1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge form and conventions of real media products? Our thriller features traditional conventions of the thriller genre as we have set the scene within a woods which is cliché to this genre of film. The dead branches of the trees symbolise death as well as winter which is associated with bitterness and shivers. The weather within our film is wet and rainy so the mood is cold. Audience relates these conventions with fear. < Our opening setting the scene shot < The Shining (1980) long shot of woods comparing ‘The Village’ to our P.O.V Shots > To reinforce this emotion, we used techniques such as point of view shots of the victim making the audience feel insecure and vulnerable to the coming events of the film which is commonly found within thrillers. Other features include the delirious worm-view panning of the branches above the victim, which we edited to fade over each other to suggest the female victim is delirious, suggesting she’s a damsel in distress, a common convention of the sub-genre I studied, psychological thrillers, films such as The Village was our main influence. Another convention of this sub-genre is the eerie non-diagetic music we chose suits the idea of the empty woods as the uncomfortable sounds make the audiences hairs tingle as they feel threatened . However, as we used shot-reverse –shot’s and CU of the character eyes, these are conventions we picked to choose from the genre Western. The music has a calm, country feel to it along with the ambient sounds of wind, rain and birds making sounds juxtapose with the dangerous situation being viewed. Although the non-diagetic humming of a child singing teddy bears picnic denotes a innocent feel behind the storyline, juxtaposing the tense situation with a childhood song creates confusion between the characters, this is commonly found in psychological as well as ell as Horror –Thrillers I looked as such as Birds.(1963 a suspense/horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock )
1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge form and conventions of real media products? The way we designed the titles was while text over plain black background to exaggerate the idea of good over evil. This is commonly found of the Thriller genre, an example is The Village (2004 by M. Night Shyamalan). We challenged the typical convention of a male antagonist, and chose to work with two female characters and focused on using different types of shots to differentiate their status’s. In addition to these, we created our opening with no dialogue so the audience engaged with the narrative. There are very little colour feature within our product as our shots are dark, dull and grey which is commonly found in Thriller films. These dreary colours set a cold tone to our opening.
How does your media product represent particular social groups? Our media product represents particular social groups through age, gender as well as class. We focused on both the characters point of views, the female victim appearing as weak and vulnerable, whereas the antagonist as threatening as their identity stay anonymous to begin with. It’s revealed that our choice of antagonist is a female character which challenges the stereotypical idea that antagonists are usually males because that gender is associated with strength, force and typically more powerful over women. Both character are young white females, however the antagonist is shot from low angles appearing both stronger and taller, suggesting she is older and more dominant than the other female. The costume on the victim is a casual dress suggesting she’s middle class. Yet the antagonist is wearing a hoody which is icon to youth, but her body language suggests otherwise. The prop of knives being used is also associated with ASBOs and hoodies, putting them in particular persona, yet our choice of character goes against the stereotype as we have used a middle class young woman. The reason we used this is to indicate the rainy weather and to keep her identity mysterious in the opening. But they key to using a young female is to attract our target audience to young people can associate with the characters. Although this factor is uncommon, we kept the verisimilitude high through using two character of similar age, race and of the same gender. This is also been included in the action thriller film Kill bill as both antagonist and protagonist are female showing that our film possess quility of those made in hollywood. Low angle suggests dominant weapons pose threat When character is revealed, audience are made to question these stereotypes. Comparison scene from Kill Bill Victim is also in a vulnerable position Female antagonist clearly holding weapon
What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why? Our film is low-budget, made by amateur students and is unlikely to be produced by a Hollywood company because it doesn’t feature brilliant quality cinematography. The narrative of our film features codes and conventions that of a psychological-thriller which holds a broad appeal to a wide audience, but starts off with a plot similarly found in a lot of thriller films. If it were professional produced it would most probably a television broadcaster such as Channel 4. The idea of our product being distributed as a TV movie means it reaches the dominant target audience on middle class white British public, features of which our characters hold. Channel 4 also holds T4 aimed at teenagers which would suit our niche audience. They commonly release short films featuring real life events bringing awareness to the viewers, which our opening covers as it’s a possible realistic situation featuring the on-going controversy about young people getting involved with knives. This channel has produced thriller films such as ‘Dead set’ which was hugely popular because the young audience didn’t have spend extra money at the cinema, and the show wasn’t a huge cost to produce. Our film would cost about the same to produce and it gives the chance to upcoming actors the viewers would recognise from other shows to feature as the characters. This also means it can reach a wider audience as 4 now feature online TV.
Who would be the audience for your media product? After reading on age certificates by the official BBFC we decided our film would be of a certificate 15. This is because it features weapons, but not too much detail of dangerous behaviour so it cannot be copied. The strongest gory images are unlikely to be accepted but violence may be shown frequently. This would mean, if produced by Channel 4, it would have to be shown after 9 because of the watershed as this is when ‘adult behaviour’ is allowed to be shown. Our audience is aimed at 15+ as our narrative focuses around 19/20 years old, so we decided not to include too much gore, and focus more of the psychological parts to the thriller. I think our film suits both men and women because females can connect with the female characters point of view better, and males enjoy watching conflict between two young women. Two films with similar aspects i have looked at are The Village (certificate1 12) and Kill Bill (certificate 18). After comparing content to both these films, I could see that there was much less swearing and gore than Kill Bill, as this film has the intensions to frighten the audience with explicit content. Whereas our opening product was more threatening than The Village as there features violence and weapons.
