In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and
conventions of real media products?
Our horror opening has incorporated many conventions of a horror film, and has been strongly
influenced by other horror films such as The Shining (1980), Scream (1980) , Saw (2004), and
the Blaire Witch Project (1999). The entire scene is dark, with very little colour. This is often
used in horror films as darkness is often linked with helplessness and danger.
As you can see, the scene also appears
to be baron, and empty. Like the
darkness, this is also often used in horror
films to create a sense of helplessness.
We have also kept to generic horror conventions when it comes to our characters. The
protagonist in the scene is wearing light blue colours to show innocence, whilst
the antagonist is wearing black. We also kept the audience from ever seeing any of
the antagonist’s features to keep him mysterious, adding to the sense of danger.
To give our film a Blaire Witch-style feel, we have used unsteady camera shots in
appropriate places. This home made movie feel makes the scene seem more real
to the audience. We achieved this idea from The Blaire Witch Project, and it is
actually quite a common feature in many horror films. Small camera shakes and
swift movements add to the feel of confusion and anarchy.
In the scene we used camera wobble at the start as we approached Tayo, as he was
limping, and right at the end as the antagonist approached him. The first use was just
to give the Blaire Witch feel, but we had other reasons for the other two. When Tayo
was trying to limp, we felt a bit of camera wobble would add to the idea that he is in
pain and is struggling to walk, helping the audience understand the situation. The last
use was simply to make it seem as though the audience were watching the scene from
the antagonists point of view, which is also used quite often in horror films.
I feel the opening of our film sticks to the conventions of other horror films. It
introduces the antagonist and gets the audience thinking from the beginning. We
have also killed off a character which the audience doesn’t relate to, just like in
Saw and Scream.
We have also used this scene to build up suspense and raise questions, just like in
regular horror films.
I feel because of the conventions of horror which we used in our opening, the actual
film would be a psychological thriller, as the opening makes the audience think and
involves them in the mystery of the film. I don’t, however, feel this film would be a
more violent horror sub-genre like gorenograpnhy as the opening indicates very little
gore in the film.
How Does your media product represent particular social groups?
In our opening we have differed from the average film stereotype which you get in
most horror movies. We have kept to the common idea that a male character is
the killer (even if the audience cannot really be sure of that from the opening), but
instead of sticking to the common stereotype that a young, female character is the
victim, we have made it a young male character.
Male Male Male Male
By making all the victims male, the killer can be seen by the audience as a strong
character, with the lust for any blood, rather than being a killer who preys on young
females who tend to be weak and submissive. By making the killer look like this at
the beginning of the film, the audience can gain a true understanding of the
antagonist’s power before finding out any details about his identity.
In the opening, the story is told from both points of view, but mainly from the
protagonist’s point of view. Right from the beginning we follow the protagonist’s
path from waking up in the field to his eventual demise at the hands of the
antagonist, but the antagonist is also followed at some points in the scene. By
doing this, we have made it so the protagonist is viewed as innocent and
unthreatening, even though he could very well be an antagonist who is finally
being stopped by the man in black in our film.
In the overall film, the story is told from the protagonist’s view showing them from
arriving at the hostel to when they eventually die. Not much of the overall film
follows the antagonist.
What kind of media institute might distribute your media project and why?
I feel because of our low budget, our film wouldn’t be large enough to be mainstream or
Hollywood. Because of this, I feel the most likely form of distribution of our product
would probably as a TV movie. I also feel that it wouldn’t necessarily be fitting for a
global audience, and so would most likely only be aired in the UK. Although cinemas
may not be very keen on showing a film made by a new institute, there is still some
possibility that this kind of distribution could work as in recent years lower budget
horror films have proved extremely popular (For Example, Paranormal Activity (2007)).
The film could also be released straight to DVD, but once again would most likely only
really take off in the UK at first.
There are many movie distributors which distribute films in the UK, but only some would
work specifically for our product. The most likely ones to pay an interest in our film are:
• Grenada Media
• Entertainment Film Distributors
• Fox Searchlight
Like Film4, Grenada Media works under the influence of another large television
company- ITV. Because of this, Grenada will be able to distribute our film on tv and
achieve large audiences, giving our film and institute a strong head start in the
On their site, Grenada Media don’t seem as interested in newer film makers as
Film4, but as a British company, they are still a very strong choice when it comes to
distributing a TV movie in the UK.
