A2 Media G324 Advanced Production - Evaluation Question One
Natasha Manzella A2 Media G324 – Advanced Production Question One: In what ways does your media product use, develop orchallenge forms and conventions of real media products
Before creating my practical projects I undertooka large amount of research into the horror genreand I learnt of the many conventions included in horror posters and trailers. Therefore, when producing my media product I included these conventions and also challenged a few.
From all the real horror media products thelighting they used was dull and dark whichcreates the horror like atmosphere. I used this inmy trailer by filming in the dark; it meant thatsight is restricted and therefore induces a fear ofthe unknown.
Another convention I used in my horror trailer was thetypical horror like setting, in all the films I analysed theyshowed either a large new house like in ‘House at the Endof the Street’, or a secluded location with hardly anyonearound creating a sense of isolation. In my trailer, thesetting I used was a wood in North London and a house inthe middle of the wood. The house appeared to besurrounded by tree’s which in a sense showed it cut offfrom the rest of the world, this is a successful conventionas it shows that no one can help the protagonisttherefore making them more vulnerable.
A further convention I included in my trailer wastypical horror iconography, my antagonist washolding a knife and she was covered in blood allimmediately inducing fear and enigmastrengthening the horror genre. Most horror trailerstend to include some form of a weapon such as thehammer in ‘House at the End of the Street’ as thiscreates the sense of danger which is why I thoughtit was essential to include something similar.
The antagonist is usually a male character as it shows hispower over the protagonists but I chose to challenge thisconvention by using a little girl as the antagonist. I thoughtthis would be effective as it is unexpected especially as youthconnotes innocence, as well as this I dressed her in a plainwhite dress which also symbolizes innocence. This contrastswith the knife she is holding when we are first introduced tothe girl and the dark makeup. I researched horror films thathave previously used this technique such as ‘The Ring’ and‘Orphan’ and I learnt that they tend to hang the hair over theface to hide some of the girls features which induces a fear ofthe unknown and it helps to create suspense.
The protagonist in horror films like mine tends to be mainlyfemale as they are considered as vulnerable, naïve andweaker against the antagonist, this is why in my production allmy characters are female. Furthermore, as females areconsidered to be dependent on a male by putting themwithout any male company increases their vulnerability but italso makes the audience care more for their wellbeing thanthey would a well-built man. However, I challenged thisconvention slightly by making my female characters confidentand brave, so much so they are willing to travel to a secludedarea and investigate a story from a film they previouslywatched (Silenced).
The shots that I used could be considered asunconventional as most horror films and trailers use arange of establishing shot, close – ups, mid shots andother types of shots but instead I used handheld shots.On the other hand, found footage films such as ‘Rec.’ and‘Paranormal Activity’ are getting more recognition andthey are now more popular so much so some consider itto be a horror sub-genre. This is also very common forlow budget films as they do not require expensive cameraequipment this factor also influenced my choice to usethis style.
Another important convention I used in my trailerwas the use of a jump scare, after I added the titleand removed the tense music the audience beginsto calm down, I then added an eerie scream and itshows a quick shot of the antagonist. This wasunexpected and I discovered from my audiencefeedback that it was successful and impressionablewhich is what I wanted considering it is the lastthing audience sees. Most trailers use thistechnique and I got my idea from the possession, itwas a simple jump scare but creepy all the samemainly due to the music.
My music was another main feature that I tried to use toreflect typical horror conventions; I listened to manydifferent trailers and concentrated on the music. All mostalways the music was deep and tense and the paceincreased with the action as the trailer wenton, furthermore I found that the music usually has nolyrics so the audience isn’t distracted from the action inthe trailer. Therefore, for the music in my trailer I usedYouTube to try and find tense music but it was extremelydifficult to find a track that fit well with my narrative so Iused final cut pro to create my own soundtrack bycombining loads of different sounds (including theresident evil soundtrack)
I attempted to reflect the typography that I hadseen in in a trailer I watched called ‘The Pact’ itwas simple and plain but I think it workedaffectively, so for my trailer I used a simple whitetext on a dark black background. I felt this alsoadded suspense and didn’t give too much of thenarrative away whilst keeping to the horroratmosphere.
And finally I tried to create enigma, which Irealized was a horror convention. I did this bycreating a camera bad T.V. effect which looks likethe camera cut out just as the antagonistapproaches the protagonist which createsenigma as the audience will question what hasjust happened. Furthermore, as the shots usedare from a handheld camera it is almost like theaudience is included in the trailer and theseshots restrict their sight creating enigma.
When creating my magazine front cover I tried to includeconventions I had seen in other real media projects, Iadded a puff ‘The World’s Biggest Movie Magazine’, a barcode, the date, the price and the magazine title (housestyle) ‘Empire’. By adding all these different features itmade my final product look realistic and professional. Imade date and price very small compared to the rest ofthe text on the magazine this is because it maydiscourage the audience when considering whether tobuy the magazine or not therefore I want it to be the lastthing they see.
I noticed that in all the horror magazines they featuredsomeone from the film, so it was between the antagonistor the protagonist but after doing some research Ithought that for a horror magazine front cover looksmuch more interesting if it was the antagonist.However, my antagonist is very young so it is unlikely shewould be doing any interviews so I didn’t include andexclusives about the film on the cover. A convention ofhorror magazine front covers is the engaging direct eyecontact, so I was sure to include this. I feel that it looks asif the antagonist is looking at the audience with piercingeyes tempting them to buy the magazine.
I added text and pictures around the outside ofother upcoming films of similar genres that I choseto include in my magazine such as ‘The Hobbit’ and‘Beautiful Creatures’. I added a ‘+’ to connote thatin my magazine we are giving away a lot more thanyou would expect, I got this idea from TheWatchmen issue and the Bond issue. By addingextra films it encourages people to purchase themagazine even if they are unsure of the film on thecover.
I made the title of my film ‘Silenced 2’ the biggesttext on the page as it is the most important text buthowever I broke away from the horror conventionsby using yellow for this font. This is because Iwanted it to stand out and using dull colors wouldhave caused it to blend in with the background. Thepicture I used was positioned so her face was in thecenter of the magazine as it should be the first thingthe audience sees as it is the main focal point andthe main selling point.
Having looked at many Empire magazine frontcovers I noticed that they position the title behindthe head of the main character, this is because theyare a well-established magazine and are confidentthat their readers will be able to identify themagazine even if part are covered. However, I didnot follow this convention as I wanted my photo ofthe antagonist to be large which meant too much ofthe title would be covered so I positioned it on topof her head. Mine Real
When it came to producingmy poster I kept to manyconventions by keeping thebackground dark creating afear of the unknown andthe lighting was onlyhighlighting theprotagonists face. I addedblood and a large gash onher forehead to make itlook like she has beenthrough hell, which willcreate enigma andencourage the audience towatch the film.
I chose to use the protagonist as the maincharacter in the poster and her mouth iscovered as if to link with the title of ‘Silenced’. Iadded the Facebook URL, credit block and tagline all to create authenticity.
I broke conventions as I chose to take out hereyes which tend to usually be giving direct eyecontact with the audience. I did this as I thoughtit made the picture look scarier as the originalpicture didn’t look like she was scared.
Furthermore, I felt my poster was pretty busywith all the blood and textures so I wanted tokeep the amount of text to a minimal so I chosenot to include accolades and reviews.