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  1. 1. Evaluation...<br /> In what ways does your media product use, develop, challenge forms and conventions of real media products?<br /> <br /> (An Act of Contrition)<br />Whilst researching openings of films for our project we came across many interesting films, a short film in particular stood out to me, it was called ‘An act of contrition’. We based a fair amount of our production on this short film purely for the way in which it has been put together, we all really liked the fact that jumps between titles and acting, giving quite a contrast and breaking the film up nicely. Therefore we thought that this would look quite good within our short film, initially starting with the institutions name then cutting to a piece of footage and then cutting back to a black screen with one of our names of it, we did this editing sequence four times consequently fitting all of our names into the production.<br />The clothing which we decided to dress our characters in was quite easy for us to come up with, the media industry has come to make a very strong stereotyped of youth. Therefore we chose to dress the male character pictured right in a tracksuit, many young people who are associated with crime wear tracksuits. This image has been so strongly criticised and publicised that now if people see anyone walking down the street with their hood up they automatically feel uncomfortable due to this awful image which the media have created. Consequently dressing our character in a tracksuit was perfect because it automatically created a strong image of what that character is going to be like. We decided to dress our girl character in quite a normal way, we wanted to keep quite a neutral image for her therefore kept her quite casual in jeans and a pretty top. To bring a slight feel of sophistication to her character we dressed her in heels, this is also much more effective for her to be wearing heels because it shows quite a difference in the social class between the two characters. <br /> (Snatch)<br />The above YouTube clip is a particular scene which is from the feature length film Snatch, this film is of a similar genre to our film therefore is perfect for us to relate it to our film.<br />This specific scene in which I kept in mind whilst we were creating the film was a scene which captured numerous events but only had short clips of these events, which had been sped up. This collection of shots captured the characters journey from America to England, he drinks a measure of presumably whiskey and slams the glass back down on the table. This is how I envisaged a section of our short film to look whilst a female character is drinking a shot of vodka and slamming it back down on the table.<br />This is the main title of our film, we created quite a lot of sketches of this particular title and the dot of the eye looked really effective as a fingerprint. This action has been used in numerous amateur film productions; I think that it is a much more creative way of showing the film title.<br />This is once again a shot of the male character whilst dressed in his tracksuit attire, initially we had wanted to do a straight over the shoulder shot of this character but we thought that shooting the male from this angle shows a bit more of the surroundings and therefore gives the audience more of an idea of the habitat in which they are in.<br />Normal media productions would probably shoot this character from a low angle; this is because it would be showing the character at an angle which is making them look taller and bigger. Therefore creating an image of the male character as being quite superior to the audience, this is what many media texts would use because it is a pretty conventional way of experimenting with different camera angles and creating meanings without the use of dialogue. <br />It is quite common to use this camera effect when showing a sense of fear or uneasiness within a character, having the character type a text showing that she is scared. This fits in really well with our film because once again the character is not expressing her emotion by the use of dialogue instead by the use of her actions.<br />Overall we have used a mixture of both common conventions and breaking the rules, we tried to create quite a mixture because we didn’t want to portray a very typical opening sequence in which you know everything which is going to happen and can almost predict what is going to happen next. As I mentioned I got many ideas from other films which we had watched, one being ‘ An act of contrition’ which has a similar title sequence to the one in which we have created within our opening sequence. We used the fast pace selection of clips in the same way in which they are shown in the feature length film ‘Snatch’ which is of a similar genre to our film.<br /> How does your media product represent particular social groups?