As far as decisions go regarding this project, it took me far too long to make the decision that I was going to do remake Tangled
, change my mind a couple times, and then circle back to Tangled. There are my first words of wisdom: go with your gut. Use a movie you know backward and forward, because it definitely speeds up the process. It was infinitely less frustrating to know what I wanted and where I could find it. The only real problems I had were not knowing how to do specific technical things with Premiere, which I was able to Google and resolve fairly easily.
Part of my idea to take one genre film and turn it to another, specifically a children’s fantasy movie to horror, was partially influenced by Thomas Sobchack’s article “Genre Film: A Classical Experience.” Sobchack argues that “’there is nothing new under the sun,’ and truth with a capital “T” is to be found in imitating the past. I wanted to take this by-the-book Disney princess movie (complete with animal sidekick and spontaneous musical numbers) and change it to something completely different. To do that, the choices I made in editing became extremely important.
However, I didn’t want to take this too far. While what I eventually ended up wanting was a thriller filled with suspense and tense moments, I didn’t want to overdo it. Part of that idea stems from Chuck Klosterman’s article, “Ha ha,” he said. “Ha ha.” Klosterman’s extreme disapproval for laugh tracks translated to my decision to refrain from adding additional sounds, for example the mirror shattering, dialogue, or the horses’ hooves clopping. Since I decided to use one continuous track for the audio, I felt that adding sounds would interrupt the pacing of the shots, just as laugh tracks completely change the pauses held while filming a sitcom. I was either going to use all genuine sounds, or none at all and stick with music. The background music in the clips made the choice easy for me. One solid background track it was.
My initial process was to quickly skim through the movie, and do quick rough cuts of scenes I thought could be helpful in my process. While this was a really great way to start, it showed me that the concept I had originally wanted to do probably wasn’t quite right for this project and the footage I had available. The cuts I made weren’t specifically horror, (my original plan) and as I played around cutting and pasting, I realized there was more suspense, action, and tension-filled moments than there were scary ones. This shouldn’t have been surprising, considering it was a Disney princess movie.
Once I knew where I was going, it was easier to think more about the qualities Bernard Dick mentions in his article “Film, Space, and Mise-en-scéne.” I began to look for specific things: Was I using a variety of shots, from close ups to long shots? How was I using the length of scenes to my advantage? As the trailer begins, the shots are generally long, with a couple of text spaces to set the viewer up for what they’re going to see. As the trailer goes on, the drama builds, and shots get shorter, showing only snippets of chase scenes or moments of action to entice the viewer to want to see more. I ended up picking music that reflected this as well. “Requiem for a Tower” by Escala begins slowly, but dramatically, but builds in intensity as the song progresses.
My advice for future students doing this is to definitely start early. I didn’t have much stress throughout the majority of the process, because I would spend a couple hours a day in the lab playing around with footage, and by the time my concept had really solidified, I had cuts ready and waiting for when I wanted to use them. For that reason, I think it’s incredibly helpful to pick a movie you know really well. I have seen Tangled more than a dozen times, and it never gets old. That’s an especially defining characteristic when you end up watching the same clips over and over (and over and over and over.)
Bernard Dick “Film, Space and Mis-En-Scène” (2002) Anatomy of Film. Boston: Bedford / St. Martin’s.
Chuck Klosterman “Ha ha, he said. Ha ha.” Excerpt from Eating the Dinosaur. New York: Scribner Press.