In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
In what ways does your mediaproduct use, develop or challengeforms and conventions of realmedia products?Jessica Milverton - AdvancedPortfolio Media Evaluation
Early Research..• The best way to research into the conventions andexpectations of short films I found was to watch as many asI could; I did this by using the video platform site: YouTube,I found this site highly relevant to me because it shows avast range of short films including those created bystudents, amateurs and professionals.
Early Research..• By watching a range of different levels of short films Iunderstood what sort of quality I was expected to produceand I was able to see the difference between each level; Ibelieve that this made my short film better as I had alreadyrecognised the flaws that other student short films hadmade before me such as being too ambitious with theequipment or trying to tell too complex a story in a shorttime.
Early Research..• The typical conventions of successful short films I foundwere that they were typically no longer than five minutesin length, featured no more than two main characters andalthough they had a simple plot many carried animportant message to be communicated to the audience.
Early Research..• Short films are typically created for advertising orentertainment and the professional companies thatcreate them are usually independents and the filmsthemselves only appeal to a niche audience. Short filmsare typically live action or animation and fall into thegenre of drama; the events shown in the films are set ineveryday situation so that the audience find it easy torelate and are typically realistic, many can fall into thegenre of social realism.
Early Research..• Short films tend to have a twist in their plot as itmakes them more appealing and rewarding to watch;sometimes some of the story is kept back to keep theaudience on the edge of their seat.
Early Research..• Equipment is usually quite basic such is usually only asingle camera is used (due to small budgets) and thereis not CGI. Often a voice over or narration is used in ashort film to catch an audience up to speed, it is usedlike a prologue of a book or a preface of a play.
What I have done..• After watching and analysing many short films Idecided to create a film in the genre of drama asthis is what I found to be successful whenwatching other short films.• Many of the successful short films I watched hadvery simple locations and the producersobviously knew a lot about the subject that thereshort film was on – so I decided this was how Iwas going to make my short film and as a result Imade a list of topics that I was familiar about andthat were close to my heart.
Sound and Music..• There was minimal speech in my short film – I decided to do this asI wanted my short film to offer support to anyone in the same sortof situation as my character so by making it very generic andambiguous it meant that my audience could relate to the film moreand were able to adapt it to there own situation.• Short films typically don’t have a soundtrack or a score due to therenature and budget so when I wrote my script I keep this in mind butdue to the fact that my short film had no dialogue I knew that themusic and diegetic and non-diegetic sound I had in my short filmwould be very important; I got my music from website calledhttp://www.beatpick.com/ that offers un-copyrighted music to usein films, I found this site after using the search engine Google.
Sound and Music..• In my short film I used two types of music – the majority ofthe film is backed by sad acoustic guitar music and the finalscene is back by more upbeat piano and strings music.• I use both pieces of music to represent emotions that Iwant my audience to feel and the emotions that mycharacter is feeling.• The acoustic guitar communicates ideologies of sadnessand because there is repetition of a lot of the same chordsthe music has connotations of hopelessness which is whata victim of bullying stereotypically feels; this contrasts withthe music I have included in my final scene which is muchmore upbeat and happy offering hope to my audience.
Sound and Music..• In most short films music is not seen as important,I have challenged this stereotype as I disagree withit. I believe that music can manipulate anaudience’s feeling just as much as the visuals,sometimes more effectively as music has theability to affect the audience subconsciously.• I believe that the use of music has made my shortfilm much more effective that some of the shortfilms, specifically bully films that I have seen.
Camera work..• When filming I decided not to do anything to complex withthe camera as this is one of the biggest flaws that I have seenin student films. Instead I decided to use a range of shots andangles to make it interesting for the audience. I realised thatthe most important part of the visuals came from what youdid in the edit.• In my opening scene however I have used camera movementto represent time passing, this was also only partlyrepresented by the camera work because I used a wipe effectin the editing process.• My short film is mostly made up of mid shots and close up Imade this decision as it shows much more emotion from theactor and it gets the audience more engaged and involved.This is typical of the genre that I decided to do and this isfound effective in most of the short films I watched so Ifollowed this convention religiously.
Camera work..• Throughout my short film I have avoided using long shot andhave used no establishing shots this is because I feel that Iwould have taken the attention away from the plot and whatthe character was going through and the audience would haveconcentrated on the location of the film.• Throughout my piece the camera work is average speed withthe exception of the section where the victim is gettingbullied, this is because I wanted to create tension for theaudience and create worry; I think that this was effective as itwas realistic and relatable.• Whilst editing this short film I have been quickly educated inthe importance of capturing a lot of footage when you shoot ascene as I needed to re-shoot some footage for the scenewhere the victim is hit in the hallway by the bully and I had toremove a scene as I didn’t use enough camera angles or shotsso it made it an impersonal and ineffective scene.
