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AS Media Studies Product Evaluation for a chosen genre opening sequence, with a maximum runtime of 2mins.

AS Media Studies Product Evaluation for a chosen genre opening sequence, with a maximum runtime of 2mins.

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    Production Evaluation Production Evaluation Presentation Transcript

    • Project Evaluation
      Bilaal Saghir
    • For my Media project, I had to create an opening scene in a feature film, with a maximum runtime of 2mins.
    • Q.1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
      A film opening sequence can be challenged to induce the audience, it can something be successful in doing so, or it can be a confusing disaster. However, the key elements for an opening sequence is (as quoted from Nick Lacey) “The same but different”
      Our opening sequence follows the conventions of a thriller. Film noir genre, but executed in a different manner. We initially twisted the general concept of an opening sequence into what you would call the start of the end, something the audience will see later on, revealing the reason behind the actions in the opening sequence.
      Crime mainly revolves around a thriller, where the protagonist will have an exploitable weakness, which the antagonist will take advantage of. Enigmas follow throughout a thriller which evidently is resolved at the end of the film.
      To show and compare…..
    • Conventions of the Thriller Genre
      Usually, the narrative will centre around crime
      Ordinary situations where extraordinary things occur.
      The antagonist will normally have the upper hand on the protagonist, which usually
      leads to the protagonist to feel helpless, until the climax of the film where he/she exploits
      the antagonists’ weakness.
      Thrillers normally introduce an enigma (or more than one)
      The enigma can essentially be the mystery in the plot, for e.g. The killer’s identity in Psycho (1960)
      These points are the driven fundamental in a thriller genre film.
    • American Gangster (2007)
      Shades of Grey (2011)
      Both studios are notoriously known for providing crime/thriller films over the years, such as Pulp Fiction (1994, Miramax), Scarface (1983, Universal). We (the group) felt is was relevant to create a thriller/film-noir, because it’s a popular genre with the audience, it’s been popular ever since the 70s, it’s grown and expanded into sub-genres and it’s very suitable, whether it’s a popcorn flick or an Oscar winning film.
    • American Gangster (2007)
      Shades of Grey (2011)
      Both stills show the audience elements of crime and what both characters could be linked in the story.
      Generally, the low-key lighting is always either altered to give it’s sophisticated, sinister look according to
      the film story etc., but there’s always an element of a dark shade, resulting in the creepy, hollow and maybe a
      disturbing effect. The subtitle in the first screenshot is evident to what genre we’re discussing
      and the next screenshot, is what appears a stereotypically FBI Agent, Police, Undercover, Gangster perhaps too.
      Both characters appear to be either hurt or on the verge, as oil is being poured, which again,
      goes back to the crime element. This shown in the very first minute creates instant enigma, self questioning
      to why such a body is on the floor, why the person is tied back on a chair. The enigma is a key element in a
      Thriller genre, especially in the opening sequence, as this immediately grabs the audiences attention.
    • American Gangster (2007)
      Shades of Grey (2011)
      The only light visible in American Gangster is the car lights, resulting in everything else either darkened out
      or just about visible. In Shades of Grey, the lighting is in it’s absolute minimal, almost giving the silhouette
      look.We also see the very first characters which ideally is the antagonist or the protagonist. The gun,
      the sharp clothing (Shirt, tie, preferably expensive brands) in both stills represents the mis-en-scene of a
      crime/thriller. Both characters seem to be in control and the only people anything as of the scene, which
      can describe as who the focus is on in the film. This is vital for an opening sequence, as it establishes the
      main character/protagonist.
    • Challenging the requirements of an opening sequence…
      As you can see, we challenged the requirements of an opening conventions by twisting the
      plot, by showing a section of the ending, and then going back to the present state. This shows
      the audience which month and year the film is set in.
      Without the showing of the dates, the audience would assume the story would slowly follow
      on, explaining the double role of this character. For e.g. Memento (2000), another Indie film.
