Visual Rhetoric–dayzur

0:00 ~ 0:02 – Two girls are sitting on a couch together, each at one end in a very large archaic looking room. The couch is placed in the direct center of this large room and creates a sense of uneasiness or anxiety. Both look relatively unhappy or uneasy. The camera pans from the scene of the two girls on the couch then a clock ticks and it pans to the girl on the left, and once again the clock ticks and now the camera focuses on the girl on the right. The girl on the left looks much more uneasy than the girl on the right and it seems as if the girl on the right is about to say something to her, but does not. This shows us that clearly something happened with the girl on the left and the girl on the right is trying to make an attempt to help her but does not know how so they just sit there in silence.

0:03 ~ 0:06 – The camera focuses in the middle of the two girls again with both being on screen. The camera pans in as a man in a brown turtleneck appears from between the cushions of the couch in the empty space between the two girls. Both girls still look uneasy, where the one on the left looks much more like this than the one on the right. Neither of the girls have spoken till this point and are just sitting in silence and don’t acknowledge the man. The man represents awkward silence so there is something here that one of the girls must get off their chest but they still do not know how they should go about it.

0:07 ~ 0:08 – The man has neat black hair and a turtleneck. The camera gets much closer to the man and he states “I’m the awkward silence”. As he introduces himself, a cheery music track begins to play. Maybe to show awkward silence isn’t as bad as it seems? Meanwhile the two girls are still not looking at each other or the man. 

0:08 ~ 0:12 – The man then appears between two men in a hot tub, placed similarly to the two girls, at each end of the hot tub. He states “you try to avoid me”. The men aren’t looking at each other and not speaking, as the man known as “the awkward silence” appears from the water between the two, still wearing the turtleneck. In the next scene there are two presumed to be football players at urinals next to each other with “the awkward silence” between them. He states “then there I am again” to show the silence in moments like these that tends to be awkward. He then appears between what appears to be a couple, in bed spaced apart, as you can see his head and distinct turtleneck staring at the camera from under the sheets. The man in between the people in these situations is awkward for the viewer to watch because we can presume what happened between each person, so it is a good representation. 

0:12 ~ 0:16 – The man is back in the hot tub between the two guys, this time the camera only focused on his head. His head is wet as he had just come up from the water and he states “but an awkward silence can be a great thing”. The scene cuts and he is back on the couch with the two girls, the camera zoomed in and focused on him but you can tell the two girls are next to him. He then states “like Kelly here is about to demonstrate” and points to the right (his left). The girl who was about to speak earlier is sitting where he is pointing so we presume that this is Kelly. This shows Kelly is about to say something and that she realized something was wrong because of how silent her friend was. 

0:17 ~ 0:20 – The man is no longer on the couch and it is just the two girls in the large room. Both are visible on camera as like in the first scene. The happy music stops and it is silent. She begins to start to speak and can’t get words out for a second. She starts to speak and the camera focuses on her face alone while she is speaking in the direction of the other girl. Kelly states “You haven’t really been yourself lately”. 

0:21 ~ 0:23 – The camera pans to the other girl, she still looks very sad and shakes her head to basically reply to Kelly’s question agreeing with her that she has been feeling down. Camera then pans back to Kelly as she asks “are you okay” in a tone of reassurance. 

0:24 – Camera is now solely focused on the man in the turtleneck sitting alone on a chair that looks like it could be in the same room but not in the same frame of the girls. His leg is across his other leg and he is giving two thumbs up. A dinging noise plays as well to basically show that this was the correct thing done, to speak up when someone is feeling down.

0:25 ~ 0:30 – The advertisement ends with a bundle of text on the screen talking about a website you can go to help a friend with mental health. All the while the two girls are behind the text talking and looking at each other on the couch as it seems Kelly is trying to reassure her friend. Kelly and the other girl look much happier and both seem to agree on something as they gave a gentle head nod in understanding.

