In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms of conventions?My media product uses forms of different conventions through several methods which can be seen in the pre production, production and post production stages. It also challenges some conventions made from influential decisions in research and planning. Because of this, I was able to construct a media product that made full use to achieve conventions of my genre. My 2 minute opening sequence was in the genre of a psychological Thriller but before this I was indecisive between other genre’s as in the target research process, the question I proposed to my audience ‘what genre do you prefer’ showed a mixture of responses (Comedy being the most popular). I decided to base my genre on a psychological Thriller as I was influenced from how the existing professional products I had researched, each had the ability to disguise important aspects of the film that an audience should be aware of. Despite the 3 products I have presented as ‘Research’, I feel that other products looked at else where have also helped in the development of using and challenging conventions.
I used a variety of different codes and conventions which I will aim to discuss. The first method of convention was the way in which characters were introduced or presented through camera work. For example the middle class woman and stalker in my opening sequence are both introduced for suspense purposes with a low level close up of their shoes. This convention is common and mostly known from the films of Quentin Tarantino where he presents the audience with a close up of the characters feet. So for my product, I decided to follow this convention by presenting characters through a different level of filming and also creating suspense and ambiguity.
I also consistently used low level shots I.e. placing the camera on the ground, hand holding the camera to achieve perspective shots and adjusting the camera to auto focus when needed. These methods of camera work helped me to achieve the chosen genre which created a good feel for my opening.The perspective shots for example allowed my audience to acknowledge my female character was being watched. The auto focus mode helped to disguise my stalker but also to enforce a distinction between fiction and reality. I presented certain scenes in auto focus to create a blur presenting the crime as a mere reality for the audience because in reality there arehardly any witness to a crime so I felt the audience should not be allowed to se this clearly. Overall the elements of Mise en Scene were carefully thought about as there was meaningful reason as to what props were used and the clothing worn by my characters to present or simply reflect a reality already present.
My media product uses codes and conventions of creating sound in order to recognize the genre through the sound presented. For this to be possible I used a free sound source website called Yooka music. Using the soundtrack called Unearthly force, helped to create a thrilling traumatic opening as well as creating suspense throughout. I also used an instrumental to Chris Brown’s Turn up the music where I legally retained the music (via ITunes) by paying a fixed price to use it, acknowledging I would need permission to use the music if this were to be a profitable professional product. The music gave a sense of mystery which presents the audience with the idea that there may be some association with the genre ‘Thriller’. Click icon to play sound
I chose not to give my characters any dialogue therefore I did not produce a script as the main strong focuswas on the character’s actions and behaviour. This was influenced by Zack Snyder’s film ‘Sucker Punch’.The movie begins and ends with a voiceover narration about guardian angels. ‘Our guardian angels existand protect us whether we believe they will or not, they sometimes come to us in surprising forms , theyspeak through demons if they have to.’ The film focuses greatly on visual understanding through theelements of Mise en Scene (especially props as this is what reconciles the understanding of the narrative).
Other uses of conventions were the aid of props in order to disguise and create somesuspension within the opening. This was achieved by the Balaclava and the knife in which thestalker had at all times. It also allowed the conventions of my chosen genre to be known andidentified by the audience.
What kind of media Institution might distribute your product and why?The media institution that may distribute my product would be a television organisation like Channel 5. Launched in 1997, this national terrestrial network was branded as ‘5’ and is available across cable, satellite and terrestrial platforms. An audience of 4,920,000 people (more than channel 4) in the UK tuned in to the free channel as it was available through Analogue (even if audience had no satellite or digital boxes).According to David Pullen (director of marketing at the time) stated;“Channel 5 was a name; Five is a brand. Five as a brand reflects the evolution the channel is undergoing in programming and in becoming a more confident and distinctive viewer proposition”. Like Pullen states, channel 5 has undergone evolution in terms of what products they provide for their audience which is why I feel with the range of TV shows and films, my product (if it were a full film) would be closely in comparison to CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
This is because it is an American crime drama series and likewise my narrative is associated with crime. Ialso feel if a programme like CSI will appeal to American audiences then it will likely become of interest tothem and be seen as psychological entertainment in making the audience think about the narrative andevents. (My product would fall under the Drama category) The tagline ‘sin never sleeps’ can be seen as a reference to reality and the producers of CSI are aware that the world is not crime ‘free’ and we should be aware or represented with this construction through a series of episodes. This is also what I aimed to present through characters just like us in society who do not know when crimes such as this may occur. The fact that CSI have a group of investigators who work out the cause and time of the crime, my product would involve this similar character set up if it were a film length of 100 minutes or more.
