My notes for texts/plays tend to be organized chaos. I try to keep my notes that I make within the book/script quite organized, and I tend to do that by colour coating my notes, like a pink pen might mean that I am talking about the rhyme scheme and a red pen means I’m talking about repetition. I also make a legend to refer to because sometimes I’ll just circle something in a colour without any explanation and the legend helps explain why that information is important.
I also use post-its, whether it is to show where the acts are or where to find the references or the appendix, which is helpful for background information or genealogy. I can also compile notes on top of the coloured notes if needed and then everything is there instead of referring to a notebook for extra thoughts or ideas.
I like to make note of literary devices, and repeating themes/ideas/words because they are used for a reason and are useful in creative a cohesive understanding as to what is going on and the intended atmosphere that is trying to be portrayed.
For plays, I also try to make note of the period and when and where this would have been performed. In this photo, I referenced what types of theatres that were used during Shakespeare’s time because it is helpful knowing the types of stages that Shakespeare would work with and potentially why certain reasons why the play was written as it was, even stage directions.
My note taking for film is quite different due to the media being visual and not textual. I end up taking quite a few notes on visuals because it is easier to pick up. In Olivier’s Richard III (1955), the background has various reds around the room including a seat cushion, a curtain and a shield, which is the same colour of his shirt. Which refers to the murders that happen because of Richard III. It also helps when I need to reference back to that part, I can go back to that because I know what I am looking for.
I take quite a few notes on sounds and music, which can be difficult because the music can draw me into the story and I abandon my notes. Taking notes on sounds and music that is happening is great because it shows the mood and atmosphere that is trying to be portrayed but I find that sometimes I end up getting pulled into the story because of it too, which is why I try to watch the film more than once.
If it is possible, I try to watch the film more than once. Watching the film more then once can lead to many great things, including picking up on some things that I first did not pick up on. It’s also easier to pick up on angles after watching the film again. Also, it’s easier to pick up the flow of what is happening when watching the film once through and then watching it again with being able to start and stop the film to write down what I need and comb through the film much finer.
I try to watch how the actors are making certain choices, I find this hard sometimes because sometimes the choices made were not deliberate. Maybe the actor was swaying in a scene because the sun was in his eyes. Actors make certain choices, whether it is moving into a light at certain times or even making simple hand gestures. Rita Moreno as Anita in West Side Story (1961), during the song America, she makes many hand gestures to further her point to the audience and the gentlemen that she and the other women are trying to prove that America is not so bad.
Different medias require different forms of note taking, I can’t write all over a movie and make notes the same way I would as if it were a script/book. I can’t say that I have mastered it, but I do find quite a bit of success with my note taking, especially with film notes. Occasionally, my note taking for reading plays change, it depends on the language, the format of the script and how much time I need to require to take as many detailed notes as I need. Sometimes my notes for scripts might not be as detailed as I like, but I try to get what I need.