New User Special Price Expires in

Let's log you in.

Sign in with Facebook


Don't have a StudySoup account? Create one here!


Create a StudySoup account

Be part of our community, it's free to join!

Sign up with Facebook


Create your account
By creating an account you agree to StudySoup's terms and conditions and privacy policy

Already have a StudySoup account? Login here

History Of Film I

by: Cleve Stanton

History Of Film I COMM 340

Cleve Stanton
GPA 3.99


Almost Ready


These notes were just uploaded, and will be ready to view shortly.

Purchase these notes here, or revisit this page.

Either way, we'll remind you when they're ready :)

Preview These Notes for FREE

Get a free preview of these Notes, just enter your email below.

Unlock Preview
Unlock Preview

Preview these materials now for free

Why put in your email? Get access to more of this material and other relevant free materials for your school

View Preview

About this Document

Class Notes
25 ?




Popular in Course

Popular in Communication

This 17 page Class Notes was uploaded by Cleve Stanton on Friday October 30, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to COMM 340 at University of Massachusetts taught by Staff in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 16 views. For similar materials see /class/232310/comm-340-university-of-massachusetts in Communication at University of Massachusetts.

Similar to COMM 340 at UMass

Popular in Communication


Reviews for History Of Film I


Report this Material


What is Karma?


Karma is the currency of StudySoup.

You can buy or earn more Karma at anytime and redeem it for class notes, study guides, flashcards, and more!

