In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
With a film trailer you have to be careful not to show too much to the audience, I believe with my trailer I have stuck to this convention as it’s quite short in length but it also gives just enough to create suspense and hopefully leave the audience wanting to know more. I have used a variety of different shots which I think is very conventional, with shots such as low angle and close up’s I think I have managed to represent the characters as well as I can without giving much away. In the trailer I have decided to include an antagonist of which nobody knows what it is, whether its alive or not. I believe the scariest films are one’s in which people think could happen, film’s such as ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ and ‘Halloween’, the reason for me deciding to go with an antagonist like this is because I want to leave a lot to the imagination which I believe I have done relatively well.
For horror films particularly, I think it’s conventional to have at least one person/thing that terrorises a group or person and this is the idea I’ve gone for. I don’t represent the other characters all that much, although in one scene I have 3 of them talking and discussing what could be happening, I have Tom, who is pacing up and down saying what are they going to do. This I believe is the stereotypical movie character in horror films who is never sure and always on edge, these characters are normally the first to be killed and this is why I wanted to portray Tom like this as he is small in size and also worries a lot. Another character I used was Lee, this was the main protagonist character. The one who is always in control and knows what to do, in horror film’s this character is normally the one who survives and ends up face to face with the antagonist. The third character in the scene is Greg, the laid back one who everyone likes and doesn’t take things all too seriously, these are all conventional characters for a horror film which is the reason I have decided to include them.
Although my film follows conventions I have attempted to challenge them, in certain scenes I have decided to have no dialogue and keep the soundtrack. As the more traditional teaser trailers are simple, not giving too much of the narrative away, with lots of establishing dialogue, i decided to develop this convention by using different shots but these shots were not necessarily in the right order. in the majority of film trailers I’ve seen the dialogue is kept as much as possible to portray each character but I wanted to keep as much hidden as possible. Also I don’t show the antagonist for longer than a second or two, I want most things hidden from the audience to keep them guessing. Although my film is a horror, I have decided to do a lot of my scenes in the daylight; I believe this to be un-conventional for a film of this genre which is why I decided to go with this. I think it portrays the realism of the film; I didn’t want the film to seem un-realistic.
For my magazine I have chosen to stay close to conventions as I didn’t want to run the risk of the cover looking more like a poster. Unlike the trailer or poster, the magazine is re-usable, it can be passed-on, re-read, looked at in shops etc. I have kept the masthead at the top of the page and made sure it stands out well, I have done this because the magazine will always have the name and to make it look realistic I chose to keep to this. I have placed it at the top of the page because my audience are like most, when they read they would prefer to go from the top of the page to the bottom rather than from the middle outwards. Other than the title I have kept a colour scheme present, as the issue is portraying my film which is a horror I have kept the colours dark, I believe this connotes a dark and mysterious feel to it which my film heavily reliant on.
The main image is taken from the film, not an actual scene but it shows the antagonist in front of woods with lights shining through, this is portraying evil, which is another link to my film. I think it’s conventional for a magazine to have an image, especially when it’s something such as a film magazine, as they are more than likely going to be talking about films then I think it’s important for them to show images to entice the audience. Finally I put a strip across the page, towards the bottom; this includes images of other films. I believe this is conventional because as I am designing a film magazine, it can’t just feature one film; it needs to attract a wider audience than just specific audiences who like certain genres.
I haven’t attempted to challenge conventions so much with a magazine as it will always have to look like a magazine, although with certain things I have attempted to do differently. For example I haven’t included any competitions of offered anything for free, this I believe is conventional for magazine’s as it is a good way of attracting people, the reason I didn’t want to include them is because I didn’t want the cover to look too full, or take the attention from the main image. I have attempted to develop certain genre’s, for example in the majority of magazine’s you will see they will always have a main image, normally to portray a new film, whereas I solely focused on this one image and manipulated it so look as if the magazine was entirely focused on that one film, although I do have other images and films beneath the image I didn’t want the attention on them.
