In what ways does yourmedia product use, developor challenge forms ofconventions of real mediaproducts?
In my short film I used, developed and challenged forms of conventions of real mediaproducts as this is shown through my early stages of planning. At the start of my A2coursework I had a definite idea of what my short film was going to be about as theAmerican TV series ‘Glee’ inspired me to direct/produce/write a drama on a boy who feelsuncomfortable in his own body. I felt the need to make a short film that will educate youngpeople on issues that are not often talked about. At first my genre was going to be a dramabut later on after class feedback I decided to change my genre to a documentary baseddrama as my tutor thought my ideas could make a raising awareness film. This genre wasdecided by me as most of my class mates chose either a thriller, horror or a comedy so Idecided to make a film that would challenge me but also the audience as my film would besomething different to watch. I carried out a questionnaire in October to ask opinions onwhat other people would like to watch. Most of them chose drama, documentary, thrillerand horror. I chose to do a documentary based drama as it was more realistic for me inorder of props as I did not have a film budget. I would say my short film does featureelements of horror and thriller as the music suggests suspense. Also, the ending of my filmis when the protagonist decides to end his life however, I have two endings which theaudience gets to decide. As my film contains disturbing images because of the knife andblood it could also be listed as a thriller/horror genre as the music adds to this.
Mise en scene:ParkSchool BedroomKitchenBathroomMy short film has five locations which I made obvious by using the school and park for mybullying scene. The bedroom was used for my character to reflect upon himself and to makehis big decision on who he wants to be. My kitchen scene was when the main charactersearches for a knife but failed to kill himself so the bathroom scene is used to pick up on thatand that is where he sadly decides to end his life but there is a twist as the audience decideswhether he lives on or dies. I met the convention of short films by using mise en scene toidentify the location the character was in as ‘Ronan’s Escape’ uses this convention. In thepark natural lighting was used as I filmed in the afternoon at lunch time. The weather wasperfect for my film as there was snow and mist to emphasis on the storyline of a school boybeing bullied for questioning his gender. This adds to the suspense. In theschool, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom, room lighting was used so the mise en scene wasclear to the audience but also made filming easier for me. Throughout my film the characterswore casual clothes as they are typical students that go to sixth form. I took props and settinginto consideration as this short film was meant to be naturalistic as the audience is meant tobelieve that this happens in reality. The protagonist in this film is a school boy therefore, hiscostume was to wear casual clothes. It is shown in the kitchen scene that my main characteris at home because his costume is to wear his pyjamas. This also tells the audience whattime it is. In the bathroom scene the protagonist has shorts on as he felt more comfortable inthem whilst he was in the bath. However, this may not have been realistic as the bath scenehappens straight after the kitchen scene and he had different clothes on in both scenes.
MCU- Medium Close-upCU- Close-upBCU- Big Close-upSimilarly, to my casestudy ‘Ronan’s Escape’I used the conventionof close-ups to drawthe viewer closer andinvolve them in what ishappening. This alsoinfluenced my decisionof using the conventionof non-diegeticsound throughout thewhole film that matchedthe scenes, as closeups and othervariations observereactions andemotions. In this case itwas worry andpressure on theprotagonist. This shot isoften used to the maincharacter‟s advantageas it positions theaudience with Shazad.
POV- Point of View ShotI also used the POV shot onShazad‟s pair of heels tocreate meaning as Shazad isin a position of choosing hisidentity, it also sums up thecontext of the film. I used thePOV shot where Shazad isholding the knife as he iscaught in between makinghis decision of life and death.This shot enhances a senseof realism and the audienceinvolvement in the short film.I used the POV shot tojuxtapose life anddeath, male and female. Thisis a convention used by shortfilms as in ‘Ronan’s Escape’the case study Ianalysed, Ronan is alsostuck in between making thedecision of his death. Thebird shown at the startcreates importance as Ronansees him dead towards theend of the short film anddecides to kill himself too.Establishing ShotThe establishing shot is another convention of short films. I used the establishing shot on my reverse shotto show that Shazad was outside as he was in the park where he got bullied. This shot is normally usedto start a film or a scene. However, I challenged the conventions as I used a reverse shot so I closed myscene with the establishing shot. This shot shows the whole view but also, establishes the relationshipbetween the set/location and the characters.