Date Created: 10/30/15
Narrative Style in Oscar Micheaux s Within Our Gates by Dina Cimulo I THINK THAT THE PAST IS ALL THAT MAKES THE PRESENT COHERENT AND FURTHER THAT THE PAST WILL REMAIN HORRIBLE FOR EXACTLY AS LONG AS WE REFUSE T0 ASSESS IT HONESTLY N JAMES BALDWIN EVERYBODYS PROTEST NOVEL Introduction VVIt i Our Gates is the title ofOscar Micheaux s rediscovered 1919 feature film Restored in 1993 from a single known surviving print from Spain the film adds new insight into the workings of Oscar Micheaux an incredibly prolific African American filmmaker writer producer novelist and businessman Since so few ofMicheaux s estimated fortyeight feature films survive it is difficult to generalize about the entire oeuvre However With Our Gates is a stunning film the first surviving feature by an African American director and an example of his silentera work I wish to concentrate exclusively on Wit i Our Gates not as a fragment from an elusive career but as a complex selfsufficient text that stands alone Dina Ciraulo is a filmmaker living in San Francisco She teaches lm production and screenwriting at College of san Mateo and San Francisco State University WIDE ANGLE V OL 2 0 No 4 OCTOBER 1998 pp7591 75 OHIo UNIVERSITY ScHooI or FILM Accounts of Oscar Micheaux s directorial style invariably address his rough approximation of Hollywood narratives even the most sympathetic reviews cite the ways in which Micheaux was constrained as a director and therefore unable to construct a slick seamless product1 The obstacles that Micheaux faced were real and numerous but they do not fully account for the complex structure of VVzt i Our Gates To assert that lack of funds or footage is the reason Micheaux does not adhere to the dominant shooting style of widemediumclose shot established by D W Griffith seems to be missing the point In VVzt i Our Gates there is a finessing of material that is so complex it deserves a closer analysis A perfunctory glance at VVzt i Our Gates tells the viewer that Oscar Micheaux bends the rules of classical Hollywood form to suit his own needs He uses some conventional production practices such as consistent screen direction and having actors enter and exit an empty frame for smoother continuity yet abandons other standard techniques At the level of the narrative the film does not flow forward in a linear manner In addition VVzt i Our Cam mixes different genre styles such as the melodrama the gangster film and the Hollywood romance mainstream films adhere more strictly to genre form What Micheaux has done in Wit i Our Gates is open up a codified form to create a space for a new kind of narrative one that relies heavily on the interiority of the main characters Oscar Micheaux challenges dominant accounts of history and race relations by using an unusual filmic approach to single shots and to larger narrative con struction Brie y I will outline the salient qualities of the shot and then pro ceed to a more extended analysis of narrative form in VVzt i Our Gates The Tableaux Shot Shots in With Our Gates are best described as fitting into a tableaux style Loosely tableaux shots are filmed with a static camera at a neutral distance from the action no extreme closeups and few long shots Usually subjects are centered in the frame and there is a single plane of action with perhaps a mum backgaund Ev pumng his zczaxsm 11 mm af sum hm mmqu assms mpnmmy afhls thalamus mexhg rm 51m hashaws am Mum Ammuns wll hm fun uncampmmlszd dagmun Tabuqu Slums wnh um 51mm pd7 Emma an h 12th 2 Isz 5w 2 Hum fxzmz amad anus mm zzzmuan Axr Th Al s2 15 what Gum Dalzuzzczlls hm Harland dzprh uf eld m pamcularhzvzallvwm m mun me uan af mdwmdm dam m Kthmm What a sumndaxy mm app 11 m h mm mm rarefud Imagn at pmdumi 1th when Flam an 3511131 abjm axwhmzhgsa n unpnm ufcmam mm 2 Mmhgzuxauhglgvgl afrh shatrhszlsnacampznnglnfmmman Tm mzzzgvafpznrg awnzhzlmgzxmlsmzvuvcl 2mm 2 r mmczns zigzhzhzm Drumm Fm x 11m an 51m hm WEIm aquot Gaze x5 91 abau what and m wham n spazks nun 5 5 a 52 K r szpzml aczmpl afrhlsnrz zdublnux 51m mm km a rm 1mg m a lm In R w it lnuaduczd m 11 mm chum Svlvu Landry plzy39zd by Eulyn PM 5 An m 4 Wdea me large n5 2 Open mhlmu mam Wm W van anacdvbmd mml svlm kzzplng aux mnmmm meathum Am nghnchphm mcmmmmm Wm mm m mm mm mpmmm mu 21d mu m pm 3 In mm whale mmm aimum m hauled mmmummm x u my gm lemsymud tawncmsnmzmoamm Wm mm mm m Ile mmme min mmmmmu s a cent m In x m m mammspulm g an Wm OPPmle mm In Km mumh m m In wammsmmmsmmm gag m m tutu wmwemm mm W Micheaux s insistent centering of his characters gives rise to something unusual Traditional continuity editing is premised on a mythical spatial relationship between the actors and their environment That is to say the magic of continuity editing is that people appear to have a relationship to their environ ment that is in fact not based in reality Instead of developing spatial relation ships Wit i Our Gates creates a distinct place for characters Micheaux privi leges character over filmic space by continually allowing his actors center stage Stephen Heath writes of the tableaux shot that one ofits distinctive features is a negation of space for place the constant realizing of center in function of narrative purpose 3 In the above quote Heath is referring to the first wave of films ever producedi single shot short subject films that took much of their form from theater As a sty listic device the tableaux form has been maligned for being too literalminded in relation to the image and narrative Indeed there is often a performative quality to the action one that strives to make itself clearly explicit For contemporary viewers this struggle for readability can seem