In what way does your media product use,
develop or challenge forms and conventions
of real media products?
The forms and conventions of films (short or long) are
subjective to each individual genre, sub-genre and
hybrid-genre (e.g. rom-coms). For example,
psychological thrillers are known for their twisted
plotlines and, sometimes, chilling characters.To
challenge and develop the ‘spoken’ parts of the forms
and conventions, my film has very little dialogue
compared to the conventional psychological
thriller/drama, which has mostly continuous dialogue
with very little in terms of voice-overs. An innovative
decision that I made during post-production editing
was to include voice-overs, which could signify the
plot twist that I scripted.
This mid shot uses the mirror as a periscope-type device.
Having Mona in the far left hand side of the screen,
leaves room for a potentially unexpected character to
come into the screen as either someone who is part of
the plot or someone who ‘appears’ for tension; this is a
standard device in thrillers.
Using the effects that were available for me on iMovie, I altered the exposure levels of each of
the dream sequence clips and had the first shot as a wide shot to capture the whole of Mona’s
body and to make the quick-cuts effective. The quick cuts portray the sense of Mona falling in
and out of consciousness; this challenges the conventions and forms as it is not the norm for
films in this genre.
This part of the dream sequence is where the pace quickens, to create
a feeling of unease within the audience – as they’re not expecting the
change from the present sequence, to the ‘flashbacks’ and then back
to the original sequence.This ’flashback/forward’ sub-sequence is for
the latter part of the dream sequence; this uses the forms and
conventions that are relevant to the genre of my film.
Close Ups and Extreme Close Ups
are film conventions used to
highlight something significant to
the audience. In this short sequence
I used both CU and ECU shots of the
scarab necklace which focus on
Mona’s indecision of what to do
with the necklace – her
psychological need and her pure
hatred of it.
This scene with the first bit of dialogue really is the
moment when Elisa recognises the erratic behaviour
of her best friend.
I used the tripod and a remote control here to make
the scene easier to operate from where I was (acting
as Elisa). The two shot I used was continuous
throughout this scene. I developed the convention of
size of actor, in relation to others, signifying
importance: both actors are relatively the same
height therefore giving characters equal impact.
This sequence shows the
audience exactly how quickly
the spirit can ‘engulf’ Mona. As
soon as she stops moving and
drops the necklace, she turns.
The focus, in keeping with film
conventions, is on the main
character; she is in the centre
of the shot, face on to the
camera, which is looking down
on her, hinting that she is a
The start of this sequence, is the start
of the introduction of the
‘others’(demons). I used a handheld
camera and slow motion for this as
well as dubbing the audio.This
challenges the forms and conventions
because there is no sound here at all,
thereby creating a mysterious
atmosphere and suspense.
How effective is the combination of
your main product and ancillary
I felt that the combination of my short film and
the ancillary texts (poster for the film and a
magazine review of the film) was effective and a
good amalgamation of promotional materials.
The poster went through stages of different
designs, as I felt that the drafts weren’t relevant
enough to the genre that I had chosen my film to
be. A promotional poster for any film is one of
the key marketing and advertising materials and
methods (as well as trailers,TV spots, teaser
trailers, ‘leaked scenes’ etc.).
The semiotics of the scarab introduces the idea of a hidden secret and
history that stretches a long way back.The fact that the scarab beetle is
the Ancient Egyptian symbol of rebirth ties in with the plot twist: Elisa has
been reborn for thousands of years and she goes where the Scarab goes as
she is its creator. The central positioning of the scarab draws the eye to its
warm, rich gold and ruby colours in contrast to the cold, dark background;
this enhances the idea of its beautiful but sinister, deceiving nature.
The angle that Mona's face is at
shows the audience that she
doesn’t want to face up to the
fact that she is being controlled
by this ominous being, that will
never leave her.
I decided to change the music
here, from Paramore to Muse
then to Radiohead – whose
music has a mysterious and
The font I used was taken,
amongst others, from a
who ‘specialised’ in the type
of fonts that I wanted. It
looks ancient and
decomposing, with a hint of
hieroglyphics, in keeping with
the Ancient Egyptian
background of the scarab.
The ghostly image of
the screaming girl
suggests that the
scarab hasn’t only
taken Mona’s soul,
it’s taken others too.
This portrays fear.
This background suggests to
the audience that being ‘part’
of the scarab is lonely because
no one else understands what
you’re going through. It
automatically creates a spooky
atmosphere through its use of
cold, dark monochromatic
colours and a single, distant
Here, I used the same picture of Mona as I did for the
poster because when the audience see the poster
then see the magazine review, they will recognise it
and read it.
I created the title
‘Reel Time’ as a
play on words to
be memorable; I
believe this was
the movie reel
and the title of
really work well
together as it’s a
To create more reader interest, I used recent films
which have a worldwide fan-base to help market the
magazine. I usedTheTwilight Saga.
