In what ways does your media
product use, develop or challenge
forms and conventions of real
I used, developed and challenged many conventions whilst in the process of
planning and editing my trailer. The first thing I did was find out what
psychological thriller films/trailers tend to have. I did this by analysing
‘Seven’, ‘The Butterfly Effect’ and ‘The Game’ trailers. I found that they tend
to be quite dark and twisted films and don’t usually have much blood or
I also found that a binary opposition often exists between the criminals and a
person in a position of power (such as police detectives) who are striving to
solve the crimes and catch the killer. For example in ‘Seven’, both the
protagonists and antagonists are encoded as being strong characters and
they work tirelessly in a battle to ‘beat’ their opponent (either to stop the
crimes and save future victims, or outwit the police and continue killing).
I used these conventions in my own trailer by encoding the
protagonists/victim to be a weak character. To enhance this I decided to use
a female child as I felt that this would increase the feeling of vulnerability.
The reason I decided to use a female victim is that I feel that it makes is more
realistic as females are seen as weaker than males. This challenges the
conventions identified in the texts I looked at, as they used adult male
victims. However, I do think my choice is effective. I chose to use an adult,
male antagonist because I felt that the juxtaposition between these two
characters would enhance the feeling of a struggle, conventional of a
I used a kidnapping narrative as I feel like this is a dark, twisted plot. My
research into existing media products showed me that this is conventional of
the genre. For example, in ‘Seven’ the killer kidnaps some of his victims and
removes them from their homes. By taking them out of their ‘comfort zone’
in this way we are shown that the killer is the powerful character, and the
victim is weaker.
In terms of style, I identified that it is conventional for psychological thrillers
to have low-key or chiaroscuro lighting to create a more enigmatic feel. The
settings are often old, grubby places such as shacks or motel rooms. These
are used to make the audience feel uneasy. I used these conventions by using
a dark, dingy garage. I used low-key lighting to make the scene scarier and
followed the conventions in these ways. Conventional mise-en-scene for this
genre includes: rope (to tie victims up), an uncomfortable chair (for the
victims to be tied to) and small of blood or gore. I used the first two of these
conventions in my trailer to increase the levels of verisimilitude but found it
difficult to include blood and gore. However, having reviewed my trailer if
feel that the thriller effect may have been increased if I had been able to
include this in some way.
I used, developed and challenged many different conventions in the process of analysing and
creating my poster. I analysied the poster of ‘Seven’ ‘The Butterfly Effect’ and ‘The Game’. I
have done this to see what all these psychological thriller posters tend to have.
The first convention I identified is that they all tend to use a dark colour pallet. In my poster I
used black on a black with red writing as I felt that this gave a sense that the film is dark and
twisted. I used red to connote the thriller element to my film and because red symbolises
blood, gore and danger. I was hoping that my audience would decode this and understand
that my film belonged to the psychological thriller genre.
I have also found that each of the posters used a close up of a face and that the facial
expressions were usually serious. For example on the poster for ‘Seven’ the two detectives are
looking very serious and the audience can tell that the characters are determined, possibly to
find and catch the killer. Although the audience does not see the protagonist’s face on my
poster they can see that she is very upset/not happy. The audience can see this as the
protagonist has her face down and her hands are tied up. This is different to the conventions
of the posters I analysed. I feel that I could have improved my poster by using a more
conventional image, for example, having a close up of her hands tied up or of her face
showing a serious of frightened facial expression.
The conventional font of a poster is rather simple font ‘The
Butterfly Effect’ is a good example of this. The reason they
tend to have a simple font is sometimes it give a better
twisted effect. I have not used a overly basic font , however is
feel that it still gives a good effect of a psychological thriller.
The poster gives a variety of different information such as credit
block, title, tagline, and certificate, however a teaser poster
may also have ‘Coming Soon’ and actors names. On my poster
I have added Credit block, title and tagline as I feel that
keeping it basic gives a more dramatic effect. I feel that this is
conventional as it goes with a psychological thriller genre.