If my product were to be distributed, I would specifically ask that it were broadcasted through 5’s sister channels 5* AND 5 USA.Since 5 have released these further channels, their TV shows (from children shows, documentaries and Drama) it has generated a bigger mass audience than ever before. Media products do not reflect a reality but simply create or represent it. As there are existing products like mine (psychological thriller) the interest for this film will be evident. With the developed method of ‘online television’ I will allow ‘5’s audiences to ‘rent’ my product for a fixed rental time of 48 hours for £6.99. Alternatively channel 4 would be the 2nd option of the distribution method I would have chosen to distribute my product as they too have aired successful programs that may appeal to my audience such as ‘Top Boy’ and ‘The Killing’.
Who would be the audience of your media product?As previously discussed, my audience would be preferably a mass audience who regularly tune into the ‘5’ network. Target audience research allowed me to consider who the potential audience for my media product would be. Having done this, I created an audience profile, screening one particular participant and analysing his profile (interests and lifestyle). However having stated in my research and planning stages that my audience would range from 16-18, I have decided to re think this and assume it will appeal to an age range of 16-25.This is because of who may potentially distribute my product as well as the audiences my product may create so it is crucial that I think with an open mind. As my audience may be an older range, I have to take into account that potentially it contains scenes of a violent nature and that the film council will need to re enforce a age guidance rating of 16. Research conducted was able to tell me that my product may appeal to more males than females. This is because „protagonists tended to men‟ according to Laura Mulvey and ‘The cinema apparatus of Hollywood cinema puts the audience in a masculine subject position with the woman on the screen seen as an object of desire.’ Click audience profile document to enlarge
How does your media product present particular social groups? My media product presents a range of social groups through the use of representation. Each of my characters can be seen as characters reflected from reality. Firstly one of my main characters which is the stalker is presented in dark sinister clothing followed by a balaclava on his face. My representation of this character is stereotypical. His actions and behaviour clearly show this through different camera shots and his general part in the narrative. The POV shots used below allow the audience to acknowledge the female is being watched and gives assumptions he is supposed to be presented as a murderer or antagonist. The use of props helped to establish the particular character I was aiming to represent. I also purposely hid his identity and the crimes he committed by using low level shots and auto focusing certain shots so the stalker cannot be directly seen. The main focus on this character was how I aimed to present him through costume, with props and most importantly camera shots. Although the stalkers race is not known, this was not as important during the planning stages as I could not penalize a particular race to murderers or stalkers.
My middle class female character also represents a particular social group. She is reflected in my opening (like many others) as a middle class working woman in the city. The narrative also suggests to the audience that she is walking home from work due to the smart white shirt, prop (bag) heels and blazer. The camera shots (mainly medium close ups and close ups) I used, reflected her character as a woman who is never in this situation as she is presented with lots of worried facial expressions. Overall I think this female character presents a social group that generally females can relate to as her character ‘did not expect’ this incident to happen and most people who have experienced a crime, would say the exact same thing. In terms of class culture, her position would be seen as higher. I aimed to represent different races in my opening with a female white woman and a black female teenager only because I wanted my opening to be diverse and to also establish that nobody is safe and that anybody may more or less be a victim of a crime. Throughout my planning stages, the characters are not referred to by name as I was trying to present them as unknown as possible because the narrative presents these characters to be strangers to each other so I felt name wouldn’t be important as the stalker would not know those sort of details.
