Jane Austen Becomes The Master of Horror.

Hej Allesammen! I dag jeg skriver lidt om en “re-cut” trailer jeg har lavet!

Hello everyone! Today I am going to tell you about the recut trailer I made!

Jane Austen Does Horror

Jane Austen Does Horror

I have been a Jane Austen fan my entire life. I have read all her books, and seen nearly all the movies ever made that are based off of her books. I also am a huge fan of Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre. Thus, when this trailer recut assignment came around the corner, I decided it would be marvelous to turn one of Jane Austen’s lighthearted romantic drama’s into a dark mystery novel that resembled Bronte’s novels. But moreover, I wanted it to appear like a modern day horror. Although I am not a fan of horror films I did just recently see The Awakening (Nick Murphy 2011) and loved it! So I decided to turn the film, Sense and Sensibility (Ang Lee 1995), click on the title to see the original trailer, adapted from Jane Austen’s novel by the same name, into a physiological thriller/horror that mimicked Ms. Bronte’s dark writing and The Awakening’s supernatural elements.

In her book, The Meme Machine, Susan Blackmore argues that the one apparent detail that differentiates humans from all other species on the planet, “is our ability to imitate” (3). While I am not 100% sure that other species that inhabit our earth are not also capable of imitation, it is a valid point that humans do imitate. And we imitate a lot! In Chuck Klosterman’s article “This Is Emo,” he complains that he will never be able to find love because everyone is too busy imitating relationships that we see on TV or in movies: “You can’t compare your relationship with the playful couple who lives next door, because they’re probably modeling themselves after Chandler Bing and Monica Geller” (4). But that couple who is imitating Chandler and Monica, is imitating an imitation. As Thomas Sobchack writes in his article “Genre Film: A Classical Experience,” “Genre films…are made in imitation not of life but of other films” (197). Thus, Chandler and Monica’s characters are just based off of some other pre-Friend’s show. So that couple down the hall is just imitating a copy of a copy of a copy. I could go on forever.

This concept of imitation in life, in film, and more specifically to the remix assignment,  made my job easy. All I had to do in order to make my trailer was take Ang Lee’s film, adapted from Jane Austen’s novel, I literally ripped a copy, and just copy reoccurring qualities that I saw in horror/thriller trailers such as The AwakeningOrphan (Jaume Collet-Serra 2009), and Jane Eyre (Cary Fukunaga 2011). Okay, it was NOT easy, it sounds really easy but it took FOREVER. It was, however, a lot of fun (I can say that now that I am done, had you asked me when I was working on it if it were fun, I probably would have thrown something at you…just saying). But all editing put aside, the underlying fundamental idea of the re-cut trailer is easy, you mimic a genre…period. The hard part is finding the right shots, the right music, the right length, and the right dialogue to imitate the given genre. It’s even harder to try to make dialogue that is in a period romantic drama seem really scary, the only “scary” dialogue is when characters whisper. Reviewing the entire film over and over again to find the perfect shots to turn the original genre upside down is also extremely hard. However, by far the hardest part is taking a 136 minutes long film and cutting it down to no longer than 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

Thus, I heed all you future Media Interpretation students, “START EARLY.” I started somewhat early and had a lot of time to work on it, even with the great length of time I gave myself I still felt stressed and worried. I did spend A LOT and I mean A LOT of time on this project, and I am very happy with my end result. Starting early, gives you the opportunity to spend that time, and to get at least 8 hours of sleep the day before it’s due. I also would like to warn you future Media Interp. students to have a clear idea of what story you are going to tell before you start editing. The biggest mistake I made was being unsure how to piece together my trailer, so I made over 100 subclips. Which took FOREVER! However, I do suggest to have more subclips than less, it helped having a great deal to choose from. But on the other end, it would have been easier to just know the film extremely well and find the specific shots or dialogue I wanted compared to making 70 or so subclips too many. Towards the end of the editing process I knew the film so well that I knew exactly where to go to look for the perfect clip. So really do choose a movie you know well and are willing to watch 4-5 times over again. Further, use Google to answer questions! Further, do NOT be afraid to ask TigerTV students for help! They are super friendly and quiet frankly more knowledgeable than Google. Also ask your fellow classmates! I had a lot of classmates help me find free applications that took YouTube videos and copied their music to MP3 format.  Well I think that is enough about the nitty and gritty details.

My favorite part of the entire project (besides the end result) was being able to use creativity and essentially direct your own mini-film. Every single moment in my trailer is strategically placed as to convince the audience that my trailer is about a horror/thriller. It was easy for me to pick out shots especially towards the end of my trailer as I knew, after viewing several horror trailers, that the last 30 seconds of the any horror trailer is a culmination of tons of short choppy shots. The opening was much more difficult because the tone of most horror films is somewhat light and slow in the opening. I chose the piano scene because I had noticed a lot of horror films’ audio is no more than a solo melancholy piano, it also sets the mood for the story I am about to tell. The opening music (besides when Kate Winslet is playing the piano) is actually taken from The Awakening trailer, I did have a dark orchestral piece there first, but the current music I feel sets the mood better. I used a lot of eerie countryside shots as Cary Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre does the same and sets a very dark mood. I also used a lot of cross-fading as it moved the scenes a little faster in the middle of the trailer. I really enjoyed the cross-fading I used when Kate’s character walks towards the house for the first time. In the house, I purposely made a cut that made Kate Winslet almost disappear/jump. It was a conscious choice and I really liked it, however, some of my friends watched the trailer and thought it was a mistake, instead I just wanted the scene to appear more supernatural. Besides these editing choices it was difficult to figure out the precise music for each sequence. I changed the music so many times and still am unsure if some of the music fits perfectly in certain sections. However, I do feel as some of the music could not be more perfect, such as the finishing sequence, during the culmination of choppy shots, and the very last shot. I also used a lot of plain black titles in between shots to make the shots appear more choppy. My favorite usage, however, is at the very end when the woman is looking out and the music thumps, cut to black, then cut to the woman and then a “ghost” walks behind her, it gives me goose bumps when I watch it! Overall, I am very happy with the way my trailer turned out and I really did enjoy making it. Just again, give yourself time! And have fun!

Vi ses snart! (See you soon)

~Rebeca

Works Cited 

Blackmore, Susan. “Strange Creatures.” The Meme MachineLondon: Oxford  UniversityPress, 1999. Print.

Klosterman, Chuck. “This Is Emo.” Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa-Puffs: A Low Manifesto. 2004.

 Sobchack, Thomas. “Genre Film: A Classical Experience.” Literature Film Quarterly 3.3. 196. Print.

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