Eighth Grade: Hooking the Audience (Opening Scene Analysis)

Eighth Grade: Hooking the Audience (Opening Scene Analysis)

Eighth Grade is a 2018 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Bo Burnham.

Watch the full scene without commentary:

Check out the entire audio podcast here:

The film is Burnham’s film directorial debut. The plot follows the life and struggles of an eighth-grader, played by Elsie Fisher, during her last week of classes before graduating to high school. She struggles with social anxiety but produces vlogs giving life advice.

Burnham was inspired by his own struggles with anxiety when he began writing the screenplay in 2014. He had difficulty finding funding for the project until 2016. Shooting began in Suffern and White Plains, New York, in summer 2017. Fisher was cast after Burnham noticed her on YouTube; she led a cast including Josh Hamilton and Emily Robinson. Themes include heavy use of social media, mental health in Generation Z and sexuality and consent.

The film premiered on January 19, as part of the U.S. Dramatic Competition section of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. After other festival screenings, it was released theatrically in the United States by A24 on July 13, 2018. Its R rating from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) inspired criticism, as its decision blocked many eighth-grade viewers from seeing the film in theatres. In response, the distributors arranged free, unrated screenings across the U.S. Eighth Grade completed its North American run grossing $13.5 million on a $2 million budget.

Eighth Grade received acclaim from critics, with praise for Burnham’s screenplay and direction and Fisher’s performance, and was chosen by both the National Board of Review and American Film Institute as one of the Top 10 Films of 2018. The film received numerous awards and nominations and is nominated for four Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Feature, while Fisher was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress.

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Each episode my friend Tyler and I analyze the storytelling of one iconic movie scene like this one and you can follow along. So turn on the podcast, bring up the youtube clip (when we tell you) and let’s get into it.

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This Guy is Sven, an A.C.E. Award nominee who cut for James Cameron, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and James Franco.

Tyler has been teaching Film Editing for the past 10 plus years and is currently lecturing at the UCLA Extension Film Program.

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My absolute favorite Film Editing Book is…
“In the Blink of an Eye” by Walter Murch:

Find out about Walter Murch’s theory on the relationship of eye blinking and editing:

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