Introduction For our Media Studies Coursework we decided to create an opening sequence, which we named The Runaway. I worked in a group of three which consisted of me, Joseph Beard and Alex Holden. My particular contributions to the project were; acting and editing. We began our project by researching existing opening sequences; we had an idea that we wanted to do something which incorporated the teen genre but at the same time was targeting the teen audience, after analyzing kidulthood, we decided it was a good idea to add in violence that teens come across in real life situations, our aim was to make quite a gritty, realistic film, we wanted to make our film a hybrid to generate a wider audience, so we added in aspect of horror, which consist of the girl being followed through the woods. Another Film which influenced our location was Eden Lake, this is set mainly in a woods, in this film I think it helps to create tension and a sense of isolation and this is what we wanted in our film. Eden lakes titles are white and set on a black background, we liked this and how incorporated a sense of darkness to the film, we decided it would be a good idea to have our titles the same, by having them white with a basic black background makes it look simple and helps to focus the audience more on what is happening within the sequence.
Target Audience Response For our target audience response we decided let a group of teenagers watch our film and then we would record there response, to see this recording refer back to the blogger. One of the girls we questioned said that she felt the genre was horror and she could tell this because the girl in our opening sequence is running away from home. All of our audience agreed that it was a teen genre because it covered teen issues. It was immediately clear to the audience that the girl was the main protagonist, this was good for us because it was what we aimed for. They also agreed that it was very clear what was happening in the sequence. Overall I think that the target audience response was very positive and shows that our film could be a success. Click image to link you back to the Alex-Charlotte-Joseph page which contains the audience response video .
How does your media product represent particular social groups? Our opening sequence includes an all white cast which rules out the use of racial issues, therefore it focuses on gender representation. Our opening sequence covers issues on violence, we decided to use a male character to play the abusive parent because the male stereotypically is seen as the violent, aggressive character, in comparison to a female, who is seen as the damsel in distress, so we have played on this for our opening sequence to create the right reaction from the audience, we want them to feel sympathy for the female and feel hate towards the male. By dressing the male character in dark colours and having his hair messy and is face unshaven, it gives a sense that he is quite a rugged character. By dressing the female in teen clothes, which consists of a hooded top and jeans but having them quite plain and she is wearing no make up reveals to the audience that she has to much going on to bother about her appearance, it also helps to create sympathy for her. In one shot it shows the male character punching through the door, this immediately shows to audience that he is violent, it also creates an enigma; which is who may be behind the door? This is revealed when the next flashback shot shows her cowering away with her hands up, by acting like this it shows that she is defenceless and to weak stand up for herself, which adds to the damsel in distress character. Shot conveys to the audience That the male is aggressive
In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? For our opening sequence we decided to combine the genres; teen and horror. For these we decided to use a mixture of the twos conventions. For example we used the typical setting of a teenage bedroom and woods which was adapted from the horror genre. We decided to use a teenage girl has the main protagonist, which linked in with the teen genre, we also thought it would be good to use a girl because stereotypically a female is seen as the damsel in distress and she played the damsel in distress in our opening sequence. We used a black and white effect on the violent scenes, to add tension to the horror genre. Our opening sequence was based around the girl running away from her abusive father, but by adding shots from behind trees and in bushes, created the effect that she was being watched, which is typical for a horror genre. It is vital to use typical elements so that the audience immediately have a little understanding of what they are watching, what they expect from the genre and if it is to their taste. By adding Flashback scenes to the opening sequence it gives the audience an idea of what is going on without the use of any dialogue. By using typical elements from each genre you are more likely to get a wider range of viewers, who are looking for different things from the film, by having more viewers who are likely to enjoy your film, it has a better chance of being successful. Shots like these from behind trees or in bushes creates the sense that she is being watched
What Kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why? One of the main aims for our opening sequence was that we wanted it to look gritty and realistic we took this inspiration from the film kidulthood, in order for our product to have this effect it would be best to looking at using the same British production company which was stealth films. For our opening sequence it is probably best using a British company because Hollywood films are more glossy and unrealistic especially films that would be classed in the same teen/horror genre as our film such as; Prom night and You know what you did last summer. I think our film as quite a unique aspect about it, that it covers the controversial topic of violence at home. Kidulthood can be seen as quite controversial due to its violent scenes and issues it covers such as; knife crime and drug abuse. Therefore I think Stealth Films are likely to back our product because they have already made a film which covers controversial issues.
