March 24

a short introduction to film via glossary

Becoming a filmmaker can be difficult, especially when you’re surrounded by people who have been in the industry for god-knows-how long! Thanks to the wonderful world of education (and google) I’ve learnt some of these words and been able to use them casually when talking about films.


mise en scene = this is how you make a film belong in it’s place. you surround it by things to do with theme to make it blend into the scene perfectly. translated from french ‘putting on stage’. therefore you can imagine it’s literally how the french say it. you decorate a set to look a certain way (e.g. lighting, makeup, decorations, sets, costumes and all that!)


shot reverse shot = this technique is mostly used when two characters are having a conversation. one shot is based on person A looking at person B during a conversation (or maybe even creepily staring at them!) while person B is off-screen. then it will cut to person B looking straight back at person A. it shows these two people are in the same place, looking at each other or in conversation.


pan/track/zoom = for all the camera lovers, these are technical terms for how a camera moves during a shot.

pan being a move from point A to B in any direction where you might see an object in focus staying in the same place, the camera is basically moving around it.

track is as simple as it says in the name. a tracking movement will use an object of focus (it can be anything!) and moves with it.

zoom being a more common one people will know, it’s when the camera moves inward onto an object whether the actual camera is moving closer to an object of focus or actually using the lens to optical zoom onto an object of focus.


psychoanalysis = being closely related to critical theory, marxist film theory and apparatus theory. it’s tied to the concept of emotions and how certain things in films will make the characters feel, or even the people watching it.


suture = it’s a technique used by filmmakers to immerse the audience into the film for them to forget that it’s actually the camera watching everything going on, rather than them watching certain events happen from their perspective.


the gaze = male gaze is a popular thing that is (sadly) used in films to this day. it’s where a female character is sexualised by dressing her in tight and revealing clothing to satisfy the male audience.


audience = our trusty customers as filmmakers! these are the people who actually spend their time consuming the content that we put out there. there are all kinds of target audiences that different filmmakers adhere to, such as action films with guns and fighting are more for an older audience (also preferably a more masculine audience too.)


representation = something very important in the film industry. this is the amount of recognition a certain group of people will get as well as how they are treated. a big example of this is Moonlight (2016) directed by Barry Jenkins and it’s representation of both the black community and LGBTQ+ community.


montage = a collection of images to create a sequence. this can be used in films for memories such as when a character dies, a character might sit there and contemplate through the memories they had with said deceased character. this will be known as a montage.