Visual Rewrite- Thecommoncase

A Daughter’s Protector

0:01- In the first second of the clip, there is a man hunched over at a desk with the left side of his body facing the camera. He is staring at a laptop and half of his face is visible to the audience. He looked stressed and tired, as if he was staring at the laptop for quite a long time. The man is dressed business casual, with a blue button up shirt and a pair of khakis. The director may have chosen for the man to wear this outfit to show that he is a white-collar worker. The man is young looking, he is probably around 30 years old.

The room he is in is dimly lit, only a lamp and the laptop screen are giving off light. The lamp is positioned directly next to the man on the right side of the desk, where it is not visible to the audience. Although it is not visible, the warm glow of the light creates a drowsy ambiance, indicating that it is not sunlight from a window. The room looks like a spare room that was turned into an office space, there are a couple of cups filled with writing utensils and a cork board with papers attached to it. Papers scattered around the desk, probably from the man’s job. The corkboard has a few pictures on it, with what looks like a man and a child. There are also a few children’s drawings on the cork board.

The door to the office is open and there is a children’s bicycle in front of the stairs, which are visible from the room. The stairs are going up, so the room the man is in must be on the first floor. The bike is pink, so it is most likely a little girl’s bike. His job must pay relatively well, since we see that he can afford to have a spare room, and it is safe to assume the house has at least two other rooms for himself and the little girl. There is no indication of whether this is taking place during the day or at night, but the dim light and lack of windows to bring in natural light make it seem like it is night time.

0:02- 0:15

Suddenly the man appears to have heard something and stares at a particular spot on the ceiling. The camera is at the same height as the man, so when he looks up, the audience cannot see where he is looking. He does not look confused or distressed by what he heard, so it is probably not something out of the ordinary for him. He then closes his laptop and lets out a sigh. As he gets up from his office chair, he hesitates for a moment and unplugs the chord from the laptop, then promptly walks out of the room to the stairs. He takes the laptop with him, so he may be planning to continue his work upstairs, where he heard the noise.

While this is happening, the camera slowly moves in towards one of the drawings on the cork board. The crayon or colored pencil drawing depicts a large, badly drawn dinosaur-like creature labeled, “monstruo” with two small stick figures labeled “papa” and “yo.” Before this moment, there was no appropriate indication of the man’s ethnicity, but now it is clear that he is latin. “Papa” seems to be fighting the monster, while the child who drew the picture is laying in a bed. The director chose to zoom in on this image to show that the daughter is troubled with thoughts of an imaginary monster hiding in her room, and to show the audience that the child feels safe and protected by her father.

0:16- 0:24 The clip cuts to a close-up shot of a small girl sleeping peacefully in bed, with her head resting on a pillow. Her face takes up most of the frame, and is shot from an angle slightly above her, so this angle is most likely representing her father’s point of view. Since her room is upstairs, she probably called for her father from his office to scare away the “monstruo” in her room. It then cuts to a view of the whole room from the doorway, with the camera slowly moving down.

The audience can now see the room fully. It is filled with toys and decorations, and the twin sized bed is placed in the middle of the room with the headboard against the left wall. On the wall opposite from the door, there are two windows, with long blue blinds covering them. None of the covers match the sheets or the pillowcases on her bed, and there is a unicorn stuffed animal at the end of the bed. The director may have chosen to have none of the bedding matches to suggest that they are a middle-class family, and do not care so much about everything looking perfect. As the camera zooms down, we see the man laying underneath the bed, working on his laptop. There is no sign that there is a mother around, so the father is learning to balance work and his child’s needs independently.

0:24- 0:37 By this point, it is clear that the video is addressed to fathers, and that this is not a commercial since the director is not trying to convince the audience to buy something. The words “never stop being a Dad” pop up in the middle of the screen. This is a PSA to fathers that they should always be there for their children, and to not let materialistic tasks like working at home get in the way of supporting their children.

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rnzu21_yF5s

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8 Responses to Visual Rewrite- Thecommoncase

  1. davidbdale says:

    Thanks for posting early, CommonCase. Maybe your classmates will benefit from eavesdropping on this feedback while they work on their own Visual Rhetoric assignments.

    0:01- In the first second of the advertisement,

    I haven’t watched the video, but at first, we rarely know whether what we’re watching is an ad, a drama, a Public Service Announcement (such as this one) or a music video. So, let us know when you start to figure out just WHAT you’re watching.

    there is a man hunched over at a desk and looking at a laptop, which has a stack of papers next to it. The man is dressed business casual, with a blue button up shirt and a pair of khakis. The director may have chosen for the man to wear this outfit to show that he is a white-collar worker who may have recently gotten home from work.

