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Media Evaluation

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Media AS Thriller Opening Sequence Evaluation

Media AS Thriller Opening Sequence Evaluation

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  • 1. 1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms andconventions of real media products?When reviewing my opening sequence I felt that I successfully used forms andconventions of real media products as I included common conventions of the Thriller genrein order to ensure that my opening sequence could be easily classified into this genre bythe audience.One common convention of Thrillers, is the red herring; the title, ‘I’m Coming to Find You’is in its self a red herring, as it is a reference to the dialogue of the babysitter, yet hasdouble meaning as it could also reference to the voyeuristic presence suggestedthroughout the sequence, by the nursery rhyme music, ‘view finder’ filter, and regularvisuals of the clown toy.The response from my focus group enforces my view that I successfully used theseconventions, as every member of the group classified my sequence into the Thriller genre.When asked ʻWhat aspects of the sequence do you particularly like, or dislike, and why?ʼ -Identified as a dislike, was the fact that the sequence was shot in daylight. I was not ableto film at night as I needed a longer period of time to film, and also needed to ensure thatWilliam was on his best form and this therefore meant that it was necessary to film duringthe day. I ensured that the mise-en-scene was dark and that the lighting was not too brightin order to detract from this. As my focus group still identified my sequence into the Thrillergenre, this suggests that I challenged forms and conventions of the genre, as commonlyThrillers are set in dark lighting, often at night.As it was necessary for the mise-en-scene to be dark, for example clothing andsurroundings in the house, I took inspiration from thrillers that I had researched into.Therefore I would say that I have used conventions of real media products andintertextuality, as I took particular inspiration from The Ring with regards to mise-en-scene:
  • 2. The top left is a screen shot from The Ring, influenced by the effect of the dark and simple mise-en- scene, emphasizing the dark theme of the narrative, I kept the mise-en-scene throughout my own media product similar to that shown in the top left. I did this to ensure that my mise-en-scene reflected the dark themes of theOther ways in which I used forms and conventions of the Thriller genre is the mise-en-scene throughout, I ensured that surroundings and clothing were dark colors as this alsocontrasted to the bright colors of the clowns, emphasizing their relevance. I also usedobscure camera angles as this is again a common convention, during the conversationbetween William and the babysitter, I used a Point of View angle, from lying down, andobscure lighting through blinds could be seen in the background. The obscurity of theangle is symbolic of the obscurities occurring in the sequence, and encourages a feeling ofunease, a common feeling achieved with psychological thrillers. This is a screen shot of the obscure point of view angle showing the obscure
  • 3. Common elements of thrillers are obscure angles and I therefore used this convention This is an obscure point of view angle from below. The effect of an angle shot from below would normally suggest the superiority of the subject, yet the viewfinder filter contrasts to this and this suggestion is therefore challenged, as the subject is actually in a position of throughout my media product to keep the genre recognition consistent for the audience.Common elements amongst psychological thrillers, include mind games, confinement/ deathtraps This is a screen shot from my opening sequence and that refers to the obsession - all of which are apparent in my own opening sequence. The mind games begin with the title, ‘I’m Coming to Find You’, as this title seems
  • 4. straightforward as the sequence begins with a game, yet the duplicity and confusion of thetitle becomes apparent when an unknown presence is introduced into the sequence. Thenursery rhymes could also be considered mind games, as it is these that lead the twocharacters to the cupboard. The cupboard could be considered the confinement/deathtrap,and within this is the bricolage of photographs of William, suggesting the obsession andtheme of stalking, again a common element in Thrillers. These aspects are demonstrativeof conventions of traditional psychological thrillers. This is a screen shot from my opening sequence. I have used a glow filter which adds a ‘dream like’ effect to the visuals, emphasizing the contrast between the 2. How does your media product represent particular social groups?The character of the babysitter in my opening sequence, although casually dressed isclean cut and well presented. This would suggest a middle class background, re-enforcedby the mise-en-scene of the house, such as the multiple stories, co-ordinated decorationthroughout, and size of the rooms. This therefore represents a middle class setting,
  • 5. therefore safe surroundings, and a secure environment, an invasion into this environment This screen shot shows the disruption to the equilibrium due to the contrast from the dream like idealistic setting outside, to the dimly lit house with dark mise-en- accentuates the vulnerability within the sequence, adding to the sense of loss. I found that as it is anunexpected environment for unsafe actions, the audience feel unsafe which allows them toemerge themselves in the sequence. This is a screen shot from my sequence that shows the This vulnerability demonstrated through middle class setting is also shown through the opening shots of the car on a respectable North London Road: The brightly colored bed sheets and toys demonstrate his youth as doThiscan bee seen as the ‘equilibrium’, with regards to Todorov’s theory. Todorov’s
  • 6. narrative theory states five stages, the first of which being ʻdefining the state ofequilibrium’, the second being ʻdisruption to the equilibriumʼ. In my own media product, thedisruption to the equilibrium would be when the babysitter closes the door to the house, asthe lighting changes from the bright idealistic daylight, to dimly lit with dark mise-en-scene,her character is also sinister which raises questions in the minds of the audience:Also represented, is the child in the sequence, he is stereotypically representative of youthas his vulnerability is suggested through the fear shown as he hides during the game withhis babysitter:His youth is also represented through his bedroom, a typical young boys bedroom:
