Monday, September 19, 2016

Mr. Robot appeals to the cerebral audience–Especially visually

Fujifilm X-E2, Fuji XF 18-55mm, ISO 400, ƒ/2.8, 1/125
Rami Malek picked up the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor for his role in "Mr. Robot.” Malek had the perfect Elliot line to deliver: "Please tell me you're seeing this too."

"I play a young man who is, like so many of us, profoundly alienated," Malek said, which lives with social anxiety disorder and clinical depression in the show. "And the unfortunate thing is I'm not sure how many of us would want to hang out with a guy like Elliot.

"But I want to honor the Elliots, cause there's a little bit of Elliot in all of us." Tod Campbell, the director of photography for Mr. Robot, helps make the show visually cerebral. This helps to connect the show to the nerds. For a writer's concept to truly connect with cinema a director of photography helps to bring out the writer's moods and tone through the visual. The cinema-photography is writing with light to compliment the words to bring the audience along on the storylines.

Fujifilm X-E2, Fuji XF 18-55mm, ISO 500, ƒ/3.2, 1/60

Campbell's use of the negative space helps to make the audience's eyes wonder through the scene. Also by not using a lot of movement within a shot the audience does have time to ponder the surroundings of the actors.

Fujifilm X-E2, Fuji XF 18-55mm, ISO 800, ƒ/3.6, 1/60

Most movies today have more than 50% of the scenes being closeup shots. This technique makes you wonder what is outside the frame to engage the audience.

Fujifilm X-E2, Fuji XF 18-55mm, ISO 400, ƒ/2.8, 1/60
Notice here when you go close how you wonder what is beyond the frame.

Fujifilm X-E2, Fuji XF 18-55mm, ISO 400, ƒ/2.8, 1/60
Now going much wider you see what is going on, but your eye wonders much more. In this process you start to write you own visual narrative even more. For me this is a much more cerebral exercise for the audience and if you pause long enough on your visuals the audience will start to take it in. Here is the trailer for Mr. Robot.

I think to appeal to the nerds and deep thinkers you have to give them the content that allows their brains to engage and process the content. Mr. Robot does this not just with the storyline, but the visuals help truly engage the audience in a way that is rarely done within cinema today.

Maybe the biggest reason Mr. Robot is such a big hit is because it is being unconventional. By being different the show's creators appear to be revolutionary. For me it is a style I grew up on in magazine photojournalism.

Mr. Robot to me proves that the audience is not just ready for much deeper storylines, but craving them. They are tired of the quick sound bite and the simplistic closeup visuals. People are ready to think and enjoy having their brains do some exercise to keep up with the storyline.

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