Film Appreciation Course: A journey into the world of film and filmmaking

At last, a course that everyone has been asking for, and is now available as a correspondence course! Designed for absolute beginners to budding cinephiles by Daniel Dercksen, a film journalist of 40 years, The Writing Studio’s film appreciation course will give you a thorough grounding in all things film.

If you love film, then this course will help you learn more about film analysis, film reviews and discussions, period genres and movements in film style, and more.

It will provide you with an informed opinion that will hopefully make your enjoyment of the film medium deeper.

This course may be useful for professionals who need to be informed and conversant about the film industry; for the layman who wants to know as much as he/she can about the world of film for personal enjoyment; or for those who want to venture into film journalism, film criticism of filmmaking.

During the course, you will take a closer look at the latest film releases as well as classics and go behind the scenes of how these films were made.

  • To be able to appreciate there needs to be an ‘understanding’ and that is what film appreciation is all about for me.
  • To help you understand the key dynamics of what film is made up of – technology, art, industry.
  • To really understand what contemporary cinema is made up of we need to look at what went before because the foundation of the past is based on the present and the future.

At the end of the course, you will write a review that will be evaluated.

You will then have the necessary tools of writing reviews that are meaningful and rewarding, and venture into the world of filmmaking as a screenwriter, filmmaker or work as a Script Supervisor

The course is divided into 12 interactive and practical units that look at:

  • A steady diet of celluloid: Here we look at why films are popular, why films are made, 12 factors that influence what we see and explore the differences between film and television.
  • The screenplay: Take a closer look at how a screenplay becomes the blueprint for a film and read some screenplays to gain insight into the words that inspire action.
  • The writing process versus the film process: An interesting journey into how words are turned into images and how each process contributes to what we eventually experience on the big screen.
  • Deconstructing film: Examine how films are conceptualised and what inspires films to be made.
  • Genre and genre conventions: Each genre imposes certain conventions on film and the choice of genre sharply determines and limits what’s possible within a story.
  • Theme: It is the glue that holds the story together and resonates throughout the telling of the story. It makes writing meaningful. It opens up the story’s inner value system and reflects the characters’ desires, conflicts, and actions that gives us a reason why we care about how the story turns out and reveals itself at the end.
  • Characters: All memorable and successful films have one thing in common. Not genre. Not budgets. Not even a good story. They all have memorable characters that have become part of our culture. Character is the essential foundation of a film. It is the heart, soul and nervous system of the story. It is through characters that audiences experience emotions, through the characters they are touched deeply.
  • Structure: Structure is the most important element in film. A good story always has a strong line of dramatic action; it goes somewhere, moves forward, step by step, toward the resolution. You will explore the relationship between character and structure and look at composition – the ordering and linking of scenes, transitional values and turning points
  • The plot and line of dramatic action: Content is the story and context holds the story together, the plot, or line of dramatic action. We will look at genre plots and 4 traditional plots.
  • How to read a film: You will explore the language and visual dynamics of film and see how visual imagery offers an emotional journey into film.
  • Visual dynamics of character: You will take a closer look at how filmmakers make use of visual dynamics to take us into the mindscape of characters.
  • How to review a film: If you want to become a master at seeing films, it is important to start seeing films outside your world view and from an objective point of view. It is important to always keep in mind that no matter how awful a film might be from your own experience and worldview, each film has a very specific audience. It is essential for you to grasp this understanding and take a seat inside the zone of the audience and outside your comfort zone.

For more information on our Film Appreciation Course and to register, Contact Us