1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? - Trailer-
When researching the conventions of a horror trailer I came across ideas such as: The best horror trailers ask a question. They set up a premise or a situation, and then leave the viewer wanting to know more. Another common convention is the "What happened to those kids?" question. Quarantine, Wolf Creek, and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre use this model, but The Blair Witch Project really did it best. The audience knows something horrible happened to those kids, but you have to watch the film to find out what. Following this idea I have aimed my trailer at a mainstream horror film audience so the majority of my conventions follow this configuration.Todorov’s theory: Todorov suggested that stories begin with an equilibrium or status quo where any potentially opposing forces are inbalance. Then agents of disruption cause disequilibrium, a period of unsettlement and disquiet. This is then followed by a renewed state ofpeace and harmony for the protagonists and a new equilibrium brings the chaos to an end. The simplest form of narrative (sometimes referredto as „Classic‟ or „Hollywood‟ narrative). Todorov suggested that conventional narratives are structured in five stages: 1-A state of equilibriumat the outset. 2-A disruption of the equilibrium by some action. 3-A recognition that there has been a disruption. 4-An attempt to repair thedisruption. 5-A reinstatement of the equilibrium.This type of narrative structure is very familiar to us and can be applied to many „mainstream‟ film narratives.Propp’s theory: Vladimir Propp discovered that in stories there were always 8 types of characters evident. These are: the hero, the villain, thedonor, the dispatcher, the false hero, the helper, the princess and her father. There are only 8 different character types and only 31 things theyever do. Once you have identified the character type (e.g., the hero) it‟s easy to guess what they will do (save the maiden, defeat the villain,marry the maiden or whatever) because each character has a sphere of action. This is easily relatable to films today.I think my trailer conforms to Todorov‟s theory the most due to the fact my story line does start with some sort of stability for the characters asthey leave their home. It also follows his theory as well as using the conventions of real media products in the way that the story takes a turn todisruption and chaos as the characters find themselves in unfamiliar surroundings. I think on the whole my trailer uses the conventions of realmedia products with several aspects and qualities but at the same time challenges current conventions due to features such as the hand-heldcamera element to my trailer.
My beginning see‟s a very shaky camera shot of the fourgirls on their way to Badgeworth in a car with their musicblaring out of the radio and perfectly happy and excited.Over the top of this I faded in some text which reads “Onthe 20th of September, four students travelled to the villageof Badgeworth to investigate a local urban legend.” I choseto do this to firstly establish the story and made the girlsseem very content and cheerful in comparison to how theyare seen at the end of my trailer. I think the audience wouldenjoy this contrasting and possibly foreshadowingbeginning and whilst researching into other trailer such asThe Blair Witch Project, which used the same idea, thisworked very well and gained good feedback fromaudiences, as did mine.For music and sound effects in my trailer I decided to beginwith a very current „pop‟ chart song by Beyoncé, first toestablish the era and age of the characters but also as acontrast to the sound effects I have used later on in mytrailer. I debated whether or not to have this music as non-diegetic or diegetic and after experiments decided to have itplaying off the radio/cd player in the car as a diegetic sound.I did this so the characters became more involved in theirhappiness as such and the audience could engage in therealistic nature of my trailer and storyline.I then decided to add a number of different sound effects,mainly between the transitions and on the fades betweenscenes in my trailer. I did this to accentuate the horror genreand chose a range of eerie and sudden „thuds‟.Using these songs and sound effects my trailer conformswith musical conventions that are used in horror trailers tocreate atmosphere and to emphasise the certain theme andgenre. For example in the „Eden Lake‟ trailer the majorityof the clips are fast, dark and intense and these arehighlighted and exaggerated by very dramatic and powerfulmusic.
In my trailer I chose to use the same font for the title andrelease date as in my advertising of my trailer (the posterand magazine cover). I did this in order to keep within thevisual style and appearance of my film.Following the conventions of horror trailers I decided toarrange my title and release date as a sort of conclusion tothe mixture of shots at the end of my trailer. I thought thiswould work best in keeping the audience intrigued in thename of the film. Having the title and release date at theend as a conclusion of the trailer is a good way of creatingimportant information for the audience to remember aboutthe film.I thought about putting a specific date on my release datebut when I thought about it, by leaving it to just the monthof „may 2012‟ it opened opportunities for my trailer to gainmore awareness and interest in the film through moretheatrical, full length trailers and TV spots. This wouldgive the audience more occasions to gain informationabout the actors in the film and directors etc.I was aided in my decision to do this through research ofother horror trailers such as „Paranormal Activity‟ and„Eden Lake‟ who based their first trailers on the sameconcept.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D51QgOHrCj0Here is a link to the trailer for The Blair Witch Project. Here you can see that my maininfluence in deciding to use a hand-held camera based horror trailer was based heavily onThe Blair Witch Project‟s theatrical trailer. I love the simplicity of the shots in this trailer. Itgoes along the lines of conventional horror trailers and conforms to Todorov‟s theory in thatit begins with a story, a main character and the opposing threat of „the blair witch‟ to bebalanced. I found this film to be such an inspiration because not only was it the firstextremely successful and well received hand-held horror film but remains to be the best. Itdiffers greatly from current horror‟s such as the „Saw‟ sequels or „Hostel‟. I love howsimply frightening the fast pace, shaky shots are and the fact that the audience neveractually see the „blair witch‟ I think makes it even more disturbing.Whilst analysing this trailer as well as others I started to think about location and mise enscene. I wanted to base mine in the dark, grungy woods to enhance the atmosphere of mygenre and enhance the representation of conventional horror‟s such as „Eden Lake‟, „TheLast House On The Left‟ and of course „The Blair Witch Project‟. After deliberation Idecided to set my trailer in my home village of Badgeworth. Not only was this locationconvenient but it was perfect for the effect I wanted to achieve. As you can see in thebottom image, the very long, steep road down to the main part of the village was a perfectestablishing shot of my location. I then started to think about the characters I wanted torepresent and which actors I needed. I assembled a cast I thought were best to portray firstlythe stereotypical characters of classic horror films. I chose my friends Flora, Dani and Cat,and me as the „camera operator‟. I knew I wanted Flora to be the one who „survives‟ and Ichose her because she represents the typical young blonde female victim who manages toescape. I think out of the four characters Flora is seen the most including several shots onher own, away from the group and vulnerable.My trailer starts off reasonably slow in order to set the scene and give the audience chanceto establish what the film is about. The pace of my trailer increases as it reaches the end inan attempt to keep the audiences concentration and interest. I tried to keep the shots as darkas possible to give the feel of the horror genre, a lot of the natural light is blocked out fromthe trees an branches of my location and the only colour comes from the characters clothesand features.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYzNqVfjEvM A link to my finished trailer.