My final character presented halfway through the narrative is a young female teenager who represents a particular social group of teenagers. This character greatly reflects a teenager for many reasons through her costume and props.She is introduced in a world of her own as she is listening to music through headphones. Therefore suggests she is really into music and throughout the whole film she is more vulnerable and likely to be attacked as she is oblivious to the fact that the stalker is following her. In helping to present this character differently from the others, I introduced non diegetic music that may be seen as diegetic music because she is seen listening to music through headphones so the audience assume we are listening to the exact same song as her. The music changes the mood of the narrative for merely 20 seconds before we are brought back to the sudden realization that she will be attacked. I did this because it would be of greater understanding to see the social group being represented here. Her costume also allows us to identify her age (16-18) as she is wearing a burgundy hood, jeans and a rucksack in contrast to the middle class woman there is an obvious social group difference.
How did you attract/address your audience?I attracted my audience through the audience research stage in research and planning. This was a process in where to create my product I would need some opinions and criticisms but as my product was not created at this stage, I showed a range of people (from different backgrounds age, gender) an existing product. They were then given the chance to comment and answer questions I proposed to them alongside demographics. By doing this, audience research attracted different people (in terms of culture, age and gender) who liked the proposal for my product and the existing professional products I was influenced from. This then helped me to come to some initial ideas and decisions for my opening.
These results allowed me to acknowledge what genre’s my potential audience were already interested, what sort of people they were (and the lives they lived) and how accessible they were to media and upcoming film releases. My second audience research involved conducting a small group of people who were asked direct questions on a specific existing professional product (Mr. and Mrs. Smith). Based on this existing product, I was also able to gather what my audience perceived from Mr. and Mrs. Smith in terms of how it was presented to them. These were the questions I took into account and imported these ideas into my opening. Mise en Scene Sound/Dialogue Conventions
What have you learnt about technologies from the process of this product? During the process of this product (research & planning, production and post production) I have learnt a lot in terms of using technologies to construct and create the product. Firstly my pre production process involved thorough use of an Apple Mac for documentation through Microsoft word, screen grabs (Command Shift + 4) and most importantly the internet where I underwent all research on existing products and presented all my content on a blog www.wordpress.com. The internet also helped me to make use of finding other visual methods of creating presentations for my photographic storyboard and evaluation via a presentation website. Using a scanner was necessary to get the documents onto the blog like proof of professional production documents which included risk and health assessments, shooting scripts etc. During the production process, I was on hand with media filming equipment which helped me to film my opening. I used a Cannon Legria HDV400 camcorder, tripod and a tape for recording. As I had prior knowledge of using technology like this, I had no problems in filming so I was able to direct my full focus to achieving the shots intended. With this piece of technology I developed further understanding of adjusting the camera to different modes and effects which is how I was able to get clear shots at night as well as auto focusing certain scenes.
Finally, post production was the most important process in using different media technologies as my product was in need of editing to construct it in the way I had visually planned. I used Final Cut Pro to do this. Despite having prior knowledge of this editing software, editing took me no longer than 2 days to construct my sequence in order on the timeline then another 3 days to add text, effects and transitions. One thing I learned from this process was how to alter sound levels as I felt that my transition from the scene with the female teenager to another scene, the music was too abrupt. I also explored more with creativity by changing speed at certain parts of my opening to give a better visual effect. I also learned how to import and then export my opening onto websites (knowing the correct size and conversion method it should go through from Final cut). Overall my skills and interest were in post production as I thoroughly enjoyed editing and have learned more than my A2 year and previous submission. Altering sound levels Timeline Change speed
Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression it to the full product. Looking back at the preliminary task I feel there has been a massive transition in terms of understanding the Film/Media Industry and how processes work prior to production. I now know several camera shots to help achieve or represent a character or a particular scene in a certain way. For example using the camera more often allowed me to explore different angle, levels and shots which I did not realise I could achieve. I have also learnt how Mise en scene can be greatly thought about in depth and the more planning and thought gone into mise en scene the more depiction of the genre/product. I have learnt and extended knowledge further (with the help of the internet) about different technologies and software that may assist me during planning and research and being able to use a blogging website as this was not my strongest element. From the preliminary task till now helped me to acknowledge and respect why research on existing professional products is important and why gathering audience research is vital too. My knowledge on documentation whilst undergoing production has greatly improved as I am now aware of why this is extremely important. I can now identify codes and conventions achieved by other producers to distinguish a particular genre and the ways in which this is done. Most importantly, I have learned how to edit (at an advanced level) which is a great skill I will have for life.