Scene Analysis Detailed Questions. (Bold means mandatory, italics means optional.)
For each of the scene categories (6-12), are a list of questions that your analysis must address and questions from which you can choose to answer. In addition, for 9-11 you will need to answer those questions using a storyboard—a sketch or framegrab of certain moments during your scene, which represent important points of progression in your scene. With care, you should be able to select a scene for which you will need no more than 10 storyboards. (You should have at least 5).
6. Character and casting.
a. Who is in the scene?
b. What is each person’s motivation in this scene? (In other words, what does each
c. What subtexts are at work here? That is, what is going on but not being overtly
stated? For example, a film about high school cliques might really be about neo-Nazi’s or a police state. A film about someone with a drug problem might be a parable about a famous person.
d. How does the casting influence how you see the characters? For example, an actor might usually play bad guys. In this film does he work against type or does he deliver what you expect?
e. How do costumes or clothing contribute to how you see the characters?
a. Where is the scene set?
b. Why/how is this setting significant?
c. What stands out about the setting? For example, is it an unusual setting like the fight
that takes place on the faces of Mount Rushmore in North by Northwest?
a. What is the context of this scene in the larger work? What happens in the scene?
b. What is the historical, cultural, and/or political context?
9. Frame (mise-en scene)
a. What is in the shot?
b. What is centered?
c. What is excluded?
d. How do figures move within the frame?
e. Is the shot wide or long? A close-up?
f. What is in focus? Is anything blurred?
g. How is the frame lit?
h. What are the effects of the frame on viewers? How does how the scene is framed
enhance meaning? For example, does it make the viewer dizzy or claustrophobic, or
make the viewer fell isolated or helpless?
10. Camera work
a. What camera angles are used here?
b. What point-of-view do the camera angles suggest? Is the camera acting as the eyes of a character? Or of the audience?
c. How does the camera move? What effect does camera movement have on viewers?
d. Does the film use slow motion?
e. How is the film edited? Is the rhythm long or short and clipped (like a music video)? What effect does the editing have on you?
11. Music and sound
e. f. g. h. i. j. k.
12. Other a.
Is there music? Is it loud or soft relative to dialog and/or diegetic sounds.
Does the music function diegetically or non-diegetically? Does its status change during the scene? Are diegetic/ non-diegetic distinctions deliberately blurred.
What is style of music (classical/symphonic, jazz, pop, ambient/electronic, other)? How and when is it used?
i. What is happening when it starts?
ii. What is happening when it changes mood or feeling?
iii. Why does it stop when it does?
What is its effect? What mood does it create?
Does the music relate more strongly to the surface action or the subtext?
Is the music used ironically?
Are there other sound effects?
Is the music for this scene typical of the genre or does it work against expectation. Does the film make use of voiceovers? When? What is their effect?
How else besides music is the mood created in terms of sound.?
(such as special effects)
What other details, such as props, are important in the scene? What are their function and effect?
What do you know about this director or writer? How does your knowledge of his or her work add to your understanding of this movie or book, and this particular scene?
Analysis: You should choose moments from your scene that allow you to observe changes in music and film (dialog, action, camera work, etc.) during the scene. A popular music selection may not be appropriate for this assignment because it may be difficult to demonstrate how the music, dialog, and images interact a different moments of the scene. As an example of one that would work, consider the torture scene we watched in class from Reservoir Dogs. If that was your scene, you could analyze the scene (6-12) before he turns on the radio, as he turns the radio dial, when the dj patter stops and “Stuck in the Middle with You” comes on, as he dances around, what happens when he leaves the garage, when he returns, and so on, noting changes to 6-12 as you go. You should carefully choose a scene that allows you to point out changes from moment to moment. (I am suggesting that your analysis contain at least 5 storyboard moments).
Format: Where there are large swaths of text, your analysis assignment report should be double spaced with margins no larger than 1″ (side) and 0.75″ (top and bottom). You can decide how many storyboard
images to put on a sheet (anywhere from 1 to 6) depending on how many items of note change from moment to moment, and your text there can be more compact if you like.