High-Angle ShotLow-Angle Shot Long ShotAnother convention of short films I used was a low-angle shot when Shazad was praying, this could suggest how Shazad is in power atthis point as his belief in God may have made him stronger hence the low-angle shot. The light behind Shazad is used to my advantage asit could show there is hope. However, a high-angle shot is used again when Shazad has nearly finished praying maybe, to suggest howShazad is still isolated and how his religion is against gender change which is why I decided to use a praying scene. Also, how weak he isat this point as he may look vulnerable. Similarly, in ‘Ronan’s Escape’ when Ronan gets hit with the ball he falls to the floor and lookspowerless to the bully. In my short film I used a long shot to set the scene as this is another convention used in ‘Ronan’s Escape’. My longshot sets the bullying scene in my short film in the reverse shot.CU- Close-UpIn the praying scene I may have developed forms ofconventions as I used a close-up shot of Shazad‟s feet onthe prayer mat then I tilted the camera up to Shazad to showhis face. This creates meaning as the audience come toknow Shazad‟s strong belief in God even though he may bequestioning his own identity as they see his facialexpression.
Zoom/Reverse Zoom &Hand-Held ShotI used the camera technique zoom/reverse zoom to move in to Shazad whilst he was wearingmakeup, this is so the audience are focusing on Shazad as Shazia as that is what he calls himself. Tofit with the zoom/reverse zoom I used a convention of documentaries called the hand-held shot.However, I developed and challenged this technique as I stood still whilst holding the camera but as Izoomed in the shot was shaky. This is so the audience know that this is a home footage added to thedocumentary of Shazad wearing makeup. It also gives the scene a more realistic feeling and makesthe audience feel apart of the scene. I think this was great as I wanted to make my short film lookrealistic.
Editing:Along with mise en scene and camera shots, editing isessential as the different techniques add to the genre of thefilm but also, makes the film more clearer for the audience tofollow. At the start of my short film I used a close-up, blackand white shot of Shazad in the bath. I used this shot beforethe reverse shot as this is giving away the story because inthe end of my short film Shazad is in the bath tub layingdead. I made this black and white so it stands out from therest of my film as this is significant because the short film isabout Shazad‟s decision. The black and white editemphasises the fact that he is dead, so the audience maywant to know why as this creates interest and questions inthe viewers minds. After this shot I used my reverse shotwhich is a convention for short films as short films only lastup to 5 minutes, so to speed the process up you fast forwardit. My reverse shot shows how Shazad got into the bath tubas it shows the bullying scene which was shot in the schooland park. My editing was done on iMovie, where I couldchoose from several other effects. For my reverse shot Ichose an effect which leaves everything cloudy around it tomake it stand out. It also shows the audience this is areverse shot as it is different from the other edits I have usedin my short film.Reverse ShotBlack & white
I used several other edits when Shazad was deciding whether he should cut himself again asthe cuts on his arm suggest he has already been down this road. I made the box scene muchmore brighter as it could suggest it is his dream to become a girl. As soon as the shot goesback to its normal colour, this could mean how he is back in reality and he knows it cannothappen. On the knife scene I used the x-ray effect but decided to change it to the sci-fi effect toadd to the thriller and suspense of the shot as Shazad is about to cut himself once again. Thecuts that were drawn on with Halloween makeup also stand out so the audience know that thisis not Shazad‟s first time he has cut himself. After Shazad makes his decision of putting theknife back in the drawer, I use the slow motion effect to suggest that there could be hope asthe drawer slowly closes. I also use the vignette edit which makes the shot look high definitionbut, it also emphasises the slow motion effect I used as it stands out.Brightness higher Sci-Fi Slow MotionVignette
Transitions:I also used several transitions to fit with theediting for e.g. the fade to black transition atthe end of my reverse shot. I used the slidingtransition to reveal another scene or the text Iwrote on the screen. By using the transitions Ihave used conventions of raisingawareness/documentary films as I statedstatistics and facts about people that havegender issues but also, helped with thestoryline.The black background adds to the darkness of thefilm. It also foreshadows death.
TitleContact detailsScrolling creditsI used the same font throughout thewhole film as this was my housestyle. I also started the film with agrey background to suggest whatlife has been like for Shazad as itsuggests darkness. My short filmuses conventions from the short filmI studied ‘Ronans Escape’ as bothfilms have a basic, similar font andwhite font colour, which couldsuggest there is very little hope. Mytitle challenges and developsconventions of real media productsas my title fades and eventuallydisappears.I used conventions of real media products as I have scrolling credits at the endwhich have the same house style as the transitions used in my short film. This issimilar to ‘Ronan’s Escape’. Both films also have contact details to raiseawareness which is another convention used by documentaries.
