Communication, The Discipline

Communication is a discipline that deals with the different processes of human communication. This discipline is a part of my major because of how films are a form of communication from directors and writers to an audience. The discipline also offers a multitude of classes at Plymouth State University relating to my “Cinematic Production” major, mainly about the production of putting this form of media together.

Communication has been around since the beginning of human beings. In the early twentieth century, a man named Charles Horton Cooley contributed literary importance for communication as an important academic discipline. “The mechanism through which human relations exist and develop—all the symbols of the mind, together with the means of conveying them through space and preserving them in time,” is how Cooley defined communication. I find that this greatly applies to cinema as a form of communication as it uses the relationships of humans to convey symbols to  an audience and is preserved in time. Whether it’s digitally uploaded or kept in film in some collector’s basement, it’s as much a form of communication as a book is.

CC BY-NC Shanks

The courses I’m taking from the Communication department mainly focus on the production aspect of what goes into putting a film or television show together. The classes Film and Production Techniques, Advanced Digital Video Production, and Advanced Digital Art Production focus on that area. These classes teaches me the basics of the layout of what goes into a film in order to communicate what the crew wants to the audience. Thoroughly planning out a cinematography style or as simple as how a screenwriter phrases sentences is how they communicate subtext through cinema.

The other classes I’m taking from the department, Analyzing Film and Analyzing Television, focus on how the great communicators of media in the past have used this art form to convey their messages through this space. It my version of education majors learning how to teach from their professors, only I’m learning from a professor teaching from the past rather the future of educating children. Which I am thoroughly looking forward to.

I follow the Twitters of Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB and they critically analyze what aspects of a movie and a television show that made it good. The likability of the characters, cinematography, plot line, etc.. The ratings these sites give are overall how well the story was communicated and received by the audience the filmmakers made it for. It’s interesting to be able to see how a recent film either successfully communicated their story, or fell flat and left the audience dissatisfied.

Communication is a vital discipline to the major I am trying to create here at Plymouth State University. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to do half of the stuff I want to do in the film industry. I would probably have just gone for a Business degree or English rather than try to build one of my own that will set me on the path that I can actually see myself walking down. Thanks, communication!


Some well known journals of the discipline:

International Journal of Communication

Journal of Communication

New Media and Society

Public Relations Review

One thought on “Communication, The Discipline”

  1. It might be nice to have some more current examples of scholars and orgs that you could hook up with as you enter this field… Lots of exciting work being done in Media and Communications now… Love some of the background history on this post. Would love to understand more about how MCS breaks down into different subdisciplines (production, media analysis, professional communication, etc). All in all, good stuff to chew on here!

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