Com 128: Film Appreciation

Fall 2009, SIC


Taking notes on the films we watch during and after the screenings is essential and mandatory.  In some cases, if I have you reading about a film in our The Art of Watching Films  textbook before we screen the film, you might even want to make a short list of things to look for in your notes prior to the screening.


I am aware that it is difficult taking notes in the dark, so here are some tips on how to take notes on film, as well as what to take notes about.



  1. A pen light or some other small clip light can be very useful in taking notes during the film, and I welcome you bringing that equipment to class.  Cell phones are not allowed.
  2. Only hand-written notes are allowed during screenings.  My suggestion is to trust your handwriting, and WRITE LARGE.  Look at your note-taking skills on film as a work in process—by the end of the semester you will be much better at writing in the dark, and those notes will come in handy when you go to re-organize your thoughts on those films for your writing.
  3. Also, take notes after the film.  Each time a film ends in this course, there should be a period of five to ten minutes that you use to simply jot down your impressions, interpretations, or the significant visual motifs that you noticed.
  4. Don’t worry about penmanship—taking notes as you go, even if you can’t read them later, will help you to solidify in your memory the significant aspects of the film. 


Remember, the films that we watch in this class cannot be truly studied without repeated viewings and detailed notes.  For most of you, these will be your first screenings of these films, so try to catch as much as you can.  This is not passive weekend movie viewing that we are engaging in here.  There is as much to discover in each one of these films as you are willing to give over to it as a viewer, so take notes exhaustively, and begin to develop your critical eye.