I used, developed and challenged many different
conventions in the process of analysing and creating my
own magazine cover. I analysied ‘Inception (Empire)’ ‘The
silence of the lambs (Empire)’ and ‘The dark knight (Total
The first convention that I have noticed is the rule of
thirds, this is to draw the audience into different parts of
the magazine in a certain order. This to see the banner
and image first, followed by the information that is
provided around about other films, exclusives etc. I have
followed this convention by making sure that my image
and banner was the first thing they see this is why I
centred them, I did this to draw my audiences attention.
Another convention I found is that the leading
article is usually a big blockbuster movie that has
been much anticipated. This is done to draw the
audiences attention, the way that they do this is by
adding an image usually of a character from the
film, and puffs. I followed this convention as I added
a character from my film and added it in the centre
of the magazine cover.
The text that is also on the magazine cover is all
styled (colour, font) based around the main feature
film that the magazine has chosen to do. I feel that I
have added this convention as all the text is dark
colours to go with the psychological thriller genre.
How effective is the combination
of your main product and ancillary
It is important that all three of my products looked like they promoted the
same film in order to create a brand identity. For this reason I have used the
same characters on both my poster and magazine cover. The character clearly
indicates that she is the protagonist from the film because she is tied up, she is
framed centrally and is the only character in the image. I have created
continuity by using a shot that is also seen in the film as well as keeping the
actor in the same costume. The blue of her sleeves is striking and this helps the
audience identify the character on the poster and magazine, as the same
character from the film.
I have also kept the same, low-key/chiaroscuro, lighting in all 3 so that the
audience get the idea that it is going to be a dark film. I used black on black in
my magazine cover and poster to give the feel that it is going to be a scary,
twisted film. The image from the poster and magazine goes well with the
garage scene fro the trailer because each use very low-key lighting.
The fonts on both the magazine cover and poster are the
same in order to create a logo for the film; ‘The Hostage’.
Also the style and colour of the font is the same, as are
the colours (red and white), representing horror/thriller
films as they connote blood/death. I could have improved
the feeling on continuity across my main and ancillary
tasks by using the same font for my trailer. The fact that I
have used a different fonts goes against the brand identity
and the audience might fail to recognise that the products
The tagline ‘You never know what’s next!’ creates enigma
codes (Barthes) and makes the audience want to go to see
the film to answer the question and see what happens
next. This tagline appears on my poster and magazine but
not in my trailer. Here is used a different tagline. Again,
this may also detract from the brand identity.
The idea of kidnapping also creates enigma codes to the
audience as it makes them wonder what has happened
what is going to happen. I have encoded each product
with the theme of kidnapping by showing the protagonist
tied up and alone.
I wanted to show that the film is going to be a dark and twisted film. The way I have done this is
by having a black background on the poster and having the protagonist facing down as though
she is in trouble. I didn’t want to give too much away on the poster, so just having her tied on a
chair suggest trouble but the audience does not know what has happened. This raises enigmas
(Barthes) and encourages the audience to watch the film to answer them.
The trailer leaves questions so the only way of finding out what happens is by going to watch
the film. The question I have left is what happens to the girl, and what will the antagonist do? I
didn’t want to show what happens as I feel that the audience wouldn’t want to go and see the
film. However I do feel that with the trailer I could have added a few close ups at the ends of the
hostage to make it a little more dramatic.
With the magazine that I produced for my film I gave the message of a dark film as the magazine
cover is black with red writing on the banner. I have done this to convey the psychological
thriller genre, I have also used the same image as my poster to create brand identity.
I haven’t suggested a certificate on any of three texts,
however I feel that I should have added it on my poster to
let the audience know what age certificate for the film is.
I don’t feel that I have made my film look like a
blockbuster because the credit block isn’t in the correct
font and the image could be more professional by
perhaps focussing on the face or the hands tied up.
