My project was the opening of a film called ‘So Weak’which is a teen/social realism/gangster genre film. I worked with Rukhsar Hussein and I was cinematographer in our group, as Rukhsar was our actor in the sequence, and we both decided locations and mise-en-scene together.
Our sequence was Rukhsar regretting what he has done and running away from what he has done, remembering things. We filmed him running around working class sort of areas, walking in a everyday corner shop and sat in a sandwich bar. We chose all these locations as they fit the bill for the genre we chose, social realism.
In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?’
The genre is a hybrid, it is social realism/teen drama/gangster. We have used Mise-en-Scene, cinematography, editing, sound and lighting in our sequence, all the typical elements that are necessary to help establish our genre as you have to feed your audience with their expectations.
It is important to make your film different to other films with the same genre to try and make yours more favoured and not mimicked. I think our sequence showed differences to other social realism genre opening sequence due to the fact it is a hybrid genre, the elements of teen drama made it different to other social realism genre films for example the opening of ‘Trainspotting’ which was one of our sequences we chose as ‘Inspirations’, where Renton is running away, ours is different to that as it is about a teenage boy struggling with teen problems/dramas. However they are pretty similar in terms of the fact they are both running away and in working class places in Britain.
Our opening sequence is successful by the way it fulfils teen genre and social realism genre elements for example, the music is your and basslined, associated with teenagers and is in other teen genre films such as ‘Kidulthood’.
The social realism requirements are fulfilled in the Mise-en-Scene, the streets which Rukhsar runs through are cobble paved and look like they were made in the era of the mills, which indicates social realism, in working class areas.
How does your media product represent particular social groups?
In our sequence we have represented teenagers from working class areas, who have a normal life, have a partner and how vulnerable teenagers in Britain today can be.
We represent this through:
Function in Narrative
What Rukhsar wears is just normal everyday clothes what teenage boys wear in Britain today, not really posh just jeans, hoody and trainers. This shows how our film is a social realism and teen drama genre film.
When Ruhksar has the flashbacks, and he is shown stealing and walking around like he is about to have a fight, he is shown with his hair with shaved patterns, wearing big earrings and has a angry face. This representation lives upto the stereotype that boys with that sort of hairstyle and boys with diamond earrings are gangster/thugs. We used these elements of Mise-en-Scene to indicate he (in the past) was a bit of a thug because we know that people would pick up on the stereotype and know that that is what Rukhsar was like.
In our sequence we represent what teenagers do nowadays in Britain, everyday norms. Rukhsar is shown having a girlfriend. This element of representation shows that relationships are things that occur with teenagers, we wanted the audience to know that he broke up with his girlfriend so the know that he is sad, first love kind of thing. We did this by when he is shown thinking he looks down and glum and in the flashback he is shown happy. I think our target audience, teenagers, would pick up on that because in our audience feedback, which was done by all teenagers, they knew that he was down about his happy memories due to the fact he looks happy in the flashbacks.
Another example of when we wanted to represent the group associated with our film is when Rukhsar is shown stealing alcohol. This was to show what some groups of young people do, this again was to show that in the past Rukhsar was ‘bad’, I think it is pretty clear as we did a close-up of the wine bottle being shoved into his jacket, to highlight to our audience that he was doing something illegal, showing he was (flashback, in black and white) bad.
Function in Narrative The way that Rukhsar is shown looking scared and regretful when he is shown thinking back to good and bad memories represents how young people get themselves into bad situations and have regret in everyday life, this is done to again establish the genre social realism and teen drama. It also represents how it can be hard being a teenager.
Settings The locations were just normal ‘working class’ areas nothing ‘posh’, this again was to relate to the group who are being represented, teenagers. A lot of teenagers in Britain today can relate to the sort of areas Rukhsar is shown in.
I was the person in our group who was in charge of the cinematography. As the group of people we were representing in the opening sequence was teenagers, with problems on their mind etc we wanted to show this through the cinematography. The shots at the beginning were Rukhsar is running are quick and pacey , young people are associated with being active and energetic. In our feedback a girl commented on that which showed it was a success.
Another example were teenagers are being represented as confused is when Rukhsar is shown in a high angled shot, this represents him as been weak and vulnerable, again another feeling which teenagers encounter in Britain today.
Also some of the angles were Rukhsar is stealing etc he is shown in canted angle, which illustrates how he is not right and a bit off the rails, this is how a lot of teenagers in Britain find themselves when growing up, again an example of how our cinematography is representing our target group.
As our genre is social realism and teen drama throughout the sequence our the lighting is just normal low key, mirroring dullness in British teenager’s life's, our target group we are representing. Realistic not over the top glossiness, mirroring real life, social realism.
The music in our sequence was produced by Rukhsar, it is bassline/grime, which is popular with young teens in Britain. Which not only appeals to our target audience but represents our target audience young people/teenagers in Britain. The editing of the shots work well with the music also, we did this to make the music a big part of the sequence and to appeal and represent teenagers in Britain, this helped establish the genre of the film and was there to try and make the audience want to get hooked carry on watching. We got quite good feedback from the class who watched our sequence.
