Costume: Nowhere else in The Guild is the idea of “Mise en scene” more vital than in the introductory shots of our characters, one my personal favorites being that of Bladezz’s. Immediately by the look of his clothes we can see that (by “conventional standards”) he is probably the most appropriate-looking person out of the whole guild to be spending a great deal of time playing an MMORPG game. From the bagginess of his pants alone, it is safe to assume that he is a bit of a laid-back person; someone who wouldn’t put too much effort into a task that forced him to get up out of his chair. That, along with the simplistic look of the long-sleeve t-shirt, also gives us a clue about his age. We can deduce that he is the youngest member of the guild, most likely attending high school or just starting out in college (a fact later confirmed when the guild threaten to send copies of his “model shots” all over “school; not to mention, Bladezz’s spontaneous claim that his mom forced him to take a modeling job to pay for his college fund). In contrast to all of this, the necklace, as well as his rolled-up sleeves, give the character a slight sense of style, thereby adding to his confident and somewhat narcissistic nature. His classic “slacker” look as a whole signifies that he is without a “filter”, meaning that he is not above a dirty joke, even when the time and place is beyond inappropriate.
Setting and Décor: From the cluttered mess of items on screen, it’s easy to tell the Bladezz may be living out of his parents’ basement. The poster of the scantily-clad woman in the background and the red and black recliner he sitting on, further emphasize this possibility by giving this setting a somewhat homely and comfortable feel (at least for Bladezz). The various strands of wire and bulky electronics give us a hint of his “technical wizardry”, also somewhat implied through the collection of old electronics piled on the shelf (either hinting that Bladezz has literally used up all these devices, or his family share in his excessiveness over technology, somewhat making his computer skills hereditary). The organization of these items -or rather the lack there of- adds to his carelessness of anything outside his virtual life. The shade less lamp that sits in front of the shelf also signifies this. The picture as a whole shows a lack of consideration for physical social interaction, responsibility, or societal consequences.
Lighting: Though it’s slightly hard to tell, I think it’s safe to say that the only lighting in this shot was the key lighting and the back lighting. The latter is the easiest to spot because it comes from an onscreen source, that being the shade less lamp, which covers a large majority of the surrounding space. The key lighting can be seen coming from the far left of the screen, most likely passing off as a desk lamp. The absence of any fill lighting is noted by the shadows protruding off of Bladezz’s face as well as the shadows of the wires hanging behind his head. This heavy use of back lighting and shadows allow for a “lair-like” atmosphere, the likes of which found primarily in one’s basement. However, with a strong key light, the faint shadows that are visible are enough to give the character a slight edge, without making him look like a straight up villain or Goth. It still gives way to his sense of humor.
Space: For the space of this shot, the director decides to go with deep focus, which is especially appropriate for an introduction. For a comedy series that is a touch more “off-the-wall” than others, it can afford to be a little more exaggerated on the relationship between character and environment. In other words, the environment is a less-than-subtle extension of the character. Bladezz’s juvenile attitude and the lazily slopped-together look of the basement compliment each other perfectly. It’s not enough to show his costume and declare that he is a slacker teenage gamer. Since the rest of the room shares the same amount of focus as Bladezz, this aforementioned extension is clearer. In order to showcase the room more vividly, oblique spacing is used. Bladezz is turned in about 40 or so degrees and shoved to the left of the screen so that the shot can better illustrate his character. Nothing is blocked and nothing is missed. Not to mention, the basement comes off as cramped but not tight enough to be uncomfortable, adding to the show’s theme of seclusion.
Acting: Actor Vincent Caso takes full advantage of the comfort applied by the recliner, letting it influence his character choices. His laid-back and lazy demeanor is immediately identified by how slouched his body is while in the chair, along with the mouse balanced on the armrest as opposed to the desk. His extremely relaxed face and squinting eyes not only add to his lack of attention to anything outside of himself, but could also hint that he’s a stoner.
Costume: Though barely visible, Codex as this point in the episode is dressed in her pajamas, which can say a myriad of things about her character. Despite that she is in the proper environment to wear her pajamas (that being her bedroom), it does somewhat translate into a very rushed and hurried sort of feel. She’s so focused on the conflict at hand that she doesn’t bother with any morning routines and such (possibly because she wasn’t planning to leave the house that day). It also seems that in context of the episode, she is in a desperate attempt to feel at home in her own house that’s been overrun by Zaboo and his mother. It’s a sign that events which proceeded this point in the series has exhausted her to the point that she has given up on the idea of the guild meeting in person ever again, as well as the idea leaving her house ever again.
Setting Décor: In the background we see the scattered remains of Codex’s everyday life. No effort is attempted to make her bed, nor put away the few articles of clothing that are there as well. This hastiness shows that the interests of the guild have taken on a whole new level of importance in her life, now that the virtual has become physical. The covers being open on one side is an obvious sign that she lives alone (or at least she did live alone). The overall messy feel of the bed also points out how many times Codex has made it her true domain. Were there days she just couldn’t get out of bed? Was it because she has just been too unsure of the world to do anything but stay in bed? As for the violin case, it gives us a vague idea of her intelligence and musicianship. Though the latter skill has not come into play yet, we as the audience know that musicianship takes concentration and, above all, a sense of togetherness which every member of an orchestra or chamber group knows is an important factor in making a composition work (symbolism much?).
Lighting: Like the previous picture, there seems to be no sign of fill lighting, but plenty of key and back lighting. The key is obviously coming from the computer screen, but this time around is blue and takes up more than just the forehead. It also seems to fill up most of her face fine without a fill light, seeing as how the only shadows are on the side of her nose and such. With this key light being so close to her face, it gives us an idea of how close her face is to the screen, thereby enhancing the weight of the conflict, not to mention how many times she’s played this game where being that close to the screen has become a norm for her. The back lighting comes from the actual sunlight casting shadows on her bed (though it could possibly be artificial lighting), letting us know the time of day, and how her sense of urgency has risen to a point where she just can’t sleep in.
Space: In contrast with the first picture, the director decided to go with a more shallow focus for this shot. The bed and the rest of Codex’s room are blurred, simply because the environment has been introduced and explored already, and with that already established, there’s no need to constantly distract someone from the story by constantly reminding them where you are. We are familiar with the character as well as her extension (that being the room. The foreground closer up this time, emphasizing that the conflict of the next few episodes has risen. Also, in the context of the story, it’s important to catch Codex’s huge reaction when she discovers what the conflict is. Being this close alerts the audience of the conflict’s importance, and the suspense that comes from it.
Acting: Codex’s reaction to seeing a video of her and the other guild members’ characters taking part in an animated orgy is one stunned shock. Though her face tells us that she’s viewing something outrageously perverted, her eyes and mouth tell us a slightly different story when you look at them individually. Her gaping mouth gives off a warranted reaction of utter disgust, while her wide eyes show that a small part of her is slightly intrigued. Whether that intrigue has to do with how good the graphics look or the act itself is up for interpretation. There is also fear, because she knows as well as the others that if this video gets around, then the guild will be kicked off the game, thus taking away the one thing that makes them whole as human beings.