For The Birds: Textual Analysis

For my research about short films and how they are created, what makes them successful and what I like and should include in mine I have looked at doing analysing some short films. I would like to look at a range of short films that all include animals in someway, as that is the main topic that I would like to focus on when creating my own short film.

For the first textual analysis I looked at the film ‘For the birds’,  this film is a computer animated short film created by Disney Pixar (and directed by Ralph Eggleston) in 2000.  It then won the academy award for Best Short Film in 2001, and was premiered on the 5th June 2000 at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, it was also shown alongside the Disney film Monsters inc. In 2012 t was rendered into 3D and then again premiered alongside the updated 3D version of Monsters Inc.


When analysing this short film I broke my analysis into 4 main points to look at in the Camera, Editing, Sound and Mise-en-scene. Then to make sure my analysis is as in depth as I can make it I split the film into 3 sections to analyseBefore the big bird enters, Whilst the big bird is creating disruption and then when the wire pings and the after math of that. I think that when analysing the short film to break it down it helps me focus on the aspects of what creates the film (Camera, Editing, Sound, Mise-en-scene). My analysis is below:

The film opens with a tracking shot, this shot follows the telephone wire, and makes it clear to the audience that this will be an important part in the film and the plot. The blue sky is  also show to the audience which shows creates a happy atmosphere, there are also clouds in the sky which shows the audience a typical happy place and creates a good tone to start the film with and this is the idea of most audiences ‘happy place’. Navy blue font then appears on the screen, as it follows the telephone line, this contest in colour contrasts the impression given off by the bright blues ad therefore foreshadows a negative event in the twist of the film. The use of the telephone wire also emphasises the danger or plot twist that the audience could see occurring as it represents a form of danger that could be seen as having a negative impact on how the film will develop. The music the audience are introduced to is very jazzy and up beat, which reflects the happiness and bubbly atmosphere the audience are going to expect from the film. A cut is used from an extreme long shot to a medium shot where the birds are first introduced to the audience, this is reinforced through the sounds that the birds make, through the ruffling of the feathers and the squeaks they make. The shot is then zoomed out to a long shot where the audience are introduced to more characters as more birds fly onto the telephone wire. Then it becomes evident to the audience that the birds goal is to have space of their own on the telephone wire, as they start arguing using a high pitched squeak.

A long shot is used which presents the big bird to the audience, this is important because this character is introduced on their own, which is important as the other birds are introduced in a group or in a pair, by this bird coming in on its own it shows that it is a significant character in this short film. The film then uses shot reverse shot between the big and little birds which highlights the difference between them. The loud honk noise that the big bird uses is again significant to seeing the difference in the characters and allowing the audience to predict that something to do with the sizing might play a role in the twist of the play. This is then contrasted with the high pitched ‘laugh’ done by the little birds who are seen to be imitating the bigger bird for their entertainment. The big bird also waves at the smaller birds which highlights the good intentions of the bigger bird. The camera remains in a long shot whilst the big bird is coming to the land in a group of the birds. As the big bird begins to lower down on the wire, the pitch of the music drops at the same time the telephone wire begins to drop. As the noise of pecking is then replaced by the panicking noise of the birds as they realise how close they are to the floor, and understand what the next action could be. During this the audience could see the angry facial expression from the birds, however this changed when they were excited to get the bird off the wire and then again changed to panic when they got pinged into the air.

A close up is used of both the big and little birds, it is use on the big bird to show the distance the telephone wire now is from the floor, which the audience begin to know that the audience see this as what will unfold as the twist in the story. The close up of the little birds is used to show the facial expressions as the begin to panic and try to stop the other birds pecking off the big birds feet. To reinforce this panic the birds frantically use a high pitched squeak to show that they are aware of what will happen now the big bird will fall. A thud is then heard as the big bird falls to the floor, this is followed by a medium long shot of the big bird as its face in in the sand now that he has fallen from the rope. At this point a squeak is heard from the little birds and feathers start to fall from the sky which creates a comic aspect on the plot because the audience now know what has unfolded as a result of the big bird falling. A sound effect of something falling is then used which is then followed by a naked bird that falls to the floor, from its facial expression the audience can see that the bird is embarrassed by what he ends up looking like and ttys to cover himself with a leaf handed to him by the big bird. This is followed by the rest of the small birds all falling naked and again having the same reaction, but instead of using a leaf they then run and hide behind the big bird who is laughing at this point.


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