Whether you’re a budding filmmaker or just interested in the craft of filmmaking, these YouTube channels will help you analyze and understand film.
Instead of focussing on trivial criticisms, they unravel the mysteries of why a movie does or doesn’t work, to give you a better appreciation the craft.
So, sit back, relax, and prepare to learn everything you need to know about film and filmmaking.
Michael Tucker and the team behind Lessons From the Screenplay offer insightful analysis on what makes a well-written movie. They do such a good job that there are tales of studio executives referencing these videos during blockbuster productions.
Each video takes a quote or “lesson” from screenwriting textbooks and applies it to popular films. Michael’s calm narration and clear graphics make it easy to understand, and you come out of it applying what you learned to everything else you watch.
This walking, talking, IMDb machine loves movies and wants you to love them too. Patrick started his YouTube career making short comedy films before turning his hand to video essays as well.
Now, he combines the two, making some of the most dynamic and entertaining movie analysis videos you’re likely to find on YouTube. Patrick’s in-depth investigations, unfettered praise, or ingenious rewrites range from 15 to 40 minutes long, but the longest ones are often the best.
How would you like a deep-dive excursion into the different schools of film theory? Auteur, feminist, genre, etc. It sounds a little heavy, but Lindsay makes it fun by looking at each theory through the lens of Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise.
Besides that, Lindsay adds an academic slant to video essays by explaining the historical, political, and social context behind enormous blockbuster movies. Learn how The Hobbit hobbled New Zealand’s film industry or discover the turbulent production behind certain Disney classics.
Now You See It highlights patterns and trends across different movies, explaining the meaning behind them and why they’re so effective. The fast-paced narration packs a lot of information into short videos, which you come away from with a totally fresh perspective.
Each video presents a new idea, supported by logical arguments, quotes, or evidential footage. You might learn about the meaning of stripes in film, physical injuries to characters, dutch angle framing, or even drinking milk on camera.
And you’ll never look any of those things the same way again.
5. Just Write
As you may have guessed from the name, Just Write focuses on the writing techniques used in film and TV. The writer, Sage Hyden, manages to pinpoint exactly what does and doesn’t work in popular media, taking a good look at why that might be the case.
Some of his best videos focus on Game of Thrones, offering both praise and criticism, depending on the season at hand. But Just Write also highlights the power of puns, satire, or effective action by referencing everything from Arrested Development to Westworld.
The Royal Ocean Film Society takes a look at industry trends and the effects they have on films or marketing. It’s a great resource if you’re interested in how CGI animation works, what goes into poster designs, or the even emergence of clickbait trailers.
One of the best videos from The Royal Ocean Film Society explores the influential animation of Richard Williams, arguing that movement is more important in animation than realism.
The animation on display is so captivating it’s impossible to disagree.
For a philosophical analysis of your favorite films, TV shows, and video games, look no further than Wisecrack. This insightful YouTube channel puts media under the microscope to discover what it’s trying to say. Then Wisecrack dissects that subtextual message in relation to famous philosophers.
Sometimes Wisecrack highlights the inherent contradictions within a film. Other times it debunks “deep” messages as little more than dumb rhetoric. But the best videos show how a great story is heightened by the philosophy underpinning its ideas.
KaptainKristian unveils the secrets behind your favorite filmmakers, TV shows, movies, and even production companies. Sleek animations and astonishing facts make these videos a joy to watch as you learn more about what goes into the production of a film.
Did you know there are more special effects shots in The Social Network than there are in Godzilla? Probably not. That’s because David Fincher is a master of subtlety, and KaptainKristian explains exactly how he does it.
Have you ever watched a bad movie thinking you could have written it better yourself? Well, that’s what Nando v Movies is all about. This channel is overflowing with alternate versions of all the biggest cinematic disappointments, from Ant-Man to X-Men.
Nando v Movies carefully walks you through each act of his rewrites, using existing footage to fill in the gaps. It’s amazing how a few small changes can transform a terrible misfire into a surefire success.
I’m still sad that we’ll never get to watch his Justice League rewrite.
This is the YouTube channel that started it all. A lot of the other YouTubers on this list credit Every Frame a Painting as their inspiration for getting started. This channel includes the best movie breakdowns on the web, but sadly they stopped making new videos in 2017.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give them a watch. Every Frame a Painting dissects classic movies from Kurosawa, Spielberg, and the Coen brothers, explaining exactly what makes these masterpieces so special.
A particular favorite video of mine reveals why Jackie Chan’s action-comedy fight sequences are so engaging. And why they get butchered by American productions.
Don’t Let YouTube Ads Slow You Down
Every serious movie fan should subscribe to these YouTube channels. Each one of them has so much to teach you about filmmaking, whether it’s the secret to crafting emotional character arcs or the magic behind Jackie Chan’s fight sequences.
And with all these new channels to watch, you’ll be spending a lot of time watching YouTube. But for each awesome video you’ll see, you’ll have to sit through a couple of YouTube adverts as well.
Thankfully, there is a way of removing the ads from YouTube, but you’ll have to pay for the privilege. So, is YouTube Premium worth the money? Read our detailed look at YouTube Premium to find out.