By Nikita Patel MEDIA STUDIES: AS Foundation Portfolio- Evaluation on ‘Ellipsis....’
In what ways does the media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? When creating our opening sequence, we had to ensure we created an original piece that captured our genre of a psychological thriller. We planned to ensure that our film had the connotations of a psychological thriller; with there being a young girl who is disturbed and dealing with a difficult situation in life. Our opening sequence includes suspense, tension and a sinister twist to it. Stigmata (1999) directed by Rupert Wainwright influenced us into deciding what film to produce. Although it is not the same storyline, the aspect of suspense helped us with ideas The genre being psychological thriller, adds different aspects of horror to our opening sequence. We have used the technique of a cliff hanger to make the audience feel as if they want to know more. Furthermore, we used tension and suspense to keep the audience guessing and intrigued. Whilst planning, we discussed whether to make our final piece a psychological thriller or a horror movie. A psychological thriller does not tell the audience everything that occurs and keeps them on the edge of their seats, whereas a horror movie would show the audience what happened and how it happened. With this technique of denying the audience all the information on what is happening to the protagonist, it was also easier to film as we would not have had to film everything.
The protagonist in our opening sequence is finding herself in a difficult situation and trying to overcome this problem, yet is in a state of isolation. We have used mystery to further this characteristic of the girl. It is a key element that adds to the psychological side to the film; as well as adding to the protagonists characteristics; it keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. In addition to this, the mis-en-scene used it a dark and mystifying atmosphere. The psychological thriller uses the main protagonist to emphasis the genre; she has psychological problems and this helps to ensure the viewer is entertained and still wants to keep on watching. The sound used is also very important. The music we used, helps to build up the tension within the film and has an effect on the audiences views on what is happening. It adds to the psychological emphasis. The opening of the film is very important as it sets what is going to happen and is suppose to entice the audience into wanting to watch more. ‘Shutter Island’ (2010) directed by Martin Scorsese, is a great example of how a confusing yet suspenseful opening keeps the audience wanting more. The tension created helps to grab the audience’s attention.
How does your media product represent particular social groups? Age Our social groups was aimed at late teenagers, young adults. Many psychological thrillers include young teenagers acting in difficult situations throughout their life. Gender Our media product targets both female and male social groups. The female character in our media product is represented as vulnerable, troubled and psychologically unstable. This to some extent is quite a common representation of a certain type of a young female. For example as seen in thrillers such as: The representation of the young ballet dancer in ‘Black Swan’ (2010) directed by Darren Aronofsky. The fact that the audience are never sure of what is taking place is actually real or imagined keeps them very much in a state of tension. This is something we wanted to exploit in our film. These are typical characteristics in psychological thrillers for a female character; our media product represents this when she has flashbacks in the opening scene and she breaks down. In addition to this, when the young girl is walking through the mysterious location, her loneliness and isolation is portrayed, furthermore adding to her vulnerable position. Although a young girl is playing this part, it can still be for a male audience due to these characteristics of a psychological character being seen in a male actor before; ‘The Butterfly Effect’. (2004) Directed by Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber
Mis-en-scene The mis-en-scene does not particularly represent her social group, it does represent her state of her mind. This is shown by the mystery and the isolation in the location. We considered the themes of nature v nurture and we wanted this to be represented through the mis-en-scene. The location we used, Richmond Park, helped to show the ways in which the young girl is troubled and isolated, as she is in the location on her own. This further illustrates her independence. Ethnicity The young girl played in our film, is of an Asian background. This shows that that the normal stereotypical white, middle class person is not the only person that can be affected psychologically. The use of different ethnic groups emphasises different situations that can affect anyone in society.
What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why? Institutions such as Lionsgate or Paramount Pictures might distribute my media product as they have distributed films such as ’The Eye’ (2008) David Moreau and Xavier Palud which is in the same genre as our media product; psychological thriller. Paramount pictures also distributed ‘Shutter Island’ (2010) directed by Martin Scorses, another film that has similar themes to our film. This makes it more likely for a institute like them to distribute ours as they have already has success with films such as ‘Shutter Island’ and ‘The Eye’. Universal Pictures, one of the major film distributors in the US, have distributed films such as ‘State of Play’ (2009) Kevin Macdonald. Along with institutions such as DreamWorks, these main US studios have spent a lot of money in distributing these films. Therefore I feel that these main, leading institutions would distribute our film as they have distributed films in this genre before.
From my own knowledge, I knew it would be hard to find a distributor that would distribute our film in the UK. However, through the use of technology and the internet, our film is more likely to be noticed. For example, ‘Monsters’ which was directed and made by producers Allan Niblo, James Richardson director Nick Love and distributor Rupert Preston and entrepreneur Rob Morgan was made popular through the internet and led to its success. Vertigo released the British low-budget science-fiction film ‘Monsters’ on the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2010. By using social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, our film is more likely to be seen and talked about due to the generation of today spending more time on the internet and using technology.
Who would be the audience for your media product? <ul><li>Our final piece is aimed at an audience of teenagers; it was aimed for those in the age category of late teens/early twenties. A film for this audience would have to include: </li></ul><ul><li>An interesting and engaging story line </li></ul><ul><li>Topics and themes of events that up to date with present issues </li></ul><ul><li>Appealing to both genders </li></ul><ul><li>Issues the audience could relate to. </li></ul>Our media product does this by targeting the social group we aimed it at; the girl in our final piece is a young age, and is coping with a difficult situation throughout the teenage years. The young girl is in a vulnerable position, and is faced with issues surrounding her; this is common in many films that are aimed at this age group for them to connect with the film on a more personal level. Our psychological thriller would be a ’15’ certified film due to the film exploring themes of psychological problems, isolation and some forms of distress.
How did you attract/address your audience? We ensured our opening sequence would engage the audience from the start. As it is obvious the young girl is troubled at the start of the film, it is clear to the audience that she is facing issues and in a difficult place in her life. The audience can relate to this as an audience of the same age as the girl in the film. We used suspense and tension in our piece to attract the audience into wanting to know what happen next; leaving the opening sequence on a cliff hanger also attracts the audience as they want to know what would happen next and watch on. We also researched previous made psychological thrillers and asked people in our year if this sort of film would appeal to them. With a positive response, and feedback, we knew what would be good to include to attract our audiences.
What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product? During the construction of our opening sequence, we used many different aspects of technology to enhance our final piece. I have developed many skills and learnt about different technologies to ensure our opening sequence was created to the best of it could be. We used Facebook to ensure we could keep in contact and share ideas on our final piece. Youtube helped to research plans of films that could influence our final piece. We also used it to learn about other psychological thrillers and their opening sequences. These were films such as ‘Pyscho’ and the ‘The Butterfly Effect’. We used freeplaymusic.com to find music suitable for our final piece, that was free and unlicensed. We found many songs that went well with our final piece, but used songs that fitted with the psychological thriller in the end. Through the blogging process, we learnt that that it is a very powerful way in which to interpret our ideas, plans and work. It is the process of communication, and the universal nature of blogging makes it easier for people to see your work and how you have come about any problems etc. In the process of constructing our product, I have learnt how to use shot reverse shot when filming, how to film camera angles to further the quality of our film. I also used iMovie to edit and complete the film.
Looking back at your preliminary task (FEED THE FISH) what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?