Film Opening Conventions


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The most common conventions found in film openings

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Film Opening Conventions

  1. 1. Film OpeningconventionsBy Sara-Lea Hirstwood
  2. 2. ConventionsMost Films openings start with certain conventions regardless of their genre.These are:• Studio/Production Company Logo• Establishing shot/s• Titles (of key cast and crew)• Topic/Theme• Introduction the characters• Narration/Text• Action/Event• Non-Diegetic Music• Enigma
  3. 3. Studio/ProductionsMost films start with studio/production logosas they are advertising the company that has helped them with the fundingand media distribution for the film. There is always a film studio logo at the start of the film to advertise the company. i.e. DreamWorks and 20th Century Fox. Some of the logos change to help match the movie for example the simpsons movie with Ralph singing the tune of the 20th century fox movie, he is also stood in the logo, this signifies the comedic value to the movie. Antz (1998) Simpsons Movie (2007) Simpsons movie video for the audio effect.
  4. 4. Establishing ShotEstablishing shotsare common inthe introduction to a film.It is a shot that sets out the location at the start of the film this is used so that the audience can distinguish where they are to settle them into the film. Both of the films below show the setting of the of the opening scene. It is more common to have an establishing shot in the later era as most modern films skips the the establishing shot to create more enigma. Apocalypse Now (1979) Jaws (1975)
  5. 5. Titles/Opening creditsThe titles on films are the opening credits, this is a list of the most important members of the production. These generally include featured actors, the directors and producers. The titles is also the name of the movie.Today many opening credits take more of a creative approach using computer graphics and visual effects. Generally most of the cast and crew titles are in a particularorder, this may make it easier for the audience to know about the important members of the film. The order of credits has pretty much stayed the same for most of film history. Blue Velvet (1986) The Shining (1980)
  6. 6. Topic/ThemeThe topic/theme of a film is the story within the genre, it is what happens in the film opening, whether it is a comedy or horror most of the time there will be a theme in the opening scene this could be to comfort the audience into the film, but other films may not have a theme as it may challenge the convention to make the audience feel disorientated,to think about what is going on. The theme is also helps with the the audience as it will contain generic conventions to help the audience to distinguish what the genre is. The topic is everything that happens in the opening scene to help lead the audience on. Love Actually is a great opening for theme as there is a theme of love as everyone is hugging at the airport to love them. The Dark Knight is also a good opening for theme as all of the people who are wearing clown masks are the bad guy like The Joker. Love Actually (2003) Batman: The Dark Knight (2008)
  7. 7. Introduction to the charactersThe introduction to the characters i, in the opening scene this is where they generally show the main characters as it signifies their importance in the film, it also help the audience to know who is important in the film. In some films the main characters are not shown in the opening scene this may be to challenge the conventions of usual films this connotes mystery and confusion as the audience will not know what is going on. The introduction to characters is the first impression, A saying "youll never get a second chance to make a first impression this means that when the characters are being presented the wont get another chance to make the audience appeal to the characters. Friends with benefits has the two main characters in the opening scene this too is emphasise the importance in the film. Anger management also shows the two people at the start of the film. Main Characters Friends withBenefits (2011) Anger Management (2003)
  8. 8. Narration/TextThe narration/text is information for the audience to know what is going on in the movie. In some films the narration/text is not shown this is to challenge the conventions and make it confusing for the audience as it adds a little mystery to the opening scene. Other films have a non-diegetic voice the background this helps the audience with what is going on but makes it more interesting as they can see a visual effect but hear the audio effect as well.Films like Star Wars arefamous for the text in the opening scene as it shows clearly what is going on and it has a visual effect to help with the genre of that film. Football Factory is a great example of narration but someone saying it rather than reading what is going on. Star Wars (1977) Football Factory (2004)
  9. 9. Action/EventThe action/event is the story that is going on during the opening scene, this is generally a little plot at the start of the film, this helps the audience figure out what is going on and what is about to happen in the main part of the film. Sometime there is not an event at the start of the opening this could be because is trying to concentrate on something else within the opening like the shot of the location or non-diegetic music lying in the background. The action also help the audience figure out what the genre of the film is going to be because if it was rom-com it is unlikely to have a fighting scene in the opening scene. In the opening scene of Black Hawk Down there is a little anecdote this gets us wondering about the movie with its own event at the start. Black Hawk Down (2001)
  10. 10. Non-Diegetic/Diegetic MusicNon-Diegetic Music is when at the start of the movie the actors/actresses may be getting on with something else but they are not likely to be talking as there will be music in the background that will not be in the world with the actors, depending on the genre depends on the type of music that will be played in the background. We know of that certain sounds are represented with certain genres as different noises can represent different things. Non- diegetic conventions can be used to create ambiguity to surprise the audience. Sometimes there will not be any non-diegetic music as there may be more important things in the film to concentrate on. Diegetic music is when the music is being played in the world of the actors like on a radio or tape player. Billy Elliot has diegetic music as it is played on a record player. 10 Things I Hate About You is a good example of a film that has non- diegetic music in the film opening. Billy Elliot (2000) 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
  11. 11. EnigmaEnigma in the film opening is the unanswered questions at the start. Depending on the situation depend on the type unanswered questions. Some of the main questions that are generally asked are Where are they, What are they doing and Who are they. Questions like this are generally asked at the start as it drags the attention of the audience to get them thinking and carries on watching the film. Enigma is a good way to interact with the audience as it helps them think about what is going to happen. Rain Man asks the question why are the cars so important and who are the people talking over the phones. top gun also asked the question who are the people in the silhouette and why are they flying planes. Rain Man (1988) Top Gun (1986)