In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge formsand conventions of real media products? The purpose of a film opening is to show action and initiate the relationship between the film and the audience as well ascontaining credits to key members of cast and crew.Conventionsof mediaproductsUse, Develop, Challenge?How your media product does that? EvidenceLinearNarrativeDevelop I used a deceiving but linear narrative within my project to create intrigue andcompliment my story. By using this technique I will immediate allude theaudience into believing in Stevie’s fantasy only to realise (along with thecharacter) that his reality is really very different. In this sense I think I useddeveloped the forms and conventions of a film opening.Introducingcharacters, protagonists andantagonists.Use I used the conventions of film openings by introducing a protagonist and othercharacters that may influence the story. Within my opening sequence Iwanted to introduce Stevie’s character, a quirky strange teenage boy and Ialso wanted to introduce his mother. However you do not get to see themothers face, just her torso, voice and hands. This not only keeps the focuson his character but also emphasizes the importance of seeing the worldthrough his eyes, showing the insignificance of her character to him. Althoughwe can also see this through the dialogue, this is a much more subtle way ofprojecting their relationship.Titles Developed During the planning stages, I decided to create the cast and crew titles basedon people that helped out in the project (actor – Steven Chambers, musiccomposer – Matthew Jones) or people that When using the titler, on Final CutExpress, I wanted to incorporate the titles into the action, as a more subtle wayof presenting the cast and crew. I was also keen to bring them into the piece ina way that the audience would find interesting (i.e. by having them appear asSteven walks up the stair case, or at the final title, spelt using food). The lastdirector’s title especially was very important for me, as it was a direct influencefrom Jared Hess’ Napoleon Dynamite’s opening title sequence which usesfood to spell out cast and crew members.Music Use Generally, an opening title of a film would use music to accompany theaction/drama as well as possible dialogue or scenes. Within my product I haveused simple music to do just this, accompanying the action and setting thetone of the scene just like within the majority of an opening title sequence,.
Within the opening sequence, the two scenes, ‘The Basement’ and ‘The Dining Room’ arevery different in both the four main areas (mise-en-scene, camera angles, sound andediting) and the representation. In the first scene, shot in the basement, I used dark lighting,eerie minor tones, fast paced editing and a range of close ups to create a dangerous anddreary setting. As the character in this scene is a teenage boy this immediately creates anegative representation. However in the second scene, shot in the dining room there is a very strong contrast as Iused cheery music, smooth and minimal editing and much brighter lighting. This will createmore positive representation as the audience will realize that the teenage boy isn’t in factdangerous but just adventurous. The representation of male teenagers within my film opening is one that I think deals with arather niche social group in modern society. For one thing, when originally planning thisopening scene I was concerned about his character and the unusual situation being takenin a very negative way rather than a positive, and more sarcastic one. When gatheringfeedback from a focus group, I found that this was in fact an issue. Not only was the twistslightly confusing for some members of the focus group but they thought that the characterStevie seemed a little ‘insane’ for the most part. Therefore to a certain extent I can understand how people may perceive his character as anegative representation of male teenagers, however whilst developing the character I neverintended him to be ‘mad’ just ‘overly ambitious’ when it came to his hobbies; in this case hisdesire to find action and adventure in his life. I think that along with films like NapoleonDynamite and 21 Jump Street, this was made with a humorous intention rather than apsychosocial type drama.How does your media product represent particularsocial groups?
