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Codes and conventions of a film opening


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Codea and Conventions of a Film Opening

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Codes and conventions of a film opening

  1. 1. Conventions  Majority of film openings start with certain conventions regarding less of their genre. These consist of: 1. Studio/Production Company Logo 2. Titles (of the cast and crew) 3. Genre 4. Themes and Topics 5. Establishing the Genre 6. Introduction of characters 7. Action /Events 8. Sound (specially non-diegetic music and sound effects plus contrapuntal sound) 9. Narrations and Text 10.Enigma
  2. 2. Studio/Productions Film openings will always show logos or identification of the production companies and often the distribution companies involved in the production of the media text. These are expected by the audience and in many ways help to set up expectations for a film; for example, if the Warner Brothers logo is shown, the audience is likely to expect a big budget block buster.
  3. 3. Titles The functions of the title sequence in a film may seem to be fairly obvious. They are designed to tell the audience the names of the people and organisations involved with the making of the film and in this respects and recognition is as an acknowledgement for their role within production. Irrespective of the genre, there is a conventional way of presenting this information in the credit sequence. This information and the order in which they are presented follow a standard format. • Production company • Producers’ names • The Director’s name • Title of the film • The highest grossing actor (Lead or most famous) • Supporting cast • Crew Tile sequences are extremely important for attracting a audience Commonly within film title sequences often the feature names of the director and main actors, particularly if the actors are famous as a form of targeting an audience, Commonly this convention is a method of attraction to the film for the audience. Also, this is important for films where a certain director frequently casts a particular actor(s) as their leading role; for example, seeing Tim Burton and Johnny Depp’s names in the opening credits may set up the audience’s expectations for a gothic/macabre style of film.
  4. 4. Establishing the genre Genre Within film openings the audience should be able to establish the genre of the film due to key genre conventions to indicate the genre to the audience for e.g. within a psychological thriller the key convention in which will be presented to the audience automatically would be the use of low key lighting to create tension, dissonant eerie music and the use of colour such as black, gray and red to suggest dominance death All of the above factors contribute to establishing the genre of the film, and the opening sequence will usually include a character or event that is typical of a particular genre; for example, in a comedy something funny may happen/someone may say something funny, or in a horror there may be suspense/terror/deaths of characters.
  5. 5. Topic /Theme The topic/theme of a film is the story within the the genre, it is what occurs in the film opening, whether the film is a comedy or horror most of the time there will be a theme in the opening scene this is used to ease and comfort the audience into the film and give the audience hint on what the narrative is going to be, on the other hand some film openings may not have a theme as it challenges the codes and conventions to make the audience feel disorientated but also to create enigma for the audiences. The theme also helps the audience to distinguish what the genre of the film is for e.g. Love Actually is a great opening to distinguish the theme and genre as there is a theme of love and romance indicating to the audience that the film is of the romance genre because of the romantic voice over and a montage of people kissing and hugging there partners and loved ones. The topic is everything that happens in the opening scene to help lead the audience on for e.g. The Dark Knight opens with several fast pace cut of people in clown mask costumes in the process of robbing a bank with the protagonist which therefore creates enigma for the audience leads them on to view the entire film.
  6. 6. Establishing of characters The Establishing of characters in a opening scene of a film is one of the key conventions in a film opening as this is where the audience generally are show the main characters as it signifies their importance and statues within the film. In some films the main character or characters are not show in the opening scene this is used to challenge the conventions of usual film to create an element of mystery and confusion amongst the audience as they will not know what is going on. Within specific film the establishing of characters helps the audience identify the genre of the film as some actors are usually associated with one specific genre for e.g. in the opening of just go with it Jennifer Aniston was displayed in the opening scene thus helping identify audience the genre as Jennifer Aniston is usually associated with romantic comedy's
  7. 7. Narration/Text The narration/text is information for the audience to know what is going on in the film. In some films the narration /text is not shown this is to again challenge the conventions and make it confusing for the audience as it adds some mystery to the opening scene. Some films may have non-diegetic voice overs on the background this helps the audience and gives them a better understanding on the film but also make the film more intriguing and interesting for e.g. within the opening of American psycho there is a first person voice over from Patrick Bateman inviting the audience into his life making it more interesting for the audience as the audience see and hear about how obsessive and compulsive and un-normal he is. Films like Star Wars are famous for the text in there openings as it shows clearly what is going on in text plus it visual effect to helping identify the genre to the audience.
  8. 8. Sound In opening scenes of films there is usually sound. Non-diegetic and diegetic sound. Non- diegetic is the most common as it helps set the scene for the audience and conveys the type of genre and what to expect in the film. For example slow and tense music will be used in a horror. However, some opening films use diegetic music to help set the scene were the actors can hear the sound. This is usually used in film genres such as comedy where the actor may be dancing too a funny type of music to help the audience establish the genre. For example in Cheaper By The Dozen’s opening scene where all the actors can hear the radio playing and are all cheery in the kitchen. But on the other hand some film may even use contrapuntal sound in the opening to challenge the conventions and make it confusing for the audience as it adds some mystery to the opening scene. For e.g. in the opening scene of Raging Bull the audience can see visuals of a man boxing with Non-Diegetic contrapuntal operatic music Some Film openings may even include theme music, as this sets the overall feel of the film. It can also be used to set up audience expectations, particularly if the film belongs to a well known franchise, such as the Harry Potter films, where the iconic theme tune is played in the opening of each film.
  9. 9. Enigma Enigma codes are used during the opening scene of a film to help create questions and tension right from the very start to entice the audience. Enigma keeps the audience interested in the film and wanting to find out the questions that are going through there heads. Therefore it keeps the audience intrigued and wanting to watch the rest of the film. It is a key factor in keeping the audience hooked from the start. A good example of enigma being created would be at the start of the film Woman In Black where the 3 little innocent girls jump from the window ledge. This leaves the audience in shock and creates enigma and many questions the audience may ask such as; ‘why did they jump from the window?