Last Wednesday, I woke up in a frenzy because I had forgotten my enrollment window opened at 10 a.m. Any NC State student knows the kind of adrenaline rush it is to simply enroll in your classes and hope you get into a sliver of the courses you need/want for the next semester. Since I had opened my enrollment portal later than usual, the waitlist for the screenwriting class I needed was already full. I have been trying to get into this class for a semester now, and I’ll have to hold off on it once again.
Classes filling up so fast is no surprise to me at this point, honestly. For the film studies program, I’ve noticed there’s a limited amount of seats available in many of the courses offered. For introduction courses, of course, there are more seats, but as you take more film classes, these courses become more unavailable. One class that is infamous for being hard to get into would be ENG 330 — Introduction to Screenwriting. This class is once a week and it lasts about an hour and 45 minutes and is only taught by one professor. With about 30 seats available, this class is practically impossible to get into, which is why I think it is important to introduce more film studies classes and professors into NC State’s curriculum.
I was a little late getting into my major though, which is another reason why I feel so apt to get these classes done to increase my knowledge about film and filmmaking.
Going to a heavily based science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) school, I understand why a program like film studies is more underrepresented and has many of the same professors teaching an abundance of different courses. I am lucky NC State even offers this program, seeing as it’s something most STEM schools wouldn’t have. I was even surprised to see we have a Student Film Society, which I was able to join and have gained many opportunities and have made friends with interests in film.
The professors in the film studies program are very educated in their craft and knowledgeable about the different fields they’ve studied. One of my professors this semester is John Stadler, with whom I am taking ENG 492 and ENG 382. While his assignments have made me do more heavy lifting on my intake of films, I have appreciated his intellect and critiques on adaptations of films, and on queer cinema. Last semester, I also took Introduction to Film with Professor Brown, who opened my eyes to the possibilities of film and film theory, and how films operate. Her perspective on films has aided me in how I view films now and how I will continue to analyze them.
Even though I am still figuring out what I want out of my degree, I think offering several screenwriting courses a semester would be very helpful. Not just for me, but for other film studies majors, or anyone else who would be interested in taking this class. It might even be helpful to separate the screenwriting courses from film majors to people who are simply interested in the topic of screenwriting, thus offering different courses and objectives.
A potential solution to this scheduling issue would be if NC State hired more professors for these courses. I am sure the only professor for screenwriting would appreciate this as her course fills up every semester and there is no one else available to teach it. As the class is extensive and almost two hours long, she cannot have it more than once a week. The class is always on Tuesdays, which unfortunately doesn’t work with all film students. With more professors in film studies, there could be additional flexibility for film students and their schedules, and for the professors as well.