Behind the Scenes

Before this project I had never directly worked on creating a movie. I was honestly pretty intimidated by the prospect of having to create my own movie with the deliberate intention of going against the intended theme. But in the end I was extremely pleased with how my video turned out. I felt a sense of satisfaction that I had created something new out of an old movie.

Gerry and Julius face off

When I started I had a clear idea in my mind of what I wanted to do. I used the movie Remember the Titans, an inspirational sports movie. This movie is all about how a football team overcomes all odds and wins the championship even without their star captain. But at the same time there is a subplot of how colored people and white people can get along. I decided to go straight against this subplot and try to make it seem like this movie is all about a racial battle. So I set about trying to find subclips that showed racial tension, but had a surprisingly hard time. Since the whole movie is about the coming together of the races, scenes with only white or only black people were rare. Once I had my subclips, I realized I had no idea how I wanted to sort them in my trailer. I was torn between whether or not to start my trailer slow and build anticipation, or to start it off strong and get my message across immediately.

Marcel Danesi’s article Messages, signs, and meanings: A basic textbook in semiotics and communication was a great place to look when deciding how to get my message across in the best way possible. Danesi’s article mentions how people can decipher hidden meaning through symbols. These symbols can be colors, a picture, or even a gesture. In my trailer I tried to get clips that without the context could look misleading due to gestures or acts in the clip. For example, my opening clip where Gerry is coldly staring at what appears to be a string of colored people walking into the room, in the actual movie he is waiting for his white friend. But by only showing the audience what I want to show them, I can alter their mindset on the tone of the movie.

At the end of my trailer I used the Gestalt Theory to make it seem as though Gerry had upset Julius, so Julius ran him over with a car. This is not what happened in the movie, but by showing motivation, then the action, and then the congratulations of the “black leader” after the deed was done, the connection can be made that Julius was responsible for Gerry’s crash.

Bernard Dick tells us that, “No great film is rhythmically uniform.” So for my music I chose a song that started somewhat slowly and built in intensity as the trailer built in intensity. I actually had to elongate certain clips and shorten others in an attempt to make the transitions match up with the foghorn noises in my song. The clip near the end with colored people running in a forest was found and added after everything else was done to give my trailer the extra 9 seconds or so it needed to make the ending coincide with the most dramatic part of the song.

I would say that out of everyone in the class, I very possibly had the most technical difficulties with my project. As with almost everyone else, my audio on my original piece suddenly disappeared. When I came in to correct this, the computer that I had my project saved on had mysteriously crashed. Overnight someone unplugged the computer while it was rebooting, delaying it yet another day. And when I finally had access to the computer lab, all the sound on my movie was sped up! The few words from the actual movie that I used actually came from converting Youtube videos with the correct scene in them and chopping them up to try to fit with my movie. Getting the scene where Gerry tells Julius that Julius is nothing to him took me almost half an hour to get the audio matched with the visual. But even with these difficulties I can say with confidence that this was my favorite assignment in any class all year. If I had to pass down one piece of information to people doing this in the future, I would say to not get too caught up on one idea. Don’t feel like you HAVE to use a certain clip or a certain song to get your point across. Sometimes clips just don’t match up in a logical sequence with your other clips. I waited until near the end to decide which music I wanted to use and I feel like that helped. I had a general idea of how I wanted the trailer to go, and then I modified it to fit the music instead of trying to force the music to fit the trailer. And seriously, have fun because it is an awesome project.

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