For this project, I decided to turn one of my favorite movies, Fight Club (David Fincher, 1999), into a romantic drama. The original film is about a disillusioned office worker who decides to form a “fight club” with Tyler Durden, a soap salesman that he meets on a flight. Somewhere in the
movie, “fight club” escalates into “Project Mayham,” an anti-corporate, nihilist organization. At the end of the movie, the main character realizes that he is Tyler Durden, and he watches as massive corporate buildings are blown up by Project Mayham. It is safe to say that Fight Club is nothing like a romantic drama. The contrast between the original movie and my trailer was really fun to see after I finished this project.
I was inspired to turn Fight Club into a gay romance after watching a recut trailer on Youtube that turned Top Gun (Tony Scott, 1986) into an unexpected romance between the male main character and another male pilot. I thought there were some key scenes in Fight Club that would make this possible to accomplish.
Connections to Course Readings:
Throughout my recut trailer, I attempted to use semiotics to get the point of my plot across. Semiotics requires the use of signs, which are defined as “an object, quality or event whose presence or occurrence indicates the probable presence or occurrence of something else” (Edgar-Hunt, Marland, & Rawle 2010:18). Semiotics were especially important in my trailer because of my decision not to use any text to describe the movie. The way I placed the clips from the movie, particularly intimate scenes, was essential to the audience’s understanding of what the movie is about. According to The Language of Films, the way that scenes from a movie are arranged and transitioned through is what conveys the meanings of signs to the audience (Edgar-Hunt, Marland, & Rawle 2010:19). I relied heavily on the ability of the audience to interpret images, such as close contact between Edward Norton’s character and Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), as romantic. In order to convey the plot of the movie, filmakers, “need to know how the images produced will be understood by the audience and work upon their imaginations moment by moment” (Edgar-Hunt, Marland, & Rawle 2010:18).
Many of the signs I used to represent the dramatic nature of my trailer, I took directly from past romance drama trailers. For example, most trailers for romance dramas start out with longer scenes which transition progressively faster as the tension in the trailer builds. Thomas Sobchak describes the need to use material from previous works, because, “any particular film of any definable group is only recognizable as part of that group if it is, in fact, an imitation of that which came before” (Sobchak 1975:196).
As I said earlier, I decided not to use any text in my trailer to describe the plot for the audience. Using my very basic understanding of editing technology, I do not think I would have been able to add narration or text to my trailer in a professional looking manner. Many of the dramatic trailers that I viewed used some text in their movie, so I decided to add one example of it at the end of my trailer where it wouldn’t awkwardly obstruct the flow of my trailer. Plus, I really wanted to add at least one kitschy line to my romantic trailer.
The pacing of most of the dramatic romance trailers that I watched was very slow throughout the trailer, especially in the beginning. I decided to incorporate longer passages of conversation among the characters in the movie in order to establish plot and enhance the dramatic feeling of the trailer. I also used a lot of fade-out transitions in my trailer to heighten the dramatic effect seen in other romance trailers.
One of the creative choices I made also turned out to be one of the biggest difficulties I had in the making of my trailer, and that was the music component. I chose to compile the clips for my trailer together before applying any music because I thought that would be simpler. It never occurred to me that the placing of trailer scenes was greatly impacted by the placement of the music in comparison to it. I spent a long time searching for music that would fit with the genre of my trailer as well as the scenes throughout the trailer. In the end, I decided to use an instrumental version of Lana Del Rey’s song, Ride. However, since I had not planned ahead for the music portion, I had to cut some of the parts of the song into different areas of my trailer, which proved less than easy.
Another aspect of the audio that was very difficult for me was adjusting the volume. I really wanted to maintain the dramatic feel that was supplied by louder music volume, but a lot of the conversations in my trailer were very soft, even when I adjusted their volume as loud as it could go. I tried to transition the volume of the music to quieter during dialogue, and louder during the more dramatic scenes. However, this made my trailer more choppy, and I finally had to decide to make the music softer for the entire trailer in order to maintain the flow. Ultimately, the greatest challenge I had during the making of this trailer was when I lost all of my saved work at the very end. I had compiled a large portion of the clips I wanted to use for my trailer, and when I came back I could not find my project file. I thought I had saved it in a particular folder, but it wasn’t anywhere I could find. I had to restart my project which took a lot of time and which was also extremely frustrating. However, I am very pleased with the outcome of my trailer and I am glad to have had the opportunity to get a better understanding of video editing technology.
Edgar-Hunt, Robert, John Marland, and Steven Rawle. (2010). The Language of Film. Lausanne: AVA Academia.
Sobchak, Thomas. (1975). Genre film: A classical experience. Literature Film Quarterly, 3(3):196.