Making an Unofficial Movie Trailer

So I chose to make a movie trailer. Image result for tatiana choices gif

Initially, I thought, “piece of cake,” because of that project before where we had to make a YouTube video from start to finish and deal with copyright claims if they should arise. And then it’s Patchwork Girl. It’s a relatively obscure piece of literature over twenty years old with no linear story, so no beginning, no end… (Plot? We don’t know her.) … and every time you go through the story it’s different.

I thought I had it all figured out… 45 seconds to a minute worth of content set to “Death on Two Legs” by Queen, whatever, boom, boom, boom…a pretty decent trailer. It started off with something insufferable, that Clip from the 1931 Frankenstein “It’s Alive™️” and that floating head from the intro of the Patchwork Girl of Oz movie (truly terrifying). It was set to the crescendo build from an instrumental version of “Death on Two Legs” then  moves to the cinematic elements: “Eastgate Presents…” yada-yada. I had timed the title page to appear right at the downbeat of the piano (very sexy) and the rest of it was just a video clip of someone showing the mechanics of how the software worked to navigate the story. I thought I was Spielberg. I was very proud of myself.

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Anyway, I was wrong.

I showed to my mom, who in so many words, told me she hated it. But really it was that she couldn’t get a good grasp as to what the story was about. And taking a step back…she was right.

So now I’m revamping the whole thing. Like, I’m trimming clips, finding new music, making hyper-specific Google searches and turning up empty-handed, using obscure media, scouring the depths of YouTube for symbolism, and then I’ve finally got it: the original Frankenstein clip, the floating head, a clip from the 2004 movie adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Phantom of the Opera, a picture of Mary Shelley, a video of Shelley Jackson, and a montage of clips I spliced and edited together from a two minute trailer of the Mary Shelley movie that came out last year.

The editing process was grueling: the clips I used were, at normal speed, between four and twenty seconds, so I’m having to speed up and slow down certain clips, while avoiding it being too fast or too slow. Then there’s the issue with the text: I had already found pivotal quotes, general enough to make a linear story out of a non-linear one, geez, but the text. I never could really time it right so that the text appeared at a normal speed; I had looked at it enough that I could read a line in less than a second (one of my shortest clips was around 0.7 seconds) but that was one sacrifice I made for the sake of the aesthetic®️.

Then there was the question of the music. 

d3b70b06da1ecfb99525fb90cf0bbe6bbd24f9d7_encoded.gif“Death on Two Legs” was clearly not the right choice for the video, and I’m frantic. I’m on Spotify trying to figure out what music would fit the gravity of the trailer. It’s kind of serious now, and although “Death on Two Legs” is operatic masterpiece, it was just too jarring and didn’t match cinematically with the new clips I’d picked out. My first direction was moving to video game soundtracks, because the intent is to make you focus on the gameplay, and my main choice was Mass Effect 3: I loved the game, loved the soundtrack, what could go wrong? And I was listening and it didn’t fit–I’m at my wit’s end. What music am I going to use for this trailer?

Then I’m thinking, “Okay! Why not use the soundtrack from the Mary Shelley movie?” I’m a genius.Image result for tammie brown i'm acting gif So I listen to every one, and every song sounded like some spectral Celtic woman with red hair sighing woefully in a mist-filled forest (perfect) and they all fit. So I just had to pick one. I believe the song was called “Mary’s Decision” so I put it in iMovie, trimmed the song and added a fade. It’s gorgeous. I’ve done it. Queue video.

After the whole fiasco with the first YouTube video I made receiving a worldwide copyright claim from Viacom within seconds of it being uploaded, I was still worried about copyright claims when I uploaded this one to YouTube (thankfully, I never got a strike/claim, although I think I used copyrighted material)

Then I made the poster. Pretty easy, I had a solid image in my head of what I wanted it to be: a woman with a skull over her face. Color scheme: black, white, and red. Patchwork Poster.jpg

I made some edits in PowerPoint of all places, downloaded some new fonts (for the poster and the video), and I’m satisfied with it. It’s minimalistic but I think pulls the point across nicely.

And I guess as a nice bonus, the people who watched it at the event asked if I considered a career in film editing so…

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–Ishah Blasio

 

Where are all the Black People?

Within games and gaming communities alike, there is an overwhelming lack of diversity: Fantasy games like Dragon Age or Final Fantasy have a surprising lack of black and brown people aside from the few used as plot points. The addition of female soldiers in Call of Duty: WW2 had male fans in an uproar about historical accuracy—what, were women not invented in World War 2? Assassin’s Creed Odyssey let you be gay, and again, many male fans were quick to jump on the historical accuracy bandwagon and claim that no one was gay in Ancient Greece and Rome.

The few games that have an abundance of black and brown people that know of are Madden2K, and FIFAAnd even then, there aren’t that many women or lgbt representation.

Why does this matter? Because these are fantasy games and should include all races, genders, and orientations without compromising the overall gameplay experience.


Many games that claim to be “woke” in the current political climate tend to use the collective experiences of minorities/POC while not placing them within the story. Many games with morality matrices rely heavily on slavery narratives, and oppressor-oppressed narratives and conveniently leave out the people they’re about.

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Detroit: Become Human’s main characters (from left to right): Connor, Markus, and Kara

Detroit: Become Human strives to be a game that delves into heavy social commentary dealing with civil rights and freedom from second-class citizenry/slavery (for androids) and borrows speeches and ideas from notable black activists like Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and President Obama, and applies them to three relatively white-passing androids, inserting black characters as plot points to serve as connections to the real world. It is objectively a slap in the face to black history, to have civil rights be at the forefront of an honesty beautiful  game, but have so few black people in one of the blackest cities in the United States.

The game relies heavily on black culture and iconography as character quirks for the whole game: it’s set in Detroit (a city that is 83% black) in 2038 with the music and background art of the game are borrow heavily from black culture and are meant only to inspire feelings of hope and resilience for the androids’ liberation movement. However the writer, David Cage, denies any political motives for the game considering Detroit’s actual political and racial history (like the race riots of 1943 and 1967). A game like this that can be considered a “high culture” cultural production that gloss over suffering with stoic nobility, historical memories become more marketable, more palatable, and less illuminating. It’s dehumanizing as a black person, and it’s commodifying the “it was 400 years ago, get over it” argument into a pretty game with conventionally attractive characters with a sob story for people to fawn over.

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One of the many murals illustrating black people in D:BH

“There are many groups of people today who can feel the same and feel segregated for different reasons…so I wouldn’t connect this to the civil rights [movement]” —David Cage

The images in "Detroit: Become Human" are simultaneously hyper political and yet treated apolitically
Really?

I take no issue with wanting to put social commentary into cultural productions: it’s an effective way to synthesize the world around us and allows others a glimpse into individual and collective grievances that shape human experiences, but it’s a bad idea to do it like this and then ignore black people.

However, I am glad it is a game like this that allows the player to be emotionally invested and explore different open-ended storylines within one game, rather than it being something like Grand Theft Auto that exaggerates negative stereotypes of black people and lets players vicariously live the exciting and dangerous lives of black men who flagrantly break the law and use extreme violence to “solve” the problem. There’s already enough negative stereotypes of black people in the real world and real-world consequences of people acting on those stereotypes. I don’t want to see them in my video games—they’re supposed to be an escape from all that.

Get woke.

-Ishah Blasio