Using and Developing Media Conventions There are certain features in a film which define it as part of the thriller genre. Plot plays an important role here, but there are also common conventions used in filming, editing and music. These are the conventions used by my film which are common in the thriller genre. A young vulnerable girl is used as the main focus The music is typical of thrillers, using dark music to create more tension Audio shows links to ‘A Stranger Calls’ influence The setting is isolated and quiet, and the girl is alone Hard light creates shadows common with thrillers As with a lot of thriller films an enigma is set up Shows the film could be a mystery-thriller hybrid
Challenging Thriller Conventions ‘Untraceable’ not only uses common thriller conventions, but it also adapts and goes against them in places. These are the parts where typical thriller conventions are challenged in my opening. Medium shots used more than close-ups Dim lighting is not always used, no real shadows in this shot Unlike most thrillers the camera shots pan slowly No immediate weapons to draw the audiences attention
Representation of Social Groups The girl is shown to be foolish and inexperienced, because of her age This may be a stereotypical look on the youth As the target audience is teenagers, this may irritate them, as it probably isn't how they would act It is a girl that seems to be under threat, as a girl can be portrayed to be weaker and more vulnerable than a male In the phone call we hear a males voice. This shows males as more of a threat This is a very conventional way of gender roles to be portrayed in thrillers
Distribution of Film Only shown for a few weeks People pay every time they want to watch Cinema Can later be changed to another type of distribution More publicity Made easily accessible Only sold to TV institutions TV Download Distribution Available to a huge audience easily Cheap to access People can buy product and watch many times Generate profit for years rather than weeks DVD DVD releases can be sold over a long time
Similar Films And Distribution Here is a list of similar films to ‘Untraceable’, the company they were distributed by, and what formats they were distributed on. This should give us a clearer idea how our film should be distributed. Distribution by: Distribution Types Film Screen Jems Flight Plan Cinema DVD PSP * When a Stranger Calls Touchstone Pictures Cinema DVD 20th Century Fox Taken Cinema DVD * Playstation Portable format DVD released
Distribution Conclusion Unlike major films such as ‘Harry Potter’, ‘The Matrix’ and ‘Terminator’, our film is less likely to have a huge fan base. This means sale of collectables, novelties, and costumes will be much more difficult. Although this franchise may be out of reach, there is room for promotional items, which can advertise the product and generate profit. The film would be most likely to come out in cinema before being released on DVD. Legal downloads is an option, however it leaves room for illegal downloads, and is very inconvenient for the consumer.
Target Audience The target audience is the people that the film is designed for. We can work out what sort of conventions different age groups, and genders like from looking at similar films, and questionnaires. Younger people are less likely to be offended by bad language, gore, and violence. Older audiences may not be interested in the fast, modern theme. The film is designed to scare the audience for this reason it may not be suitable for younger audiences. Both male and females can watch the film, however the action in the film may interest males more than females. The plot may be difficult to understand for younger audiences
Target Audience of Similar Films When a Stranger Calls I used the film website IMDB to find out about films with similar plots and themes as ‘Untraceable’. The graphs are useful for telling us about target and actual audiences. They show age groups, gender, and the votes these people gave the films. Although more males voted in total, the graphs show that the actual votes vary little between gender. In all of the films the highest vote was given in the ‘Under 18’ category. Flight Plan Taken This is very much the audience that ‘Untraceable’ was aiming at.
Attracting the Target Audience A girl who is about the same age as our target audience is used in the opening of our thriller as the audience can relate to her. It is likely that some of the people watching have been in her position. I don’t believe any point of the opening would scare our target audience, but hopefully they would feel the ‘Oh no please don’t go out there’ that is typical with thriller films. The audience should question who is it that wants to hurt this girl, and why. (This has been supported by evidence from survey after showing the film) Males in the audience may feel the urge to protect the girl, whereas females may relate to this situation of not having someone there with them The camera shots used may not be very successful with the young target audience. They are meant to help keep the opening clear, rather than lots of short action shots, and close-ups
Using the Equipment Personally I found very little to fault about the equipment used in the filming process. The camera was adequate for the opening we planned to make, and the only other piece of equipment needed was a tripod. We did have one issue with the camera, which was it’s extremely short battery life. However as most shots were inside we had it continuously charging. An extension lead was used for the establishing shot. Unfortunately the camera had no manual focus adjustment, so we could not experiment with focus-pulls when shooting the kitchen scene. The tripod had a rather large base, and so on more than one occasion it was jogged by the actress during a shot. Perhaps a harness would prove more useful in confined space.
Editing Software We uploaded the raw camera footage onto an Apple Mac, where we could use the IMovie program to edit our film opening. The IMovie program was user friendly, and we quickly became accustom to it. We learnt that it important to not try and fill up the film with lots of special effects and transactions, however it did offer a wide variety of effects if we needed them. IMovie We did think of creating our own ‘tension music’ on a program such as FruityLoops or GarageBand. However we ultimately used some music found on a copyright free website, that specialises on making music for thriller films. I did however learn a lot about using FruityLoops while experimenting with music we could possibly use in the film opening. FruityLoops
What Have I Learnt? Throughout the project I have taken part in drawing many storyboards. I am now able to understand what detail must be included, and ways we can portray a story. Research into the thriller genre, and it’s typical plot and conventions has helped me know what I should be including in a thriller opening. I gathered this knowledge from reading articles and watching examples. The planning stages were very important in producing tension within the thriller. We did many brainstorms, discussing how we can create tension, and the devices we can use to manipulate the audiences feelings. Using the editing software I am able to make transactions between shots flow smoother, and add effects such as the phone call. Through discussing what shots to use in our thriller opening and by using the camera, I can now easily recognise different camera shots, and movements.
Final Product The final product I think works very well, however there are some areas where I feel it hasn’t met targets: In the questionnaire we asked what features of the opening were most effective, and the majority of people said that the music was effective in creating suspense. The opening does not create much tension in the audience, which is the main role of a thriller. Perhaps the opening of the door and the girl walking out may be sufficient. Additionally people said that the whole idea of the door opening and the girl disappearing outside with the fade to black was a very effective enigma. There are slight issues with one of the shots, mainly the final shot zooming in on the girl walking out of the door. The camera is jogged slightly, which people picked up on when we showed it to others. We asked a closed question of how good the film was on a scale of 1 – 10 (10 being the highest). 7 out of the 8 replies said 8 or over, and the mean score was 8.5. Altogether I think the opening works very well, and the way we have challenged media conventions, such as with few close-ups and slow transactions, make the film very individual. On our questionnaires a few people noticed a problem with continuality on the same shot as above. They say the girl disappeared quickly once outside. However this is due to it being dark outside, and poor lighting.