unsophisticated or even comical However the struggle for legibility can be seen in another light The fact that Wimi Our Gates recalls an earlier moment in film history is crucial Like many single shot films of the 1890 s in which a static camera records reality Micheaux s shots are reminiscent of actualities or documentary style record ings of events Actualities were single shot films of quotidian events feeding a baby workers leaving a factory a man riding a bicycle The camera is placed at a neutral distance from the subject and the action unfolds without direction A need to document reality is at the center of Micheaux s oldfashioned tableaux style shot A fairness of perspective and a sense of objectivity is created by the medium framed tableaux shot it is neither too distanced nor so close it loses its relationship to its environment The reality Micheaux documents is daily black life and race relations in the United States The shots testify to a need to create a center space for African Americans in mass culture and a necessity to hear their stories with some objectivity so that the official historical ac counts of blackwhite relationships can be called into question 79 To add to the realityeffect of Wit i Our Gates Micheaux makes reference to actual places and events that are of particular importance to the African American community As Toni Cade Bambara notes we will hear about the Piney Woods school we will see when the doctor hero looks at newspapers actual clippings that were familiar to people of that period as documentativeA In his filmic representations Micheaux presents what he knows to be true both on a factual basis and on a personal level At the level of the shot a cer tain display ofinformation is given that relates to the factual neutral distance centering of subject clarity of address and clarity of content It is however at the level of narrative construction that we see in what ways Micheaux inserts personal experience as a powerful tool in questioning the real and official accounts of history At the level of the shot and on a narrative level Micheaux constructs alternative representations of people and historical events This is important to keep in mind given the time that he produced VVzt i Our Gates By the year of the film s release 1919 classical narrative film structure had been fully developed as a system that relied on contiguous spatial relationships and linear plot development most notably by D W Griffith director of the klukluXklan inspired Bin ofa Nations Even while VVzt i Our Gates plays with certain Hollywood conventions Micheaux keeps the narrative outside the rules established in part by Griffith Narrative Structure If shots in Wit i Our Gates are pared down for clarity and simplicity the narra tive structure of the film operates in just the opposite manner Wimi Our Gates is a film that seeks to compleXify what appears to be a simple story so that the viewer emerges with a deeper understanding of the characters lives and struggles against economic injustice and racism The plot of VVzt i Our Gates can be summed up in a few lines The official story is about Sylvia Landry played by Evelyn Preer and her search for help for Piney Woods an institution which schools black children and is on the brink of closure for lack of funds During the course of the film she encounters many types of suitors a gangster a preacher a doctor and a romantic relationship develops Ultimately Sylvia is able to secure the needed finances and unite with the man she loves Yet this cursory outline of the story is unsatisfying not because it omits any of the major plot points but precisely because plot here is not the point Plot as it is traditionally understood in classical narrative stems from the exterior actions ofa character In VVzt i Our Gates MicheauX is less concerned with action than with what is generally defined as subplot the interior emotive life of a character Plot functions almost as a narrative justification for the regstory which is given to us in a series of digressions What I call the real story is the unofficial narrative the divergences from plot in the form of dreams memories flash backs and simultaneous but secondary action VVzt i Our Gates is structured through a series of narrative digressions To illustrate the numerous and complex digressions that occur in the film I will look closely at two sequences that happen midway through the film The first sequence is fairly short and occurs while Sylvia is in the hospital The second is much longer and takes place in the parlour ofa white philanthropist Mrs Warwick The Hospital Sequence In her search for funding for Piney Woods Sylvia travels to Chicago hoping to secure support from wealthy patrons Dejected in her search she rests on a park bench There she witnesses a car speeding toward a small child She runs into the path of the car saving the child but sacrificing herself she is hit and injured Coincidentally the car s occupant is Mrs Warwick a wealthy woman from the city Sylvia is taken to the hospital where Mrs Warwick comes to visit The hospital sequence begins with Mrs Warwick sitting at Sylvia s bedside In an intertitle Mrs Warwick asks can you tell me what troubles you Significantly Sylvia does not respond It is as if MicheauX is demonstrating Fig 4 The hospital sequence from Within our Gates Video frame largementr the incommensurability of their social positions experience and the failure oflanguage to ad equately address this disparity Mrs Warwick grabs Sylvia s hand but the young woman turns her head away When she turns back to look at Mrs Warwick the screen fades to black A ashback follows We fadeup on a shot of Sylvia and another