How did my mediaproduct use, developand challenge formsand conventions of realmedia products?
In what ways does my media product use/develop conventions of existing short films?Characters:Short films tend to stick to minimal characters. I decided to adhere to this convention sothat I could develop a back story behind the one character, so that the audiences feltthey could relate to her more.Twist:Most short films include a twist or a disequilibrium (Todorov’s theory of equilibrium) tomake the storyline more interesting. Mt twist is when the audience discovers that the girlis dead through the use of mise en scene such as makeup to make her appear beatenup as she lays motionless in the shed.Budget:Most short films are created by independent directors, so their budget is very low. I usedno budget atall as my short film was free to create.Location:Similarly to characters, short films tend to have minimal locations, so as to keep theaudience focused on the narrative. I used only two locations for this reason.Duration:As the name suggests, short films tend to be short – approx. 5-10 minutes long. Anylonger than this would have made my product a feature length film.
In what ways does my media product use/develop conventions of existing short films?Location 1: Hylands ParkLocation 2: shedMise en scene reveals plot twist
In what ways does my media product challenge conventions of existing short films?Situation:Short films tend to fall under the genre “drama” which means they take place in everyday situations. This usually allows the viewer to relate to the situation more, however Idecided to stray from this convention as I wanted to attract my younger audience withthe use of colourful graphics and surreal green screen locations.Camera Movement:I again strayed from the genre of drama which is attatched to most short films by usinga number of fast paced edits and skewed hand held shots towards the end. I usedthese to create tension.Sound:Typically short films will feature dialogue between minimal characters. I decided tochallenge this convention by using non diegetic sound only – such as voice over andmusic. I feel that this allowed my audience to focus on the frame as well as the sound.I also used a number of sound effects to make my product more professional andauthentic.
In what ways does my media product challenge conventions of existing short films?Green screen – surreal images
Representation of social groupsSocial groups suggest a collection of people who share some social relation.Throughout my short film I challenged a number of social groups, such asAge, Gender and Class. The young girl, Mollie, is represented as a vulnerablecharacter – the portrayal of women in the media in particular is important as itoften comes under scrutiny.Mise en scene – the use of thecostume a school uniform reveals herworking class background, as well asher age. This representation allowspeople to attach connotations such asnaivety and youth.Similarly the lack of makeup andfresh faced appearance reveals heryouth.The use of animation and highlysaturated, bright effects alsoconnote youth and femininity .
Representation of social ClassesGender StereotypesFeminists often confront media productions concerning their portrayal ofwomen as weaker than men. Gender representation on television inparticular is often scrutinised by those who feel women are forced intosubservience by men. These social changes have allowed women to bepresented as more liberal characters, however I based my character on astereotypical woman who is:• Small• Fresh faced• Natural• vulnerable
How did I attract my audience?• My core target audience was children of an age similar to the actress –12-14. In order to make my product suitable for my target audience, Imade sure the images of child abuse were not too graphic, but insteadhelped to educate. Other than to educate my purpose was to, ofcourse, entertain, so I used fast paced edits, colourful images andgraphics and a disequilibrium to ensure my product was entertaining formy audiences.• My peripheral audience was far most vast: adults that will sympathisewith the young girl. This could be people in professions such asteaching or social workers, but applies to all potential groups whowould feel empathetic towards the child. In order to attract theseaudience I used a number of close ups to reveal expression and alsohigh angle shots to connote vulnerability. I also used my subsidiaryproducts in a similar way to attract this particular audience.
Which institution I feel would be most suitable to distribute myproductMy initial thought would be channel 4. This channel is notorious for airing dramaprogrammes, but more specifically, short segments and films in between ad breaks. Aplatform such as “4forThought” would, for example, be suitable for my short film as theyoften confront serious issues and raise awareness for subject matters such as childabuse which features in my short film. I feel this institution would best suit my product interms of genre and of content. Similarly, the use of narration/ voice over would make myproduct suitable for the radio 4, 4 for thought segment, or radio television in general.
How effective is thecombination of yourmain product andsubsidiary products?
How did I combine my main product with my subsidiary products?Throughout the process of creating all three media texts I used a number ofsignificant conventions to link them together, and in order to promote the film withthe use of the subsidiary products a film poster and a magazine article.Initially, I used media techniques such as a juxta position between a bleaknarrative story and scenes of gore (for example the tilt shot which exposed Mollie’sdead body was de saturated and I lowered the colour contrast to make it moredark and realistic) and paired this with bright coloured animation and highsaturated clips when my character is in her “happy place”. Similarly, in themagazine article I used images such as blood splats to connote death with theimage of my character smiling. I also added small graphics of children’s drawingsin the border to create irony. Further, in my poster I used dull colours such as blueand beige paired with a striking image of my character laying upside down. I usedgreen screen to impose the re-occurring theme children’s drawings into thebackground.
