Evaluating my Film Trailer Q1: In what ways did your media project develop, challenge or use constructions of real media products?
<ul><li>I began my research by looking at the genre conventions that can be observed in trailers. Because at this point I had yet to choose the genre of my project, I researched Romantic-Comedies such as ‘Love Actually’ and ‘Pretty Woman’. Although I later decided to make a trailer for a horror film, the Rom-Com research helped widen my understanding of the different conventions used in different genres. </li></ul><ul><li>I then focussed my research on horror film trailers, such as ‘The Strangers’ and ‘The Descent’. I also examined elements of ‘The Blair Witch Project’, as it was similar to several ideas I had for my own project. Although I eventually moved away from these ideas, the research was still interesting and useful in looking at the subversion of conventions (e.g. the victims know they’re being filmed, and the use of amateur camerawork as an effect.) </li></ul>
<ul><li>After the successful music element in my Trial Trailer, I wanted to make full use of music in my Final Trailer. Therefore, I began researching different tracks I could use, as well as noticing the use of music in real trailers. For example, in ‘The Strangers’ trailer there is the sound of a record sticking and then jumping repeatedly. This, when matched with the pace of the images, creates a frightening effect, and is very effective in evoking a response from the audience. For this reason I wanted to include that element in my own project. </li></ul><ul><li>The music used in my Trial Trailer (‘Noir’ by Yuki Kajiura) mimicked the light, innocent chimes of a child’s music box. However, the track also had dark undertones, which I played on in the Trial Trailer. Because this had been so successful, I researched other tracks with this music-box effect. However, I also realised that effective horror music didn’t have to use the music-box effect, and so I looked at other tracks as well. Eventually, I decided to keep using the ‘Noir’ track, but the research made me think how best to take advantage of the music. </li></ul>
How I used, challenged and developed these conventions I followed this convention in that I only used titles, and no voiceover, in my trailer. However, I challenged this convention by extending it, by removing almost all natural sound from the trailer. The only natural sound used was the sound of the playground used at the very beginning, which was subverted by the harp-strings and the way we cannot see the children making the noise. This makes the audience question whether the sound is natural, which created the creepy and unnatural effect I was looking for. Use of titles/voiceover: (In horror trailers, titles are typically favoured over voiceovers). How I used/challenged/developed it Convention
How I used, challenged and developed these conventions My trailer placed great emphasis on the music, using it as cues for visual ‘tricks’ by combining it with particular footage. (e.g. The ‘siren’ in the music was coupled with the sped-up clip of the circling pan of the girl.) This was influenced by the use of the record jumping in the ‘Strangers’ trailer. The music was intended to make the genre of the trailer (horror, with elements of psychological) very clear, through the subversion of childlike innocence (via the music box style of the track). However, I challenged this convention by relying solely on the music for this, as the footage itself did not contain anything intrinsically ‘horror’. (This itself helped contribute to the psychological theme of the trailer.) The use of music. The music often links to the genre, and may be linked to visual effects of some kind.
How I used, challenged and developed these conventions As noted in much of my audience feedback (see Question 3) my trailer did not reveal the plot very clearly. While it introduced the main character (the girl with the dark hair) and implied that she is important, due to her prominence in the trailer (we don’t see anyone else) it is not implicitly stated, which challenges the conventional introduction of the characters. However, I also subverted the introduction of the characters as we do not hear the girl speak, and learn nothing of her personality (we don’t even know her name). This links to Joss Whedon’s observation that in horror films, victims become ‘disposable’, and that their names and personalities are irrelevant to the audience. However, the subversion may also make her less effective as an audience surrogate, as we have no Traditional trailers introduce parts of the plot (but not the ending – it often cuts off after revealing the ‘climax’ of the film). In horror trailers, this includes introducing the characters (or victims) and implying the presence of a villain (but not necessarily showing them to the audience).
How I used, challenged and developed these conventions information about her, and cannot ‘get to know her’ as a result. I wanted to make the girl a nameless, ‘blank canvas character’, to try emphasise the psychological elements of the trailer. Traditional horror trailers combine scary themes (e.g. darkness, blood, death) and footage of people appearing scared or upset (or triumphant in the case of some villains) to create an effect on the audience. I completely subverted this in my trailer, removing any explicit images of horror, and having the actress give very little emotional response during filming (e.g. in the circular pan shots). As a result, the psychological and horror aspects rely completely on editing of clips and the music, particularly the combination of the two.
What do I think worked and Why? <ul><li>I thought that the most successful element in the trailer was the music, and the way I used it. This was supported in my audience feedback research (see Question 3) and it created the psychological theme I wanted. I contrasted the creepy, unnatural music with the mundane, boring school atmosphere, to make the school seem scary despite its harmless appearance. The contrast is also intended to play on the audience’s mind, and reinforce the psychological aspect of the trailer. </li></ul><ul><li>I also thought that the use of the cues in the music worked very well. The most notable cues were the ‘siren’ sound that I matched to the sped-up circular pan, and the heavy drum beat I matched to the shot of the girl sharply turning around. By exploiting these music cues, I made the shots more evocative – for example, the use of the drum beat suggests that the girl is turning around because something sudden has happened. It also connotes that there is something wrong in that scene, and that the girl is in trouble. This connotation makes the audience care what happens to the girl, which makes the trailer more effective in making them want to see the film. </li></ul>
What do I think worked and Why? <ul><li>I was also particularly pleased with the themes of subverted innocence, via the corrupted music-box music and the links to fairytales such as ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ (via the red jacket the girl wears). The fairytales also link to the unseen villain, the ‘Bid Bad Wolf’ that is implied to be stalking or preying on the girl. </li></ul>