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The first Sarkeesian Effect "teaser" is a MASTERPIECE of experimental film! Some notes from a BIG FAN

AN OPEN LETTER TO DAVIS AURINI AND JORDAN OWEN UPON THE RELEASE OF THEIR FIRST SARKEESIAN EFFECT TEASER

Hey guys, big fan here.

Just watched your Sarkeesian Effect teaser video. An outstanding job! Even though this is, I know, a rough and unfinished trailer using raw footage from the first couple of days of shooting, it’s clear that this film – this epic journey into journalism, if I might coin a phrase here (you can totally use it!) – will more than live up to your earlier work.

And that’s saying something, as I don’t think I’ve ever seen a ten-minute libertarian suit-wearing-ninja parkour dance fight film better than Davis’ “Lust in a Time of Heartburn.” And obviously – obviously – I’ve never seen such a gritty depiction of YouTube jackass despair as Jordan’s minimalist masterpiece “Dude Lying On Couch in Messy Apartment Complaining That People Aren’t Giving Him Enough Money.”

I just wanted to give you guys some “notes” on it, as I know it is still early in your process.

First off, the production values are a-maz-ing. I realize that after spending money on airfare, hotel rooms, rent, samurai swords, white turtleneck shirts, and whatnot that you probably only had about $25 left to make the actual film. Well let me tell you this: every Canadian penny of that $25 is there on the screen. It’s RIGHT THERE.

Second, SOUND. I will admit you’ve made a bit of an unorthodox choice here. Most documentary filmmakers obviously go for “clean” and “crisp” sound in which you “can actually make out what people are saying.”

But you guys! You zag when everyone else is zigging!

Not since Birdemic: Shock and Terror and, of course, Davis’ own “Lust in the Time of Carpark,” have I seen such an innovative use of sonic muddiness. You guys know that in real life you can’t always tell what other people are saying. Especially if you have a lot of wax in your ears. And fellas, listening to the interviews in your film I felt like I had a whole beehive’s worth of wax in my ears. And possibly a bee or two, though I think that might be a problem on my end.

Ok, I’ll be honest, that’s definitely a problem on my end. I might as well admit it: My apartment is full of bees.

Third, the CINEMATOGRAPHY. Again, the zigging and the zagging. In a time of cheap digital cameras, it is easier than ever for even the most incompetent filmmaker, or, say, any 14-year-old filming a friend lighting his farts, to achieve pristine image quality.

But, like David Lynch, who turned his back on the latest digital technology to make his confusing surrealistic masterpiece Inland Empire with a cheap, consumer grade standard definition digital camera, you have eschewed pristine picture quality in favor of well, let’s just say that it doesn’t look like trained professionals had anything to do with it.

I don’t know if that was what you were going for but if so, NAILED IT!

Oh, and I wouldn’t worry about the blurry white smudgy stuff in the edges of the shot in that Justine Tunney interview. NO ONE WILL NOTICE IT. Seriously, it’s like a five-minute static shot, why would anyone notice anything in the edges of the frames. Was that vaseline? I think Bob Guccione at Penthouse was known for his vaseline on the lens technique. You guys weren’t using the camera to film porn earlier in the day, were you? I kid! What a question! Of course you were.

Speaking of static shots, your choice to film most of the interviews as static two shots – another brave choice. Most people filming interviews would have given us closeups of each of the people in the interview, and cut back and forth, and thrown in some of what the snooty cinephiles call “reaction shots.” You guys boldly went for static shots of two people sitting in chairs.

And that time when you cut from one static shot of two people sitting in chairs to another static shot of the same two people sitting in the same chairs from a slightly different angle? YOU GUYS BLEW MY MIND WITH THAT ONE.

It was also super cool when you did one interview in one particular room with two chairs and followed that up with another interview in the same room with the same two chairs, almost as if you had booked the room for the day and were just running people through it without bothering to change anything up or even move the camera or anything.

