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SVO Requirements

SVO Collaboration Page
General Information: SVO Requirements


The most difficult part of scripting a voice-over for this format is beginning with a highly specific element of the film: a cut, a particular composition, an object on screen, the text of an intertitle, an actor's expression, etc. In other words, the commentary should engage in close textual analysis, as the voice-over is anchored to and triggered by a distinct series of frames. From a referencing of a specific element of a shot, you should move to a discussion of larger implications. For instance, drawing the students' attention to an an abrupt cut from a battle scene to a tableau of a family at prayer might be used as an entry point for discussing Griffith's employment of religious metaphor in reference to war within Birth's intertitles. The hunched-over posture of a black-faced actor might prompt a discussion of Griffith's borrowing of racial stereotypes informed by a pseudo-scientific theories of evolution applied to race. It may be useful to think about a specific image or line of dialogue, being your voice-over by making note of that image or line, and then answering a question about it such as:

  • How would audiences of the time have interpreted this image?
  • How does this representation borrow from racial stereotypes of the period?
  • How is this line of dialogue borrowed from Dixon's literary work but altered through a new narrative context?
  • How is this shot/image representative of Griffith's cinematic innovation?


We ask that scholars giving voice-overs keep in mind the intended audience for the CD-rom: undergraduates from a variety of disciplines. We will be introducing and employing a consistent set of concepts and terms across Griffith in Context, and we will provide you with a list of those terms as necessary. Beyond those terms, you should not expect users of this CD-rom to be familiar with discipline-specific lingo. We are asking all of our participating scholars to adhere to some guidelines pertaining to effective pedagogical technique:

  • repeat difficult concepts in rephrased form
  • keep discussion grounded with specific references to the clip at hand
  • define terms that may be new to some students
  • provide summarizing comments.


The voice-over should have casual rather than formal tone; we want scholars to converse with the audience rather than lecture. To help foster this conversational tone we ask that scholars not read directly from a script but instead prepare an outline of points and then talk from that outline.


We would like the outline to be no more than three minutes in length. This translates to a double-spaced page delivered in a conversational tone (typically slower than reading- aloud speed). We ask you to time your voice-over ahead of time. If your voice-over is approaching five minutes in length, you might want to discuss the possibility of breaking your voice-over into two segments, with each attached to a different film clip. We expect that topics introduced in one area may be explained in further details in other areas; thus, you should not worry about being comprehensive within a single voice-over.

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  • Ellen Strain last edited on 11 February 2000 at 6:26 pm by