Evaluation Sophie Lemm AS Media Studies ‘ The Pursuit’
1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
Our media product has used and developed conventions from a typical Thriller film. This is to make it clear to the audience that our film is a Thriller film. These conventions are, dark lighting, dark theme, stereotypes of characters and setting, shadows, and creating enigma. We decided to develop and change our film from being a ‘typical’ thriller. To do this we did not have our stalker character wearing a hood which appears in most thriller films including for example ‘Adulthood’. Also, the main character is of a different ethnicy.
Subgenres and hybrids are often used in thrillers which are for example crime, action, psychology and more. Our film is very mysterious so from the opening you cant tell which subgenre it is going to have which i think would make the audience want to watch more.
I think our thriller does indicate other thrillers that have influenced our work. For example, using a main character of not a white ethnicy is also done in ‘Gothika’. The theme of the stalker is done in ‘When a stranger calls’ although there are very different storylines.
Both the main characters are not of a typical white vulnerable teenager often used for main roles in thrillers. Hitchcock used a blonde white female in every one of his thriller films.
2. How does your media product represent particular social groups?
Our production represents the teenage social group. I think it shows typical teenagers as it opens with a typical party. Also, the topic of our production is something which does happen in real life to, for example young women are at risk of being followed home in the dark especially when under the influence of alcohol. This may send a message to young people to be careful and not walk home alone at night.
Our group consists of different races so this may appeal to a wider range of audience. Also, it does not follow the stereotypical white woman victim. Our film is aimed at the same target audience as TV programmes like Skins. This is because we feel our target audience connect with our film more if it involves real life activities for this age group, such as parties and drinking etc which we can see worked very successfully in Skins.
Skins The Pursuit Dancing Young people Party Having fun Drinking/ Drunk behaviour The film ‘Gothika’ and our film ‘The Pursuit’ have both got a main girl character of a different ethnicy. Comparisons to ‘The Pursuit’
3. What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?
I think our film could be distributed by a major company like Warner Bros as it is a successful film institution and i feel they could promote our film and be successful. They have produced films such as Harry Potter, The Matrix and The Dark Knight. I think our film, The Pursuit has potential to be a successful film as it is realistic and connects with its target audience as we can see from our Audience Questionnaire results. Also it has mystery and I believe it has a good and exciting storyline. It could be compared to other films, for example ‘When a Stranger Calls’, as that is along the lines of a stalker storyline.
Also, after receiving feedback from our questionnaires we can see that our target audience enjoyed our film opening and feel it was successful and they would like to see the rest of the film. I believe our film offers opportunities to rise awareness to young people about walking alone at night and the other issues our film contains. Posters and videogames could also be produced as merchandise to advertise the release of our film. I think it would be released because it is a fresh, young, exciting thriller which relates to its target audience. We make sure we did this by the shots we used and the characters and plot. Also, the music we have used really creates the suspense and makes it exciting to watch. We have dressed the characters in what they are wearing to represent who they are. For instance the party goers are dressed as typical teenagers in dresses, jeans or tops, to show their social status to the audience.
4. Who would be the audience for your media product?
Our product is aimed at a target audience of 15 and over. We have decided this because we think an audience of a younger age may find our film scary as it has a chilling feel to it and the storyline could happen in real life. Also, as the characters are young, the audience will feel they connect with the characters and can put themselves in the same situation.
Kidulthood is a successful film aimed at this target audience and also TV dramas like Skins. It is obvious that they are aimed at teens because of the storylines, the language used and parties and various other things whith teenagers are typically known to do. The audience watching it may also be able to relate to the way the characters live, or their group of friends. I think raising awareness of safety is important for our film as I believe we can send a strong message across to teenagers, especially girls. The film may show them how vulnerable they can be when in a drunken manor, or walking alone at night. We have also used a non typical use of ethnic minorities in our film as this does not follow the typical conventions of a thriller. We thought it would make our film stand out and reach a wider target audience.
Consider the age and gender of your target audience. Link this to the narrative and style of your film
What other films are similar to yours, who do they appeal to?
5. How did you attract/address your audience?
I believe we have attracted our target audience of 15 and
over, by the opening of our film. As we are in that target audience our self, we have knowledge of what attracts our age group to a film through our own experiences. Our film opens with a party which is instantly going to draw in that age group as it is something that they can relate to. This is also the case in TV drama Skins. Skins is full of house parties, drugs, sex and drinking which this target age group are interested in watching or even relating to themselves. I feel our audience will be able to relate to the characters in our film as they are normal teenagers themselves so our film is believable and not at all far fetched.
As I have said before I feel our film may send a message out to young people about the dangers of being out drunk or walking home dark at night.
I feel an audience under 15 would feel uncomfortable watching our film as they are maybe to young to connect with the characters and storyline. Also, as the storyline could happen in real life, they may feel scared to go out and the film may affect them in a bad way.
