A Mother’s Story: LGBT Acceptance
0:00-0:03- In the opening shot of this advertisement, a middle aged woman with golden blonde hair is seen sitting on her couch in the living room, independently flipping through an old memory book. The living room is quite cozy looking, as the top of the fireplace mantle can be seen slightly behind the couch. The woman looks quite comfortable and content on the couch, with the memory book sitting on her lap. It seems as if she may be looking at baby photos of her son and a slight smile can be seen from the woman glaring at the pictures.
0:04- This shot is a closeup of one of the pictures in particular. The woman’s son, as a baby, is pictured slouched in the corner of a chair, resting his body up against the arm of the chair. The baby is so small that the pillows on this chair are almost as big as he is. The baby lay there with a full baby blue onesie on, with a black pair of sunglasses.
0:05- A second photo is observed, with the same zoom as the previous photo shown of the woman’s son. The watcher is almost looking through the mother’s eyes, experiencing her point of view of reminiscing on memories. The second photo is the boy who has grown up a little, I would say around 3 or 4 years old. He is pictured holding the steering wheel of a boat on a lake. The boy is experiencing the pure joy of childhood, the picture including the boy wearing a huge smile from ear to ear.
0:06-0:08- The journey of the boy growing up continues, this time picturing him with what appears to be his younger sister. The boy has grown up to about the age 9 or 10, and he is wearing a hat that has the words “finals” on it. It is cut off in the picture what team the hat would be from, but it definitely seems like a basketball hat.
0:08-0:10- The camera then zooms into the woman’s face as she continues to scroll through the book. She still seems to be happy and somewhat emotional looking through these pictures.
0:11- There is now a sudden change from the woman looking through the book on her couch, to what seems to be a classroom. However, this classroom has a dark feeling to it, much to do with there being no light on, and the chairs assembled in 3 rows in an arc are completely empty. It can be assumed that this is a music classroom with there being note logos placed throughout the classroom.
0:12- There is a separate angle of the empty classroom, this time taken from where the teacher would have been standing, in the center of the classroom. This angle faces the right side of the room’s students, that is, if there were any students. In the corner of the classroom is a white board with a music line.
0:13- another angle of the classroom is shown, this time showing the entirety of the empty chairs again.
0:14- The setting has now changed from a cut of the camera to a shot from the ground pointing up to the sign of a diner. The diner sign reads “One Man Band” in red letters and under it says “Diner” in blue lettering. In the back of the shot which is more significant however, is the American flag waving in the wind. Why has the camera panned from a living room, to an empty classroom, to a diner?
0:15-0:16- The question previously is answered with a connection. The woman from the beginning of the video, as the next shot shows the woman from the beginning of the video now is shown sitting in a booth of the diner near the window, alone. Her elbows are on the table while she looks out the window, almost with a concerned look on her face. Her hands are folded, which often indicates that someone is nervous.
0:17-0:18- The camera now zooms into the same woman’s face, and all we can see is her facial features with a blurred background. She is still just staring out the window with the same concerned look on her face. Why is the woman so concerned if she was just reminiscing on her son’s childhood photos? Has something possibly bad happened to her son?
0:19- A focused shot is set on the woman’s hands, in which she is fiddling with them. Her left thumb is rubbing against the top of her right thumb, something that a lot of people do when their nerves are high.
0:20-0:23- A man suddenly appears and slides into the booth seat across from the woman. Only the back of the woman’s head can be seen in this shot, so it is solely focused on the man. He enters the camera with a big smile on his face, seemingly trying to indicate a sense of comfort. The man is well dressed and seems well established while also wearing a respectable mustache.
0:24- Neither the man nor the woman’s faces can be seen in this shot, but what can be seen is the top of the table in the booth they are sitting in. The man grabs the woman’s hands to hold them, and they eventually lock hands. The woman seemed to have needed a sense of security or comfort. This action of the man grabbing her hands probably lifted a lot of weight off of the shoulders of her.
0:25- The camera cuts to a closeup of the woman’s face, back to having an ear to ear smile. The woman seems to have let out a little laugh. It is a quick transition from the woman looking extremely nervous and concerned whilst looking at the window, to the man coming into the booth and holding her hands, and finally to the woman laughing.
0:26-0:27- A final shot is seen of the woman and man still holding hands while having a conversation across from each other in the booth. There was no food on the table, so they did not go there to eat food, rather it seems they were there to talk about something important. What could they possibly be talking about? However, the shot also has a sentence over the conversation going on that states “In 30 states it’s illegal to fire, evict, or deny service to LGBT people”.
