This scene is one you have probably seen on Facebook under “The realest three minutes you’ve seen”, “#realtalk”, or “every american needs to listen to this.” And it is a great scene, and despite how great of a scene this is, the background is important. Essentially to catch you up to speed, Will McAvoy is a news anchor and used to be a prosecutor, and has been focusing on being calm and tame and never really ruffled feathers. He also was not giving the greatest answers to the moderator.We don’t know who the woman is yet, but she ends up becoming his executive producer, and they used to have a thing between them (she is british).
There are several things about this scene that are extremely important. I’ll start with the audio part. The pacing of the speech is crucial. When the “sorority girl” (he ends up hiring her later) asks her question, she is slow and stumbles over her wording. This shows her nervousness to ask the question, and is a buildup to the answer. How quickly the other two answer the question sets a precedent, it is a question that is supposed to have a quick and simple answer. No tricks about it. The slow, tedious back and forth between Will and the moderator builds tension in the room, you know something is about to happen, just not what. They allow a pause once he gives the climatic, simple one word answer to let it build. However, the ball starts rolling from there. He is on a roll and goes faster and faster and does not stop, until he changes from why America isn’t the greatest, to how it used to be. This stop and slow down signalled the big change and introduced the rest of the season.
The camera work and lighting is great too. The lighting is about what you would expect from a panel, and fits the scene well. While it is nothing special, it fits the role perfectly and shouldn’t be anything special. The point where the lighting goes from good to great is when Will focuses on the woman. The slight light from the door that peeks through, then when he focuses on it allows a perfect chance for her to change who it is, as well as being realistic. That looked exactly like you would expect it in real life, and that thin slit of light through the door fit the role perfectly.
The camera movement was great too. From the slow pan over the panel to emphasize the significance of the three of them up there, to the placement of the two extreme views surrounding the complacent Will, the stage is set perfectly. The slow pan across the audience shows the amount of people watching, and the focus on the woman was done well, almost in a searching motion from Will’s perspective (to make you more intimate with Will), and focusing in on the woman. The fact that the camera work was not steady, but not too bumpy was great too. It showed how everyone was nervous, a little heated, but was still an overall calm environment. Focusing on the other panelists as well, while Will was thinking about other things really made the focus on who was talking at the time.
This scene was done greatly.