Read more about Exploring Movie Construction & Production: What’s so exciting about movies?

Exploring Movie Construction & Production: What’s so exciting about movies?

(16 reviews)

John Reich, Genesee Community College

Copyright Year: 2017

ISBN 13: 9781942341468

Publisher: Open SUNY

Language: English

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Reviewed by Weiko Lin, Associate Professor, Loyola Marymount University on 5/19/23

While it does ambitiously cover both construct (theory of movies) to actual production (directing, editing, cinematography), it only superficially touch upon those areas in minimal amount of pages. Hard to grasp a full, comprehensive... read more

Reviewed by Lakshmi N. Tirumala, Assistant Professor, Drake University on 12/15/22

The textbook covers various topics of film production but doesn't really discuss them beyond the surface-level ideas. It's good material for a single-credit "understanding film production" type class. read more

Reviewed by RJ Miller, Director of Music Technology, Instructor of Scoring for Film & TV, Metropolitan State University of Denver on 11/27/21

This text is not a college/university-level text and is by no means comprehensive. It lacks depth, contains multiple inaccuracies, and appears to be assembled mostly from Internet sources, predominantly Wikipedia. In fact, over half of the... read more

Reviewed by Ian Nolte, Instructor, Marshall University on 3/6/20

I was attracted to this text because of its comprehensive table of contents. With its focus on production, it covers the major areas of areas of film form I cover in my film-as-literature courses. It also has chapters covering concerns of story as... read more

Reviewed by Michael Meindl, Assistant Professor/Co-Director, Radford University on 1/24/20

This book broadly covers appropriate subject areas/topics. However, sometimes the book fails to go deep enough. For example, there is no discussion of diegetic vs. nondiegetic sound in the audio chapter, which prevents students from using some... read more

Reviewed by Stephen Rust, Film Studies Instructor, Linn-Benton Community College on 1/14/20

Any reader of this book, should come away with a good sense of how movies are constructed and produced. The title of the book is rather misleading because rather than focusing solely on film production, what we have is an introductory level film... read more

Reviewed by Stacy Barton, Assistant Profeessor, Metropolitan State University of Denver on 10/24/19

The introduction to the textbook makes clear its intention, and I think that for a community college film appreciation course this resource could suffice. Having taught that very class at the community college level myself and comparing my own... read more

Reviewed by Gabriel Vanover, Assistant Professor of Theatre, Hanover College on 10/22/19

The book is very limited in its scope, and as a result leaves out many important and standard concepts of film studies, including film production basics. read more

Reviewed by Kevin Smith, Instructor, Chemeketa Community College on 5/16/19

The basics are here, but in what is a running theme throughout the text, that's about it. One example would be the chapter on cinematography (Chapter 6), which give the reader a decent overview. Having said that, there are few illustrations in... read more

Reviewed by Andrea Wood, Associate Professor, Winona State University on 8/2/18

The provides a fairly general introduction into the study of film that would be accessible to community college learners but a bit too simplistic for students taking a film class at a four year college or university. While the book covers some key... read more

Reviewed by Annie Berke, Assistant Professor, Hollins University on 5/21/18

The book explains at the start that it is an “aid to anyone who does not have a good background” in film and is most useful in a film appreciation course. While I see why this book is focused on students’ personal interests and reasons for... read more

Reviewed by Karen Wenz, Adjunct Instructor, St Cloud Technical and Community College on 2/1/18

The book is not a comprehensive text about film, but then it does not claim to be. The focus is limited in scope and depth. It first offers a simple overview of basic elements of film and story and then discusses elements of production. read more

Reviewed by Daniele Fioretti, Lecturer, Miami University on 2/1/18

Teaching Cinema classes myself, my expectation is a textbook that covers all the main areas of moviemaking, both thematically and technically. Speaking about themes, the section dedicated to film genres should be expanded: it gives very little... read more

Reviewed by Thomas Castillo, Assistant Professor, Bowling Green State University on 2/1/18

The book at some level is probably more conceptually ambitious than it should be. As suggested by the title, the book covers both Construction and Production elements. Either of these topics on their own could and probably should make for a full,... read more

Reviewed by Lucas Ostrowski, Assistant Professor, Bowling Green State University on 2/1/18

The writer covers broad aspects of the movie making process but paints each concept in very broad strokes. Although many different ideas are covered, it seems to be missing a great deal of information. For instance, there is no discussion... read more

Reviewed by Don Diefenbach, Professor, University of North Carolina - Asheville on 8/15/17

This book in specifically targeted in its objective and thus it is not a particularly comprehensive treatment for the subject. It does not contain an index or glossary, but each chapter does conclude with a number of helpful resources. read more

Table of Contents



Part I: Construction

  • 1. What Is the Theme? Why Do We Need It?
  • 2. What Is Genre and How Is It Determined?
  • 3. What Are the Mechanics of Story and Plot?
  • 4. How Are the Characters Portrayed?

Part II: Production Prologue

  • 5. What Is Directing?
  • 6. What Is Cinematography?
  • 7. What Is Editing?
  • 8. What Is Sound?

Conclusion: What's So Exciting about Movies? – Novice Answers

Production Assignment

Cinematography Assignment

Future Viewing


Ancillary Material

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  • About the Book

    Exploring Movie Construction & Production contains eight chapters of the major areas of film construction and production. The discussion covers theme, genre, narrative structure, character portrayal, story, plot, directing style, cinematography, and editing. Important terminology is defined and types of analysis are discussed and demonstrated. An extended example of how a movie description reflects the setting, narrative structure, or directing style is used throughout the book to illustrate building blocks of each theme. This approach to film instruction and analysis has proved beneficial to increasing students' learning, while enhancing the creativity and critical thinking of the student.

    About the Contributors


    John Reich received a B.A. in theatre from Buffalo State College in 1976 and an M.A. in speech with a theatre and journalism concentration from Kent State University in 1979. He has been teaching Film, Speech and Interpersonal Communication at Genesee Community College since 1998. He published an article entitled “I’ll Take Education for $100”, in Innovation Abstracts in 2011, which discusses a method of teaching film in the classroom. This article was the precursor that led to formulating the idea and concept for this textbook. He also published an article, “How to Transform Fear and Hostility into Enthusiasm” in Teaching for Success in 2009 that discusses how to help students get over their nervousness when taking a Public Speaking course.

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