1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? The Production logo adds realism; the ‘Psycho Films’ logo appears as our actress opens her eye – reflecting the shower scene from Psycho. Our teaser trailer followed the element of shock used in real teaser trailers. The use of quick cuts builds tension and the snippet of another scene at the end of the trailer leaves a lasting memory in the audiences’ mind. We used Todorov’s Equilibrium Theory as the basis of our narrative. We decided to use this theory as we wanted to leave our audience asking themselves ‘what will happen to the Final Girl?’ ‘Will there be a sequel?’ We also developed the idea of the victim solving the crime rather than a figure of authority. However, we’ve challenged the idea of the Final Girl being innocent at the end of the film. Instead, the crime that she committed in the past still hasn’t been solved. We ensured that included the use of binary oppositions between good and evil within our trailer however, we decided to challenge the idea of having a simply ‘good’ character and an ‘evil’ character. Our representation of our ‘good’ character, the Final Girl is challenged in a sense that she has a ‘dark past’. What she’s done in the past isn’t morally good. For our ‘evil’ character, we’ve developed the idea of the killer having a motive as to why he’s going around on a killing spree. We wanted our killer to seem human even though his face is not visible to the audience – making the audience feel uncomfortable as they feel as if the killer can be anyone around them. Iconography: we used blood and the use of weapons – to make the killer seem more menacing and lethal. You instantly realise the film is a part of the horror genre. When it comes to mise-en-scene, we wanted to put across to the audience that the murders happened in a domestic setting; a place where Year 13 students will be attending this year. In a way, we wanted to present a moral within the trailer; don’t act under the influence and think before you act. The reason why we decided to set the trailer at night was to put across the lack of security and insecurity the Final Girl feels. Both the Final Girl and villain wear black. We decided that her costume had to be black to symbolise her dark past and how she feels about herself (she’s no longer innocent). Teasers conventionally give out as little information as possible. The news reporter builds on the idea of a murder/crime scene however, the audience isn’t told why. Carol Clover’s ‘Final Girl’ Theory surrounds the stereotype of having a white ‘virginal’ female as the final girl. We decided to subvert this idea by including other ethnicities in our trailer. Our final girl is a black female, resulting in others relating to the character as opposed to a Caucasian audience. When researching horror posters they tended to be black. We decided to stick to this convention in order to establish that our film was a part of the horror genre. A poster we took inspiration from was ‘Scream 4’. The image of just the mask creates a sense of suspense and confusion as to who the masked figure could be. The content at the bottom of the poster follows conventions of all film posters e.g. the names of actors, release date, production crew and useful websites. The masthead, top banner, price and date layout followed the conventional Empire magazine cover however, with our masthead, we replaced the ‘I’ with an object (a knife) to highlight the weapon used in the trailer. This subverted the conventional masthead giving us originality.
The plugs and the exclusivity and ‘special edition’ and free merchandise entice the reader to buy the magazine and these are conventions we adhered to in our cover. Same facial expression as Norman Bates – ‘Psycho’ inspired cover. ‘Scream’ is an American horror, set in a modern day society where teenagers would get drunk and have sex. We tried to stick to the conventions mentioned in the first movie for example when Randy says’ ‘you can never drink alcohol in a horror movie’. At the beginning of the trailer, we see two students’ dead. In the plotline, it’s revealed that they were drinking. ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ – again in this film, the audience have no idea who the killer is. The fact that the audience don’t actually know what the characters did until near the end of the film make it more terrifying.2. How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts? The effectiveness of our texts came down to good analysis of other movie magazines such as Total Film and reviews on websites such as IMDB. I also carried out a survey that influenced the type of horror film my group created. For our texts as a whole, I made sure there were cohesive images, text and music. The subtle links include the depiction of knives throughout conveying what weapon the killer uses. Our inspirations from various horror movies are evident in each text. In our film poster, our inspiration from ‘Scream’ is evident in the film poster, showing the mask and nothing else, symbolising confusion. ‘Psycho’ is represented on the magazine poster. Our final girl’s facial expression is very similar to the one Norman Bates has at the end of the film; representing insanity and a ‘darker side’. The use of the black and white image gives the cover a sense of a dark past and somewhat indicates that it’s a horror movie special. The tagline used for the film was ‘Can you keep a deadly secret?’ We decided on this tagline to connote the act of secrecy and deception. We also wanted our audience to ask themselves what is the secret? At first, the tagline was going to be ‘Can you keep a secret?’ however, we felt as though it didn’t tie into the horror genre as much as we wanted it to so, we included the word ‘deadly’ to add to the horror element. The colours we used on both the poster and magazine front cover were black, white and red. After receiving feedback when researching horror films, our potential audience was fixated on the idea of a horror poster and magazine having red, black and white. These colours are associated with the genre. Our production company logo has been placed in the film poster as well as the trailer, branding our symbol and therefore the film. On the magazine, we used a san serif font to highlight the authenticity to the magazine and poster. We tried using a serif font to show simplicity however, we felt that the font didn’t express horror elements and so, we used a san serif font. The font we used for the title in all three texts was from dafont.com. The font ‘Face Your Fears’ connotes feelings of unease. When taking it into Photoshop, we changed the font colour to red, indicating blood and gore. The ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ sound we used can also be referred to in our poster. I decided to put this music into the trailer as it creates pace and enabled us to use quick cuts and jumps. The music drives the trailer and somehow foreshadows the events that occur in our plot. We also ensured that our audience could tell that our film was for 18 years and older. This is conveyed through the trailer and the magazine cover. For example, the use of weapons in our trailer instantly makes the film fall into the 18+BBFC guidelines.
