2. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? My media product uses codes and conventions of short films by using the camera and mise-en-scene to present the narrative. Short films generally need to do this because there is not enough time in short films for it to develop by the use of dialogue. A prime example of this is ‘For the Birds’ by Pixar ( Blog Post – For the Birds (2000) Analysis – Wednesday 23 rd June 2010 ). This is because there is no dialogue used and it heavily relies on the mise-en-scene and the camera to represent the narrative. The short is a linear structure because the narrative is not broken up which is good because it means that the audience should be able to follow this. On the other hand the happy person closes the window that the unhappy person opened and at the very end of the short both characters are connected which breaks the linear style of the film which is not normally scene in today's media and therefore also challenges the convention. In my short film ‘Connected’ I used the camera and mise-en-scene to present the narrative by not using much dialogue until one of the end scenes ( Connected Final 5.42 – 7.21 ). This does not build on the narrative much but because of the large variety of shots used and the location of the short this builds vastly on the narrative. Use My media product also uses the codes and conventions of using the correct costume and props. This is because I have used the same clothes and props that are usually seen in a middle class society. For example when both the protagonists go jogging they wear basic clothes ( Connected Final 1.54 – 2.32 ) and when both of the protagonists have dinner the food ( Connected Final 5.25 – 6.24 ) is reasonably simple which suits the conventions of the style of the short. The house, that the film is set in, also follows the codes and conventions. This is because the house is an average suburban house which suits the style of the short film well. Also I strongly feel that most audiences can relate well to the short film because of the simple life that the characters posses such as getting up, going to work, socialising etc. This relates well to other short films that I researched including the short film, ‘How to tell a relationship is over in 90 seconds’ because this short ensures that suitable costumes and props are uses ( Blog Post - How to tell a relationship is over in 90 seconds Analysis – Friday 3 rd September 2010 ).
3. Develop I have developed the conventions of a short film by sending a clear message to the audience. I have done this by etherising the difference between the two protagonists by the use of split screen which therefore should enable the audience to get a clear contrast of the two characters. This allowed the message to be clearly seen and understood which is basically if you are happy good things will happy to you and if you are not happy you will live a boring life and not many good things will happen to you. The message really develops in the dinner scene. This is because the unhappy person is eating noodles whilst watching television which shows that he is on his own and not really doing anything. On the other hand the happy person is eating dinner with a guest and generally having a good time. This therefore shows a good comparison between the two and shows the result of their personality choices. I strongly believe that using the same character in both of the split screens also develops this convention well. This is because by doing this it is showing that the protagonists personalities are key factors in how successful they are in life. An example of this is because one of the protagonists is happy and has a good attitude he has a girlfriend. Where as the other protagonist looks exactly the same but because he is unhappy and has a bad attitude he does not have a girlfriend ( Connected Final 5.25 – 6.24 ) ). The convention of sending a clear message is a common feature in short films and was used in a majority of the short films that I researched. For example the message in the short film, ‘Validation’ was to smile in life and the message in the short film, ‘For The Birds’ was to not single out others because of their characteristics ( Blog Post –Validation Short Film – Friday 25 th June 2010 and For the Birds (2000) Analysis – Wednesday 23 rd June 2010 ) . A further convention that I have developed was the way media products focus on the protagonists throughout the product. I believe that I have strongly developed this more than most products because I have used vast amounts of close up shots to ensure that the audience focuses on the main characters. This is very good because it clearly shows the emotions of the two characters which therefore should allow the audience to see a clear difference between the two. This has also been developed by the happy protagonist talking directly into the camera, as if talking to his girlfriend, in the film which almost makes the audience feel connected and involved in the characters ( Connected Final 5.29 ). This links well to my research of the short film ‘Geri’s Game’ ( Blog Post – Geri’s Game – Thursday 1 st July 2010 ). This is because in this short film the old man has been focused on to some extent but I strongly believe my short film has developed this convention further.
4. Challenge My media product has challenged the codes and conventions by the reasonably fast pace of the short. The split screen effect, that I have used throughout the majority of the short (Connected Final 0.25 – 6.40 ), adds to this effect. This is because both screens are constantly changing shot and therefore the audience has to concentrate a great deal in order to keep track of both the screens. The pace is also added by both of the characters constantly moving which is not normally seen in any short films and is not a common convention. I have also challenges the codes and conventions by ensuring that the way the both of the protagonists complete the variety of different activities and the result of each of them clearly symbolises their difference in personalities and attitudes. For example when they come back from jogging the happy person easily enters the house and the unhappy person forgot his keys which means he has to climb through the window ( Connected Final 2.32 – 2.35 ). This therefore shows very clearly the result of their different personalities. It challenges conventions of a short film because it is not generally seen and I did not come across it when completing my research. This is because most of the short films were not able to use symbolism because of the length of each. For example the short film, ‘The Black Hole’ did not use any symbolism but sent a message to its views ( Blog Post – The Black Hole – Sunday 27 th June 2010 ). This relates to real media products such as the television drama “24” which also uses a split screen effect to keep the audience interested. By my short film doing this it also makes them question what is actually happening in the film and result in them being draw into the film and kept interested.