0:28-0:30- The woman and the man disappear, and a blank green screen appears with the phrase “Get the facts at BeyondIDo.Org”
You’ve done a lovely explanation of the first second of video, tlap. I’m impressed by your description, but I can’t say I get a super-clear visual image of what YOU’RE seeing. I should have few doubts about that.
I’m going to share with you a version done a few semesters ago by a student who had a chance to receive some early feedback, and then produced THIS version of the first 0:01.
The video starts up-close on a person holding what appears to be a scrapbook. The shirt being worn is baby blue with buttons and some ruffles, like a blouse. The hands are on the smaller side, the nails are well groomed, and we see part of a ring on one of her fingers. These are indicators that this person is most likely a woman (not a young girl due to the blouse). It is also possible the ring is a wedding ring, it appears to be just a band but it is possible the diamond is out of frame, so she could be married now or was married at one point (which means a spouse would have died if she was still wearing it, that is unlikely to happen in a divorce). It seems to be an indoor setting because the lighting is dim and the person is sitting on some kind of furniture. It appears to be a couch because there is room next to her that would allow someone else to sit and there is also one visible pillow. She could have purposely left enough space next to her because she is waiting for someone to join her, maybe even her husband indicated by the ring. Or if she was married (or even if she wasn’t) she could have a child/children that she’s waiting for to join her. She has opened the cover of the scrapbook to reveal the first page. The page is a white background with a protective sleeve, which is probably what allows the pictures to be slid in and held in place. The pictures are not arranged in any particular order bur rather were just placed in so that they are visible but slightly overlapping at some parts. There are 5 pictures. There are also two other things in the page which look like flowers that come in scrapbooking kits to add some decoration. One of the pictures is in the shape of a square and a close up of someone’s face. which means it could have be a polaroid. The other four pictures all have multiple people in them, their ages unidentifiable, and are the rectangles that are common from a digital camera or film camera. The pages are well worn and the plastic seems to be warped along the edges of the pages so the scrapbook is likely old. This is probably a book of photos of the woman’s family from holidays, parties, or maybe just everyday life. It could have been from her childhood or possibly one she made for her own family years ago, which would mean she is older now since scrapbooks are less common in current times with everything stored on smartphones or computers. She could be looking at this because she lost a family member and is reminiscing on memories, or maybe there is a celebration such as a birthday or wedding that she wants to gather some pictures for.
You don’t have to mimic that, but do keep it in mind as you plan your Revision cycle.
The difference between the Visual and the Rhetorical halves of the assignment, tlap, is that we can accurately describe what we’re seeing, but we HAVE TO GUESS about WHY the directors made the choices they made.
Any indication of day or night? Is the lighting artificial or natural? Any windows to indicate time of day? How about outside the windows: any indication of where the room is? A generally comforting atmosphere, or dark with danger and menace? Are we hopeful for the woman? Afraid what might happen? Sympathetic?
Fortunately, our brains help us jump to conclusions about all these questions and countless others. Filmmakers manipulate what they know will be our reactions. If the “ad” is successful, WHAT WE FEEL is what THEY WANT US TO FEEL.
Our brains recognize people, objects, and settings in enough detail for us to tell our readers WHAT WE SEE. At the same time, our brains ALWAYS DRAW JUDGMENTS from what they see, based on context. Whatever our brains GUESS about WHY the filmmakers are using a visual is what we want to communicate in the Rhetoric portion of the assignment.
Every character, whatever their other purposes, is cast for their age, body type, race, gender, social status, and attractiveness. You’ve identified age and gender, but not much else. You haven’t mentioned others. Is the subject here by herself? Are there others nearby? Is she with them? Is she alone by choice? Is she at home?
Whether your conclusions are TRUE or NOT does not make them wrong. You’re sharing the IMPRESSION created in you, the viewer, from the VISUALS that the Authors (filmmakers in this case) have shown you. If it later turns out that your Subject is an imposter who has broken into a neighbor’s house and is going through their personal things, you’ll have to explain either WHY the filmmakers were justified in “tricking you” at first, or THAT they simply failed to communicate clearly.
Does that help?
I notice from your later remarks that you’re unclear what the woman and man might have met to talk about. In my opinion, the reason you’re unclear is that the video should never have been cut from the effective :60 version to the unintelligible :30 version.
I suggest you watch and listen to the longer video:
Armed with this information, take another look at the 30-second spot without the audio and critically analyze how much OR HOW LITTLE of the meaning of the argument is lost.
Your analysis of the FAILURE of an argument can actually be more compelling than congratulating the creators for their achievement.
Don’t you feel cheated by the 30-second spot?
Or does it matter? They both seem to depend almost entirely on the voiceover.
Try just listening and not watching.
Evaluate what you’ve learned.