Making an entrance
The theatrical term entrance is the appearance of a character on screen or stage. The term "making an entrance" commonly refers to entrances that are particularly prominent or attention-grabbing.
Some theatrical entrances mark the first appearance of a character; others show a character entering a scene for the first time.
Many types of on-screen entrances exist in film and television, and some of them have become something of a cliché. There may be a long build-up before the character is finally revealed to the audience, sometimes showing small glimpses as a teaser. This is especially common in the case of villains.
The shot begins at the person's feet, slowing moving upwards and finishing on the face. The person may be still, walking (often in slow motion), or stepping out of a car. Examples:
When a character transformation occurs the second "identity" may be filmed as a new entrance. This identity may merely comprise subtle changes, such as a character having a makeover, or may be a more dramatic change, such as going from a secret identity to a superhero.
The makeover generally sees an audience (often a love interest) watching the person enter the room. A popular example is when a beautiful girl walking down the stairs, with the camera panning up from her shoes (as with the "feet first" shot). This happens in the film She's All That (1999) where the lead female character Laney Boggs (played by Rachael Leigh Cook) is transformed from a geeky-looking girl to a stunning beauty wearing a red bodycon dress, and walks slowly down the stairs after the makeover. The impact of the entrance is somewhat lessened (or in other ways strengthened) by her falling down over the last few steps into the arms of the lead male character (played by Freddie Prinze, Jr.).
"The team is in place"
The plot of some films culminates in the gathering of various members of a team. A popular shot for this is when the camera pans back as more members of the team join from the side, sometimes walking forwards in slow motion. Occurs in The Right Stuff, Armageddon and Mystery Men.
Silhouette and shadow
Silhouettes of a person, outlined in bright line, are sometimes used to build up anticipation about a character. Examples:
- The monster in Frankenstein (1931), played by Boris Karloff, was first revealed when he slowly emerged from the laboratory.
- The appearance of a silhoutte behind the shower curtain in Psycho (1960) is often parodied.
- The title character from Lawrence of Arabia (1962) is first seen as a dot on the horizon approaching the camera.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) sees the character of Indiana Jones slowly emerge from an outlined figure on a mountain.
- In Batman (1989), the first appearance of The Joker is when he appears as a silhouette at the door of the man that tried to kill him.
Some characters hide in the shadows until it is time to reveal themselves, often timed for effect with a dramatic piece of dialogue.
Other famous entrances
- Jack Nicholson breaking down a door a shouting "Here's Johnny!" in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining
- Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder rising out of the water in Dr. No
Artists performing at a concert may rise from the stage or be lowered onto it.
- The arrival of the bride at her wedding venue can be one of the biggest entrances of her life.
- There can be a lot of media attention on celebrities making their red carpet entrances.