My film challenges conventions of shortfilms as I let the audience decide theending. I first show Shazad dead then Iask the audience a question and thenshow another shot of Shazad sputteringthe water out of his mouth. I do this todevelop conventions of a short film as Iwant to get the audience involved. After Ishow Shazad dead, it looks like it is theend of the film but I put a transition in withthe question. This is so the audiencecould sympathise with Shazad as he dies.But, when Shazad recovers in the end theaudience know this is something thatcould be stopped as it is so easy to stopthe bullying and instead help people thatare in this situation.Happy Ending:
Film Review: I only chose three pictures from my short filmas too much pictures would give the plotaway as my short film only lasts up to 4minutes.To separatethe threeimages I useda blackborder, alsokeeping inmind myhouse style ofred, black andwhite. Thebigger picturehas a smallerborder andthe smallerpictures has abigger borderto maintain aprofessionallook.I used a convention ofevery magazine ofhaving a double pagearticle with threecolumns.Another convention of films is to havea rating, release date, director, castand running time at the bottom of thepage.I used the conventions of a tabloid magazine by highlightingkeywords in red and sticking quotes around my columns.The colours red and white also makes my film review looklike it is from a tabloid magazine. I also used the colour redfor the subheading.I challenged conventions bymaking my main picture goon the second page.The reviewers name, pagenumber and website areessential for a film review as Iam using conventions.I have used ablack borderas it is myhouse stylebut also tomake myreview standout andmaking it lookmoreprofessional.I parted mytwo pagesdown themiddle with ared line toshow it is adoublepage, this isanotherconventionused ondouble pagereviews.
Poster:Another convention of a film poster is to have a tagline atthe top of your poster that sums up your whole story. As mystory is about a boy getting bullied because of his genderconfusion I summed up my story by using “Every Struggle isa Step”.Another convention for posters I came across was to have thecompany name, director/producer and cast at the bottom incapital letters but not so it stands out too much.I used a shot from the reverse shotwhen Shazad is walking into the park.The picture also goes with the taglinewhich makes it memorable. Shazadstands out in the picture as he is incolour as I faded the background onphotoshop. This is to suggest how hisconfusion stands out and is noticed byeveryone hence him being in colourhowever, nobody seems to think of itas a big issue. The picture alsosuggests his importance, not only tothe film but to the world, as everyonematters no matter what your personalissues are. Shazad walking with hishead down shows how anxious he isto face the world as the bullies are justwaiting for him on the other side of thepark. The dull picture also tellsShazad‟s story and how dull his life isat the moment. The picture also goeswith the genre as my poster is not too„Hollywood‟. It is quite simplistic whichmakes it easier for the consumer toknow that it is a documentary baseddrama as it shows the realism of theplot.Making the release date stand out is another conventionused in film posters. I have developed this convention byusing red as the font colour on the dull poster.My house style has remained the same throughout myproducts. This is a convention used by film companies so theconsumers can identify the products. I used film companylogos as this is a convention used on film posters, but I usedthe certificate of the film to challenge conventions.
On the bottom of the poster ‘Inception’it tells you the director/producer andcast name which is a similar way I didmy poster as it is a convention used onfilm posters.I based my short film on a real charity called„The Gender Trust‟ as I used contact detailsat the end of the film. This is so if anyone hasbeen affected by anything they have seen inthe short film they contact this charity. I alsoused the logo on the bottom of the poster. Ithink this is developing conventions as I havebased my short film on a charity that actuallyexists. I challenged conventions by using thislogo on the bottom of my poster, whichmakes it unique from other posters.My review page is similar to ‘Spider-Man 2’as both are from tabloid magazines. Theborders are quite similar too, whichsuggests how I have used conventionsfrom a real media product.This is the original image I used for the poster. I used photoshop to make the background black and white, I also enhancedShazad‟s colour so it makes him stand out. It also shows how he is in a black and white world and how everything around himis dead as everyone is against him and his decision. The picture also fits with the storyline of the short film.
How effective is the combinationof your main product andancillary tasks?
