In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
To start with, I wanted to challenge the typical media conventions of horror films which often start with a slow start leading onto the climax through the duration of the film. We wanted the audience to be on edge from the begging. I also thought it was important to include a series of information that could be presented to the viewer who would generate some understanding of what was to come. However like many Horror films such as Scream the identity of the killer is only revealed towards the end to maintain the feelings of suspense and assumptions directed to other characters in the film. I also believed we challenged media conventions, in the sense that our characters were actual youths setting the scene, this is not suffice to say that youth are not involved in horror films for example; T he Whole, but we felt we challenged it in the sense that on a lot of horror films, the characters are either very young (which is what we originally intended to do) or are of the older generation. By using teenagers, no assumptions can be made as to what they will be like, this was also relevant to the film The Hole, were we assume the killer is an outsider but it is in fact one of the teenagers. So by doing this, suspense and mystery is sustained until the killer is revealed.
What kind of media institution might distribute your media project and why?
Footsteps would be an independent film so with the issue of funding we decided it would be best to have 2 distributors. Firstly starting of with Twisted pictures who are renowned for following the three emblematic conventions typically associated with horror films being; helpless victims, frightening imagery and scenery, and the presence of a serial killer. One of their most famous works include the distribution of the successful Saw movies which been subsequent to a further 6 films. So as a result of the exhibition of the distributor prior to when the film starts, it gives a clear representation as to what the film will be like. Also bearing in mind that Footsteps is an independent film, we decided to use Vertigo who specialise in independent film and have become well known the media, which would not only increase funding, but it would also; like twisted picture, enable a more effective form of viral marketing.
Due to the fact that ‘Footsteps’ would be an independent film, the budget would not be as high as a studio production. However Horror Horror films are one of the highest grossing genres making millions of pounds at the box office each year regardless of the budget such as ‘Paranormal activity’ which grossed $193,355,800 on a small budget of $15,000. For these reasons I believe that Large multiplexes and cinema chains such as ‘Odeon’ may be interested in my product. Under the right direction, an effective marketing strategy to advertise Footsteps could also be done under a low budget through viral marketing which previously had a substantial effect on ‘The Blair Witch Project’ formed on a budget of £20,000 grossing
Who would be the audience for your media product?
On the basis that the characters in the film are in their late teens, and considering the genre is horror; the target audience would mainly appeal to the 16-24 range. In terms of marketing this would be beneficial on both sides of the scale. Enabling late showings for the 18+ range; with the added bonus of it being a typical time associated for watching horror films. And also the added benefit of afternoon showings for the 16+ with their disposable income for the weekend showings.
There is also a constant use of technology and subtle advertising that would appeal to youth, such as the use of the Iphone and the American Apparel clothing.
What is also beneficial about horror films, is that it has the tendency to appeal to all sectors and classes in societies providing the age gap. It could be said, that the two girls in the film are stereotyped into different social groups with the main character possessing more social status- this is shown through her texting and use of mobile phones where the other girl sits quietly by herself and seems as if she can not be trusted to be talked in front of by the other girl who chooses to take her conversation outside. I wanted the soundtrack in our opening to have a very power effect on the viewer, representing the current state of occurrence in the film. I chose The village soundtrack as the opening sound to emphasise the enigmatic but beautiful nature of the surroundings which I often find is not always presented.
How does your media product represent particular social groups:
Taking into account that the film is based and intended for youth and young adults, the film can be seen as conforming to somewhat stereotypes that fit into the generation of youth today. Character A being the popular and somewhat rebellious type; bearing in mind that she is in detention and character B somewhat timid and quiet. Character A does not feel she can talk in front of character B and takes to leaving the chapel leaving character B on her own.
There is also the use of modern technologies with the use of Character A’s I phone and the modern day clothing used with both characters that could influence and enable association for youths with something they may or want to wear themselves.
