WRT @ 6:30|(My) Documentary Film & Visual Rhetoric Page

WRT 105 | Watching Your Assigned Documentary [for Tuesday 10/7]

Watch your assigned documentary.  Post what follows both to your personal blog site and to the class blog site under the WRT 105 @ (class time)| Unit #2 “Situating Visual Literacies” > (My) Documentary Film & Visual Rhetoric page.

Note: You will receive “Common Rhetorical Strategies Used in Visual Rhetoric” sheet in Tuesday’s class.

Take good notes as you watch, being mindful of the visual literacy concepts we have explored so far.

  • Documentary films use various visual rhetorics—visual devices—to make their various claims.
  • As such, documentaries are about what we see—the content and the images—as well as how the films show us that content– slow-motion, close-ups & long shots, interview, lens choices(wide angle and telephoto), filmed and found footage, and editing choices.
  • In a double column entry format, list each major claim that your film makes in the left-hand column. Then, in the right-hand column, list the visual devices the film uses to make that claim. Consider the following sequence (4:36 – 6:04) from Gnarly in Pink and the double-entry annotation below.
  • After your last entry, include a row that identifies your take on the film’s rhetorical stance: does the film attempt to persuade us to adopt a view of its issue that agrees with the mainstream view (dominant-hegemonic reading), mixed, not fully in support of the mainstream (negotiated reading), or in defiance of the mainstream view (oppositional reading)? For the three (3) types of readings, see the discussion of Stuart Hall on pp.248-250 of EaT.

*** Note! Reload/Refresh this page in order to re-cue clip at its start point.***


(Sample dbl entry page for Initial Doc Assignment)

Gnarly in Pink (Kristelle Laroche & Ben Mullinkosson, 2014)
ClaimVisual Rhetoric / Visual Devices
Relz, Bella, & Sierra are young girls both able to play as young girls and board just a radically as boys their own age, bumps, burns, and bruises and everything (chocolate too).

Camera does not exploit the fact that the girls take occasional spills and injuries.
Slow-motion sequence opens with pink My Little Pony piñata wiping out and which cuts to each girl skating, in medium close-up and close-up shots, concludes with Bella wiping out and running to her dad and the chocolate.*** Important: camera films exchange with day in an extreme long shot – it chooses NOT to make a big visual deal of her crying over / after the fall.
Overall: this documentary invites us to form an oppositional reading of childhood gender norms.


Upload your film’s trailer to your blog.

Then, in the same post, analyze the rhetorical structure of the trailer (i.e. how does the trailer attempt to persuade its viewers to go see the film?) in ~400 words.  How does the trailer address its viewer? How is it arranged? How does the trailer condense the film in terms of story (narrative), genre (i.e. trailer vs. full documentary film), and argument? What does it appropriate directly from the film itself and how does it reframe those fragments in the new context of the trailer? Does the trailer appear to address a different audience? Does the trailer affect the purpose of/for the documentary as a form of entertainment/ing persuasion?

Select a scene from the film to screen in class—something that you find visually compelling or provocative or persuasive. Make note of the content, significant visual rhetorical features, and the time indexes (i.e. start / stop times). Include this at the end of your post.

Bring four (4) hard copies to class.

Note: You will receive “Common Rhetorical Strategies Used in Visual Rhetoric” sheet in Tuesday’s class.


How to Embed A YouTube Video to Your Blog Site

You may already be familiar with embedding videos within web pages; if so, no need to read what follows. If not, use the following steps.

Open the YouTube video for your documentary in a separate tab or page. Skip any ads that may play.

  • Below your video you will see a  icon click it and you will then see appear a box appear with the words Share  Embed  Email, followed by a host of social media buttons.
  • Click the embed icon, a small rectangle with highlighted HTML code will appear; right click on the highlighted code and select copy.
  • Proceed to your post (in draft mode), and once there, click on the “text” tab at the top of your post. You will see a plain text / code version of your post.
  • Navigate to the place within the post you wish the embedded trailer to appear, insert your cursor, right click, and select paste.
  • Save your post, select preview to ensure that the video will embed, and if satisfied with your post, click publish.

Leave a Reply