Inside Versus Out: How to Construct a Defining Moment in Film and in Character

Intro for the Week(s)

Sometimes the moments which define a character are completely silent. What might feel like a huge revelation for a film audience is just a slight hesitation, a glance, or even a blink in the film.

Most filmmakers don’t want to draw too much attention to a shift, but you still need people to notice that something has changed. Often this comes down to tactful camera work, like shifting the frame just slightly in a shot reverse shot to indicate that something has changed, or someone has a new perspective. Alternatively, it might come from some small detail, like the way an actor pronounces something or emphasizes a word. In cases like these, we don’t need to hear what has changed, we can see it in the subtleties of the frame and expression.

I am spending the next two weeks unpacking some of my favourite defining moments in film, specifically the way camera work and direction constructs these scenes. Tune in as I explore the small moments in film which change the course of a narrative.