American Beauty | Personal Work

For a very long time, I have been wanting to write a post about the masterpiece that is American Beauty. Alas, this post is still not that. But, I did want to share with you all my latest work that I have done as a part of my university course. It is an adaptation of the closing monologue, originally portrayed by my hero, Kevin Spacey, where the character of Lester Burnham looks back on his life.


The brief of this project was to adapt a poem or a part of a movie, in order to test you post-production skills. I was really eager to start this term as the first two terms of my course were pretty gruelling. I study Digital Film Production at Ravensbourne, which I realise now is actually a very good place to go, and very respected in the industry, which is lucky I guess. At first, I didn’t realise how important it was that I got into this particular uni, but as time passes by, I realise just how many inspirational people I come face to face with every day. One of my main tutors was actually nominated for a BAFTA this year, for the short film category, which is absolutely incredible. Like I said, I am incredibly lucky.

This project has been particularly important to me, for the fact that the film is just so inspirational to me. American Beauty truly is a masterpiece, and is so deep on so many levels, and deepened my love for Kevin Spacey further. It seemed only natural for me to adapt this, as I would be able to pour my heart into it. If you watch, it is perhaps obvious that I am no Guru at After Effects, or even Premiere, but it is an incredible step up from my previous word, and I am extremely proud of myself and the work that I have put into it.

I think another reason that this video is so important to me is that in itself, it features a huge amount of my life in it. Like I said, the closing monologue in American Beauty is that of a man who is reflecting on is life as he slips away, and so to create this, I had to dig into the archives of my hard-drives and fish out some old footage of mine that I have taken the past years. Though I wasn’t able to put any cringe-y baby videos of myself in, I was able to create the illusion that these videos were from an entire life-time. Everyone that you see in this video is either a great friend or a relative. The characters of Janie and Carolyn are in fact my sister and mother, who are the light of my life. All of this, plus the incident portrayed in the video and in American Beauty and the soundtrack, oh my god, all successfully work together to create quite a powerful little video – at least to myself and my family.

And can we take a moment just to appreciate the hell out of this soundtrack? It is absolutely beautiful, the whole thing is. But especially this classic song. It is so beautiful, and power, and awesome, in the literal sense, that I am almost moved to tears every time I had to listen to it all the way through for the edit. If you have never taken the time to sit and listen to the soundtrack properly, then I strongly suggest that you do. It’s an incredibly famous soundtrack that I’m sure that everyone would be able to recognise at least one score from it. Try Mental Boy or Arose, both by Thomas Newman. Absolute masterpieces.

So yes. I would love to hear feedback all who see this, and I hope that you enjoy the adaptation. And go watch American Beauty if you haven’t already – I’m sure that you won’t regret it!

A screenshot of myself in the adaptation
A screenshot of myself in the adaptation
American Beauty | Personal Work

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