Lauren Crook ‘ Last One’ Media Studies AS : Foundation Portfolio
Introduction My project is an opening sequence for a film. It is called ‘Last One’ I choose this name as it is short, snappy and set up enigmas. I have tried to follow the typical ‘thriller’ genre, by using particular codes and conventions. In my project, I originally was working in a group of 2, unfortunately the other person left college. My project is virtually all my own work. My partner left 2 weeks into the project so she only really helped me with some of the research and planning ideas. I filmed all the footage alone and also editing alone.
In what ways does my media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? To create my opening sequence, I followed the typical codes and conventions of an opening sequence. I made sure it established a time and place, by making my opening shot pan across a room, that it introduced a main protagonist, by having the camera mainly focused on that character, that it created enigmas, by having interesting editing and shots, that it set up and initial equilibrium which is disrupted later and that it reassures the audience of the chosen genre and I did this by following the codes and conventions closely. To follow my genre ‘thriller’ - Sub genre ‘crime thriller’, I also had to follow strict codes and conventions to convey this genre to my target audience. To achieve this I used things like dark lighting to create a gloomy atmosphere, a mysterious killer by dressing him in black to keep the audience on edge, eerie music to build tension, and a variety of props associated with ‘thrillers’ such as knives, blood, alcohol, cigarettes and a murdered victim.
After looking at my audience feedback I feel my codes and conventions worked really well, although some people confused the genre ‘thriller’ with ‘horror.’ I think that was due to the knife sequence. I don’t see that being necessarily too bad as the two genres do share the same common ground, although ‘horror’ often doesn’t focus on the seen killer and his reactions.
How does my media product represent particular social groups? In my project I wanted to represent a character which was controlled. sophisticated, calm and fit the role of a ‘Hitman’, this is a familiar stereotype for this genre, it usually fulfils the role of a villian. I didn’t want the ‘killer’ to show much emotion and concern at killing people for a job, I conveyed this through not having many close-ups so that no emotion was seen by the target audience. I choose a simple stereotype instead of someone more complex and different as it is easier for my target audience to relate to stereotypes that they are used to I created a vulnerable blonde, small victim as this also fits a stereotype for the audience to relate to. I also followed the stereotypes of gender representation as well, ‘male villain’ as males don’t show any fear and are powerful, and ‘female victim’ as females are vulnerable and powerless. Black hood Black coat Black Pants
Whenever portraying a murderer the lighting is dark and dim and the media language is helping to convey this. Dark and dim connotes a person with no emotion, an empty, plain life. I feel my character is a typical stereotype of a ‘Hitman’, he fits my representation well and I can conclude this from my audience feddback. I managed to make my character really clear and audiences recognised who he was and I am happy with that.
What kind of media institution might distribute my media product? I researched similar films of my genre, ‘thriller’ and I found a few institutions which produce and distribute films of the same genre. The one which I thought was the best was ‘Compass International Pictures’ they have distributed various films all of the genre ‘thriller’ and ‘horror’ , such as: - Halloween -Blood Beach - Tourist Trap - Nocturna - Hell Night They only produced 3 of the above, ‘Blood Beach’, ‘Nocturna’ and ‘Halloween’.
I feel this media institution would have been great for my film, as they specialise in ‘thrillers’ and ‘horrors’ as they have distributed 5 films which all have a 5 or above star-rating. Therefore they will be familiar with the typical codes and conventions of these genres and have a good production/distribution background. Compass International Pictures was a film distribution company founded by Irwin Yablans and Joseph Wolf in 1977. Their first, and most notable film release was ‘ Halloween’ . The company closed down in 1981. The company currently exists as a subsidiary of Trancas International Films, Inc.
Who would be the audience for my media product? My target audience is in the age range of 15-35 because ‘thrillers’ acquire a detailed understanding so the audience is an a mature age range. This is a good for the audience as it is a wide range and also reflects the main groups who go to the cinema. In terms of gender, it is stereotypically a male genre because it’s more often about male killers, but now-a-days women have killer roles as there are now women being represented as strong in such films. Ethnicity and nationality-wise, I would say English and British as they can relate to the ethnicity and nationality of the character. But from my opening sequence I wouldn’t say this is clear as his head is down most of the time and he doesn’t speak. So realistically my opening sequence could have an appeal to others.
Referring to the socio-economic background , I think the standard classification would be a combination of A-E as cinema tickets are affordable to all social groups. My Target audience age range of 15-35 covers the whole spectrum so I wouldn’t say they is a certain classification. I think the genre of my project could also have a secondary target audience of older then 35’s, as the ‘mystery’ idea created in ‘thrillers’ is appealing to an older generation as well, especially if it sticks to media tested formulas rather than being too modern or trendy.
