I chose to recut The Lucky One, which is one of Nicholas Spark’s many romantic dramas. It’s a story about an ex-husband, a hot mom and an even hotter younger man, so there were plenty of heated moments to choose from when cutting my clips. I attempted to mimic the pacing of the popular suspense trailers of today. Starting with longer clips that build up into fast pace clips that create a montage of suspense that then ends rather abruptly.
In my recut trailer, I used Thomas Sobchak’s theory he explains in Genre Film: A Classical Experience, which helps us identify which characters are good and which are bad (Sobchak, 2). Keith, the ex-husband, is depicted as bad in this trailer. He creepily smells the woman’s hair, is seen drinking, and points a gun at Logan, Zac Efron’s character. Along with these signifiers and a dozen angry and weird facial expressions, the viewer can quickly identify Keith as the bad guy in my trailer, The Only One.
To make the trailer suspenseful and dark, I used a montage of images. Dick claims it is a “series of shots arranged in a particular order for a particular purpose”(Dick, 2002, p.14). My clips varied in length, but there were two obvious sections in which the scenes became very short and choppy. The viewer is not able to completely process each frame. I think that helps to add confusion and discomfort at the end of the trailer, and over time has become a characteristic of all suspenseful and scary trailers.
The ending of my trailer has a boy looking up at a tree house above him, the tree house collapses, and floats down the river. You never see the boy get hit but as a viewer you assume he was underneath it. In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud claims that the viewer fills in the blank spaces of a story with their own imagination (p. 68-69). The viewer is not led to believe that the story has an optimistic ending after the collapse of the wooden planks into the rushing river. Trailers depend on the viewer to come to all kinds of conclusions.
I had difficulty with the audio. Using any of the original audio was out of the question. There was constant background noise and terribly happy music to illustrate the love story. In the first trailer, the laying of the track went smoothly. It was almost too perfect. I had to make a few adjustments. However the last time around, the pacing of the video did not line up with the sounds of “Fight In Mia’s Room” by the Pro Arte Orchestra of London & “Roque Banõs” from the Intruders Motion Picture Soundtrack. I picked specific markers in the video and found unique parts to the song that complemented the video and worked from there.
This project was extremely hard for me because there never seemed to be a stopping point. There were so many small adjustments that it became very time consuming, especially after repeating the project twice. In a previous blog, I said music was “the most powerful tool the makers used” when setting the mood for a trailer. After completing this project, I still believe this to be true. I may even feel stronger about it. My biggest suggestion to anyone in the future would be to find the right music and the rest will simply fall into place.
Bernard Dick (2002). “Film, space, and image,” excerpt from Anatomy of Film. Boston: Bedford / St. Martin’s.
Scott McCloud (1994) Understanding comics: The invisible art. New York: HarperPerennial.
Thomas Sobchak (1975, Summer). Genre film: A classical experience. Literature Film Quarterly.