One Time I Took A CAMS Course

That’s Cinema and Media Studies in Carleton-speak. In my senior year, I asked myself, “Is there anything else I want to try before I graduate?” The obvious answer was CAMS. Since it was Intro to CAMS, I was one of two seniors in a class full of freshmen. Yeah, I was that girl.

I’ve always loved movies and the experience of going to the theater. Like, a lot. My creative side was interested in how films worked as an art form. Sometimes I watched Turner Classic Movies. Sometimes I listened to audio commentary for fun. Do you know what people always say on audio commentaries? “Nobody’s really listening to this, right?” Wrong. I’m listening, so tell me something good.

In hindsight, I wish I had taken more CAMS during my time in college. The skills learned in countless English classes transferred easily to film interpretation, so the assignments were rarely stressful. (Then again, being a senior in an intro-level class helps.) Mostly I just got to watch some great movies and develop a concept of film history.

The upshot is that I’m like one of those people who takes a psychology class and thinks they can diagnose their friends. While I’m watching a movie, I can casually try to identify the break between the first and second act. I can bore my mom with stories about how The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance was shot in black-and-white because Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne were twenty years older than their characters. I can say, “Oooo, composition in depth!” And most recently, I can watch Far From Heaven on Netflix Instant because it’s an homage to the 1950s melodramas of Douglas Sirk, most notably All That Heaven Allows, which we watched for Intro CAMS. See, it all makes sense.

Far From Heaven

So forgive me if I go into wannabe-CAMS-major mode now and then. If you too enjoy the occasional TCM movie, gawking at old photographs, and a touch of humor, I can recommend a series of articles over at The Hairpin called Scandals of Classic Hollywood. Guaranteed to inform and amuse.


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Filed under Movies

One response to “One Time I Took A CAMS Course

  1. Pingback: Best of 2011: Movie Edition, Part 1 | Courtney Coherent

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