For my coursework in Media, I decided to put all of the things I have learned about generic conventions and micro-elements into an opening sequence called ‘Maggie’ which is basically a psychological thriller about a young woman and her boyfriend. The story evolves around her and her secrets but it also includes a ‘missing child’ to raise enigmas.
There were only two people, including myself, who were involved in the production of ‘Maggie’ and my main involvements were to film, edit, place the music and voiceover with the film.
In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
In my project, it portrays the main character as ‘childlike and even though she has a mysterious side to her, she is someone the audience can relate to as she can also be seen as the victim. This allows the audience to ‘feel’ for her and want to follow her through the rest of the story and this is a typical generic convention for any thriller.
Other conventions which were used were that some scenes were shot in woodland which is one standard location for thrillers.
However, we decided to challenge the usual generic conventions to an extent by altering a few things such as not establishing a threat, I.E most thrillers have created a threat which tends to be a killer within the first minute or so of the film.
There were no weapons or scenes of violence used in the sequence unlike most thrillers that tend to use and follow these typical conventions.
How does your media product represent particular social groups?
The product represents youth as the story rotates around two young people in their early twenties who are significantly different from the common society. Reflecting on the uniqueness of youths. However, if you look at the story as a whole, ignoring the character performances, you can see a typical working class couple and this in itself can represent society in general as the vast majority of the population are similar to these two characters.
This is helpful as the audience can relate to both characters more easily.
The main character, Maggie, is dressed and acts as more of a victim because she is childlike therefore vulnerable. However, this is deceiving the audience as during the rest of the story, she is made out to be the threat so therefore this deviates from her real role and lures the audience into a false sense of security.
Her boyfriend however, is given a dark and mysterious image from the clothes he is wearing and the fact he has no name. Despite this, he is still someone who can be empathised with which means the audience will respond to both characters as hoped.
What kind of media institution might distribute you media product and why?
First Look Studios would be the kind of institution which would distribute my product and others similar in style. This is because First Look Studios is the kind of media institution which deals with ‘home made’ movies and low budget video.
Who would be the audience for you media product
‘ Maggie’ targets a young audience. For example, late teens or people in their early twenties. There is not targeted gender or race but a young audience is a good target audience to have because the range is large and therefore the product would sell, making more money. This would be financially beneficial.
From the audience feedback I received, the comments made were positive and if any negative comments were made, it would allow us to change the product in future to suit the audience’s needs.
How did you attract and address your audience?
To attract the target audience, all I was required to do was to present them with what they expected from an opening sequence and this genre in order to satisfy them. For example, equilibrium is established overall as the opening sequence develops and the audience can see the story begin to unfold which creates many enigmas which are not answered, making the audience want to watch the rest of the film.
This is what the audience recognise as ‘normal’ for this genre, allowing them to be comfortable whilst watching it.
The use of a voiceover also helped determine an equilibrium as it allows the audience to feel involved in the story as they know more about it. It gives the audience an insight into the sequence.
From the audience feedback, I found that the sequence was viewed in order and so flowed well to avoid confusion. Also, the music was said to be well suited to the film and helped to create a sinister, yet childlike image for Maggie. Feedback from the audience also suggested that the fast-paced editing we used worked well and the mise en scene helped the story to unravel for example, the camera.
The use of binary opposition and linear fashion
Created a contrast between the two characters. Maggie is seen walking round in a white dress whereas her boyfriend is always in a dark costume. The binary opposition is between the black and white which mirrors the character’s personalities. The product does not follow any particular stereotype or ideologies of crime but it does however stereotype gender roles to an extent. For example, Maggie is in a dress which is seen as ‘normal’ for a girl and often is the stereotypical image people have of girls.
The creation of enigmas hooks the audience to the film as they wait in anticipation for the answers which are either answered or not.
The opening sequence also ends on an enigma as it has her boyfriend saying ‘today she is going to tell me’ and so the audience wonders what she is going to tell him. Also the poster of the missing child creates enigmas in itself as the audience wonders what the significance of that child is.
What have you learnt about the technologies from the process of constructing this product?
I used a range of different technologies such as, iMovie and blogger both of which I had not used before. I had however, used a video camera and so, I was familiar with how to work with it. This was an advantage when filming and helped to speed up the pace. I feel that my skills were challenged but overall adapted when using the iMovie to edit the film and
I thoroughly enjoyed it as it aided to improving my knowledge on the different types of technology used in media today
Once I had gotten used to it all, I found it was very easy to use and work with.
Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?
Since my preliminary task, I feel I have improved greatly and my work has progressed. I was able to identify where I went wrong on my preliminary task and work on different shot sizes and angles to help develop my final product by including techniques which my preliminary task lacked.
By doing this, I feel like my final product was significantly better than my preliminary task as it had a variety of techniques which are expected of an opening sequence.
Things such as narrative, the use of opening titles, fast-paced editing and shot sizes allowed the final product to look more authentic and professional. One thing that I could not change was the time I was permitted for the preliminary task and I find that being able to have more time on the final opening sequence was better as it gave more time for me to capture more shots so my partner and I had a variety to choose from and edit.
Overall, I find my final product came together very well and I am proud of both mine and my partner’s work. I think that the fast-paced editing and mixture of shot sizes and techniques looked professional on the whole. However, I do see room for improvement still and hope that in time, I will be able to use the skills learnt in future to help overcome my weaknesses. Weaknesses for example, the time limit we had inhibited us from improving it I.e having a wider range of music to choose from to create a better compatibility.
If more time was allowed to have been spent on the product, I think that in time, the final opening sequence and others similar could be distributed into society.