Scarlet Revenge

New to film editing, I started this project like a kindergardener on her first day of school, feeling nervous, intimidated, excited and intrigued all at once. The editing and film process has always fascinated me, although I have never been given the opportunity to explore the art. I was, therefore, pleasantly surprised by this assignment. I began the project eager to let my creative juices flow and acquire a brand new skill. I decided I wanted to work with one of my favorite movies, Easy A (view original trailer here), changing the genre from a romantic-comedy to a thriller/horror film.

Emma Stone as Olive

When changing the storyline of the film, I created a friendship between the characters Olive (Emma Stone) and Marianne (Amanda Bynes) that was not portrayed in the original movie. This special friendship, however, is tainted by a dark secret, causing Olive to seek revenge with the help of her sidekick, Rhiannon (Aly Michalka). I used seemingly insignificant moments in the film, moments that often lasted less than a few seconds, stitching each of them together to create a fast-paced trailer. As discussed in Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, I practiced the Gestalt principle of closure in order to create a storyline throughout my trailer. Additionally, I splashed in small doses of text in order to move the plot of the trailer along. By keeping my titles vague a brief, I incorporated a sense of mystery into the video, allowing the viewer to use their imagination, just as the readers of comic books do.

I additionally used concepts from Bernard Dick’s Anatomy of a Film in order to evoke feelings of anxiety and uneasiness in the audience. I used lots of moving shots toward the beginning of the trailer in order to keep the pacing fluid. Toward the end, however, I switched to a more fast paced style, incorporating quick cuts from clip to clip. This style of editing gives the trailer a staccato rhythm, further adding to the dramatic mood. Ultimately, it was my musical choice that contributed the majority of the ambiance, adding suspense and an uneasiness to the trailer. I used the song Welcome to the Jungle, performed by the group 2Cellos (listen here), amplifying the intended emotion of the video.

Finally, when deciding on the color for the text used throughout the trailer, I referred back to Danesi’s What Is Semiotics? excerpt. I chose to use white for the majority of the text, with an exception of the word “revenge” and the final title, “Scarlet Revenge,” for which I used a crimson red. Red, in our society, is a well known signifier of anger, vengeance, or evil. By selecting only certain words to be red, I attempted to add a sense of uneasiness and corruption to the trailer.

At the start of this project, I was really excited to explore Premiere and get a feel for video editing. As time went on, however, I became increasingly frustrated with the software. I, unfortunately, ran into numerous obstacles and problems throughout my time working with Premiere. I ended up having to start from scratch, working from my memory and recreating my trailer. Despite my frustrations, I would still recommend future students to begin working on this project early. In my opinion, it is better to run into problems along the way and have to deal with complications, than to be lost and irritated at the last minute. I would also advise others to map-out their project on paper beforehand. I did this after the first obstacle I ran into. This allowed me to have a clear concept of what I was going to create, rather than sitting dumbfounded before a blank computer screen. It also made recreating my project easier than anticipated. By writing down all my sub-clips, I didn’t have to go back and search for each individual moment in the original movie. Write things down! It’s quite the time saver!

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