Any serious creative pursuit must begin with inspiration. Artists in film, television, and stage are always calling upon, and stealing from the work that has come before them. The Maggie Flanigan Studio is committed to providing our students with far more than the typical NYC acting studio. It’s an embarrassing moment if you ever find yourself in a rehearsal, a callback, or on set, and a director mentions the idea behind a scene or a character and you have no idea who or what they are talking about. A broad understanding and appreciation of film history will also spark ideas and inspiration for your work, providing a springboard into your creativity.
Film History is a 10 class, 10-week course that provides an overview of major American film movements since 1927. Beginning with the transition to sound, students will be exposed to important films, filmmakers, and genres, and will learn techniques for discussing and interpreting films as cultural artifacts, products of industry, and works of art.
Relevance and Inspiration
Each week, students will be assigned a film to watch outside of class, to be discussed and analyzed the following week as a group. Discussions will consider films in their historical contexts, while also focusing on questions of style and form. Basic concepts of filmmaking – cinematography, editing, sound, special effects – will be examined. Assigned films have included Casablanca (1942), On the Waterfront (1954), Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Taxi Driver (1976), and Do the Right Thing (1989). Lectures will make heavy use of clips, to provide an introduction to as many relevant films, filmmakers, and filmmaking techniques as possible.
Historical units will include the classical Hollywood studio system, the 1970’s “Hollywood Renaissance,” and the rise of independent filmmaking in the 80s and 90s. Perhaps of most relevance to the aspiring actor, the final two lectures will examine the industry as it stands today, from both an indie and blockbuster perspective.
Education and Collaboration
The core mission behind our NYC acting classes and programs is rooted in our desire to educate our students so that they have the ability to collaborate with serious professionals, and also lay a foundation of inspiration that can be used when approaching a role. We want our students to be contributors to the creative process, to come across as intelligent, well-read, and insightful about this wonderful art form. If this appeals to you, then apply now and find out more about what is possible.
In addition to outside screenings, students taking Film History will be assigned weekly readings, two short quizzes, and a written essay.
“The Film History course is a great (and necessary) resource for all actors. Jeff, the teacher, is not only passionate about the subject he teaches but provides a safe space to discuss, ask questions or even make suggestions about topics to cover in class.”
“The Film History I course entitled American Cinema is a course every actor should consider completing. It offers an introduction to the history, language, and the theory of film making in order for the actor to have a clear understanding of film making from inception to present day.”