In my recut trailer, I attempted to transform the genre of the movie Blue Crush from drama/romance to horror. This wasn’t extremely difficult to do because there are many dramatic scenes in the movie where the main character, Anne Marie, comes close to drowning. By rearranging some of the scenes and altering the audio, I hope that I successfully changed the perceived genre of the trailer and the story that a viewer would begin to interpret from it. I learned a lot while working on this project, and actually really enjoyed playing around with Adobe Premier! I also gained a much deeper appreciation for all of the work that goes into the creation of a quality movie trailer, as I came to realize while watching previews at the movie theater last night.
Specific links to course readings
I used many different film techniques throughout my movie trailer in an attempt to transform the genre and help the clips flow smoothly, including various transitions and a montage of “drowning” scenes. According to Bernard Dick, a montage sequence “can be defined as a series of shots arranged in a particular order for a particular purpose,” which is what I attempted to do with the compilation of scenes in my trailer where Anne Marie is wiping out or struggling underwater (Dick, 2002, p.14). These carefully chosen scenes are accompanied by music that becomes more and more intense to dramatize her struggles and near-death experiences. Additionally, I used dissolve transitions throughout most of this montage sequence, which Dick says denote “continuity by the gradual replacement of one shot by another,” to create a flowing sequence of these different scenes from the movie and make them seem continuous (Dick, 2002, p.16).
Semiotics (the use of signs/signifiers to represent or symbolize something) are constantly at play in any video and in our daily lives, but some specific signifiers are very important in the development of the story of my trailer. As discussed by Danesi in his book Messages, signs, and meanings: A basic textbook in semiotics and communication, the color red can symbolize many different things, one of these being “danger” (Danesi, 2004, p.4). In some of the most intense scenes that I chose to use in my recut trailer, there is a color scheme of mostly black and white with red thrown in to signify that Anne Marie is in great danger. The color red might literally denote the presence of blood, but it also has a deeper, implied symbolism. These colors were present in the movie (I didn’t alter them), but the presence of the color red and the other dramatic special effects used in these scenes made them very useful in the creation of my horror trailer.
In Ryan Gibley’s article, “Trailer trash,” he mentions Alfred Hitchcock and refers to him as “the undisputed king of the trailer,” because he “understood that a trailer must be a work of seduction and suspense,” and that it should “whet the viewer’s appetite, but never sate it” (Gibley, 2006). I really like this description of what a movie trailer should do for the viewer, and I attempted to accomplish this in my recut trailer. I tried to make it dramatic and intriguing, but I left quite a bit of mystery when it comes to what the actual plot line would be in the horror film.
Rationale for creative choices
I had to make creative choices about every aspect of this recut trailer as I created it, but I will discuss just a few of the most pertinent decisions that I made throughout the process. First of all, I decided to begin and end the trailer with similar scenes that show Anne Marie’s most scary near-death experiences from the movie, and also include a close up of her face. I did this because I thought the scene at the beginning would sort of set the tone for the genre I was trying to portray, and then the intensity gradually builds back up to the similar scene at the end where she hits her head on a rock. Another choice that I made in my trailer was to include a short section at the beginning that has fun, happy music and shows Anne Marie with her friends on their way to surf. In many of the horror trailers I’ve seen, there is a part at the beginning that shows the main character in a happy setting, with their family or doing something they enjoy. I think this creates more of a shock for the viewer when the trailer transitions to the scary, intense parts. I’m not sure how well this part transitions into the rest of the trailer, with completely different music, but I attempted to fade the audio and video out and back in to smooth the transition.
Another choice I felt like I had to make in my recut trailer was to use title screens to tell a little bit of the story. If I was to do this again, I might attempt to make it without the title screens, but I wasn’t sure if viewers would fully understand that it is supposed to be a horror and not just a drama without a bit of a story line.
Frustrations, difficulties and solutions
As I discussed in the previous section, one frustration I had while making this trailer was coming up with the text to use in my title screens. I felt like anything I said sounded cheesy, yet I wasn’t sure how to completely change the genre and story of the movie without them. The text on my last title screen seems overly dramatic to me, but I wasn’t sure how else to actually make my trailer seem like a horror movie. I also had some difficulty figuring out how to make these title screens, and how to make the fonts and everything look decent (I’m still not sure if they look very professional!). I was able to figure out how to make the title screens pretty easily by the end, but I never really resolved my unease with the cheesiness of what I chose to say.
Another slight frustration I had was with transitions; Premier would sometimes tell me that my clips didn’t contain sufficient media and would have repeated frames that looked almost like the trailer was skipping. When this happened, I just opted not to use a transition because I couldn’t figure out how to fix this. The parts where I had this issue turned out looking alright without transitions, but I still am not sure how I could have fixed this problem. The main suggestion I have for future students is to just give yourself ample time to work on this, and don’t stress about it! It is hard to be creative when you stress over something like this, and it is actually really fun to make if you don’t have too many issues with your computer while making it. Asking for help from classmates is always a good idea as well, there are plenty of people around to help you with it while you are making it.
Bernard Dick (2002). “Film, space, and image,” excerpt from Anatomy of Film. Boston: Bedford / St. Martin’s.
Marcel Danesi (2004). “What is Semiotics?” excerpt from Messages, signs, and meanings: A basic textbook in semiotics and communication. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press.
Gibley, Ryan. (2006). Trailer Trash. New Statesman. Retrieved Nov. 18, 2012, from http://www.newstatesman.com/node/152766.