Who would be the audience for your media product? The target audience for our opening sequence; The Runaway is teens. We decided to target the audience because we felt that people of this age may be able to enjoy or even relate to what is going on in the film. From our questionnaire we can see that we were correct in choosing this target audience because teen genre was the one that most people would prefer, a mixture came second, which clarified to us that to reach out to this target audience we should combine the horror and teen genre. I believe that they are potentially mass audience because it appeals to teens in general not any specific group, it also covers many teen issues, such as; problems at home and not being able to fit in, therefore people may also be able to relate to it. They are also right for our project financially because it is usually teenagers who have the disposable income from part-time jobs to spend on things they want such as; films.
How did you attract/address your audience? The music plays a big part in our project, it was made by my group members; Joseph and Alex. They are both in bands and have made quite a rocky/guitar based piece of music to fit in with the target audience, by looking on MySpace you can see that this music has become very popular and has a good teen following, this reveals that teens are likely to enjoy the film. The music also helps to build tension, at the start in the scenes were she is packing her bag the music is quite quiet and slow, as it cuts to the clip which says; ACJ Production it leaves the audience in suspense of what she is going to do next, the next clip shows her running through the forest, the music helps to build tension by speeding up at this point and become quite loud which also helps to shock the audience. I believe that the slow motion shot of the girls face also helps to build tension, by having the shot close up, the audience can see from her facial expression that she is panicking. By setting the scenes where she is being followed in a woods, helps to enhance the horror aspect because the person following her could be hiding anywhere. By using flashbacks that only reveal certain parts of what is going on throughout the opening sequence it creates enigmas such as; who is the male hitting out at through the door way? By using a quick flash transition in between the flashback clips it immediately indicates to the audience that it is in the past. Keeping the audience captivated. The message of our opening sequence is that the male is stronger than the female, conveying that men are in power over women, this has been shown in many other films, where the male is seen as violent and the women are seen as defenceless. As it has been shown to be successful in other films, I believed it would be a success for our film. The disruption in the narrative happens at the end of our piece when she bumps into her father, it leaves the audience wondering what is going to happen next and keeps them wanting to watch more. Disruption in the narrative High shot from behind males Shoulder conveys that the girl Is powerless
What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product? Using the blogger to comment on our pieces has helped me to keep organised and showing me what needs to be done next, it also has helped me for when I needed to look back at information for example; the questionnaire. The blogger is an online site which means I can easily access whenever I need to go on it. For my research I had to analyse a clip of the film ‘Kidulthood’, for this clip I just typed the name into YouTube and it came up with various clips that I could use, because the clip was on YouTube all I had to do was simply type the embed code into a new post on the blogger and comment on it. I have learnt a lot about filming and editing before this project I had no experience on iMovie, it was very easy to understand, by being able to undo edits meant that if we cut something wrong then we could easily undo it, which helped us at the end when we were fitting the music to clip and we needed some clips to last longer so the music would sync in. iMovie allowed us to mute the dialogue in the clips so it did not interfere with the music. By being able to put shots that we had recorded in colour into black and white meant we could show it was past tense. We were also able to slow down the pace of a shot to convey disorientation and panic. Although there where limitations for example; we couldn’t use some of the transitions between clips because the clips were to short. The cameras we used was really helpful because it included a little screen so we were able to rewind clips that we had just filmed to make sure they were ok and if they weren’t we could just re-do them, for example we filmed some shots of the father through the doorway, we looked back at them and they were to dark, by being able to look back at them there and then meant we could re-do then instead of having to wait until we had discovered the problem in the editing suite, which saved us a lot of time.
Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression it to the full product? The prelim task was a great learning curve for me, as I missed the iMovie training due to illness the prelim task was my first time using it and I picked it up really easily and I felt like it was simple to use. As you can see from our prelim task we used music but left in the dialogue, this could have caused some confusion for the audience because both the music and the dialogue were set at the same volume. So to eliminate this confusion we decided to mute the dialogue in our main project and focus on the music, which helped to build the tension throughout. Also some of the clips jumped from one to another, which revealed to us the great attention accuracy is needed when cutting clips to make them flow smoothly, a few seconds could determine if the clip looked smooth or not. In conclusion I feel like we produced a good product, specific shots were key in our opening sequence to create different atmospheres, for example the shots from behind bushes and in trees were key in conveying to the audience that she was being followed, the last shot was a high shot of the girl from behind her father’s shoulder this was key in creating suspense and revealing that she was powerless. I think we worked very well together bringing out each other strengths. I feel like we have been organised throughout and our roles in creating the opening sequence were clear, for example I knew it was that my strengths were acting and editing so I focused on them leaving the filming to Joseph and Alex, Joseph and Alex were experienced in creating music therefore I left that to them and once it was finished I made sure the shots fitted in with the music. Overall I am very pleased with our final product. http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v =PuaoAXzgHl0 This is the link to our Preliminary Task on YouTube
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