    • Feedback
      Being that our plot/opening sequence challenged
      the opening conventions and the genre itself, the
      main question was whether the audience under-
      stood what was happening.
      8 out of 11 people understood the narrative.
      The people that didn’t understood the narrative noted how they didn’t understand the
      two sides to the character and how maybe some of the shots could’ve been clear or some
      effects should’ve shown this. This was intentional, as we were aiming for a non-linear narrative and did
      not matter, as it was expected.
    • Q.2. How does your media product represent particular social groups?
      Our media product represents middle aged men, criminals
      and maybe even people who even suffer from the same
      Illness preferably in their late 20s, early 30s, policemen, and
      FBI Officers.
      The gun, the killing, the secluded area, the dark lighting and the char-
      actor himself all aim at men, the common group, from the ages of 18-35
      It challenges the stereotype of a working class officer
      who instead of being the good, loyal, family man cop, is
      a psychopath. This is based on characteristics and not needs.
    • Officers are stereotyped as:
      • Strict
      • No sense of Humour
      • Loyal Working
      • Fan of Doughnuts
      • Masculine Characteristics, including a lean body.
      • Tie & Shirt, maybe a blazer.
      • Usually in a Police Station or work office.
      In our product, the character who appears to be dressed as a
      an officer of some sort, turns out to be the violent, psychopath one, which is challenging
      the ideology we see in a grown man wearing a black tie, white shirt, black blazer.
    • Q.3. What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?
      Using both Major and Indie distributors, such as Universal to Revolver, our film could be a
      potential “Indiewood” film. Given Universal and Miramax’s respect and reputation
      for Thriller/Film-Noir films, they will be the appropriate distributors for a wider recognition
      outside the UK.
      Revolver Entertainment is known for it’s Indie films, from British Films and even French
      and I believe this company is suitable and well known to push a thriller genre in the market.
      I believe these companies will financially back me up as they have
      produced many thriller/film-noir films before and they have been critically
      and financially successful.
    • For example….
      Kidulthood (2006), distributed by Revolver Entertainment.
      Critically acclaimed and a ‘street hit’ which led onto the
      box-office hit sequel Adulthood (2008)
      Pulp Fiction(1994), distributed by Miramax Films. The film is known for its rich, eclectic dialogue, ironic mix of humour and violence, nonlinear storyline, and host of cinematic allusions and pop culture reference
      Scarface(1983), distributed by Universal Picture is an American epic crime drama movie. The film has since gathered a cult following and has become an important cultural icon.
    • Q.4. Who would be the audience for your media product?
      Using different theories for targeting the right audience, we sent out questionnaires to find
      out who our target audience will be. Because this was a crime related film, we had an idea
      that our central audience would be male, teenage boys and men upto the ages of 35.
      In terms of the two Demographic and Psychographic profiling techniques, on the Socio-
      Economic scale, our product aims at the B, out of the 6 groups.
      Group B’s description is “Intermediate managerial, administrative or professional e.g.
      Teachers, solicitors. This does not mean only the product will only appeal to that group,
      but the representation in the film, hits the B group.
      When it comes to Psychographic Profiling, Young and Rubicam’s Cross-cultural Consumer
      Characteristics will have our product aiming for Indie’s. People who look at films through a form of art perspective and not just to sit in the cinema expecting a popcorn flick.
    • G.R.A.S.S.
      G-ender Men.
      R-ace All races
      A-ge 18-35
      S-ocioeconomic
      S-tatus
      A class which you belong, depending
      on your job/occupation. I’ve classed
      this film to appeal to: B to D.
      Group B – Middle Class – Middle Management
      Group C1-Lower Middle Class – Trades and supervisory jobs
      C2 – Skilled working class – Blue collar workers
      D – Lower working class – Manual Workers
      I believe the film has the potential to appeal
      to these chosen groups and does not reflect to an
      Individuals taste.