teacher from Piney Woods looking concerned It is a shot we have not seen before in the film In an intertitle the fellow teacher explains that they need fivethousand dollars to keep the school open A subsequent shot shows the two teachers again this time with Sylvia shaking her head in dismay It is significant that this flash back in no way moves the narrative forward we get no new plot information for the viewer is already well aware of the need for school funds Rather the flashback fills in Sylvia s emotional state by showing the viewer what is on her mind and why she finds the task of communicating with Mrs Warwick so difficult It is a return to the past that complexifies the present The screen fades back to the hospital scene and the present tense of the story Mrs Warwick is still entreating Sylvia to talk to explain herself her despondency Again Sylvia turns away from Mrs Warwick and the shot fades out Another flashback ensues This time we are inside the Piney Woods school The preacher who heads the school is registering school children This is a shot we aw seen before but it is a shot for which Sylvia was never present By presenting this shot as Sylvia s ashback Micheaux links her experience to a more collec tive struggle within the community It shows that the past is notjust an individual s set of experiences nor a singular dominant rendering of events but a crisscrossing of numerous and diverse conditions over time that affect both the individual and the community Sadly the final shot of the sequence shows the ways in which language has failed Sylvia Landry and that her subjectivity is presented as incommunicable to Mrs Warwick When we return to the hospital a final time Sylvia does re spond to Mrs Warwick s questions but not with words Instead she shows her a telegram which outlines the immanent closure of Piney Woods Again it is as if spoken language cannot address the disparity of the two women so Sylvia turns to facts the printed word The supposed neutrality and authority of printed text stands in distinction to the emotionally fraught Sylvia The text lends legitimacy to her cause Her refusal to speak can be seen as the result of the lack of credibility that historically has been placed on black women Sylvia s silence is an acknowledgment of the fact that her testimony along with that of other African Americans has been neither believed nor understood Through the use of ashbacks in this sequence Micheaux shows how the past is incorporated into the present and that Sylvia s selfpresentation to Mrs War wick is in ected with resonances of the past This is not a pull yourself up by the bootstraps portrait where an person s history is abandoned for a brighter future as Micheaux is so often accused of portraying but rather a carrying of the past and incorporation of the past as part of who we are where our strength lies Antonio Gramsci conceptualizes individual identity in just such a fashion For each individual is the synthesis not only of existing relations but of the history of these relations He is a pr cis of all the past Clearly Gramsci is speaking in Marxist terms This does not alter my reading of Wimi Our Gates for so much of the film illustrates the ways in which racism operates on an economic basis A larger framework would be required to develop this point but suffice to say that economics are a recurring theme and Sylvia s search for funds from wealthy white people is but one example of this The Meanwhile As a structuring device the ashback breaksup the linearity of the narrative and creates a story that weaves in and out of different moments in time In opposition to classical Hollywood narratives which use ashback for plot de velopment Micheaux uses these moments as story digressions taking the viewer away from the official action of the film and into a background story Drawing on film as an example Walter Benjamin discusses the usefulness of plot interruption in epic theater and relates interruption to a form of politi cized art practice I quote Benjamin at length as an introduction to the more experimental uses of digression or interruption in Wit i Our Gates The interruption of action constantly counteracts an illusion in the audience For such illusion is a hindrance to a theater that proposes to make use of ele ments of reality in experimental rearrangements a situation appears that in this or that form is always ours It is not brought home to the specta tor but distanced from him He recognizes it as the real situation not with satisfaction as in the theater of naturalism but with astonishment it does not reproduce situations rather it discovers them This discovery is accom plished by means of the interruption of sequences Only interruption here has not the character of a stimulant but an organizing function Although Micheaux uses ashbacks in unusual ways the form itselfis part of standard film vocabulary What is more unusual and experimental is his use of story quot 39 that r 4 to a quot in the narrative WhatI am designating as meanwhile are story digressions that go beyond simple crosscutting or contemporaneous action These digressions have two distinct forms and temporalities in VVzt i Our Gates I will examine a fairly long se quence to illustrate what constitutes a meanwhile and how it functions The Parlor Sequence Shots oers Warwick s parlor bookend the action In the sequence Mrs Warwick has decided to ask her friend Geraldine for advice on how best to help Sylvia It is Mrs Warwick s assumption that Geraldine a southerner will understand more clearly Sylvia s plight In fact Geraldine serves as the mouthpiece for what could be termed the official thinking of white southerners