Some students see Introduction to Film on their schedule of upcoming classes and get excited at the prospect of being able to do something fun — something they already do, like watch movies — and get college credit for it. Perhaps they’re even looking forward to learning more about the process of filmmaking, digging deeper into how their favorite genre works, or understanding more about the skills of their favorite director.
Other students might have some of the same positive associations, but still wonder why they are taking the class. After all, they aren’t majoring in film. How can what this course teaches possibly relate to a career in Information Technology or Criminal Justice or Organizational Management?
Whether you walk into ENG225: Introduction to Film already bursting with a deep engagement and appreciation for movies or with an equally deep skepticism over how the class connects to your major and career field, know this: the class is set up to meet you where you are and provide you with the tools you need to succeed.
Benefits of Studying Film
Films and their deeper meanings can be a reflection of our lives. The careful consideration of a film and applying to it the skills that we all have available to us is an enjoyable, useful addition to a full life. Film is a good starting point for learning and demonstrating critical evaluation. Through reflecting on and analyzing not only what we see on-screen but also how it is shown to us — the meaning and also how the meaning is made — we develop important analytical skills that make us stronger intellectually, emotionally, and ethically.
Studying film is also one part of media literacy, or the understanding of how media affects our lives. We’re bombarded with a constant stream of messages daily through advertising, art, and entertainment, whether it’s online or in the everyday world. More than ever, it is important for us to be able to make choices and to exert some measure of control over the forces that are working to manipulate us. Media literacy can help us see how what we perceive on the surface as entertainment may actually be telling us numerous things about its creators, the culture, and the time it was created.
Armed with this knowledge, we will become more sophisticated viewers of film, which not only leads to a richer enjoyment of a movie, but also allows for a more sophisticated analysis of the elements behind what we see on-screen. Through this, we may learn more about ourselves, the world around us, and the enduring ideals and contradictions inherent in human nature itself, making us better able to hear our own voice in the din — and to make our own voice heard!
What Will I Learn in ENG 225?
Introduction to Film moves beyond the idea of movies as simple entertainment and prepares you for deeper levels of critical thinking and analysis. In any course, it’s important to look beyond the immediate subject matter — in this case, film — and consider the bigger picture.
By the end of the course, you will have opened yourself up to a range of different stories and lives — the histories and struggles — presented in film, and you will challenge yourself to consider the implications of an enriched social and personal awareness.
Skills such as analysis and critical thinking help to develop a more profound understanding of cultural and aesthetic awareness. And because movies are made by and about people from all over the world, from all walks of life, Introduction to Film allows students to gain compassionate insight from diverse cultures, leading to increased understanding of all people.
And that's the real power of film. While the work you will do in this class will demonstrate your mastery of our targeted course learning outcomes, as well as the broader undergraduate institutional outcomes, you should think of film as the lens we use to help develop and hone critical-thinking skills, which can impact your academic studies, as well as your long-term career goals.
Nathan Pritts is Lead Faculty in UAGC’s Center for Enhancement of First-Year Experience in the College of Arts and Sciences.