I made my film review and poster to compliment my short film as films are made to make a profit. Tomake a profit you need to advertise your film in the best way possible to attract your target audience.Films are marketed by trailers, posters and film reviews.Along with my main product which was a short film, I made two ancillary tasks which was a filmreview and a poster. For the film to be successful you need to make the poster eye-catching byadding an image, usually of the protagonist in the film. A film poster usually contains the title of thefilm, a tagline that best describes the whole film, your cast, director and producers name. Logos ofthe companies that produced and distributed your product at the bottom of your poster and therelease date of the film to tell the consumer when the film is available to watch is also ideal. Thesecond ancillary task I made was a film review. A film review usually compliments or criticises yourfilm. At least one image should be used on your review and at most three images should beused, but one image should always be bigger, usually of the protagonist. A review should contain thetitle of the film, a star rating and the review. Some reviews can have the releasedate, certificate, running time of the film and directors and cast name. The main source of synergy inmy products is the protagonist as he is in my review and poster. In my short film there are loads ofclose-up shots and mid shots of the main character. In my review I used images of the characterwhen he is sitting on his bed, wearing makeup and being bullied at school. In my poster I have usedan establishing shot of Shazad walking into the park as he is the only thing that is in colour in theposter. On the other side of the park you can see the two bullies. To use further synergy in myproducts I used the same font type as this helps the audience to identify that this is one product.
What have you learned fromyour audience feedback?
Feedback before finished product:I designed a questionnaire on wordbefore I made my short film to getaudience feedback of who my targetaudience is. However, I already had anidea of what I am going to be doingbefore I handed my questionnaire out.I handed out nine questionnaires that were eightquestions long. The majority of people chose thegenres documentary and drama hence my finaldecision. Some picked thriller and horror. This iswhy I decided to have a suicide scene in myshort film. My target audience was from 12 yearsto 26 years and most people preferred a shortfilm that lasts 2-5 minutes.
Feedback after finished product:•Likes the narrative and message behind myshort film. Also, liked the editing and detail.Thought I could improve on the sound byadding dialogue.•Likes the editing and the message behind myshort film.•Likes the cast and editing.•Thought the two endings were good.Overall, I am happy with my audience feedbackas I wanted to get my message across and I didwhich is something I am proud off. However, Icould have improved on the sound by addingdialogue.
How did you use new mediatechnologies in the constructionand research, planning andevaluation stages?
Construction:To shoot my short film I used a Philips flip cam. I think the flip cam was easy touse as it has a USB attached to the camera so uploading footage onto theiMac was easy for me. The camera is also small so I always had it in mybag, so whenever I felt like shooting a scene or using it for establishing shotsit was easy to access. The camera quality was good and I am happy with thepicture quality my short film has. Unfortunately, the sound quality was not toogood hence the reason I do not have dialogue in my short film. As I wasshooting my bullying scene at lunchtime, it got quite noisy so the dialogue Ihad planned to use for my bullying scene did not work out.At times I used the tri-pod, e.g. for long shots and establishing shots. I foundthe tri-pod tricky to adjust to as when I first started to use it I could not placethe camera on properly but as time went by I adjusted to it. I did not use thetri-pod much as for my documentary based drama it was not necessarybecause a convention of documentaries is to have a hand-held camera suchas raw home footage to give it a naturalistic look. The tri-pod was hard to carryaround when shooting my film as it is quite big in size so it was not accessibleto me at all times.
I used new media technologies throughout my A2 Media coursework. For construction I used theiMovie software on the iMac for editing as this was a big part of making my short film. Editing andsound contributed towards my short film as in order to make a film of my storyline you neededtransitions, sounds, effects and text. A significant part of my short film was the reverse shot whichshowed the bullying scene, without this edit the storyline would not have made sense. It took metime to get used to this editing technique but, I got the hang of it. Also, in order to create anarrative that makes sense you have to split the clip and delete footage you no longer need. As myshort film had no dialogue, sound was crucial so I used iMovie for my sound, but it also added tothe suspense as it was easier to identify that my short film is a drama. My short film is a raisingawareness film so text and transitions were important, as I wrote facts about gender confusion andmade it blend in with the shots to keep my short film looking professional. Text was also vital forthe title at the start and the credits at the end as this is a convention used by short films. I believe Ihave improved my skills on construction as last year my Media class was given a group project ofmaking a music video. The only edit I knew was how to split and delete clips so I think making myshort film on iMovie has advanced my skills on how to use iMovie. Unfortunately, I had no accessto iMovie at home, I think this was the only down side to it.