during the Reconstruction She throws off racist opinions with the force ofa given as though what she says is common knowledge In intertitles we see her r thoughts on African Americans they don t want an education Don t you see that thinking would only give them a headache And further on she states Their sole ambition is to belong to a dozen lodges and consume religion without restraint and when they die go straight to heaven As an alternative to giving Sylvia and the Piney Woods school the needed five thousand dollars Geraldine suggests giving one hundred dollars to Old Ned the best colored preacher in the world At this point the screen fades down on the parlor and an intertitle appears Old Ned as he is Here the narrative diverges from the main storyline to present a character that will never reappear in the course of the film At the narrative level Ned is an aside and in no way moves the film forward yet quite a long stretch of screen time is devoted to his character and to his relationship to white people The digression serves as a layering onto the main story where we see how whites perceive Ned his relationship to white men and his rela tionship to his congregation Finally we witness Ned s selfrevelation which serves as a counterpoint to Geraldine s official discourse An iris opens the scene with Ned preaching at the pulpit He is gesticulating and offering a hellfire sermon The congregation alternately cries sleeps shouts and yawns At the end of the sermon an inter title introduces yet another digres sion showing Ned in an unrelated setting with new characters We are told that on Monday Ned pays a visit to his white friends If the first digression could bejusti fied by showing Ned at his work this second digression exists purely Fig 5 The opening shot of the parlor sequence from Within our Gates Video and social conditions in Ned s life frame largementr to fillin the complicated economic Here we have a digression within a digression The shot opens with two white men smoking and reading the paper We have never seen either man before and we will not see them again in the story The men sit opposite each other on the edges of the frame Ned enters the shot through a centered door and stands between the two men for the entire length of the shot The men ask my Ned his opinion on coloreds right to vote On cue Ned performs his spiel saying that politics wealth and power are for white men that blacks have Jesus and are going to heaven The men clap their hands in approval As Ned con tinues however saying that whites will go to hell for their sins one of the men stands up and kicks him in the behind This man s laughter and delight are the clearest thing we see for he moves up close in the frame and then recedes Ned exits the room and is immediately remorseful for having soldout his race for a mess o pottage The move from parlor conversation to Ned s story represents an interruption in the narrative flow that can be described as meanwhile although events are not necessarily occurring simultaneously In fact the sermon and the visit to the white men could not both be happening within the framework of the parlor conversation This meanwhile is more metaphorical opening up a space within the flow of the narrative to examine more closely the unofficial text showing events not in a aquot ff r relation hip nor as 39 yet dis tinct but rather as part and parcel of each other Homi Bhabha writes of the space of the meanwhile in the essay Dessimi Nation In it he defines what he terms minority discourse and the place ofa meanwhile in that discourse From that place of the meanwhile where cultural homogeneity and democratic anonymity make their claim on the national community there emerges a more instantaneous and subaltern voice of the people a minority discourse that speaks betwixt and between times and places8 It is what I have been calling the unofficial narrative that speaks betwixt and between times and places and takes the form ofinterruptions and digressions that is the heart of Wit i Our Gates The regstory is told in these moments of interruption moments that color the official reading of the story When Ned s story ends Micheaux cuts back to Geraldine and Mrs Warwick in the parlour Geraldine leaves and several shots later Sylvia decides to visit Mrs Warwick again As Sylvia leaves her house we get a quick shot of the preacher pacing at the Piney Woods school and then a shot oers Warwick pacing This is a more conventional use of crosscutting that conveys the idea of simultaneity and meanwhile Micheaux moves outside of this in the next scenes The next several shots show Sylvia and Mrs Warwick in conversation By Sylvia s reactions we see that Mrs Warwick is expressing some doubt about giving Sylvia funding As they continue an intertitle states Meanwhile Dr Vivian continues his study The next shot shows Dr Vivian who is romanti cally involved with Sylvia sitting at his desk Quickly we move back to Sylvia rising out of her chair and shaking hands with Mrs Warwick The next shot is a piece of text presumably showing what Dr Vivian has been reading The Negro is a human being His nature is not different from other human nature Thus we must recognize his rigth as a human being Such is the teaching of Christianity The digression from the parlor conversation to Dr Vivian serves several func tions Dr Vivian can be seen as the positive example of education and the text shows thejustice of Sylvia s cause Yet the exact moment in time when this episode exists is vague for there is no causeeffect relationship between the two events In VVzt i Our Gates these two scenes have relational meaning where characters are not isolated but