1) In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? My group started off our task by acknowledging conventions of thriller films that appeared to be quite frequent in real media products. We then considered what of these conventions we could incorporate into our thriller opening sequence. The next few slides answer the question and talk about the conventions we used in our thriller opening sequence.
The First thing we hear in the thriller opening sequence is the non diegetic backing track. This track is very atmospheric and has a sense of abnormal ness to it, which straight away begins to cause tension and the sense that something isn’t quite right. It starts off fairly quiet but as the sequence starts to develop and the titles are introduced, the music gets louder creating awareness for the audience that something strange is about to happen. Generally speaking, the music is quite laid back and almost calming suiting the scenery shots, which challenges the conventions of thriller music, which is usually loud and jumpy. However the atmospheric feel to it reinforces the thriller aspect to it. The first image we see is of a rural landscape. The cloud stands out as being very foreboding and look like they are brewing up a storm. This could represent that something bad is going to happen and also acts as metaphoric hint to the audience that a storm is about to start. We next see a set of locations, which allow the audience to get an understanding of the setting of the film and also works nicely as a simple, but effective way to display the credits. The locations shown show scenes of isolated areas, representing being alone and isolation, which are both key themes in thriller films. One shot we decided to use was an upward tilt of the sky, which you can see to the right (click to play) . We added a tint black to the shot to make the clouds in the sky look more stormy and perhaps dangerous. The use of blackness in the shot also connotes thoughts of depression and negativity, which are also conventions in real media thriller products. 1.
We tried to express other thriller conventions through the means of the actor/actress we choose. The actress we choose suites the role of a naïve, glamorous female character that are very common in thriller films (Shown below). Both actor/actress are in their late teens, which explains traits of being very argumentative and naïve. The argument sequence conveys a sub genre of drama, which is often a sub genre of thriller films. As the action began to thicken, we tried using a variety of quick camera shots to make the sequence look slightly jumpy and also to help create excitement in the audience. Fast paced editing is a convention of thriller films, especially during action packed scenes. The story line fits conventions of thriller films. For example ours features an argumentative couple, which also appears in many real thriller films. Another generic convention is that the vehicle breaks down, causing a problem to arise. This is very typical in thriller films such as “Vacancy” and “House of Wax”.
The clip below is of the “killer” spying on Hope and Scott, the two main characters. We decided to use a hand held camera for a point of view shot for this part as it gave the audience the impression of watching someone which would help raise tension in the audience. The non diegetic soundtrack during this part consist of violins and other string instruments frantically playing high notes. This is another typical convention of thriller film and is usually added when something bad is about to happen. It helps build tension and fear in the audience and also makes them really engrossed in the film and has them on the edge of the seats. We also put a red filter on this shot to make it seem a bit abnormal, perhaps create the idea of some sort of beast with red vision watching them. Red connotes thoughts of danger and this could act as a hint to the audience that this character is dangerous and something bad is about to happen. Click to play
2) How does your media product represent particular social groups? Our thriller mainly represents the teenage social groups. The actor and actress we used in our thriller opening sequence were both in their late teens, just like their characters and our target audience. This gives our thriller a sense of realism and allows the audience to understand how teenagers interact and how the deal with stressful situations. The stereotypes that our actors/actress express abide with those stereotypes often thrown at teenagers. These include being argumentative and mouthy, naïve, not listening to help from others etc. The audience also get an understanding of what kind of lives they are living. As the plot unravels, more about the characters is revealed, for instance they have come up to Norfolk to visit Scott’s old friend who is having a 18 th party. This represents teenagers in the sense that they like to have fun at parties.
2. I would class our characters as being middle class or working class. I think this because they are both currently low on money as they are both students. The mis-en-scene in our thriller opening also helps represent the social groups of our characters. For example they are driving a fairly old car, that isn’t very expensive, suggesting they are low on money and don’t come from a particularly rich background. The clothes worn are quite stylish suggesting they like to follow the fashion scene and are well off enough to have stylish clothes. Another example of possible social representation is the sequence when Scott is attempting to fix the car (Shown below). Generally speaking males tend to the mechanics in cars and the manual work that could involve getting dirty. Hope is sitting in the warm, clean car, well out of the way of any dirt, suggesting she is a bit of a girly girl and representing the female gender in the sense that she don’t know a lot about car mechanics.
3)What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why? I think a possible distribution company for our thriller film could be Screen Gems. I think this because they were responsible for distributing the thriller film “Vacancy”. The gross revenue for the film was $35,300,645 suggesting that the distribution company did a good job at distributing the film to cinemas and through DVD sales. Another possible distribution company could be Warner Bros. Pictures. This company distributed the thriller/horror film “House of Wax”. Again this film performed well on gross revenue at $68,766,121. Our film is of very similar genre to the films mention above. This means that the distribution companies would be used to distributing films of a similar genre as our thriller opening sequence so would be specialised in the region and be able to make our film perform well in both box office and DVD sales.
4) Who would be the audience for your media product? The audience for our thriller would be 15-24 year old males. This is the target audience for the majority of real thriller films. Generally speaking males tend to enjoy thriller films the most and from the questionnaire my group concluded that the age range of 15-24 would be suitable for our thriller as this group came out most dominant in the questionnaire.
5) How did you attract/address your audience? We have tried to include aspects of conventions that appeal to this target audience in our thriller opening sequence. These aspects that proved popular in our questionnaires included horror scenes, attractive females, and also atmospheric sound track. The use of a questionnaire is a good way of obtaining feedback about what audiences expect/like to see in thriller films. I think we covered this sections to the best of our ability so therefore I think our target audience will like our film. In order to increase our audience for our thriller we decided to include aspects that would appeal to different audiences to make our thriller more popular/mainstream. These included the use of heavy dialogued drama scenes, and the sub genres of comedy (which we touched upon slightly), and sci-fi, which again the soundtrack reinforces. Having done this I think our target audience has now expanded which will help the film in terms of advertisement, popularity and revenue.
6) What have you learnt about the technologies from the process of constructing this process? Before the preliminary task and thriller opening sequence I had very little knowledge of the equipment we used as this was the first time I had carried out a task such as this. However I think I learnt quickly and have developed a good understanding of how to use the equipment. I have also learnt about how important pre production is when it comes to producing a media product. During one lesson of Media Studies we had a guest come in who is a professional short film maker. He lectured us about the software Final Cut Express which we would use to edit our thriller opening sequence. I think this was very helpful as it gave me a good understanding on how to use the software that was completely new to me.
Please click play to view preliminary task. 7) Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product? I have learnt a lot of new skills when constructing our thriller opening sequence and also our preliminary task (which you can see below). The preliminary task of the DVD scene we carried out allowed me and my group to become comfortable with the equipment and editing software we were going to use for our thriller opening sequence. It also gave us the opportunity to work as a team and learn about each others strengths and weaknesses. I feel that myself and my group have come a long way since first filming our preliminary task. For example I now feel much more confident in the equipment and Software used during the process and how to construct a sequence efficiently and effectively. I have also learnt that continuity is very important as it was one aspect that my group struggled with in the preliminary task. However I think we have overcame this problem in our thriller opening sequence by taking more than one take of each shot and making sure everything is the same as the previous shot.