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  • Writer's pictureDorsa Sajedi

Paradise of True Desires [wip title]: Workshopping to Informal Pitch

During our earlier meetings we started from a very basic stage of production (establishing an idea before script writing began), determining the themes we want to explore and what passage we wanted this narrative to pursue. I have joined this group very early stages in production, as I worked with the majority of people in this group last term - knowing that we work very well together. I am looking forward to edit this film, as well as script supervise on set, providing me early access and familiarity to footage from each shoot date.

Tasks and Research

Our producer has assigned us with a task of finding openings to films that if isolated could work as short films. If possible, being as relevant to our themes of exploration as possible. The films I have come up with so far are the opening scenes of About Time, a film that touches upon child-to-parent relationships and also engages in fantastical elements, and The Truman Show, which engages with dystopian/future-like ideas that we are exploring. I have also noted down Tune in For Love, another romance film that engages in a struggling relationship, not because they aren't compatible, but rather that fate keeps pulling them apart.

We have also been assigned a watchlist of films inspirations to our film, that I am working to go through and also note what I would like to take away from these films from an editing perspective. Note, we initially developed this idea to explore a broken up romantic relationship, but have recently changed to follow a different dynamic between child to parent so some of these films may not be what we're looking for anymore.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (dir. Michel Gondry)

This film uses a large amount of match cuts to visually establish a sudden change of location in Joel's mindscreen. At this point of time, as I do not have a script to develop my ideas from yet, what I am in understanding of is that we will be using match cuts to subtly indicate to the audience that a change has occurred (without our protagonist reacting heavily to the change). While the dreamscape does start to fall apart near the end, there are lots of moments in the editing to take inspiration from in this film. Such as Joel's final mindscreen in the house with Clementine - it starts to falls apart as they say their goodbyes -- executed beautifully through all filmic departments.

Her (dir. Spike Jonze)

When Theodore meets his ex to give her the papers, we see an example of how editing can be used to show how much something is emotionally impacting a character. As she signs the papers, Theodore has flashbacks of the good moments they spent with one another. It feels very bitter and painful, and you can tell how difficult it must have been for him to finally give in. While we have talked about the use of flashbacks inside the dream scenes, we have not yet solidified whether that is to go forward or not (as it would be a mindscreen in a mindscreen, thus very confusing) but there are moments like this where I can look further into how the editing achieves these emotional effects.

Arrival (dir. Denis Villenevue)

Like the previous two, this is also a film that engages in the representation of a mindscreen. But, (spoilers ahead) it does so in a way that sets up these moments as a flashback, yet they are actually Louise's glimpses into the future - a plot twist I did quite enjoy. A clever scene which demonstrates a successful construction of tension in the edit as well as intercutting between past/present and future, is the scene where Louise calls General Shang.

Personal Research

As we are looking to tackle a recognisable-styled commercial in our first scene, I decided to look into a few and analyse how they are edited. Knowing that we want to, if possible, include this segment in our formal pitch presentation later this term, I have chosen to work on research into this now. In 2022 with the mass amounts of streaming services, I am one of the many without a TV license, so I took to YouTube for my research. I looked at videos such as the following:

Observing these videos, I collated a list of applicable conventions that I could take from this in the editing of our commercial. For elements such as titles, text, bold and simplistic animations, I will be using Adobe After Effects and importing that into Avid Media Composer.

  • Contact details: website, QR codes, 'exclusively at X store!'

  • Rhythmic fast pace, straight to the point, doesn't waste any time.

  • Key review quotes, star ratings, slogans, T&C's apply banner on borders

  • Short interviews from customers, sometimes 'specialists' in the field -- if they are a specialist then this is emphasised through noticeable text

  • Colourful banners, often moving text

  • Flashing red text 'BUY NOW' or 'CALL NOW!'

  • Often uses basic animation/graphics

  • Montage - i.e. stock video family outside smiling together, having fun, implying that if you use this product then you will be the happiest you can be in life -- its life changing.

  • Usually ends with a white/solid background that has the product and contact details, simple and easy to understand.

In actually developing these elements, I believe having a meeting with our production designer and director to design the 'look' will be a potential route to take. On the other hand, for the sake of time, I may have to develop these elements after shooting to which I will use my research and take inspiration from how the production designer has designed the set as well as simply coordinating with their designs.

Reflection from Informal Pitch (10th October)

Informal Pitch Editing Slide
One Minute Editing Focused Pitch:

A 'dream sequence' depicts what theorists, such as Bruce Kawin, refer to as the mindscreen. It offers audiences access to, as well as filmmakers endless potential in constructing, a character's visual imagination. In the movement from reality to dream in the edit, I aim to utilise techniques such as match cuts. This will allow us to immerse audiences in our protagonist's experience, while instilling subtle doubts in the realty of what is being shown, and imitating the unknowing nature of dreams where we often do not realise we are in one. As part of my editing research this far, I have been observing the portrayal of character dynamics in films such as About Time and Honey Boy - to films that touch upon child-to-parent relationships but on varied areas of the spectrum. About Time uses techniques such as montage in Tim and his father's final time spent together, constructing a warm and soft sensation that radiates from the screen, something that we hope to imitate in the dream space. On the other hand we have Otis who craves his father's affection to the point his mind screen invades the visual space in a non-linear format. I look forward to developing my ideas further as we progress through production.

Notes and Reflection

Other than editors who were looking to direct as well as edit their films, I was the only editor who pitched during this session. I knew I didn't have to, but I decided to take it as a practice for our formal upcoming pitch. I spoke about my inspirations and current research to show how I am looking to move forward in regards to editing this film. Some considered my pitch to have not technically been a pitch, but I am unsure what else I could have talked about as the editor. Regardless, I feel I contributed well to the discussion and received praise from some of my peers on my slides and presentation. I used my research that came from my last essay on our dreams and visions in the moving image module to develop my speech, as it was related and very beneficial in terms of developing my ideas.

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