JCM212/Stylistic Analysis

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  1. Due Wednesday, February 21th, 3:00 p.m., in class. Must be word-processed.
    • To be discussed in-class.
  2. This is the second of two critical analyses. Each is worth 7 points toward the 100 for the semester.

Preparation Part 1

  1. Choose a single scene in a movie, but not one we've watched in class.
  2. Scene analysis: break it down shot-by-shot.
    • List and number every shot in your scene and identify what type of framing was used (long shot, medium shot, etc.; you may use abbreviations: LS, MS, CU). Describe any significant action in the shot, using the characters' (not the actors') names. Include only the most significant dialogue; do not include every line. Include a screenshot taken from each shot. In effect, you are creating a storyboard of your scene.

Sample scene breakdown

A template in a Word doc is available online. See also the Grey's Anatomy Découpage.

  1. LS exterior of Maggie's house, night.
  2. MS interior. Maggie makes dinner for Joel.
  3. CU Maggie talks to Joel about the night before. "Last night you were so different..."
  4. CU Joel responds.
  5. And so on . . .

Preparation Part 2

  1. Draw a diagram of your scene's camera positions and blocking--as in the diagram for Grey's Anatomy (below), but without the drawings of frames. Be sure to indicate which shots are done from which camera positions--using the numbers of the shots from your list above.



Draw examples from your scene to discuss your answers. That is, refer to specific shot numbers when you answer these questions.

  1. How would you describe the sound perspective in this scene? Judging from how it sounds, what conventional position of the microphone was used? Explain.
  2. Does your scene contain nondiegetic music? If so, then what function does it serve? If not, pick a piece of music and imagine that it was laid under the scene. What impact would your music have on the scene?
  3. Does your scene contain sound from a different diegetic time (earlier or later)? If so, what impact does it have on the image? If not, then choose one shot from your scene and invent some sound (dialogue or effects) that could be laid over it from another time in the story.
  4. How is the scene’s space, the area in which the action takes place, introduced to the viewer? Does an establishing shot occur at the start of the scene (or later in it)?
  5. Do your scene's camera angles adhere to the 180° rule? Is screen direction maintained? If not, why is the viewer not disoriented? Or if the space is ambiguous, what narrative purpose does that serve?
  6. Does the last shot of the scene bring it to a conclusion or does it raise more narrative questions? Explain.
  7. Choose one of the following three questions, based on elements that are present in your scene:
    • 7A How are match-on-action cuts or eyeline match cuts used? Are there jump cuts?
    • 7B How does the camera relate to the characters' perspectives? Are there point-of-view or subjective shots? If so, how are those shots cued or marked? That is, what tells us that they are subjective or point-of-view shots?
    • 7C How is shot-reverse shot used? Are there re-establishing shots? What narrative impact do shot-reverse shot and re-establishing shots have? That is, how does the choice of shots help to support the development of the story?
  8. Do you feel the editing of this scene was effective? Why or why not?

Grading rubric

  1. Does the shot-by-shot breakdown include each shot and provide a number and a screen shot? Does it include significant action and dialogue? Three points possible.
  2. Does the camera-angle diagram clearly indicate camera positions and which numbered shots (from the breakdown) are associated with which camera position? Are the actor positions clearly indicated? Two points possible.
  3. Questions 1-8:
    • Does the answer fully respond to each question--including reference to specific shot numbers in questions 4, 5, 7A, 7B, and 7C? Two points possible for each question.

Peer review: "Grade" your classmates' analyses

These scores by your peers will not be recorded or have an impact on your grade. You will have a chance to revise your analysis, if you wish. The final analyses are due in class in Monday, 2/26.

On Wednesday, 2/21:

  • Bring a pair of headphones or ear buds.
  • Bring your printed analysis. Students without a printed analysis will be given an alternative assignment. (If your analysis is in electronic form, put your name on a piece of paper and draw a line down the center of it. Your peers will use this to score and comment upon your analysis.)
  • If possible, bring a device that can play a video clip of the scene you analyzed.
  • Evaluation exercise:
    1. Pass your a printed analysis to the person on your left in your group's circle.
    2. Show that person your video clip, if possible. If not, explain the scene to them, using your screen shots.
    3. Evaluate the analysis that was passed to you, using the rubric above. Put scores and at least three written comments in the left margin (or, for electronic analyses, use the left side of the divided paper given you by the student).
    4. Print the score total and your name at the bottom of the left margin.
    5. When everyone in your group has finished scoring one analysis, repeat the above process with the student on your right, but put scores/comments in the other, right margin.
    6. After your analysis has been scored twice, take a photo of the total scores with your phone and email it to jbutler@ua.edu . Make sure the scores and your fellow students' names are legible. (If you cannot take a photo of it, show it to Dr. Butler and he'll photograph it.)
    7. When everyone in your group has finished scoring two analyses, share your camera-angle diagram with everyone in the group. As a group, select which diagram best fulfills the assignment (by consensus or by vote), photograph it, and email the photo to Dr. Butler: jbutler@ua.edu .

Finished before class time is over?

Please enjoy an episode of Bob's Burgers on Blackboard. We'll discuss it later in the semester.