Fatal choices Evaluation

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Fatal choices Evaluation

  1. 1. A2 Media Studies Advanced Portfolio Evaluation Reece Garside Fatal Choices
  2. 2. In what ways does my media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? After researching into the codes and conventions of of short films, one point became very clear. Short films will generally only feature 1-2 characters. For example in the short films I watched, such as ‘Still Life’ and ‘LOOP’, there are only 1-2 characters. Like these films, within my short film, I have only included 2 characters - one whose time on screen is very brief. By having a minimal number of characters, the audience are able to engage and connect with them in the short amount of time they are given. This then argues that my media product follows the conventions of a short film. However, when you start to break down the characters in my film, they begin to challenge the conventions of any film, let alone a short film. In a film, it is expected that a male be the hero and the female be the heroine. However, I decided that I wanted to break these conventions, and present two very different female characters. After researching into it, and looking at feature length films such as ’ Salt’ and ‘Kill Bill’, the women are presented as masculine and strong. This was something that I wanted to portray in my film. To achieve this, I used two female characters and no males. This posed a question as to how would the audience distinguish the difference between the stronger and the weaker female. To do so, I killed off one of the females in the end of the film. The way in which it was carried out, I feel was also unconventional. The clean, painless method of poison - thus connoting the creativity and knowledge the female has. Yet being a stereotypically male thing (murder), the female character goes against the conventions of females. As for the weaker female, she is presented in a very monotone, repetitive fashion. The shots of her doing very mediocre, average activities separates her from the other female character. However, she is given importance in her role via the work like clothes - the smart dress and makeup connotes that she is of a high position and has an important role in life. This is further emphasised by the characters accessories such as the folders and documents. In contrast to this, the weaker female is recognised as being weak, due to her OCD routines. The carefully framed shots, of her arranging thing and doing everything in order connote a certain weakness about her - the fact that she is ruled by routine and this then leads to her downfall and death.
  3. 3. In what ways does my media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? Other ways in which my short film uses the codes and conventions, is by featuring a twist at the end. Another common feature that my research suggested a short film must have, as it keeps the audience entertained for the short period of time, and affords them the feeling that they have watched something short that still has meaning and a story behind it. The twist in my film is not known until the very last shot. Throughout the film, the audience hear the voice, of who they believe to the person on the screen. This is due to the fact that the narrative and the shots are parallel. However, as the film nears the end, the audience learns that the hit man is intact carrying out a hit at this very point in time. This begins to shroud the film with mystery as they know nothing of the hit - and if they think the film is about to end, they would not get to see the hit unfold and take place. This is where my twist comes in. In the very last shot, the audience are introduced to a new character. This character is seen in full, and has the same voice as the narrator. This is the narrator. If the audience had been paying attention, they would understand that the person they have been watching get ready, was in fact the target, and this character at the very end, is in fact the hit man and has carried out the murder. The audience have been watching the victim getting ready to die. My short film also uses a niche storyline to add to the singularity of the film. From my research, it became clear that a short film usually strayed away from mainstream story lines and focused on alternative and ‘creative’ stories. The message behind the short film is usually personal to the director or highly unusual. For my case, I have approached it from the unusual aspect - with one female hit man, contract killing another female.
  4. 4. In what ways does my media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? One way I have developed real media products is through the narrative. Having researched narrative theory and narrative structure, I began to gain an understanding of the different types of narrative and how I could use them to tell my story and present my short film. My film uses a linear narrative, with a clear beginning, middle and end. However, I have not applied Todorov’s theory of equilibrium. Throughout my short film, there is no problem that any of the characters face, therefore nothing needs to be overcome to reach a state of equilibrium. This theory is common within the short film, however, for my story, having a small amount of time would not have allowed me to create a realistic problem or challenge that a hit man would need to overcome. I personally feel it would have been too much to fit in, therefore, I applied a smooth narrative, explaining almost the day in the life of a hit man. An aspect that I have challenged through my short film, is the titles. After looking at numerous short films, a number of them had the titles placed over live footage. However, in my film, I have incorporated my titles into the film in a much more creative way. The opening shot is a POV shot through the eyes of the protagonist. The way my titles work, is that as the character is waking up, she blinks. This slow blinking (cliche of waking up), going into a black screen, afforded me the chance to place the titles onto the screen. I feel like this is a clever method for titles as it is time effective, as it takes nothing away from the narrative.
