The Face of a KillerOur Evaluation By Amy Harraway + Amy Price
1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge the forms or conventions of real media products? Within film openings, there are a number of different forms and conventions that a producer can use to help enhance ‘gripping’ aspects. These are; Narrative, mise-en-scene, camera work, editing sound, sfx and titles. Narrative includes, having a innocent victim along with the killer or ‘’bad guy’’ taunting and/or hurting them either mentally and/or physically. In camera work, high angled shots are used to make the victim seem much smaller than they area and they ‘’bad guy’’ seem a lot bigger. Editing is used in a way that enhances tension and pace. This is done by using quick cut scenes. Mise-en-scene plays a big part in conforming to this genre, as it helps the viewer to become more tense and apprehensive. This can include red wallpaper/items in the background, and dim/dull lighting. This lighting effect creates an eerie atmosphere. Any outside shots can often be unclear/out of focus. Music/ sfx can be added in post production to add to tension and build viewers understanding of how the character may be feeling.
1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge the forms or conventions of real media products? We used these to the forms and conventions to subvert the film to create a ‘red herring ‘, this made our film more interesting and created a shock effect as you did not except Kiera to be the killer. Alfred Hitchcock films inspired us to use the ‘red herring’ effect and titles to include the viewer and make them feel more involved, an example of this is in psycho. The ‘red herring’ effect was in Taken, as the daughter’s father was an CIA agent. In our film, we tried to use as many of these forms and conventions as possible. So within our narrative, we decided that we would have a victim and a killer/’bad guy’. However, at the end of this film, we subverted this convention by turning the victim into the bad guy. We hoped this would have a sense of surprise and shock, when our viewers realised that our female, seemingly non-dangerous character, turned out to actually be able to stand up for herself, and eventually kill the ‘bad guy’. We used this split personality to hopefully create a sense of surprise. With our audience research, we found that some people really liked this, and found it interesting that we had not stuck to the typical thriller genre. However some people said it confused them, and thought it would have been better had we left it, as if the girl was always the victim.
1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge the forms or conventions of real media products? For mise-en-scene we used red items in most of the backgrounds, and used dim lighting in most rooms. This is conforming to the thriller genre as red is seen as a common sign of danger, and dim lighting creates a sense of confusion. By using these ideas we hoped to build more tension and made viewers aware of any danger the characters may be in. Audience research showed that our viewers found this effective in the way in which we had hoped.Common uses of camera work in the thriller genre, include low angled shots to show power, and high angled shots to show weakness. Also unclear/out of focus shots are used to show confusion. I our film we decided to not use high/low angled shots, and by doing this we subvert the convention. This allowed us to not give anything away with characters status. We did use unclear shots when outside, to build to idea of the girl being confused as to what was going on. We used shot-reverse-shot to create perspective, and a pan shot to establish where a character is going. We hoped that this camera work would be effective in tension building. Audience research showed that our viewers did find our shot-reverse-shots effective but, thought that we could of done with a few more shots that showed things from other angles.
1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge the forms or conventions of real media products? Conventions of editing within the thriller genre usually involve quick jumpy shots and possibly the use of special effects. In our film we chose to cut our film, so that we had quick, but smooth, shot changes. We also decided to put text on the screen, during the film. We used the quick jumpy shots, hoping that this would create tension, as the viewers get an idea of how the character might be seeing things. We used the texts on screen and by doing this we hoped to make the reader feel more involved in the film, and to keep them interested. Audience feedback showed that this was the case, and our viewers liked that they felt more involved with the film due to the texts on screen.
1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge the forms or conventions of real media products? Music is often one of the key things used in the thriller genre and film openings. We used music in the background, throughout the length of the film. By doing this we conformed to the convention and we hoped that it would help to build tension as the music was eerie and suspicious sounding. After reading audience feedback, we found that most, if not all of our viewers questioned liked the music, and said that it did help with tension building. They also said it helped build suspense as you saw the ‘bad guy’ walking toward the house. They felt that the music helped to make them feel more uptight about what was going on, and found the way it got louder in places really effective. In our textual analysis we found that music plays a key parts in building tension at the beginning of films.
2. How does your media product represent particular social groups? Our first character seen was Keira she is female and, because of her look, (e.g. Clothing) we assume she is a student, living in a reasonably modern house. She is represented as being a nice person who doesn’t seem at all threatening, and is therefore portrayed as being positive. Throughout most of the film, we see her conforming to her stereotype, as she appears frightened, and is asking friends for help. However at the end of the film, she completely subverts her stereotype, by attacking the ‘killer’ and standing up for herself. According to our audience research, most of the audience found this rather surprising, and interesting in that a character is seen as being one thing, but actually proving to be another. However, a few of our questionnaires revealed that this was not the case, and left them confused.
