27 Dresses (Anne Fletcher, 2008), as stated, is a movie I never liked from the moment it first crossed my eyes. My trailer turns the footage into a thrilling game of cat and mouse between super spies. Jane (Katherine Heigl), for whatever reasons, plays the part of bridesmaid to a number of women as a way of blending in. Kevin (James Marsden), clearly interacts with her in a way that is tense, but doesn’t give off the impression of mortal enemies either.
Connections to the Readings
Romantic comedies do not lend themselves to spy vs. spy flicks. In order to make the connections work, everything has to be removed from its original context, which means using sequential shots or soundbytes is pretty much off the table. As a result, each segment needs to convey its particular message quickly, generally within four seconds. This makes visual abbreviation an absolute essential. In most scenes, Kevin is holding some kind of recording device. It’s a signal that he’s taking in information. Jane’s appearance is always changing, giving the impresion that she is amorphous and inconsistent (Hunt et al, 2010, p.18). At the same time, I delayed the legibility of all typogrophy within the main part of the trailer using an encoding effect. I felt that making basic icons obscure would hit home the point that information is unclear and updating in the world the audience is experienceing. The lack of icons becomes symbolic of the uncertainty in the spy world (Dansei,2004,p.28). Finally, I used framing to try and give the second half of the trailer a tighter, more oppresive feel, as though, perhaps, some intelligence agency if closing in and tightening the net. Conversely, the first half has much more open shots, which give everything the semblence of peace (Dick, 2002, p.63-64). All of this together conveys the mood and enough essential meaning quickly enough that I can avoid providing the context that would ruin the trailer.
I actually started this movie based on the music I had available. If I couldn’t nail the mood, then there was no reason to persue a genre to re-cut to. Fortunately, a couple of tracks I had have just give me the impression of a spy. “The Secret Mines of New Madrid” by Francisco Cerda is from the Jamestown soundtrack. Despite being a videogame about a British colonist killing Martians and Spaniards, it really gives off a great “super secret agent” vibe. It was too intense though, and it would need to be supplemented. Thankfully, “Complexity” by nervous_testpilot from Frozen Synapse (specifically, the DLC), has some softer sections that could be cobbled together to form a good build-up. From there, I found everything I could that was related to secrets and lies within the film (more than I thought). I generally started with the audio and then found video that could link well together. In some sections, I am proud to say that I could almost be fooled into thinking they were natural parts of the trailer (“Men just become hypnotized by her voodoo.”). Once I thought I could simulate secrecy and mistrust, I moved on to the extablishing shots, typogrophy, and ending action. All in all, I like where it went. If I had to do it again, however, I would probably give up on using a romantic comedy. It works, but barely. Even still, adjusting the audio gain and volume is not enough to edit out some artifacts of heartfelt string instruments, which ruin the motiff.
I know that I act a bit silly when it comes to hating this movie, but it really did hinder my performance. Having to watch different sections over and over and over really wore on my nerves. Part of design is the human element, and mine was weak from staring into a cold, souless void for hours. Apart from that, audio was my real stumbling block. The music is loud and the movie was quiet. Adjusting the music down took away from the tension, but adjusting the movie up meant risking more noise that I didn’t want. The drawback to wildly increasing the gain. Future students should be aware of this when using to genres that generally have a different volume. Another bit of advice: make sure to use the DVD settings and not the sequence ones. Otherwise, you have to fix every shot to resize it right, and it is super frustrating. Other than that, and some minor difficulties with uncooperative dip-to-black transitions (used to move from one scene to another when they were completely separated in location and time), the project was really a fun experience.
Bernard Dick (2002). “Film, space, and image,” excerpt from Anatomy of Film. Boston: Bedford / St. Martin’s.
Robert Edgar-Hunt, John Marland, and Steven Rawle (2010) The language of film. Lausanne: AVA Academia.