Entertainment Film Distributors
Entertainment Film Distributors are a company which have taken on a wide variety of
media, ranging from large box office hits to small, lower budget films. Unlike the
previous two, they are not under a large television company but instead pride
themselves as the Uk’s leading independent distributor. The company has
distributed some very large name films, such as the Lord of The Rings trilogy
(2001-2003), as well as many British films.
The company mainly works in distributing films in the video format which means that
our film could be distributed straight to DVD using this company.
Fox searchlight is part of the huge American company, Fox. It works to distribute films
made by smaller, newer institutes to get their films seen. This would work well for
us as our institute is new and unknown. Fox Searchlight has distributed many films
which wouldn’t have been any where near as successful as they were without
them. These include films such as the Oscar winning Slum Dog Millionaire (2008).
If we were to choose this company as our distributor, we would most likely be
looking at releasing it into cinemas.
For our film to be released, we need a reason. Like with all media products, if the film
won’t attract an audience or give any opportunities for money to be made, no
distributor would be interested in it. I feel the film would attract a general
audience who enjoy the horror genre. This means that a very high amount of
people would be interested in seeing the film for themselves. The film also has an
open ending, meaning further products, such as a regular television slot or a
sequel could be made. This means that releasing this product gives opportunities
for a lot of money to be made and a possible franchise to be born.
What would be the audience for your media product?
The horror genre is quite a widely spread genre. Although a lot of people may consider
it to be more attractive to the male audience, I lot of females actually enjoy the
genre just as much. Horror films work in similar ways to theme parks. When you go
to see a horror film, you go for multiple things, one being the adrenaline rush. The
high you get from an adrenaline rush is the reason people do things like ride roller
coasters or do extreme sports; it’s incredibly addictive.
Teenagers and young adults are the most likely people to seek thrills and so make
them the target audience for a horror film. Because of this target audience, we
have used teenaged actors in our film, with a mix of race and gender. This means
the film will relate more to the target audience and include the other sort of things
people go to see a horror for, for example sexual reasons (a girl cowering into her
boyfriend’s arm, for example).
When looking at the bbfc ratings, the most appealing one to us is 15.
This age rating means it will attract teenagers and also adults who
want the thrills of a good horror film.
The most similar films to ours are probably the ones we took influence from. These
are Saw (2004), Scream (1996), The Blaire Witch Project (1999), and The Shining
(1980). All of these films are aimed at the higher end of the ratings. With Saw
(2004) and Scream (1996) being 18s and the other two 15s, these films were
clearly meant for teenagers to young adults.
Like in our film, Scream (1996), Saw (2004) and The Blaire Witch Project (1999) are
mainly based around teenagers and younger adults. This means they will relate to
the target audience, provoking more fear. Unlike our film, The Shining (1980) has
characters who aren’t anywhere near the age of the sort of audience which it
would have been aimed at, but it is set in an old hotel, meaning the target
audience could relate to it in that way- after seeing the film, they won’t feel very
keen on staying in any old hotels when they go on holiday.
In our target audience profile, we mentioned that our target audience would be
people in the socio economic groups E, D, and C2. This is because they will most
likely be young people who are either still in some kind of full time education or
have just left school. To make our film appeal to these people more, we have made
it based around a group of teenagers on a school trip. This means they will be in
similar socio economic groups as the audience, helping the audience to relate to
the story better.
How did you attract/Address your audience?
The target age range for our film is 16-24 year olds. This means that the genre will
help to draw our target audience in. This is because at the age range of 16-24, a lot
of people enjoy the genre and find it a great way to get a thrill whilst escaping the
reality of their boring school or work life.
Their age range also means that they will look for exciting, thrilling plot lines with ways
for them to connect with the drama going on onscreen when going to see a film.
Our film features a cast of young actors which make it easy for the audience to
relate to the action, drawing them into the film and giving them a greater scare.
During the opening scene, we have used point of view shots from the protagonist’s
point of view to create a connection between the audience and this character to
help them feel a little more like they’re in his shoes.
