Overview Of After Hours
• Based on Don Walters a man with a fairly
boring and mundane life who competes for
the affection of a fellow teacher with Rick
Stroker a seemingly perfect guy. Until one
day he falls asleep whilst marking work and
gets locked inside school overnight. After
becoming stuck he decides to change his
outlook on life due to an inspiring quote he
finds whilst trying to sabotage his
competitor. This sparks the idea within him
that if he works to make his life fun and
enjoyable it will be, and that being stuck In
school is the perfect starting block for him
• The idea surrounding binary opposition is that
each side of two opposites defines the other for
example good vs evil.
• An example of binary opposition within after
hours is between the main character Don and
his rival Rick.
• They are opposites as Don is portrayed as quiet.
introverted and to some extent unambitious in
binary opposition to Rick who is portrayed as
outgoing, loud, likeable and very obnoxious.
• This opposition defines each side well as it
becomes more apparent the main character is
quite loveable and rick is somewhat dislikeable.
Don Walters wakes up, looks miserable and turns back over in bed: another day in the cycle of his miserable
life. Next to his bed, he has a pile of printed out e-harmony, match.com and friend finder pages, with a note on
top from his mother saying, ‘I thought these women looked suitable, have a look at them would you Don.’
He goes to the bathroom, gets ready and goes downstairs where his mother is making breakfast, ‘Don
“Morning. Did you… Oh god you look a mess. Did you see the pile of matches next to your bed? I thought
they’d be lovely to start a family with, you know you’ve really got to move on from your divorce… I always
thought she was a bit of a (closes cupboard door) anyway…” Mother continues spiel, Don completely ignoring
her and leaves the house.
(Quick Edgar Wright style journey shots) Don makes his way to school. Ends on a shot of him placing money
down for a tea at the café – ‘tea’s gone up to £1.80 now dear’ – looks in his wallet, doesn’t have enough. A
voice behind him, ‘oh I’ll get it for you Don’ – Anna Flowers, the only teacher he gets along with in the school,
he is grateful, but she is stood with Rick Stoker who is exactly the man Don’s mother wants him to be and, for
that, he hates him. He makes an excuse to leave. On the way to his classroom, he sees a fight down the
corridor and the kids separate when they see him. Makes it back to his desk (messy, loads of work, picture of
basketball team, world globe…)
The day passes by in a series of shots showing the various lessons he’s teaching: ‘turn to page 34 and make
some notes’, ‘follow the instructions on the sheet’, ‘watch this clip’, ‘turn to page 89 and make notes.’… Finds a
pile of work that he needs to mark before tomorrow because Ofsted are in.
Looks at the clock, still marking at 17:00, still has a huge pile to finish. He is marking without looking at the
work, just grading it …. His eyes begin to close and he falls asleep.
• Don wakes up to find that he is still in school at 8pm. Realizing what
he has done, he panics and runs to the main doors, just in time to
see that the caretaker is walking away from the school, with
earphones in, having just locked up the building for the night.
• (Off center close up shot of caretaker walking away from the school,
accompanied by the diegetic music of what he’s listening to, whilst
in the background, we can see Don banging on the glass doors,
trying to get his attention.)
• There is a moment of total dejection and anger. He attempts to get
out of the building, shaking doors, yelling out of windows, trying his
phone (which has run out of charge)… but finally he realizes that he
is stuck in there.
• (Shot looking into the school, with Don standing behind the blinds,
connoting the cliché of school being like a prison.)
• Don is walking down the empty corridor and comes across a display board with a picture of Rick Stoker
smiling magnificently whilst helping out on a charity trip for (under privileged families?).
• He sits staring at the photograph, dwelling on how much he hates his life; the fact that all the kids he
teaches are unenthusiastic halfwits, the fact that he is divorced, his mother’s pressures to be someone
that he isn’t, the mundanity of his 9 to 5 lifestyle, his pathetic relationship with Anna Flowers and the fact
that his colleagues that are so much more successful than him.
• He begins to wonder what exactly Rick Stoker’s deal is. Why is he so sickly happy and successful? Where’s
the man’s hang up… what’s he hiding?
• On these thoughts, Don gets an idea: to look at the classified documents.
• Whilst looking through the classified documents, Don comes across some files of the kids that he hates
and is amused to find that they have embarrassing quirks: one kid has a bladder problem which makes him
wee himself, one of the popular ‘lad’ kids was (found having sex with another boy in the changing rooms?)
• Finally, he comes across Rick Stoker’s file and finds out that he used to be in the adult film industry:
‘Richard Stroker’. Deviously, Don plans to set Mr. Stoker’s desktop as a picture of him in the adult films,
however the internet is down.
• Sitting, annoyed, Don looks at the board in stoker’s classroom which has the remains of a previous lesson
still scribbled on it. On the board, there is a quote from Ghandi: ‘Happiness is when what you think, what
you say and what you do are in harmony.’
Don thinks about the quote that he saw on Mr Stoker’s board and realizes that it’s he
who is preventing his life from being fun and exciting. He is not trying to be happy.
With this newly found understanding, he decides to try and have fun with his time
locked in school. At first, he simply tries to throw a piece of paper into the bin. The use
of ellipses shows that he fails several times and begins to get agitated, before finally
throwing the ball of paper into the bin and feeling a sense of delight. Hung up on this
feeling, he challenges himself by increasing the distance to the bin and repeatedly gets
the paper in the bin.
Don walks around school, somewhat pleased with himself, but then he sees
something out of the corner of his eye and double-takes (camera fixed on his reaction
only). The next shot is an extreme close up, cropping into Don’s eyes, showing that he
is focussing on something much taller than him. We then cut to a slow motion shot of
Don bouncing a basketball on the spot and then we cut to a panning shot to reveal the
basket ball net. Shot in a highly dramatic way, Don pretends to be playing against his
other colleagues, dodging them and taunting them, before finally scoring the basket.
Jokingly, he acts as though the crowd are going wild around him and he laughs his
Todorovs New Equilibrium
• The action fades into a montage of ways in which Don finds ways to enjoy himself in the school: wheeling
down corridors on chairs; making something in tech; stealing food from cafeteria; we realizes that he’s
making a desk tidy to put his loose sheets and pens in; he organises his desk; marks the rest of the work;
rolls his sleeves up; slackening tie; makes a bouquet of tissue paper flowers in art; places the flowers on
Miss Flower’s desk; hesitation, deliberation, moves the flowers from the desk to the bin and back to the
desk; writes a note to go with them… finally he sits back in his chair and looks around his classroom. It is
tidy… his life is in order.
• Fade to black.
• School bell rings, fast cut to daylight.
• Don wakes up startled by the noise and smiles.
• Cut to black.
• Propp’s character roles denote separate
category's that every story's characters fit
within. E.g. hero, princess, false hero…
• The hero (Don Walters): introverted but
loveable he seeks to win miss flowers hand
• The Princess (Miss Flowers): the perfect
women for Don
• The Villain (Rick Stroker): Dons opposite and
competitor in just about everything.
• The Donor/The dispatcher (The Caretaker):
locks the school up early giving don the
opportunity to get things in order
Roland Barthes: code theory
• The symbolic code is the one which applies to
our film the most, the symbolic code states that
symbolism within the film is used on a broad
scale to tell or suggest the plot of the story
before it has finished.
• One way in which our film incorporates this is
through the quote on the board in the classroom
which Don finds. It represents the fact that his
problems could be solved through his own
actions which is one of the overarching themes
within after hours.
• Another way in which the codes of Barthes are
used within our film is through the metaphorical
imprisonment of Don which then becomes literal
imprisonment when he becomes trapped in the