By Lauren Hunt Lauren Hunt Thriller Opening Sequence Evaluation
1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? <ul><li>How does your thriller develop or challenge these conventions? </li></ul><ul><li>Does the use of conventions indicate what sub-genre or hybrid genre your thriller is? </li></ul><ul><li>Does your use of conventions indicate what other thrillers have influenced your work? If so, then be specific with examples. </li></ul>How my media product uses conventions of real media products Firstly we used an establishing shot of the house. It seems like someone is watching the babysitter from outside the house, which is a convention often used in thrillers. It’s dark outside, which creates a sinister atmosphere . The only character in the opening is a young teenage girl. She plays the vulnerable female character that is common in the thriller genre. (Defenceless, weak, easy target) The teenager is searching the house, as if she doesn’t know where things are, which indicates it isn’t her house, putting her at risk further. The door opens ‘by itself’ indicating someone/something may be outside. This mystery creates tension and suspense – generic conventions of thrillers. The fact the vulnerable girl then goes outside, increases these feelings and the audience wants to continue watching. The music playing over the film opening is typical of the thriller genre. It has louder parts that increase the suspense at key points and the entire piece adds to the mysterious element of our thriller. A red herring like ours is often used in the thriller/mystery sub - genre as it adds a twist and keeps the audience’s interest longer.
How my media product challenges and develops forms and conventions of real media products 1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? We did not use any fast pans, which create a sense of confusion, we instead used much slower pans which is not a convention of many thrillers. We made our pan follow the action in a realistic way, rather than create a desired effect. We have not used shadows to purposely set a sinister theme when planning how we have lit our thriller opening. This is unconventional for thrillers, as sometimes they do this to show where relevant things could possibly be hidden. We haven’t used any weapons or dangerous objects in the mise – en – scene. These things are used to alert the audience of some action that may be taking place later on in the thriller. We did not use any jump cuts or special effects either, this was because our thriller didn’t require a sense of bewilderment or uncertainty. We mimicked some of the conventions seen in the thriller films we analysed for use in our thriller opening. When A Stranger Calls uses a mysterious phone call after watching this film, we decided to use a similar idea. When A Stranger Calls also uses a vulnerable young female, which was a convention we thought worked well. Babysitter character
2. How does your media product represent particular social groups? Social groups my media product represents: This is the main character in my film opening. She is a teenage girl – around 16/17 years of age. She is of White-British race. She is most likely to be of middle class. I don’t think the race of the girl would not affect who watches the film. There may be some people who feel they can relate more to her, but in this day and age, it is not seen as any different than another race. So would therefore not change the way in which the filmed is viewed. This girl may appeal to girls of a similar age, as they will be able to relate to her more. This is not 100% certain though, as males are more likely to watch the thriller genre, so they may like to watch the film for other reasons, like action, rather than the ability relate to characters. This can be identified by the clothing we placed her in. Casual clothes, which indicate she is not likely to be a working women. The costume also indicates her age, so it is immediately clear to the audience. The gender of the main character is represented in a stereotypical way, that is typical of thriller films. She is a vulnerable young girl, who is very much a passive character in the plot. The strong male influence arrives much later on in the film.
3. What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why? Distributing our product How similar films are distributed: DVD Television Internet Cinema Downloads Watch online Money made from ticket sales More publicity Distributed differently when the film has been shown long enough High budget films Available to a wide audience Cheap and easy to access Sold to institutions The film can be watched over and over Continually generates money, even after the film is popular Our film is not a high budget professional production, so would not be distributed to cinemas. More likely to be distributed online – easier for amateur productions like ours. YOUTUBE Free, quick and easy. Gets the product seen by a wide market. We researched film distributors for thriller films and from our research we discovered: When a Stranger Calls Taken Silence of the Lambs 20 th Century Fox Touchstone Pictures Orion Pictures Distributed on cinema and DVD formats
3. What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why? Opportunities Within the Industry Franchising is a way of making huge profits. This is mainly done by large scale productions and would be out of reach for our film. This is the most likely way, other than online, we would get to distribute our product. This distribution company specialises in distributing films with a ‘micro’ budget. This applies to us. This company also has options to do with marketing, knowledge from experts and funding available. Our low budget film could be seen by our target audience through this method of distribution. We could however, have promotional items that would generate more interest in our product and is a realistic way in which we could get more people to watch. Merchandise is another way of distributing/getting more people to watch your film. We wouldn’t be able to afford this however as we have a small budget. Legal downloads is a quick and easy way we could distribute our product. However, illegal downloads would lose us money. Silence of the Lambs Promo posters
4.Who would be the audience for your media product? Age: Gender Film Certification The 15 certificate we gave our film is for the following reasons. The film contains mature themes, unsuitable for young audiences. The plot may be difficult for them to understand. The film has bad language, violence and is intended to frighten to audience. Children will not enjoy this. Both genders like to watch thriller films, I found this out through my research. Males are typically more likely to enjoy the mature themes/violence/action in our film than females. Females are seen to be more sensitive, so are more likely to relate to characters similar to them and to feel sympathy towards other characters who in a difficult situation. (The missing wife) We are targeting an audience aged between 15-30. This is because young audiences would not understand our plot, would be disturbed by the themes running throughout and be offended by the bad language. This is also the case for elderly audiences. They may also be offended and might not be interested in the modern film.