How did you attract / address your audience? While researching, I put together a questionnaire that addressed our audience to enable us to see who our target audience would be. By doing so I could see what audiences want to see and feel when watching a thriller so our opening could be as affective as possible. They asked for suspense, intensity, twisted plot where the audience can’t predict the outcome to the storyline. We tried to keep to these to produce what our audience was looking for. When the first draft of our opening was finished, feedback was important to allow us to improve to make it more effective. Not only did we get feedback from our teachers, but we asked our peers what they thought we could do to improve. I asked a friend of 16years (so she suited our target audience) to view the piece to see what she did and didn’t like as an audience member, not as a media student so they didn’t think about the production behind the filming, only the experience of a viewer. While one teacher felt the opening dragged out for too long, boring the viewer and loosing their interest before the films properly started, the other teacher felt the slow introduction in the opening benefited it as it gradually built up the intensity creating a contrast between the faster paced cuts between the shots including more action. While we adjusted the fading introduction to suit a range of people views, my friend who observed our opening wanted to see more of the antagonist and more secrecy to how the victim came to the situation. This meant our audience would prefer more mystery so we would take out the flashbacks and include more P.O.V shots so the opening felt more personal to the viewer. Now that the audience feels like they’re in the characters situation, tied up and disorientated, it increases the amount of emotion they’re feeling, bringing up feeling of fear and tense. While looking at the importance of sound, this is a feature director M. Night Shyamalan likes the audience to subconsciously experience when producing films such as ‘Sixth Sense’
What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product? I realised it was much easier to edit our footage if it was good quality filming from our first task, so next time I recorded several times of each shot to achieve a smooth move/correct angle. In some cases, a shot still had a fault, so we used the technology to fix that. PP allowed us to crop shots to a shorter length so jolty movements could be removed. When a dog and it’s owner appeared in one of the opening wood scenes, I was able to zoom in to the image to the dog was out of the selected viewing area. These are important skills I learn within filming and post production. While having very little experience in adobe Photoshop and never before using adobe flash or premier pro, I had to learn all the skills needed from my peers who had used these programs before. As media has been a new subject for me, it was important to practice using a video camera, and other aspects of filming such as the language, angles and types of shots before I even considered editing. My first task was the continuity task, which put me into a group with two others who I would be working with for the rest of the production. Even getting to grips with simple gadgets such as how to correctly use the tri-pod was new to me. I also learnt how to correctly and efficiently upload the videos in order to start editing. Even the task of condensing the image into a (.mov) file was a new task I learnt. Imovie was the last program I used to create the product. No-one in my group were able to use after effects so we decided to stick to basic skills within PP. This meant we could focus on other aspects such as sound. This involved us carefully editing the noise levels, and using a sound recorder to record different layer of sounds such as birds singing, and the knife scraping as well as the characters scream. It was hard to make the sounds appear on the same level but by using audacity to boost, reduce, and remove unwanted noises we could achieve the right effect. This is a software I enjoyed using but none were easy to pick up on. I struggled to teach myself, but by observing other groups and watching tutorials I gained more skills.
Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product? I progressed on many different levels since my preliminary task. I gained skills in camera control, full understanding of angles and lengths of shots as well as editing software. After a few practices it felt comfortable to me to work with so I could progress further. Adobe premier pro, imovie, audacity and HD cameras were all new technologies to me. While having the privilege of working with HD cameras making it easy to use, the quality was hard to produce well when they kept auto-adjusting due to the false light, making them badly focused. When it came to filming the thriller opening, I had gained a little experience and had pre-planned what i was going to soot before by creating an animation. This also allowed me to learn skills within premier pro, learning how to adjust the size of the frames, edit the tinted colour of the shot, different transactions and to add sound over the images. Our group were all new to these skills so we shared responsibilities in different areas that we performed better than our peers in to the end product was the best quality we could achieve. I volunteered to act for our film as well so I was fully involved with the production. I felt confident enough to manage using the camera to shoot specific scenes on my own when the other members couldn’t make it. As my confidence grew in handling the camera, next I focused on effects in editing, as this area I wasn’t performing well in. I was taught colour and contrast levels, as well as how to add titles. I learnt a lot a performed these skills with care. I developed far from when I made my first task as I couldn’t even focus the camera to start with. I learnt that I work better in natural light even though weather became an issue when shooting, and I’m good and designing how these shots would look. Certain members of my group were better at tasks such as keeping the camera steady hen shooting, and cutting the shot to a specific time. I realised I’m better as the creative side such as experimenting with audacity sounds, editing colour of shots and ordering them to suit the best sequences. Learning these skills were important so I could pan smoothly, focus correctly, use affective angles and position shots while learning important rules such as the 180 degree rule you can’t break while filming.