It is probably rare that a class would have a printed text of a film, and, even so, a printed text of the film might differ from the version shot. Your assignment is to break the actual film itself down scene by scene and mark the time each scene begins. In effect, the log adds page numbers to a film for more efficient use. The practical purpose of the scene log, then, is:
- to help people get quickly to a specific spot
- to help them have a way to cite quotes exactly (like they would cite pages in a printed text)
- to help them know how long sections are that they might want to show in class
And, not least by any means, simply as an intellectual exercise for its own sake, logging the film is also a way to slow you down so that you get deeply familiar it.
Format and hints:
- give each scene a starting time
- give each scene a short title of your own devising
- give each scene about a 1-5 line description, for example:
- 0:20:28 Abigail's Rejection
- John and Abigail meet, and John tells her that their affair is over. She kisses him, but he pushes her away.
- 0:29:20 Girls' Confession
- Hale confronts all the girls to find out what had happened the night before, and Abigail accuses Tituba of making them conjure spirits. Tituba finally breaks and says the devil has seized her. Hale tries to cleanse her and asks her who else is involved. She starts accusing Goody Good and Good Osborne and the girls chime in with a flood of accusations.
- logging is a slow process; be prepared to spend a lot of time on this; our suggestion is to go through first and mark the time of the scenes, and then go back and do the content of the entries
- if you are using a video version, you need a VCR with a time counter
DVDs have scene or chapter titles but recognize that they do not cover every scene in the film individually in the way that we need to nor, in most cases, is there any logic to their divisions. So, disregard these scene or chapter titles provided on the DVD.
- Important! if you are using video, mark time from the beginning of the film, not from the beginning of the videotape itself (which may have previews, etc., before the film)
- Important! mark the beginning time of each scene exactly in this format:
- be as exact as you can (stop at the beginning of each scene to note the time), but we all realize that not all counters will be calibrated exactly alike
- since one purpose is to help people get to a specific spot quickly -- for instance, in a class presentation -- try not to go longer than 5 minutes between time marks: if a scene is that long or longer, somehow break it into sections