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3 Responses to Visual Rhetoric–dayzur

  1. dayzur says:

    What specifically do I need to fix for the rewrite?

  2. davidbdale says:

    Let’s just examine the first second or so, Dayzur, and see if that gives you enough guidance.

    0:00 ~ 0:02 – Two girls are sitting on a couch together, each at one end in a very large archaic looking room.

    You could be describing a scene you’re looking at live, or a piece of theater. Your reader depends on you for EVERYTHING since she cannot watch the video with you. Tell her it’s a video of the sort that might come on during a commercial break. Two girls are not sitting together. The point is they’re widely separated. They are both sitting on a couch but as far apart as the couch will let them. You mention the size of the room but not whether it matters. Are there other places they could be sitting? Are we looking at the back of their heads? Are they facing one another? Are them motionless? This large room they’re in: is it an auditorium? By archaic do you mean its architecture is ancient? Or do you mean it’s furnished in an old style? Whose style, would you say? Did either of the girls decorate it? Or are they in somebody else’s space? Upstairs or downstairs, would you say? Perhaps a basement? Why does the room look the way it looks? The Art Director could have chosen any room in the world.

    The couch is placed in the direct center of this large room and creates a sense of uneasiness or anxiety.

    The couch creates uneasiness? Or is it the location of the couch that makes the viewer uneasy? Or is it the girls who are uneasy? Are we facing it head on? Are the girls alone in the room? Does the couch match the rest of the furniture? Do the furnishings offer any clues about the owners of the space? We don’t know if it matters, but our brains are working all the time, trying to decide what’s significant and why. Somebody, most likely many people, carefully arranged everything in this room to achieve some kind of an effect. What effect did they achieve?

    Both look relatively unhappy or uneasy.

    That’s hard to visualize. Do they have their heads in their hands? Are they biting their lower lips? Are their brows furrowed? Are they frowning? Do they have fake smiles plastered on their faces? Are their eyes looking at each other while their faces are turned away from each other? In other words, what do you SEE that lets you conclude they’re uneasy?

    The camera pans from the scene of the two girls on the couch

    It pans FROM the two girls TO what?

    then a clock ticks and it pans to the girl on the left,

    How do you know a clock ticks if you’re not listening to the audio? Do you SEE a clock tick? Does the camera CUT TO a closeup of a clock hand moving?

    and once again the clock ticks and now the camera focuses on the girl on the right.

    Why does the camera do this? To indicate the static nature of the scene, both girls silent and sitting apart, us viewing them individually, not together?

    The girl on the left looks much more uneasy than the girl on the right

    What do you SEE that helps you make this judgment?

    and it seems as if the girl on the right is about to say something to her, but does not.

    How does she indicate her impulse to speak? Does she turn slightly in the other girl’s direction? Does she open her lips partly to initiate speech?

    This shows us that clearly something happened with the girl on the left

    Maybe. Do you have another clue? Perhaps something happened TO the girl on the right and she’s anxious about sharing it.

    and the girl on the right is trying to make an attempt to help her but does not know how so they just sit there in silence.

    That’s nice. I don’t know how you decided they’re friends who want to help each other, but maybe you can figure out how you drew that conclusion and share your thinking.

  3. davidbdale says:

    I’m looking at the opening frame now, and I have some observations. You didn’t mention wardrobe, but remember, a video professional dressed them for this scene. I had no idea how old they were from your description, but I should maybe know that to get SOME clue what they might have to share with each other. From the height of the window, I’d call this a basement room. Maybe they’re here for some privacy. There’s no TV visible (or is there a VERY old style cabinet type on the back wall), and their faces aren’t reflecting TV light, so they’re not looking at anything. To me that suggests they’re processing something. Their gaze is on the “middle distance,” meaning unfocused on anything physical in the room. They’re each holding their own hands. What’s with the duck decoys and the stuffed possum? Captured forever in moments of stillness? Of course I make too much of everything. That’s the fun of these assignments. We’re given a wealth of information to process.

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