For my film poster I have decided once again to follow conventions a lot, the reason behind this is I didn’t want it looking like anything else or looking like it was rushed. I studied film posters for a number of weeks and I found that with the majority of them they all portray the genre of the film from the off, whether it’s a horror film in which the poster will be dark and leave a lot to the imagination, or whether it is a comedy film in which the poster will be fun and bright. As my film is a horror I have followed the conventions and stuck with dark colours, not only does this connote evil and mystery but it also gives the audience an idea into what kind of horror film it is. The image is similar to the one I have on my magazine cover, the reason behind this is because the film focuses around one antagonist and but it isn’t shown much throughout the trailer so to give the audience a better idea into what to expect I decided to have this image on the poster.
I have also placed the title towards the bottom of the screen; I think it is conventional to have the title on the poster, although I don’t think it matters where. The title is a different, brighter colour to the rest of the poster, the reason I have done this is obviously to make it stand out as the name of the film is the thing that will stick in people’s minds and this is what I am trying to achieve in doing this. In all film posters you will see the name mentioned somewhere, otherwise the audience won’t know what film they are looking at, and in the majority of them it is often the focal point of the page and this is why I have made it stand out more so than the rest of the writing. I have made the colour of it red, I did this because red connotes danger and can it is also the colour of blood, which as my film is a horror I believe works well. I have placed the tag line of the film at the top of the page; I think along with the name of the film, people will tend to remember what the tag line is. The reason I have put it at the top is because it isn’t really needed with the main image or title but I did want to have it on the page somewhere, I have made the colours lighter so it doesn’t stand out as much and the attention is still on the title.
I have tried to follow conventions well but I did try to challenge some, for example I have put quotes on the poster, this isn’t seen very often on film posters but as I didn’t want the poster to look bare I wanted to include these and I also think they are a good method of attracting an audience if they are positive.
How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?
I believe that the combination of my main product and my ancillary texts have been both effective and successful because they all link in well with each other, but they also show different things. In both the poster and magazine cover I have used an image which I manipulated myself of the antagonist. This is effective because as an audience, the ancillary texts offer more advertisement of the film, as well as the trailer. Unlike the trailer, and even the poster, a magazine can be re-read/seen, passed through other members of the family and friends. The magazine also offers more information on the film, for example a spoiler coming up, interviews, or simply pictures of their favourite characters which is why I believe it is important to have a good front cover. In the society we live in, when we like a media product we tend to want to know all there is about it including the stories, characters and actors involved. For example my magazine cover advertises an inside look to the film, I did this because I believe it will attract my target audience more so than if I just had an image saying ‘new film out soon’. If I offer the audience more to know about the film then I believe this will work both ways for me as they will find out more and hopefully like it, and it would also raise the profile of my film.
Both the magazine and poster are taken from the film itself, and along with the trailer are all to advertise for actual film. They are linked in numerous ways, the ways in which I think are obvious to the audience will be the name of the film, and this is the focal point for any film. Everybody remembers what a film is called so to have the name as much as possible will leave an imprint on the audience. I have left a lot to the imagination with my film trailer and poster as I don’t show much, with the trailer you see the main protagonists, but only see the antagonist for a matter of seconds.
What have you learned from your audience feedback?
At the first stages of my audience feedback I got all the actors and people involved with my film and we shot a few different scenes and then we all had our own input into which we believed worked best and most effectively. For the first scene we agreed to have it longer and then cut a few times to build the tension along with the soundtrack playing. This helped me a lot as we decided not to have any dialogue in the first scene so what the actors said it didn’t matter because I wouldn’t use it so the pressure was taken off them a little. I believe this was very helpful for me as for the first part it was just the people involved so it helped us get a better feel for the film.
After the majority of the film was finished I asked members of my class to watch my trailer and give me their opinions and I took them into consideration. For example one of the people asked said that I should maybe alter one of the scenes as I had a fade where a cut would have been more appropriate, and after trying it I agreed, this is why I believe audience feedback is very important as not everybody has the same views.
For the scene in which I have someone walking down a corridor, I shot this at school and as I was doing it I had several people with me and we was all discussing ways to improve the scene and as it came to an end we decided to build up suspense to attempt to make it a slow, almost boring scene almost waiting in anticipation for something to happen.