My target audience is 15-25 year olds as I feel this is the
age range that people tend to be to watch psychological
thrillers. The way that I have specifically targeted this is
by having a young protagonist and an adult male as the
The way that my poster and magazine cover are enticing the
audience to go to watch the film, is by showing that them it is
going to be a dark twisted film. The title ‘The Hostage’ and the
tagline ‘You Never know what’s next’ create enigma codes
(Barthes) for the audience to decode. This is effective as it means
that more people will want to go to the cinema to see the film as
they will want answers and to see what happens.
Having the image as a young female victim tied to a chair also l
makes the audience wonder if she will be murdered and how she
got there. The way that the image of the girl tied to the chair is
positioned in the centre of the poster, means that she faces away
from the audience which indicates that something is wrong, that
she is vulnerable and makes the audience go and watch the trailer
to see what it is going to be about.
I have also created enigma codes (Barthes) so that it entices
the audience to go and watch the film to get the answers. The
codes that I have created through my 3 texts are ‘You never
know what’s next!’ as the tagline and having ‘One step could
be you last’ in my trailer.
Having the tagline ‘you never know what’s next!’ on both my
poster and magazine to create brand identity and make the
audience go to the cinema to get answers about what
happens, also having the same image on both texts create
brand identity and as she is tied up the audience will want to
know what happens. This works well with my trailer as this is
also seen in the trailer.
The fact that the trailer ends with the dialogue ‘Be quiet and
you won’t get hurt’, entices the audience in as it makes them
wonder what is going to happen to the girl and suggests the
threat of violence.
In both the poster and the magazine I have used the same colour palette. I also used the
same image I did this because I feel it is a good way to brand my film. I have also positioned
both images in the centre of the screen as it attracts the audience in, and used a slight
trace effect to make the image look more professional.
The font on all 3 texts is different. This I feel is something I should improved and by making
sure all 3 texts had the same font. I feel that having different fonts creates confusion within
the audience about whether they are promoting the same film. This also detracts from a
The tagline is also different on the poster and magazine. The tagline is ‘you never know
what’s next!’ but on my poster it is ‘one step could be your last.’ This can confuse the
audience and also detract from brand identity as I am not using continuity through my 3
texts. I feel that my attention to detail is something to work on in the future and if I had the
opportunity to do this task again, I would have paid more attention to ensuring continuity
across the details of each text.
What have you learned from your
I undertook a poll, questionnaire and I also did a focus group to collect audience feedback. The
reason that I did this was to get an understanding of what I needed to do to improve certain
pieces of work (poster magazine and trailer) as well as how successful my work was at various
stages in the process.
With the poll I asked ‘What do you think of the Storyboard?’ ‘Do you think my blog suits the
psychological thriller genre?’ and ‘What magazine titles is most effect?’. I asked these questions
because this would help me see if my blog and work was suitable for the psychological thriller
genre. Getting feedback allowed me to see what was good and conventional for the
psychological thriller genre and what was not, which I could then fix.
The reason I undertook a poll feedback is because a variety of people can access the internet so
I could collect a range of responses from various audience types. Also, with a poll on my blog
they can look at the work before they answer whereas if I did a questionnaire about my
magazine or poster than I would have to print them off as well the questionnaires.
I asked the question ‘What magazine title is most effective?’ I asked
this question to see what the audience think would go best with the
psychological thriller genre and good for a magazine title.
I created a questionnaire for my trailer this had both open and closed
questions so that I could get a good idea of what was good, bad and
what could be improved from my audiences view. I found out that my
trailer need more dramatic sounds, better fonts for the writing. Most
also said that the felt I could make some effects more dramatic if I
slowed them down. I allowed my participants enough opportunities to
give full details (by asking open questions) as I allowed room for them
to provide me with information on what the thought of my trailer as a
whole and what they thought could have been improved. Also on
some of the closed questions such as ‘Was the sound effective’ I
allowed room at the end to explain why they thought it was or wasn’t
To ensure that I asked a range of people for audience
feedback I have created a poll on my blog as anyone that has
a computer and access the internet can access my blog and
gave me their feedback. This is good as a wide variety of
people at different ages will let me know what they think
about my work and will help me see what is most popular.
