The Language of Hollywood: Storytelling, Sound, and Color


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Average Content rating
9/10 stars
based on  8 reviews
Average Instructor rating
0/10 stars
based on  0 reviews
Average Provider rating
9/10 stars
based on  2925 reviews

Course Description

Instructors:  Scott Higgins
This history course explores how fundamental changes in film technology affected popular Hollywood storytelling. We will consider the transition to sound, and the introduction of color. Each change in technology brought new opportunities and challenges, but the filmmaker's basic task remained the emotional engagement of the viewer through visual means. We will survey major directors and genres from the studio era and point forward to contemporary American cinema. Our aim is to illuminate popular cinema as the intersection of business, technology, and art. Through film history, we will learn about the craft of filmmaking and how tools shape art. This online educational experience is not equivalent to a college course.

Subtitles for all video lectures available: Turkish (provided by Koc University), English

8 Reviews for The Language of Hollywood: Storytelling, Sound, and Color

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deicidereigns profile image


  • 16 reviews
  • 16 completed
Student rates this course 10/10 stars Completed
As others said, a really fun course. Only downside is that it's a very casual course. One final quiz at the end of course, which is a compilation of the in- lecture quiz questions. In other words, it didn't feel up to the difficulty of an actual university film course. No writing, essays, etc. Nonetheless, I still learned many things. Learned about the transitions from silent to sound films, B&W; to color, and the different color technologies of the 30s-50s. And learned about how all of these technologies were used as creative tools by the filmmakers. You'll watch a variety of films in this course. The course load is 5-6 hours a week, but that's with watching two movies and two half-hour any rewatching/extra study you may do. So it's really only fun study, at least it was for me.
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luci mayo

  • 3 reviews
  • 3 completed
Student rates this course 10/10 stars Completed
i love film, and history; had studied a bit of the former, lots of the latter. Learned WAY more than expected from this course, Wesleyan's management of the MOOC was impeccable and Scott Higgins was a great lecturer: knowledgeable and generous-spirited.
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sam tan profile image

sam tan

  • 33 reviews
  • 31 completed
Student rates this course 8/10 stars Completed
A fun and enlightening course, well taught. You can tell Prof. Higgins is not only extremely good at explaining the cinema vocabulary but also his enthusiasm and love for film is evident. It was fascinating to hear the influence of vaudeville as well as business and technical considerations that shape this art form and continue to do so. The films of various genres that were covered in this course (students were expected to seek them out) were great choices too.
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Julia Cook profile image

Julia Cook

  • 5 reviews
  • 5 completed
Student rates this course 9/10 stars Completed
I've always watched and read about films but I had never taken a course in cinema. This was a very enjoyable course. The videos were interesting and informative. The workload wasn't too much, with only two films to watch a week plus the course videos and a test. It helped me think about sound and colour in a way I hadn't done before and has helped me think about new technologies such as digital and 3D and the challenges and opportunities they offer film- makers.
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Ximena De Ariño profile image

Ximena De Ariño

  • 2 reviews
  • 2 completed
Student rates this course 10/10 stars Completed
I'm an experienced media student and film is by far one of my favorite subjects so I was instantly allured by this course. Prof. Higgins is very passionate about the subjects, he's fun to watch and inspires you to learn. The different eras taught on the course are milestones in more than one way and the lectures drive you through them in a very logical way. I was saddened when this course ended, I wanted more. Hopefully there will be others by Prof. Higgins and Wesleyan University on similar topics.
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Matt Pierce profile image

Matt Pierce

  • 8 reviews
  • 8 completed
Student rates this course 9/10 stars Completed
I've only recently developed any serious interest in film as an actual artform and I've gotta' say that this course, though almost painfully easy, really did a lot to expand my horizons. Before this course, I'd never been able to enjoy a silent film, but I was thoroughly entertained by both of the silent movies we watched in the first week. It's all about how much you engage with the material presented by Professor Higgins, who is very knowledgeable and passionate about the films presented. He presents a variety of films, some that I'd have never watched had I not taken this course, and provides some very thoughtful commentary on each, highlighting aspects of the film making process as they grow and develop. You have to take this class if you're a budding film buff.
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Eduardo profile image


  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
Student rates this course 9/10 stars Completed
Really fun and very good lectures. The film selection is not what I expected but relevant to the course.
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Jeanio profile image


  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
Student rates this course 10/10 stars Completed
Lots of fun and packed with information. The professor was great, friendly, informal and very knowledgeable. I enjoyed picking up movie title on the discussion boards.
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