Published on May 20th, 2011 | by Danger0
Back to (Film) School
Welcome to the first installment of Danger’s Film Cliches 101
Every few weeks or so I’ll advise the burgeoning indie filmmaker on using music in your films that will trick your art school peers into thinking you have
- artistic courage
- unique perspective
- or all of the above
You’ll be the hit of Manifest 2012 and probably get a B on your final project!
Class #1: David Bowie’s Queen Bitch
Use this song to score a montage depicting the acquisition of heroin (ending with the song fading out as the character shoots up and slumps back in his chair), or the unexpected coupling of two young characters after a rowdy night out with their social circle (extra points if the last note coincides with one of the characters waking up the next morning and realizing their mistake).
The are a couple of things about Queen Bitch that make it perfect for montages. First, it’s a very well known song but not so universally well known among people whose introduction to indie music was Arcade Fire (i.e. your intended audience). First, The beat is quick and propulsive but not overly complicated. This will impart a frenetic energy if you set many of the cuts to it. It will make people think of dancing. Secondly, Queen Bitch sounds dirty. There’s something in Bowie’s voice and the tone of Mick Ronson’s guitar that just makes people think of glitter stuck to sweaty body parts. Drug deals and bar hookups tend towards the sleazy side of things and Glam Rock will depict this in a way that is seemingly more thoughtful than hip hop.
Alternately, if you are making a film about the creative process, use it to score the opening credit montage of the protagonist waking up and going through his pre-writing rituals. End with the protagonist sitting down at his desk and staring at the blank computer screen, unable to write. This use hinges on the inherent dichotomy of tone. The sleaze and boogie will sit in sharp contrast with the boring goings on of a character getting dressed and making coffee. The audience will expect danger or swagger and the division between that expectation and the reality will be notable. After that, the hearty boom of the ending of the song will seem antithetical against the inaction of the character. That’s two forms of dichotomy. You genius!!
Using Queen Bitch in this way will impress your friends but you’ll know the secret. You learned it from the internets!!
[box type=info border=full]Next Time: We’ll explore different methods for using songs by The Cure[/box]