Short Film: The Perfectionist

Here is a little video I’ve made recently. More info on the creative process below.

After being bogged down with a quite complicated video I decided to take on a more manageable small project first. I’ve had this idea on paper for a long time now with a few ideas on how I could represent the frustration of using a typewriter when you are accustomed to spellcheck and the good ol’ backspace key. The exercise gave me an opportunity to try out a few different filming methods and quick effective edits.

Using only one camera meant that continuity was a bit more tricky, but with some care, I managed to get some satisfactory shots that relay the visual gags I wanted to include leading up the final punchline. When re-enacting the same scene with different angles I had to be careful paper and typewriter cover placement stayed relatively static. After a little planning, I had an idea of how I could effectively portray this sketch and got to work.
To my best effort, I tried to portray a perfectionist(which I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself) and exaggerated certain habits I have when using my typewriter. For example, I usually drown out the headache-inducing sounds of the typewriter with earbuds or noise-cancelling headphones but thought that earplugs would be a more pleasing visual gag. In hindsight, I wish I had done another take of myself adjusting the window shade as it wasn’t as straight as I had initially thought. I am quite happy with the other symmetry I achieved in the opening shot.

Since most of the footage would have its sound removed and replaced with a song later, I didn’t have to separately record audio making things simpler. I first used a song by Alice Pheobe Lou, but due to copyright ended up using a copyright-free classical alternative, which also fit quite well.

During post-production, I realized that my initial plan of real-time narration of words being typed was just not possible, as it would have been like talking in slow motion to match the typing. I sped up the typing footage considerably but at a certain speed, it just didn’t look natural anymore. The compromise was to delay the beginning of the narration and sync up the last word typed with my narration.

It was important to me to keep this video short and sweet. Most people on the internet tend to filter content based on length when it comes to clicking on an unknown channel’s video, hence it had to be less than two minutes. After trimming out a lot of fat I was happy with the length. I made the thumbnail in a way that would catch the eye of a surfer and envoke curiosity about what was going on in the video. It feels a bit cliche to create a thumbnail like this, but I do think many YouTubers use the “Big Reaction” thumbnail for a reason.

A few months before making this video I had acquired my first typewriter and was excited to write letters, short stories, scripts and just about anything with it. I quickly noticed how many spelling mistakes I typically made and how different the keyboard was to that of my computers. I would cut paper to size, line it up just right, set my index’ and start hammering it out, but would inevitably manage to find a way to misspell a word, forget to turn off caps-lock, or completely forget a word. I have since learned that it is part of the typewriting process to make a few mistakes here and there and not to get as frustrated as I used to. I hope you enjoyed the video!

Video Editing Software: Vegas Pro 14
Camera: Sony HDR-CX405
Audio Editing and Capture: Audacity
Thumbnail Design: Adobe Photoshop
Scriptwriting Program: Trelby
Shooting Location: Hanover City, Germany

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