Film as Literature

I have done many jobs in my life. From a newspaper delivery boy on rollerblades to licking envelopes for a monthly newsletter; from bussing tables at a busy restaurant to washing dishes; from kicking down doors as an infantryman in Iraq to writing articles as a journalist; from making and selling peanut butter in Guatemala to building a house out of bamboo in Costa Rica; from commercial fishing in Bristol Bay to being a rental shop employee at Alyeska Ski Resort; from being a laborer on a neighbor’s construction site to being a laborer at a high-end lodge; from being a server at a ski-resort to being a prep cook in a rural pizza place; from growing and selling vegetables at markets to writing a book and selling it as an author. All of these experiences led me to be a substitute teacher, who was then asked to be a full-time teacher.

So I must say, I am certainly not a trained teacher nor have I ever had a desire to be a teacher. But today, as I sit in class with a group of ten students typing blogs, (and peeking at their phones indiscreetly) I am a teacher. And one of the classes that I teach is “Film as Literature,” which is probably, in my humble opinion, the best class that has ever been taught by anybody in the history of education.

Here is how it works.

In the beginning of class, the students made a list of three movies they wanted to watch and each student was able to pick one. We watch them and dissect them from the lens of a film critic. Mr. Stark, for that is what they call me at this time in life, is also able to pick movies for the class to watch and we all watch the films together in the classroom, write about them, and have a discussion.

So what elements make a film?
Props, set design, costumes, makeup, color, lighting, blocking, framing, lenses, sound, frame rate and music, to name a few.

A great challenge as a teacher is how to grade the students, and as somebody who went to a liberal arts college, Go Evergreen State College, where I did not receive grades-it is even more challenging because I grade people based on their effort… which, all too often, is no real effort at all. So how am I supposed to grade somebody fairly on their effort if I have no idea what they are capable of because they only do subpar work all the time?

It’s tough…

One of the ways I grade the students is by having them write about the films we watch. So I decided to join them in the blogging journey, which is why you will see a series of blogs about films.

Hopefully you find something of interest in these blogs, and hopefully I am able to further my skill as a film lover, writer, and teacher.

Until next time, watch on!

Published by secretgardenalaska

Best friends raising two daughters off-grid in a remote area of Alaska. We grow food, write stories, make jewelry, and live a sober life.

3 thoughts on “Film as Literature

  1. This is so awesome Bob šŸ‘ I’m very proud of you and see how crazy life is sometimesā€¦ I never would have thought the skater boy that I knew back in our childhood would someday be a teacher. You are very blessed my friend!!

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