Media Evaluation

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Media Evaluation

  1. 1. Thriller Opening Sequence Evaluation Lauren Rogers
  2. 2. 1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? <ul><li>The isolated location is often a convention used in thriller films, creating tension, as when the inevitable happens and something goes wrong there is no one about to help. This makes the character more vulnerable to danger, therefore increasing the audience’s fear. </li></ul><ul><li>The strange phone call heard during this shot creates enigma. The unknown identity of the caller increases the tension as it makes the viewer wonder who is calling and their significance in the plot to follow. It could also point to the fact the film has aspects of a conspiracy thriller as it creates mystery. Similar use of a phone call is used in the opening of film “When A Stranger Calls”, where you hear a recorded phone call between the babysitter and villain, played over a similar establishing shot of a house. </li></ul><ul><li>My opening sequence develops the convention where fear and an enigma is created , by something strange happening in an ordinary situation. Here the ordinary situation is a girl babysitting and the enigma is created by the door mysteriously opening and a strange phone call. This is a very common convention in real media products. For example, in the opening of the film “Blue Velvet” whilst walking in a field a man come across a rotting ear. </li></ul><ul><li>In the majority of thriller films the victim is a fallible female . I decided to go with this generic convention rather than challenge it, as the audience will feel more fear for a young female due to their vulnerability than they would towards a male, who is often assumed to be able to protect himself when faced with danger. </li></ul><ul><li>An eerie soundtrack is used throughout, like in most films, which amplifies the action. We decided to keep our opening quite simple, like Alfred Hitchcock’s film “Vertigo” , which is simply a shot of an eye and some spiralling patterns, leaving the viewer guessing and not giving too much away. Therefore, the soundtrack is the main source of building suspense. Hitchcock does this very effectively with the music used in “Vertigo” . </li></ul><ul><li>My media product does however challenge some conventions, with quick cuts between shots not being used, instead taking a more fluent approach to editing. Also, no weapons or violence is used as we wanted to keep the opening simple. There are also no close up shots in our opening sequence, which is probably one of the mistakes we made, a viewer also picked up on this. </li></ul>
  3. 3. 2. How does your media product represent particular social groups? <ul><li>My product represents the social group of teenage girls. They are portrayed as vulnerable, with their stereotypical inability to defend themselves increasing the fear of the audience. </li></ul><ul><li>They are also represented as naïve, demonstrated by when the girl goes outside following the mysterious opening of the door, as she could be walking into the face of danger. We expected this stereotypical way of acting may have offended some of our target audience, however this was not the case, with us receiving comments such as “acted as a normal babysitter would”, proving we have given an accurate representation of this social group. </li></ul><ul><li>Our use of mise-en-scene aimed to make the situation as realistic and relatable to our target audience as possible. Stereotypically it is “chavs” and “yobs” who wear hoodies, however our character is a normal girl of middle class. We decided to dress her in a hoody and jeans as it is unlikely she would be “glammed up” to babysit. Our target audience will be able to identify with the character, due to the majority often wearing such an outfit for comfort too. </li></ul><ul><li>Another way in which our target audience are able to relate to the situation is through class. It is hard to judge the class of your target audience, therefore we decided to accommodate the majority, with a happy medium. </li></ul><ul><li>The character represented is of middle class and is babysitting in a modest home. If our character was of upper class and it was set in a grand home, this may alienate a number of our audience, with them being unable to identify with such a situation. On the other hand, if it were to be set in a small council flat it could also have a similar effect. </li></ul>
  4. 4. 3. What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why? <ul><li>Realistically, my media product is not likely to be a major Hollywood Studios Production. The outcome is good, however does not compare to that of major productions. Unlike most professional productions we have no specialised skills in film production, no filming budget, a short time-scale, not the best equipment and amateur actors. It is also unlikely to be a TV movie, due to the same reasons. </li></ul><ul><li>The most likely future for a movie like this would be as an internet release. I would look into uploading it onto sharing sites such as YouTube, where it will be accessible to a worldwide audience. Although, without promotion it is unlikely to receive many views due to its existence being unknown. Other possible sites to upload my media product to could be www.vimeo.com and www.photobucket.com . Sites like this are good for receiving exposure, allow others to evaluate your work by leaving comments and providing the chance for your talent to be spotted. </li></ul><ul><li>In the unlikely event that my film was distributed, the media institution would have probably distributed films alike. Therefore, I