Pop Culture Intervention

9 YouTube Channels That Will Unleash Your Inner Film Student

Let this be your own personal film school.

Have you ever been interested in taking a film course, or even getting a degree in the subject, but you don't have the time or the money to actually pursue it? Or maybe you just want to take a closer look at the movies you love, beyond giving them a simple thumbs up or down.

That's where YouTube comes in.

Everyone's favorite video streaming site has a lot more than cute cat clips and makeup tutorials — not that we don't love those. There are also a number of channels devoted to examining the art of filmmaking from an academic or analytical perspective. The people behind these channels do a lot more than simply tell you if a movie is worth seeing or not. Instead, they delve deeper into story structure, visual techniques, and film history.

These explorations usually take the form of a video essay, featuring clips from the movies accompanied by commentary. You can watch them whenever you want, without leaving your house, and at no cost. And the best part is that there are no pop quizzes.

Check out a few of our favorite examples below:


1. The Nerdwriter

The Nerdwriter, aka Evan Puschak, regularly creates smart, engaging videos on subjects ranging from music to politics. But some of his best creations focus on a single theme or technique in a specific movie. Take, for instance, his in-depth look at the musical score in The Lord of the Rings. Also check out his videos on The Prestige, Interstellar, and several other films you may know and love.

2. Every Frame a Painting

As the channel's name would suggest, these videos take an artistic approach to movies, including several explorations of specific directors' distinct styles. In the video above, for instance, narrator Tony Zhou argues that contemporary comedies should utilize more visual humor, using Edgar Wright as a positive example. Other entries look at the Marvel Universe and Steven Spielberg's long takes.

3. Chez Lindsay

Lindsay Ellis was formerly known as The Nostalgia Chick, the female answer to the popular Nostalgia Critic. She has a master's from the University of Souther California's School of Cinematic Arts, and it shows. Her YouTube channel includes the series Loose Canon, which looks at the history of how certain characters and historical figures have been portrayed in media. More recently, she started a series that explores the basics of film studies through Michael Bay's Transformers movies. (It should go without saying that she's also funny.)

4. Now You See It

Now You See It's creator Jack Nugent describes the channel as "a college film analysis class minus the lecture halls, essay assignments, and student loan debts." Who could argue with that? If you've ever wondered how filmmakers use shapes to convey meaning, what it means when movie characters play chess, or simply what makes a movie great, this channel has you covered.

5. Lessons From the Screenplay

Lessons From the Screenplay creator Michael Tucker looks at how movie scripts form the basis for great cinematic storytelling. In the video above, he uses excerpts from Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl script to illustrate the importance of screenwriters to the final product. A more recent video compares the two newest films in the Star Wars series

6. Filmmaker IQ

Filmmaker IQ is an online magazine and free film school, and its YouTube channel is filled with informative videos teaching the basics of filmmaking, from sound design to method acting, with host John P. Hess. There's even a 12-minute video all about everybody's favorite movie theater snack: popcorn.

7. Film-Drunk Love

Film-Drunk Love hasn't uploaded in a while, and it only has seven fairly brief videos, but as any of the channels on this list would probably tell you, a filmmaker doesn't have to be prolific to be great. Goutham Gnanasekaran's video essays break down movie scenes, such as The Social Network's phone calls as they compare to those in other films. Also, check out his supercut of close-ups in Goodfellas.

8. Channel Criswell

Channel Criswell's creator Lewis Bond started off sharing new movie reviews, and then moved into exploring cinema throughout history and from all over the world. One of his more popular uploads (above) takes an in-depth look at the use of color in film. If you're interested in film history, be sure to also check out his video on the French New Wave.

9. What It All Meant

Let's be real: sometimes you finish watching a movie, you just want to know what in the world the filmmakers were trying to say. That's where What It All Meant comes in. You'll want to keep it bookmarked as you make your way through classics such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Taxi Driver. Obviously, there's more than just one way to interpret any given movie, but this can be a good place to get the conversation started.


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