The layout of the review
was researched using the
internet and other film
reviews in magazines.
here is the
same as the
one that I
used for my
The poster ancillary task, was a better
option than the other available ancillary
tasks because with the magazine
review text, I could feature the poster in
the actual review.The intertextuality
would benefit the advertising campaign
which would make readers more aware
of the film.
What have you learned from
your audience feedback?
Audience demographic really decides on how much profit a film makes. However, even
before one gets to that point, you must be able to define the target audience. The
audience must be able to relate to the characters or to empathise with the characters,
to be able to enjoy and buy the DVD after the cinema time is ‘up’.
Youritv.com states that Audience research is a major element for any media producer.
Companies are set up to carry out audience research for media producers, broadcasters
and advertisers. These research companies use questionnaires, focus groups, one to one
interviewing, and electronic devices to find out about people’s life styles, and television
viewing habits as well as the type of products they want to buy.
Short extracts or trailers for up and coming programmes are often shown to focus groups
to see how they react. If they don’t like something then the producers may make some
changes. Hollywood films are regularly ‘trialled’ in front of cinema audiences in America.
In some cases the ending of the film is changed because the trial audience do not like it.
Sometimes several endings are filmed and the trial audience asked to choose the one
they like best.
Media producers spend a lot of time and money finding out who the audience for a
programme or media product might be. It's a serious business; media producers want to
know how the audience is made up. A mass audience is very large, so ways of breaking it
down into categories have been devised.
Audience research: Demographics
A common and traditional method of audience research is known as demographics.
This defines the adult population largely by the work that they do. It breaks the
population down into 6 groups, and labels them by using a letter code to describe
the income and status of the members of each group.
The demographics for my audience are 17-18 year old students, with a ratio of
around 2 females:1 male, from a mainly middle class background.
I have had lots of valuable feedback from my audience with regards to the audio
and how to make the film have more substance; I amended these by integrating the
voiceover to create the plot twist. Another observation was that the music featured
in the film was too prominent and made it look more like a music video than a short
film. Consequently I changed the music and turned down the volume where
needed, so that that audience could hear the voiceovers clearly enough.
I then asked them what they liked about the film and there were quite a few
positives. For example, they liked the way in which I had filmed and edited the
dream sequence; the effects, the pace of the film etc.The choice of music and
where to put the voiceovers was another good point that I received from the
How did you use media technologies in the
construction and research, planning and
The planning and research
stages were done using
the internet, previous
research that I had done
on the genre and using
magazine articles as
inspiration and for
examples of reviews
(Empire Magazine etc).To
expand, the planning was
all done in a blog format
which, in turn, helped me
to expand my abilities
As I have freeze frames
taken from clips in my film, I
used the “Ken Burns effect”
to create some or no
movement in the frame.
As it is, I changed the ‘start’
position to match the ‘end’
eliminating any movement
that I didn’t want.
This is what I clicked on when I
wanted to add still images – from
the original film footage, or a
existing clip that I’d used – to the
I used the dream video
effect (circled in red) to
make it obvious to the
audience that Mona was
in a state of subconscious
The very soft lighting
effects used to create this
really do create that
‘ethereal’ feeling and
For the dream
sequence I slowed
down the vast majority
of it to make the quick
cuts seem more
sudden and jumpy.
To be able to create the
sequence, I set the
footage to reverse and
stabilized the clip to help
it stay smooth when I
slowed the speed down.
I also stabilized the clips
which were set to a
slower speed too.
Exposure levels, contrast levels,
colour gain and brightness levels
played a crucial part in my film.
Especially in the dream sequence,
where having the dream video
effect just wasn’t enough.
So that the audience could hear what
Mona’s and Elise’s voiceovers were
saying, I changed the volume levels of
any tracks that were playing at the same
I also used the fade in and out options to
make the transitions much more clear,
controlled and subtle.
The website I used to upload my film on is called
‘The Smalls’. This website is like a lot of other short
film ‘distribution’ websites where you can upload
and share your short film.The thing that I like most
about this website is, is that you can choose
whether you want to distribute only or to distribute
and put up for sale.
From here I used the ‘share’
button and the ‘tweet’ button,
to share with everyone who is
on my friends on Facebook
and who is following me on
Twitter, that my film has been
Anyone who watches my film is able to
leave comments by using this box. I – as
the owner of the film and profile – have the
options of opting out of email notifications
and profile notifications when somebody
posts a comment and/or posts a reply to an
On the website that I uploaded my
film to enables me and the viewers
of my film see how many views I’ve
had, how many comments, how
many times my films been
‘favourited’ and what the rating of
my film is.
Another feature of
TheSmalls.com, is the
ability to bookmark a
film that you particularly
like watching, so that
you can go back to watch
it again later.
For the evaluation stage of my
project, I have used a range of
programmes and websites available
to me.To create my evaluation, I used
Microsoft PowerPoint 2007(also used
the 2010 beta version of PowerPoint)
and to post it up onto the web I used
slideshare and myPlick to enable me
to be able to upload the link to my