Blog #5. Deconstructing trailers and remixes


Feel-good movie of the year? Robert Ryang’s remixed trailer for the film The Shining might not have been the very first remix, but this popular clip helped spawn an entirely new genre of viral, remixed video trailers.

All of the lectures, work and readings in this class can be classified according to at least one of the following categories:

    • theories related to the interpretation and analysis of media content (e.g., semiotics, psychoanalysis, genre theory, film theory, narrative), and
    • theories related to the creation of media content (e.g., graphic design principles, McCloud’s analysis of comics, Dick’s film theory, gestalt principles of perception)

You will leverage your knowledge of both types of theories in the “recut video trailer” assignment due on November 22. You will create a movie trailer that significantly transforms the genre of a single film. For example, you might convert a horror movie to a romantic comedy (e.g. Shining). Or you might convert a children’s film to a horror movie (e.g. Scary Mary). You also have the option of converting a serious television program into a situation comedy (e.g. alternate introduction to The Walking Dead). But first, you must do some research.

For your blog assignment, due no later than 5:00 pm on Friday (11/15), you will take notes as you watch at least 8 different movie trailers and at least 3 different recut trailer parodies.

You should be taking notes on the following things:

    • trailer length
    • shot length
    • shot transitions
    • overall pacing
    • music
    • sound effects
    • narration
    • typography
    • audio synchronization
    • other

After watching all of these trailers and “recut trailers,” in a short (4-5 paragraph) blog posting, discuss your findings. In your discussion, please be sure to address the following questions:

    • what did you learn about shot length, shot transitions, and overall pacing?
    • what did you notice about music and other sound effects?
    • what were the shortest and longest trailer lengths? did you have a sense of what constituted “average” trailer length?
    • what did you notice about narration?
    • what did you notice about typography?
    • what did you notice about audio synchronization with the lips in the recut trailers?
    • how did the recut trailers manage to “tell the story?” did they make extensive use of explanatory type? did they require the use of a narrator’s voice over? were any of the trailers able to “tell their story” without relying on type and narrator’s voiceover?
    • if the recut trailers used typography to explain the story, what was the maximum number of instances in which type appeared on the screen (excluding the final shot with the film’s name and excluding the use of type for actors’ names)?

You do not need to include a captioned image or hyperlink in this assignment, though you should feel free to do so. You should have a unique title for your blog posting, and you should embed at least one video clip. (Ideally, it should be your favorite recut movie trailer, but it could be any of the trailers that you watched.)

At the very bottom of the assignment, you should just list the names of the films (with italics of course) as demonstrated below:

Trailers: Paranormal ActivityArgoTaken 2Cloud AtlasMulholland Drive,FrankenweenieLooperVertigo.

Recut Trailers: Scary Mary (children’s film converted to horror), The Ring Recut(horror film converted to dramatic comedy), 10 Things I Hate About Commandments (bible epic converted to teen sex comedy).

You can find an extensive collection of movie trailers on iTunes (search for iTunes trailers) and YouTube. Just make sure that you are watching the original movie trailer and not a fan trailer. You can also find recut movie trailers on YouTube and by Googling any variant of the phrase “recut movie trailers.” The site Trailer Mash has many recut trailers, but it also includes mash-ups that combine content from two movies. For this assignment you should focus on recut trailers that transform the meaning of a single film, rather than focusing on trailer mashups that combine multiple films.

Last but not least, please remember that you should stay way from recut trailers for the film that you have in mind.

Have fun!

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