in what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? our opening incorporates many conventions of a thriller throughout the piece. The use of a white font on a black background fits the aesthetic conventions of a thriller, as this is a commonly seen colour combination, setting a dark serious tone, especially in psychological thrillers where an eerie mood is often created. This is The first title of our opening, using the conventional colour scheme. It is not in the same font as the rest of the titles, as from out research we found that production companies have there own identity - This is from the film se7en, which uses the same conventional aesthetics, it is also a psychological thriller and is a film I would say we have been influenced by.
Another convention we used, however hopefully not in a cliché way, was the use of a woods for the setting of the piece, this is often seen in thrillers, mainly psychological, and is something so conventional it is often steered away from. We decided as a group that if we didnt use cliché shots, such as long shots of the protagonist running, then it could be used a effective setting that gave use the right mood and backdrop. The shot to the left was effective as it was a disorientating worms eye view which got the audience involved, the shot to the right is also slightly quirky as we shot it from a very low level close to the ground, at the base of the tree’s. I think the way we used the setting is important, we could have made it very typical and conventional, making it uninteresting, but the slight change in the way we shot the location made the difference. I’d therefore like to think of this as a successful use of a convention.
The weather we chose to film in, a dreary clouded drizzly sort of weather, is also quite conventional, the light and subtle damp added to the eeriness of the scene. The high pitched dramatic soundtrack is also rather conventional, something that is often used as it adds tension and pace. Lastly, the use of the word "the" on the title of our film is very conventional for a psychological thriller, seen in other films such as "The Ring", "The Grudge" and "The Sixth sense", which are films in the same genre as ours, that have been very successful.It is therefore clear to see the title has been influenced by these films. The use of the word “the” and the aesthetics we used tie our film in well with other films of the same genre.
Have we challenged these conventions? I dont think our thriller challenge these conventions to a great extent, but uses them to enhance the genre and connect with the audience through their familiar understanding of these conventions. Our research showed us that the audience respond well to conventions, as they are things that have been previously successful, and this is backed up by our feedback, as the audience all comment on well used conventions such as the Woods setting and the eerie soundtrack, commenting that these were particularly successful. The conventions we used definitely reflect our chosen genre, which is a hybrid mix of psychological and mystery, but with a slight occult twist. We felt that a rigid genre was not important, as recently the barriers of genre have become looser and films are more free to mix between, so our opening is predominantly psychological, with a twist of mystery and occult. It is clear to see the psychological influence through the conventions we use, and also the occult influence, such as the locket, which could be seen to be a religious or cult symbol, and the whispers too. If we compare our opening to the film The Blair Witch project, which is also a hybrid psychological thriller with a slight occult feel, you can see that our opening fits with this loose style of genre.
Blair Witch has the same setting of a densely forested wood, something conventional of both psychological and often occult thrillers. They both feature mysterious objects and findings in the woods that are out of place, in Blair Witch, the findings are quite abstract and occult, in this way perhaps ours is less of an occult thriller, as the locket is not so much a symbol The same conventional aesthetics appear again, used in many psychological/occult’s, so our movie is in terms of aesthetics could be argued to fit into either.
2. how does your media product represent different social groups? establishing The age group represented is young adults, which is the same as our audience, a link between them. We use both genders is in our opening, with the male as the protagonist and the female as the antagonist, which is a twist on convention in thrillers, although seen in more recent years, as the audiences rigid views on gender and their roles have broken down. Other films such as "The Grudge", "The Exorcist" and "The Ring" use a female antagonist, so this is not seen as uncommon for the psychological genre, and something that audiences respond well to. We shot the male characters from above on the most part, connoting weakness and subservience. Although they are the main characters of the opening, the rest of the film would represent both genders more equally. The target audience are of both genders, so by including both in some way we are appealing to everyone. Using a male as a protagonist is likely to appeal to females, who will be please to see a spin on the convention of a feeble woman sometimes seen in thrillers, however it could also be attractive to males as they are seen as the lead role and get all the screen time. Here the male protagonist is shot from above, this angle, combined with his loose body language connotes he is weak in the scene, he is not seen in this opening as a dominant figure at all.
3. what kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why? Our opening is fairly mainstream, so would be suitable to be produced for Theatres, it would be likely to be quite large and popular as it is something that would appeal to a wide range of people, as it not niche. This release into cinema’s would also gain interest from the audience much more than if it were released on TV or straight to DVD, as our audience will expect to be able to see a film in a cinema, and are likely to go, with friends or family, much more than they are likely to buy a DVD. This is therefore the best way of appealing to the audience and enticing them to watch the film. It is similar to films in the same sort of sub genre, such as The Ring, that have been very successful, in the way that they both feature a recurring spooky thing that is mysteriously causing deaths. The Ring was very successful, eventually producing a sequel too, and I could see our film generating the same sort of interest, as it appeals to the same mass audience, but is different enough to be interesting. If we compare it to movies of a similar genre and audience, we can see if the same distribution methods might be applicable, i looked at the Blair Witch project, with which i have already made some comparisons between the two films. It has a similar genre and was a very successful film in theatre’s.
