Introduction Our unit brief this year was to create a short film lasting 5 minutes. We had to research, plan, make and evaluate everything. We analysed, thought over, min mapped and organised everything on a blog to be able to do this. Short films have a whole industry of their own. They can be exciting and unique because you can make nearly anything into a short film. Short films can be based on fact or fiction, life stories, special events, random thoughts; basically anything that you can think of and create can be made into one. The great thing about them is that you can make them on a lower budget, with less crew and equipment and it gives the chance for everybody to show others what they want to; sometimes with no cost at all.
Democracy of free film making nowadays is all the rage. We had and did not need to use any funding for our short film this year (except for a £50 deposit for the camera we used, but we got that back, so it cost nothing at all). On occasion short films get released but usually they are just done as part of a directors or producers portfolio. You can do a lot more with a short film that you can do with a feature film, because there's a shorter amount of time to develop the character and create a conflict and resolution. This can make short films a lot more exciting to create as you have so much to say in such a smaller space of time. Short films can last up to an hour, so occasionally they aren’t very short at all. But our film we had to create this year was only allowed to be 5 minutes; a bit easier than our 2 and a half minute film we made last year. This time we felt like we had much more time to show a fuller story, a bigger picture of what we had produced for our story idea.
In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
First of all like real media products we created a short story to help us to create our product from around it. We then begun on the synopsis and then built it up by creating a script, storyboard, shooting script and more just like real media product conventions. Other media products helped to influence the creation of our film. Such as other short film media products. The idea of making the audience think about the product came from watching many films. Also by having no dialogue in the film will help to get the point across and make the audience pay attention. From all the points we came up with the idea that our film should be the genre of teen drama. As we know more about them as we are the same age, also drama because the dramatic view of it will make the audience think. Our main guy actor is Portuguese, by using him it shows social diversity in a primarily white location.
We have tried to use, develop and use media conventions. We chose to create a teen drama product so that we can develop our target audiences opinions and views on college life and relationships. We wanted them to see how sinning can affect your life and other peoples, so you should be careful what you did. We tried to apply Todorov’s narrative theory however we decided to challenge his theory by having part of the story shown at the beginning to attract our audiences attention. Instead of having a linear structure it has a episodic structure. Our product uses traditional conventions of representation, such as the Geeky Guy. To show he is a geek he was dressed like a geek would with big glasses and non stylish clothes. Also by the way he acts around girls, he is afraid and nervous. The product targets a teen audience as we want them to relate to the characters and some of the sins they commit and if they can change themselves to prevent bad things from happening.
How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?
The combination of both the ancillary tasks and the film product work really well together and are very effective. The poster and magazine help to gain publicity for the film making the audience want to watch the film after seeing the ancillary tasks. The magazine was used to review what the film was about and give the reader a small insight on what the film is about. We decided to use the red and black theme as this is what the real Empire magazine use in most of their reviews. The magazine conventions also help the audience to want to watch, such as the ratings the film is given. The magazine is also used to give an insight into the creation of the film, by showing this it will make the audience interested about the film. The poster is used to show the audience again an insight into the film through the use of photos and the tagline. These both help to gain the audiences attention. Together the poster and magazine are used to entice the audience to want to watch the film through what they have seen and what they have read.
What have you learned from your audience feedback?
Audience feedback is very important for us after creating our film, because from the feedback we can see what we did well and what can be improved next time when creating a film or if we decide to re-edit. From this feedback we can find out many things such as whether it appealed to our target audience, if we followed or challenged film conventions well and so on. Representation of the characters were said to be done really well through the use of costume and props and the audience could relate to them. The criticism we had about representation was it would have been better if we used different characters for the Geeky Guy and the Hot Guy. This is what we would of done different as well, because it would of made more sense. So from the feedback we now know for definite this is what we should change. Also we were going to have different characters but we were unable to find another actor. Narrative of the story was clear to understand even with the same actor being used. The mise-en-scene worked well together with the narrative. The use of representation of the characters and editing helped to tell the narrative. Also the audience liked the fact the story was left open for them to guess the ending. However if we used dialogue it would of helped to develop the storyline.