exist in relationship to others and to larger cul tural issues Thus the parlor sequence comes to a conclusion with reference to no fewer than four different locations The crosscutting that follows develops a relationship between elements that is not necessarily timebased Memory Over and over again in Wit i Our Gates we see that memory bursts into the present tense of the narrative with material force That is to say images that represent memories are not ephemeral or fantastical Rather memory has a function in the narrative that while being autonomous gives resonance and depth to the story The presence of memories have real affective power on characters During the hospital sequence Sylvia s inability to communicate with Mrs Warwick was the result of the heaviness of her memories and their effect in the present Memories and digressions to the past form an interesting story structure in Wit i Our Gates MicheauX shows that historical events are not contained to a dead past but continue to live in the thoughts dreams and memories ofa people In one notable sequence at the end of the film Sylvia s friend Alma tells Dr Vivian the story of Sylvia s past It is a long ashback in which Sylvia s family is lynched and she is the victim of an attempted rape9 The screen time devoted to this tale show that the past is very much alive at a narrative level and that knowledge of the past is crucial for an understanding ofindividual character This conceptualization of history aimof story is in distinction to dominant con structions Both forms rely on a linear telling of events where causeeffect rela tionships continually move forward All accounts lead into the future and the past though formative is dead One has only to think of MicheauX s contempo rary Henry Ford to see how radically different Wimi Our Gates works Ford s famous line on history illustrates both corporate necessity and cultural privilege History is more or less the bunk We want to live in the present and the only history that is worth a tinker s dam is the history we make today 0 In Race Mariam Cornel West quotes Richard Wright on the relationship between history and our present lives We black folk our history and our present being are a mirror of all the mani fold experiences of America What we want what we represent what we en dure is what America If America has forgotten her past then let her look into the mirror of our consciousness and she will see the living past living in the present for our memories go back This quote is particularly apt when looking at the narrative structure of With Our Gates The parlour sequence culminates in Mrs Warwick s pledge to Piney Woods school not of five but fifty thousand dollars This closure of events could have been an apt finish to the film for Sylvia accomplishes her goal and becomes romantically involved with Dr Vivian It seems all the loose ends are tied Yet Micheaux constructs several turns of events that lead to the above mentioned ashback which is entitled Sylvia s Story The ashback which reconstructs the brutal climate of the south is framed as an explanation of Sylvia s character to Dr Vivian In the flashback we learn of the lynching of her family and her rape by a white man Sylvia s Story is outside the offi cial storyline and does nothing to further the meeting of the two lovers Yet its presence in the film particularly at the end gives pause to the entire struggle that has been depicted thus far Sylvia s story counters official historical ac counts and representations which have so often portrayed blacks as violent black men as rapists and the Reconstruction as a smooth bloodless transition If linear narrative can be said to resemble linear accounts of history where events constantly move forward into the future then Micheaux constructs a story that keeps the narrative and historical ow in check Wit iiz Our Gates returns to the past and depicts the unofficial text through memories dreams and digressions It is a task that puts in question both dominant accounts of history and classical modes of narrative filmmaking Notes I would like to thank Scott Simmon for reading a draft of this essay His work on the restoration of IVit in Our Cater as well as his encyclopedic knowledge offilm history was invaluable 1 See Ronald Green The Micheaux Style Blaze Film Review 7 no 4 32 Green summarizes and contests prevailing criticism ofMicheauX Z Gilles Deleuze Cinema I Minneapolis University ofMinneapolis Press 1989 12 3 Stephen Heath Narrative Space Narrative Apparatur Ideology ed Philip Rosen New York Columbia University Press 394 4 Toni Cade Bambara Interview The Micheaux Legacy Baa Fim Review 7 no 4 14 5 There is a convincing body of criticism that positions IVit in Our Cater as a direct response to Griffith s Birt ofa Nation See Jane Gaines Fire and Desire Race Melodrama and Oscar Micheaux in Blaze Ameiiiart Cinema ed Manthia Diawara New York Routledge 1993 and Toni Cade Bambara interview in Blaze Film Review 7 no 4 6 Antonio Gramsci Seettiomfrom toe Piirort Notebook ed Quintin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith New York International Publishers 1971 353 7 Walter Benjamin The Author as Producer Refeitiom New York Schocken Books 1986 235 8 Homi K Bhabha DessimiNation Nation anszzrrzztion ed Homi K Bhabha London and New York Routledge 1993 309 9 This sequence is discussed at length by Jane Gaines in Fire and Desire Race Melodrama and Oscar Micheaux Elm Amenity Cinema 5260 10 Keith Sward T e Legmy omery Ford New York Rinehart amp Company Inc 1948 110 quoting the New York Timer 20 May 20 1919 1 1 Richard Wright 12 Million 814 Valley reprinted in RateMatte Cornel West New York Vintage Books 1993 17


