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#gamergate antifeminism davis aurini grandiosity gross incompetence hypocrisy irony alert jordan owen misogyny sarkeesian!

Oh, glorious day! Davis Aurini has released a “Rough Draft Preview” of The Sarkeesian Effect: Team Aurini Version

The Sarkeesian Effect (Film Goes Here)
The Sarkeesian Effect (Film Goes Here)

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?

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freemage
freemage
6 years ago

So, David, I take it Christmas came early for you? I mean, seriously, the Sarkeesian Effect is like some sort of bizarre hydra. Had it been done by even remotely competent propagandists, there would’ve been only a single mock-worthy entity. But now, you not only have the promise of competing Owen/Aurini versions, but Aurini gives you an even crappy version of his eventual pile of poop in the form of a ‘draft’ version?

valondar
6 years ago

It’s only thirty-eight minutes long? I don’t know whether to be surprised or relieved. Perhaps both; with the budget and length of time this project gestated I assumed some three hour epic, not something shorter than an episode of Ancient Aliens.

Tom
Tom
6 years ago

DID HE JUST LITERALLY REFERENCE THE CDI ZELDA GAME OMG I CAN’T EVEN…
WHEN DID SHE EVER SAY THAT ZELDA NEVER HAD HER OWN GAME???
WHEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bazia
Bazia
6 years ago

I must say, I am beginning to feel sorry for these guys. So much hubris…I know they’re trying to bash a young woman who has something important to say, but a part of me feels like any would-be artist who goes through hell to finish a project, only to feel the dawning horror of knowing the project is a complete failure. Even though they were wrong to start this, and even though this project is a trainwreck with less-than-honorable motivations, I’m going to spare them a minute with my hat off, looking down at the thing with respect, before I start mocking.

katz
6 years ago

You know how Anita never releases a video until it’s actually finished? That’s called “pride in workmanship.”

kupo
kupo
6 years ago

@Bazia, things would not be going as poorly if these two were at all open to criticism, as that appears to be what caused the fallout. I have a hard time feeling sorry for whining man-babies who feel entitled to attack a woman for her work but can’t handle a colleague giving some feedback.

c-dizzle
c-dizzle
6 years ago

I never got the sense they had enough self-awareness to ever consider they could or would fail. I assume he thinks this is just fine.

Scildfreja
Scildfreja
6 years ago

So… any bets on whether this is the only version of this, ahem, ‘film’ that will be released?

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
6 years ago

Note to Professor Skull: If the first two minutes of your hit piece against Anita make her look like a brave-as-hell civil rights icon, you might very well be doing it wrong.

… and the much ballyhooed “Animated Title Sequence” consists of the words “Animated Title Sequence” over a still image.

I thought this was a joke. It was not. Oh dear…

Tyra Lith
Tyra Lith
6 years ago

This really is a glorious day. And a reminder to go and buy A LOT of popcorn for when (well, if) they put up their final competing versions. I’ll go and rent a truck now.

Bazia
Bazia
6 years ago

Okay kupo, I’ve given them their moment. Let me start by observing that Christina P., who kicks off the interviews (though there’s no indication she has anything to do with gaming) is the wife of Michael Whiteacre, the porn-industry “mediator” for Owen and Aurini, who is deeply involved in the making of this movie. (In one of his email advisements, according to Davis’ blog, he says: “And go out and get the money shot — people who speak from direct experience about Anita or McIntosh. There must be someone from her multi-level marketing days who will talk about her being a piece of shit.”)

Now I’m not a documentary filmmaker, but it seems like not disclosing that you’re interviewing your close associate’s family members, especially when you have publicized your associate’s extreme bias on your blog, tends to detract from the credibility of your documentary. Not to mention that Christina and Michael are just not very persuasive witnesses about anything (warning: gossip and crudeness ahead: http://www.mikesouth.com/mike-south-commentary/joanne-cachepero-writes-about-michael-whiteacre-and-christina-parreira-10525/

C.S.Strowbridge
C.S.Strowbridge
6 years ago

“So let’s watch this together…”

Nope. Nope. And triply nope.