<br />We tried to portray a social group which is of a lower class; the reason in which we chose to represent this class is because I think that all of the members within our group can relate to this social class in one way or another. Whether it is because we are of that background or have friends, who are of that social class, we can all identify with the lower class. This therefore portrays our film to be of the social-realism drama, a film which represents real life and real events which are constantly happening all around us. We are showing the raw and gritty events which happen in the lives of people who are of a lower social class. A newspaper article which I think shows the way in which the media portray teenagers is one is found on the internet. <br /><br />Whilst we were working out the details of our script our group mind mapped what we believe comes to mind when thinking of a lower social class, violence, thugs, hoodies and drugs came to mind. We thought that seeing as these were the connotations of the lower class we therefore should make them significant details within the opening sequence. From previous projects which consist of filming and relying on actors, as a group we came to the decision that it would be best to try and keep the dialogue to a minimal and refrain from having faces in the shot. By not having faces within the shot also it reflects the isolations and anonymity which many teenagers take on, which is displayed within the image above, we chose to do this also because it meant we could cut down a lot of filming time and hopefully create a much more professional looking film, a major aspect which we all agree loses marks within filming is the amateur acting. Therefore by concentrating more on achieving decent shots rather than by telling a story via the acting and scripting hopefully our opening sequence will be of a better quality. <br />Our opening sequence consists of a majority of close ups, for example one of our shots is of a male walking away from the camera with a baseball bat in his hand, the character is dressed in a tracksuit which we discussed was a common image which comes to mind with lower classes. We decided that having a baseball bat in his hand represents violence which is a strong theme within the film; we thought this would be ideal because the media industry creates quite a strong stereotype of this particular social group which we are representing which consists of violence, crime and substance abuse. But due to not having this prop we decided that a golf club would equally be well suited, as the baseball bat also was. Teenagers themselves are listed as the lowest on the socio demographic model without their social class even being taken into mind, consequently by being of a lower class as well means that they are represented as being the lowest of the low. I think we represented this quite well by making our film into black and white which therefore creates a strong sense of darkness, which is subsequently a connotation of sadness, fear and poverty.<br />How did you attract/address your audience?<br />Before we determined our target audience we decided the genre of the opening sequence which is crime/ gangster and researched into similar products. For example we watched clips from lock stock and two smoking barrels, the departed, harry brown, kidult hood, snatch and Layer cake. From this we gained knowledge of genre specific elements and conventions of gangster films that would appeal to our audience. We specifically concentrated on similar products with similar audiences e.g. Kidult hood, this film involves all the same issues as we discussed we wanted to include in our opening sequence and from the research we were then able to create characters, costumes and their representations which we know would appeal to our target audience as this film had done before. <br /> By carrying out primary research we were able to address our target audience through gaining results from the questionnaires we produced. For example in doing this research we found that the majority of people’s favourite genre was both drama and thriller which both have elements found in most gangster crime films. <br />We made sure that the characters we used were of similar age to that of our target audience in order for the spectator to feel more relatable to the character therefore effectively addressing them. Another way in which we tried to address our audience was through the mise en scene e.g. costumes. We chose to use tracksuits for both of the characters as this is a common stereotype for teenagers so we thought if we used that style of clothing it will be better recognised by our target audience which is 18 again helping the spectator relate. Not only is intimidating clothing e.g. tracksuits associated with teenagers also the issues surrounding drugs, alcohol and violence. This is why we decided to incorporate this into our film as our audience would be able to identify with the characters maybe not directly but as an effect. <br />One way in which we challenged our results from the questionnaires is to use genre specific elements of the music mainly found in gangster films, so not music that our target audience would specifically listen to.<br />Who would be the main audience for your product?<br />The main audience for our product would be 18+ year olds .We found that we would be more able to address a film to our age group than any others as we are better example of what we find an effective and more relatable film and that’s the reason we chose to aim our product at this audience. We determined our audience using questionnaires and find out which age group preferred which genre and the results showed that they prefer crime thrillers which a gangster film has elements of both in. Looking at the age of our target audience the majority of them will be students. The image to the left shows the characters we are trying to portray in our film e.g. the costumes and intimidating body language as we feel that our main audience would be able to relate to this whether they can see themselves or friends in the similarly dressed character.<br />What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?