The edit is completed as far as it can go at this point and it is a major relief to know that the remaining work is mostly out of my control for the time being.
What I set out to achieve from this module was to try and reign in this edit as an ‘editor’ and what has happened is I have been able to be more objective about the project, I have made decisions as a director at times but mostly I have been thinking logically and practically about the edit and how best to use the material as an editor.
Frankie Got The Junk is a film inspired by my love of cinema and video games. I grew up with a game console called a ‘Virtual City’, it was a knock off version of a Japanese Famicom, known everywhere else as a NES. The original script made a few references to 80/90s video games and I took this and ran with it. The reason for mentioning this was because I needed to be aware of where I was getting my inspiration for the edit of this film.
Usually my methods for a project are to find a movement or an object that is significant and I try to structure the edit with this in mind; previous examples I have used are a clock, cassette tape recorder and a radio. With’ Frankie Got the Junk’ I pictured a very analogue world meeting a digital one, Jerry represented analogue and Frankie represented digital. I tried to use commonly known sounds and visuals that were recognisable, TV static/power cuts/glitching. These became very important ideas within the edit as they correspond to the theme of the film.
Visual comedy is something that I feel is missing from a lot of comedy films these days, I have put a link to a very interesting video in a previous blog that got me thinking about some of my methods, here it is for again: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FOzD4Sfgag
The Ending explained and decisions as an ‘Editor’
I have chosen to now focus on the ending of the film to explain my position as director/editor of this film and some of the things I needed to keep in mind.
I ask that you watch the film from beginning to end before reading this as I would not like to spoil the ending, or at least would like you to go into it without any prior knowledge of the reveal.
At the end of ‘Frankie Got The Junk’, Frankie comes to the realisation that he has invented Jerry(Or maybe Jerry has invented him) to deal with his ever growing need to stay connected to his irresponsible and immature side. Frankie invents the entire scenario of this film to justify his addiction to whatever drug he is addicted to. The specific drug shown does not exist, the arcade machine does not exist. He did lose his job (Whether or not it happened the way he told it,i.e slapping his boss, is up for debate) and his girlfriend did leave him, but did she really say such hurtful and ridiculous things in the text message?, did she even do it over the phone? if so then why would she ring him at the end? Basically nothing that happens within the film can be set in stone, Frankie is an addict and he is trying to justify it. The meaning of the Kill screen is that he has finally arrived at the end of his game. The implication is that Frankie is about to overdose. As simple as that.
I don’t want to spoil all of the clues in the film.
Here are two references made in the film to Jerry being a figment of Frankie’s imagination
1. “Jerry has to leave, I have to take CONTROL” – control alluding to him not being in control of himself and a control as in something you use to play a game.
2. Frankie out right says – “I am not you and I never will be, drugs don’t solve my fucking problems” to which Jerry responds “You’re so like me”
So basically we are watching a man who is struggling with his identity, he is arguing with himself.
So the reason for explaining a bit more about the reveal, is because as an editor I needed to know how to put these ideas in an audience’s mind.
I decided to drag Frankie’s slow realisation out for as long as the footage would allow so that the audience had a few seconds to start to wonder what was going on. I also removed all background music, I wanted to capture a sense of unease and confusion for a few seconds.
I decided to not cut back to Jerry to show him saying his line, because it is far more powerful to stay on Frankie till the end.
Then I put in a Kill Screen that looked as similar as possible to the game that inspired it.
What I have learned
I cannot explain how hard it was for me to get this film edited. It sounds like a pathetic complaint as all it takes is time and focus; however as a fairly busy filmmaker, those are two of the hardest things to find.
I also felt the enormous pressure of having all of this stacked on my shoulders, I was solely in charge of bringing this film to a state where it can be released. Earlier in the year, I created trailers for the film and they gathered quite a lot of interest online but I was always worried that I would not be able to match the energy of those trailers in the final film, which is something it desperately needed. I feel that the pacing of the film is still a little bit off, it does take off suddenly and not really slow down again which is good, but I worry that the change of pace could be jarring.
In this module, even though due to extenuating circumstances I am completing it without much guidance, I feel I have managed to become more self motivated and have achieved something that for a while I couldn’t see myself achieving.
It has been a long road to this point and I know there is still a way to go but I feel like I have matured as an editor and I have gained a far more disciplined and professional workflow from this project.
I hope you enjoy this film and appreciate that we tried to do something different, or at least we thought we did. The writer and I have penned a six part series based off the ideas within this film and will hopefully be working on the pilot shortly. This film is very close to my heart, it is not my strongest piece of work i have produced and I am very aware of that, i just feel very connected to it, almost as if i don’t want to let it go, which is the very reason I had to try and complete it for this module. I may not have managed to fully finish the film, but I feel like I actually could now, which is a very positive thing.