Visual Rewrite–todayistheday

0:00 In this freeze frame, we are outside in the middle of the day. We are at a gas station; a gas pump takes over most of the screen. The dusty sepia landscape we are presented with shows the quality is overexposed and washed out, giving the impression that it was made decades ago, pushing us to believe this takes place in an earlier time. There is a sense this was during the 1980s.

The gas pump is older looking. Instead of digital numbers indicating price it has analog numbers. This gas pump doesn’t feature that allows credit card payment. In our line of site the gas pumps are labeled 3 and 4.  We assume there is also pumps 1 and 2, we register that this must be a smaller scale gas station.

The scene is cast in daylight and by the way the shadows are cast it seems to be midday.  A seemingly empty gas station in the daylight is much different than during the night time.  Night time, casts everything in darkness giving it a dangerous or potentially threatening vibe.

The space is very dull and unkept.  The pavement has several cracks scattered about.  The surrounding area offers no greenery or landscaping.   The dull coloring and the plain area hint this may be a  depressed neighborhood. The houses in the distance are small and tidy enough.  Middle class ranchers with small fading patches of grass for lawn.

An old-model sedan enters the scene. The car pulls up in front of a brown brick building. A payphone is prominent against the wall. There haven’t been pay phones at gas stations since the 80s. Within the first second of the video we get a strong sense this video is dated to the 1980s for a reason.

0:02- The bright blue of the payphone is hard to ignore.  The older sedan is brown and seems to blend in with the brown brick of the building as it parks in front of the building. The rest of the surrounding seem to blend in with the dull.  But amongst it all is the bright blue pay phone. It draws you to the center of the screen.

0:03- Two teenage girls enter the picture. They come into the frame jogging up to the phone.  They are pretty and young but the hair and fashion of their outfits screams 80’s. One girl who steps out of the driver side is wearing pale high rise jeans and a white shirt. Her hair is teased and volumized.  Her friend is wearing a long sleeve black sweatshirt paired with patterned tights underneath green athletic shorts.  She is holding something in her hand and has sunglasses on. The black and white contrast of the girls outfits makes the connection to black and white.  Right and wrong.  But the coloring of the scene is neither black nor white.  The background that surrounds the two girls is a wooded area.  They may be from somewhere in the suburbs, a small town that hugs the wood line.

0:04- The girl in the white grabs the payphone and turn toward the other girl.  The girl in the white out stretches her hand toward the other girl.  The girl looks to be holding a wallet in her hand but its too blurry to tell.  The girl reaching out her hand seems to be the dominant one. She doesn’t need to say anything to get what she wants; all that’s needed is a simple hand motion. She isn’t asking, she’s stating. The other girl already has the change ready for her.  That seems to indicate that they’ve done this before.  Or it could mean that the girls are close enough to be on the same page.

0:05- The girl and the payphoen become the only focus.  She is reaching for the phone, her face is calm.  In her white shirt and hair blowing back gently, she seems very innocent.  She has makeup on, her eyeshadow and her lip are bold enough to be noticed but still seem casual.  A sign is in the background behind her.  It seems to be a football scoreboard or a tall sign of some sort.  Beyond that there is a sparse tree line, houses are seen through the trees. The faded printing of PHONE on the booth is just above the girls forehead. The sense that this was dated to 1980 for a reason becomes true.  It portrays two friends who need to get in touch with someone before they continue on their way.  In order to contact someone a long distance away, they would need to phone someone on a payphone.  Today, we can call, text, facetime, snapchat and direct message.  The options seem endless but in 1980 if you had to get in touch with someone right away, you better use the nearest payphone available.

0:06- Girl’s fingers begin dialing a number. She dials the number with no hesitation, she knows this number well.   Her nail polish is white and slightly chipped and dirty.  Above the numbers there is a sticker with SAVE in all bold letters. The words below SAVE are illegible.  Above the dialing center is instructions on how to work the phone.  Upon closer inspection, you can see the phone booth is dirty and has been used frequently.  The phones cord outstretches and cuts out of frame. But the way it is portrayed it seems to go straight into the girls form.

0:08- The girl in white moves to bring the phone to her ear. While her friend stands by with her hand on her hip, peering over her sunglasses. The sign behind her looks to be a scoreboard or the posted gas prices.

0:09- The girl in white looks upward as she moves to bring the phone to her ear.  Her friend besides her remains blank faced as she waits beside her.  The girls seem annoyed either with each other or the person they are calling.

0:10- The girl switches the phone to her left hand, as she lazily leans against the booth.  Her friend waits by with her hand on hip.  When the girl switches the phone to her left hand we are able to notice the hair tie on her wrist.  Her white hair tie is snug against her wrist as she holds the phone.  We can relate the hair tie to a handcuff as if shackled to the phone.

