February: The Month of Love & Major Declarations

It is only natural that I’m very into Valentine’s Day. Twenty-four hours dedicated to mediocre boxed-chocolate and cheesy cards with declarations of love? Right up my alley. 

I wish all declarations came in heart-shaped paper, accompanied by a rose and cherry-filled truffles. Although I’m sure my advisor would appreciate a nice card and a sleeve of Ferrero Rochers, he must settle for an electronic submission (at least it won’t be tear-stained).  Yes, it is Valentines Day. More importantly, though, it’s the deadline to *officially* declare a major. 

Who really needs a romantic dinner out, though? Why settle for three courses and a movie when I can take five courses about movies? Hold the lovey-dovey conversations; I would much rather talk about the history of the American movie industry. 

That’s one of my five courses of this semester: History of American Cinema. It’s a historical class (obviously) on the U.S. film industry, focusing on everything from Thomas Edison’s early role in developing moving picture technology to how Disney produced WWII propaganda starring Donald Duck. The professor, James Fleury, is fantastic; because of him, I am passionate about the impact that transitioning from silent films to sound films had on the industry. That is something I never thought I would enjoy discussing. 

I am also taking two more film courses, both of which are very hands-on. The first is Intro to Screenwriting, where last week, myself and thirteen other students sat in a room and created a Knives Out-esque murder mystery taking place at WashU. This class makes me feel very uncultured and cultured at the same time; although I’ve seen maybe ⅓ as many films as my fellow classmates, there is something about flipping through a physical screenplay in Olin that makes you feel erudite (I apologize for using that word. Film majors are pretentious and I’m trying to embody it). 

The second hands-on course is Making Movies. This one is pretty self-explanatory. By the end of the semester, I will have two finished films to my name. We are currently learning how to operate very nice cameras; I don’t think I’ve ever been more careful and gentle with something than I am with these lenses. And I have a baby brother (I acknowledge this is a tasteless joke, but I cannot stress enough how terrified I am of messing up these cameras). I’ve already gained many skills from this class; I now know how to switch between telephoto and wide angle lenses, how to write a film treatment and create an entire shot list, and how to navigate the most narrow hallway on the planet while carrying a tripod the size of my body. 

So, if you couldn’t tell, I’m a film major! Happy Valentines Day, and happy Major Declaration Day! I’ll be spending today writing the first three pages of my screenplay and staining the edges of my paper with Hershey Kisses. They’re the ones with cute messages on the bottom, so you’re supposed to give them out to people. I’m planning on keeping them all; it’ll be nice to get motivational messages like “UR CUTE” when I’m inevitably drowning in a sea of character biographies and textbook chapters on Charlie Chaplin. 

My Valentines Day card to all of you because the Harry Potter movies are objectively great.