researched into the distributors of the films “When A Stranger Calls”, “Taken” and “Flightplan” all of which inspired my own product. Due to them all being mainstream films, they were distributed by large institutions Touchstone Pictures, 20 th Century Fox and Sony Pictures. It is unlikely we would be able to get one of these large companies on board our production, however if we did then 20 th Century Fox would be one of the most suitable, having produced a number of successful thriller films in the past, such as “Taken” and “What Lies Beneath”. </li></ul><ul><li>In order to improve and develop my media product, or get help distributing the finished product, there may be possibility of receiving funding from the UK Film Council who fund script development, film production, short films and film export and distribution. Alternatively, I could write to companies trying to acquire sponsorship, helping to improve the quality of the outcome. </li></ul>
  5. 5. 4. Who would be the audience for your media product? <ul><li>Age: 15-25 </li></ul><ul><li>We have decided our target audience will be teenagers and young adults, as they will be able to relate to the characters and situation. </li></ul><ul><li>In our opening scene, the majority of teenagers will be able to relate to the situation of being home alone at night, knowing how it can be quite scary at times. </li></ul><ul><li>Our questionnaires supported this expected relatability, receiving comments such as “I could relate to them as they were a similar age to me” and “very realistic, acted like a normal babysitter would”. </li></ul><ul><li>Film Certification: 15 </li></ul><ul><li>We have rated our film a 15 as the rest of the film will involve bad language, violence and possibly a psychologically distressing plot for younger viewers. We also came to this decision through researching into the certification of similar real media products. </li></ul>Gender: Both, but mostly male -Research has proved thriller films are most popular with young adults, predominantly males, with the sub-genre action thriller, which our film is, being one of the most popular. -Due to this, we decided to target our film mainly towards the male audience, however, due to our film involving a female victim and an underlying romance, also recognised it may have cross-gender appeal. -Our questionnaire results suggested our film may have broader appeal than we expected, as all the females said they would be convinced to watch more after watching the opening sequence. <ul><li>Our media product incorporates aspects of the films “Flightplan”, “Taken” and “When A Stranger Calls”. I researched into the certifications of these films and discovered they ranged from a 12 to an 18. We decided to go in the middle of these, which is a 15. </li></ul><ul><li>All of the films typically involve a young female victim like mine, therefore appeal to the female audience as well as male. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Taken” involves lots of guns and killings, therefore is more appealing to men, whereas “Flightplan” is a more physiological story, giving it broader appeal. The rest of my film will involve a fusion of the two, giving it cross gender appeal. </li></ul>
  6. 6. 4. Who would be the audience for your media product? When A Stranger Calls Flightplan Taken <ul><li>I discovered these surveys on the IMBD website. They were very useful when identifying our target audience, due to them being similar products which have all influenced our construction. They show that: </li></ul><ul><li>They are mostly watched by men, however do also have a female audience. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Taken” which involves a lot of guns, violence and murder was watched more by men however was surprisingly enjoyed just as much by women. </li></ul><ul><li>They’re watched mostly by people aged 18-29, with the least popular age groups being aged under 18 and 45+. </li></ul><ul><li>Females have rated the films just as highly if not higher than men, suggesting they enjoy films where there’s a female victim. </li></ul><ul><li>They’re watched mostly by males aged 18-29, suggesting this is the group who enjoy thrillers the most. Therefore, I decided to make this my primary target audience. </li></ul>
  7. 7. 5. How did you attract/address your audience? <ul><li>The opening sequence of my thriller film is aimed to appeal to and particularly frighten teenagers, especially girls, as boys would not like to admit being scared in such a situation. </li></ul><ul><li>The concept of being home alone whilst babysitting is a relatable one for many from my target audience of age 15-25. This is proven by our questionnaire results, with someone commenting “very relatable because of teen babysitter”. </li></ul><ul><li>The prospect of receiving an odd phone call in this situation, as well as strange occurrences in the house, like here where the door mysteriously opens, would be unnerving for many. Therefore my audience will be able to share the fear and apprehension of the babysitter, with the ability to put themselves in their “shoes”. </li></ul><ul><li>The beginning establishing shot puts the audience in the position of an onlooker. This establishes the convention of an isolated relationship, worrying the audience as when the inevitable happens and something goes wrong there will be no one about to help. It also makes whoever may be inside seem vulnerable from the start. </li></ul><ul><li>The way the audience are positioned as onlookers suggests the character is being watched, hinting to the fact that trouble lies ahead and that they are the subject of an intricate plan, which is a common convention of a thriller. This makes the audience apprehensive of the events to follow and builds suspense. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Questionnaires Our group developed a questionnaire consisting of a variety of open and closed questions which we distributed to a focus group to complete following a screening of our finalised opening sequence. This allowed us to gage audience reaction to our product and highlight areas of weakness which would be improved. <ul><li>The quality of our product is proven by the average rating of 8 out of 10 </li></ul><ul><li>The influence behind our product must have been apparent due to one comment being “reminded me of When A Stranger Calls”. </li></ul><ul><li>Strengths: </li></ul><ul><li>Weaknesses: </li></ul>
