on your concentration, other technical skills you will develop are production skills such as operating equipment and digital editing skills in visual or sound. If your program offers script writing or sound scoring, those are additional specialties that add to your background.
What are possible career paths from Film Studies?
Due to the many skills you can develop as a Film Studies major, there are a lot of different routes you can go. In addition, if you develop further skills in specialized fields such as sound editing, there will be even more opportunities for you. Below are several career paths that are most related to Film Studies. In addition, this is a great article from The Guardian with what you can do with a Film Studies degree.
- Academia (Teacher, Professor)
- Film/Video/Television Editor
- Film Producer
- Production Assistant
- Sound Technician or Editor
What are some good Film Studies programs?
Unlike many other college or university programs, not every college offers a Film Studies program or major. Check with a college that you are interested in if they offer this program before you start apply or worse, arrive to the campus to learn that this program does not exist. Another important piece of advice is to ask the department for alumni and where students go from the program since it might have a large impact of where you go directly after college. Below are several specialized institutes and regular colleges that offer Film Studies to check out. Remember, although Film Studies is a specialized field, it is also important to know what kind of environment you want to be in for the next couple of years. Below is a list of colleges and institutes to check out:
- University of Southern California (USC) – Multiple Concentrations
- NYU – Tisch School of the Arts – Film and Television
- University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) – Film and Television
- Syracuse University – Film
- Wesleyan University – Film Studies