5. Challenge Continued My short film also challenges the conventions of a short film by keeping the audience guessing. This is generally not found in short films because they are generally not long enough to build up enough tension for the audience to be drawn in a vast amount. This convention was challenged when the happy person closes the window that the unhappy person climbed throughout in order to get into the house. This really makes the audience think because the two split screens connect which makes them wonder if the two characters are related in any way. This is built upon at the end of the film where the two characters connect. The main connection is symbolised by the transition from the split screen to only one screen and when the happy characters sees the unhappy character it makes the audience have to really think about the entire film as they realise they are actually two different people. This is generally not used in short films because I did not come across this convention in my research. For example when researching a number of short films such as ‘For the Birds’ and ‘Day and Night’ I did not come across this ( Blog Post - For the Birds (2000) Analysis – Wednesday 23 rd June 2010 and Day and Night Split Screen Short Film – Sunday 19 th September 2010 ).
6. My Short Film in Relation to Theory I would class my short film as postmodern. This is because the style of the film expresses this and keeps the audience guessing because the split screens link together in the middle and at the end of the film. The short film is also postmodern because at times the audience cannot tell between the real and images of the real because the two protagonists are at the same location but their paths do not cross until the very end of the film. This therefore encourages the audience to think about what was actually real throughout the film. The film also follows the postmodern theory because it has changed and established conventions and in lots of way has already used a vast amount of existing ideas. Another theory that links well to my short film would be ‘The Male Gaze’. This is because throughout the film the audience is positioned in the males gaze because the camera focuses on the two protagonists who are male which asserts control of the male and represents him as controlling. The use of the female characters in my short film enforces this because she is only present for a short time in the film which ensures that the male character is still in control and dominating the camera. I also strongly believe that my short film relates well to the ‘Apparatus’ theory. This is because only certain aspects of both of my protagonists lives are seen in the film which therefore means that it has been filtered by the use of editing and camera. This has resulted in the audience only seeing the ideological point of view and never the real. My short film does not follow the theory of equilibrium and disequilibrium. This is because it flows reasonably smoothly and does not follow the five stages of this theory that includes a state of equilibrium, a disruption of that order, a recognition that the disorder has occurred, an attempt to repair the damage and a return of the new equilibrium. My short film only really has the first stage of equilibrium because all is as it should be up until the very end of the film where there is a disruption in the order where the happy protagonist cleans up after the unhappy protagonist.
7. How effective is the combination of your main and ancillary texts?
8. Creating Synergy I have created synergy by using the same font throughout my two ancillary text and in the titles and credits of my short film. I have done this so it can easily be recognised by the audience. Magazine Review Film Poster Connected - Credits I also created narrative synergy by including the same split screen feel in my two ancillary texts and the main film. In the magazine review I did this by using a screen shot in order to show the two characters in split screen. I also did this in my movie poster by ensuring that I included both of the protagonists in the poster and ensuring that the unhappy and happy person were on the same side as in the film. This should encourage the audience to question why there two of the same character.
9. All of the three products that I have created are all of the same nature. They all have a reasonably simplistic design, they all focus on the two main protagonists which gives them both a happy and unhappy feel to the film. Unhappy character Happy character Unhappy character Happy character The film review is simple because it does not include vast amounts of different features and also includes a screen shot clearly showing the contrast between the two characters. Unhappy character Happy character The film poster is also very simple because it is in black and white and not much is actually happening on the poster which connects well to the actual film because they both keep the audience guessing. The poster shows the two protagonists very clear and their emotions can be easily distinguished by their facial expressions. The short is reasonably simple because it is set in one location, a house, and the location presents the film as reasonably basic and simple. The film also clearly shows the characteristics of both the protagonists because a clear comparison can be made because of the split screen effect used for a majority of the film ( Connected Final 0.25 – 6.43 ).