Lighting..• In most of the short film I have seen there seems to beonly a use of ambient lighting this is due to the budgetof short films and the nature of their agendas andideologies that they are communicated.• Due to my location it wasn’t possible to use any lightother than natural apart from in the bedroom scenewhere I used a blue filter to give an impression ofnight. I don’t feel that this affected the quality of myshort film in anyway as lighting doesn’t seem to bevery important in short films unless it falls into thegenre of film noir, horror or thriller.
Mis en Scene..• The Mis en Scene was very important in establishing thesetting of my short film. The costumes we used wereclearly school uniforms and the location was obviously aschool.• I was careful not to focus on which school that the eventswere occurring in and therefore I decided not to show ashot of the front of the school because I wanted to make itas ambiguous as possible so anyone could relate to it.• The glasses that the main character wears also plays a veryimportant part in the plot as it is the only thing thatdistinguished him from the bullies and other student at theschool, this was intentional as it shows up bullies and thepetty reasons they target the people they do – because ofthis and the opinions that this would draw from theaudience it discourages appearance bullying on a smallscale.
Editing…• I found that there was a lot of work to do in the editing stage due tothe nature of the piece I created. Most of my edits are invisibleedits because I didn’t want to distract the audience with strangetransitions and I believe that because invisible editing is aconvention of short films it has made my short film look much moreprofessional. However I had to use a dip to colour in my editingsequence to represent the passing of time between each clip.• I converted the parts where my protagonist is getting bullied intoblack and white for several reasons it communicates the emotionsthat my protagonist is feeling and it also represents that these arethoughts that are going around the protagonist’s mind and are notactually happening.• I am also pleased with my opening sequence particularly the wipesas I believe it adds contrast to my short film and it makes it seemmore advanced because I have included this feature.
Conventions I have followed..• I use a large range of shots but I don’t use complex camera angles andmovements.• My short film only lasts 2.12 which complies with the typical conventionsof a short film.• I have used only one main character.• I stuck to the genre of drama and create my film using live action.• I set my film in an everyday environment and it is about any everydayproblem.• My short film is relatable and realistic.• It offers a slight solution to the problem my protagonist is facing.• I included basic titles and credits.• My short film only featured 1 main character and 3 secondary(undeveloped characters) and a few extras.• There is one protagonist throughout the whole plot.• I have also use a twist in my short film.
Conventions I have developed..• Short films sometimes have music included inthere duration but it is typically not seen as thatimportant and there is rarely a soundtrack or ascore.• I have developed this convention in my short filmas my personal opinion is that music is veryimportant in almost any film and it can play asmuch of a part telling a story as well as thevisuals can. Therefore there is no dialogue in myshort film but I still communicate the emotions ofthe protagonist to the audience through music.
Conventions I have challenged..• In development to my conformation to the convention of having a twist inmy short film I have also challenged the typical convention I found in mostof the short films tackling bullying as in most films about bullying thetypical plot line seems to follow a victim throughout the day and ends inthe victim then committing suicide to create thought with the audienceand highlights the possible consequences of bullying someone - althoughthis is a perfectly good storyline I think that it has become expected at theend of short films tackling the issue of bulling and no longer has the shockfactor that it is tending to have so I decided that I wanted to createsomething different.• As a result of challenging this convention I believe that my short film offerssupport to everyone that is bullied and shows that there is an alternativeto what the other films shows. By not incorporating the theme of suicide ithas also widened my audience because it is kept relatively light hearted,an easy watch so it is watched for entertainment as well as socialinteraction, information and personal identity (Blumler and Katz Uses andGratifications Theory)
Was your production an effective piece?• There are obviously several flaws in my short film such as parts ofthe diegetic sound is sketchy and if I had more time I would set upanother shoot to recapture some of the sound.• However overall I believe that my piece is an effective piece as itcommunicates all the ideologies that I had when I started planningmy piece such as, the fact that bullying is wrong but sometime youcan help yourself. I also think that it is effective because it provokesthought from the audience which is the case with most successfulshort films whether the audience takes the dominant, negotiated oroppositional reading (Audience Reception theory).• I think that the camera, sound, music and mis en scene as well asthe research and planning were all of a relatively high qualitymaking it technically effective too. Due to the large amount ofresearch I conducted and the careful planning that went on myshort film has turned out a successful piece as I learnt from otherpeople mistakes.