Explication of Scenes: Part III

How about the scene when Danny goes to see Gideon in his cell? The purpose of this scene was to mislead you. The way he treats the priest, you should think that Gideon has some issue with religion. This was a tricky scene because I needed to make it seem that Gideon was anti religious without having him say anything ridiculous like “I hate God.”

I really regret playing the part of “Older Gideon.” When Hitchcock did this kind of thing, it was always at a mundane moment.  When the shots of me occur, there are really critical pieces of information getting revealed. So instead of saying “Ohhhh that’s why!” people are saying “That’s Nate, that’s the director, yadda yadda.” Really, the casting decision was motivated by not having to think about one more actor. On the flip side, I think some people may find it interesting that the director is playing “The Evangelist” character. Does the title possibly refer to the director? Maybe…but I’ve decided to reserve that speculation for the criterion collection essay that will accompany the DVD.

What I like in this scene is the moment when the Priest walks toward Danny. The Priest is discouraged and Danny tries to provide encouraging words.

But the Priest maintains his path, ignoring Danny. The priest disappears behind Danny. But then Danny mentions “I was his father.”

The priest reappears from behind Danny. He is interested by this. The shot isn’t symbolic or anything, but the design of it was meant to communicate the thought process of the Priest through the blocking.
Then we go back to the execution room. Danny and the Priest discuss Gideon. The camera is positioned behind the backs of the characters. I think this creates a more intimate vibe when characters are discussing something very important. They face away from us, so it’s almost like we are eavesdropping.

Here’s something I learned. Flashback cuts need to be motivated by a line. The line doesn’t have to be “It was a dark and stormy night..” but there needs to be something. The flashback here was initially motivated by a pregnant pause. Some people found this jarring. So I freeze framed the shot and added a line of voice over to prompt the flashback. This was fine because we had voice over anyway. It’s amazing what you can fix in post sometimes!


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