3. What have you learned from your audience feedback? During the planning stages of producing a trailer, I produced a survey on SurveyMonkey in order to determine what my audience wanted to see in a horror trailer. One of my questions was ‘What components in horror scare you the most?’ and the majority answered with fear of the unknown. I feel we successfully adhered to their preferences as the villain is wearing a mask; concealing his identity. Overall, I was really happy with the feedback I received on our trailer. Overall the majority agreed that it was ‘spine chilling’ and they would watch the film. Most of the audience agreed that the trailer looked professional. General comments included one from an actual film director; mentioning that he enjoyed the ending due to its intensity and scariness. However, he did mention about tightening the scenes at the beginning of the trailer to make it seem tenser and it’ll give off a sense of danger and will put the audience on edge. I received feedback on Twitter and Blackberry Messenger with one of my friends constantly insisting that we made an actual film which I was flattered by. 32% strongly agreed that the trailer looked professional with 55% agreeing. The rest were unsure. - If we had the chance to improve, I would definitely make the trailer longer however, I felt that our trailer was successful in creating suspense and intrigue which ultimately leads the audience to want to watch the film to see what happens. We didn’t want to give away the ending or why he was after her as we didn’t want to be too obvious. We wanted to be unclear. Feedback on our film poster revealed that the main image was effective and was successful in creating interest. The majority strongly agreed that the poster was successful. 9% disagreed. Reasons possibly being because there wasn’t a lot to it. The mask made the film ambiguous. The magazine cover was commended for its professional look with 64% agreeing that it was effective. A comment for improvement that one audience member gave us was our main image could have been half of our final girl’s face and half of the mask; to successfully link all three texts. 60% agreed that all three texts linked well with 30% strongly agreeing. I think the majority agreed as we used the same colours in the trailer, magazine and poster. The comment for improvement I received that I was caught off-guard by was someone saying they would’ve like to have seen a news reporter at the beginning. Although we tried including scenes with the news reporter, it felt as though it slowed down the pace of the trailer and took away the ‘scary’ element of it which is why we decided against it.
4. How did you use new media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages? IMDB – search film posters, trailers and other films similar to our plotline Begin researching props we would need – e.g. a knife (which we actually managed to borrow from the school D&T department) Gather potential actors and actresses for our trailer. After many step backs, we figured actors who people were familiar with would be more effective and less time consuming so we decided on using Kimisha as our ‘unconventional’ Final Girl and Faraz as our killer. Kept in contact with actors through email, social networking sites, text messaging and Blackberry Messenger and created a schedule that all actors could attend. When we began filming, I learned essential directional skills and gave Faraz (camera operator) clear instructions as to how the shots should look. Throughout the process, we began photographing our efforts and taking photographs of the final girl for our magazine and film poster. I learned about different angles and how to use the camera in more innovative ways e.g. without the flash, the lens and getting the camera to focus correctly. We used digital SLR cameras and video cameras to take images for our magazine and poster and video cameras for the trailer. These new media technologies enabled us to highlight different shots (for example, when the villain is holding our Final Girl and when he attempts to kill her; to create a terrifying atmosphere and the sense of claustrophobia. Ever since my AS preliminary task, I feel my skills in Photoshop have radically improved. I can manipulate photos and figure out how to make images look different without having to do a lot with them. I of course developed an understanding of Premiere Pro during this process and figured out ways of using various pieces of footage even if I wasn’t planning on using them in the trailer. I also adjusted the sound levels and the opacity to create different moods and atmospheres. I used tools such as Photobucket to document images for example our storyboard and used online sites such as dafont.com to find different fonts for the title of the trailer. I also used Slideshare to upload PowerPoint presentations onto my blog – displaying my analysis of different texts. I updated my blog on blogger as often as I could. This year, I learned how to add more multimedia such as trailers from YouTube and images from different sites e.g. I managed to place my storyboard on my blog from Photobucket. We received feedback and advertised our final product on YouTube and social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. This was something we didn’t do last year. I used Prezi instead of producing a PowerPoint to make my presentations more effective.