Explication of Scenes: Part II

Okay, so continuing where I left off. What was I thinking with the scene where Danny enters the execution chamber? We shot it in a way so that you experience the execution chamber in the same way Danny does. That is, it’s a new environment, with all kinds of expectations. This is to encourage you to sympathize with him. The more experiences you share with a character, the more you feel that you know a character. So if you experience the introduction of the execution chamber with him, it’s like a shared experience with him. Imagine if I had started the film with an empty execution chamber and then I introduced Danny? This actually divorces you from his character, because suddenly you have experiences of this world that he does not have. You won’t feel as close to him as if you had spent every scene with him.

So getting back to this scene. Let’s talk about the way it was shot for a second. You might think that to experience an event like a character would, that the camera has to be some type of jerky POV shot. Not necessarily the case. What if you have a close up of the character’s face? This may seem to be a counter intuitive choice for showing you a character’s experience. The character isn’t seeing his own face, the character is seeing the objects off screen, so we should look at that, no? Well the close up allows you to observe his thoughts/feelings. Although you don’t see the outside world like he sees it, you do see the inside world of his mind with him. A jerky POV shot won’t allow you to do that. Truthfully, the combination of a POV/over the shoulder shot and a close up is the best way to embody a character’s experience, because you get the objects he looks at as well as his thoughts about the objects. If you haven’t noticed 90% of dialogue scenes from the last 100 years are covered this way.

We achieve this by pushing back while staying on him so that we can see parts of the room and his reaction to the parts simultaneously. But we only reveal part of the room, because Danny has only experienced part of the room himself. Maintaining that enigma is in line with his experience of the room. The film itself is enigmatic in the way that it makes you ask what transpired between the characters. The whole purpose of the film is to answer that question. So starting the movie by shooting in a way that left a lot of mystery seemed to be fitting.

And of course the sign near his head that reads “Execution Room Rules” was a low budget way of telling the audience that they are in an execution room. I mean we had chairs set up and an execution chamber, but I don’t want people to be like “Is that a dentist chair?” I’d rather be clear as quickly as possible. At least in this situation. It’s important to communicate that he’s in an execution chamber because it answers the question “Why Is Danny here?” Answer, “To see the execution of his son.” New Question “What did his son do?” THAT’S WHAT TAKES US TO THE NEXT SCENES!!!!

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