    • We felt this target audience would be a good one because not only have we got a wide range of ages and people with different backgrounds, our film has big potential. We could’ve also added a comedy element in, as films such as “Bad Boys”(1995) and “Lethal Weapon” have been successful in providing a crime/comedy films.
      Hybridity is very important in a film, if we wanted to execute the plot, sub-plots and characters, so each individual who watches the film can either relate to a character and enjoy it, most importantly. This can also bring in a secondary target audience. Films such as Slumdog Millionaire was a co production British/US film, but the stars, the setting and part of the language gave it the Bollywood edge, which brought in another range of audience.
      When an audience wants to re-watch a scene or a film, it only proves the film was intriguing and they wanna watch it again, to maybe get a better understanding, which is what one or two of our test audience did.
    • Q.5. How did you attract/address your audience?
      I think, the key USP (Unique Selling Point) for our product was that the narrative was not as straightforward. The Mise-En-Scene, such as the dark location, the messy background as the character walks in, the actor himself all brings attraction for male and female viewers. The male audience are attracted to see the violence where the women are looking to see the good looking, lean and mean antagonist hero to kick some ass.
    • carrying on….
      Narrative: The use of a non-linear narrative is appealing to audiences and I believe an audience likes to see both filming aspects being used. As much as people like to see a brainless, popcorn flick, they also would like to see originality and to get themselves involved in the story themselves, from favouring a character or to even suspecting a killer on the loose. I think when the audience engage with the film, it entertains and pleases the people, both commercially and critically. Past films, such as Pulp Fiction (1994) and Memento (2000) are cult examples.
      Genre: In use of the non-linear narrative, the right genre to fit in with this is crucial. You have to understand, if you’re going to keep the audience on their feet, sussing out what’s happening and why, more importantly, to keeping them entertained, the genre needs to be an entertaining one, where the plot needs to have a constant flow, to make sense. Again, prime example Pulp Fiction does this perfectly. In our film, I believe it would’ve been inspired by Tarantino’s classic.
    • and finally…
      Lighting – Lighting conveys emotion. If the viewer could only see bright lights, the ideology behind bright colours are mostly positive ones. When filming a film-noir/psychological crime film, the low-key, side-light plays a crucial part for the characters part. In our sequence, we decided to keep the footage all in black and white. We chose this, because it conveys the characters lifestyle, the bold choices he makes and goes through and more importantly, the double role he has. The audiences can almost relate to this, they can enjoy this by investigating what one person may go through.
      Editing – Coincidental with the cinematography. Editing can always add the gloss over a good shoots of footage. The B&W effect is considered “old” and is rarely used in 2011. I think it adds perfectly onto the film’s narrative and plot and I believe it adds the extra attention it may well get as the “black and white film”
    • not long to go till the next question…
      Sound – As you have heard the score used in the opening sequence, the score/soundtrack is a very important factor when watching almost everything. If I was to just listen to the sound and watch nothing, I should be able to presume what is happening. With our opening sequence, the diegetic sounds of the gunshot, the door opening, the throwing away of the gun are all perfect for one to just have an idea of what genre it is, what particularly is happening in the scene and what emotions to feel.
      Cinematography – I believe this is an element in film which is taken very lightly by the audiences, assuming they don’t know what cinematography is. However, what the audience sees on screen is absolutely important to telling the story and what is happening on screen or what even the viewers should be thinking and feeling. Also, I think to maybe not give so much away in a single shot/frame can work well, as it may frustrate some viewers, it may well work very nicely in the next shot, as something a viewer might have been trying to work out before, has now found out what and why whatever is happening, is happening. So, in terms of the opening sequence, especially giving it’s non-linear approach, a simple cinematography work is relevant, as everything else plays a bigger and crucial part in revealing the plot/storyline.
    • Q.6. What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?
      In the process of creating our project, modern technology was used pretty much throughout. I learnt to develop new skills I hoped to have learnt and I think the end result could’ve been better, but I think it was a well done job.
