10 Things to do with your editing software: Back story compilations

An interesting thing I’ve noticed lately with some DVD and bluray compilations is the phenomenon of special compilations focussed on specific characters or storylines. You may have seen them: you know, those Star Trek comps centred on the Q Continuum stories, or Worf and the Klingon storylines, for example. I’ve seen some Buffy-themed ones too: the stories that focus on Xander’s character arc, or Willow’s, or Giles, etc. I’m sure you’ve guessed that I’m going to share with you now some of my own similar character-themed comp ideas that I’ve produced. You betcha.

One particularly challenging and enjoyable project I did was a comp based on certain aspects of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel TV shows. Although both shows were quite contemporary, every now and then they’d do a sequence highlighting some past incident involving one or more of the vampire characters. The first time they did this was in the second season episode Becoming Part One, where we finally got to see some tantalising glimpses into Angel’s past, including the moment when Angel (or Liam, as he was called back then) was turned into a vampire by Darla. But it left us curious, wanting more of this back story. What was Spike like before he was turned? How did Drusilla and Spike and Angel and Darla all come together, and what adventures did they get into? Eventually most of these question and more were answered in both programs.

At some point I realised it was about time someone put all these flashbacks together and made a special compilation of them. And that’s what I did. It was quite a challenge collecting and assembling all the scenes in their right order. And joining the different scenes together seemlessly involved some fancy editing, especially with the audio, which would often carry through to another, very different scene set in the present. But I eventually got it all done and came up with one hour and forty minute’s worth of the Darla/Angelus/Holts/Drusilla/Spike/Angel back story. I have to admit, because the comp was a patchwork of many disparate elements culled from many different contexts, not everything worked. Certain sequence did not flow well when put together, and things like costuming and accents and hair pieces, etc, could be variable, to say the least. But ultimately I think it works, and watching the whole thing is quite a satisfying experience for a Buffy/Angel fan. I’m still hoping the network, or Joss Whedon or someone, will put out an official version though.

If you’re a Buffy or Angel fan and this piques your curiosity, why not try doing your own, or something similar with another show you like? And if you’d like to see my cut of this idea, just send me a note and I promise I’ll send you a copy.