Advert: film posterThrough research, I learnt some of the conventions of a film poster and tried toproduce a poster which adhered to these, but also was original.Eye catching to theaudienceFocal picture to draw inaudiences eyeThe title written in a large, serif fontto appear professional and eyecatchingMarks of authenticity:star ratings andquotes from wellknown institutionsDepicts the filmsgenre of dramaInformation aboutdirector and stars
Where I challenged the forms/conventions of aposter to promote a filmIn order to keep my poster looking minimalistic I wasn’t able to include all thefeatures of a typical poster. If I was to create the poster again I possibly would haveincluded a tag line to introduce the plot of the film, and also included acompany/distribution name as a mark of authenticity. These would have made myproduct appear more professional. Similarly, I could have included a release date toinform my audience of when to expect the film or where (e.g. “cinemas near you” or“channel 4”)However, I am pleased with the result. I particularly found that the artistic effect usedis eye catching and provides good representation of the film in which it was trying topromote.
InspirationMy initial inspiration for my film poster was from “The Skull”. As well as the popart effect which I tried to re created, I particularly liked the centre alignment, asI felt it draws the audiences attention in to the important information: the titleand director of the film. The colour scheme also provided connotations of aserious film, which was suitable for my subject matter. Again, the minimalisticstyle looks professional and artistic.
Magazine ArticleThe house style iscontinued throughoutarticle (double pagespread, EMPIRE LOGO)etc.One dominant imagewhich is eyecatching, thensmaller onesThrough research, I learnt some of the conventions of a magazine article and triedto produce an article which adhered to these, but also was original.Headings and subheadingsText grabs toattract theaudienceThe title/masthead appearson every pageMode of address – directed atthe audience. Easy to follow andwritten in a serif font face toappear more formal.
Where I challenged the forms/conventions ofa magazine articleEMPIRE magazine articles tend to include a lot of negative/white space.I, however, wanted to make the article appear busy and quite crowded foraesthetic purposes but also to connote a child. If I was to do my article again, Iwould have included more anchorage to explain the photographs and possiblyreferred to the film and its release date towards the end as this is typical formagazine such as EMPIRE which promote films and actors.
3 stars4 stars5 starsQuestionnaires and Social NetworkingAs well as posting the youtube link to my short film on facebook, I was able toreceive anonymous and unbiased feedback from my audience with the use of aquestionnaire. I was able to ask more specific question related to mediastudies, for example “How professional was my editing” and “Did the sound workwell”. This allowed me to make the conclusion that although my product wassuccessful (as the average of 4 stars suggests) there were areas ofimprovement, such as the green screen scenes and the possible introduction ofanother character.
Star Ratings from feedback:Overall I am extremely happy with the feedback I received. On average, the short filmwas rated 4 stars, with two people awarding it 5.
“Very well done, looks professional”“I like how you built suspensethroughout until the finalscene where we find out thegirl is dead”“The editing is good”“I like the child drawings in thebackground”“I think having the dad as acharacter would have settled anyconfusion”“some of the green screen sceneswere a bit faded”
Media technologies:construction andresearch, planning andevaluation stages
Throughout the process of both construction and research I continuously usedthe search engine Google and the social media site YouTube. I was able to typein key words into YouTube such as “short film” to discover some of the forms andconventions which I should apply to my product. Similarly, when finding mymusic, I typed in key words such as “slow” and “atmospheric” to find a piece ofmusic which suited the tone of my text.
TechnologyThroughout the process of creating all three media texts a number of programmeshave stood out for me as vital in the creating of my products. The first beingwordpress: the blogging site allowed me to keep all of my research in one place, aswell as allowing me to keep documents such as production schedules.The Macs were essential for my short film, especially the programme iMovie. I hadused this before so found it fairly easy and it allowed me to use media techniquessuch as green screening and flash transitions between my abrubt cuts.In creating my subsidiary products I used Microsoft programmes. For my magazinearticle I used Microsoft publisher, as it allowed me to create a double page spreadtemplate and easily insert columns and titles, as well as images and decorations.For my film poster I used prepro to make my own pop art effect, I then used paint toadd details such as writing. If I were to re do the process I would have used a moreadvanced photo editing software, as I feel that paint limited how creative I could be.
TechnologyIn terms of both still and video footage, I used a Canon 1000D and a SONY HDcamera for all images and clips. I found the SONY HD camera to be very easy touse and found that it produced a high quality film. Although the Canon was ofexcellent quality, I found it very hard to use as it was my first time using a camerawith an adjustable lenses and so many settings! I did, however, manage to product anumber of location shots, as well as the stills I used for my magazine and film poster.Both cameras worked well in front of the green screen, I believe the problem in factoccurred in the editing stages.