0:01 The video begins by showing a middle-aged African-American man. He reaches down to turn up the volume on a fairly large boombox. The boombox is entirely gray and without label, so we can presume the boombox will not be the subject of the video. It appears to be the sort of speaker you would use when throwing a large party, not just for listening by yourself. The image takes place against a textured interior home wall.
0:02 A pair of African-American hands, presumably the hands of the same man, begin dumping ice cubes into a steel bucket, the kind that usually holds ice to place in alcoholic beverages. The man’s hands appear smooth and well kept, and you are able to see that he is wearing a purple button down shirt. The view given shows that this is all occurring on a countertop with tile floors in the background, most likely being a kitchen setting. This seems to be the man’s new home , or perhaps the man and his partner, not kids, because the house seems to lack many furnishes, decorations, or toys.
0:03-0:04 The man’s face is seen again, and in the background a stove top among a set of white cupboards is seen, confirming this is taking place in a very nice, clean kitchen. The camera pans down to show that the man is pouring pretzels from a red plastic bag into a bowl.
0:05-0:06 The man is now seen at the fridge, which also appears quite nice as it is two-doored and stainless steel. He opens the door and removes four white cans, most likely soda or beer, holding three in one hand while grabbing the last. All of the camera angles appears as quick, close-up shots so as not to reveal too much information regarding the man’s evening intentions.
0:07-0:08 The camera cuts to the man opening the door. The door is red and wooden, with a few small windows engraved in the center and a metal knocker. The setting appears dark, so it is set sometime at evening or night. The door is framed by brick, and as he opens the door, a delivery man in a red tee shirt and hat from the back is seen, handing the main character a white plastic box and paper bag. The man smiles and nods as he accepts the contents.
0:09-0:10 The man is now seen setting up a small green plastic table, and a foldable plastic chair. In the background, a few pieces of abstract art are seen on the wall separating the room from the kitchen. This leads us to believe that these artsy feminine touches were decided by the man’s wife. Out of focus, in the kitchen a jar of cooking utensils and a coffee pot are seen on the clean granite countertops. It seems the kitchen is not put to much use and he orders out often. Perhaps his partner who is out is the one who does the cooking and keeps the kitchen pristine. The man is seen setting up the chair on the side next to him, placing it with care.
0:11-0:14 As the man sits down in another collapsible chair, he sets a deck of playing cards on the table and begins to shuffle them with ease, as if this is a weekly routine. He seems to be setting up a game of poker for whom I imagine to be his other male friends. He is then seen dealing the cards out quickly to different sections of the table.
0:15-0:16 The camera cuts to a close up of the man’s face as his hands hold five cards, covering his nose and mouth. The man’s eyes look suspicious as he looks down to his left and right, one eyebrow raised.
0:17-0:20 The frame zooms out to reveal that the man is playing cards with two African-American boys in tee shirts, most likely his sons. As the camera zooms out the man lowers his cards and says something to one of the boys with a stern look. The boys’ eyes widen and appear to defend themselves. The man smiles and looks back at his cards.
0:21 As the frame zooms out completely, one boy is seen with a glass of red juice and plate of snacks and a sandwich. The other boy has a plate filled with similar food and is seen with a juice box next to him instead of a glass, which may indicate that he is the younger brother. The man does not have any food or drink near him. Simultaneously, the text “Titus O’Neil WWE Superstar” is displayed in the right hand corner of the screen.
0:22 The man, presumably Titus O’Neil, smiles and throws down his cards in defeat as the boys celebrate and bounce up and down.
0:22-0:30 A black screen appears with the white text “It only takes a moment to make a moment” slowly dissolves onto the screen, representing how little it takes to make such a lasting memory for your loved ones. This is followed by a new orange and white text that pops up, stating #makeamoment in the center of the screen with a website in orange text, fatherhood.gov, in the left hand corner. The hashtag is to perhaps draw the attention of a younger crowd.
4 thoughts on “Visual Rewrite- Alpacaqueen”
This is overall nicely detailed and thorough, Alpaca, but I’m never satisfied as you must know by now, so I have plenty to say that I hope will be helpful.
Please don’t (don’t EVER) think that the comments I make are the only aspects of your work that could be improved. But I do want to call your attention to some details and also some broad areas for analysis.
This assignment will be part of your Portfolio, so be sure it reflects your best thinking.
—You misled me with your description of the large, luxurious speaker. I had read your work through before watching the video and was surprised when I saw him raising the volume on a boom box. Why do you suppose it’s all completely gray on gray without any identifying marks of brand?
[We’re always wondering what sort of message we’re watching. Had the name been obvious, we might have thought this was a commercial for audio components—or later appliances—or for a type of take-out food . . . or others?]
—You never say we believe the man to be preparing for a poker game with a bunch of adult males, but the ad doesn’t function as a comic surprise if we don’t. So why now acknowledge that his early screen behavior leads us to believe it?
—You mention the “nice” features of the home, but you never describe it as a bachelor apartment or a family home. Likely it’s one or the other, so which one does the video suggest? Is this dad when mom is off for the evening? Or is this single dad? Or is this dad gets custody in his own home night?
—What does the decor suggest? A woman’s touch? An apartment that came with artwork already hung? This guy’s personal taste?
—The items on the counter. Do they indicate domesticity? Does the bachelor do his own cooking? Is he comfortable with the kitchen preparations? Or is he so inept at putting a meal together that he has to order takeout sandwiches?
Do you see where I’m going with this, Alpaca? If every detail of the scene was selected for it messaging, it all has an impression on the viewers. Your job is to receive those images, process the impressions they make on you, then communicate what information you’ve received. That includes all the judgments you feel you’re being encouraged to make.
—Don’t ignore the camera work and direction. For example (but not the only example), why are all the early shots in closeup so that little of the surrounding scene is visible? Does the director mean to hide things from us?
[Obviously, the director means for us to be surprised that the star is playing poker with his kids. Does that explain why we were allowed to see only certain details until second 17?]
Alpaca, if you respond, you can earn another round of feedback, forever, or until it’s no longer useful. Put the post back into the Feedback Please category if you want me to take another look.
This is very fine work, Alpaca. The only thing left for you to do, if you’re interested (it would make a big difference) would be to critique the director’s TECHNIQUE.
We are deliberately misled to think that the actor is getting ready for a poker night with his adult friends. We are meant to be surprised that his poker buddies are his kids and that they’re playing “Go fish.” This requires trickery, the close camera angles, the careful hiding of beverage containers so we don’t know what’s being set out to serve, etc. If that seems an effective technique, especially for anyone who might recognize the pro wrestler and be surprised that he is showing his “soft daddy” side, you could and should address that decision. It’s a very deliberate rhetorical strategy, and this is after all a rhetoric assignment.
Thanks Professor, will do!
My pleasure. I received your email reminding me that I owe you feedback on your Rebuttal. Expect to see some soon.