<ul><li>F or our creative project, our group decided to construct an opening film sequence. We chose this in that it gave us the opportunity to be creative and work effectively as a group, and to learn how to use new technology and gain experience with editing. Our group consisted of 4 members to allow an equal share of responsibilities. Bilaal Saghir , Shafaah Jaber , Dimitris Nikolakis and myself, were divided into roles as a group, where I crafted the storyboards, edited the footage and filmed the sequence. </li></ul>
<ul><li>W hen we began planning and preparing our project in the early stages, it was initially intended to conform to the crime/thriller genre whilst being inspired by the film noir era. It was on the day however that due to poor organisation and an unreachable actor that we had no option but to alter the plot and to undertake a different approach to the narrative. We had therefore changed to a psychological thriller/crime genre where the central protagonist reached a schizophrenic stage after his colleague was murdered, and believes he is avenging him, when in reality it is himself. </li></ul><ul><li>E nigmas: </li></ul><ul><li>Sets up enigmas straight away to entice the audience and to make them want to see more. This can be seen in the narrative as they can ascertain that the protagonist is the same person. They would be curious however as to why he is attempting to kill the other, when in reality he is fighting with himself in an act of self destruction. </li></ul>
<ul><li>I n order to achieve the best possible opening sequence we had to comply to its conventions to entice the audience from the beginning: </li></ul><ul><li>E stablished Place and Time: </li></ul><ul><li>The protagonist is introduced within the first </li></ul><ul><li>opening shot to reassure the audience, and the </li></ul><ul><li>location i s also made clear within the same shot. </li></ul><ul><li>In addition the time is verified with a text insert to </li></ul><ul><li>alert the audience of when the narrative is set. We </li></ul><ul><li>aimed to inform the audience straight away as we did </li></ul><ul><li>not want to confuse them any more than they would </li></ul><ul><li>soon be with the series of enigmas. </li></ul><ul><li>T hemes and Motifs: </li></ul><ul><li>Introduces crime/film noir conventions through the </li></ul><ul><li>urban location, the black and white hue, the sharp </li></ul><ul><li>suits and dishevelled inspector's uniform, and through </li></ul><ul><li>the use of guns and weapons. </li></ul>
<ul><li>I n order to represent social groups you have to ensure that you pay attention to the details that conform to social stereotypes. For example, in our project we show examples of people with mental illnesses, and racial stereotypes. </li></ul><ul><li>R acial Stereotypes- Less intelligent than those of white ethnicity, violent, associated with drug lore and murder. The central protagonist challenges this stereotype in that as a successful police officer he contradicts the trait that all are related to violence whereas he prevents it. It also conforms to stereotypes in that the alter ego is the head of a crime syndicate and in turn murders the police officer, but although it is himself -his ideas are in the right mind set. </li></ul><ul><li>M entally Ill Stereotypes - Weak, immorally unstable, unable to differentiate between right and wrong, unintelligent, capable of following out unlawful acts. The protagonist conforms to these ideas in that although he is not unintelligent, he still attempts to kill another even if it is in reality himself. </li></ul>
<ul><li>T he media Institution chosen to distribute our project is Miramax Studios. The reasons behind this include the fact that it is an art house/independent Hollywood distributor, making it an excellent choice as it distributes films that commercial studios would regard financially unfeasible, just as main distributors would refer to our product as. Their main clientele includes Quentin Tarantino- composer of movies such as “Kill Bill vols 1&2”, “Pulp Fiction” and “Reservoir Dogs”, all hold the same genre conventions as our product, giving it a good chance to appeal to the distributor in that it fits the criteria of its movies. </li></ul>
<ul><li>T o allow the highest possible chance when it comes to revenue and gross profit, a target audience is generally required to appeal to their specific needs. The target market for our production were to males aging from 18-40. This was chosen due to the violence in the sequence that would be deemed inappropriate for those under 18 and would fail to entertain an older audience or shock them too much. We aimed for an emotional response, but we do not however want the film to be banned or to insult people. It would be aimed at those considered as “working class” on the Socio-economic scale, in that the realism would be relatable to Middle class as they sometimes experience it in their day to day lives, giving them a maximum impact mentally. It is furthermore and effective audience in that it is a large mass audience that would not alienate other social descriptors and would </li></ul>generate financial profit in that males within this age range would be a fan of the slick, vengeance path and violence that the movie would offer.
<ul><li>T o attract and directly address the audience’s needs, we complied with target expectations and conventions of an opening sequence in order to make it successful. To appeal to the target audience, a detailed understanding of what the audience expects from an opening scene. </li></ul><ul><li>Equilibrium and Disruption- Despite the fact that the beginning of the sequence is the ending, where the equilibrium is that there is a dead male on the floor, and the police officer has just discovered him as far as the audience know, this could not be a problem as far as they are concerned. It is in the disruption however that creates enigmas through the crime syndicate boss resurrecting from the floor and turning on the police officer. The re-equilibrium is restored when justice is taken and that the colleague has been avenged, or so the audience believe at this point. </li></ul><ul><li>Sense of Time- This is created through text inserts establishing the date and time frame, giving the audience sufficient information to understand that this scene in set in the future of the narrative. </li></ul>
<ul><li>T ension- Achieved through a serious of match cuts, eye line matches and cross cutting. This use of fast editing feeds the audience with a lot of information in a short space of time sending their brain into a panic to keep up with the images, where this use of editing reflects the events on the screen. </li></ul>S hows the audience whether or not the character can see what they can see almost like dramatic irony, it in this technique that would add tension as the viewers would be desperate for the protagonist to look up and see what they can see. C ross cuts to give the audience that extra information regarding what else is happening alongside the main events.
