The Step Brother

For my project I decided to make a movie recut trailer of Step Brothers. I planned to change the movie from a raunchy comedy to a horror movie based on a psychopathic step brother who murders the majority of his new family. The reason why I chose to do a recut trailer of Step Brothers was because I have seen this movie dozens of times, and so I knew exactly how I wanted to create this recut trailer from the beginning. In the trailer I intended to give the idea that “Brennan” (Will Ferrell) was moving into a new house with his mom and the rest of his new family, his new family included his step brother, “Dale” (John C. Reilly). Dale’s pranks and fights start out small enough, however throughout the trailer the fighting and the carnage builds up to a climax where Dale is seen burying Brennan’s body. All the while this action is played with short differing scenes with quick jarring cuts. This was all used in conjunction to get the viewers agitated and worried for the character’s well-being.

All fight scenes seem much scarier with a creepy music in the background…

One of the most important things I noticed while viewing movie trailers for one of the previous blog postings was that background music is completely vital to a trailer. Since I wanted to make a horror movie trailer I searched for a good song that when overlaid with something it could make it creepy, while on YouTube I came across the theme song from Candyman, named “It was always you, Helen.” Music can be a powerful signifier, in countless trailers and movies music helps the viewer how to feel when otherwise, they might not know how to. Although the viewers do not know why they should feel this way, Danesi explains that people are always subconsciously interpreting signs, such as interpreting the scary music to mean there is danger and that they should feel scared (Danesi, 5).

Throughout the trailer the action and fight scenes start intensifying and becomes quicker paced. This was done in order to make the viewer become agitated and worried for the protagonist’s life. Bernard Dick said that if you used many quick and jarring cuts it would confuse the viewers; this was one of the objectives I had in mind while creating my recut trailer in order to pique interest in the movie and draw the viewers’ attention (Dick, 15). Another film technique used in my trailer was using a close-up of Dale staring, when in its own context in the movie it is a completely different emotion that you would get from watching it. However, with the creepy background music playing and the clip slowed down Dale’s staring becomes scary; Bernard Dick discussed this by stating that if you wanted to introduce an emotion you wouldn’t be able to show otherwise, you should use a close-up of a face (Dick, 1).

The Kuleshov effect was something I found to be an incredibly useful technique during the creation of the recut trailer; many times while in the process of making the trailer I would notice a scene that was intended to be funny and by reversing the order of these shots I actually made the scene be much scarier than it was in the original. One example of this in my trailer is when Brennan fakes being dead in order to scare off potential buyers of his family’s house and the scene where Dale is dragging Brennan’s body in a rug to bury him are lined up to scare people. Both of these scenes in their own context are incredibly funny; however, when put into a different context such as this, it can enhance the trailer.

In the recut trailer I used a small variety of transitions and mainly straight cuts. The transitions I used consisted of additive dissolve, dissolve, and mostly fade-to-black. Fade to black was used many times after a particularly explosive scene, this was done in order to build the drama after a huge action scene had happened to build suspense for what was about to happen next. However, in many of the action shots straight cuts were used in order to create jarring and action packed shots. Quick straight cuts were used to build up to the climax of the trailer to give you an idea of all the action and fighting that was going to happen up until the end where you see Dale dragging Brennan’s body. Kaufman claims that building up a climax in movies and television can be done and depending on its genre done in different ways; in the action and horror genres the climax will consist of many fight scenes happening very quickly in order to build the suspense (Kaufman, 2).

There were not any significant problems I encountered during the development of the movie recut trailer; however, some minor problems I encountered consisted of problems with titles and ripping music and scenes from YouTube. One problem I met was that window for titles would not show up, I solved this by saving and then restarting Adobe Premier until it showed. Another problem I had with titles was that the font style would not change no matter how much I tried to change it; however, I was able to get around this by again using the simple method of just restarting the program. At first a scene and the music I ripped from YouTube would not be playable in the sequence; however, I fixed this problem by making sure to save the files to my folder in the D-drive and selecting them when starting up Adobe Premier. Other than those minor problems I did not encounter any problems while working on my project and overall thought the project was a fun and innovative way to teach us about video editing.

Works Cited:

Bernard Dick (2002). “Film, space, and image,” excerpt from Anatomy of Film. Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin’s.

Frederick Kaufman (2005). “Debbie does salad: The Food Network at the frontiers of pornography,” Harper’s Magazine, October.

Marcel Danesi (2004). “Semiotics,” excerpt from Messages, signs, and meanings: A basic textbook in semiotics and communication. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press.

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