A2 Critical perspectives in the media: Question 1b
Analyse you production in relation to genre
Before we began making our short film we realised that this task presented considerably more
challenges than our AS coursework, making a film opening. This was because we realised that, as we
were planning to make a short film in its entirety, we had to ensure that characters, narratives and
themes were established quickly and clearly. We instantly knew that we wanted to create a film that
dealt with issues affecting teenagers and almost straight away we decided that our film was going to
address issues of a young person facing prejudice at school because of their sexuality.By analysing
numerous short films, we quickly realised that successful short films shared the same conventions.
These were; placing an emphasis of action and images, as opposed to lengthy dialogue, including a
narrative twist and shooting on location. One particular example that we thought was highly
effective was the film Black Hole. This film used the conventions of short films to establish a clear
character identity whilst exploring the theme of greed and all in under three minutes. The film was
shot on location in an office and the grey lighting encapsulated the mood of the office drone as he
mindlessly photocopied his way late into the night. These elements were framed with a long shot of
the character stood at the photocopier. This shot alone evoked misery and defeat and instantly. This
is something that we wanted to try and emulate. When we came to planning and shooting our film
we wanted to capture how the character was isolated. Therefore, we used a fish-eye lens on the
camera so that the narrow corridors were slightly distorted so that the character’s disconnection
from his peers and his physical surrounding was emphasised.
Another thing that quickly became clear when creating our film was that we had to engage with a
young audience, an audience who, typically, do not watch short films. Mass audiences, especially the
younger demographic which is our target audience, are used to watching feature length films which
develop characters and themes over a relatively long time frame. Therefore, it was vital to follow
other established conventions of shot films to ensure that it was successful.As Neal argues ‘genre
not only refers to type but to audience expectations.’Including a twist in the narrative was important
to us, as filmmakers, so that the impact of prejudice and bullying was reinforced and also so that the
audience are engaged. Give example of how your film ends, using the micro elements of your film to
relate to the wider theoretical concept of genre
Ideas for further development in your answer
Discuss social realist aspects of your film and how aesthetic often fits in with themes. Give examples
from your film.
‘How something is categorized is determined by who does it, for whom, where and when’
Genre, at first glance, may appear to be a system of categorization and organization. Borrowed and
adapted from literature, genre theory in film provides labels, ingredients and a recipe for a film.
Well-worn examples of genre theory are applied to Western films. If there’s a cowboy hat, a horse
and a shoot-out, it must be a Western, right? But who says? Is it the film producer, the writer, the
director, the horse? There is room for discussion about genre as a social construct and the difficulty
of categorizing films. Discuss how far genre conventions are useful to you as a filmmaker and
audiences. Give examples!!