Evaluation Q1In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and convention of real media products?
NarrativeThere are several key narrative convention that were used for my media product that were inspired by several other ‘real media products’, this is due to Nicholas Abercrombie’s genre theory which suggests that to use pre-existing genre conventions in a products your trying to represent in said genre, then you can almost guarantee audience satisfaction. The stereotypical horror narrative is supported by Levi Strauss’s binary opposition theory, and Todorov’s equilibrium theory. The intrusion of an evil force or event which upsets the narrative was inspired by a variety of both modern and celebrated horror films, ranging from Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ and ‘The Grudge’. However, there can be two preffered reading for our text, due to the fact that the syntactic could be approach in two different ways. This is a convention that we stretched, by studying films like ‘Friday the 13th’ and ‘The Nightmare on Elm Street’, which suggests that the antagonist can have several motivations towards aspects of the semantics such as the characters. Personal vendetta’s against a social group, territorial defence and hatred against what a particular social group/individual represents. This syntactic drives the narrative forward , and it leaves the audience to question if the antagonist is simply protecting it’s territory (the haunted mansion) or it’s punishing the protagonist for possibly transgressing social norms or has a hatred for the social group. This convention really draws in the audience and is all taken from studying these films....
NarrativeAnother convention that me and Cassie used to form the narrative was inspired by an article in mediamagazine which highlights the shift of gender stereotyping within the horror genre. Directors such as George A. Romero (Night of the Living Dead), Wes Craven (Scream) and John Carpenter (Halloween), all responded to the politics of their time and recognised the importance of the feminist movement. Therefore, instead of woman characters being depicted as helpless and being codependant on men, female characters began to shown as no longer weak and unable to defend themselves, who would not only protect themselves, but seek out the threat and try to destroy it. This convention was therefore used in our narrative, after studing the above films in bold, which not only help improve how the story is told, but offers a more real representation of women.
CostumeThe costume was mainly inspired from a variety of ‘real media products’ and was not stretched or challenged in any way, in order to easily establish who the antagonist and who the protagonist was. On my blog, in the preparation stages of my film I use ‘The Last Exorcism’ and ‘The Grudge’ and ‘The Ring’ as inspiration, of which we took several aspects from in order to create the costume for our main character. In the text I explain how the white, angelic nightgown contrasts against the actual physical features of the antagonist and her dark state of mind. Also, by making the gown filthy and wrinkled, we can portray the corruption of the characters mind, as the lack of attendance and care to the angelic white gown symbolises the mental imbalance of the character.For the protagonist, the costume was established by taking key convention from ‘The Grudge’ and ensuring that our character wouldn’t be represented as sexually explicitly as stereotypical female victims from within the genre like several characters in Scream. We used light colour as it contrasts against the protagonist plain black and white attire, and used simple costume items such as a cardigan and a scarf to connote that she is a middle class student who is morally pure. She wears a dress for some appeal due to the fact that the majority of viewers will be men due to the fact that horror films sometimes offer scenes of nudity and graphic depiction of assault and murder.
LightingInitially, we planned on taking the lighting convention from Stephen Spielberg’s ‘Poltergeist’ which uses a vast array of silhouettes which enforces ambiguity and mystery into the narrative, because the audience cannot recognise the forms that are shown. However, we decided to change to the stereotypical low key lighting that is present in many horror films such as Saw. By following this convention that is present in diverse range of horror films, me and Cassie were able to create the right atmosphere by experimenting with the light to shadow contrast.
LightingHowever, in my ancillary poster text I used the ‘Poltergeist’ lighting convention, in order to connote to the audience a ‘real media text’, which will promote my film and make it more recognizable as a product in the category of horror.
Setting‘The Haunted House’ setting is a convention that has been used in films such as ‘Psycho’ , ‘The Grudge’ and most recently ‘The Woman in Black’. We did not try to stretch or manipulate this convention in any way, me and Cassie simply used Escot mansion, in order to achieve a preffered reading with the audience, which connotes horror, isolation and abandonment. However, older generations watching my media text might recognise the ‘Kennaway House’ and have different connotations. However, due to the fact that we are directing our media product at our target audience of teenage horror enthusiasts, they will use their knowledge from the genre and hopefully recent cinema visits, and notice similarities between our location setting and simlar ones used in blockbusters such as below. The Left picture hosts a wide range of conventions such as growing vines, dismantled gates and a dark door. Considering we couldn’t deface an architecturally significant land mark for our short film, we decided to use a simple mansion that can be compared to the house in WIB by our target audience, and identify the themes it promotes such as isolation and abandonment.
SoundtrackA wide variety of music was explored in order to try and match the high quality of ambient sound effects and tracks that were usedin ‘real media products’ such as ‘LOVEFIELD’ which is a short film horror that became extremely popular on YouTube. SeveraliMovie sound effects were used such as ‘Ship Ambience’, ‘Thunder Roll’ and ‘Drone suspense’ which helped create the appropriatemood which highlighted the characters state of mind. Dissonance, non-diagetic and diagetic sound were all key when planning thesoundtrack, and several sound effects such as ‘heartbeat’ and ‘woman scream’ were explored. These ideas are all inspired by recentfilms such as The Woman in Black and ‘The Strangers’. The Dissonance was inspired by LOVEFIELD, which I deconstructed as shownby the image on the left, instead we used Thunder in order to createTension.
PropsThe main prop that was used was inspired from ‘The Ring’ which depicted a single, lonely tree whilst the character was in the middle of a marshland. The use of this natural element was extremely effective, so we decided to use a single, rotting apple in our film after being inspired by this convention. The apple is supposed to signify the antagonists rotten and decaying apparel. Also, after the protagonist picks up the apple, the protagonist appears suddenly which could possibly suggest to the audience a territorial motive for the antagonist.
The TitleThe title was created in order to create obvious associations with ‘real media products’ such as ‘An American Haunting’ and ‘Haunting in Connecticut’. The title is short and simple and connotes to the audience instantly what genre the film is in. After much planning and consideration, we decided that ‘The Haunting’ was the most appropriate for our narrative.