What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?
UKFC (UK Film Council) was set up in 2000 by the Labour Government as a non-departmental public body to develop and promote the UK film industry. It is helped with fund by sources such as the national lottery who give several million a year. The company’s aim is ‘ To stimulate a competitive, successful and vibrant UK film industry and culture, and to promote the widest possible enjoyment and understanding of cinema throughout the nations and regions of the UK.’ That is why I think that the UK Film Council would possibly help fund a film like ours, as it is one which shows culture in the UK, and promotes the UK.
Some similar products to our film which were funded by the UKFC:
These films were all funded by the UK Film Council, they are similar sort of films to ours, all about social realism in Britain today, teenage relationships and problems. They were all quite successful films to come from the UK without any Hollywood input, therefore I think something like the UK Film Council would fund a film like ours. As it is a different storyline to all the films above the similar genre would make it appeal to young audiences and not just be a mimic.
Who would be the audience for your media product?
Our intended target audience for our film was both boys and girls aged 16-25 sort of category. We chose this because people aged 16-25 are the biggest film viewers at the moment, we know this from studies carried out and also I work at a cinema and it is guaranteed the majority of people who go are people aged 16 to 25. Also the fact it is intended on appealing to both boys and girls was to hopefully make it more popular and watched by more. The more popular a film the more income is gained, which is what you need for a film to be a success
In our audience feedback two girls said they liked our opening sequence and two of the boys liked it too. This was good as it showed that it was appealable to both boys and girls, which is what we wanted to make our film more popular.
How did you attract/address your audience? In our feedback, the audience commented on aspects they liked and didn’t like. What they did like was the music, angles and the editing. However one member of the group didn’t like the music but said it went well with the pace of the scene, so I think he just doesn’t like the type of music that we used. Generally our feedback was good, we wanted to get the audience hooked and the music to kick in straight away like in ‘Trainspotting’ our ‘inspiration film’ and for the audience to want to carry on watching, which was what happened. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmzaBvKzrZI We also did what we set out to do which was set enigmas for the audience, we knew from our own experiences in watching films that to be attracted to a film, enigmas have to be there, wanting to know what happens next etc, this happens in our opening because we don’t giveaway what happens and end with Rukhsar’s eyes scowling as he thinks <-- Eg of popular films, which we picked as our ‘Inspiration film’.
Our sequence was in a chronological order, easy to follow, nothing flashy and confusing. Rukhsar had flashbacks but the colour palette of the clips were in black and white to show that it was a flashback, another thing mentioned in our feedback, one boy mentioned it not making sense but everyone else in the group understood it was a flashback, easy to understand, therefore more appealing to more people as it is ‘easy watching’.
When Rukhsar is running he look scared and weak, when he is having his flashbacks he is shown walking about as if he is ten men, this ‘binary opposition’ contrast in behaviour by the same character sets off enigmas, and anticipation to find out why and what Rukhsar was like, which is a good way in which we thought we could attract the audience. Again to use our audience’s feedback, they commented on how they liked the sequence because they want to find out what happens and keep watching. So we did attract some people from the group as they wanted to keep on watching the film. Which is a success.
What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?
Because I am a teenager myself I know what is popular with teenagers. I knew that films such as Kidulthood, Adulthood and Trainspotting are all loved by teenagers in Britain. That’s why we chose to do a social realism/teen drama/gangster themed genre. From constructing our product I have learnt how to use a camera, as I have never used one before I think I did alright, also the editing, I enjoyed doing the editing and filming. I also learnt that you can’t just put a track with a scene, the music has to fit with the action taking place. The music was the only struggle really, the equipment was easy to use and our teachers helped us a lot with ideas etc. If I was to do it again I would take more time on the music, Rukhsar produced the song and made it but I would have liked to do more on the music side rather than just editing it into the sequence. The computers which we edited on were good, hard at first to use but I got use to them. I’m glad I have now got the skills to use filming equipment and make open sequences to films.
For our audience feedback we filmed a group of people aged 16-18 years old in a classroom. I feel like this was a good thing to do as it was done using my new skills at filming. It also made the questionaire more informal and useful in my opinion because I got to find out more information and why they thought what they did, and also defend our sequence. Also…
Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product? In our preliminary task we just filmed in pretty much one angle just three people communicating. Our final product ‘So Weak’ is a lot better. As it has a story in it, music, different angles, enigmas and effects i.e black and white. This comparison shows how mine and Rukhsar’s filming skills improved in the space of a few weeks. It also proved that you need to put in more time and effort to make a product look better.
Conclusion Our overall feedback on things which were good and aspects of our sequence which should be different based on our analysis and our audience’s feedback: Flashbacks Storyline Shots Weaknesses Strengths
Overall I’m pretty happy with our opening film sequence. I like the pace of it and the order of it. The music also fits well with the editing. If I could start again I would want to do different flashbacks, however I really enjoyed doing it and working with Rukhsar.