Like a typical doctoral student, I discovered my true profession-passion for a career not included on my degree plan somewhere between my comprehensive exams and dissertation proposal. Realizing this passion for film is a wonderful existential crisis to have after 4 years of PhD training in psychology–AKA, when it’s too late to bust out the escape hatch.
Thankfully, I found that psychology is a great–if not unique–wheelhouse to explain the parts about film, the film industry, and our power as audience members that typically get glossed over in film media. This “glossed info” ranges from the cinematic manifestation (or lack thereof) of social justice issues, honest conceptualization of human characters (conveniently, also the subject of my academic expertise), and how nearly all movies and capitol-F Films contribute to the shaping of our cultures, beliefs, and attitudes in some way–even ones that we carry far beyond the movie theater. I think it’s easy to forget somewhere between the US Weeklys, the HuffPosts, and the Mary Sues, exactly how influential we, as audience members, are on what Hollywood makes and promotes. This raises the core question that, sadly, I’ll never be able to work into a dissertation: What does modern cinema tell us about us?
Luckily, I’m a millennial who grew up at a time where publishing your own work online is no longer considered narcissistic and self-indulgent (lol jk…about that last part. THROW THE FIRST STONE, I dare you!). This is where I present my melting pot of film-centered philosophy: An academic psychology perspective on a subjective artistic industry with emphasis on how this relates to people. I certainly don’t mind offering my own film critiques (again: millennial), but my greater goal is to offer new ways to think about cinema and its underlying psychology.