The last way in which mise-en-scène is used to portray these
coaches as leaders and instructors is having scenes in which the players
are standing shoulder-to-shoulder in a line or in a clustered group with
the coach positioned in front of them. Often in scenes where the players
are standing shoulder-to-shoulder, the coach is shown pacing in front
of them. This type of scene does two things to portray the coach as a
leader. First, by having the team all stand in a line with the coach several
feet away from them, there is a clear line drawn between the coach and
the players in terms of importance. While the coach stands on his own
with his own space all to himself and the ability to walk back and forth,
the players are all grouped together and are forced to stand still. By
portraying the coach as his own being separate from the rest of the
group, there is a clear message sent to the audience that he is the leader,
and the rest of the group his followers. In addition to this, by restraining
the players’ movement and giving the coach free rein to move about the
scene, there is a sense of captivation that is evoked in these scenes. In
the least hostile of ways, these scenes show that the coach has total
control over the players and that the players’ actions are largely decided
by the coach’s orders. In Coach Carter, Carter often lines his players up
like this in scenes that make him appear similar to a drill sergeant as he
delivers instructions to his team. It is this drill-sergeant-esque portrayal
that reinforces the respect Coach Carter demands from his players and
the audience alike.
Another common filmmaking technique that links these two
movies is the use of follow focus in both films in combination with
either close-up shots or over-the-shoulder shots in order to create a
constant visual emphasis on the coaches within the films. Both films
include hundreds of shots in which the coach is shown at a close or
extremely close-up range or from an over-the-shoulder perspective, and
while these strategies alone are notable, the usage of follow focus along
with them is significant as well. Alone, close-up shots work to signify
the importance of what is being shown while over-the-shoulder shots
can give the audience a look at the perspective of a certain character.
When I talk about the combination of one of these two strategies with
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