When I first came across a video essay on YouTube breaking down the music behind the Lord of the Rings movies, I got hooked. I never thought something so intelligent and nuanced could find its way into my YouTube meanderings, so much so I started poring over this guy's other video essays on movies and TV shows. And that's how I first learned about the video essayist known as nerdwriter1.
His videos, released every two weeks, dissect a director or a film in such a thorough way, I'm surprised he isn't a household name. From his ode to Nathan Fielder's quirky show to "how David Fincher hijacks your eyes", nerdwriter1's videos revealed to me subtleties I missed in my favourite media, perhaps due to my lack of knowledge or experience in filmmaking. I think, deep down, I have a love of film that extends into a thirst to understand the inner workings of quality cinematography, script writing and editing.
nerdwriter1 isn't the only video essayist I'm subscribed to these days.Entertain The Elk does a magnificent job with the series "The Day ____ Died" such as "The Day South Park Died," where he critiques a show's jump-the-shark moment and how it all went downhill from that head-shaking episode.
Lessons from the Screenplay doesn't focus very much on directing or where the camera wants you to look, but instead a writer's channel for all things Hollywood. How did Moonrise Kingdom blend story and style? What tools of suspense did Tarantino employ for Inglorious Bastards? Or maybe you prefer to dip into Christopher Nolan's mind to learn how he created the Joker as the ultimate antagonist in The Dark Knight?
Speaking of, The Dark Knight comes up in almost every video essayist's catalogue, and for good reason: It broke a lot of ground in how it told a superhero story, what a villain is supposed to be, and so much more.
When I want to go neck-deep into the minutiae of filmmaking, I turn to Every Frame a Painting. This video essayist uses well-known films and directors, such as Spielberg, to pull back the curtain on filming and editing techniques that aren't often explored in-depth. I especially enjoyed his piece on how Spielberg pulled off the "oner" so seamlessly aka the one-take shot. (See below).
And for Looney Tunes fans, I recommend watching his brilliant expose of artist Chuck Jones (which also delivers a hefty dose of nostalgia for anyone over 30).
Such analysis of movies and TV shows reframes how I see classic art that might have remained with me due to its themes and acting, but didn't register to me as content displaying stellar editing or standout direction. I just don't know the terminology or the techniques of filmmaking, so these video essayists reveal to me some secrets of the trade I took for granted as a casual viewer.
And whoever spends all those hours to break down the details of films and shows in such a compelling way deserve your kudos...and your cursor clicking on that "Subscribe" button.
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