    That’s good information, and I’m sure it does a lot to build a character for this little drama. But are we seeing him from front or behind? Do we see his face? His expression? Can we judge anything about him? His social class? He could be anything from an unpaid intern to a casually-dressed executive. I LOVE that you claim the director has carefully chosen the wardrobe. You didn’t say he was home, and we don’t know what you’re LOOKING AT that lets us know that? How can you tell he’s not at the office?

    He looked stressed and tired, as if he was staring at the laptop for quite a long time.

    That’s good. It partly answers my question from before. But it doesn’t share with us the VISUAL INFORMATION that helps you declare he’s stressed and tired. We still don’t know if we’re looking at his face.

    The room he is in is dimly lit, only a lamp and the laptop screen are giving off light. The lamp is positioned directly next to the man on the other side of the desk, where it is not visible to the audience.

    I’m confused. How do you know there’s a lamp (and not a window, for example) providing the light if the lamp is off-screen?

    The warm glow of the light creates a drowsy ambiance.

    That’s nicely said.

    The room looks like a spare room that was turned into an office space,

    Again, that’s probably a good conclusion, but it’s A CONCLUSION. What’s the evidence that it’s a retro-fitted spare room?

    there are a couple of cups filled with writing utensils and a cork board with papers attached to it.

    Maybe you offered the evidence after the conclusion. Pens in a household cup and a mounted corkboard do add to the “home-office” vibe. Is there anything else?

    The corkboard has a few pictures on it, with what looks like a man and a child. There are also a few children’s drawings on the cork board.

    Indicating that he’s a family man, maybe sharing the house with his child. He must be in pretty good financial shape to have a room to spare if his child has a room.

    The door to the office is open and there is a children’s bicycle in front of the stairs, which are visible from the room.

    Nice. Great detail. Out of curiosity, boy’s bike or girl’s bike? And do the stairs lead up or down from the floor we’re on?

    The director is letting the audience know that this man has a child by showing the drawings, the pictures, and the small bike.

    I’d say that’s clear.

    There is no indication of whether this is taking place during the day or at night, but there is no light coming from the hallway outside the room, making it seem like it is night time.

    You’re probably right we don’t know, but you did say the man has been at work for a long time. I’m not sure how we can see the hallway without light, but it’s probably irrelevant.

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  2. davidbdale says:

    0:02- 0:15 Suddenly the man appears to have heard something and looks up at the ceiling, where the audience cannot see.

    I take it our point of view (POV) is from above the man, so that what we see is him looking up past us at a spot we presume to be on his ceiling? Someone responding to a sound from upstairs would fix his eyes on a single spot, not actually looking anything, just being attentive, and listening for a confirming sound. Is that what we’re seeing?

    He seems to have heard someone calling him from up the next floor.

    It’s hard to imagine how we would know what it is he heard. It could have been a thud on the floor. I take it from this note that the answer to my earlier question is that the stairs lead UP from his “spare room” office to rooms one floor higher.

    He then closes his laptop and lets out a sigh. As he gets up from his office chair, he hesitates for a moment and unplugs the cord from the laptop, then promptly walks out of the room to the stairs.

    Care to speculate why the director had him unplug the laptop? It’s a very specific gesture. Maybe it means he doesn’t expect to be back to work any time soon. Something else?

    While this is happening, the camera slowly moves in towards one of the drawings on the cork board.

    I like this evocation of the camera. It’s important to remember and remind your readers that the camera is either static or in motion. Both choices are deliberate and contribute to the Argument.

    The drawing depicts a large dinosaur-looking creature labeled, “monstruo” with two small stick figures labeled “papa” and “yo.”

    Crayon, indicating a very young artist? Pen and ink? Charcoal? Stick figures indicate youth and inexperience, but maybe the monster is depicted more fully and realistically? Significance of the Latin names? You have not mentioned that the man appeared to be Latin.

    “Papa” seems to be fighting the monster, while the child who drew the picture is laying in a bed.

    Two potential meanings here: Papa protects the child from a real night-time monster, or this is Papa “killing the monster in the closet” that troubles the child’s imagination at bedtime. Which seems likely?

    The director is focusing on this image to show the audience that the child feels safe and protected by her father, and that the father is there for his child whenever he is needed.

    Agreed. Doesn’t answer my question though.

    0:16- 0:24 The clip cuts to a close-up shot of a small girl sleeping peacefully.

