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EVALUATIONACTIVITY 1In what ways does your media product, use or challengeforms and conventions of real media products?
After thorough research on original thriller movies, as a group, we had come to the conclusion that the idea of a thriller was one that built tension. Despite the idea that our piece may slide towards the horror genre, due to the telling of the ghost story, but we felt it built a good volume of tension; the feeling of being on the edge of your seat and shaking with anticipation to know what happens next. The story of this thriller opening is explained by the characters themselves. A group of drama students practicing have taken a break, in which one character takes the advantage of the creepy setting and decides to retell a ghost story. The story telling goes on to become a voice over as the opening cuts between establishing shots of the school they are in at night, and a mysterious sixth character. The genre of this opening is that of a thriller with hints of horror, which is attempted to be made from the dark setting of the piece and the cuts between the unknown girl running, and the establishing shots.
We were caught with the question; why are there students atnight? Well, the characters playing in this piece were all part ofthe schools drama club, who are preparing for a performanceto come, resulting in late ours of practicing. The location for thismeeting was important as we had to consider the mise-en-scene. Where would be in a drama room? It was very importantto create a theatrical room for this piece; even though it wasvery subtle, the use of an open and empty room was veryuseful. Drama students need room to practice! The tiny props,such as the big curtains in the back of the room and the bigstage lights on the other side of the room added perfectly tothe theatrical feeling we were hoping for.
As a group we had created character profiles which described not only the costumes andappearance of the characters but the personality of each of them. Now, as stated before,these characters are drama students, so we had to take into account how they would dressand look over all. We felt that instead of a tightly fit school uniform, casual clothing would fit thecharacters much better. We wanted their clothes to be considerably light, to contrast againstthe darkness of the set, making them stand out and making sure the audience focus on themwhen theyre on screen (as seen in shot 2).The characters here are mostly introduced through the dialogue of the piece; we can identifyfrom the shots and the voices that there are five different characters. The actors had to portraytheir personalities through their tone of voice more than their facial expressions and actions dueto the film opening jumping between different scenes. The use of voice overs came in veryeffective as the ghost telling went on to be said despite the scenes shifting between the dramaclub and a sixth, mysterious character. Characters: Six students; specifically part of the schools drama club - 2 boys and 3 girls (not certain). Character 1 (boy): Telling the ghost story of the mute girl. Should be confident and mysterious while narrating and slightly mischievous, as he is eager to scare the other characters. Character 2 (boy): Listens rather tentatively, however shows no initial reaction to the story and keeps his emotions and thoughts in check. Doesnt want to show any fear due to pride, and since he is the leader of the group. Character 3 (girl): Gives her full attention and seems rather eager for the story, however she isnt very affected due to her strong personality and teases the scared girls next to her. Character 4 (girl): Her fear shows evidently on her face as she clings to character five continuously. She tends to eye the room around her at times to make sure nothing is there. Character 5 (girl): Attempts in hiding the fact she is scared out of her wit due to character 4 constantly depending on her, however when character six walks in the room, she is the most frightened and reacts the loudest out of all of them. Character 6 (girl): Isnt in the room with the other five characters in the beginning, but is the one running down the hall, however you only hear her deep breath and smacking shoes as she runs down the hallway; suggest fear of the dark and the unknown.
This unknown character is immediately introduced after the opening line "Have youguys heard of the ghost that haunts our school?" Once the ghost telling goes on, theaudience should feel a sense of ambiguity, as they are confused as to whether this girlrunning is actually the ghost that haunts their school or if its another student? This isuncertainty built inside the audience can cause immediate tension. Tension which isneed to make a good thriller. This girl is running, from someone? Something? Theaudience never knows, and the fact that this girls face is never revealed adds moretension. The use of decreasing focus on the screen is made deliberate in order to givethis sixth character a mysterious yet fearful feeling, adding tension to the thrillerconvection.The audience is constantly left on the edge of their seats, filled with fear or anticipatingas to who this character is, and what shes doing. A contrast between this mysterious girland the ghost is made clear, as the description given on the ghost is not portrayedthrough the girl running, however the fact this girl is never heard speaking could also pullthe audience back in to wander if it is a flashback? Or another scene happening at thesame time? This confusing tension was made deliberate to create a mysterious yetanticipating feeling within the audience; necessary for a thriller.
The camera work were very essential aspects to creating the omniscient and eeriefeeling of the piece as a whole. As seen in shot four, we had taken a point of view shotof this unknown girl running, with a hand held camera, we had run down the hall, inattempt to express the fear and confusion of the girl running. The us of a point of viewshot almost makes the audience take on the role and feel immersed in the scene. Thereare no shots taken behind the girl running, which suggests that the girl running, as wellas the audience doesnt know exactly what they are running from. Thus creating afearful tension, felt in many horror movies, which links to our genre of horror. The tension continues to build through the tracking shots taken of the girls feet as they run, these shots were taken with the stools and tables in front, so the camera only caught her feet between the seats as she ran. The unfocused shots taken here were used to suggest the rattling emotions felt between the girl running, contrasted against the drama club members. Where we have the girl running away in fear and the members anticipating the fear that is to come with the telling of this ghost story. These contrasting and shattering feelings are projected into the audience as a way to build tension into the two scenes.
With the opening reaching the climax of the tension, notice how the last time we seethe girl running is when she finally turns back to look’. The use of lighting in this scene iscontrasted between the light blaring behind the door and the darkness of the hall thegirl is in. This light is almost a symbol of hope for this girl, however the audience neverreally knows whether she made it into that light or not. This uncertainty goes onto tobuild as the scene refocuses on the drama club members. The line "Its rumoured at 6:48,everyday, when the halls are silent, she roams around the school." is suggestive of theclimax of this opening, tension has been built to its highest. Fear has been shoved intothe audience through the characters, as the characters go into to turn to focus on theclock (shot 7), the audience finds themselves focusing as the clock as well as it tick tock,tick tock its way to 6:48. Whilst that the jumping shots between the clock and the door(shot 8) continues to shift, the audiences attention and feelings begin to rattle; theseconflicting emotions brings affect into what makes our thriller opening... thrilling! The use of editing in this piece is mainly subjected with continuity shots. The piece slowly begins in establishing shots of the school, which is overtaken by the shots of the drama club members, which eventually coincide with the shots of the mysterious sixth character. The use of fade in, fade out editing is used when the camera is circling around the drama club members allowing the close up shots of their faces to quickly introduce the characters individually to the audience.
The use of font and style is very subtle in the opening credits of this piece. We hadintended to go for a simple and cold feeling for the font. Nothing that stood out of thescreen but not to an extent in which people completely ignored it. This was specificallyinspired by the film Flight Plan, where its opening had simple credits in white and almostblended in with the scenes. We also felt that the use of white font would make it stand outagainst the dark setting of the piece.The title MUTE was also done in a similar font with the same intentions for the credits.However, we wanted more focus on the title as we wanted to make it a name that stoodout and could be remembered. The abrupt and direct use of the word mute isreminiscent of that idea as we felt that the smaller the titles and the better itd stay inpeoples minds. With this in mind, we used special effects to make the small blue light inthe background, intending to give the title a very cold and eerie feeling as it slowly blinksacross the screen.The title of the film originated from the protagonist of the ghost story. Further on into theplot of our story, these same club members are suddenly targeted by a mysterious personwith intent to harm them under the pen name Mute, blaming all these harmful incidentson the ghost of the girl that had committed suicide.