For my magazine and film poster I posted them on Facebook and got really positive feedback once they were finished, I think for anyone to get positive reviews on anything is always good. The reason I put them on Facebook was because I wanted a wider audience to rate my work, I didn’t want the same people evaluating my work so I decided to broaden my audience and see what feedback I could get. While I was designing and making my poster and magazine I came across a few stumbling blocks which I had to ask several people their opinions in how to improve the work and this was very helpful.
How did you use media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?
I believe the new technology I used the most was the blog itself. Blogger allowed me to store and present my work effectively. With my blog I was able to put on any rough idea’s or research I wasn’t sure on and then come to a decision later, if I was working entirely on paper not only would this have been hard for me to write everything down it would have been very time consuming. Not only was I able to add posts with a lot of writing but I could also add images, video’s etc. and write about them along side, or evaluate them accordingly.
Blogger allows you to use more technology in your work, for example when I am evaluating other film trailers and comparing specific things I can post links to other websites, show the images, or post videos when I want. I think using Blogger has allowed me to be more creative with my work, which is why I would prefer to use this, rather than keeping a folder of papers or storing a few files onto a memory stick. It also gives you more time to do things because it is accessible from any computer with the internet, whether I am at school, home, or out somewhere with my laptop I always know I could use blogger and upload work when I wanted.
Another internet sharing site I found very useful was YouTube.com, for all the film trailers I watched I used this website as every film trailer I wanted to watch, I could. The only problem I had was I couldn’t use this in school due to restrictions, so I had to watch the majority of trailers at home but as I could get on blogger anyway it wasn’t a stumbling block. I also used YouTube for searching different music for my soundtrack, video’s can be uploaded by anybody so there was thousands to choose from and this helped me tremendously in deciding what song to use for my soundtrack.
I have also used other Internet sites for my research; Wikipedia and imdb.com were particularly useful for researching film trailers. When looking into the history of film trailers and other such things, Wikipedia was very helpful as like Blogger anybody can post on the site so there was a lot of helpful information, which I used to my advantage. Imdb.com was also especially useful because it’s the Internet movie database, so everything to do with movies this site had, if there was anything I wanted to find out it was on this site. One thing in particular was researching films with similar genre to mine, films such as ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ and ‘Halloween’. There was everything I needed to know on imdb.com, which is why it was effective.
For all of this I used 2 different types of computers, for the majority I used the new dual core iMac’s. Although I have used these for around 4 years I still find them incredibly useful in terms of being creative. All of the software I used on the iMac’s were very quick and responsive.
The software on the iMac’s were integral in the designing and making of my products, for my film I used Final Cut express, this was incredible for film making. When I got my footage and put it into final cut I could do what I wanted with it. I could add filters, transitions, visual effects, sound effects and text into my trailer. I don’t think I could have used a more effective piece of software for my film, I was able to edit pretty much everything. Being able to edit the audio was particular important for me to achieve what I wanted to portray.
For my ancillaries, (poster and magazine cover) I used Photoshop. I have used this software for a few years and I still think it’s one of the best for being creative with images and text. As I had my own images I was able to manipulate them as I wanted and also add text around the images for the effect I was wanting. There was many effects that I used in making my poster, first of all I had a gradient tool for the background but since I changed images it goes un-noticed now. For my main image, of the person in the hood I simply took a picture of someone with their hood up, and coloured the bits I wanted in black to add effect. The writing I also used a gradient tool on as I think this effect can connote a change in scenery, a change in the surroundings. I could also use the shape too for my review section, this allowed me to add stars and I was safe knowing they would be the same size to give it a professional look.
I also used a dell computer for parts of my research and planning, the reason I used a different computer was because I feel certain software is easier to use such as Word. I used word in a lot of my blog entries and I think it was very easy to use as well as being quick.
I also used a scanner to get my drafts onto the computer, then onto my blog. I used this because it was the easiest and quickest piece of technology I could use so it made sense to use a scanner. It was effective as it took a matter of minutes to get my work uploaded onto my blog that allowed me time to concentrate on more important things.
For my filming I used a Cannon HD/SD Video Camera, I think this was the most important piece of technology I used as I wouldn’t have made a film trailer if I didn’t use a video camera and the one I did use was not only easy to work but it was also a good quality. It allowed me to shoot freely but also to capture the audio well.