    You don’t mention a bed. Maybe you should in light of the bed having been an element in the drawing. From what angle do we see the peacefully-sleeping child? It matters. If seen from above, we have the perspective Papa will have if he enters her bedroom. If we see her from the side, we could actually have the Monstruo’s POV. Right?

    It then cuts to a view of the whole room, with the camera slowly moving down. The room is filled with toys and decorations, and the bed is placed in the middle of the room in front of two windows, with long blue blinds covering them.

    Gotta ask about the angles again. “Moving down” is helpful, but from the ceiling? At this point, we’re starting to wonder about your claim that Papa heard someone call out to him from upstairs. Presumably we are now upstairs and the daughter is sleeping. So it wasn’t her who called out? As a viewer, are we confused on this point?

    None of the covers match the sheets or the pillowcases on her bed, and there is a unicorn stuffed animal at the end of the bed. The director may have chosen to have none of the bedding match to suggest that they are a middle-class family, and do not care so much about everything looking perfect.

    I like the blend of visual observation and rhetorical analysis here, Common.

    To the audience this is pretty relatable, since most people do not have the time to constantly make everything perfect. As the camera zooms down, we see the man laying underneath the bed, working on his laptop.

    You never said that Papa took his laptop from the office, but this certainly answers the question, “Why did he unplug it?”

    This ties in with the drawing seen before, and shows that the father is achieving work-life balance by stopping his daughter from being scared of monsters under her bed while also getting work done.

    Apparently, we’re supposed to understand now that he DID hear his daughter call out for him, and that he has been in her room for awhile, long enough to slay Monstruo and set up his mobile office under her bed. I guess it also explains why the camera angle “moved down”? Is it so that it gets low enough to see Papa beneath the bed?

    He does not let his work get in the way of taking care of his daughter.

    Yeah. Sweet. You haven’t theorized yet about the family dynamic. Is there any indication of Mama’s whereabouts? Does she live here? Does the girl live here all the time? Are the parents together?

    0:24- 0:37 At the end, the meaning of the advertisement becomes clear.

    We’ve been getting a pretty good idea all along, right? But at what point did it become clear to you that this would NOT be an ad for a shampoo or some other commercial product? Did it ever seem to be a TV show? Or was it clear that it was a PSA?

    The words “never stop being a Dad” pop up in the middle of the screen. This is a PSA to fathers that they should always be there for their children, and to not let materialistic tasks like working at home get in the way of supporting their children.

    I’m impressed with your work all the way through, CommonCase. Please don’t let the proliferation of Notes confuse you. I’m only trying to keep the conversation going and give you food for thought as you plan your revisions.

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  3. thecommoncase says:

    Thank you for the feedback professor. I thought I was pretty detailed, but I can see how I could have been more specific about certain details, like the laptop being unplugged and the fact that it was the daughter calling for her dad.

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    • davidbdale says:

      You were quite detailed, CC. That’s what makes the exercise so revelatory. As authors who know the background information, we’re always in danger of assuming that our readers will understand our subtle hints and draw the same conclusions we draw. But they’re at a disadvantage we have to always remedy for them: They don’t know what we know, and it’s our job to tell them enough to agree with us.

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  4. davidbdale says:

    This could be further improved by separating the VERY LONG segments into smaller bits. Most likely, if you do so, you’ll discover nuances that can be described in the transitions.

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    • thecommoncase says:

      I divided up my segments but I’m not sure what you mean by “nuances”

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      • davidbdale says:

        What happens when we break up too-long paragraphs in an essay, for example, is that we realize we haven’t fully developed the main idea in each paragraph. Did something similar happen here?

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        • davidbdale says:

          0:16- 0:24 The clip cuts to a close-up shot of a small girl sleeping peacefully in bed, with her head resting on a pillow. Her face takes up most of the frame, and is shot from an angle slightly above her, so this angle is most likely representing her father’s point of view. Since her room is upstairs, she probably called for her father from his office to scare away the “monstruo” in her room. It then cuts to a view of the whole room from the doorway, with the camera slowly moving down.

          What’s odd about this moment is that we’ve just watched the father react to a cry for help from upstairs. Attentive viewers would expect to see the child awake and frightened if the storyline is proceeding naturally. Instead, she’s fine, peacefully asleep. At least for a few beats, we’re confused. Did dad only imagine he heard her cry out? Was the sound he reacted to something other than a cry? Is this an additional child? You say “she probably called for her father from his office to scare away the ‘monstruo’ in her room,” but the visual doesn’t confirm that.

          For example.

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