For this film opening I have chosen Fox Searchlight Pictures as the distributor. Establishedin 1994, Fox Searchlight Pictures is an American film division of Fox EntertainmentGroup alongside the larger Fox Studio 20th Century Fox. It specializesin independent and British films, alongside ‘dramedy’ and horror as well as non-English-language films, and is variously involved with the production and/or distribution of thesefilms. They have been responsible for distributing many influential and quirky films such asJuno, Gentlemen Broncos, Ruby Sparks etc. Their list of existing work is what persuadedme to choose that company as my distributor as they of the Southern Wild. They usually choose films that are independent and have a relative quirk that wouldappeal to specific audiences. Therefore I would like this film would be more of an ArtHouse film as apposed to mainstream multiplex cinema. However along with films thathave been the predominant influences for this opening, when initially intended to be anindependent feature may have changed due to popular demand especially with films likeJuno, Napoleon Dynamite etc. They are also responsible for distributing a variety of award winning feature films such asSlumdog Millionaire that won the Academy Award for Best Picture , as well as a further 7academy awards. Other Fox Searchlight films receiving Best Picture nominations includeThe Full Monty, Sideways, Little Miss Sunshine, Juno, 127 Hours, The Tree of Life, TheDescendants and Beasts.What kind of media institution might distributeyour media product and why?
The audience would be mainly under 25s, probably students rather than an older audience.However, with films like Napoleon Dynamite and 21 Jump Street (direct influences of this filmopening) the audience can alter how the film is viewed, for example, in Napoleon Dynamite, JaredHess titular character is a geek or a nerd, and the perfect butt of harmless jokes when you see himportrayed on screen. But to an older more adult audience, Napoleon (Jon Heder) is a high schoolloner who lives in a drab, lifeless, rural Idaho culture: Hes parentless, friendless and lacking in themost rudimentary social skills and not remotely humorous. Though when originally when planningmy film, I wanted to include a comical relationship between a boy and his mother, which wouldprovide humor to adults that may have children and can relate to his immature nature. Another factor to that may attract a certain audience is the characters. When I began to plan, Iwanted a predominately adult cast as I thought it would bring a greater sense of reality to the filmopening and wouldn’t look so amateurish. However, because of the genre and plot, the mainprotagonist needs to be a teenage boy. This may also alter the audience slightly as a youngerdemographic may be attracted to the film because of the younger cast.Who would be the audience for your media product? Howdid you attract/address your audience?
Through creating this film opening, as well as learning about the relevance of planning to any filmor production, I have familiarised myself with Final Cut Express, an editing program for Macs. Ihave used this program before, along with Final Cut Pro so getting to grips with it was pretty simplehowever there were a few features I discovered such as the roll and slip tools. I also familiarisedmyself with the varying speed, duration, altering colour and sound levels, all tools that I have usedbefore but just re-getting to grips with them was very useful. I also used the music programme Garage Band. Although as a friend of mine created the majorityof the music using an acoustic and electric guitar, for the beginning scene, I used this programmeto create opening ominous tones. This didn’t require extensive knowledge about the programmehowever I just wanted to create music that would help set the mood. I ended up making my ownmostly because the database of music in Garage Band didn’t have anything I was looking for, notanything subtle enough. Also during the production stage, I used a Canon XA10E, equipment that I haven’t used before so Ilearnt through filming how to operate the camera and the RODE microphone also. I would I haveleant about new technologies both in filming and post-production.What have you learnt about technologies from theprocess of constructing this product?
Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel youhave learnt in the progression from it to the full product? During this project I have learnt that many different aspects from mise-en-scene, to characterrepresentation, to effect of different shots have to be considered when creating an opening scene.This is mostly because within the first scene and title sequence, the scene needs to be set, mainprotagonists or antagonists need to be introduced and the initial type of film should be introduced(e.g. the genre, independent or mainstream cinema etc.) For example within this project, I discovered the importance of intriguing the audience during thefirst couple of minutes. It is because of this that I used a deceiving narrative to create intrigue andto make the audience want to continue watching. I also used very contrasting scenes and settings (dreary basement to cheery suburban diningroom) to add to the opposing personas this character, Stevie, wishes he had and what he actuallyhad. As well as using the obvious contrast in setting I used voice over to create tension anddemonstrate the protagonists thought process but also as a technique to break the tension andcreate humor within the audience as the contrast isn’t something you’d necessarily expect fromthe opening when first watching it. Overall I have learnt that an opening title sequence requires a lot more that just titles stating keymembers of the cast and the crew. As previously said, within the first two or three minutes of thefilm above all else, the audience needs to be interested in either the characters or the possiblestoryline that may be developed as the film continues.