5 Ways Studying Film and Theater Will Change Your Perspective | Top Universities

5 Ways Studying Film and Theater Will Change Your Perspective

By Laura Bridgestock

Updated February 16, 2021 Updated February 16, 2021

Guest post: Holly Read

Sometimes, change doesn’t happen all at once, but rather in stages. The way you listen, write, or learn, the way you do things, the way you view the world. The way you understand it. In my experience, it is education that is the most powerful tool when it comes to changing your perspective on life. A day might come when you realize you no longer see things the same way you did before.

Three years ago, I began my university journey. I studied the theory, history and politics of cinema and theater. I studied, in depth, every aspect of film-making and plays from different historic periods, each presented in multiple ways.

The person who received her degree is not the same person who timidly walked into the amphitheater three years ago. Studying film and theater has completely altered my perspective on the world – here’s how I think it could change your perspectives too:

1. You’ll appreciate the social role of art

Now, you might be thinking, “there are things more important than art!” This may be true, but art allows humans to express themselves. It is also an educational tool that, when used correctly, and for a good purpose, allows us to educate ourselves about issues we were unaware of, or that we even deemed unimportant.

2. You’ll get better at understanding other people

When you study the theory of cinema and theater, you train your mind to study people. “Why did this character do this?” “Why did they react so?” You don’t only study the technical side of film-making (i.e. how technical choices illustrate the emotions of the characters); you study the characters themselves. When you teach yourself to pay more attention to people, from their physical gestures to their words, which reveal more or less about a character, you may begin to do the same in your own life, getting better at understanding people and their actions.

3. You’ll become attuned to the impact of historic and political events

The history behind artistic creations is just as important as the creation itself. Once you begin to study the history and politics behind films and plays during the time of their making, you start to make connections. How does the history of our world impact this story? How are these characters affected by these events? You can begin to understand the importance of certain cultural and historical events, and how they changed our world. It opens your eyes to how events have changed people, changed our perspectives, and how life is shaped by such occurrences. Furthermore, you will begin to see the ways in which our life is influenced by art: whether it be stock characters, social activities or even fashion.

4. You’ll watch films and plays in a totally different way

Studying films has its pros and cons. It allows you to see things the average movie-goer or theater fan wouldn’t pay attention to: symbolism, metaphors, parallels between the characters... The downside is that you notice little mistakes, which you can’t un-see. You begin to notice errors that could ruin the show for you: continuity problems, the quality of a script, good directing… The list goes on. However, it will make you appreciate a good film or theater production even more, as you will be aware of how much hard work is involved, and how the absence of such mistakes highlights the quality of a well-made production.

5. You’ll see the dark side of the media world

When you study theory of cinema/theater, your perspective on social issues and culture is changed forever. It opens your eyes to certain troubling truths, such as the strong presence of sexism, racism and homophobia, among other things, in mainstream cinema. Once you begin to study these themes, you automatically begin to see them in other media: images, commercials, television, music videos. You become aware of how cultural productions can be used to indirectly support such mindsets. More importantly, how people can be manipulated into believing what is ‘real’ or what is and isn’t ‘socially acceptable’. On the plus side, it will motivate you to be different, to try and break such patterns, bringing more broad-minded content into the industry.

So there you have it! Studying film and theater has its perks: you will appreciate movies and plays even more, and you will undoubtedly see more than ever before: the visual details, and the social and political themes, which are vital when it comes to understanding the world around us.

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This article was originally published in September 2016 . It was last updated in February 2021

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