10. In order to create my film poster to a good standard I needed to research into how short films incorporate their film into a poster. I did this by looking at a short film called ‘Cashback’ and then comparing the film to the poster to find out any common features between the two ( Blog Post - Codes And Conventions Of Short Film Posters – Wednesday 17 th November 2010 ). The font in both the film poster and the titles in ‘Cashback’ were the same font and in capital which created synergy between the two. This was good because it looked professional and should allow the audience to easily recognise the film. This encouraged me to use the same font when creating my media products. The poster also showed clearly where the film is set even though the poster includes the depth of field effect. This is good because it gives the audience an idea of what the film is about. I did not use this in my film poster because I wanted to show a connection between the two characters, which I did by having them looking directly at each other, but wanted to make it reasonably simple and leave the audience guessing like my film does. The poster for this short film also included a main image of one of the main characters in the film. This is good because it is providing some information about the film but also not giving too much away. I included this effect in my poster as a way to encourage the audience to watch my short film.
11. Overall I strongly believe that my ancillary tasks and my main task work well together. This is because of the high amounts of synergy between all three tasks which means that the film can easily be recognised by the audience from looking at the ancillary texts. The mood and style of all three pieces of work is reflected throughout because they are all reasonably basic which gives it a good effect. On the other hand I strongly believe that my film poster and main project work the best together. This is because in the poster the two characters are looking directly at one another which is good because it shows a clear connection of the two and, in some ways, shows that they are two different people. The film also does this by having the happy person close the window that the unhappy person opened and having the happy person tidy up after the unhappy person. This therefore gives the texts a good connection. Characters are looked at each other showing a connection. Parts of the film connecting the two characters together.
12. Concept of Consumption I believe that my short film would be online because short films do not tend to be shown on television because they are aimed at a relatively small amount of people. I think that my film would be shown on the website ‘Short Of The Week’ ( http://www.shortoftheweek.com ). This is because this site specialises in short films and is reasonably well known for providing good short films. I think that my short films movie poster and movie review would be most effective in ‘Movie Maker’ magazine. This is because this magazine is the nation’s leading resource on the art and business of making movies and the world’s most widely read independent movie magazine. This therefore means that it should attract the attention of vast amounts of people because a lot of people read the magazine. The magazine also provides a lot of information about all the different aspects of media including short films. I chose against other magazines such as ‘Empire’ and ‘Total Film’ because they specialise in mostly full length films and do not really focus on short films.
13. What have you learned from your audience feedback? Facebook The message that the happy person receives is not very clear. The wind during the jogging scene sounds unprofessional and needs to be turned down. The lighting could be also be made a bit clearer and the dialogue is unclear at times. Though the layout in difference in personalities were done well. Liked the way the actor fitted the roll of the two main characters well because it gave the film a genuine feel to it. Some of the scenes drag out a bit too long but it is effective with the layout of the film. Also the lighting was too dark in places. Liked the music because he thought it suited the film well and also though the editing was good. One of the shots had a delay which could be cut down to keep with the pace of the film. Continuity was also an issue in some parts because when the characters take their shoes off they seem to not be there is the next shot. The text message was unclear and would be beneficial if it was more clearer so the audience could get a better idea of why the character was happy. The lighting was a bit dark in some places and the wind in the jogging scene could be faded out. The music suits the film. Also the shot the keys being picked up was good and the shot opening the cupboard and entering the house at the end of the film was good. The split screen effect was also very good because it shows the two personalities well which is what I was aiming for.
14. YouTube Liked the split screen effect and the music used but the jogging scene had too much wind in it. Thought the titles were very effective and suited the film well. The phone message was unclear and the film lacked continuity in some places which is key in order to make the film professional. The twist in the film kept them guessing which is good because that was the effect I was aiming for. The lack of dialogue suited the film well which means I have followed the codes and conventions of short films well. The comparisons between the two characters was very clear but confusing at times. Split screen effect worked well. The sound was very good and edited well which shows a high amount of technical skills. The titles and the production company logo looked professional which is good because this is what I was aiming for. Only bad point was the lighting was too dark at times. Some scenes were too long but this suited the film so it was not an issue.
15. How did you use new media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages? Research The research stage of my project involved using many new technologies. I used Blogger in order to put together all my research which shows my development throughout the project. Even though I had previously used this technology I believe my skills in using this progressed because I used it much more which resulted in my skills developing. My knowledge and understanding of adding images to Blogger increased because I needed to add vast amounts of images to one post which meant that I ensured that they looked good and presentable ( Blog Post – Location Analysis – Tuesday 5 th October 2010 ). For my research I watched and analysed real media short films. In order to do this I used YouTube because this site is home to vastly qualities of videos. My skills of how to use his developed from AS because my search skills improved and evolved and I knew what I was looking for. In this stage I also used Google because this search engine gave me access to large amounts of information about short films including what a short film actually is ( Blog Post – What is a short film? – Saturday 19 th June 2010). My searching skills improved because I used the advanced search feature to narrow down the amount of results I got in order to find reliable, detailed information. I also used Microsoft Excel create charts to summarise my questionnaire results. This software was very useful because it allowed me to gain a clear understanding of my results and contributed to my research ( Blog Post - Quantitative Questionnaire Results - Monday 30 th August 2010 ).
