Here at Appalachian State University my self-designed concentration is in film studies. I knew there was an English major with a concentration in film, but that would not have given me what I really wanted. After figuring that out I looked around at different majors to see if there was another way to study film, one of the majors I looked at was the Communications major, but that was geared more towards television production. I even considered transferring schools until someone told me about the Interdisciplinary Studies program. I looked into it and immediately made an appointment with Richard Carp. After the meeting I had a vague idea of the classes I wanted to take because I already knew all the film classes from the English department. What I really want to study is the technical aspect of film because that really interests me, and to do that I must pull from different departments and connect them. I am pulling classes from the English department, the Curriculum and Instruction department, the Theatre and possibly the Communications departments, with my main focus being on the technical side of film.
I had not figured out that I wanted to study the technical aspect of film my first couple of semesters here, so I was focused on taking all of the classes I had to in order to graduate. After putting a little more thought into it I remembered a class I was placed into in high school. At the beginning of my sophomore year of high school one class I wanted to take was full so the school placed me in a literature and film class. Looking back that was the best thing that could have happened to me. That started my interest in film classes offered at Appalachian. I took the “Introduction to Film” class with Dr. Craig Fischer and I was hooked. I remember asking him one day after class if there was any way to study film outside of the English department. He was the one who told me about the Interdisciplinary Studies department and how students before me had wanted to do the same thing. He also gave me recommendations of teachers and classes in other departments that would help me.
The classes I am taking from the English department are “Introduction to Film”, “Survey of World Cinema I” and “Survey of World Cinema II”, “Advanced Studies in Film”, and possibly “Film Theory and Criticism” or “Screenwriting.” The two classes I am taking from the Curriculum and Instruction department are “Introduction to Sight and Sound” and “Beginning Video Production.” The only class I know of right now that I will take in the Theatre department is “Producing the Narrative Film,” but I think there is a film workshop offered over the summer by the same professor as the production course. I do not know if I am going to take any classes from the Communications department because I think they are more geared towards television production not films.
I am studying the technical aspect of film through the Interdisciplinary Studies department because it allows me to take classes from different departments and put them together in a specific way that helps me plan my career. The classes I have taken so far have been very interesting and as each one ends they keep me wanting more, and I look forward to taking as many more as I can. I hope to learn whole film making process. I am currently learning how to use a camcorder to shoot scenes and to edit them with different software. I do not necessarily want to be the next big Hollywood producer or cinematographer, I would be perfectly happy working on independent films. Just about anything that involves being hands on in the process of making films would be incredibly amazing.
I do not know how many times I have walked away from a film thinking, “Wow! I never thought about that before,” but I love that feeling. There have been countless films that have changed my point of view about certain subjects, whether they were documentaries or major motion pictures. I want to be a part of creating that feeling in someone else. If I could just get through to one person through an idea in a film it would be worth it. Then there is the lighter side of films that interest me too. Sometimes, I see films just to escape reality for a little while. I would also like to assist others in doing the same.
Other great things about studying film include looking into some of the greatest filmmakers of all time, learning how to accurately portray emotions, and learning how to put your own point of view out there for others to see. By studying some of the greatest filmmakers, and sometimes the not so great, I learn what is generally accepted and not accepted by societies in film. Not that any of that really matters, because I will put my view out there and if it gets rejected, so be it. I will keep trying and hope that at least once something good will come forth. By learning how to accurately portray emotions through film I will be able to get audiences to feel what the characters are feeling and that gets them generally interested in what unfolds through events in the film.
I have put a lot of thought into my portfolio and I figured out that I am going to make a website and create links to everything I do that relates to my major. Any films that I make, film reviews that I write, and papers that I write related to interdisciplinarity will definitely be included. The only thing I haven’t figured out yet is whether I’m going to strictly follow the portfolio requirements or create my own guidelines. I have a few papers I have written for Praxis that might be able to go in the portfolio, along with papers I have written for “Introduction to Film” and “Survey of World Cinema I.” The only actual film I have made was the one from the Apple iMovie Contest and once I actually create the website I will put it up. I will also create a link to my Introduction to Sight and Sound website because there are a lot of great projects I have done in that class that would fit well in the portfolio.