That’s the kind of PURE FILMING EFFICIENCY that’s going to enable you to bring this masterpiece on budget. Like Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash used to say: REAL ARTISTS SHIP!

Some thoughts on the performances.

Jordan Owen was completely Jordan Owenish. I totally bought his character. Jordan, you are a MASTER of whatever it is that you do. Keep it up!

But Davis, you sly dog, I should have figured that someone who looks like a budget version of Anton LaVey would have some tricks up his sleeve! Or should I say “his white turtleneck?” Yes, that’s my way of saying that the costuming was PER-FEC-TION. Not every Anton LaVey impersonator can pull off a shiny suit and white turtleneck but, wow! That’s all I can say: Wow!

As for the performance itself, again some counterintuitive choices here. Most interviewers try to react to their interview subjects a little in an attempt to show “empathy.” Your decision to instead sit stock still and stare relentlessly at your interview subjects was a little jarring – but a good kind of jarring. That’s how you get the good stuff out of your interview subjects! And murder suspects. Stare them into submission!

One of my cats has a similar technique when she wants food, or attention, or, well, let’s just say she’s gotten me to confess to a couple of murders, if you know what I mean, and what I mean is NO I DIDN’T MURDER ANYONE WHY DID I EVEN SAY THAT, CRAP, HOW QUICK CAN I PACK, IS THERE GAS IN THE CAR?

Also I think it was a good idea to mix up the sitting and staring stuff with that whole “erupting into unnatural and exaggerated laughter” schtick. Totally sold your character as some sort of primitive cyborg trying to pass as a human.

Also, amazing prop work with that disposable coffee cup. You gripped it so hard I really BELIEVED that if you let go of it you would have flown off into space — you know, like George Clooney in Gravity. Oh, whoops, SPOILER ALERT.

This is how good your film is: I’m comparing it to freaking GRAVITY. I’m comparing it to freaking Davis Aurini’s “Lust in the Timer of Clambake.”

Oh, and the foley work was spot on as well. That … sound that happens at about 6:10 in? You know, the thing where it sounded like someone was dragging a large rock over cement just out of shot, or maybe like you had swallowed your microphone and your stomach was having troubl edigesting it? That sound is going to haunt me for weeks. I don’t even want to know how you did that. Sometimes mysteries are best left unsolved.

Anyway, outstanding job. I really can’t say anything about any of what your interview subjects were saying, or even remember any of their names except for Justine Timberlake the Slavery Lady. I think it was a combination of that wax-in-ears sound quality and their complete inability to say anything interesting in response to your stupid questions.

But with everything else going on in this film – the static shots, the white turtlenecks, that white stuff at the edge of the shot in that one interview that NO ONE WILL NOTICE, I PROMISE THEY WON’T EVEN SEE IT … well, anyway, with all that going on in the film no one is even going to care what any of your incredibly boring interview subjects said or who they are or why on earth you decided this was a good subject for a documentary or why you even thought you were remotely capable of making an actual professional quality film.

Anyway, I’m sure all of the people who gave you literally thousands of dollars of their own money because they assumed you might actually come up with something that looked vaguely professional will be very proud of you.

I’m assuming, of course, that your final film will be about 4 minutes long, and that half of it will be libertarian suit-wearing-ninja parkour dance fighting to the sounds of Yakety Sax. If not, yeah, no one is going to be able to sit through this crap.

In other words LOVE IT!

Sincerely,

Your Biggest Fan

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PaulElamFanFictionAuthor
PaulElamFanFictionAuthor
7 years ago

So i still have no idea what this is supposed to be about, other than evil SJWs… it looks like they got a bunch of their friends to share their opinions as they shifted awkwardly in their seats? Oh, and that the one woman was forced to study “HERstory” in college. Brilliant expose, gents.

Kootiepatra
7 years ago

Well let’s not forget that uber-professional lighting, as well. So flattering and deep and mood-setting.

