Having explained the purpose of montage, its history, and the guidelines for cutting a montage, this last post details the types of montages and then has some fun looking at how some montages have become clichés and been parodied.
Types of Montages
Montage scenes have many themes – dramatic, comic, news – to list a few primary categories. The following table charts the major categories types of montages and gives examples.
|Type of Montage||Example|
|Grief or recovery||The character walks the old, familiar path on the beach or in the city, stares out the window on a rainy day, or lies in bed unable to move. After the montage, the character returns to life by taking a first step or making a choice of some kind.|
|Love||The lovers enjoy sunsets, romantic dinners, rolls in the hay, etc. before emerging from their cocoon and addressing the realities lurking around the corner.|
|War||A soldier goes through the travails of boot camp, acquires helmet and weapon, and sets out for the field of battle. The montage sets the scene for battle and the testing of the soldier.|
|Success||A rock band plays for the local Elks club and by the end of the montage is headlining at Madison Square Garden.|
|Learning and training||A student studies for the test. A skier practices for the Olympics.|
|Job||A college grad is interviewed by a series of bizarre employers.|
|Dating||A woman goes out with a string of loser dates.|
|Clothing||A man tries on a succession of ridiculous ties.|
|History||Immigrants arrive in Manhattan and erect the city.|
|Process||A reporter travels to different holy sites, seeking enlightenment.|
|Search||A man tries on a succession of ridiculous ties.|
Some well-known examples of movie montage can be seen in: Rocky (the training sequence ending with his runs to the top of the steps), Scarface (rise to power montage cut to Push it to the Limit song), Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (visiting the museum montage), Clueless (makeover montage) and Lord of the Rings – Return of the King (lighting of the torches in different lands montage). Even animated movies contain great montages such as Toy Story II (Jessie’s backstory), the expositional opening, and Cars (see below).
In Cars a montage with voiceover takes the audience on a trip down memory
lane to the glory days of the hamlet of Radiator Springs.
Spoofs of Montages
The hours approaching, just give it your best
You’ve got to reach your prime.
That’s when you need to put yourself to the test
And show us a passage of time.
We’re gonna need a montage (montage)
Oh it takes a montage (montage).
Song for montage scene in Team America and in South Park, Episode 3 Season 6
A few montage themes have reached cliché status and become parody material such as the “Getting over the loss of a love” montage, the “Getting fit” montage, and the “Preparing for the big event or showdown” montage. So you can have fun creating montages that make fun of other montages or scenes from movies. The Montage song and scene in Team America by the producers of South Park who repeated the song with different images in South Park, Episode 3 Season 6 is one example of this. Here’s another.
Jump cuts, a sunset, and a roll in the waves spoof clichéd lovemaking scenes in this
montage from The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. (Selected cuts)
Final word: Have fun pulling pictures, sounds and music together to assemble a montage – and make sure it counts toward moving your show’s story forward.