Review: A Short Guide to Writing About Film

Review: A Short Guide to Writing About Film

New to writing about film? Then this book, A Short Guide to Writing About Film, is a lifesaver. It was assigned to me in one of my first college film courses, and I am sure I will return to it during my future studies.

Writing about the movies necessitates similar skills to those needed when writing about literature, but it also requires a knowledge of tools not used on the page. While symbolism, flashbacks, and others appear in both mediums, some strategies such as close-ups, Dutch angles, metaphors, and alliteration appear most purely in only one form or the other. Author Timothy Corrigan helps students cross this bridge from how they have written for years to what is now required of them.

This quick-read offers up all the basics for writing about film. It gives a list of resources beneficial to research, recommendations for how to take notes while watching movies, and tips for editing. One section focuses on explaining cinematic terms, while another lists different lenses through which to write about film (feministically, historically, etc.)

Also useful are the example student essays included at the end of most chapters. A common issue when analyzing a subject is merely summarizing it. Reading the examples can give students an idea of how to balance the support needed to make a point about a film without complete summarization. They can also give an idea of how to integrate parts of the movie into an essay.

The book, like this review, is brief and to the point. Unlike some other books about the process of writing, it avoids becoming so vague that is loses its own point. Though at some points it could afford some additional explanation, overall I recommend. 9/10.


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