Charlie Chaplin as The Little
Tramp, 1915 (PD).
Example: Mack Sennett's
How can a director make a character who might otherwise be shunned
by audiences because of his low social status into a hero?
The audience sees Charlie Chaplin as the Little Tramp, a vagrant,
taking on the characteristics of middleclass gentility. Though he
doesn't always live up to these standards, he gets by on his charm
Chaplin is an underdog figure, one who comes out on top of
situations despite the odds, and audiences embrace the character as
Example: Creating Audience Empathy
A filmmaker is creating a movie about two prisoners of war escaping from an enemy camp. How might
the filmmaker help audiences empathize with the struggle of the main characters against their captors?
Show a chase scene with the prisoners running through the woods with their captors and attack
dogs following close behind to make the audience anxious for the prisoners.
Show a closeup of the face of one prisoner who is forced to continue the escape by himself when
he is urged to do so by his friend, who has been mortally wounded. The closeup will help the
audience feel the sadness and regret of the prisoner who must go on alone.
Example: Encouraging Action
A filmmaker is shooting a documentary about efforts to discourage minorities from voting in a
particular city. The filmmaker's aim is to persuade the audience that voter suppression is a pressing
issue that should be addressed through better enforcement of the law. How might the filmmaker make a
convincing case for better enforcement? What two approaches could he or she take to grab the
audience's attention and bring it to embrace a particular point of view?