For my ancillary tasks to design a film review and a poster I usedAdobe Photoshop. I think this is great to use for posers and reviewsas you can edit on Photoshop by adding effects to pictures and alsoadding text. Fortunately, I had access to Photoshop at home so Icould edit my film review and poster whenever I wanted to. I amalso familiar with Photoshop as I designed a magazinecover, contents page and double page article for my AS Mediacoursework. However, I did watch YouTube tutorials to help me withmy black and white background effect on my poster.
Research:Research played an important partin my production of making myshort film, as it allowed me toresearch other short films ofdifferent kinds of genres that Icould use to help me. It alsohelped me to watch iMovie tutorialsas I was new to using iMovie so Ihad to watch a tutorial on myreverse shot to help me. I analysedthree case studies by embeddingthe short films into Blogger, thisgave me a wide range of ideas tochoose from. For my film reviewand poster I used YouTube toresearch effects that I could use togive them a professional look.
I used Google to research film reviews and posters as it helpedwith using conventions. Google was helpful when I came toresearching a charity for gender. I came across a charity called„Gender Trust‟. This made my short film in to a raisingawareness film as I used the contact details in the end of thefilm, this is also a convention for documentaries. Google playeda big role in research as my short film needed a lot ofbackground research on gender issues. I researched differentkinds of questions that I could use for my questionnaire that Idistributed earlier in the course.I used word to type up questionnaires which I distributed beforemaking my short film. This was to find my target audience andtell me which genre suits what age range.
Blogger helped me keep up to date with my research and planning of my short film, film reviewand poster. With Blogger everything is online and electronic so there was no need to carryaround paperwork with you. Blogger helped me create an up to date profile of my work andtold me what pace I was going at. The dates also helped me as I was going along, as I knewwhen I made my treatment, shooting schedule, character profile and case studies. It alsoshows the changes I made on my treatment, shooting schedule and character profile later onas I developed more ideas. Using Blogger made my work more organised and easy to accessfrom home and school as all I needed to do was log into my Gmail so I could make changes asI was going along. Blogger made it easy to insert pictures, videos and embed videos fromYouTube. Everyone‟s blog is personalised as you change the design that suits you best, I thinkthis was ideal as everything appears to be more creative. Additionally, Blogger was easy for mytutor to access as she kept a tab on our work and kept us up to date as we were going along. Ialso looked at other Media students blogs to help out with other ideas I could use on my blog.Planning:
For my casting I used Facebook as itis a popular social networking site. Iused this site to make an event thatwould inform people about theauditions. After making this event Igot a few responses then I picked outthe people I thought would fit the role.I picked out a Drama Student calledAtique Hussain to play the maincharacter as I thought he wasappropriate to play this role due to theexperience of acting he has alreadygot. I also picked out four people thatI thought would fit the role of thebullies. I picked out four of AtiqueHussain‟s friends as I thought hewould feel comfortable acting aroundthem. I chose Zara Zahid, SabahYounis, Haleema Parveen and SarahTariq. I also were going to use myaunty and uncle to play the role of theparents but later on I made someadjustments and used three bulliesand no parents.
Evaluation:I discovered a websitecalled prezi.com whichallows you to createpresentations morecreatively. However, Idiscovered this websitewhen I had done myevaluation. I preferprezi.com over powerpointas it allows you to embedthe link into Blogger unlikepowerpoint which I struggledwith. For my case studies Idid not use powerpoint as Iknew I would not be able tosend my powerpoint toBlogger so instead Iembedded short films intoBlogger and analysed themthere. I uploaded myevaluation into prezi.com soI can copy the link anywhereI want so anyone can viewmy presentation.
I decided to use Slide Share instead of prezi.com because whenI embedded my prezi into Blogger it was quite slow. I looked atsome other A2 Media students blogs to see what they used fortheir evaluation and Slide Share was quite popular. Slide Sharewas also faster than prezi so I uploaded my presentation ontoSlide Share and embedded the link into Blogger.
I used YouTube again so I can getfeedback on my finished product. Mycomments were positive however, nearlyeveryone wrote how I could improve myshort film too. I also used YouTube so Icould embed my short film into Bloggeralong with my other finished products.