How did I attract or address my audience? I feel I mainly attracted my target audience by following the codes and conventions of opening sequences, as this leaves the audience an easier job of relating and identifying with the characters as they are used to the way things are being conveyed. By editing effectively, the chronology of my film is good and attracts the audience as it gives them a clear story to follow and makes them want to watch on. The use of enigmas, for example, ‘Who is killing that girl in the bed?’ also attracts the audience and I tried very hard to set up lots of enigmas by making sure every shot had meaning behind it. I tried to build tension by choosing slow, creepy music, by having fast, quick pace editing in the killing sequence to almost represent the mixture of emotions, this will keep the audience watching closely and then I added a sudden noise which stops the tension and sets up enigmas like ‘What was that?’
I left the audience with dominant ideologies and messages about crime, not only will this give my film a clear genre, it will also help my audience understand and relate to it as they are used to these codes and conventions. I also tried to mix up seeing things in 1 st and 3 rd person. This is a good way to attract the audience as they get a real insight as to the scenario at the time, it makes them feel more invloved. When in 1 st person the audience is made to feel involved in the character and uncomfortable in my sequence. In 3 rd person the audience is made to feel out of the way, but at a safe distance to understand the concepts, this again helps them to relate to the scenario. 3 rd person shot Watching from a distance 1 st person shot Watching from eyes of character
What have I learnt about technologies from the process of constructing my product?
This project has allowed me to learn a whole new set of technological skills and also made me realise that I enjoy this work and could maybe be a career choice for me.
I have learnt how to create a blog, which is a good, easy way to present information and research. You can upload images, videos and sound clips to help develop your information. You can easily get advice and feedback on your blog from other people. There are a few downsides to presenting information this way though, like loss of information, internet errors and such like.
I have learnt how to understand the internet more, how to find particular research and facts. Also I have learnt more about ‘Youtube’ as it is a good website for videos as well as research information and inspiration on projects. The only downside to internet really is that not everything is true.
I have also learnt how to create a short film/ opening sequence on ‘i-Movie’. It is a really easy system to follow and at the end up with a professional product. I used a variety of effects on it like, Cross-fade transitions and centred titles.
I also learnt how to use the video cameras and how to shoot various shots with it and how to be creative to make things more appealing to the target audience. The only thing I would say is a limitation about these is the tape being chewed up, as I experienced it is normally just because the tape has been left in to long or rewound to many times.
Overall, I learnt how to experiment more and the more you experiment the better chance of more interesting shots and editing techniques. Technology made this possible, but at the end of the day, I still needed to make decisions and analyse the effectiveness of the results achieved by the technology.
Looking back at my preliminary task, what do I feel I have learnt in the progression from it to the full product? One thing that immediately stands out from my preliminary task compared to the full product is the editing and pace of shots. In my preliminary task the shots were lumpy and not at a steady pace because the was no continuity editing or anything, so this made the sequence hard to watch and concentrate on. In my full product I took my time on my editing to ensure the pace and cuts were smooth and ran equally throughout my sequence. This enables the viewers to watch the sequence clearly without any distractions. Shot from Preliminary Task
In my preliminary task I didn’t really pay much attention to creating a clear character, however in my full product I researched and planned thoroughly before I started filming, so I had a clear image as to what my character would be, this allows the opening sequence to make sense as to who the characters are. I learnt that lighting and mise-en-scene are a huge part of the shots in any film, so I tried to make sure every shot had the correct lighting and mise-en-scene. This way audiences get a better feel for the genre. I had no lighting changes in my preliminary task, so I made sure I had them in my full product. Lighting Difference
Conclusion Overall I think my final product does have its strengths and weaknesses. Disadvantages The things I would change if I was to do the project again, would be to play around with the lighting more and get the correct amount of light to create a creepy atmosphere, before I shot footage. Another thing would be to have more varied shots to add interest and effect, I found this hard on my own. Advantages The things which worked really well, were the flashbacks with the shots of the ‘Hitman’ cut between. This created a fast edgy feeling which was a great build up. I also liked the music, it created an eerie atmosphere and went well with the pace of the sequence.
I feel my product became a good piece of work , which has a clear meaning and sticks to all the codes and conventions of a ‘thriller’ film to be easily placed and followed. It conveys my character and story really well. I also feel it attracts my target audience and ends on a dramatic moment. Overall I am very happy with my product and enjoyed making it.
Finished : 27 th Febuary 2009 Media Studies AS : Foundation Portfolio