0:11- The girl in white rolls her eyes as her mouth remains in a straight line. The girl besides her now only has one hand on her hip.  Her face is stone cold with boredom. The girls look annoyed, as they continue to progress in phone call.  It’s as if they have more important things to be focusing on and that this is simply an inconvenience.   The phone is finally pressed against her ear.  Wind blows the one girls hair back.

0:14- The girl in white flounces towards driver’s side of car with a bounce in her step. From the beginning of the video, you could tell she was the one in charge, it makes sense she is the driver.  While her friend is merely there for the ride through out it all.  The girl’s hands are empty as she continues to stride toward the door. She seems to have forgotten about the annoyance caused by her phone call.

0:15- The front side of the car is the main shot. In the background, you can see the girl in white approaching the driver’s side. The grass is overgrown in some places. Trees and farm land are very distant in background. Telephone in the back looks like a cross with the sky surrounding it.

0:16- Background stays the same; the woods and the telephone pole still in view.  The car color changes. Interior leather seats.  The girls form can be seen through window. She is holding something in her hand. The color quality seems cooler and blue compared to the previous warm sepia.

0:17- The girl’s hand is not empty, she holds a phone in her hand.  The door is open.  The make and model of the car is unimportant, the brand cannot be seen on the steering wheel. The car is newer and seems to be more expensive, the seats are clean and tan. The interior is slick and black, very modern.  The radio looks to be touch screen and the panel of the car seems to have money options for settings.  This girl is alone.  You can tell because she doesn’t seem to have any interest in the passenger seat. Her interest is focused on her phone, indicating her friend is whoever she is texting. Her friend doesn’t have to be present in person to communicate with the girl. From the modern sleekness of the car and the touchscreen display of the phone we can guess this scene takes place around 2015.

0:18- The girl is wearing black ripped jeans and a black hoodie.  Phone still in hand as she begins to step into her car. This appeals to the previous mention of clothing color in the other two girls. Dark clothing hints that something dark or bad is about to happen.    The main girl, the driver, was wearing a white top and pale jeans. This girl in light colors made a phone call from a payphone. This current girl is wearing the opposite, decked out in dark clothes. She has no need for a payphone, since she holds a much more convenient version of it in her hand.

0:19- The girl gets into the car and is seated. Her arm is reached to shut the door.  From this point of view, you can tell it’s the same girl in white from earlier.  But it is obviously a different time period due to the condition of the car, technology in hand and clothes being worn.   The car is all black except for the tan seats.  The sun is shining in from the window. She is wearing a tan hat with her hair pulled back.  She has her ears pierced and has her cellphone in her hand. Even as she is reaching to close her car door her eyes never leave her phone screen.

0:20- The camera view is low to the ground as if placed on road behind the front left tire. Before all the camera angles were from a less invasive distance as if the camera was just a bystander. This time the camera seems to be apart of the car, moving all the road as the car does. The black car the girl is driving starts to drift slightly over the yellow line. A car can be seen in the distance on the other side of the road. Greenery lines the road toward the left, and on the right side in the distance telephone poles can be seen.

0:21- the camera point of view switches as if looking over the girl’s shoulder. Black interior of car with black clothing draws your eyes toward white screen of phone. Text convo can be seen but words can’t be deciphered.  But her head is angled to the side, looking at the phone. She has the AC on but not high; she is also wearing a light hoodie with jeans. It is most likely in the middle of a nice sunny day. Her thumb is hovering over keyboard.  She has two unanswered texts on screen, she is two sentences into her reply.

0:22- The camera point of view is low to ground again. The girl’s car is now well over the yellow line. Heading straight toward the van on the opposite side of the road.  You can assume this point of view is from the front of the girl’s car because you can’t see any part of the car. The greenery has thinned and telephone poles line the side of the road. The pavement is uneven and cracking slightly down the center of the lane. The van on the other side of the road is now only a few feet away.  The angle of the car is heading straight into them.  It is a dark colored minivan in the crossfire.

5 thoughts on “Visual Rewrite–todayistheday”

    1. Yeah. Very nice, Today.
      I wonder if it’s too much to ask that you decide WHY. If that’s unclear, let me rephrase. What explanation could there be for a filmmaker to choose to set a video in the 80s? Will it be to demonstrate how things used to be? To contrast old behaviors with today’s? It’s too soon to know for sure what the ad will be about, but we certainly begin to wonder immediately “what’s up with that?” Any thought the director puts in your head is worth mentioning because your reactions are just like a reader’s acceptance or rejection of claims made in your essay.


      1. Okay, sounds good. Should I put that into the first second? Later in my analysis I contrasted the girls communication methods. But I think adding why the 1980s was chosen is key.


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