I have also asked a different range of people (ages 15- 35) to
tell me what they think of my trailer through a
questionnaire. This was important on allowing me to see
what they liked and did not like about my trailer. I asked a
broader audience to see whether or not they would also go
and watch my film.
I invited members of my specific target audience to my focus
group as I wanted to receive feedback directly form the
people the film is aimed. The focus group contained 7 people
aged 15-25 of both genders. I feel it is important to gather
target audience feedback as well as general audience
I learned that my trailer needed more dramatic movements and quicker shots, dramatic sound
effects, better titles and with one clip I learned that it confused the audience. I was aiming to
create a ‘flashback/memory sequence’ in the middle of my trailer but the audience did not
decode this as I had intended and instead took an oppositional reading (Hall) and became
confused. Base don’t his feedback I removed this sequence form my trailer.
The way that I learned about improvements to my work is through the questionnaire I had
created. The questions that I have asked were ‘Did you feel that this trailer fitted the
psychological thriller genre?’ ‘What did you feel was good about the trailer?’ ‘What did you
think was not effective in this trailer?’ ‘Was the sound effective?’ ‘Were the shots effective?’
‘What do you think could be improved in the trailer?’. All these questions helped me get an
understanding on what the audience think of my trailer what was good and the improvements
that need to be improved.
Some of the responses I got from these questions included : ‘I feel that you need more dramatic
effects to help create suspense to the audience.’ This response allowed me to go back and add
more sound effects to add more tension and suspense and ultimately make my sequence more
I got a variety of responses for ‘Were the shots effectives?’ some of my
audience said they felt that I had a good variety of shots such as when the
protagonist is hitting the glass especially as it was in slow motions. However
some have said that I could have added a few more close-ups of the
protagonist to make it more dramatic. I feel that the comments where fair
and that I could have added some more close-ups.
Adding close-ups, sound effects, better font and more effects on clips was the
answers got from ‘What do you think can be improved in my trailer?’ This
helped me understand what the audience felt needed to be added to make
sure that the trailer represents a psychological thriller.
With the poll I learned that ‘Just Released’ was the most popular to call my
magazine. I feel that this was the best choice as it allows to talk about all the
newest films. I also asked whether my blog links into the psychological thriller
genre with everyone saying it does.
My audience thought that my trailer thrilling and effective. They have said
that the editing was very effective with it in general being thrilling.
These findings helped me get an idea on what the audience wanted in the trailer.
The first thing that I feel helped me improve my work was the feedback I got for the
sound effects in my trailer. The feedback I got was that I could add more sound effects
to create more suspense. This helped me as I was able to add more sound effects so
that it does create more suspense to the audience. The main sound effect that I used
to create this is a heart beat as it goes well with the kidnapping and hostage clips. This
creates suspense to the audience and also creates tension.
I also added more dramatic music as I felt it needed more tension and this is also what
my audience felt.
I had a ‘memory sequence’ that the audience did not understand what it was for this
reason I taken the sequence out so I don not confuse my audience.
As the majority of people liked the title ‘Just Released’ for magazine cover this is what I
used. I have done this as this is what the audience feel is what is the best title.
How did you use media
technologies in the construction
and research, planning and
The technology was very important in the coursework process. The reason for this is that
technology is a good way of producing my 3 texts and analysing to help me understand what
conventions need to go in my 3 texts.
I used a variety of different types of technology throughout the research planning and evaluation.
The use of technology was very important in the coursework process as it allowed me to produce
my work in different programmes and also allowed me to have all my work on a log where it is all
together and easy for people to access and see.