Through the music, the intended effect was to create an element of fear from the very beginning. The scenery was also not particularly a typical everyday setting. Our aim in the film was to continuously build up tension and suspense so through the use of consistent showing of characters minus the use of elliptical editing, the audience would be unsure of whether anything was going to happen or not, the audience would never know. This tactic was in some ways inspired by the film ‘American Psycho’ where tension and fear was built up through out the film, however the outcome was not always what the audience would presume. ‘ Paranormal activity’ and ‘Blair Which Project’ were counter parts that influenced the P.O.V shots that we used in the film, even though they differed in terms of whose perspective it was, as the ‘mystery person’ is not shown in the opening sequence and we know who is filming in ‘The Blair Which Project’ and ‘Paranormal activity’. A contribution to the suspense of whether or not the characters in the film are being watched, and if so, by who.
What have you learnt about technologies in the process of constructing your media product? I have firstly broadened my knowledge of using a digital camera. Understanding the effects of lighting angles and how to properly frame the setting in getting it all in the recording of your camera. I have also managed to teach myself the basics of using Imovie which I can now say I am confident on, this includes cropping, framing, adding sound effect and changing the colour to set the mood for you screen, and I uses vigilante several times in the colouring of the shots, as I found that this enticed more fear in to the scenes. I also found out about a lot of websites that helped me with our film. Firstly with http://www.video2mp3.net/ which enabled me to browse through soundtracks then put them onto my film. http://keepvid.com/ which enabled us to extract the beginnings of Vertigo pictures and Twisted pictures and http://www.dafont.com/ which enabled my group to choose a title they liked for our opening credits.
Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?
I have learnt a lot about the impact of lighting, sound and different uses of the camera in order to create certain effects. Editing has also been crucial in constructing the overall image and intended effect of the opening. However there are several things that I would of liked to of done differently.
Prior to the filming of our original opening, we initially intended to use 2 young girls; typically influenced by films such as The Orphan, Exorcist, The sixth sense and The Orphanage which all use the central figure of young children to entice fear out of the audience. Reasons for why I thought that using a young child in our horror film would be so effective, is that adults are so accustomed to maintaining absolute control over situations and because of this, it’s unsettling to assume that an infant is able of accomplishing things that adult could not possibly . In terms of filming quality and footage, I believe that our previous footage prior to our original one was at a higher standard, however we encountered a problem with lighting due to the fact that it was late and we were filming in a chapel that did not have efficient lighting. I also made the mistake of changing the angles of the camera which would of pixilated the general image quality when edited to fit the screen. So in our second shoot, I made sure that we filmed at a good time where lighting would not be a problem and the we kept the camera at one angle. Unfortunately, we could not use the girls twice due to scheduling problems so we used myself and my group member Emerald to replace them. By doing this, we still stuck to the conventions of horror in terms of our influences in using to young girls, we also made more association to youth culture which would attract viewings.
During the course of our editing, we encountered several errors with the computer software we were using, which slowed down the process, resulting in the finished product; we feel could have been better, if we had been given more time if the errors had not occurred.
Originally, my group wanted to make a horror film, and through equal discussion we came to the conclusion of our synopsis. I suggested several scenes which could be put on our storyboards. We then went about filming. I was adamant to make sure that our film had a variety of different camera angles and techniques such as match on match action, P.O.V shots and close ups.
Once we had finished filming, I went about editing the footage. My first priority was to eradicate and crop unnecessary footage. Seen as I had never used Imovie before, I found it difficult starting off, as I was getting to grips with the software during the duration of editing the sequence.
I wanted the soundtrack in our opening to have a very power effect on the viewer, representing the current state of occurrence in the film. I chose The village soundtrack as the opening sound to emphasise the enigmatic but beautiful nature of the surroundings. Imam and Emerald liked the idea of the use of strings which made me think of The Village which I believed emphasised the underlining purpose of the nature we were trying to crate at that particular moment in the scene. I then wanted a track with a strong and powerful build up which I think the second soundtrack possesses. Particularly with the pace and tempo of the piece subtlety, but effectively increasing. With the closing of the gate I thought this w9ould be a perfect time to start creating tension as danger was approaching in the sequence. I also suggested the filming to be done out side the building on looking the video creating a P.O.V shot as to alert the reader that someone was watching. I also brought awareness to the fact the two girls were under target from the start with the leading to the chapel and the sound effect of footsteps which tie in to the purpose of our title Footsteps. As well as the footstep sound effect, I also used several mysterious but attention-grabbing sound effects to emphasise and bring closer awareness to the occurrence of the particular scene, which the second soundtrack later replaces in the purpose.