  9. 9. 6. What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing the product? S : Good zoom enabled us to establish normal neighbour hood then focus on one particular house building tension and suggesting enigma. S : Use of tripod enabled a smooth pan shot from living room to kitchen and steady shots throughout to avoid any unwanted shakiness. W : Camera fairly low in mega pixels therefore appears quite grainy when viewed on a large screen, which would be no good for cinema viewing. Problem: Faulty camera could not hold its charge Solution : Plugged camera into a nearby socket during inside filming and used a long extension lead for power when filming from outside. Problem: Interruptions such as cars driving past, car alarms going off and doors slamming. Solution: Removed background noise using I Movie and did more takes for shots which were visually interrupted such as cars passing. - I learnt how to effectively edit shots together on I Movie, using appropriate transitions. I also learnt how to add sound effects to our footage such as dogs barking, which increases the tension and suggests an intrusion. We created a voice recording using a microphone connected to the Mac and combined this with sound effects of a phone ringing and a dial tone to create the telephone conversation, rather than attempting to record it whilst filming. - We found it very difficult to find copyright free music online, however eventually discovered a copyright free site from which we downloaded the soundtrack for our opening sequence. We decided on the track Spider Eyes by Kevin MacLeod, as it is very suspenseful and eerie, setting the sinister atmosphere we are aiming for and also when put behind our footage, complimented the action almost perfectly highlighting the moments of suspense. <ul><li>In our first day of filming, we used very little lighting, attempting to create the sinister atmosphere typical to that of a thriller, however all it created was bad quality footage which was very grainy, with the action barely visible. After this, we recognized that the majority of thrillers in fact establish their tension through the soundtrack and some kind of enigma rather than darkness, therefore re-planned our storyboard and made much more use of lighting when we re-filmed. </li></ul>
  10. 10. 7. Looking back to your preliminary task, what do you feel that you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product? <ul><li>Analysing the openings of other existing media products was very useful, as it allowed us to recognise the conventions of thriller films, such as being set in an ordinary location, being centred on crime and the victim stereotypically being a woman. All of which we exercised in our own media product to make it appear as real as possible. </li></ul><ul><li>This analysis also allowed us to recognise typical camera shots used in a thriller film, such as point of view shots, close ups and establishing shots. </li></ul><ul><li>Watching a variety of openings gave us inspiration, helping to generate our ideas and </li></ul><ul><li>develop them by incorporating elements of existing products into them. </li></ul><ul><li>We learnt during our preliminary task that having a clear storyboard and shot list is very useful when it comes to shooting, as we knew exactly what shots needed filming and how they would need to be staged. It was also useful during the editing process as we knew the order in which to edit our shots together, helping the process to run smoothly. </li></ul><ul><li>Storyboarding was very useful in developing our ideas, making it easier to imagine how the shot will look when filmed. We generated a number of different storyboards throughout the planning process, due to certain ideas not working, until we reached our final one which incorporates aspects of them all. I have learnt that a planning process does not just involve one original idea, but is an idea which develops and changes over time. </li></ul><ul><li>The experience I gained from the preliminary task improved my use of specific shot types, in particular the match on action. The match on action shot in my final product was much smoother and more effective than in the preliminary. I think this is mostly due to me being more comfortable and experienced in operating the equipment (camera and tripod). I also felt much more confident in editing using I Movie, which on creating our preliminary I was very unfamiliar with. </li></ul><ul><li>I am happy with the overall product we’ve created, especially following the positive feedback from our questionnaires, which reinforce the quality of our product. Our original task was to plan, research and construct a media product. I feel I have fulfilled this, with my in depth planning and research of the thriller genre and its conventions effectively shaping the final outcome. </li></ul>

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