Brooker
Brooker
7 years ago

I watched it. Why do I feel like I wasted seven precious minutes of my time? Because I have.

Note to self: never watch anything that you suspect is a collection of straw man tropes.

Lea
Lea
7 years ago

David,
Ya got me ROTFLMAO-ing

magnesium
7 years ago

Are American college students forced to take Women’s Studies against their wills or something? Because when I registered for my courses, I mean, Women’s Studies is available, but I couldn’t have fit it into my schedule if I wanted to. And as far as I can tell it counts towards a humanities credit just the same as any other humanities course that’s offered, so you could just as easily take sociology or philosophy or whatever.

But the way MRA’s, PUA’s, and LadyHaterGate people talk, it’s some sort of mandatory prison sentence part of the plan to kill all men.

magnesium
7 years ago

Also, the fonts on their ending credit title screen are god-awful.

I’m so glad that so many GamerGate people wasted their money on this. I’m half excited to see the final product and whole excited to see the auto-tuned comedy remixes of the final product.

marinerachel
marinerachel
7 years ago

Unless you want a women’s studies degree it’s not required so I don’t know what the fuck this woman is on about.

The loser who dumped me claimed “I don’t hate women, just women’s studies professors”. When I asked him if he’d ever taken a women’s studies class or met a women’s studies instructor or if he was familiar with anything taught in women’s studies he drew a blank. I mean, he was sure he knew what was being taught in those classes but had nothing to base it on.

Then one day in what he thought was a gotcha he drew attention to a woman and professor who advocates for women who have killed their male partners and goes as far as saying you can’t dismiss the possibility a woman was acting in self defense when she killed her sleeping partner. Naturally, he called this a pussy pass (vomit). I had to point out to him that she was a professor of law, not a women’s studies professor so fail, and that her story was being discussed because her stance is considered extreme. Most of us would say if you can kill him in his sleep you can probably also sneak out and go to the police while he’s sleeping.

Then he went off the rails, claiming comments made on the article proved men aren’t given due process because EVERYONE IN THE COMMENTS AGREES IT’S OK TO KILL MEN IN THEIR SLEEP. Dude. They’re fucking internet article comments. And we’re discussing people who physically assault women, not men in general. What was he so scared of?

And that was a peek inside the profoundly insecure mind of a paranoid man. It was a wonderful lesson for me as it taught me paranoid men are often paranoid because they abuse and, on some level, know they can and will and deserve to face consequences for their actions.

Thinking girls were going to kill him in his sleep? Really?

I basically slapped statistics of men killing intimate female partners in his face and compared them to statistics of women killing intimate male partners and told him, even if his interpretation of the article was true, that it’s now fair game for any woman to kill any man she’s in a relationship with and to face zero consequences, statistically, he had nothing to worry about. Where was his rage about the number of men being killed by their male partners anyways?

Kootiepatra
7 years ago

I know I already commented once, but the terrifically amusing ooze of fail is just getting to me…

My brother is a camera operator in films and in live TV, and my mother is a portrait photographer. I’m neither of those things, but I’ve often enjoyed listening to them geek out about all of the things that make for excellent visuals.

I’m half tempted to send this to each of them, tell them to mute it, and then listen to the commentary on the phone while they react to the visuals. Because they would most certainly react. Colorfully.

The complete lack of lighting. The framing. The utterly thoughtless backgrounds. Pointing the camera up at the woman sitting on her porch (something you never, ever do to your subjects if you care at all about presenting a flattering angle of them). The completely needless inclusion of the interviewer in the shots, who is not only in-frame, but is taking up just as much screen space as the subject, and is frequently facing the camera rather than the interviewee. The visually appealing and totally necessary table props of Red Bull in a can and coffee in a cheap to-go cup. Priceless stuff, the lot of it.

Yeah, okay, it’s not the final edit, but even the best editing suite on the planet can’t save the lighting or the camera angles.

