Evaluation of Production By Grace Shiach Lonely Autopsy
In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
We wanted to stick to using common conventions of thrillers but we also wanted to challenge them. To do this we used conventions such as eerie music, to immediately begin to build tension and add the enigma of the story, grey scale footage to separate the present from the past, slow motion to emphasize the action, time scaling with the present action put next to the action from the past and simple daylight to build to the shock of the unsuspected.
We used eerie music because it is commonly seen in thrillers, like Jaws, and plays a big part in starting the tension and a large part in how the audience responds the to film. A tense soundtrack can switch to being calm quickly and then switch back straight away. Using eerie music was a great way to enhance our production.
Grey scale was a choice Yasmin made and I felt that it would add to our production because it is an easy way to separate two separate times. I think it adds to the tension because grey scale, I find, accentuates the action and drama within the footage.
Also, filming in daylight, was something we did to ensure good quality footage, but being a convention of thrillers, as seen in The Ipcress File, I think we have successfully used daylight to create a normality about the story, when in fact there is nothing ordinary about the storyline.
A final convention we used, which is seen in many thrillers such as The Butterfly Effect, was time frames. We put the current action next to a flashback, as if the time jumps. We thought it was an effective way to help build the enigma of the story within the opening by telling a part of the story the audience hasn’t seen yet.
In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? (cont.)
We also chose to not use some common conventions of thriller film.
We did not have an exhotic setting. Quite often thrillers are set in deserts, the sea, even jungles, but we decided to keep our setting simple. One simple reason was opertunity settings readily availible to us, but the other reason was that we wanted our audience to be able to relate to the everyday setting of our production, as well as our character Jake.
We also didn’t use a scary or frightning event to build up tension. We when away from the idea of using a stalker or hooded figure, and looked into building tension and a story around something much more simple. An average guy, and average lifestyle.
Similar to the lack of an event, we didn’t have an established ‘bady’. Our character represented a victim type whos life was affected by an event. There was no prejudice against our character and no favouritism. For instance in Terminator, there is an established ‘bady’ character, which is obvious to the audience.
We did also challenge the forms and conventions of typical thrillers by not using a female, quite often used as the damsel in thrillers, but a male character. This i think promotes curiosity within the audience.
Another way in which we challenged thriller conventions was that we gave our whole productions quite a relaxed feeling in comparison to many successful thrillers.
I think this was good because it contrasted many thrillers but i think we still successfully managed to build the enigma and tension needed for an entertaining thriller.
How does your media product represent particular social groups?
Within our media product there are a few social groups our character could be put into: a upper middle class social group (in well paid work,) , male dominant social group , and his age social group (20years+)
I think our media product represents the ‘upper middle class social group’ as a very miserable group. Our character Jake is very unhappy, whilst in his suit, which we thought would show that when he has to work, his personality and attitude is different. It also demonstrates his normality by showing he is in employment. This then links to his age, as most 20 year olds like to have a good time and go out. He has to work to do this in order to stay within his social group. This could represent that his age related social group are lazy or unmotivated.
The body language and expression seen in the shots of him in his suit are very different to what we see when he is walking his dog. This created contrast in his behaviour, which helped emphasise his ‘ upper middle class social group’ as boring and dull.
How does your media product represent particular social groups? (cont.)
Because of this contrast I think it showed that he as a character is very different when taken out of a social group and put into a ‘freer’ atmosphere. However , the fact that we see him taking responsibility for his dog and walking it indicates he in fact may be more mature than other 20 year olds. He has a stable, well paid job (indicated by his suit and briefcase) and can take responsibility for others (walking the dog) . This may emphasise the idea of 20 year olds being lazy and unmotivated but it could also show that this age based social group is not lazy and unmotivated.
I also think that having filmed with bad weather the idea of an ‘upper middle class social group’ being very academic and quite depressing comes across as how we have represented this social group. However, we have used the same character in a more possitive setting, giving possitive connotations to this social group. The setting can have a large impact on the way a certain social group is represented.
What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?
I think any of the major film institutions would like to distribute our film. It has an all round appeal to a wide audience, although targeted at the younger audience. I think that institutions such as Warner Bros would like to represent our media production because, I believe, it has a good storyline and it is not a common or generic production: there are no stalkers or hooded figures (which I noticed was common within the other productions during the showing for feedback).
I think our product would appeal to a mass market because it is simple yet attention grabbing. We received a lot of replies to one of the questions on our feedback questionnaire, which asked would you watch the film had it been a full length feature?, that was very positive and many said they would based on the opening.
I do believe that with more time and thought, our production could be expanded to become a full length feature film because of the storyline. It being quite a simple but exciting storyline I think would work really well as a full feature film.
I think our media product could be release in many forms: internet release would be good, and then of course there is the DVD and Blue Ray. I think it would work on television, possibly as a Sunday night film, with a large audience who need something exciting to watch.
What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?