  5. 5. How effective is the combination of my main and ancillary texts? Poster When analysing my short film and my main poster together as a unit - I feel that the synergy between the two is very strong. Although I have subverted the traditional conventions of using a character (either a still from the film or a studio shot) or a screen shot from the film itself, and used a symbolic image, (see blog post Sunday, 29 September 2013: ‘Pulp Fiction’ Poster Review) I still feel that the two pieces go together. The use of a raven on the poster forebodes the death that is to come in the film, thus the just by looking at the poster, the audience should have worked out what is to come in the film - something which connects the two pieces. As for the font, I have used a basic serif style, which affords a very clean, sharp look. This further mirrors that of the film, due to the clean, professional nature of the hit man job. Similarly with the OCD infected protagonist, the thin, lean font sits aligned on the page - like that of the pristine-ness that OCD sufferers obsess over. One element that I feel may have let the synergy down between the two is the folded line down the middle of the poster. It could be said that this takes away some of the clean, perfect feel to the poster, as it suggests the poster has been folded and possibly thrown away - something which an OCD sufferer is not known to do - thus taking away some meaning from the poster itself.The purpose behind my poster was to circulate the news about the short film coming out, and begin to stimulate the audience, preparing them to watch the film when it came out. Personally, I feel like I successfully achieved this goal. The ambiguity of the raven and the distressed look of the poster, is engaging for an audience as I barely revealed anything about the film, but dropped the hints that the film would include a foreboding death and drama. However, where I feel I was the most successful, was in the way that I gave absolutely no clues away about the film, other than the title and the actresses. However, I do feel that this was quite a bold move as it would have had to have been perfect in its execution, otherwise I would have created a poster with no synergy to the film, thus leading to no one watching or understanding the meaning and narrative behind the film.
  6. 6. How effective is the combination of my main and ancillary texts? Magazine Review As well as the poster, I needed to create a magazine review that fitted in with the film and the poster. However, as it would need to be published in a film review magazine, it would need to maintain a professional quality and look. After looking at multiple reviews (see blog post Tuesday, 8 October 2013: Machete Kills, Empire Review Analysis - Double Page). As for my review, I have followed the conventions. Placing my main image in the top left of the spread, covering a large area within the page. I have incorporated a star rating system and a general set of information about the film, all above the main body of text. As with most reviews, it intact varies whether or not they feature two images within the review. I however, have gone for one large image and the poster. As for a stylistic, conventional feature, I have indented the first paragraph by using a larger letter in a square. Bringing me onto the color scheme of the review. Throughout the review, I have kept to a two color scheme of red and black - something which is very common within reviews (colors would follow the house style). These similarities would suggest that my review is in fact made to a professional quality and is effective in selling and promoting my film. Furthermore, my film and poster, I feel, work together very well, thus making the film have a professional quality to it. I did not have any issues with the designing of my review, it was when it came to the writing that I felt I struggled the most. As I was writing it, I felt as though I was repeating myself too often and it was not being successful in the job of selling my film. As well as this, I wanted to make the writing short and concise (like that of a film review), whilst being favourable of the film, naming all of the good aspects. This one setback may have resulted in me not achieving the full professional review quality.
  7. 7. What have I learnt from my audience feedback?