Our film follows the main generic conventions of horror, but also has some slight
twists. For example, in the opening we have a large, strong looking male acting as
the helpless victim. This shows the killer’s power. By doing this, audiences will have
their common ideas of horror films turned upside down as this time the antagonist
could actually be a greater power than the protagonist. This idea means the plot is
more unknown to the viewer, making them want to watch the film more to find
out what happens and how. Just from the idea of a different horror film to a lot of
others will mean viewers will be more attracted to the film.
What have you learnt about the technologies from the process of
constructing the product?
During the creation of our film, me and Matt used a variety of his own equipment and
software. Because of this, I got to use a lot of things which I have never actually
used before, including a shotgun mic and Adobe Premier Pro.
The camera we used was Cannon Legria HF200. With the ability to film in full hd
(1080p), this camera had very few faults for the task at hand. It was easy to
use, produced good quality images and thanks to the shotgun mic,
we had good sound quality too. The only negative we had was that
the battery life on the camera wasn’t great and we had only packed
one battery for the whole time filming. This meant we had quite a
strict time limit to keep to, but we managed to finish us just in time.
When filming, we didn’t use much equipment apart from the camera and mic. We had
two tripods, one small one for filming Tayo when we was on the ground and one
larger one for filming any other still shots (for example when filming Matt hanging
from a tree.). I feel in some ways if we had maybe used a dolly on tracks, the shots
could’ve been made slightly steadier, making it easier for the audience to be
When it came to editing, we used Adobe Premier Pro. This was new software to
me, although I had used Adobe Premier Elements 7 which was similar in some
ways. To edit our opening in the way we wanted to, we had to turn our day time
filming into a night time scene. For this, we used Adobe After Effects and acquired
the help of a video on how to do it on the internet. Once Matt had shown me the
basics of both pieces of software, this was quite a simple process of using the tools
to darken the images, lower their contrast and use colour correction to give the
effect of a night time scene. Because of this, we could create the exact mise-en-
scene we wanted when we first started storyboarding our ideas.
Luckily, we were editing using good software and a quite high powered Mac so the
editing process was quite smooth and quick, only taking us about 6 hours in total.
One of the biggest issues we had in editing was the fact we filmed in 1080p and
the fact we had used After Effects. Because of these two things, the time it took to
just publish the video to the computer was very long and to get it onto YouTube
even longer. This meant that if we needed to make any improvements to the
film, it would take tens of hours just to get it back onto YouTube afterwards.
To log our work, we have used Blogger throughout the course. Blogger is easy to use
and allows for text, images, videos and more to be displayed all in one place. This
means that all the work we have done can be seen in one place, in the order of
when finished. This means we can easily look back on previous work and make
changes, quote or even just have a quick look at what we said months ago.
Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the
progression from it to the full product?
Back when we made the preliminary task, I knew a lot less about the creation of films
that I do now. One of the main differences between our preliminary task and our
final product is mise-en-scene. Back then we had very little idea about how to
create a good mise-en-scene for the thing we were film. This meant that instead of
having it set in a dim, bar with two tall dark men meeting each other to give over a
secret package, we had two casually dressed boys in a brightly lit room with some
school paintings handing over a wallet. This meant the mise-en-scene was
completely wrong for the script. Compared to our final task where we have taken
location, sound, costumes and lighting into account, it is very poor.
I feel most of this improvement came from the research we put into the horror genre
before actually going ahead and making the opening. We watched other horror
openings, remade scenes from horror films and learnt about the industry in order
to find out the conventions of a good horror film. This meant that when it came to
creating the actual product, we had a strong idea of what our film should include
and how things should look.
In some ways, I feel the shots in our preliminary task were better than in our final task.
This is because in our preliminary task we had a still conversation with very little
else going on. This meant we just set up three cameras on three tripods and films
each actor. The main reason I feel these shots were better is because they were
more steady than in our final piece. Unfortunately, when filming the opening, it
was in a very rough field, making it hard to keep the camera steady and move at
the same time. One positive about our final piece is that there is a much wider
variety of shots than in the preliminary task, giving the audience a better
perspective of what’s going on in the scene.
After the creation of our horror opening, I feel much more confident with the
software and equipment than when we made the preliminary task. Back then, I
had had very little experience with Adobe editing software, but now I feel I could
sit down and use it very easily.
Overall, I am very happy with how our opening turned out. I feel we got most of the
conventions of a good horror film into it and have made quite a good opening. We
have also hit the 2 minute mark exactly which is quite nice.