  • 7. 3. What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?I feel that my media product would be distributed through mainstream multiplex cinemas,as the Thriller genre appeals to a mass audience as many appreciate the fast pacing andcomplex plots associated with this genre. As I have used common forms and conventionsof this genre, I feel that it would, like many Thrillers, appeal to a mass audience.For example, ‘The Sixth Sense’ - a psychological Thriller, that similar to my own mediaproduct demonstrates the thrill through the vulnerability of a child, was distributed throughmainstream multiplex cinemas.Similarly, many sub genres of Thrillers are shown in mainstream cinemas, enforcing thesuggestion of their mass audience appeal, such as ‘Black Swan’, ‘Inception’ and ‘Shutter This point of view shot engages the audience and they are able to see what William sees, and therefore relate to his character, this keeps the audience attracted as the empathy Island’. 4. Who would be the audience for your media product?As the Thriller genre includes various sub genres, I would say that generally psychologicalThrillers appeal to an older demographic as they are more inclined to understand thecomplexities that come with the plot twists and red herrings in the storyline.I feel that my Thriller would appeal to an audience ranging from 16 +. I believe that it wouldbe more popular with older audiences as many will be able to relate to the vulnerability of
  • 8. the child and this would add to the thrill. The complexity of the psychological mind gameswould also be difficult for a younger audience to understand.5. How did you attract/address your audience?I promoted interest in my media product and secured an audience through creatinga Facebook group, summarizing my task and posting a link to my media product onyoutube, in order to gather opinions and criticisms on my final opening sequence.Due to synergy, the accessibility of Facebook through different forms of technologysuch as mobile phones is high. This means that I was able to gather an audienceeasily, increasing the attraction to my media product.Through posting my opening sequence on youtube I will also attract an audiencefrom not only the members of my facebook group, but from members of the public,this will open up my media product to non biased opinion.By using a sinister character in the beginning of the opening sequence, it raises questionsin the minds of viewers, and when the plot revels that the character of the babysitter is ared herring, the audience are kept engaged and eager to watch on. I also addressed theaudience by using point of view shots, which again, is engaging as the viewer is almost apart of the conversation or action. For example the point of view shot that I used during theconversation between William and the babysitter:When using the ‘viewfinder’ filter, this is also a point of view shot; from the suggestedpresence that has significant relevance, that of which is not yet apparent, this unknown
  • 9. element to the opening sequence encourages viewers to watch on, and the cliff hangingelements in my media product were identified amongst my focus group as an aspect thatthe feel impacted their desire to watch the full film, this again keeps viewers attracted andengaged.I used restricted narrative in order to surprise the audience, for example when thebabysitter is entering the cupboard, it is not yet apparent to the audience that there isanything a-miss with regards to the cupboard as the shots of William would suggest thathe is still in the cupboard. This therefore build suspense as the audience are inanticipation. This known and unknown within the narrative, relates to Claude Levi Strauss’narrative theory of binary opposition, this is the idea of two ‘opposing forces’, where one ofthe two reinforces our conception of the other. With regards to my own media product, thephysical presence of the babysitter and William in the sequence, reinforces the question ofthe unknown in the mind of the audience, encouraging them to watch on as the plotunfolds.I feel that one main element that kept the audience attracted throughout my openingsequence is the use of a child, as the vulnerability of the child causes anxiety andemphasizes the sense of danger, adding to the thrill and adrenaline. From my researchinto Charles Derry and his theory on the suspense thriller, I am lead to believe that the‘thrills’ come from the audience putting themselves in dangerous situations, the dangeroussituation in my media product is the danger that the child is in, emphasized by his youngage and therefore vulnerability.6. What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing thisproduct?During the construction of my Thriller opening sequence my skills in final cut pro havedeveloped, and I have learnt the importance of various forms of technology in order to aid
  • 10. the construction. For example, my confidence in final cut pro grew with support fromyoutube tutorials, these enabled me to experiment and push the boundaries of my abilitywith the program. I was therefore able to use more advanced tools, as well as using mybasic final cut pro skills. For example, in the opening shots of the car driving away, I useda ‘gloom’ filter, this added a distorted visual subtly suggesting that something was not rightwithin the sequence. This is a filter that I do not feel I would have previously used but dueto my developed skills and confidence I was able to experiment more freely andknowledgeably increasing the quality of my finished media product.Along with the filters that can add quality and new perception on the visuals, I discoveredthat I could use my basic skills to manipulate the footage, changing the sequence ofevents to create new events. I learnt that both the basic skills I already possessed, and mynew found confidence in this particular form of technology, final cut pro, were both ofimportance when editing my media product.With final cut pro I was also able to add, edit and manipulate my own audio. This use oftechnology enabled me to emphasize the anxiety and terror demonstrated through thevisuals, as the use of music creates tension and suspense as it makes the audience awarethat something is about to happen, but they do not know exactly when.Technologies also included in the construction of my media product included my blog, Ilearnt that this was an effective process, as it provided me with a visual aid in tracking myprogress.7. Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?For my preliminary task I was required to complete a continuity task involving filming andediting a character opening a door, crossing a room and sitting down in a chair opposite
  • 11. another character and exchanging dialogue. I was required to demonstrate match onaction, shot reverse shot and the 180 degree rule.In order to ensure that I demonstrated these skills, I storyboarded each shot that I plannedto use. With these basic requirements in mind, I used basic shots in order to demonstratethe skills clearly and effectively, yet the finished product was not interesting or particularlyadvanced.In progression from this task to my final, full product I have learnt the importancestoryboarding, and of using a variety of shots in order to keep the visuals engaging andinteresting. A variety of shots also offers a variety of perceptions on the subject, which isthought provoking to the audience. Having storyboarded my preliminary exercise, I learntthe importance of having visual aid when filming in order to ensure that I had enoughfootage and included everything that I required for the finished product, this is somethingthat I considered when filming my opening sequence.With regards to editing the preliminary task enabled me to exercise my basic final cut proskills, that I was then able to develop on as I gained confidence when progressing to myfinal media product.