In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
Opening sequence conventions... Both mine and a real comedy product use text on the image In order to signify that this is The start/end of the program Which gives the audience a sense That this story is either at the beginning or the end
Use of setting up equilibrium and disruption in narrative ( equilibrium is brought about by conventional opening sequence which demonstrates the beginning of a film and the unfolding of a narrative. A disruption in the narrative is then set in motion once the character speaks directly to the camera, the music stops and an out of sequence cut to a computer screen is shown.
The impact of this is that it alerts the viewer that this story is not predictable and that attention is needed in order to follow the story. Use of chronology creates a sense of time in respect of character in bed, waking up to alarm clock, dark room and upon getting out of bed and switching on the light creates a sense of morning and the day having started. There was a significant use of a narrative device when the musical narrative is interrupted by a direct interaction with the character speaking to the camera.
This was designed to suddenly capture the attention of the audience and create uncertainty in questioning how the rest of the film would enfold. The use of editing was selected to create an athletic pace to the film to compliment the aerobic nature of the opening sequence. Close up shots and a mixture of camera positions were used to heighten the audiences awareness that they were nearer and closer to the workout themselves.
In any opening sequence enigmas are set up to keep the audience hooked
Audience watch all the film to resolve enigmas
Example of a comedy film using wide open spaces
Places that are used on
a day to day basis
Mise En Scene
Everyday products are used
Props that relate to the genre
‘ Over the top’ props
Ideologies are not familiar
to the audience, but are
Characters used could be naturally dopey which the audience find funny
Usually humorous characters
Conventions of my media product... The sweatband in my product and the helmet in the typical comedy are the exaggerated costumes. The clothes the actors wear in both opening sequences are very exaggerated. My Media Product Clothing Typical Comedy
The light weights in my product give the impression to the audience that the character is weak and worthless. The motorbike in the movie Hot Rod adds the emphasis to the stunt jump. The location of both the products are the same. They both use an everyday location. The bedroom in my own media product, and the a street of houses in the typical comedy.
I have tried to challenge the codes and conventions of an opening sequence by doing a variety of things. Firstly, in a lot of opening sequences the music starts at the beginning, but in my media product, there is no music until the actor switches on his own stereo.
Also, another way I tried to challenge the typical codes and conventions was by using
unusual camera angles such as the shot from underneath when the actor was performing push ups.
In a typical opening sequence the camera angles would be fairly standard and give a good view of what is going on.
The random shot of the computer
screen near the end of the sequence
would challenge the codes and conventions
of a real media product as this shot did not
fit in with the sequence of events in the film.
Here you can see that the actor is turning on his own music in the film. Here is the unusual shot from underneath the actor while he is performing push ups. This is the shot of the computer game being played on the computer at the end of the opening sequence. This challenges the conventions of real media products as this shot doesn’t fit in with the normal sequence of events.
Social groups are often given stereotypes through media, whether its on the radio, television or in my case, film. In my opening sequence I have represented two different social groups, Nerds and Teenagers.
STEREOTYPE “A stereotype is a popular belief about specific social groups or types of individuals. The concepts of "stereotype" and prejudice are often confused with many other different meanings. Stereotypes are standardized and simplified conceptions of groups based on some prior assumptions.”
Here you can see with an example from ‘Ugly Betty’ that she has large, unsightly glasses and braces that can sometimes be associated with nerds. Nerds are known for having slick, combed hair, rather than spiky like a lot of teenagers A typical nerd would also wear big glasses that do not suit them. Instead of participating in typical teenage activities, nerds spend their spare time reading and doing activities that you would see the older generation of people do. They are also known for having their top buttons done up, although this is becoming increasingly more popular with teenagers The typical stereotype of a nerd
I chose these clothes for the main character because they give the impression that the character is weak, lacking in style, highlights their puny physique and the overall image assists in creating the stereotype of a nerd. This type of person represented does fit in with the dominant mode of representing this group as it adheres to the nerd stereotype that we commonly see in the media. The sweatband gives the impression that the character Is a bit too ‘keen’ for a small workout. The small sleeveless vest makes the audience think that the actor Is not very fashion conscious.
We chose an actor the same age as the social group the film is aimed at so that the audience can relate to the film by clearly seeing that the actor is of an opposing social group to themselves. The appearance of the character is over exaggerated on many levels, including the use of a sweatband, black ankle socks, tight shorts and a skimpy white vest and this is all designed to segregate the audience from feeling part of this social group.
