Lesson #15

December 5, 2011


Handouts for this Week

Lesson for This Week


Alternative Distribution and Alternative Jobs

This week we are going to discuss a number of other types of editing that, amazingly, provide some great sources of income for editors. They are often looked down on here at USC, in favor of the more glamorous models, but the reality of today's world is that if you're not flexible in terms of looking at where interesting work can be done, then you're already dying in today's filmmaking world. And, in the same way that looking at Stan Brakhage's work informed Kyle Cooper's SEVEN titles sequence, looking at these other types of videos can give you inspiration for work in many other genres.

Wedding and Event Videos

brian_weddingWe will take a look at one wedding video, done by the British company Lockdown, which uses a song (typical of all wedding videos) and involves the entire wedding party. The piece follows many of the rules that most wedding videos need to follow - the wedding couple are the stars, the guests at the wedding are co-stars -- while ignoring others. But it does follow many of the rules of music videos that we talked about last week -- in terms of developing and changing.

Lockdown describes their company as "a small independant film company that specialises in making anything fun." They have done snowboarding videos, as well as projects for Red Bull, the BBC and Oakley. The point is that, in today's world, your talents as a storymaking extend to more and more types of filmmaking projects.

There are also some other very wedding videos at the site Marryokes.

Many wedding video companies also do event videos. There is an organization devoted to these companies called The Wedding and Event Video Association, WEVA. When I attended a WEVA convention a few years ago, I learned that it is the largest market for equipment in the entire United States. There were people demonstrating some of the most extraordinary short films, with an amazingly high level of sophistication, that I've seen. A USC almunus acually shot a spy movie wedding video in Russia with an American couple, that was scripted, shot and edited like a feature.

Art Videos and Installations

Cory_ArcangelCorey Arcangel describes himself as a "computer programmer, web designer, and artist and working in Brooklyn". He utilizes found materials, such as game consoles and YouTube videos to create works of art which have been exhibited in many museums and galleries across the world.

Tonight we will look at a video that he created using hundreds of YouTube videos of guitarists. Mashing them up in a very specific way, he recreated a performance of Paganini's 5th Caprice. The video is incredible for a number of reasons, including that it visualizes the music in a way that a simple performance never could.

The video ran at the Whitney in 2011 along with a sound and video installation of five progressively older bowling video games.

Video installations, video walls and film projection in alternative venues are growing at incredible rates.

Internet/Viral Video

IGottaFeelingsThis last category encompasses a wide variety of categories. There are some web series, such as Streamy Award Winner The Bannen Way, of Felicia Day's breakout The Guild, which have taken off and provided their editors with an entree into well-paying, and fulfilling jobs. There are web series which are nothing more two people sitting around talking.

But there is no doubt that being associated with a web video that attracts people's attention is a gratifying and potentially useful experience.

We are going to be looking at a web video which was created in 2009 at the l'Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). It is a single shot video, created in the grand tradition of the opening shot of TOUCH OF EVIL or the closing shot of THE PASSENGER.


Nothing this week.
I could create some cool handouts for you, but that doesn't seem right.

Assignments for Next Week

Cut Scene 83 and 86/87 from CRIMSON TIDE
This is a new scene for our final project. In fact, it is the final scene in the sequence that you will be editing. As such, it is the culmination of the tension that has been unfolding between our two lead players -- Bear (Gene Hackman) and Hunter (Denzel Washington). Next week, in addition to a new scene, you will also be receiving all of the interstitial scenes, precut as they exist in the finished film. You will need to use only the music from the folder that I gave you last week. You will need to start working the effects into the scene in a more thorough way than in past weeks. Give thought to how they will shape the audience reaction to the Lean Forward Moments you've created, and also the way in which they begin and end. Note that some of the music cues are quite long.You will also get the insert shots that we spoke about last week.
Complete and final CRIMSON TIDE sequence
Oveer the last few weeks, you have been adding to your sequence, scene by scene. This is exactly the way I would work in the real world -- where scenes come in out of order and I need to gradually build an entire film. This week you will be adding the interstitial scenes into your sequence. These scenes, which are already pre-edited, and come directly from the final film, come with a completely mixed soundtrack, including music and sound. When you are done you will have one complete sequence which runs from Scene 79 (which is supplied to you already edited), all the way through Sc. 113. (made up of your cuts and the rest of the interstitial scenes).
You need not use my notes from last week and this week to create your sequence if you feel they don't work. This week is all about your choices. I do expect you to integrate the insert shots you received last week. I also expect you to shape the music and sound effects that you received as well as integrating the music from the interstitial scenes in seamlessly. This exercise should test pretty much everything that you've learned in this class -- overlapping, rule of threes, emphasis, and most importantly -- scene analysis. You should make sure that every cut that you make fulfills your analysis. Make sure that you work your cuts professionally - smooth out the dialogue and sound, match cuts when it makes sense but don't slavishly match your cuts. If you can get away with a mismatch then do it (and remember the tricks that we've talked about to help you over those issues).
In addition, make sure that you have put a slate, bars and tone and a slate at the top of your final cut.
Ech partnership will need to submit, along with the finished sequence, a two or three sentence logline of this CRIMSON TIDE sequence. It should lay out for me, as we've been doing the entire semester, just what your arc is for the piece. Whose sequence is it? What were you trying to show?
One Final Question
I'd like each of you to bring in to class one thing that you wish we had discussed or done in class, but we did not. I compile these and use them to make improvements in the class every semester.

Added Material

Interview with Thelma Schoonmaker
Elle Magazine recently interviewed Martin Scosese's longtime editor. There are a number of typically super-intelligent Thelma-isms, including this summation of what the editing art form is:
Editing, Schoonmaker says, is the art of decision-making. Selecting the best of, say, a dozen takes of a particular scene; whether the actor will deliver a line with taut, quiet pathos or red-faced fury; whether, in that moment, the audience will be watching the speaker or the spoken-to—all decisions, Schoonmaker is quick to point out, that she and Scorsese make together—shapes not only the texture of the scene but the interior life of the character.
Trailers -- Another Short Form
Another form of short film, and a very viable job market, is trailer creation. This is a blog devoted to trailers and has reviews of many of them. The good thing is that there are links to the actual trailers so you can see what they are talking about.
Making A DV Film On No Budget
Much has been made about the endless vistas of cheap productions that DV filmmaking can bring us. In this article in the Spring 2002 issue of Filmmaker magazine, the production of a $73,000 feature.
Greg Pak's Diary of Editing a DV Film
Greg's blow-by-blow description of editing a film on Final Cut Pro is incredibly instructive in giving a hint of some of the issues -- good and bad -- involved in using a no-budget system to edit a film. He also has links to some of his films which can be streamed online. A great page of handy tips and tricks (for instance, how to get a lively Q&A session at a festival screening of your film) is available here on his site.
Short Diary of Making A Short Film
Back in 1997, a actor/writer/director named Keith Snyder got together with some people and made a film called 1 IS FOR MURDER. Though the diary of the making of this film is out of date in terms of the technology (his editing software didn't make EDLs, for instance) it still holds true in terms of the art behind it. Discussing his script, Snyder says:
You slaved over it. You poured your soul into it. You argued about it, beat yourself up over it, spilled coffee on it, procrastinated forever on it, and finally finished it. It's finally perfect. It is a work of sheer genius. You can see every scene, every shot, in your head. Hold on to that image. Clutch the script to your nose. Breathe in. Breathe out. Be as one with your yet-unborn movie. Enjoy

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