    • Blog – To store and keep track of all the research and work carried out by myself and the rest of the group, an online blogger site aptly name “blogger.com”. This was convenient for the group and the teacher, because we could go home and have easy access to everyone’s contribution and the teacher could have everyone’s work to mark all in one place. It was easily accessible and a feature to use in the future.
      Research –The Internet, self knowledge of films played a huge part in out research and
      planning. The internet was good to find out any additional information we already didn’t
      know and we also used it to send notes to one another. Social website Facebook was good
      to keep in touch with other group members. However the information maybe untrustworthy,
      we made sure the information was double checked and confirmed reliable.
      Evaluation – Questionnaires as such was handled through printing copies using a Printer, which
      was effective. Opinions were useful for us, as people gave their honest view on what they had seen
      and this was done where they could just use their Computer to access Youtube/Blogger and
      access our blog, which where all our work would be.
      So again, the Internet worked to our favour.
    • PowerPoint - The use of Microsoft PowerPoint allowed me to draft and work on my evaluation, to create a more visual than text method of showing the evaluation of my media product. The use of technology blatantly played a part in this, rather then cutting pictures out and sticking them on a sheet, then writing my points down.
      To film our sequence, we used a digital camera, a tripod to place the camera, provided by
      the department. Initially, I was put down for filming, which I did, but due to dates and timing
      Conflicts, I was only able to shoot a segment of the sequence, which I felt was unfortunate.
    • We used iMovie HD to edit our footage, we used scraps of footage which proved to be useful.
      The video effects played a vital part in editing the lighting, to hide our ex group member holding
      a stick with a camera light at the top of it.
      We also used the Black and White transition effect to give the footage the film-noir element
      and to emphasize the plot was “Shades of Grey”
      Again, on paper, me and Chelsea were put down for editing, but we all put in input in editing
      in the end.
    • Q.7. Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?
      From filming and editing a conversation between one another, to creating Shades of Grey, I have evidently learnt a significant amount, whether it’s from handling a camera to editing footage. I’ve learnt every footage shot can be used and not to think footage not used as “useless” as sometimes, they can always be put and have a vast change in the whole scene, whether it changes the mood/tension of the scene or the actual plot
      I enjoyed taking advantage shooting a scene, in different shots. I think this can add a very good editing scenario, where the editor can use a different shots and to create a very good effect, such as fade in, fade out transitions or maybe even go that one step further and have two different shots shown on a split screen, to show a different aspect of the scene.
      The playing around with the sounds played effective, as it only took an Audio FX to enhance the “suspense”.
    • As you can see, the two shots consist of a medium shot and a P.O.V (Point Of View) shot.
      These two shots convey the emotions the person being attacked and also the person attacking.
      I think, I learnt this type of fast editing is vital to show the pace of a action scene, which is very
      useful to use in a crime/thriller film.
    • Conclusion
      I believe we created this product to the best of our ability and that certain issues, such as
      group members being expelled, timing, the unreliability of actors conflicted with each of our
      creative input.
      Because I picked to film a 2min scene for another project, timing conflicts also appeared
      and events, such as a family wedding come in between my own creative input.
      I think, being in a group has it’s advantages, but then it also has it’s advantages and I felt this
      because it was obvious our egos clashed and not all points and views were heard or they were
      Ignored. I felt this was due to the pressure of getting this done on time. I guess you could say
      we all wanted the scene to be our own and our full and own input was in it. For example, I
      Picked out 5 different musical scores, but these were totally scrapped and we’re replaced by
      something I had no say in and totally un-credited for.
      In the end, I believe the opening sequence could’ve been better, but then I also believe it
      could’ve been worse, so I’m satisfied and pleased with the end result. I didn’t think I’d be able
      to pull it off, in a group or not, but given the practice with everything, I’m confident in going
      back and doing it over again, given the chance.