Both these activities are commonly associated with the stereotype of a nerd
as is evidenced in the dictionary definition of a nerd, this is why actions shots were selected, to re-inforce this representation.
there was a deliberate intention to minimalise the speaking part of the actor as it was felt that almost a theatrical miming/dancing to the music would emphasise the comical nature of this character. This can be compared to ‘Mr. Bean’ where the actions of the actor are what make the audience laugh rather than intentional puns. There was a significant moment within this opening sequence where the music was stopped to allow the actor to speak directly to the camera stating “What you looking at?” and this was an attempt from the directors part to provide an alternative or challenging representation that the nerd like character could become almost confrontational to the audience. This was also designed to make the audience believe that this genre would not be confined into traditional styles however would be thought provoking in relation as to how the script would unfold.
Q3: What kind of media institution might distribute your product and why?
In order to be successful, my media product must have backing from a media institution who can produce and distribute copies of my film. I browsed the IMBD website and compared the typical genre films produced by various media institutions that they tended to distribute and I compared them to my own media product. The institutions I researched were Universal Pictures, Columbia and Paramount. Also I came across a smaller institution which is owned my Universal and this is called indi Vision. I identified that indi VISION are the specialists of alternative genres within the larger company Universal Pictures, who focuses on art house and world cinema, off-beat comedy and music & biography.
“ Furthermore, indi Vision is for film savvy fans who enjoy films outside of the mainstream – fans with a different perspective .” this statement relates to our media product as our film is not a mainstream product and is aimed at the fans with a different perspective on movies and films. IndiVision tends to aim for a target audience of teenagers as is highlighted in their choice of the film “Thirteen “ on their website and other chick flicks and stories around teenage life. This film is fits in with the genre of my media product by trying to highlight the journey of a teenager trapped in the “peer-pressure cooker environment of junior high”.
Q4: Who would be the audience for your media product?
I used GRASS ( G ender, R ace, A ge, S ocio-Economic S tatus) to narrow down the audience for my media product.
The most important code I needed my opening sequence to follow was having a target audience. Male and Female. Both males and females will be the target audience For my film Ages 16-25. I think that this age group will be the best audience for my product because they can relate to my product the most. Comedy Fans. The audience must be fans of Comedy films and they must also expect to see Something different than a typical mainstream film Individuals I believe that a teenage audience of ages 16-25 both male and female are a good audience to target as they are a potential large mass audience and owing to the financial potential involved with them having a student income at their disposal this will make sense for my product financially. I also believe that my secondary target audience would be ages 14-16 especially if they have older siblings and as my product concentrated on the pressures of portraying the right image i believe it would be attractive to potential advertising investors.
Questionnaire research to identify target audience. It is clear that females made up the majority in respect of this audience research. However it was felt that owing to the numbers involved that both sexes would be targeted as a suitable audience for this product.
This predominantly ‘student’ centred audience was selected with the intention that they would be the target audience and as such it was imperative that we obtained their views in respect of their preferences. This market research re enforced the fact that comedy was the most favourite genre for teenagers within this age bracket. The ability in order to reach out to an audience through humour was appealing and one of the reasons why we made the decision to choose our style of narrative.
Following the findings of this research we decided to refrain from using speech as an outlet for humour and instead used the characters exercise routine of ‘over exercising’ and ‘over straining their body’ as a mechanism to appeal to the audiences sense of humour. This sketch type routine i believed was the most comparable to the audience finding people hurting them selves of having comedy value. Hangover was evidently the most popular comedy film across these genres. This cannot be directly compared directly to the genre I have chosen, however it was clear that my film was not comparable with the least favourite options.
Q5: How did you attract/address your audience?
Narrative Devices Enigmas
As the title of my opening sequence is quite basic and the font is just a general font that everybody has seen before it doesn't give anything away about my product. The keyboard makes the audience wonder if the movie has anything to do with computers and gaming, and this enigma would be solved if they were to watch the rest of the movie I have got a shot of the time and date in my product shown on a digital clock. This shows the time so the audience can relate to the actor and you can see that this is set in the bedroom. I have used credits throughout my film and there is also a shot where the actor talks directly into the camera. The credits give the sequence the look of a real media product. The final enigma is the last shot of the computer game being played on screen and the music changes from the rock music to a funny type of music. The media language used here shows the audience that the actor is switching the light on which changes the light of the scene.
Q6: What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?
