Your Worst Frenemy

Let’s get real here. When this assignment was first handed out, I’m almost positive that the feedback was ultimately positively received. I was excited about it. I knew that I had previous knowledge editing and making short films, so naturally I thought it would be a breeze. Well, you know how Regina George (Rachael McAdams) gets hit by a bus in the film Mean Girls? Call me Regina because I have never felt so incapable of making a short movie trailer in my entire life. I’m not saying this assignment was bad by any means, I was simply rusty….on everything. This little rant does have a happy ending however so don’t fret Dr. Delwiche.

Mean Girls also coined as Frenemies


First and foremost, I’ll begin by saying I chose to alter the dramatic comedy Mean Girls into a thriller in which one of the four friends (Regina George, Gretchen Wieners, Karen Smith or Cady Heron) is actually a killer. Yes, I know the plot seems a bit….sub-par, however, my intentions for this trailer after sorting through endless clips for worthwhile ideas became to be as vague as possible yet all the while being somewhat informative. The method I decided to use was to literally take as many clips featuring a reaction shot (an emotional face – be that angry or sad, a screaming clip etc.) and put them together to set a mood. That’s what a trailer is all about anyway. Yes, you do want the audience to be familiar with the main theme of your film but you also don’t want them to know everything – where’s the fun in going to the movie theater then? As mentioned in Danesi’s book Messages, signs, and meanings: A basic textbook in semiotics and communication, a sign is something that stands for something else. This is exactly the technique I employed in my trailer – I used gestures and facial features to represent a certain emotion I wanted others to experience while watching the trailer.
Getting down to brass tacks though, I do have to admit that my level of creating “transitions” and really getting technical didn’t really happen. I was so entirely focused on creating a finished project that made sense and worked well with the new genre that I threw out any real use of examining “cuts” and “fades” etc. I’m not saying I didn’t employ them at all because I did, I’m just saying I didn’t exactly spend as much time focused on that as maybe I should have. It’s funny that I mention “cuts” and “fades” however, because those are literally the only forms of transition I used. Also rather hilarious as I now read, Dick, author of Film, Space and Image, states that a straight cuts “are the most common kind of cuts” where “shot B replaces shot A.” He also explains that a “fade-out” is the “simplest kind of transition.” What can I say? I’m a simplistic woman. In a project like this I can’t deny at all that I went for playing it safe rather than trying all sorts of effects. This remained true in my use of titles in the trailer. Williams, author of The Nondesigner’s Design Book would no doubt be a little disappointed in my use or lack there of CRAP. Yes, those elements exist in the titles I made, but again – simplistically. I used the simplest form of contrast which was for the most part intentional but also probably had to do with my lack of skill in premiere to figure out how to change those sort of things and I used repetition in that all the titles were the same.
I have to say that near the end of this project, I did actually enjoy myself – so please don’t get me wrong. It was at the point that I included music that I finally felt my trailer coming together. Trust me, music wasn’t easy to find, but as luck would have it, I immediately found a song that I thought would fit perfectly and guess what? It did. I used the main theme from the movie Dead Silence – which was actually a horror film but worked tremendously well. As soon as I put the music in, without editing it at all, the beginning fit in with the introduction as the music sped up EXACTLY when I needed it to (as the clips became shorter and transitioned faster). Once the music fit, the happiness inside me exploded. Literally, ask anyone in the Comm Lab at that time. Looking back on this project my regrets/advice would be to start on brainstorming way more in advance. Look for a movie that’s not necessarily that popular so that you’re at least not worried about being compared to others doing your video. Additionally, try to make a creative plot. I resorted to using reaction clips to build a tense and scary mood when maybe, had I put more thought into it, I could have created a subplot that used more talking clips from the movie (this would have taken a lot of time to digest the movie and the dialogue, but hey, it could have been super awesome).

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