Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Book Review: A Short Guide to Writing about Film

I was recently looking for a book on film writing to help me with an e-book of movie reviews I potentially want to write.  I came across A Short Guide to Writing About Film, a book that I found underwhelming.  It is a bland, paltry book on writing.  It is also a bland, paltry book on film.  The approach here is primarily for academic essays rather than normal movie reviews. 

This is a bland, paltry book on writing.  It was obviously written not for me, at this point in my life, but for students who are starting from ground zero in terms of writing skills.  It goes over things like tone, style, avoiding cliches, different grammar rules, writing introductory and closing paragraphs, and, perhaps most importantly, using concrete language.  Too many essays on film, including ones written by world-famous professionals, are filled with silly, arcane language.  On top of this, their underlying theses are often silly, too.  The book also looks into research and documenting sources.  Nevertheless, I have to believe there is a better, more thorough book to help novices with their writing.

It is also a bland, paltry book on film.  It explores basics aesthetics, broad ideas, and ways of looking at movies.  It goes through how different approaches to different elements of a movie each carry meaning.  It explores things like cinematography, editing and sound, as well as genres and auteurs.  It is similar to, but not nearly as good or as thorough as the book Film Art: An Introduction.

This book is primarily for writing academic essays, not movie reviews.  Their approach is more thorough than how I would prefer to watch a movie as they recommend watching a movie multiple times and even pausing at multiple junctions to take notes and look at details.  I suppose I would do likewise if I was doing that type of writing.  My work here only dips into such details.

Who is this book for?  I suppose newcomers to film, writing, and film writing who are too lazy to read a better, if perhaps more challenging book on any of those subjects.  I found this book to be short, but still a slog.

No comments:

Post a Comment