2. How does your media product represent particular social groups? Our second character seen was ‘the killer’, although it is not obvious, we assume that this character is a criminal. This character is represented as being a bad person, as we see them walking towards the girls house, with what looks like intention to break in. We later see he enter the house, carrying a knife in a way which looks to be dangerous. With all this taken into account, it is clear she is represented in a negative way. This is enhanced by her face being covered and wearing black.When we see ‘’the killer’’ dead at the end of the film, it is clear that she has also subverted her stereotype. If she had conformed to her stereotype, she would havekilled Keira, and left the house, un-heard by anyone else. However, she is dead, and this is most unlike her ‘bad guy’ stereotype.
3. What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why? There are thousands of film institutions around today, that day-after-day distribute and produce films, for the publics enjoyment. Large, global institutions include Universal Studios, Paramount and 20th Century Fox. 20th Century Fox is a worldwide, massive institution, it has made and produced many well known films, including; Avatar, Die hard, Predator and Ice Age. Although this is a very successful and one of the six major American film studios, this company would still not be suitable to distribute our film in the market place. This is because they are far too big, and I do not think it would be worth all the time and money it would take to get our film, even looked at, by one of their producers. They would not want to run the risk of distributing a film that had been made by amateurs, as their normal procedures include accepting films by already established film makers, that had produced a couple of films that had been successful in small independent film companies.
3. What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why? A company that would be more applicable for us to use would be either a small independent film company, such as Fear Film Independent Production Inc. They are a small, but very successful ‘premier independent horror production studio’. We found this company online and found that they specialise in amateur horror films. The way in which it works, is; you send your completed film into them, they upload a short 2+ minuet trailer of your film onto their website, complete with a link to buy the whole film/ contact the producers of the films. From here anyone who comes across the site can view your trailer, and leave you messages about your film. Only first time producers are allowed to have their film uploaded, so there would be no unfair competition with, well established, experienced producers.
4. Who would be theaudience for your media product? When creating our film, we aimed our film at a niche audience of males and females aged 15-35. We believe that this target audience would be attracted to our film of this genre. We found out this, due to audience research. Research revealed that; the age group targeted are the main ones who watch thriller films. We found that any younger, and they don’t watch as they find it to scary, and older people don’t watch it as they find it un-interesting and prefer other genres. We tried to make our film appealing to our audience, by using characters of a similar age, and using props, such as iPod’s and phones.This proved to be effective in attracting our audience as when we got the questionnaires back after showing our film, they said they felt it was targeted to their age group due to the characters age, there costume and props (e.g. iPods and mobile phones).
5. How did you attract/address your audience? To make our film attract and address our audience we had to make sure that we included a number of things that would attract them. Our target audience was male and female aged 15 – 35, this allowed us to target a wide range of people. We attracted out audience by using characters of a similar age, whom used props that other people of the similar used e.g. Phones and iPods.To find out what our audience wanted we decided to do a questionnaire that would help us with that. They helped us to chose a font for our text on screen. They also told us that they did not think it would be a good idea to use a plain back background at the start. So in our film, we used all the fonts and colours suggested. We also used characters that were of the age group researched. We also used props such as phones and iPods that we knew would attract and address our targeted audience. Finally seeing as our audience suggested not to use a black background, we decided not to.All of these things helped us to attract our audience effectively.
6. What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product? The technologies from constructing the product allowed us to improve our skills of using the camera and the editing software. Using the camera...
Ensuring scenes stayed the same – keep well continuity
Making sure there were no unwanted items in the shot
7. Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have leant in the progression from it to the full product? In the preliminary task, we had to produce a short film, with a few lines of dialogue and a varied shot types. To complete this we had to upload it and edit the shots once filming had been completed.Within the preliminary task we were successful in putting all shots and dialogue into the film. However, the editing was tricky as we had under developed skills. We needed to have better time management as it took us a long time to complete the film. We feel that we were overall successful in this task, however, there a number of things that we can take from this task into the main task. In the main task, we had to produce a film for 2 minutes. The genre of the film had to be thriller with different shots, editing software to cut, time lapse the film, change the lighting, add sound and we had continuity of mise-en-scene. Within the main task we found it easier to edit as we had better skills from the preliminary task, which allowed us to manage our time better when filming. However, when planning the film out time management skills were poor. We improve our camera skills as this was something we needed to improve from the preliminary task. Also, we believe that we needed to improve editing skills, so we took advice from students and teachers within our media class. If we did the main task again we would have improved the lighting, camera shots and be more careful with continuity errors, as our film did contain a few errors. We learnt to use the cameras, editing software and microphone to create a film opening that contained forms and convention of this type.