The Blair Witch project The blair witch project in its opening weekend made $1,512,054 (USA) in 1999, produced by haxan films, who also produced a sequel a couple of years later, due to its massive success. In many ways our film can be shown to be fairly similar, in its aesthetics and conventions, with a similar storyline of something mysterious and strange happening in the woods. The use of close up fairly invasive shots, the location, and the age range of the characters is similar to our opening, also the way that the protagonists are filmed reacting to the antagonists actions, who is never shown. the aesthetics of this poster are very similar to our opening, the white font on black, the black and white tree’s which we feature also.
4. who would be the audience for your media product? We settled on a target audience after much research into what we could include in a film in each classification, we then had to choose to set at a 15+ so we could include mild violence and language, these would both appeal to older teens and young adults who will find it more relatable and enjoyable to see gore and hear actors use “real” language that they use. Our opening is pitched at 15+ teens to young adults, this is seen in the use of a simplistic narrative, that would not be too complicated or difficult to digest, and in the use of conventions that are fairly basic and juvenile. I think older people would wish for a more challenging or mentally stimulating thriller, whereas ours is quite straightforward. It appeals to both genders, as they will both be represented, although the females will remain dominant, as the voice of the spirit in the locket is a female. The characters in the films are of the same age range as the target audience, this will show the audience that the film is aimed at them, and make them more interested.
5. how did you attract/ address your audience? I think our media product appeals to our audience as we based it around them. WE used characters of the same age group so they can relate to them, we used an easy narrative that isn’t too complicated or adult to be understood, we made sure we made links with other popular films for this age group, we used conventions people of this age would be familiar with, and also pitching it as a “15” as our age group could be put off were it pitched at a “12”. We feature many point of view shots, and the locket sequence is filmed as though you are there watching it, involving the audience. We make sure to stick to camera angles and shoot at levels that were natural, also not breaking the 180 degree rule which feels abnormal. One of our shots it a point of view of the male protagonist, putting the audience in his shoes, and showing them what he feels, which is including them. I think the way in which most of the audience will feel connected to it is because its relatable. This shot is a point of view of the protagonist lying on the ground, makes the audience feel involved in the disorientation The characters are relatable, the male here is wearing clothes that are popular, including a SuperDryhoody, a well known brand for our target audience
6. what have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing the product? We faced many problems during production and post production, partly due to being new to the equipment, and partly because it was temperamental. When filming, we found the camera ran out of battery very quickly, and we swapped cameras, only to realise later they filmed in different quality and size, this is something someone with experience would have known, but that we didn’t think about. We then had to use only one camera, which we stuck to for the whole process. We also had problems using the camera in the wet weather conditions, as it was expensive equipment, we needed to protect it well, something we hadn’t thought of before we got to our location. Looking back, extra preparation and planning would have prevented problems like these. We learnt a great deal about the editing software, Premier pro, which we hadn’t previously used. We therefore found some parts of it challenging, such as fitting the footage to the right size on premiere, however the editing process went fairly smoothly, without too many problems, once we had learnt the basics. It was a great learning curve, and we found that towards the end we could use it much more proficiently. The photo on the left is from our continuity task, and highlights the issues we had with levelling the camera, you can see from the photo on the right of the final opening, the camera is totally level. The initial problem was simply learning to use the equipment, paying attention to the spirit level.
7. looking back to your preliminary task, what do you feel your have learnt in the progression from it to the full product. Our continuity task is significantly worse than the final product, it was really rather poorly filmed and edited. We learnt from the continuity task that storyboarding is more important than we originally thought, so for the thriller opening we storyboarded fully, many times, so we could think about the best way of getting the shot, and telling the narrative, and so we were all working towards the same idea when we got to the location. We learnt greatly about how to use the equipment, namely the camera, which we didn’t get level or framed properly in the original task, I feel our camera work came along a great deal. We also learnt the importance of neat editing, of making sure everything flows smoothly and is cut exactly to the right point, as well as the importance of the post production e.g the titles and transitions, which were extremely poor on the original task. It is clear looking at both of them that we have learnt alot in the process, and come a long way . We have learnt that we should have timed the storyboard before filming on location, because when we edited it originally, we only had a minute of good footage, this meant our storyboard was too short, and we spent hours trying to figure out how to lengthen it, without making it boring, or changing the flow of the piece, as we wanted the opening to come to a peak towards the end. We also now know we should have planned the whole project better, and organised ourselves better within the group, because poor preparation made a poor project, and our original rough cut wasn’t very successful. There seemed to be a domino effect, in which our research, which wasn’t in depth enough, affected our planning which wasn’t thorough enough, which then affected our final opening. I think our product fulfils the brief, it is an interesting yet fairly conventional typical thriller opening of our hybrid genre.