The view fades in of a shot of family pictures on a table. In most of these pictures, there is a young boy, only a few years of age and in another picture is a couple in wedding attire, presumably the parents of the boy. In all the pictures, everyone is smiling and seems happy.


As the camera pans across the photos, there is a dark hallway being lit only with the lights from another room. The light is not wide so it can be assumed that there is a door catching most of the light that is being given off. From that it can be assumed that whatever is happening in the other room was not meant to be seen however sight of this even has slipped out. A shadow that is cast on a staircase moves across the light in what seems to be a backward motion. Just as a guess, the shadow is probably being cast by the mother and wife that appeared in the pictures on the table.


The child who was probably the one in the pictures is sitting on the stairs in his pajamas with a toy in his hand. Given the lighting and his pajamas, it is most likely night time and past the time that he should be asleep. He is clearly visible, being illuminated by the light from the other room which means he probably has a clear view of what is happening in the other room.


He looks up from playing with his toy to see what is happening in the other room. He is near the top of the stairs which means he probably came to sit there after being woken up from what is going on in the other room.


The shot moves to behind the child revealing a different angle of light coming from the other room. Another shadow is visible, unclear if it is the same shadow from 0:05. The shadow moves forward relatively quickly as well as moving its arm quickly as well. Given the setting and the movements of the two shadows in the video so far, it can be assumed there is some type of dispute between the parents of this child and that is the reason he is awake.


The shot is now a close up of the face of the child. He is staring intently at the event that is happening in the other room with a rather cautious look on this face. He takes his eyes from the other room for a quick second to return back to his toy possibly to try to forget about what is happening yet still with the same look on his face.


He is startled by something, probably a loud noise, and returns his gaze to the other room, this time with a very concerned and scared look on his face. His eyes widened, his mouth opens slightly and his breathing has increased. Looking at his eyes, you see them dart quickly between two points of focus most likely each of his parents. His eyes move from a high to low position twice. One of the parents is probably on the ground. It can only be assumed that one parent has struck the other in an act of violence. The boy is in awe trying to understand why one of his parents has hit the other.


The shot fades with the boy still looking at his parents to a black screen with the question “Children have to sit by and watch. What’s your excuse?”

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2 Responses to Visual—americangods01

  1. americangods01 says:

    Feedback was requested.

    Feedback provided.


  2. davidbdale says:

    OK, americangods, Let’s go.

    03. The table is in a house? The house is presumed to be the house where this family resides? Or this is just an array of photos, perhaps being displayed at a funeral home where the family are being buried after a tragic accident? It may be too early to tell for certain, but the mind wants to draw conclusions immediately, americangods. What if any conclusions do we draw from the visual rhetoric of this presentation? Do we sense a somber or a sunny mood? Are we optimistic, nostalgic? Is there a sense of foreboding? I’ll ask these questions only for this little segment, but I will wonder about them all the way through.

    05. This is very fine detail, AG. I can picture the specifics clearly, but not the general. We haven’t been told we’re in a family home. Your phrases, such as “not meant to be seen,” and “sight has slipped out,” and “shadow cast on a staircase,” convey a foreboding. Why not indicate overtly that we get this sense from the visuals? One thing: it makes no sense to say a shadow moves backwards. If it seems the person who casts the shadow is moving backwards, that can be understood. And if that’s the case, there are few positive interpretations for a person moving backwards.

    09. Is he hiding? A child awake at night, perhaps because his sleep has been disturbed, would ordinarily seek the comfort of the parents, right? He either knows the others in the house are not his parents, or he knows there is no comfort for him there. Yes, I am concluding too much, but can you say this idea does not cross our minds? He’s sitting with a toy to occupy himself. Does he do this often, sit in the dark and observe what goes on between Mom and Dad?

    10. Very nice. Blend this with a fuller 09 and see where it goes. Again, talking through the impressions we receive from moments of storytelling takes far longer than the moments take to pass. We react voluminously to the little information we receive. These visuals are rich with clues about how the filmmakers want us to react.

    12-13. If you wish, you could comment at this point that a soundtrack would help clarify all that you are conjecturing, but that even without being able to hear what’s going on, the visuals communicate the tension. The two together must be very powerful. And they must not contradict one another.

    14-18. Imagine how much footage was taken of this child so that the editors had that “looks away in hope of comfort or distraction” moment to splice in here. How much different would the scene have played if he had never looked away? For example, would he flinch back to attention at a sudden sound if he had never stopped looking?

    19-23. Brilliant.

    24. Explain how this scene of domestic violence that occurs entirely inside the home at night could have been witnessed by anyone else besides the child. Is there an intended audience for this message? If so, who is it? My excuse is that I had no idea the parents were fighting violently inside their home. What’s yours?

    This is strong work, AG. I hope my comments have been helpful. Clearly, I have left you almost no time to produce a rewrite by the noon deadline today, but don’t worry. Publish a new post before the deadline as Visual Rewrite—americangods01 with whatever changes you have time for . . . THEN continue to revise the new post until the end of the week. I certainly won’t grade yours until then. OK? Reply, please.


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