In creating my media product I have learnt great deals on using different aspects of technology to bring together all the elements of my product. Different technologies were used in the different stages of the project (Research, Planning, Production and Evaluation).
To keep all my work organised, and in one place, used www.blogger.com . Using the blog to keep details of my progress helped me a great deal in being organised, and helping me to know what I had done and what had to be done to complete the project. It was much more helpful than taking notes and storing the in a file, as this could get lost and the blog is always accessible. Also, the blog helped me present my work in a neat and tidy way, rather than handwriting and crossing out on scruffy pieces of paper.
The internet was the greatest help when it came to research. I used the internet to research
because it was the quickest and easiest way of doing this. The information on the internet
is not always reliable so it is important to check that what you have researched is correct to
To create my media product, we mainly had to use iMovie, a programme designed specifically for macs and to produce movies. I had never used iMovie before, but I had heard of it. It didn’t take me very long to pick up on how to use this program after we were given packs of ‘how-to’ packages that explained how to carry out all the tasks we would need to when creating our media product. This product helped us to add effects, crop shots and add music to our sequence. I had to attend workshop classes to work how to use the software but once I got used to it I found it easy.
To film our shots for the product, we were given a very high standard of camera to work with which gave us the best chance of recording high quality clips. I found it hard to get used to recording with a tape but after i was used to it and after a few failed attempts I got used to it.
Jamendo was a website that i had never used before but realising that we had to music had to be copyright free to be included in our sequence helped me to use the site and find a suitable tracks for my product
YouTube helped a great deal when we were researching ideas for out own media product. It helped us watch other comedy sequences to watch the sequence of events in each different ones. Also it helped us find what was used in other comedy sequences to make the audience laugh, whether it be typical puns, or people hurting themselves.
Q7: Looking back at your preliminary task what do you feel you have learnt from the progression from it to the full product?
My final product has significantly improved from the preliminary task in respect of the following ways.
Credits – in the preliminary task there were too many credits on the screen and the speed
was too fast. This distracted the audiences attention from concentrating on images
behind which was the real story.
Composition of shots – the filming in black and white looked strange as it didn’t suit the
storyline of the sequence. The sudden burst of colour didn't fit in with the
sequence as there appeared to be no purpose for this and left the viewer
feeling confused as to this sudden transition.
The use of zooming in and out was not professional
looking and in the adjacent example the zooming
into the main characters hands was too fast and too
jerky and as a result there appeared to be little point
Smoothness of editing and transitions – the storyline came to an abrupt change once an unexpected visitor burst into the room to surprise the main actor. The continuity was out of sequence as the door opened the character entered and the was another shot of the delayed opening of the door.
The use of music was a significant contributor in order to try and create
suspense and drama in this film and it was designed to lead the viewer
into believing that they were in fear for somebody's safety. Whilst I believe
that the initial juxtaposition between the intended victim being static and
the potential perpetrator slowly walking towards them worked well to create
suspense, I feel the conflict point where they met each other did not create the
impact that was hoped for. This was a point that the viewer should have been
‘ jumping out of their seat’ in fear, however because of out of time editing the
Intensity was diluted and become more of a comic moment.
Upon reflection I believe that there was a missed opportunity into the use of stereotypes within this film and using their connotations to assist in the creation of the narrative. For example it is clear to see that the two main characters in this film just played themselves i.e. college students, and owing the fact this was supposed to be a horror/spoof movie then the stalker could have perhaps being wearing a long cloak and other potential features to make them look scarier. Also, for the intended victim the use of a character that highlighted some vulnerability about them and also a build up of their own fear would have been more powerful in creating an atmosphere of impending fear.
Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of the final product and that it achieved everything that I hoped for when embarking on this project. For example, I believe that the opening sequence successfully demonstrated that this was an opening sequence and through the use of stereotypes the viewer was able to quickly
establish the genre of the product by identifying this was a comedy program.
an additional strength was the smoothness of editing and transitions as I believe the sequencing of the shots were professionally executed and the pace of the editing was complemented by the choice of music.
From a weakness perspective I believe that the film was limited because of the shoot being carried out in one indoor location throughout the sequence. And also that at times the exercise routine was repetitive and could have drawn on other connotations associated with the stereotype of a nerd.
I believe that this product can be compared to the real ‘article’ although may need improved use of sound and lighting and further creation of the character. Feedback received has been in the main very positive, and has received almost 100 views on YouTube and I have found this experience very invaluable and look forward to using the experience i have gained in my next project.