These guys are asking for a budget that far surpasses Anita Sarkeesian’s initial goal, yet her videos — even her old, pre-Kickstarter ones — look roughly a bazillion times more professional than theirs. As in, hers could go on television and not look chintzy or out of place. Theirs are pretty embarrassing even by internet video standards.

marinerachel
marinerachel
7 years ago

Where was his rage about the number of women being killed by their male partners anyways?*

C.S.Strowbridge
C.S.Strowbridge
7 years ago

Wow. So how much money have these guys spent so far?

hellkell
hellkell
7 years ago

The pretentiousness fumes coming off Tunney when she said “street intellectual” almost knocked me out.

Anton LaPUA needs to ditch the turtlenecks.

davidgerard
7 years ago

Davis Aurini is enough for me to say: poor, poor Anton LaVey, to have fans such as this.

Newt
Newt
7 years ago

suit-wearing-ninja parkour dance fighting to the sounds of Yakety Sax

I would fund that – if I didn’t suspect it of being a ruse to pay for a PUA’s new suit.

ikanreed
ikanreed
7 years ago

I can only imagine that an MRA is going to come in here and complain about how this is a tone argument. Rather than a “Wow, just look at that train wreck” amusement piece.

C.S.Strowbridge
C.S.Strowbridge
7 years ago

Okay… Martial arts movies with Yakety Sax.

That video has more intellectual depth than anything these two idiots can create.

Viscaria
Viscaria
7 years ago

Can’t get enough of people talking about the evils of “politicizing” gaming. Like having all your heroes be white dudes, or all the women in your game be passive objects to be acted upon, is inherently apolitical until someone ruins everything by discussing it.

Amatyultare
Amatyultare
7 years ago

With everything that makes this video cringe-inducing – the lack of video and audio quality, the bad lighting and weird framing, the way that almost none of the clip topics seem to relate to each other (shouldn’t a teaser provide a *coherent* first look at the finished product and what it’s about?) – is it strange that what REALLY annoyed me was the number of indefinite pronouns without antecedents?

I’m serious. Count how many times an interviewee says ‘they’ without defining ‘them’ (‘they’ alternately seem to be feminists, SJWs, game reviewers, journalists in general, or the Illuminati for all I know.)

Bostonian
Bostonian
7 years ago

So this is what true gaming journalism looks like to gamergaters.

ej
ej
7 years ago

I have no idea what this film is going to be about. The original proposal seemed to be about how people like Anita Sarkeesian have supposedly taken over. Yet, now they seem to be focusing on gaming journalism. It’s interesting, when you considered how much there is going on with GamerGate these days. Could they be trying to capitalize off of the anger from GamerGate to get more support?*

*Hint: Yes. Yes, is the answer.

Also, David, do you realize that the imbedded video in this post actually links to JordanOwen’s entire playlist? The next video appears to be him reading episode nine of a story he has written. I’m not entirely sure what it’s about, but it seems to be related to conspiracy theories.

AcidTrial
AcidTrial
7 years ago

You know, the sad part is that this is probably the closest thing to a good review that these guys are going to get…

girlscientist
girlscientist
7 years ago

@marinerachel: Congratulations on getting rid of that jerk! I know things were rough for a while, but you deserve so, so much better than him.

jo
jo
7 years ago

Why do they always use a black and red colourschemes, like some cartoon villains.

marinerachel
marinerachel
7 years ago

I WISH I’d gotten rid of him. I think a lot of the harm resulted from him rejecting me. It’s ridiculous because I KNOW I don’t want that shit. I still cry over him regularly though. I HATE the way my brain is wired. Uhg.

But, yeah, every time someone complains about women’s studies it seems to be bullshit. They’re either complaining about something that isn’t women’s studies or they’re lying like this woman claiming it was forced upon her. Women’s studies is strictly elective.

marinerachel
marinerachel
7 years ago

Oh god, Mr. Shortpants himself.

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