5.How did you attract/address your audience? What our questionnaires told us We created a questionnaire to give to a focus group of students within our target audience (15-30) The questionnaires gave us feedback on how successful our product was. The ratings given are very high, ranging from 7 – 10. This shows that our opening has engaged/attracted our audience’s attention – Success. The feedback we received was very positive. ‘ The phone call was a good introduction to the film’ ‘ I liked the ending as you did not know what was going to happen next’ ‘ The character was realistic and easy to relate to’ ‘ The character was the same age as me, so I could relate’ ‘ The titles were very effective’ These two pieces of feedback show that we have attracted our audience through the character we have chosen. Males watching our thriller may feel the need to protect the vulnerable girl. This is due to the angst and apprehension they will be feeling because of the situation the young girl is in. When the audience feels the same emotions as the character, the are addressed on a personal level. Our establishing shot places the audience in the position of someone looking into the house. This creates interaction, and gives the feeling of being watched – holding their attention The camera shots used are not conventional for what our young target audience is used to,(quick cuts) but they are meant to create mise – en scene rather than create drama. Attracting the Audience
6.What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing the product? <ul><li>Garageband - was it a useful programme for creating a suspenseful soundtrack? What challenges did you face during this process? </li></ul>Strengths and weaknesses of the camera equipment STRENGTHS: Very easy to use. Adequate quality image. A tripod was the only other piece of equipment needed. WEAKNESSES: Poor camera battery life. Bulky tripod caused some positioning problems. The camera had no focus adjustment. Short camera lead meant extension lead was required. Tripod height meant we could not have high angled shots. Problems faced/Resolved Editing Software We did not get the chance to use new high tech equipment that would have enhanced our thriller. We were limited to a camera and a tripod. This resulted in a much more amateur production. We used the Apple Macs to edit our footage. (I movie) This software was confusing at first glance, but we soon got used to it. We discovered that overloading your footage with effects and transitions looked amateur, and it was much better to use a variety of effects in small quantities – More professional. Faulty camera battery – We kept the camera plugged into the mains inside, and used an extension lead outside. Actress kept laughing – We edited out the bad scenes using I Movie. Car alarms went off when filming – We eradicated the sound using I Movie. We found it very difficult to find royalty free music - We attempted to create our own, but in the end found a piece on a website specialised in copyright free music. We put this to our film opening and it really added to the suspense.
7.Looking back to your preliminary task, what do you feel that you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product? What I learnt from the planning stage What I learnt from the production stage How successful the final product is When creating our preliminary, we only had a vague storyboard and had no shot list or shooting schedule. I learnt that these things are very useful and make filming run much smoother. The camera work used in the final product is much more developed from the preliminary. This is because I felt more confident when using the camera. The match on action shot for example, was much smoother and more effective in the final product than in the preliminary. I learnt to use a variety of different shot types to create a certain atmosphere – Tension. I also learnt a lot about I Movie from the preliminary task, meaning the editing was much more effective in the final product. I think the final product is a success. This is backed up with the positive audience feedback we gained from the questionnaires handed out at the screening. The brief was to plan, research and construct a media product, which we have done. I feel we have included many conventions of the thriller genre (discovered through detailed research) as well as challenging such conventions. People who watched our film, said they liked the idea, and the enigma created was a success. The final storyboard is much more detailed – more useful. During the preliminary task, I learnt that storyboarding is a very good way of trying out ideas before they get to the filming stage. It is easier to imagine how the shot will look when filmed. After the preliminary task, I researched into the thriller genre a lot. This meant I had a much clearer idea of what conventions I should be using in the final product. We did have some things I think we could have improved: Smoother camera work during zoom and better lighting in some areas. Taking into account these things, I still believe we created a successful thriller opening sequence.