How do these things happen? I wish I had a reasonable explanation but I don’t. All I can do is frame the sequence of events that lead to my vision and latest obsession.
I rode my bike home from work to find my wife and kids watching Return of the Jedi. They were pretty far into it as I recall – the scene where Luke surrenders to Vader and is taken to the Death Star. I watched it for a fair bit with them and suddenly recalled the Wilhelm Scream. The Wilhelm Scream is collection of mainly two distinctive screams that appears in a number of movies. I don’t think I had ever explicitly seen the Wilhelm and ran off to my office to read about it. After we finished watching the movie we returned to Chapter 12 of Return of the Jedi to watch the scream. It was around then that the idea occurred to me.What if one were to rip every Wilhelm scream and create a video montage of them? Or given that it occurs in at least 124 movies, what if was a collective (open source if you will) art project? One where people could rip their own Wilhelm clips and submit them to the collection or support it in other ways. It would also be possible to remix the ensemble video by chronological order, alphabetical order or a variety of other ways.
Looking at the movies that the Wilhelm occurs in I realized I have quite of few of them lying around so I started to whip something together. I plan on writing a separate post with a technical explanation of how I go about getting a clip and putting them together. I started with the Wilhelm from Chapter 12 of Return of the Jedi from the Star Wars Box Set when Luke hits somebody with his lightsaber and they fall in the Sarlacc pit. From there I went to the Empire Strikes Back and got the Wilhelm from Chapter 14 when a Rebel soldier manning a canon is shot by an AT-AT. In A New Hope I got the double scream from Chapter 37 when Luke and Leia are shooting it out with some Storm Troopers before swinging across the chasm.
The next not so logical step was Attack of the Clones as I was certain it was one of the first couple of chapters. It ended up being in Chapter 3 when Senator Amidala’s ship is blown up and someone is thrown from the explosion. The clip from The Phantom Menace ended up being fairly long as it was two screams rather close to each other. It is found in Chapter 37 when two Naboo pilots are shot trying to get to their ships in the hangar. I looked fairly diligently for the Revenge of the Sith Wilhelm but could not find it.
The next movie I had lying around was Toy Story and I thought it would also be a good break from all the Star Wars clips. I also keep reading that Joss Whedon is somehow associated with Toy Story and really want to watch it again. I quickly found the scene in Chapter 10 when Buzz is “accidentally” knocked out of the bedroom window by Woody.
I took all six clips that I had and merged them together to realize my vision. One thing I have noticed about video editing is you see the content so much during the creation process that the end result is sometimes hard to watch. Luckily the Wilhelm clip is short and I don’t really feel that way with it. My wife was thorougly unimpressed but my seven year old twin boys dig it. I wonder how many more clips I can get, or how many more people I can get to help me out.