Pride's Cloke has a special place in my heart. It helped get me into MassArt, it got me an interview as a DP for an independent film project (I sadly realized I had to decline the interview do to problems, but I was offered one nonetheless dammit!), it was my first attempt to tell a story with a story with stop motion, and it was my first entry into the Easton Film Festival.
I spent the first half of the 2003/2004 school year developing my portfolio. When I had enough pieces, my art teacher, Arnold Cassavant, gave me the back closet as my personal workspace and I was allowed to make whatever the hell I wanted. First thing I did was start doing some stop motion animation tests. When I was confident enough in my ability to animate, I knew I wanted to tell a story. The original premise was "Edward Scissorhands rescues Bettie Page from the Blair Witch." As I developed the idea, I began to like parts of it less and less. It seemed kind of sexist to me, why does it have to be a man rescuing the fragile female? So, the Blair Witch kicks Edward Scissorhands' ass, and he has to be rescued by Bettie Page. I shot the fight sequence first, and was inspired by Kill Bill vol. 1, which is why it goes to black and white for the sequence. I also decided I no longer liked the idea of her being into him, because there was no real reason for it. So, she now rejects him, and goes for the Marie robot. I think my entry was the first, and so far only, to feature a lesbian kiss. Out of those submitted to the EFF of course.
When I edited the short together, I knew at that time that it was confusing as hell, and so I dropped in dialogue cards for the characters. It worked stylistically in my mind as I was already referencing early cinema a lot already. But the dialogue cards ran too long, and the short ended up being more text than animation. So I started a second version of the scenes using title cards to explain what was happening. It still bothered me a great deal, at the time at least, and so I rendered a third version of the scenes, and finished what I thought would be the final edit. There a couple things that didn't work out the way I wanted to, as I was very inexperienced at the time, and only had a vague understanding of the concept of frame rates. Originally, my teddy bear, Strawberry Gashes was to appear for 1 or 2 frames, but it got fucked up, and looked like shit, so I edited it out. The scene where there is a pan up of the Marie Robot in bondage in the chair was going to include flashes of various parts to her, as reference to various different animes I had watched. I decided the shot was too sexist, and edited that out as well. It was all for the best anyway though, as it kept fucking up do to my lack of knowledge of frame rates. I messed up the frame ratio as well enough to make it a small box in the center of the screen rather than it being full screen. This can be seen in my 2005 EFF interview.
Since then I have learned much more about frame rates, sizes, and encoding methods. Since I wanted to add my videos to the site, I figured I should offer both WMV and QT downloads. I personally prefer WMV, but I know not everyone can play those, and I want as many people to see my work as possible. So, I went back to the original 3rd cut, fix the frame ratio issue, and render a much higher quality master from which to make the download versions. While I was doing that, I remembered the 2nd cut which I had never finished. Many people were confused by what was going on. so I decided maybe an alternate cut would be a good idea, plus I knew more about video now, so I could fix a couple things. Now, the source video for that version required a bit of work, as I never fixed the technical issues that ran rampant in it. I realize that the spelling sucks, but I didn't feel the need to fix it, call it laziness. But, with the knowledge I have now, I was able to quickly speed up a shot that needed it, and edit Ms. Gashes back in as she was meant to be. I've come to the conclusion that the George Lucas cut sucks ass, but I'm leaving it up so people can have an idea of how it might have turned out.
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