This lesson covers... the style that jumps around in time, with events that aren’t based on cause-and-effect.
By the end you should... understand how many art films are structured.
Time 3 minutes

Remember: You do not have to use the narrative/challenges structure at all. It could be that all four of your personal insight questions use the montage structure.


Montage is a technique that involves creating a new whole from separate fragments (pictures, words, music, etc.). In filmmaking, the montage effect is used to condense space and time so that information can be delivered in a more efficient way.

Take the classic “falling in love” montage, commonly used in romantic comedies. We don’t see every single interaction; instead, we see: he surprises her at work with flowers, they walk through the park, they dance in the rain, they pass an engagement ring store, and she eyes a particular ring. You get the idea.

A few images tell the whole story. And you can use this technique for your essay.

But which essences should you choose? That’s up to you. (It’s art, remember, not science.)


You can’t discuss every single aspect of your life, but you can show us a few important points through a single lens or metaphor.

What type of focusing lens might you use to write your personal insight response? A sport? A skill? An art form? A hobby? Ask yourself: what’s something I know really well and (if possible) something that will help distinguish me from all the other UC candidates?


  1. Make it visual. Storytelling is a visual medium. Use a lens that will help conjure images in the reader’s mind.

  2. Write what you know. Know how to cook? Use food. Play chess? Use that! And, as I’ve said before, if you’ve got something impressive, don’t leave money on the table! Use that.

Click the next lesson below for a solid example.