Buy Material

Are you sure you want to buy this material for

25 Karma

Buy Material

BOOM! Enjoy Your Free Notes!

We've added these Notes to your profile, click here to view them now.


You're already Subscribed!

Looks like you've already subscribed to StudySoup, you won't need to purchase another subscription to get this material. To access this material simply click 'View Full Document'

Why people love StudySoup

Steve Martinelli UC Los Angeles

"There's no way I would have passed my Organic Chemistry class this semester without the notes and study guides I got from StudySoup."

Allison Fischer University of Alabama

"I signed up to be an Elite Notetaker with 2 of my sorority sisters this semester. We just posted our notes weekly and were each making over $600 per month. I LOVE StudySoup!"

Bentley McCaw University of Florida

"I was shooting for a perfect 4.0 GPA this semester. Having StudySoup as a study aid was critical to helping me achieve my goal...and I nailed it!"

Parker Thompson 500 Startups

"It's a great way for students to improve their educational experience and it seemed like a product that everybody wants, so all the people participating are winning."

Become an Elite Notetaker and start selling your notes online!

Refund Policy


All subscriptions to StudySoup are paid in full at the time of subscribing. To change your credit card information or to cancel your subscription, go to "Edit Settings". All credit card information will be available there. If you should decide to cancel your subscription, it will continue to be valid until the next payment period, as all payments for the current period were made in advance. For special circumstances, please email


StudySoup has more than 1 million course-specific study resources to help students study smarter. If you’re having trouble finding what you’re looking for, our customer support team can help you find what you need! Feel free to contact them here:

Recurring Subscriptions: If you have canceled your recurring subscription on the day of renewal and have not downloaded any documents, you may request a refund by submitting an email to

Satisfaction Guarantee: If you’re not satisfied with your subscription, you can contact us for further help. Contact must be made within 3 business days of your subscription purchase and your refund request will be subject for review.

Please Note: Refunds can never be provided more than 30 days after the initial purchase date regardless of your activity on the site.