Visual Rhetoric- HaveAnElephantasticDay

All Students please read before posting your own draft.


Thank you again for being the first to post, haveanelephantasticday! I won’t ask you to always be first because to do so would place an unfair burden on you, but I’m happy that you’ve elected to be first again; you do good work and set the bar high for those who follow you. That said, I will of course have plenty of suggestions for improvement/revision/enlargement that I hope will be helpful to you and to others.

  • 0:01 There are two hands, each are holding very full glasses of wine.
    Imagine please that you are the reader, not the writer, of this line. What would you understand, and what would you not understand? Describe the image well enough so the reader can visualize it accurately. Are they hands of the same person? Hands of two people? Male hands or female? Holding glasses before their bodies? The glasses: are they wine glasses? (Sounds silly, I know, but just because they contain wine, they don’t have to be wine glasses. And just because they’re wine glasses, they don’t have to contain wine.) The arms: do they indicate that the hands hold wine above their owners’ heads? In front of them? If there are two people, one hand each, are the people facing one another? How much of them do we see?
    GRAMMAR: Each is singular; both is plural. Each IS holding a glass. Both ARE holding glasses.
  • 0:03 The hands are coming together in slow motion, possibly for a “cheers”. Presumably a momentous occasion that inspired a celebration?
    You write well, haveanelephantasticday. I love your “presumably a momentous occasion that inspired a celebration.” If you could tell us, either at 0:01, or here, that the hands (and glasses) are approaching the middle of the screen from opposite sides, one left, one right, we’ll have a better chance of seeing the scene correctly. You are entirely correct to say that the glasses approach in slow motion, but for what purpose, do you suppose? Why does the director make this choice? Is it to insure that we will not miss the collision? Is it to give us time to anticipate the collision? Is it to trick us into thinking that the meeting will be a slow and soft one? You may not even have these questions in mind when looking at the first three seconds, but at some point in the viewing, you’ll start to subconsciously react to the repeated slow collisions. Is it possible (this is REALLY thinking ahead) that the director wants to emphasize how our perceptions are altered by wine, beer, whiskey? We think we’re driving at a safe speed, but in reality the collisions we cause are MUCH more violent than we would have predicted?
    PUNCTUATION: the period ALWAYS goes inside the quotation marks. ALWAYS. Even when the quotation is a single word. SO: “cheers.” NOT: “cheers”.
  • 0:06 The glasses are clinking for their cheers.
    It’s good to isolate this moment because it is the last moment of the “expected.” The first time we see this video, we believe the action to be a simple clinking of glasses. To this frame, we are comfortable with that interpretation.
  • 0:07 The glasses came together for a cheers but when they touched, they shattered. There are pieces of glass flying all over. Its hard to tell why they crashed because they seemed to be coming at each other slowly.
    Precisely right. Our expectations are shattered. The slowness of the approach fooled us. We are not prepared for the violence of the impact. There is wine everywhere too, don’t forget. The contents of those vehicles are spilled as well. Maybe here is the right place to make observations about the questions I asked back at 0:03.
    Its is a possessive like his and hers; that’s why it doesn’t need an apostrophe. It’s is a contraction for it is. Use it’s, with the apostrophe, wherever you mean it is. SO: It’s hard. NOT: Its hard.
  • 0:15 There are now two glass mugs full of beer that are coming together for “cheers”. These glasses are also coming in at slow motion. Are they being clinked with the same force as the first set of glasses?
    That’s one good question. Another is: are these the same hands? Are the same people drinking both wine and beer? And what about those mugs (not glasses)? You neglect to mention the logos they sport. Is there significance to them? Why repeat the same sequence of images with a second alcoholic beverage? Is any point being made by using two intoxicants in a row? The shattering point has been made. What’s new about the repetition?
    STYLE: Consider streamlining your language by eliminating needless words. There are now two glass mugs full of beer that are coming together for “cheers.” EQUALS: Now two glass mugs full of beer are coming together for “cheers.”
  • 0:16 When these mugs clink, they also shatter everywhere.
    Why? This could be a 15-second spot without the repetitions. What makes it worth 30 seconds?
  • 0:22 There is a third set of glasses, these are full glasses of brandy that are coming in the “cheers again”. Will the people monitor their cheers so that a shattering of glasses may be avoided?
    I like this question very much, haveanelephantasticday. Having seen the collisions twice result in catastrophe, we’re right to wonder if the “hands” have learned anything. Same hands? Are we expecting the same two people to have learned? Or is it possible others can learn from watching the first examples without having to experience crashes themselves? In other words, analyze the visual not just in terms of what it shows; analyze also your (our) reactions to it as we watch. You’ve begun to do just that with your rhetorical question: Will people monitor?
    BARTENDER TIP: Brandy? On ice in a rocks glass? You think so?
  • 0:23 A hand appears and intercepts the collision of the two glasses. On the top of the screen, the words “Drinking and driving can kill a friendship”. The glasses may represent car collisions that may occur if drinking continues.
    I love the brevity and clarity of “intercepts the collision.” How do your readers visualize this? Do they get a clear picture? Explain briefly your logic following from “drinking and driving can kill” to “the glasses represent car collisions.” I know it seems obvious, but the claim is big and important. Can you reconstruct the steps your mind took on first viewing?
  • 0:28 The glasses do not collide and there is no shattered glass.
    Offer a final thought on the effectiveness of the spot. Did the visual sufficiently deliver its intended message(s)? Did it make avoidable mistakes? Could it have been done better? Was it as satisfying/dissatisfying/effective/ineffective on successive viewings?

A fine first draft of a first draft, haveanelephantasticday! Thank you again for posting early and giving me a chance to respond long before the deadline. I hope you find these notes helpful.

—David Hodges

About Dev

I'm short and awkward and I love America more than any 20 year old girl should.
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1 Response to Visual Rhetoric- HaveAnElephantasticDay

  1. haveanelephantasticday says:

    feedback was requested.

    I provided feedback in the post itself, haveanelephantasticday, to insure that your classmates could see it. I’d prefer that you leave it there as instruction for any who might want advance advice on how to proceed with their first drafts.

    SO: if you don’t mind, please start a new post titled Visual2—haveanelephantasticday when you revise in response to these notes (if you choose to revise). In two weeks, you’ll post again, an official rewrite, that will be titled Visual Rewrite—haveanelephantasticday.

    Thanks again. Feedback provided.


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