We also asked for audience feedback from both of our ancillary tasks to see what we did well and whether they appealed to our target audience. From this we can then know what to improve next time, whether we followed poster and magazine conventions well, the text appealed to the audience. Everybody seemed to like our film poster and magazine, there were a few criticisms made, such as the quote at the top of the page not looking right and the position of the names on the poster. The things the audience liked that we did well was that on the poster they liked that the characters drew them in, as you want to know what they are doing. Also they liked the photo editing on the poster as it contrasted the film as the girls hair was bright where as the film is black and white.
How did you use media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?
The use and creation of many different media technologies really helped us to produce our film, as well as help with everything else we had to do. We used many different types of media to help us create, plan, research and evaluate our short film; in fact I don’t think we used anything that wasn’t modern technology with the exception of paper and pens. Computers became our best friends and so did our blogs that we made on blogger.com. We kept, typed, created, embedded codes and analysed everything on our blogs. We scanned in pictures of mind maps, storyboards and other work we had done, used publisher to create our poster and mini picture diary, as well as our original marketing questionnaire. However we had a few problems when it came to using another website called slideshare.com, where we upload PowerPoint to embed into our blogs, the PowerPoint's would not upload and tend to take too long. This meant we began to fall behind on work as we were trying hard to upload presentations. Obviously we used Microsoft to type everything up first before pasting it onto our blogs and used PowerPoint to create more interesting evaluations, research and analysis. The adobe premier software we had at college was very dysfunctional and had many problems with it (to say the least) so after many attempts we had no choice really but to use windows movie maker.
It still did a good job, especially the wide range of transitions and sound editing you could do. We managed to capture our film tape onto the adobe software, although it wouldn’t properly save or edit on adobe itself. We had lots of problems with the college computers too. When we had captured and edited our film, mishaps with the computer meant that the temp drives were cleared so we had to start over. One afternoon we stayed to edit and we were there from quarter to nine until about 4 o’clock because we had lost all of our nearly finished previous editing to the computer that had been cleared. This also happened with our outtakes film that we had made separately, so it had to be done twice over. We thought it rather unfortunate that the teachers had not been trained to use the adobe software because it meant they were helpless in being able to teach us how to use it. Also the IT technicians weren’t sure about any of it either.
We put this down to the faults of the college of delaying and ruining some of our coursework. We hope for the sake of others next year that this will be solved by then. We used firework adobe Photoshop to edit and create the poster. We took several pictures then edited them, made a choice on our poster photo then continued using the Photoshop to add the rest. When we did work at home, we would go on facebook chat or msn so we could stay in contact with each other during work and also use our mobiles. These forms of contact helped us to find actors and to keep in contact with them. Outlook and hotmail was used as well to keep in contact, send work and again to find actors. We used Emma’s digital camera to take behind the scenes pictures of when we were making the film and sometimes our phones if we didn’t have a camera with us.
We believe our final film was a success. Although there are small changes we would like to make to it if we had the chance to improve or remake it such as: the running scenes, the fact that we could only find one person to play two roles, possible costume changes, the end credits and small continuity errors. We realise now that we did everything we possibly could in the time that we had. We both think we have worked hard to get our blogs and film up to a high standard and hope it is enough for us to receive good grades for this coursework unit. We are happy with our poster and wouldn’t make any changes to it. We wanted the poster to be simple, but with enough information to intrigue teenagers, we wanted it to have an air of mystery. We are also happy with our magazine review, we think it looks like a proper online blog magazine and we got to use the other photo that we edited for the poster (so thankfully it didn’t go to waste). We tried to keep a theme running through the film, poster and magazine.
We definitely wanted it to attract a younger audience which is why we chose to put on our film that it was a “BBC Switch” short film production. “BBC Switch” is known for its teen dramas and normally gets viewers around the ages of 15-19. This matched our initial idea of who we would like our target audience to be. We also mentioned “BBC Switch” in our magazine review, to make it seem more realistic saying we had won a competition which led to our film being broadcasted on their website and television Saturday show. We are overall happy with our blogs, research, planning and film and are glad that finally we can be done stressing about it all. It was a lot of fun to do, but also a lot of hard work, but it seems to have paid off and hopefully we will now get the good grades we have worked so hard for.