What is the Studio System — Hollywood’s Studio Era Explained

Before The Walt Disney Company owned a bunch of companies, and before other film studios and companies were being bought by other big companies, there was the classic Hollywood studio system. What is the studio system? While it would be easy to simplify it as the time when movie studios owned the theaters that would… Continue reading What is the Studio System — Hollywood’s Studio Era Explained

What is Film Noir? A Brief History with Examples from Cinema

You’ve probably heard the term ‘film noir’ hundreds of times. You may associate it with detectives and femme fatales running around in black and white. But what is film noir, really? Well, it turns out it’s not so clear cut, but there are some elements of the style that are fairly obvious. Let’s get into… Continue reading What is Film Noir? A Brief History with Examples from Cinema

What is VistaVision — A History of Widescreen in Hollywood

Before the 1950s, nearly every single movie was in the same 4:3 aspect ratio. But then CinemaScope from 20th Century Fox changed the landscape with widescreen imagery to get people into theaters nationwide. Pretty soon, other studios were making their own widescreen movies, including Paramount Pictures with VistaVision. What is VistaVision, you ask? Well, it… Continue reading What is VistaVision — A History of Widescreen in Hollywood

Movie Censorship — A History of Film Censorship in America

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said in his 383 U.S. 463 (1966) ruling that “censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in itself.” And Stewart was right: censorship has reflected social culture (or the lack thereof) since the dawn of time. Cinema has not been immune to censorship. In fact, cinema has been subject… Continue reading Movie Censorship — A History of Film Censorship in America

What is a Spaghetti Western — History and Legacy Explained

Cowboys, outlaws, deserts, shanty towns, and gunslinging. These are familiar elements seen in the genre known as the Western, in both literature and cinema. But for many genre fans, it specifically refers to Spaghetti Westerns, a genre that emerged during the 1960s. Traditional Westerns they weren’t, as they were often low budget, featured violence and… Continue reading What is a Spaghetti Western — History and Legacy Explained

What is VR Film — The Future of VR Movies Explained

The goal of cinematic storytelling has always been empathy; to move the viewer as close as possible to the story. First, we used moving pictures, then color and sound, 3D, IMAX, CGI, and animation. Now filmmakers are looking towards virtual reality as a way to further immerse an audience. With this technology, the viewer moves… Continue reading What is VR Film — The Future of VR Movies Explained

20 Mise en Scène Elements Every Filmmaker Needs to Know

Mise en scène can seem foreign, even to filmmakers, film critics, and movie buffs. Why is it important? How do you pronounce it? And what is mise en scène anyway. Grasping mise en scène is critical for anyone who makes or seriously watches any kind of visual content. For directors and producers, mise en scène… Continue reading 20 Mise en Scène Elements Every Filmmaker Needs to Know

What is Dystopian Fiction? Definition and Characteristics

From movies to novels to video games, dystopian fiction is consistently one of the hottest genres in entertainment. But given its broad scope and variety of forms, the dystopian genre can sometimes be hard to categorize. What is dystopian fiction? What are its defining features and how can we account for its enduring popularity? This… Continue reading What is Dystopian Fiction? Definition and Characteristics

What Happened to Every Frame a Painting? — A Eulogy

In April 2014, a YouTube channel named Every Frame a Painting was created and it changed the course of film criticism forever. Over the course of three years, Every Frame a Painting founders Taylor Ramos and Tony Zhou released 28 video essays addressing everything in film from the style of Akira Kurosawa to the editing… Continue reading What Happened to Every Frame a Painting? — A Eulogy

The Best Independent Films to Inspire Your Craft Right Now (2021)

The independent film landscape has monumentally shifted since Spike Lee, Quentin Tarantino, and Steven Soderbergh were the collective mavericks of independent cinema. And what qualifies as independent is still changing. What is an independent film? Even though the definition fluctuates with time and fashion, key characteristics persist. No matter how top independent films are financed,… Continue reading The Best Independent Films to Inspire Your Craft Right Now (2021)

What is Queer Theory? Definition and Examples for Filmmakers

Queer theory is a complex, multi-faceted subject that’s difficult to cover in a single post. So we’re going to try to break it down into more digestible pieces. We’ll give you a basic overview of Queer Theory, but mainly we’ll provide some examples from films and TV shows that have been groundbreaking in terms of… Continue reading What is Queer Theory? Definition and Examples for Filmmakers

Elements of Suspense — Building Suspense with Film Technique

Every film needs suspense. At the foundational level, a story poses a question in the beginning and answers it by the end. The suspense is the anticipation for that answer. But what are the elements of suspense films? And how do we go about building suspense with film technique? Film is the perfect medium for… Continue reading Elements of Suspense — Building Suspense with Film Technique

30 Best Zombie Movies Ever (and Where to Watch Them)

From the 1930s to the modern era, zombie movies have terrified audiences. They’ve also occupied a unique position in the horror genre in that they can serve as sociopolitical allegories. But of course, there are some zombie movies that exist solely to make you laugh. For this list, we’re ranking the 30 best zombie movies of… Continue reading 30 Best Zombie Movies Ever (and Where to Watch Them)

How Christopher Nolan Films use Circles to Warp Sight & Sound

Best Nolan MoviesNolan’s Directing StyleNolan Directing Tips Nolan’s CirclesNolan’s Shot List Understanding how Christopher Nolan approaches filmmaking is an important step to improving your own skills, but his films are complicated puzzles that are built to confuse and perplex viewers. His use of visual and narrative circles creates intricate and layered films. In this post,… Continue reading How Christopher Nolan Films use Circles to Warp Sight & Sound

What is Mise en Scène in Film: Definition and Examples

Mise en scène. It’s a fancy looking phrase that you’ve seen floating around many film-related articles, carrying with it an immediate sense of snobbery. Don’t worry, you’re not the first person to ask “what is mise en scene?” After today, you’ll have a better sense of this concept and its fundamentals so you can apply… Continue reading What is Mise en Scène in Film: Definition and Examples

What is Postmodernism? Definition and Examples for Filmmakers

The term “postmodernism” gets thrown around a lot. Anything that seems to buck normal conventions or breaks the fourth wall tends to receive the label, but what is postmodernism really? For this blog, we’ll look into the history of postmodernism as well as its place in the cinematic landscape today. We’ll examine several postmodern films,… Continue reading What is Postmodernism? Definition and Examples for Filmmakers