<ul><li>M edia Language- </li></ul><ul><li>For the soundtrack, we decided on a theme from the editing software itself, as it fit in perfectly with the feel of the sequence, and slotted in with the pace of the scene. This particular use of non-diegetic sound complemented the actions taking place on screen and emphasised the mood and heightened the tension within the diegesis. Also after editing the volume levels of the diegetic sound, certain aspects of the sequence are amplified to add emphasis on the action at that very moment to trigger an emotional response. In addition we originally decided to mute the natural sound from the camera and rely solely on the soundtrack to set the pace and the mood due to a definite lack of dialogue, it is in the use of natural sound however, that creates more emphasis. </li></ul>T he emphasised grunting and yells at this point in the sequence accompanied by the low non-diegetic soundtrack creates a sense of uneasy tension and shock at the violence of the actions. The use of muffled sound with the underlying soundtrack creates an eerie symbolism of how the character being attacked is either passed out, or it implies that he is already dead and cannot hear anything anymore.
<ul><li>W hilst embarking upon our research and planning, we were expected to use websites such as YouTube to draw inspiration from movie clips to spur us on in the creative process and to identify different styles and elements to a sequence. We were also expected to document all of our findings on Blogger, an internet site that managed all of out research, even down to embedding video clips and sound clips, to ensure that we wouldn’t lose our work. Other websites included imdb and rotten tomatoes, which gave us statistics and gross revenue for our research and planning. </li></ul><ul><li>O nce we began production, the apple iMacs and camcorders came into the picture. On the day of filming, we were given a camcorder that to our shock was not HD, thus making the picture quality grainy and unclear. Without warning we had to compromise with the natural daylight in order to get the clearest picture before it was transferred into B&W. After experimenting around with improvised tools for lighting we managed to get the clearest possible picture that we could, especially after I had increased the contrast and brightness of every single slide in post-production. It was an unexpected feat that in reflection we dealt with well with no other choice, but to settle with what we had. In future we will ensure that we will have a HD camcorder included on our equipment list in order to achieve the highest possible quality of work. Furthermore in post-production, I was appointed with the role of editor. This was possibly the hardest and most stressful task that I encountered out of the whole experience, even despite how time consuming it was to create the storyboard. I found that the iMacs were extremely temperamental and repeatedly froze and restarted iMovie before we had the chance to save our work. In retrospect, if it hadn't have done this, we may have been closer to our schedule. I did however gain an in depth knowledge of how to use the software after using it day in day out and became apt with the tools in order to achieve the final product. </li></ul>
<ul><li>L ooking back in hindsight, I have realised how far we have progressed as a group and as individuals. The preliminary task is embarrassing, but I understand that everywhere has a start and you grow from there. Thankfully we did, and we learned from our mistakes that we made in the first place. From the task we started to understand the importance of lighting and how it looked artificial and bright, so in production of our final project, we planned it to give an eerie and psychopathic feel, despite members of our group improvising with tools, and standing with a wooden pole until we got the shot we wanted. After reflection, I learned that the editing in the preliminary task was shoddy and inadequate, it failed to have continuity and didn't flow correctly as a result, where the shot angles and movement looked extremely amateur and the camera was unsteady in parts making it look unprofessional as a result. </li></ul>Another lesson I learnt from the preliminary task is that sometimes it can be more effective to completely eliminate all dialogue from a project, as the silence and lack of speech can be deemed sinister and unnerving as you fail to know what the character is thinking, especially after looking at the task back, the dialogue is forced and clumsy and has no relevation at all.
<ul><li>W hen looking back over our project there is still so much that </li></ul><ul><li>needs altering. I literally cringe when I watch it back despite hours </li></ul><ul><li>and hours of work we put into it. I would change numerous aspects </li></ul><ul><li>of the experience, such as the use of actors. It was a shame that on </li></ul><ul><li>the day the actor didn’t turn up and we were left to change the plot </li></ul><ul><li>completely into one that was confusing and unidentifiable to the audience, the original script was ten times more effective and had a clearer message and was original and innovative, yet the plot we had to settle for was unrealistic and poor. </li></ul><ul><li>Another aspect that would have benefited the group, would be the group itself. The organisation was poor, and members of the group failed to showup for lessons and after hours sessions, and resulted in permanent expulsion much to our disappointment, meaning that more work was to be shared between less of us. If all members would have co-operated and given equal input the project would have run smoothly and would have had equal contribution. A major downfall in the final product. </li></ul><ul><li>When regarding the strengths of the project, I fail to have every aspect of it to jump to mind. The overall look of the film looks original, especially with the shot angles and the use of lighting that I had planned on the storyboards, but due to the poor quality in the picture it cannot be seen to its full potential. I were careful to think about each shot and how the meaning can be portrayed to the audience, such as the low angle shot of the main character attacking the victim, showing his masculinity and power, where the use of side lighting reflected his split personality Overall, I believe that it did work out reasonably well, and I hope that all of our hard work in editing and filming can be seen. I have a positive attitude towards the project in that I learned a lot from it and through trial and error I will hopefully be able to learn a lot more in this field of work. </li></ul>