For my video editing project, I chose to remake the trailer for one of my favorite comedies. Talladega Nights (2006, Adam Mckay) was comedy that featured Will Farrell and John C. Reilly. It poked fun at the “sport” of stock car racing and provided many overused lines that high school and college students frequently quote. Talladega Nights followed the story of Ricky Bobby (Will Farrell); His upbringing under a single mother, his rise to the top of NASCAR, his fall and struggles, and finally his return to glory. For my project, I attempted to change the genre of the movie from a comedy to a horror/thriller movie. I wanted to portray Ricky Bobby as a man who had everything, lost everything, and is attempting hurt those responsible for his fall.
*For this blog post I will assume the majority of people have seen the movie so I will not go into much detail explaining the actual plot and story in detail.
In starting the trailer “Talladega Knifes”, I wanted to keep the end of the movie in mind. I knew Ricky Bobby was going to be displayed a killer, but I wanted his actions to be justifiable. I did not want my trailer to be viewed as a horror film based of random violent actions. I wanted Ricky’s violent urges to exist because of previous events within the movie. In order to accomplish this, I set up the beginning of the trailer to mimic that of Brothers (2009, Jim Sheridan). Brothers was a drama/thriller, whose storyline was similar to that of my intended trailer. In Brothers, an army soldier left his close-knit family to fight in a war. During his time away, he was recorded as killed in action. Then, his wife fell in love with his brother and best friend. Anyways, the basic plot and genre of brothers was extremely similar to that of my vision. So, I designed the beginning of my trailer around the trailer of Brothers. I wanted to convey to the audience that Ricky’s family and Cal were extremely close, just as the family in Brothers was close. To accomplish this, I used extremely similar scenes, music, and cuts. This idea of “copying” a movie was presented in “Genre Film: A Classical Experience”. The thought was the audience would easily grasp the idea that Ricky’s family was very close because it was present in previous “Thriller” movies. Also, copying the sequencing and styling of Brothers, instantly put my movie into the drama/thriller genre. This design based from previous films allowed me to quickly present the reason why Ricky would be angry enough to kill Cal. Cal’s future actions would be seen as a betrayal by his closest friend. This was the reason why Ricky would attempt to kill.
The last half of the trailer was designed to be a horror/thriller genre trailer. I accomplished varying scene length, music type, length of audio clips and lighting. These were the only variables in the creation of the trailer, in which I possessed control. In the beginning of the trailer, I intentionally used longer scenes. The longer scenes allowed more information to be given to the viewer. I wanted the viewer to know the family was close and Cal was a trusted friend. I did not want them doubting this fact or inserting their own ideas. However, at the end of the trailer I wanted the viewer to insert his or her own ideas. I created shorter scenes with longer transitions. I believed this strategy would allow the viewer to fill in the blanks for themselves. Ricky’s anger and actions were rational and could be understood by the viewers. They would be able to personalize the anger and potential violence to occur without the trailer displaying it. This idea was based on Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics” idea of blood in the gutter. I viewed the trailer as a comic book. The long scenes did not allow the individuals to fill-in-the-blanks because I already filled them. The short scenes with long transitions allowed the viewer to insert their thoughts, thus personalizing the movie. I believe that for a horror or thriller to be affective it must connect the viewer in the story. This is what I did through the variation of scene length. The ending music clip was intended to mimic Ricky’s feelings. I intended to direct the viewer into becoming angry. I chose, “The End” by Blue October because it matched Ricky’s exact situation. The song is about a man getting revenge for his wife being with another man. It matched the fast pace of the clips in the montage at the end. I wanted to limit the feelings the viewer could experience to those that support Ricky’s decision to become violent. The songs characteristics did this by complimenting the montage through its similarity.
While I spent many hours working on my movie, I know it is far from perfect. Originally, I intended to use the lighting of the scenes to symbolize Ricky’s emotions. In the first half of the trailer, I wanted to be well light with a bright background. The light was intended to symbolize happiness. After the accident, I wanted to have much darker backgrounds and lighting. This was to symbolize the lack of happiness or anger that Ricky was feeling. I attempted to implement this strategy throughout the trailer but I had to stray during individual clips to make a coherent story. The most noticeable deviation was in the clip where Ricky grabs a knife at the hospital. The room was extremely bright for a dramatic scene that was intended to display Ricky’s anger. The idea of lighting representing a feeling or state stems from Bernard Dick’s “Anatomy of Film”. He originally used darkness to represent ignorance but I transformed the representation to anger. Another struggle I encountered is with the character’s usable audio. I had to cut many audio clips from a scene to get one usable audio sound bite. This was most noticeable in the dinner scene where I had to extensively edit Ricky’s prayer. The sound bite matches at the beginning but as the camera pulls away the words start to deviate. The frequent lines, intended to make the original audience laugh, hurt my ability to make scenes with deeper meaning. It was not a big hindrance as the trailer progressed because the clips shortened. Near the ending of the trailer, I purposely intended to refrain from inserting multiple sound clips. Klosterman’s idea of silence having meaning in film was relevant. The silence between the sound bites “I am coming for you” and “you sons of bitches” was intended to focus the viewer on the “I am coming for you”. That phase reveals what Ricky intends on doing, revenge. In addition, it reinforces the idea that he is angry. The background music is the only audible noise between the lines. As mentioned before, the music was designed to reinforce the idea of anger and intent to revenge. Overall, Talladega Nights was probably not the best movie to pick when creating a serious movie with a necessary storyline.
Finally here are my complaints and frustrations about the project. Overall, the video portion of the project took me well over 13 hours. Most of this occurred with the editing of clips to fit perfectly into the video. Eventually, I finally gave up so there were two scenes that probably won’t flow well. This is because every-time I inserted a video clip over an audio, premier tried to align them. Second, I couldn’t find a shortcut to move a set of clips I edited and put together with transitions without redoing all the transitions. Third, when I got the clips to fit perfectly, the next day they magically did not fit as well. Those are really my complaints. While they seem like a lot, I really enjoyed this project and wish I had more time to make it to my liking. One thing I would recommend is to have a lab day before the project is due so little changes can be easily addressed. I recommend seeing Talladega Nights if you have not.