Party in ‘Skins’ Teenagers party
We have used a range of camera work in our film to make it look as realistic as we could. We have included, close ups and mid-shots a lot to ensure we have the most important setting in our shot, match on action, the 180 degree rule and point of view shots to make the audience feel as if they are in the characters position. We have done this with the blurred shots of the ‘drunk eyes’. This is to show how vulnerable and drunk the character is and make the audience feel as if they are looking through her perspective and walking in that state. The camera view is done so the shot looks like you are looking out of her eyes. I believe this attracts the audience as it makes them feel a part of the film and more aware of what is happening. This may also create more suspense as the audience knows the state of what the girl is in and so when we see the shot where she drops her keys it may create more panic and tension. The conventions in our film ensure the audience and the theme of our film is a thriller. They can see this by for example, our opening scene is filmed in the dark and has a tense dark plot. Also, the music we have used creates suspense which is a major convention of a thriller.
6. What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?
I have learned a lot while I have been working on this product. When I first started on the preliminary task I had no clue how to edit or work a camera. Once I grasped how to do this i found that it was fairly straight forward. I found the lighting was difficult to do whist filming as creating shadows in the dark was hard to avoid and getting just the right amount of light so a shot could be seen was difficult. I think this is the issue which we could have improved in our filming. I think most of the shots do look effective but for example the shot with the stalker opening up the photograph was too bright which we also found someone else had commented on in our audience questionnaire.
Filming everything took us roughly 3 hours all together. We filmed on two separate days, one day the inside filming for the opening shots and the second day for all the outside filming. We found filming quite stressful as the lighting was difficult to do as we had to keep playing around with it before each shot to check it looked effective. Once we had everything filmed we edited as soon as well could. We had not had much experience of using the MACs before but once we got used to them we found editing pretty straight forward. We previewed different effects and sounds for the shots we had chosen.
We looked for music on free music.com and sound effects and eventually finished editing when we were happy with the footage we had got and believed it contained good mise en scene for a thriller. We really wanted to use top chart music in our opening party scene so the audience would be able to relate and to show how modern our film was, but we were aware that to use an artists song we would need permission or to pay a fee. To create our overall mise en scene I feel that the effects and sound effects on the MACs really helped as these conventions really make a film fit into a category, in our case a thriller. I learnt how to add sound, transitions and how to add text to our film.
7. Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?
The preliminary task helped a lot with understanding how to work the cameras and how to edit. I think it was good we did that before the main task as we needed experience. We needed to manage our time better and have a plan of what we were going to do to make sure our main task went well. We produced a colour story board so we knew the setting and props and costumes for each shot. We also noted camera angles and shots that we needed to include. We wrote a list of props that we would need which I think was very useful as we could then get straight on with filming.
One thing which I feel we improved a lot was the continuity of our product. The preliminary task continuity was poor and the transitions were not smooth. I feel in our main task, our film flows and looks professional. One thing that our target audience did pick up in our questionnaire was that one shot was lacking continuity. This was where the stalker drops the photograph and then the camera shoots a close up of it on the ground. We realised this looking back also but it was too late in the process to re-film. If we were producing the whole film and had the time we would go back and perfect the shot.
We received very good feedback from our audience questionnaire about our use of music in our film. We feel very proud of this as we did not have any experience of using music in a film before. We wanted the music to create suspense and for the opening party scene to give the feel of a realistic party.
We researched lots of information on conventions of thrillers and locations and different plots. This was to get an idea of what we needed to do to make it clear to an audience that that was the genre of our film. We found out about Hitchcock who is the ‘Master of Suspense’. This helped because he is known for making thriller films so finding out what he used in his films was inspirational as it helped us see what the typical conventions were and how he made his films successful. Also, we needed to chose an appropriate setting for our storyline so that the viewers would not get confused. We chose Halsey Drive to film our shots as there is a small ally way next to Jasmines house which was ideal for what we wanted to do.
Alfred Hitchcock, ‘The Master of Suspence’ Filming location. Halsey Drive, Hitchin
While researching thriller films, we watched several openings and noted down shots and the mise en scene used. This was very helpful as we could see how this shots created suspense and drama. I feel our camera shots improved greatly as we experimented a lot more, for example the over shoulder shot when the girl drops her keys which creates suspense as it make it look as though there is someone coming up behind her. We added a sound effect in there as well to add to the tension. We have included match on action and point of view shots. The point of view shots i feel worked very effectively. They were the shots of the ‘drunk eyes’ which we got good feedback about in our audience questionnaire.
I feel the lighting was difficult to do because it was dark outside but we still needed enough light for the footage to show up on the MACs. We were aware that if we did not have enough light, then our film would be too dark but if we had too much it would look unnatural. I am quite proud that we got the lighting right although it was a little bright in a couple of shots.
I think an important thing i learnt was that we needed loads of footage to edit as we realised we didn't have enough in our preliminary task. This was a problem because we found ourselves not having a very long film and the scenes were not running smoothly as we had to scrape together what we could find. This time we made sure we had plenty of footage to edit so we could pick the best shots.