Metaphorical Montage

Choose a storyline for your Metaphorical Montage. Then make a storyboard of what shots you need to get. You will be communicating visually.

You could make a Metaphorical Montage that shows a day in the life of a student. Or a year in the life of a student. Or the course of a relationship (boyfriend-girlfriend) or of two best friends. Or you could show someone learning/training/gaining skills.


A Metaphorical Montage is used in movies to compress time — something that might take 24 hours in real life, or something that might take 20 years in real life, is compressed to one or two minutes.


The best example of Metaphorical Montage is early in the movie UP. We see all of Mr. & Mrs. Fredricksen’s marriage in about 4 minutes. Each individual shot provides information. Each individual shot tells a story, adds to the character development, shows the passage of time.

Watch the shots where the couple finds out they can’t have children. How do you know that’s an Ob-Gyn office? How do you know they’ve received sad news?

Watch what happens to the jar where they’re saving money for a trip to Paradise Falls. It starts to fill up and then there’s a flat tire. The jar is broken. It starts to fill up again. Then a branch falls on the roof. We don’t have a long dialogue scene where they talk about needing a new roof and how they’ll have to take the money from their dream trip! It’s short, efficient, and tells the story with visuals.

There’s a series of shots showing Mr. Fredricksen putting on ties — the styles change, ties are wider, narrower, wilder patterns, finally a bow tie. There’s a scene where they’re going up a hill to a picnic. Ellie is first and her husband follows her. Then we see the same scene again years later. This time Ellie can’t make it to the top of the hill.

Metaphorical Montage can repeat scenes — each time with something changed to show that time has passed.

Metaphorical Montage relies on visual images that tell the story.