Lovers of cinematic catastrophe, rejoice!
Facing accusations of fraud, douchebaggery, and skull abandonment in the wake of a split with his estranged “filmmaking” partner Jordan Owen, the formerly bald film auteur Davis Aurini has released a 38-minute “Rough Draft Preview” of his version of The Sarkeesian effect.
I have not yet had a chance to watch the whole thing, but from the brief bits I have seen it more than lives up to the hype, if by “hype” you mean “the general consensus that Davis Aurini cannot possibly produce anything but poop.”
In the first 4 minutes alone, Aurini uses narration and music from Owen that he clearly doesn’t have permission to use; the rest of the footage is also “borrowed” from others, and the much ballyhooed “Animated Title Sequence” consists of the words “Animated Title Sequence” over a still image.
Watching this, it is important to remember that this film was not edited by a 5-year-old on a budget of one juice box, but by an actual adult human being who considers himself something of a filmmaking pro, with a budget in the tens of thousands of dollars.
So let’s watch this together. I will offer more extended notes once I’ve had a chance to stop giggling and digest the rest.
EDITED TO ADD: Ok, I finally made it all the way through and, wow, it’s even worse than I expected.
Where even to start? There’s no real narrative; none of this will make much sense to anyone who hasn’t been following the whole #Gamergate thing already.
The “argument,” when it’s not completely incoherent, is thoroughly dishonest and (when it comes to criticizing Sarkeesian’s actual videos) ridiculously petty. The film makes repeated assertions about Sarkeesian (that she’s a “bully,” that she wants to censor video games) without any evidence at all.
When we finally get around to the interviews — there is no original footage at all in the first 18 or so minutes of the “film” — the argument is simply laughable. Essentially, Davis says “SJWs claim to speak for women and minorities, so here’s a … WOMAN (dramatic pause) who disagrees!”
It’s not explained why they’re interviewing a sex worker, much less this particular woman. In fact, she made webcam videos parodying Sarkeesian, but this is never mentioned. (Also not mentioned: the fact that she’s the wife of the “mediator” involved in trying to get the film made.) Why is she talking about Gail Dines? Has Sarkeesian ever spoke in favor of censorship?
And then we get the “Honey Badgers” complaining about “damseling,” followed by Paul Elam … damseling. (What relevance he has to a discussion of Sarkeesian isn’t clear.) Then Alison Tieman damseling.
Oh, and then there’s Davis complaining that when Sarkeesian gets threats, she gets money from it! Never mind the $30,000 collected by AVFM last year ostensibly to pay for security. Or that the Owen and Aurini are basically living off of people’s hatred of Sarkeesian, as are a number of bloggers and youtubers .
Other, er, highlights:
- Terrible fonts (an Aurini trademark)
- That stupid grid of YouTube videos that Aurini uses when he’s got no actual filmed footage or stock photos or anything else to use for a visual
- The terrible sound, with volume changing radically from clip to clip
- Terrible lighting in many of the clips
- The lengthy segments with no visuals at all, just a black screen
- Various people shown without introductions or subtitles to explain who they are
- Even when people are identified, no real effort to explain why on earth they would be relevant
Probably not a good idea to include so much footage of Owen, given that he. you know, has publicly said that Aurini is a fraud who doesn’t have permission to use any of the film footage
It’s striking how much more professional the clips from Sarkeesian videos are when compared with everything Owen and Aurini filmed.
Now, obviously, this is a rough cut. Real filmmakers often make rough cuts missing elements from the final film — music, cgi special effects, etc.
But they generally don’t release these to the public in advance of the film’s release, because they generally look terrible. The footage they use to promote the films prior to release are designed to make the film in question look awesome, not to prove, yes we have some footage.
The only reason Aurini has to release this is to “prove” that he actually has been putting in some work on the “film.” But what it really shows is how little work he’s done. I mean, take a couple of hours and clean up the fucking audio a little. At least make sure the volume is consistent within shots and from clip to clip.
The “quality” here is less than the quality of many unprofessional youtube videos that are slapped together in a day.
Also, it’s kind of amazing that he had no original footage at all to use in the first 18 minutes. Did they film nothing but the interviews themselves? Not even some footage of, I dunno, someone watching YouTube or pretending to type something on their computer?