Even if I didn’t have any work to get done today, I still wouldn’t waste my time watching this. I’m sure by the end of the day there will be countless MST3K still videos and even a few serious critiques that will be a far better use of my time.

Binjabreel
6 years ago

So far, it seems like it’s been ten minutes or so of completely fucking missing the point.

Also, I thought this *wasn’t* supposed to just be about Anita? So far they’ve just blathered on about tiny details in her videos.

Oh and…

*ANIMATED TITLE SEQUENCE*

BAAAAAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAAHAHAHHAHAAAA

Nitram
6 years ago

Omg, the adolescent male fantasy character was designed by a….wait for it…..WOMAN!!! (Dramatic pause) cough cough. That’s right, a WOMAN! And who does pole dancing? WOMEN! See??? It CANT be sexist, nah nah nah! Women are incapable of perpetuating their own sexual objectification. Check mate, feminists!!! In other news, a black man voted republican, and this Mexican guy I know is for strict immigration laws. A MEXICAN!!! See how this works? /sarcasm

Chaos-Engineer
Chaos-Engineer
6 years ago

So, David, I take it Christmas came early for you?

This seems like a banner week. Not only is the Sarkeesian Effect blowing up, but there’s much excitement around the Gamergate Airplay event (which was a thing where some real journalists were going to attempt to listen to them.) And there are signs and portents over at Reddit about another round of changes to themoderation policy

thierryguerrant
thierryguerrant
6 years ago

I’ve saved half my popcorn for Owen’s furious reply.

Mars
Mars
6 years ago

c-dizzle, I think that’s Aruni’s sexism in action. He’s super-invested in the idea that he’s smart and women are dumb, so it’s natural to assume that anything a woman can do must be dead-easy and something he can do better. He could use this as an opportunity to revisit his assumptions, but he’ll probably just blame it on conspiracies and cheating, like most bigots do when they’re outclassed.

Falconer
Falconer
6 years ago

There must be someone from her multi-level marketing days who will talk about her being a piece of shit.

You know, those things take in a lot of people, both to buy and to sell.

When I was new to the job market, I answered a couple of ads in the paper and they turned out to be “make money selling $200 water bottles to your cousins!” scams. The people running them can be very persuasive, in the moment.

I’ve never heard anything about Sarkeesian participating in MLM, though.

Johanna Roberts
6 years ago

@Chaos-Engineer

The comments on that Air-Play article are just painful to read. A bunch of GGers whining about everything he talks about in the article.

Nitram
6 years ago

Omg I just can’t anymore. The screen went dark at around 16:00, and just narration. Why the hell would they release this jumbled mess? The narration sounds like a crap English 101 essay that would make the prof slam his/her head on the desk. This is not how you argument!

idledillettante
6 years ago

Seems like Aurini and Owen would have had an easier time of making this movie if either of them actually played video games.

Whenever Aurini tries to explain what’s good about the experience of gaming he sounds horribly contrived. The best thing he could say about the Zelda series sounded like the first line of the Wikipedia article for The Legend of Zelda. Aurini plays the theme & game footage for like 30 seconds to try and trigger the nostalgia actual Zelda players will feel for the series. But Aurini has no clue why people like Zelda, having never played it himself.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

Is 38 minutes supposed to be a really, really ridiculously extended trailer, or is this supposed to be the whole thing? I’m confused and I think I’d have to be drunk to watch it and it’s only 10:30 in the morning here so I guess I’m going to have to wait until somebody else reports back. I do hope somebody funny and smart makes a Riff Trax type commentary over it. I would watch that.

the much ballyhooed “Animated Title Sequence” consists of the words “Animated Title Sequence” over a still image.

Oh no. This goes beyond just amateurish. This is something a child whose brain hasn’t developed past the really literal phase yet would do.

idledillettante
6 years ago

Also there’s a lot of gaps in this movie where Davis talks on a black screen.

Moggie
Moggie
6 years ago

kupo:

things would not be going as poorly if these two were at all open to criticism, as that appears to be what caused the fallout.

If they were at all open to criticism, namely from Anita, this project wouldn’t even exist.

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