  8. 8. How have I used new media technologies in the construction stage? Throughout the construction stage I used new media technologies in a variety of cases. Firstly, with the equipment that I used to make shoot my film. Although using the same camera and tripod as that in year 12, this year I approached the task in a completely different manner. This year, being a much more advanced and mature student, I was able to use the camera to its full ability. Using my own DSLR, I had full reign of the camera. For some shots, I needed a macro lens, thus opting for the manual 50mm. This worked particularly well for the bedroom scene, as the lighting was completely artificial and very low key. Being able to manually set the aperture, I was able to let more light into the camera, thus meaning the shot would not be grainy and under/over exposed. As for the framing of my shots, I was a lot more adventurous as I went into filming this year with more confidence when it came to the panning and tracking shots. Having some experience under my belt, afforded me the chance to use pans effectively and smoothly, thus creating a more exciting and professional air to my final film. As well as being able to use the camera, I also needed to broaden my skills within Adobe Premiere Pro. Having used Premiere for 6 years now, I didn’t have much else to learn. However, this year, I used the stabiliser more than any other color correcting or level changing effect. On some of the hand held shots, adding the stabiliser, at a very low percentage, afforded the ability to smooth out the shots and get rid of any slight movement - without the background distorting and looking heavily artificial. Overall, this smoothed out my whole film and gave it a professional quality. One problem that I did encounter this year, was a slight hum in the audio file - probably caused by the computer giving off feedback on the mic. I tried to equalise the noise using Premiere, but had no luck. I placed the .mp3 into Adobe Audition, where I was able to focus on working with the audio file. I used a 30 band equaliser to single out the hum and turn it down. After playing around, I managed to eliminate the hum. However, it made the actual voice sound very deep and tinny. This then meant that I needed to change the other settings in the equaliser to bring the voice back up to a normal pitch. Within Adobe Photoshop, again, I had previous knowledge, therefore I did not encounter any problems within Photoshop. For both my poster and my review, the only issues I encountered were to do with the layout. For both of them, I was forever changing around the layout, trying out new ideas to see if they would look better and fit the page in a more beneficial way. This was specifically hard for my review, as I needed to arrange multiple elements, such as the images and the body of text, making sure everything was aligned and the correct size.
  9. 9. How have I used new media technologies in the research & planning stage? As for my research, I used a few different media technologies. As for the bulk of my research, I used the internet and search engines to aid me with the majority of my work. When looking into the codes and conventions, I found it very effective to be able to use a variety of different sources, as it broadened my knowledge and my opinion as to what makes a short film, a short film. I feel as though this broadened my horizon when making my own film, as it allowed me to be more free when approaching the planning of the film. Furthermore, video social media sites allowed me to find an endless amount of existing short films, made by a wide group of people. Personally, I used Vimeo more than Youtube, as I would consider Vimeo to be tailored more toward the short film and artistic genre of film. Here, I found numerous shorts which both pushed the boundaries of both stylistic features and narratives. Both of these pushed me to want to push the conventions within my own film. Furthermore, I used social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, to distribute my surveys, thus allowing me to get results from a much broader audience, strengthening my primary data and results. In my planning stages, I also used Adobe Premiere Pro to edit together my animatic. With Premiere begin a versatile programme, working with images, not video, is just as easy. Being able to re-size and frame images afforded me the ability to create an animatic that effectively conveyed the message I wanted my short film to have. As well as this, being able to easily document my storyboard and note any changes that I made, was very easy by using the powerful web-blogging site Blogger. Here, I recorded my progress from the very early ideas stage, all the way through the final animatic.
  10. 10. How have I used new media technologies in the evaluation stage? Using new media technologies for my evaluation was a difficult one. Again, I used social media sites to publish my survey and to publicise my film. This meant that a number of people would be able to fill out my survey and watch my film. On sites such as Twitter and YouTube, I was able to use the popular ‘hashtag’ feature to get more work out into the media world - thus affording me results from people all over the world. However, as my followers are mostly car blogs and my friends, my results were very narrow and concise. Another new technology I used, was google docs. This allowed me to create a very easy to follow, simple questionnaire. I was able to directly share with people over instant messages - another way in which I was able to get my survey out into the media world. Another fun feature was being able to compare and contrast my work with my fellow students.

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