The Evaluation Media Project Title: K.S.G.S (School Ground Serial Killer) Candidate Name: Calum Burton Candidate Number: 8009 Centre Number: 42139
In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
My Media product uses many conventions of the horror genre. First would be the way that the ‘monster’ is always shown in Point Of View shots so that the audience has a sense of how close the monster is, and the way that the audience never sees the ‘monster’ clearly is another convention of the horror genre that I have used for my piece to increase tension in the piece, inspired by films such as The Burning and Friday The 13th . There is a part where the camera zooms into a tree, then the camera shakes wildly, this was intentional. Inspired by The Blair Witch Project it is a technique to decrease focus and tension so that there is a big shock when the ‘monster’ appears from behind the tree.
One of the biggest horror convention would be the way that everything is set up in the opening dialogue in the way that the dialogue starts off casual between two characters, and then there is a definite turn to the conversation as it turns darker and starts to set up the story so that the audience can grasp what is happening whilst still keeping it quite ambiguous.
The music is of my own invention much like John Carpenter. The chase music was inspired by John Carpenter’s Halloween theme, in the way of having a simple organ riff that changes the pitch down when it plays for a second time. For the first section I experimented with a few notes in a singular loop, then by using the same notes played in a different order, I was able to come up with the first piece of music and the chase music that is heard in my final piece.
I have avoided a cliché of the horror genre in my piece, I have avoided the use of stock footage and stock sound effects, evident in such films as Zombie Creeping Flesh , and instead created my own music and sound effects to be included. Although I do feel that I could have done much better if I had moved much more into the serious horror genres such as psychological horror. But instead I was insistent that I would go for a classic horror mix of seriousness and cheese, evident in films such as Evil Dead 2 , and Plan 9 From Outer Space .
How does your media product represent particular social groups?
The main social groups represented in my film are young teenagers, age 14-17. Classes represented are B and BC, and the majority of our cast is male. The social group I represent are average, everyday teenagers in a rural school setting.
One of the most important factor of the social group represented in my media piece is that they are bullies, which is referenced in my piece very clearly such as through the lines ‘I feel guilty’ and ‘remember, it wasn’t any of us’.
In my film the male character is shown as quite dominant as it is him that is explaining to the female character what has happened, and also trying to reassure her about the situation. He also survives the monster whilst the female doesn’t, which is another generic convention of horror movies, most notably the slasher genre.
What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?
My media product will most likely be distributed by a small scale film industry specialising in horror mainly because it is an independent horror movie lacking a budget and mind blowing special effects, such distributors include Troma Films, Vipco, and WingNut Films.
This could also be distributed by a TV company because of the lack of gore and sexual content and a finished film could be distributed as a TV movie like IT , Salem’s Lot and Dark Night Of The Scarecrow, which are scary, low budget TV horror films that have become cult classics. Although I am confident that it may not get much airtime on TV.
I believe that because of the content and the scary scenes in my film, but a lack of violence, gore and sexual content. My film may be classed by the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) as a 12 (12A in cinemas) for scary scenes and strong threat.
Who would be the audience for your media product?
The audience would be late teen, young adult, or mainly adult audiences, which is the typical audience for a horror film. There might be attraction from a couple of younger/older audiences because of the lack of gore or sexual content in my film, also, there may be more male viewers than female viewers because our film is a very male dominated cast and male dominated film, as the only female character is killed. But because of the lack of gore, there may be interest from female viewers as well.
How did you attract/address your audience?
One of the main techniques I have used to immerse my audience into my film is using POV shots from the point of view of different characters, most notably, the monster’s point of view. I have also used dialogue that is very relative to the film in increasing tension and telling the back story of the plot, although I have done this very discreetly, as I have incorporated it into a normal conversation between two characters, which is another generic convention of a horror film.
One of the most notable scenes is the monster emerging from behind a tree, which I have used to shock the audience as they haven’t seem the monster so far, I have put a metallic effect to the scene with makes the monster itself illegible, but the motion of the monster is unmissable, also the sound of the monster growling very loud enhances the shock value as it jumps out onto the audience.
The chase scenes between the monster and the female victim are very important in attracting my audience to my media piece. As they are very fast paced, and the way the camera moves from the monsters Point of View makes it seem like the monster is very agile and can move and climb very quickly. There is also a point where the monster is much closer to the victim than the audience will think which also increases the tension in my piece. Finally a black background littered with sound effects is the finishing touch to my piece as it engages the viewer’s imagination about what has happened to the victim and creates an effective kill scene without the kill actually being shown on film.
What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?
From the use of the technology I have learnt many things, such as we began having problems with the music as I recorded the music on my phone in a format that wasn’t recognised by Adobe Elements or even WinFF. We had to download an independent converter to convert the file to mp3, which then I could upload onto Adobe Elements.
I have experimented with many different effects with Adobe Elements such as black and white and colour changing. I have also learnt clearly of how to trim and edit my film to its desired length and how to change speed to cut time and increase tension, to name but a few things that I am very capable of using. The most important effect I learnt was the zoom function, as it allowed me to remove a revealing mistake from the film.
All in all, my experience with Adobe Elements have made more capable with the software, I understand much more about the software, its uses and what is available and not available. By editing a few ‘short’ films using other peoples unused and unedited footage, the software allowed me to experiment with effects, sound and titles. Which I have incorporated clearly into my final product.
Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?
I have learned many things such as experimenting with more visual effects and learning to use a different software program for editing. I have learned how to use and utilise many different horror conventions for my film piece such as discreet back story dialogue, and a male killer.
Most notably I have learned how to write a script much better as the script/dialogue I used for my preliminary task was phenomenally terrible. I tried to show that a character was hiding emotions, but instead it looks much worse. With my main task, I have incorporated much more into the dialogue what with setting up a back story and clearly showing a friendly relationship between the two characters which is a large improvement since my preliminary task.
I have increased my ability with the camera; using different shots and style, most notably the Point Of View shot, to increase belief of the monsters abilities, and by using different shots I am able to focus on the monster and the victim separately which helps the audience focus on their relationship as monster and victim.
I feel that the end product is quite good and very well done, however, I would have to work on keeping a camera steady as a couple of shots there are camera movement where there shouldn’t be. However I hope that this won’t pull me down too badly as it is only in a couple of scenes and doesn’t continue for the rest of the piece, and there are multiple cuts which mask points of unwanted camera wobble. Next time, I will be sure to ether learn how to hold a camera more steadily or get someone else to do the camera work whilst I direct.