<br /> After much research into gangster films, we decided that the film American Gangster portrayed the lifestyle in an extremely brutal and horrific way. Therefore, we would also distribute our product with Universal Pictures as it was a very similar product including explicit scenes of drug taking etc. Universal Pictures is large and wealthy and creates and distributes entertainment for a growing marketplace and our film fits in with their portfolio and target audience. An institution is formed by the relations of production, distribution, consumption and regulation and helps products get sold Worldwide. By distributing out product to Universal Pictures, it is assuring that our product will be viewed by a mass audience all over the globe. Powerful institutions can influence the attitudes, interests, beliefs and desires of people as values and ideologies are transmitted through representations throughout the product. Therefore, by choosing a powerful institution such as Universal Pictures we are also highlighting the dangerous gang lifestyle, which may influence people’s attitudes. Likewise, Universal Pictures distributes some of the most well-known films in the world, for example, ‘Mumma Mia’, ‘ET’, ’Jaws’ and ‘Bridget Jones’. Therefore, Universal Pictures are extremely well thought after and have a great name which would lead to people wanting to watch our film. Due to new digital technology well known institutions are able to gain audience’s attention more quickly, through adverts and trailers which then get put up on ‘YouTube’ etc, which has transformed the media and results in a much larger audience watching our film. <br />We also thought of using BBC1, after 9 o’clock (watershed due to the explicit drug and violence content) as the institution to distribute our media film as BBC1 is generally aimed at adults and older teenagers. Our film is based around drugs and violence which would also appeal to BBC1 as it is a less glamorous channel and not Americanised, so films are of lower budget, like my own. Many teenagers and adults also spend much time on the internet, whether at school or work and also listen to radio, watch television and read magazines. Therefore, I have used E-media by advertising our film on ‘YouTube’ which has become increasingly popular for adults and teenagers. ‘YouTube’ is also a free service, which is a free budget way of advertising our production. <br />Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you might have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?  <br />-Before constructing our main product we were told to create a preliminary task in which we would be practising camera techniques. We were introduced to various camera angles, shots and movement, so we could gain experience and knowledge and adapt it into our final product. During our preliminary film we particularly focused on; match on action, shot reverse shot and 180 degree rule.<br />Our preliminary task consisted of us getting used to the equipment and trying out different camera shots. By the time we created our final production we had become aware of the different angles shots and movement used, and the effect they had. Therefore we used the camera shots to help show status and portray our characters better.<br /> In the preliminary task we followed conventions more, we didn’t like to challenge the stereotype as we didn’t feel confident enough. However when we filmed our final product, we challenged Todorov’s narrative theory as we have not opened the film with a state of equilibrium or peace, but an automatic crisis.  We have also challenged Todorov’s theory by having a non linear narrative starting at the end of the film, which causes the audience to become intrigued and want to watch more, which is an extremely important aspect for an opening sequence.<br />We also became more inventive with editing techniques and were able to use a variety of transisitions to match the mood of our different shots. We used windows movie maker on both tasks, however I believe we used and developed are final product as we became more confident with the editing software. I believe both are filming skills and editing skills developed a lot from the preliminary task to the full product, we included a variety of shots, angles and movement all which were effective for the specific genre and representation of our characters and product. <br /> <br />What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?<br />Whilst constructing our product we were limited to the various different types of technology that we had the opportunity to use. Our main piece of technology that we used throughout the construction of our film was the digital camera. Not only did we learn about how to construct the perfect shot but also how to zoom effectively and the use of uploading devices onto the computer. We were able to capture the shots we wanted manually, and place them onto windows movie maker. Another significant piece of technology we used was windows movie maker; we edited our film using this software, and learnt about using different transistions and different effects. We decided to put our whole film in black and white which represented not only the mood and eeriness of the film itself. But we also hope to show a time change in which the audience would recognise. We hoped the use of black and white would act as a flashback and would separate the time change. <br />We also created a youtube account in which we watched other opening sequences, and learnt how to upload our own film, and distribute it amongst youtube users. It also gave us an opportunity to gain audience feedback to improve our product. We created a blog, in which all our planning, production and research was stored, this enabled the group to access each other’s blogs and feedback on the work we had done. As well as using the blog to store all our work, we also used slideshare so we were able to embed our powerpoints onto our blogs. We learnt how to both upload our work and look at others for ideas and inspiration. I believe we have learnt a lot through the use of technologies whilst constructing our product. <br /> <br />