Archive for the ‘bbalfour’ Category

“Against Tradition” Outline


  1. Characters
    1. Maggie Preston is a young girl who is in her first year of college at Thurston College, a small Baptist college in Atlanta. She is originally from Stone Mountain, Georgia where her father was a minister at a small church. She is now trying to follow in his footsteps and live by the morals he taught to her.
    2. Walter Preston is Maggie’s father. He has spent his whole life preaching the word of god but he is also a firm believer in white supremacy and a member of the Ku Klux Klan. He views Leo Frank as pervert who deserves to be killed for doing what he is accused of.
    3. Katherine Maxwell is Margaret’s aunt who lives in Philadelphia. She will add a contrasting perspective to this story, offering an outsider’s view. She will give Maggie guidance and the courage she needs to stand up to her father.
    4. Beth Rogers is Maggie’s best friend. She sympathizes with Maggie’s confusion of what to believe. Maggie goes to her after she realizes the truth about her father.


  1. Plot Overview


  1. Exposition: The movie will open with a scene of Leo Frank being arrested. Maggie is at college when she receives of Frank’s arrest. Her fellow classmates are infuriated by the news of a Jewish man killing a young, innocent Christian girl. After reading the newspaper articles for herself, she realizes that there is a very minimal amount of evidence supporting the conviction of Frank. There will be a scene of Maggie’s class discussing the trial as well as a scene where we see her confess her feelings about the trial to her best friend, Beth.
  2. Rising Action: Maggie goes home in hopes that her father will offer her some much needed perspective on the whole thing. She soon finds out that he is just as prejudice as everyone is at school. This causes her to ask more questions about her own morals and the path she has chosen in life. This is when she begins writing to her Aunt Katherine. There will be another scene of Frank’s trial intertwined here.
  3. The climax of the story comes when Frank is abducted, taken to Marietta, GA and finally lynched. Maggie is at home when the news reaches her and when she sees how satisfied her father is with the news; she becomes outraged and gets into a huge fight with him.
  4. After she goes back to school she decides to stop studying theology and turns her focus towards law. She is very angry at her father but she understands that people like him exist in the world and she has to deal with them and the acts of injustice they commit.

III. Setting

  1. This film is set mostly at Thurston College in Atlanta, GA and the family’s home and church in Stone Mountain, GA. Also there will be several scenes of Leo Frank at court.
  2. The scenes at Maggie’s college will be filmed on location while the other settings will be filmed mostly on sound stages so that Atlanta can look as it did in the 1920’s.

IV. Technical Features


  1. This film is a feature film so it will have a fairly large budget allowing for A-list actors to be hired and proper recreation of the period in which this story takes place.
  2. An original score will be composed for this film.
  3. Camera angles will be essential for the scenes between Margaret and her father. In the first scenes where they argue, her father will be made to appear much larger and more powerful than she is. Then after Maggie stands up to him finally she will be made to appear more powerful.
  4. Another important technical aspect of the film is the transition between Leo Frank scenes and the scenes with Maggie.
  5. Two Key Scenes
    1. The scene where Maggie discusses Leo Frank in her religion class is important because the strong views her classmates have reflect what the south as a whole was thinking about this trial. The camera will move back and forth from person to person as they are speaking. The camera will also focus on Maggie’s reactions to all of their harsh opinions.
    2. Towards the end of the movie, Maggie stands up to her father. This scene will take place in the family’s home and will involve a lot of tricky camera angles. In the beginning her father will still appear more powerful than she is but as the argument progresses, the camera will make her seem more commanding.



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Realism in Norma Rae

Norma Rae shows the harsh and dangerous reality of working in a cotton mill. In order to portray all of these hazardous conditions the movie was filmed on location in Auburn, Alabama. Because this film is based on a true story, the authenticity is even more important in making the film believable. The opening shots of the movie show the loud machines grinding, the excessive amounts of cotton particles in the air and the poor people who have to work in there. Early on, Norma Rae seems unsatisfied with the way people are treated at the mill. The managers do not care much about the employees as shown by their blatant disregard for their health and safety. There are so many health risks associated with being in such a terrible environment such as this one. The filmmakers did well in making the mill seem very closed-in and even suffocating. Another terrible reality is the fact that these people really can’t escape the mill because those are the only jobs available in this small town. However these people still can’t really make a decent living wage. The entire town is impoverished.

       The audio in this film really made the danger authentic. Whenever there was a scene in the mill, the dialogue between actors became very muffled by the loud machines and also because of cotton decreasing everyone’s sense of hearing. The scenes in the mill are so loud except for the one part when Norma Rae jumps up on the table, holding the sign with “UNION” written on it. This was one scene that was not dramatized by the filmmakers. The silence here contrasts greatly from how loud the mill usually is which increases the tension. Here is where she really convinces everyone to get behind her in support of the union. The machines finally stop toiling and everything appears at rest when really this is the highest point of strain in the entire story.

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       There are a couple of very important chase scenes in this movie. One takes place at the very beginning when the police are chasing Harvey Oberst, the presumed suspect in the murder case. The police are chasing him on foot through a very wooded area as he is trying to cross the state line to Arkansas.  A lot of sounds contribute to the sense of heightened anticipation. The audience hears the fast tempo of the music, the rustling of the leaves as the cops are running through the forest, and the loud barking of the hound dogs. Also parts of the scene look as though they are shot with a handheld camera which increases the nervous tension of the chase. In contrast, there are many vivid colors of the autumn leaves at sunrise in the background, making this scene even more interesting to watch.   

       The second chase scene is more towards the end of the movie where Virgil is being chased by a group of bigots who intend to take his life. During this scene the view is constantly switching back and forth between Virgil in his car, the men chasing him in their car and the grinding of the bumper hitting the other bumper. This constant interchange of perspective, combined with the sound of the cars speeding down the dirt road adds an extra element of trepidation. The scene ends with the white men backing Virgil up into a dark corner and just when the audience thinks it’s over Chief Gillespie steps in again. The fact that Chief Gillespie ends both chase sequences is significant because it portrays him as the peacemaker. The director spent a lot of time piecing these scenes together by incorporating a variety of unique camera angles and audio effects. He was trying to highlight the fear of the people being chased as well as their struggles to escape their fates.

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Response to First Memo

In my first memo, “Scarlet vs. Melanie,” I discussed the characterization of the two characters. My analysis was fine but I think I focused too much on the narrative rather than the actual film. Next time I will probably try to focus on specific scenes and the way the characters are portrayed in the certain setting.

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