The Society of the Deranged

When I first began this video trailer project, I started off working on Pirates of the Caribbean. However, after ripping the DVD I realized how unfamiliar I was with the movie, I mean I had seen it before, but I didn’t love it enough to actually look forward to working on it. So then I decided to switch my movie to The Dead Poet’s Society, one of my favorite classic films. So one piece of advice that I think is worth mentioning is to choose a movie you really love because you’ll only enjoy working on the project that much more when you have a film to look forward to.

Honestly, I just sort of attacked this project, not really knowing exactly what I was doing when working with Adobe Premiere. I have worked with the iMovie before and I had the patience to sit around and mess with tools it had to offer. I thought that Adobe Premiere would be similar to this, but that was not the case. It was much more complex than iMovie. You just have to take the time to play around with the program, but eventually once you get the hang of Premiere, it becomes quite entertaining especially since you have so much control over how a scene can be portrayed and how the audio can completely change the entire meaning of a clip. Which is the main goal I tried to focus on when starting this project.

Robin Williams as Mr. Keating in "The Dead Poets Society"

My idea was to transform the meaning of The Dead Poet’s Society, from an inspirational story of teacher (Mr. Keating, a.k.a Robin Williams) and his positive influence over a group of boarding school students, into a suspenseful thriller where Robin Williams transforms into this secretly deranged cult-like character the causes chaos throughout the entire school. At first I jumped right into the movie, grabbing separate pieces of the film where expressions of distress or emotion are blatantly clear. I was basically trying to make everyone look like their going insane. I chose the song, “Requiem for a Dream” (from the Lord of the Rings soundtrack), for the audio of the trailer because I thought it was appropriate as the music intensifies and escalates dramatically. The entire trailer consists of a montage sequence of short, quick clips to as Dick describes as “ a series of shots arranged in a particular order for a particular purpose.” The purpose of this montage is to create anxiety among the viewer, as they try to piece together exactly what the movie is about.

The trailer, of course, is purposefully left with some ambiguity, because it is after all only a movie trailer. We don’t want to give away the entire plot! The concept of closure is used specifically as the audience is left to fill in the gaps between each clip, just as Scott McCloud defines it as observing parts but perceiving them as a whole. I focused at first on scene- to- scene transitions then as the suspense builds up I begin to place more moment-to-moment clips. This shortens the length of the clip, making the shots appear to transition quicker as the audio intensifies.

One of the main concepts when working on this project was the alteration of one genre of film to a completely different one. Sobchack discusses the genre film as one that depends on a consistency between subject matter, plot, iconographies, and characters in order to maintain its predictability. Sobchack states how the genre film “may imitate other particular films which makes it recognizable as part of that group.” Robin Williams assumes this generic character, and by watching the trailer we assume his role, essentially as the “bad guy.” We can assume by watching this movie trailer, that it will obtain the typical dramatic, suspenseful, horror film-like plot. This is something important to note because changing the movie into an “attempt to capture the essence of a well known story” portrays a particular well-known genre, which makes it more effective for the viewers to notice.

I truly enjoyed working on this project. I even got a little carried away, as my movie trailer is a bit longer than 90 seconds (it’s still under 2 minutes though).  I felt it needed that extra time for it to be really effective in order to depict everything I was trying to change about the movie. At times it was a bit frustrating, but overall the challenge of putting together a movie trailer was exciting and now I feel as though every time I watch a movie trailer I will be noticing the transitions and the effect of the audio on each sequence of clips.

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