16. Planning In this stage I used ‘Bubbl.us’ in order to create brainstorms. This was very useful because it allowed me to express all of my ideas regarding my project and also allowed me to save the brainstorm as an image file and then embed it onto my blog so I could show my progress. I created a total of four brainstorms using this program throughout my project. These consisted of a brainstorm for my initial ideas, props and ideas for what my protagonist could do on the happy and sad day in order to show a difference between the two ( Blog Post – Activity Ideas for Both Days – Wednesday 8 th September 2010 ). I used a scanner in this stage to so I could scan in my storyboard. I needed to do this so I could create my animatic from this. I also used this to scan my questionnaire so I could show what questions I asked on my blog. I had not used this technology in my project last year because my group took photos of our storyboard but it was still very easy to use because I had previous knowledge in how to use it. I also used ‘Slideshare’ so I could show my storyboard after I had scanned in the images. This was very useful because it allowed me to upload PowerPoint files to the internet then embed the file to my blog so my progress could be showed. I then went on to creating an animatic which required me to put all of my scanned images into Adobe Premiere Pro to make them into a video. I also added sound to this to make my animatic as realistic as possible. My skills of how to use this software evolved because it allowed me to built upon my knowledge of the program ( Blog Post – Animatic First Draft – Wednesday 29 th September 2010 ). I used a camera to take pictures of potential locations and my actors. I then went on to embed these images on my blog which improved my blogger skills because I needed to add a lot of images to one post ( Blog Post – Location Analysis – Tuesday 5 th October 2010 ). I also used Microsoft Word to design a template for my magazine review and movie poster. I used this software because I was able to use autoshapes and label where I wanted what on the poster. I then went on to add these templates to my blog. I did this by taking a print screen of the page using ‘Jing’ and then embedding the image to my blog. My skills evolved because I improved my knowledge of how to operate ‘Jing’.
17. Construction The most important new technology that I needed to use was the video camera because it allowed me to record a high amount of high quality footage. I imported this footage into ‘iMovie’ to make the footage into the correct format so I could edit it in Adobe Premiere Pro. My skills of this developed vastly because I was unaware of how to do this and from consulting peers and working hard I learnt how this could be achieved. I used Adobe Premiere Pro to edit all my footage together. Even though I used this program in AS I strongly believe that my skills improved dramatically. This is because I used the program a lot more because my project was longer in length than the first years project and I used the split screen effect in a majority of the film which therefore meant that I potentially needed to edit double the amount of footage. I leant how to create a split screen effect by using an online tutorial ( Blog Post - Video used to find out how to create a split screen effect in Adobe Premiere Pro – Sunday 23 rd January 2011 ). I built my knowledge on how to use different effects such as fades, how to use the split screen effect by changing the scale of the video, and how to crop video clips. Also my ability of how to edit non-diegetic and diegetic sound throughout the film improved vastly. I was able to include many layers of sound including both sets of diegetic sound because of the split screen effect that I have used and a layer of music. I needed to ensure the music was not too overpowering and so that the diegetic sound could actually be heard which meant that I needed to turn down the music. In addition to that I also used ‘Adobe After Effects’ to make the titles and credits in my short film. My skills of how to do this improved greatly because I had not used this software before but by using online tutorials, consulting with peers and self learning I was able to complete this to a good standard. I also used a video converter in this stage because when I exported the video file from Premiere Pro it was far too big to be uploaded onto YouTube. This resulted in converting the video in order to make it into a smaller file so I could upload it to YouTube quickly and then I embedded it onto my blog.
18. Evaluation During my evaluation stages of my project I decided to use the social networking site, ‘Facebook’ and the video sharing site ‘YouTube’. I did this in order to ensure that I got a wide range of feedback from a variety of different people. The result of this was that I got reliable feedback because the comments on ‘YouTube’ were from people I did not know and was therefore primary research. The feedback on ‘Facebook’ was from people I knew but they were mostly critical with resulted in myself gaining a good idea of how I could have improved my production. In order to share it on ‘Facebook’ I posted it on my wall in order to allow people to have easy access to it and allow them to post comments below. I uploaded the video on my ‘YouTube’ account which therefore meant that users could like or dislike my video and leave comments below.