Small Paper 4.4 — Mise-En-Scene


Mise-En-Scene essentially means “moment in a scene” and it examines how a single moment of a film shows the entirety of the film’s plot, structure, tone, and mood.

To write a Mise-En-Scene, follow this pattern:



  • Give a picture of the entire story — write a brief backstory to the whole movie, then . . .
    • What is going on in the scene?
    • What is being emphasized?
    • What is being de-emphasized?

Aspect Ratio  

  • Summary of the shot and assessment of the placement
    • Who is where in this scene?
    • Why does the director set the scene this way?
    • How does the directory use space and to what effect?
Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 8.53.46 AM

Shot Angle —

  • Summary statement about the particular moment you are examining
    • Why this angle?
    • Who is in control?
    • Where are you (the viewer) in this shot?
    • Why are you there?

Camera Movement —

  • Summary statement about the movie’s use of the camera (on the whole)
    • Name the shot progression (tracking, dolly, pan, tilt, still)
    • What is the story being told (literal, in the scene, and implicitly, with the shot)


  • Summary about the overal impression of focus and cinematography
    • Name the shot progression (rack, soon, pan, dutch angle)
    • Tell the story the DIRECTOR is using (as opposed to the actors)
    • How does it effect the scene/the story?


  • Classify the kind of movie it is, based on lighting (use tone words to portray mood)
    • What kind of lighting is being used in the scene?
    • How does this lighting relate to the lighting being used in the overall story?
    • What is the cinematographer saying without using words?

The Mise-en-Scene should start with a cause and effect, summary sentence, and then use bullet-points to classify your argument.  Then, when all is done, write an IMPACT STATEMENT about how this particular element helps to show the larger story being told.

© Jeff Thomas,