For this project I decided to use Bridesmaids as the base for my recut trailer. Seeing that this is one of my all time favorite movies and have probably watched it close to 20 times, I thought it would be perfect and easy to work with. The movie is based around two best friends, Annie and Lilian, who put their friendship to the test as Annie helps plan Lilian’s upcoming wedding. Kristen Wiig, the actress who plays Annie, debuts as the dysfunctional best friend who can’t seem to get her life together. She finds herself “hitting rock bottom” as her career and relationships slowly begin to unravel. Wiig is also readily known for her role on Saturday Night Live as “Gillie,” consequently, as you may imagine, supplying a great deal of humor to the somewhat melancholy plot line. Although the film is categorized as a comedy, it also portrays the sad story of a young woman struggling through what may be recognized as a mid-life crisis. Therefore, transforming the film into a horror/thriller was pretty doable, seeing that there are many instances throughout the film that exude anger, frustration, and sadness.
Specific links to course readings
In Sobchak’s article regarding genre film, he states that “conciously or unconciously both the genre film maker and the genre audience are aware of the prior films and the way in which each of these is an attempt to embody once again, the essence of a well known story.” ( Sobchak 197) I greatly used this notion of the “genre film” to my advantage. With the audiences recognition of the trailer as a horror film, the plot line and idea behind what the film anticiates to encompass are easily understood because of the audiences experiences with other horror films. Therefore, even if the trailer doesn’t portray the plot in a clear and effective matter, the audience will still get the overall idea. Klosterman’s outlook on laugh tracks also really helped me in delivering this “horror movie feel.” With laugh tracks the audience “just wants to know when their supposed to pretend that their amused.” (Klosterman 174) This is exactly what I was aiming for with my soundtrack for the trailer. The music accompanying my recut trailer is a creepy, goose bump inducing, melody, that would give anybody a fright. Consequently, when the audience views the trailer, no matter what the video may be, the audio forces them to believe that the film is a horror, simply by the emotion provoked by the music, a very similar motive for the use of laugh tracks. Furthermore, the very last scene of my trailer shows Annie, handcuffed, walking away with the police. Hunt, in his work discussing semiotics, says that we “draw specific meaning” form signs, and they “stand for something that contributes to our overall understanding.”( Edgar-Hunt 8) So, when the audience sees the police, or for that matter, a woman being handcuffed, it is used as a sign to denote wrongdoing or some sort of trouble, which, in turn, helps support the drama and horror of the trailer. I also applied Bernard Dick’s principles on film to my recut trailer using the dissolve and fade-out technique as a way to “denote continuity,” (Bernard Dick 16) and have “the effect of dramatic foreshadowing.” (Bernard Dick 17) By having each clip dissolve into the next, the trailer has a sense of direction and flow to it, allowing the audience to follow along more easily. However, the dissolve used at the very end of my trailer leaves the viewer anticipating the outcome, and wanting more!
Rationale for creative choices
For the beginning of my trailer, I decided to use a longer scene in order to set a brief summary of the movie. By doing so, the audience gets to know the main characters and their relationship to one another. Part of the rationale behind this decision also stemmed from the fact that I found it to be a common theme in many of the effective trailers I viewed previously. I also incorporated longer scenes throughout the trailer in order to break up the continuity, and give the viewer a break from the more fast paced sequences. Originally, I was hoping to avoid the use of titles, however, I thought that the titles were necessary in allowing the viewer to understand the basic plot of the movie. Furthermore, I used red as the color for the title font, simply due to the fact that red evokes a sense of danger and is commonly associated with blood, following the genre of the film. Another huge decision I made in creating this trailer was music choice. One of my favorite things about my recut trailer is the music accompanying it because it really gives the trailer an eerie feel and makes the video appear to be much more dramatic and horrifying than it would be with a more upbeat song. However, at the end of the trailer, I decided to cut off the music and simply rely on the audio of the original film, a discussion between Annie and Lilian that really ties the whole thing together. Here, Lilian tells Annie that she is going crazy, the video cuts to scenes of Annie falling apart as the audio of the conversation continues. I thought this really added a dramatic effect and accurately represented the plot I was aiming from, taking a minor scene from the original movie, and making it the central theme for my recut trailer. Lastly, the overall pacing of my trailer goes from slow to fast, then back to slow. I thought this technique allowed the trailer to build, with fast paced, choppy cuts that give the trailer more excitement and tension, allowing the transformation from comedy to horror.
Frustrations, difficulties, and solutions
One of the difficulties I had for this project was attempting to change the plot of the original film. Bridesmaids, although a comedy, in itself has some dramatic heart wrenching scenes. My idea of making Annie a psychotic bridesmaid that seeks revenge on the other women, was already shown as a minor subplot in the original film, I simply chose to zoom in on this and make it the central focus by choosing particular scenes that I thought portrayed intense emotion and anger. Besides the difficulty in dramatically altering the plot, I thought this project was lots of fun! Premier was a little frustrating at first, however after working and playing around with it several times it was much easier. Watching the tutorials on Lynda was also extremely beneficial in making the process much more pain free. My recommendation for future students would be to get started early on! I did this, and the project was much more fun than I can imagine it would be if you were to wait the night before. Allow yourself a sufficient amount of time to play around with the Premier program, because it can be tricky at times.
Edgar-Hunt, R., Marland, J., & Rawle, S. (2010). Chapter 1. “Semiotics.” The Language of Film (pp.12-37). Lausanne: AVA Academia.
Bernard Dick (2002). “Film, space, and image,” excerpt from Anatomy of Film. Boston: Bedford / St. Martin’s.
Sobchack, T. (1975). Genre film: A classic experience. Literature Film Quarterly, 3(3), pp. 196- 204.
Klosterman, Chuck. (2009). “Ha Ha, he said. Ha Ha,” excerpt from Eating the Dinosaur. New York: Scribner Press.