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It’s no secret that inspiration can be hard to find at the best of times, now multiply that with the effect a national lockdown has and it can seem almost impossible to find sources of new or interesting inspiration to get you motivated.

Below I’ve curated what I’d consider to be the best (or at least my favourite) film related video essays that inspired me from last year.

Parasites perfect montage

Parasite is probably my favourite film from last year. Director Bong Joon Ho has a lot to say about class warfare and society in many of his films, and nowhere are those themes more perfectly crystalized than in his latest black comedy thriller.

In his video Evan Puschak (NerdWriter) captures the essence of what is so great about Parasite. From the flawless editing, the rhythm, tone and symmetry of the Cinematography to Director Bong’s meticulous attention to detail in the scenes he creates.

Mad Men – Layers of Meaning

Madmen has the esteemed honour of being both overrated whilst simultaneously also being criminally underrated. For a show that explores its themes through subtext, metaphor and what’s not being said rather than what is, there is a disturbing lack of analysis on the show itself. Which is why I loved Michael Tucker’s (Lessons from the Screenplay) take on what is arguably the best episode of the series “The Wheel”.

Random Lessons Learned from Making Films

David F. Sandberg got his start in the early days of YouTube making short horror films under the name ‘Ponysmasher’. In 2016 he got the chance most YouTube filmmakers still dream of and directed a feature length version of his short film ‘Lights Out’. David then quickly established himself as a household name going on to direct ‘Annabelle: Creation’ and Marvel’s ‘Shazam!’. What makes David’s videos so great is he still feels like ‘one of us’. He will be the first to admit he doesn’t have all the answers and is still learning himself, and yet he still produces amazing free content on his YouTube channel complete with unpretentious and honest advice and great behind the scenes footage from his studio releases.

Aspect Ratio – The Changing Shape of Cinema

Okay I’ll be the first to admit this one isn’t entirely as inspiring to everyone as it is to me. I love talking about aspect ratios and their continuing evolution in the current landscape. And I’m aware of the look people often give me when I’m describing them as if I’m talking about my favourite types of sand. However, if there is any video to make the subject more accessible and ‘interesting’ to the mainstream audience it’s this one from ‘Team 2 Films’. It’s incredibly well researched and does a great job at balancing the more technical aspects with engaging animation and well sourced clips.

Hayao Miyazaki – How Animation Comes to Life

For those who are unaware, Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation studio co-founded by Animator, Director, Producer and Writer, Hayao Miyazaki. They’re responsible for some of the most ground-breaking, painstakingly hand-drawn animated films of the last thirty or so years.

YouTuber ‘kaptainkristian’ examines what makes a Ghibli film so unique from its western contemporaries (Disney) and displays how their use of animation, music, foley and story come together to create a work of art.

In spite of everything content creators are still putting out some amazing content, here’s hoping 2021 can be just as inspiring.