Question 1In what ways does your media product use,develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
Conventions of the Thriller genreA Film Genre is defined by its codes and conventions & these must be present to make a film a genre film but should involve some aspect of innovation, subversion &/or inflection ( otherwise it becomes a formula film). Generic conventions can be to do with sound, editing and Mise-en-scene. Particularly in thrillers they will include things such as:• Eerie/tense music, silence, exaggerated sounds• fast paced cuts, obtrusive editing, jump cuts• low key lighting, strong directional lighting or chiaroscuroto fulfil its main elements (suspense, tension and excitement).• Surprises & Twists• Plays With Viewers Mind• Quick Cuts & Change Of Camera Angles• Music To Add Tension Although we haven’t filmed a full movie,• Use Of Lighting To Create Shadows there will be surprises and twist, but we• Mirrors never added any in the opening because we• Stairs want our audience to stick with the• From Killers Point Of View stereotypical aspects such as innocent girl,• Flash Backs dangerous antagonist whose a guy etc.• Pass Of Time Sequences• Make Audience Think
Mise-en-scene, Camera angels, Editing & SoundCamera shots/movement: Different camera angles create different senses of body language and emotions.• Close up shots• Mid range shots• Tracking/Dolly shotEditing:• Fade to black• Quick edits & changes in camera angle- increases the feeling of fear and shock. Often used during significant scenes
Sound: Contains important elements which make up a thriller such as:• High pitched sounds/orchestral• Diegetic/ Non-Diegetic sounds• Synchronous/asynchronous sounds• Ambient sounds• high tension• eerie• silence
Mise-en-Scène: Contains a few important elements which help add thriller to films and helps to add suspense such as:• Props: in thriller films there is a lot of sharp objects and weapons like glass, knives, guns etc: shows the audience that the objects are going to be used to kill someone or something.• Set design/ location: locations and settings such as a the city or dark woods give a thrilling film as it shows mystery and suspense/tension towards the audience.• Low level lighting- shadows to create fear/tension.• Flashbacks- time disorientation confusing the audience or showing the past to give an insight into why the characters are the way they are.• Black and white colouring- increase effectiveness of shadows.• Claustrophobic spaces- entrapment of the mind, planes or house.• Font/colour of title- may be written in a certain way to emphasise the theme of the film.
Use, develop or challenge?Because our thriller ‘Live To Tell’ is a hybrid of thriller sub-genres, we made sure the opening three minutes showed the particular sub-genres which was mainly crime and mystery but with mystery comes mind games so psychological aspects were incorporated within it aswell. Conventions of the thriller genre contain these elements aswell as as red herrings and cliff hangers which try to lift the holds the audience’s attention with an eye-grabbing situation with a troubled character trying to overcome an obstacle(antagonist). We used elements of mystery because we wanted to stick to the conventions of those particular sub- genres and create suspense. This will require using your mind to try and figure who and what is what? therefore the audience will be intrigued to see how it all unravels in the end when and if the antagonist is defeated. This is seen in many thrillers especially horror thrillers like ‘I know what you did last summer’ and ‘When a stranger calls’ where they never showed the killers face. I think that because of the use of these conventions it indicates what type of sub-genre our thriller is because we have used many stereotypes which you can see in our final finished product.
Here’s a particular scene from ‘I know what you did last summer’ and a still fromour opening to our sequence ‘Live To Tell’ of the antagonist. The use of low angleshots shows that they have some sort of power and because their identity has notbeen revealed, it turns it into a mystery which leads to suspense. Also they’rewearing dark clothing Hidden identities & low angle shots showing power and building mystery.
When choosing the location for our thriller we wanted to create a lot of tension and suspense because we feel that they’re essential necessities of a thriller. To do this we used a big forest looking area behind a secondary school even though we only used a section of it, I would say it fulfilled its purpose. The scene opens with a high angle shot of the location and the protagonist approaching the opening of the gate to the forest which emphasises the fact that shes heading for danger. When you see the forest one of the first things that spring to mind is scary, creepy area and if I’m honest I was scared myself to be filming there because it was silent and no-one was around except us and the actors/actresses. The surrounding resembles the ‘Blair Witch Project’ which also used a forest as their location. It was filmed in parts of the forest where they were the only ones there so they were sort of isolated from the world. The lighting is very dark with the essence of shadows creating the effect of chiaroscuro which tells/shows the audience they’re helpless to whatever or whoever is out there.Below is the location of the forest in our thriller and the one for the Blair Witch Project’. Left is ‘Live To Tell’, & on the right is the ‘Blair Witch Project’
We also used Point of view shots to put the audience in males the opening will focus on her. This sort of the mind of the antagonist which is used a lot in picks up a convention of a horror but we’ve made it films especially crime/action thrillers when work with the sub genres we are using. someone’s being stalked or chased. It is used to enhance a sense of realism and audience involvement in the action.In horrors they usually have a girl or woman who is the innocent helpless protagonist, as seen in many horror films such as Scream, I know what you did last summer which are part of the horror genre. But in a thriller genre particularly crime thrillers, its mostly male dominated and the only time a girl will be in it, is if she’s playing some sort of love interest for instance Vera Farmiga in ‘The departed’. We developed/challenged that and made our protagonist a girl, although there are two main
Characters & Narrative theoriesOur thriller opening uses a mix of all the narrative theories (Propp, Strauss, Barthe & Todrov). For starters, the opening scene starts has equilibrium with the protagonist casually walking home, and then the main part has disequilibrium when she gets stalked and attacked and then back to equilibrium until she receives the note which stirs thing up a bit. This is part Todrov’s simple recurring formula. In addition to that, the note in particular creates an enigma as mention in Barthes code which teases the audience by presenting a puzzle or riddle. This incorporates mind games which is a convention of a psychological thriller. On the otherhand the characters are shown in the opening three minutes falls into the typical functions Vladimir Propp studied e.g. villain(antagonist)& princess(protagonist), and throughout our thriller you can see how the binary oppositions are being portrayed in the characters and their actions, another theory devised by Claude Strauss. Theres a few examples on the following slide.
Note, & police reports create enigmaEquilibrium and disequilibrium of herbeing attacked which disrupts thesense of equilibrium. You also havethe typical villain, and a princess or inthis case a young girl.
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