For this project, I chose to recut American Psycho (Mary Harron, 2000) a classic thriller/horror film into a romantic drama called Heartbreak on WallSt.. The trailer redirected Christian Bale, the main character of the plot, from being an increasingly psychopathic homicidal Wall Street executive into Mr. Perfect who gets his heart broken, and eventually finds love where you would least expect it.
Specific links to course readings.
My first link to course readings comes from Semiotics (Hunt, 2010). By understanding the visual culture of semiotics I was able to depict Christian Bale the way that I wanted to. Through symbols and visual abbreviation I was able to portray scenes of Christian Bale at work, with friends, having money, falling in and out of love, and being happy at the end. I used the “flow of signs” to compose a story line that I felt was easy to follow by an audience.
The next link to course readings came from Film, Space, and Image (Chapter 3) (Dick). I used basic concepts, which were detailed in the text, such as transitions through long-shots to help with emphasizing my trailer’s plot. I used an overview of New York city at the beginning to give a context to where they were. Also, I used close ups during intense emotional scenes to depict rising and falling actions within the trailer. I used “freeze frames” to emphasize the end of a theme in the trailer, such as when Christian Bale kissed his “girlfriend” and when his secretary smiled at him at the end of the trailer.
Rational for Creative Choices & Difficulties, Frustrations, and Solutions
The reason I am deciding to put both topics together in this section is because I feel that they depended on one another. From the beginning of the project to the end I used the difficulties presented to me to come up with a “creative solution”.
The preface as to why I chose this movie to re-cut was because it was honestly the only movie that I had available at the time. As a result I was presented with many challenges that I had to face to make the trailer work. At first I just began with cutting the scenes out that didn’t contain Christian Bale enjoying a brutal murder. From there I realized that I had to use what I had to create a story line. Next I sequenced everything, then cut audios, and finally added transitions.
My first problem I came across was transitioning. I had to use transitions from within the first half of the trailer, the happy beginning, and eventually within the second half. I found that on screen text was very important. I used concepts that I found in “Chapter 6. Video Transitions” from Adobe Premiere CS5. Classroom in a Book. I understood that image that I was creating for Christian Bale was one of a successful professional in society, and as a result I used the second Adobe text option in a yellow color as the style of text – as it also related to the text used on the business cards in another scene of American Psycho. For my transition into heartbreak I used a pinker color with a text style that was softer around the edges. I also, placed the text on the outside edges of the trailer clip to show that sometimes you have to “think outside of the box”, foreshadowing that Christian Bale would as if Heartbreak on WallSt. actually existed. For both texting styles I had to freeze frames to insert new wording, place the text in a readable corner of the frame, resize texts to fit, and inserted the text in the frame to coordinate with the rhythm of the musical inflections. Finally, the title of the trailer used both color schemes and styles in the opening scene, which was deliberate to foreshadow a change in the plot.
Secondly, I had to address different audio difficulties. From what acquiringEditingaudio had to offer I learned how to manipulate the audio segments that I planned on using to suit the transitioning in my plot. I used “Audio Transition” in the lower left panel in the upper tab bar, then to “exponential fade”, and then dragged out the audio to match where I wanted to music to transition. I also used the “cross dissolve effect” in my “L-cut”. The tool that was most beneficial for my project was the dot in under the audio row, which was dropped and capable of adjusting the audio by moving the yellow audio line on the display. Finally, I left some parts of the audio in the track to play during the music to create a more dramatic scene. Another example of the main problem I faced with audio is during the “break up” scene I had to adjust the volume of the soundtrack to a level loud enough to drown out the background noise of the actual scene, while still allowing the dialogue to be heard. I also used the soundtrack from the movie “Walking on Sunshine” to emphasize the happy times at the beginning of the trailer. At the end of the trailer I used “Yellow” instrumental by Cold Play, which I felt was appropriate as it is a song that can be depicted as both happy and sad – using the heavier beginning as a time of mourning for Christian Bale, and the lighter middle for the transition into happiness at the end of the trailer.
Overall, I really enjoyed this assignment. I didn’t really get frustrated – I saw the difficulties more as obstacles that I wanted to overcome in order to create a decent trailer. I don’t really know what other options for re-cutting American Psycho would be if I had to redo the project. Also, outside of the project, I caught myself evaluating the cuts in the trailers to the previews before the movie I saw during the break.
Bernard Dick (2002). “Film, space, and image,” excerpt from Anatomy of Film. Boston: Bedford / St. Martin’s.
OPTIONAL READING. “Chapter 6. Video Transitions” from Adobe Premiere CS5. Classroom in a Book.PDF document