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How Fan-Made Trailers And Supercuts Put A Magnifying Glass On Culture

The rise and omnipresence of supercuts and fan-made trailers have made obsessives of us all.

by Kevin Holmes
27 November 2012, 1:50pm

The internet has made geeks of all of us. Or, more specifically, video-sharing websites have. Even if you’re not actively making a fan trailer for a non-existent ThunderCats movie or compiling video montages of Nicolas Cage losing his shit (above)—then you’re consuming them.

You’re making with the lulz as you sit at your desk and watch someone else’s handiwork, the efforts of perhaps too much time on their hands, as they toil away on iMovie or After Effects for a few minutes of footage and, if they’re lucky, viral glory.

ThunderCats fanmade trailer

A currency of the viral internet, these supercut montages, fan-made trailers, and mashups provide us with a magnifying glass with which to observe the phenomenon of pop culture in a way that we never had before—or at least, not outside drunken conversations down the bar or on the college campus. Instead of just discussing how funny the horror cliche of the mirror scare is, or how cell phones never seem to work when the protagonists need them most, we can actually edit together the clips showing this and share it with the world.

Even if you’ve never had a discussion about it with anybody, what a supercut highlights is something you’ve always been implicitly aware of—a trope or cliche or word or action. It brings it out into the open so we can all point and stare and share.

Honest Trailers – Prometheus

As much as supercuts highlight movie cliches fan-made trailers—for non-existent films of the re-edited and often hilarious Honest Trailers by Screen Junkies—highlight the discrepancy between a trailer and a film. One can be good the other crap, and vice versa. Fan made trailers show not only the creativity of the audience, but also their wants, exploring and toying with the pool of popular culture in a visual language we’re all familiar with.

The internet and technology have provided film fans with the opportunity and a platform to move from passive consumers to active participants. They might not have the budget or network to make a blockbuster, but they can use some editing software and some spare time to create a mashup. Even different trailers for the same movie are ripe for re-editing: a video from YouTube user joatmonjb called “Unexpected Trailer and TV Spot Re-Edit” cuts together trailers, TV-spots, and other material from the promotional tsunami of the new hobbit film into a 7 minute mini-movie of the as-yet-unreleased The Hobbit: Unexpected Journey.

Mirror scare

Rich Juzwiak, a prolific supercutter and re-editor who runs the fourfour blog, shows how addictive making these films can be, saying in a post for his Mirror Scare cut, “It’s gotten to the point where if I’m not working on a supercut, I feel kind of anxious.” Which kind of sums up how this micro-culture surrounding the film industry has made obsessives of us all. The kind of pop culture dissection you’ll find from a character in a Taratino movie is now pretty much the standard for your average moviegoer, it’s our default setting.