I think another reason major media institutions would want to release our production is because there is open opportunity for franchising.
There could be a game released to do with finding something and unravelling the story behind it. I think this would be successful and help appeal to the younger audience.
I also think there could be successful product merchandise, like t shirt, and posters.
The production appeals to a wide target audience which means that the opportunity for merchandising is larger than usual.
I think because of the larger target audience there is a greater appeal for producing and franchising our media product.
Who would be the audience for your media product?
When it comes to choosing a target audience for our production we had to look into what other genres of films attract which types of audiences. Commonly there are ‘men's’ films – horror, action and crime, and there are ‘women's’ films – romance, comedy and chick-flicks.
Because of the massive overlap of subgenres, thriller films are hard to put towards either of the two main audience groups. We wanted to be able to approach both men and women with our production. We decided that having a thriller that was not biased to either men or women helped make it more acceptable to both sexes.
Also being a thriller we had to appeal to a wide range of ages. This meant that we might have to limit our mass audience, excluding the elder audience and the younger audience.
Our targeted audience was people our own age up to their 20’s. Although our feedback questionnaire was handed out to a number of people our own age, we still believe that our audience could range from the age of 15 to late 20’s and even older up to the 50’s.
Who would be the audience for your media product? (cont.)
They could be from any social groups as I think our product is very diverse in its appeal. Our character is not a child and not an elderly person. I think having a young adult as our character enables a wider audience relation. The older audience will relate to certain aspects of his character and the younger audience also will. I think this is important in a thriller otherwise the production can feel distanced and irrelative to the audience watching.
I also think the use of thriller conventions helps. Having common conventions like, flashbacks, eerie music, slow motion and silent film in the opening make the product more appealing to a wider audience because of the building of suspense. Other very successful thrillers use these conventions and we can see it works because their audience is a largely wider scale than those who limit the use of conventions and have a more abstract approach to film making.
I also think the appropriate language choice is a factor which can affect your audience. If there was slang used, this probably would increase younger audience views but decrease the amount of older viewers as they cannot relate to this. Why would they want to watch a film they cannot understand ? Fortunately we chose a silent opening in order to avoid this issue.
One of the main ways I think we successfully attracted our audience is by using a young adult as our character. The audience can easily relate to him and understand his point of view, making it easier to empathise with him. I think the use of setting also helps with attracting our audience. The common town centre setting is familiar with many people, both old and young, and the field setting possibly relates slightly more to the elder audience.
I also think the use of shots was a good way to address our audience. The last shot in our production is, I believe, a great way to grab our audiences attention and help them understand the emotional side of our character. I think the over lap of two shot during the flashback also appeals to the younger audience. Using such technologies to create the effect it did really intrigues the audience.
What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing the product?
Before I began the media course I had no experience in using a video camera for producing a media product. I had used camera phones ect but this was a totally new experience for me.
I found that once the basics were understood the camera equipment was easy enough to use. When I came to editing the video footage, I did struggle slightly because I had never tried to do anything like this before. I found that the Apple Mac we used to edit on, was so different from my own computer, This meant that quite frequently me and my partner had to ask for small guidance. In the end, we grasped the technology and how it worked and tried to use it to our greatest advantage. I think we were quite successful because we used a wide range of editing techniques within our production.
I have learnt that you can alter the colour, brightness, saturation and exposure ect. levels on any piece of footage. We used this technology to create our black and white flash back shots which helped to emphasis the tension and action within the shots..
I also learnt that you can speed up and slow down footage to a specified pace. We took advantage of this in order to create more suspense in the flashback.
What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing the product? (Continued)
Also, there was the transitions between shots, which we had planned to keep to straight cuts but within the flashback we learnt to overlap two preceding shots with a dissolve transition . We liked the effect it gave because I think it increased slight suspense as to what the next shot involved and how it linked with the previous.
Using the Apple Mac enabled us to include screen shots between footage, which was brilliant because we had planned to display our credits on black screen shots to emphasise the suspense between shots (the same as in A Clockwork Orange).
Looking back to your preliminary task, what do you feel that you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?
After conducting our preliminary task I quickly learnt to choose my partners carefully. I found that working in a friendship group of more than two lead to arguments and distractions both in the group and from outside the group. I also learnt that you need a reliable partner, who can keep organised and consider your thoughts and opinions.
I found that storyboards played a large part in the piecing together of a media product because you need something to follow and refer back to in order to move forward. They helped show what shots you needed to take, angles, camera movements and all mise-en-scene and costumes.
Time has to be managed well when piecing together a media product. We found this when we didn’t allow enough time to film, which rushed our production. There was a time limit for the room we filmed in, which could have been solved by choosing an alternate setting, but despite being aware of this, I think we still wasted time on other things like distractions.
I also found that in comparison with our final product, our preliminary product was very boring to piece together. If you are piecing together a media product you have to believe in it. I think that having something you are passionate about or are enjoying ultimately produces a better final product.