Blade Runner Harrison Ford Poster

How Blade Runner Should Change the Way We Approach Multiple Cuts

In Video Killed the Radio Star by Chad AlexanderLeave a Comment

Hello everyone!

 
Oh, Doctor. You say so much. And then you say more by saying nothing at all.
I’m about to drop some lessons up in here. Life lessons. Lessons for life. Not really; they’re just video lessons. Things that I am learning and am continuing to learn the hard way. 😅

How many here have seen Blade Runner?

If you haven’t…the movie itself is loosely based on a novel…there were nightmares during production…Warner Bros didn’t fully understand the movie…bottom line, it’s now considered “art”.
It released in 1982, and since then has become a cult classic. There’s even the sequel, which released last year, Blade Runner 2049. Highly recommended.
That being said…did you know that Blade Runner has four official cuts of the movie?
FOUR cuts of the SAME movie.
FOUR.
There are actually seven or eight total (sources vary), but this is already taking too long. And I really don’t care.
  1. The first one, the prototype workprint, is the movie that Ridley Scott (the director) finally sent out to test audiences. They hated it. They didn’t understand it, they thought it was too depressing, they couldn’t figure out why certain unresolved plots were a thing (which Christopher Nolan has made conventional with Inception and The Dark Knight Rises).
  2. So, the studio decided to re-cut some of the footage (more close-ups, Stanley Kubrick even filmed a “happy” ending to add more of a conclusion) and they added some narration from Harrison Ford. The problem is…well, I’ll let Harrison explain it:

    “When we started shooting it had been tacitly agreed that the version of the film that we had agreed upon was the version without voiceover narration. It was a f**king nightmare. I thought that the film had worked without the narration. But now I was stuck re-creating that narration. And I was obliged to do the voiceovers for people that did not represent the director’s interests.”

    The theatrical version is considered the weakest of all the cuts. I wonder why?

  3. Nearly ten years later, another director was brought on board to re-cut the movie after it reached cult status. Guess what? It’s called the Director’s Cut, even though Ridley Scott did not direct it. It has a Planet of the Apes music track in the movie for some reason, and they even removed some of the narration. This whole ordeal humorously reminds me of the Dinner Party episode of The Office where Jan made Michael get multiple vasectomies.
  4. Finally, the director gets his wish with The Final Cut. Sounds ominous. The unicorn dream appears here in full (chopped, re-edited, and re-shot over the course of the cuts), original violent scenes are put back in, and Vangelis’ themes are back in full force. I love me some Vangelis. What’s my point about bringing this up? Sometimes, we have those who don’t understand our work. Like the original test audiences of Blade Runner…they probably won’t get it. Although the Final Cut should be worked toward in all of our videos, it’s always good to have Plan B, C, and so on.

TL;DR:

Sometimes, audiences won’t understand the original intent or vision of your videos. Start with the Blade Runner Final Cut. Dream big. Make your vision. If you have to respond to audience’s fragile whims, then trim it. But start big with the home run. If you make a single, good. Double, even better. But start with the home run in mind. Then, you can make smaller edits of it, remixes, everything. I’ve learned this the hard way over the years…

Until next time…

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