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Smartphones in Cinema: A Missed Opportunity?

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I'm fascinated by economy in storytelling so this one scene from Better Things struck a chord with me. Pamela Adlon managed to tell plenty with a simple variation of three shots. This was the starting point for an investigation of how she did it, why it worked and what does it mean in the current panorama of film and TV.

I framed some arguments in opposition to a video-essay by Tony Zhou, which I highly recommend:

Special thanks to Inês Lebreaud, for providing helpful insight on earlier drafts of the video and Marta Pereira, for lending her voice to all the unheard toilets of the world (the voice actress who read the ad for AirPnP).

Please consider supporting the channel on Patreon so I can keep making videos like these. If you don't, I might die:

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I do not own the rights of the movies used for this video, though I do believe they fall under the Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, which states that for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research, it becomes fair use… bitch!

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29 COMMENTS

Jack's Movie Reviews - posted on March 3, 2017 3:55 pm

Great job man! I’ve only recently gotten into your videos and have been loving all of them, thanks for sharing!

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Beyond the Frame - posted on March 4, 2017 4:16 am

Thank you, Jack. I’ve been following your work for a long time now. It was so long ago, I believe it was still called Little Jack’s Movie Reviews!

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Hiphopopotamus - posted on March 3, 2017 6:08 pm

Wow, this was really well made, seriously good job on the editing.

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Beyond the Frame - posted on March 4, 2017 4:14 am

I’m glad the effort panned out. Thanks|

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Cooper Fitch - posted on March 3, 2017 6:11 pm

Great vid man. Keep it up!

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Beyond the Frame - posted on March 4, 2017 3:49 am

Pay me.

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Adrian Doll - posted on March 3, 2017 6:30 pm

This is an outstanding video essay. You don’t only have a great point, but you also prove it by using forms of editing and compositing never done in other video essays before. Keep up your great work! 🙂

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Beyond the Frame - posted on March 4, 2017 3:49 am

I wouldn’t say they’ve never been done… but if you push me, I’ll agree this is the best video-essay ever made. Thank you for saying that.

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Chainsawsuit Original - posted on March 3, 2017 7:00 pm

[m] This channel is so GOOD! Gonna push this some more this weekend.

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Beyond the Frame - posted on March 4, 2017 3:46 am

Does [m] stand for Mikey? Don’t even try, man. I still haven’t forgiven you for coming up with a similar video on the same day as mine!

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Chainsawsuit Original - posted on March 4, 2017 9:44 am

[m] Yeah, it’s Mikey. And just for that. I’m gonna tweet this right now!

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sajita suppliers - posted on March 3, 2017 7:12 pm

awesome

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Beyond the Frame - posted on March 4, 2017 3:47 am

No, you’re awesome. I bet you’re a great supplier.

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ActuallyDarcy - posted on March 3, 2017 8:32 pm

Great video. I’ll forgive the slight Her spoilers

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Beyond the Frame - posted on March 4, 2017 3:47 am

Yey! One less thing to share with my priest tomorrow!

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Tiago Marques - posted on March 4, 2017 2:49 pm

Great Point! One more great essay! Keep the great work!

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Beyond the Frame - posted on March 5, 2017 4:46 am

Tentarei!

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Mr Nerdista - posted on March 4, 2017 5:14 pm

The production value on this is mind-blowing. Great video, once again. Bewildering how you’re not one of the titans of our community.

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Beyond the Frame - posted on March 4, 2017 5:21 pm

Thank you for the kind words. I think part of the reason is racism, to be honest!
But right now I feel like a God among men. Pamela Adlon just thanked me and said she loved my video. I love that woman! Hee acting in Californication, her work with Louis CK and now this brilliant show. So I’m now floating on clouds made of cotton candy and dreams.

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Mr Nerdista - posted on March 4, 2017 6:55 pm

I know the feeling – when Guillermo del Toro quoted my Devil’s Backbone video, I almost died.

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Will Schoder - posted on March 5, 2017 2:07 am

Oh man, you worked on this for so long, and it’s awesome.

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Beyond the Frame - posted on March 5, 2017 4:46 am

Thank you, Will! My goal is to make the next one twice as good in half the time.

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J.D. Funari - posted on March 6, 2017 10:23 am

Great piece. I always felt like Departed was one of the best early depictions of text on screen and isn’t dated by the distracting float-tracking so often used nowadays.

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Beyond the Frame - posted on March 6, 2017 12:07 pm

I think on-screen text can also work if it makes sense with the overall aesthetic. Sherlock is a great example. But if that approach was used in The Departed, it would kill it. There was such great tension carried by such tiny screens.

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YourMovieSucksDOTorg - posted on March 7, 2017 2:53 pm

Fantastic video! Subscrizzled.

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dankiel memelife - posted on March 7, 2017 3:53 pm

Your editing. Sweet Jesus, subbed.

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Sam - posted on March 8, 2017 3:45 pm

Adorei, bom trabalho!

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Jørgen Håland - posted on March 11, 2017 3:41 pm

Oo, great video essay!

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Chris Egan - posted on March 12, 2017 10:39 pm

Fantastic Intro

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