A BAKER'S DOZEN
Questions for Reading a Film
Watching a film carefully means watching it
actively. You can't simply plunk yourself down in a theater,
popcorn in hand, and let the images wash over you for a couple
of hours. Rather, to watch a movie actively, you must learn to
read the screen, to ask yourself questions as you watch, to notice
the elements which make a film succeed or fail. There are many
possibilities, but here's a baker's dozen that will get you started:
1. Does the beginning of the film get your attention and
2. Are you able to "suspend disbelief" -- able
to forget that you are watching a film rather than witnessing
3. Do the characters seem real?
4. When the actors talk, do they seem involved in real
conversations or are they just reading lines?
5. Do the characters' actions make sense in the context
of the film?
6. Does the story move along, keeping your attention all
7. Is the story confusing?
8. Does the story build to an exciting climax?
9. Are any scenes unnecessary -- in particular, violent
scenes just inserted for their own sake?
10. Do the sets, lighting, and camera shots add to or
detract from the film?
11. Do the sound effects and music add to or detract from
12. Does the film end in a logical place -- or stop too
soon or go on too long?
13. Is it a good film -- and why or why not?
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