David Martin Media Studies Mr Bliss
In What Ways Does Your Media Product Use, Develop or Challenge Forms and
Conventions of Real Media Products?
Our media product uses, develops and challenges many forms and conventions of real media products of
today and in the past. Our media product is based on the genre of comedy, and my group and I have looked at the
history of this genre and pin pointed many different ways of which we can portray this or better it. We have also
looked at some of our previous inspirational short films which helped us string together ideas and develop some of
The first thing you will notice when watching our short film, is that it is a Silent Film. We looked back at the
first films made by the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, and we took on board what their motive was.
Charlie’s motive was that he would be in a setting and he would walk around until something happened naturally in
an environment that was funny, in other words it’s not done on purpose. This was very popular and proved to
audiences that speech wasn’t necessary in films in order to carry across the humorous meaning being portrayed. We
as a group liked this idea and wanted to incorporate this into our film. So silence is a technique we have used, but
Charlie Chaplin/Buster Keaton also gave us another idea we have used also and that is Slapstick Humour. In
Chaplin’s era it was seen that Slapstick included chases, collisions and practical jokes. We have developed this idea
because chases then made the whole film feel like it was quick snappy action, as our characters are late for school
we will use this idea or speediness to portray the “rushing around” in our film. So not only have we used silence, we
have also developed the Humour they used, and made it into something suitable for our Film.
As we were veering into the silent movie direction we decided to include the ‘Black & White’ effect into it. It
is a common ideology that films which are silent were black and white because then films didn’t have the technology
to integrate sound. But because we are aiming it to an audience of today, we wanted to modernise it slightly. By
doing this we are adding colours to our film, but not just randomly, we want to include semiotics, for example a car
is about to hit one of our characters – so the car will be red. This portrays danger and the audience will recognise
this. Technology today is very advanced so we wanted to use this opportunity to show the audience we aren’t just
having the whole thing black and white, but that we want to modernise it. Therefore challenging the Black and white
convention and taking it in a different direction.
After agreeing on this, we thought Modernisation was a very key factor from then on. The costume is a very
vital part in the film because it tells the two characters apart, but as this is aimed at a modern audience we wanted
to develop the costumes used in the 1900’s silent films and make them into something that works with our short
film. Bowler hats, suits, tuxedos, overcoats etc were used frequently in silent movies (Chaplin) to a) portray what
type of person they are and b) their class and status. We wanted to develop this idea into a modern version so one
of our characters is wearing smart clothing of today, and the other looks like a complete mess. It’s effectively
keeping the same idea but making it more compatible with today’s era.
Once again sticking with the silent movies, we decided to integrate background music. Silent movies made in
the past usually had a honky-tonk styled music track which conveyed the mood of the clip throughout, so we were
going to use this idea as well. Instead of honky-tonk we used a digital piano, and played using dynamics and speed to
correspond to the action simultaneously. This way we could interact with the audience without dialogue and tell
them what the situation is through the texture of the background music.
As dialogue was absent in the older silent movies we wanted to incorporate the technique they used that is
“Inter-titles”. If a character wants to say something, a slide will appear with the text that he would normally say out
loud. We will also have a specially made slide to fit with the style of the film, and after 3 seconds or so it will revert
back to the action. As we wanted to have a modern approach throughout we will put modern slang in the form of
text onto the slides and make the font reasonably up to date to give it that contemporary edge.
Finally the “old” style film isn’t complete without the shakiness/grain effect to enhance it that little more
and make the whole film seem like it merges both older and today’s comedy and visual forms and conventions
Our inspirational clips helped us an enormous amount, each member of our group looked at a different clip
and then contributed ideas forward. The video I analysed was called “Late for School” and some of its conventions
helped me form ideas for our media product.
David Martin Media Studies Mr Bliss
For example keeping the camera still is a very hard thing to do but the clip used it to its advantage, because
as the pupil rushed around the camera followed him, as if the camera were eyes bobbing up and down. It gave the
effect that the camera was the pupil. To develop and challenge this idea, we followed the camera and never made it
a point of view shot because we wanted to capture all the emotions and facial expressions of the character. Due to
the clip using a lot of POV shots it meant they used limited angles so we developed this by adding many more angles
and dimensions to our film. It helped us portray the surrounding setting (mise en scene) and give the audience a
variety of angles to see what the characters are doing. This also developed on from the old silent movies because we
have advanced technology compared to the 1900’s which once again conveys the modern viewpoint.
In all 3 of our inspirational clips the focus was on one character, so we challenged this by concentrating on
two completely different characters. This way the audience don’t have to continuously watch the journey from
home to school of one character, instead it will switch between both characters before their paths finally cross. We
did this so the audience can get an idea of what the characters are like, and in our case seeing what bad luck they
have along the way. We believe this was better because the characters are a boy and a girl, so as the film changes
between them, the male and female audience can relate to what is happening to them because in most cases it is
common bad luck.
In conclusion our film frequently uses forms and conventions from the older silent movies but we have put a
modern twist to it so the audience of today can recognise the differences, it also shows how far technology has
progressed and what we can do with it today. We have developed a few ideas but mainly challenged them by taking
one and going in the opposite direction or just by making them better with the help/technology we had available to
us. Overall the audience should recognise the modern features included and the comedy conventions that are