Discovering Worlds Past and Present
Mise-En-Scene essentially means “moment in a scene” and it examines how a single moment of a film— either a still shot or a moving scene from the movie — that 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?
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, firstname.lastname@example.org