At the outset of Prof. Keathley’s videographic essay, “Pass the Salt,” he breaks the fourth wall by inviting his audience to go along on a journey with him. By beginning his essay with this invitation, Keathley is mimicking a common narrative tactic, thus allowing all audiences  to learn and appreciate the argument he articulates in his video essay. One of the things I don’t like about traditional academic essays is how they tend to be exclusive, meant only for fellow scholars or those who have a very specific  kind of expertise. Keathley’s essay, like others we have seen, allows for the articulation of ideas to take place in a more accessible format.

He continues to make his argument accessible throughout the essay. Before he gets to his thesis about a scene from Anatomy of a Murder,  Keathley provides background information on the film itself.  In some video essays we have seen, the essayist assumes the audience is familiar with the film. In “Pass the Salt,” Keathley provides plot info and a brief analysis of Paul Biegler, the lawyer played by Jimmy Stewart. This not only makes the film more accessible, but it enriches and strengthens the argument he makes.

Another tactic Keathley employs in his essay is using the same sound throughout, that of the machinery used to mine iron. He begins his essay with the crunching sound of the iron ore machinery, before he even introduces the film, let alone the scene. In doing so, Keathly utilizes another convention of film: highlighting a sound/object early on to emphasis its importance. This allows the viewer to more easily engage with the argument, and to be more interested in how the video is going to end.

Once again, Keathley mimics film by saving his main point, the crux of his argument, for the end. He creates drama and a suspense in his video essay, something that a traditional academic essay hardly ever does. Keathley’s essay is effective because it utilizes story elements to articulate a complex analysis in a compelling and engaging way.