I used the internet, Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft Word for the research. YouTube was
what I used to analyse psychological thrillers analysing Seven, The butterfly Effect and The Game
all these told me that I needed low key lighting , fast cuts and music.
The planning I used camcorder, camera, tripod, Mac, pixlr, and iMovie all these helped me create
my trailer, poster, and magazine.
I had a lot of problems with technology which set me back. The biggest problem I had
is that my work wasn’t saving which meant I was repeatedly doing the same work so it
took me 3X longer to do the work which set me a long way back. I also had problems
with my blog; I had trouble uploading some of my work (Trailer, Magazine analysis) this
set me back as I had to find away of loading my work onto the blog and find out why it
was not uploading.
I had problems embedding my trailer from iMovie onto my blog, the problem was that
my trailer would not upload onto YouTube it was taking a long time, once it had done
this I tried to embed it onto my blog but it took a long time to do. I also had problem
with the sound effects as I had trouble adding some of the sounds into my trailer.
I learned new skills in iMovie as I hadn’t really used it in my
foundation portfolio before so it was new to me, so I learned
editing techniques such as; adding sound effects, changing
contrast and adding effects. I feel know that I would be able to
create projects without any problems know that I know how
I have created a blog to engage with my audience, as it
provided all my work and information about my trailer. On the
blogs I used polls this was to get the audience feedback on
certain parts of my work (poster, magazine and storyboard),
with the poster and magazine I asked for improvements so
what they think I can do to improve them. I also used
slideshare for my trailer analysis. In this way, technology
helped me to engage with the audience and get feedback as
my work was developing.
Using a variety of different technologies helped getting my the audience interacted in a variety
of different ways (blog, YouTube, slide share).
Creating each piece of my work was created on different programmes for the research I used
Word and PowerPoint.
For the poster I used fireworks and http://pixlr.com/editor/ . These are editing tools which were
good to edit my image and then add all the text. The tools that I used was paint, wand, crop,
rotate and add text. The wand tool allowed me to get rid of certain areas that was in my image
originally. The paint allowed me to get rid of some of the details surrounding the image that I
did not want and what the wand tool would not remove. I also had to rotate and crop my image
to reduces the size of the image. Adding text allowed me to create my title, tagline, and credit
block, to make it look like a poster.
The magazine I used publisher as I felt this was the best
programme to use to create a magazine . This improved my
work as it had all the different features that a magazine needs
and helped it look as professional as it could be with the only
resources I had. I used shapes to that I could add text to add
With the trailer I used the Mac and used iMovie the reason for
this was that it was the best technology I had to produce a
trailer. I used iMovie instead of moviemaker as I felt that
moviemaker was not going to give the same quality. Using
iMovie allowed me to add sound effects, change the contrast,
add effects to clips, reduce speed on clips and reduce the
volume on clips.
I decided to do a blog as it was a good way to show my work interactively and it shows I can use
different types of technologies. It also allows me to add polls and get feedback on my work.
I used iMovie to create my trailer as it was the best editing software I had available. The benefits
of iMovie is that I could add and remove sound, cut the clips shorter, change lighting, and add
effects. This was good as it allowed me to make my trailer look more professional.
The benefits of having my work on a blog as that I can keep all my work together in one place
and know it won’t go missing. Also it allows a range of people that use the internet to view my
work and give me feedback on it (what they like and did not like). Also on a blog I can add pages,
polls, the look of the blog to go with the psychological thriller genre. This all helps as it helps
make it look more professional.
I used publisher as I feel this is the best programme to
create a magazine cover, the reason for this is that you
can use certain layout and add shapes. I used publisher
instead of word as on word you can’t chose certain layout
to go with what you want to do.
I had considered using moviemaker to make my trailer so
that I could do work on it at home if I needed but iMovie
has better editing tools for me to use, this is why i chose
it and instead of working at home I decided to work in my
A particular slide catching your eye?
Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.