Opening Film Sequence – Mentality Sarah Nightingale Media Studies AS: Foundation Portfolio
Introduction For my media project I decided to do an opening sequence for a film. We called it Mentality. It is a two minute clip for a psychological thriller which introduces the main characters and gives the audience an insight to what the film is about, without giving too much of the story away. Whilst making this project I worked with two other girls from my class, Anna Hickling and Cassie Kinsey. My main roles in the film were to sort out costume and make-up. However we all contributed into the editing, shooting and identifying locations.
Audience Testing and Social Groups In our opening sequence, we wanted something different from every other psychological thriller and for it also to stand out from the rest. The thing we did different to our opening sequence was to add a twist and lead the audience in a different direction to what they thought was going to happen. By raising enigmas in our project, we kept the audience interested and this proved successful in our questionnaire. As you can see, all 10 people surveyed, answered yes to the opening sequence raising enigmas.
We aimed our media product at ages 15-25 and so we needed to show this in our opening sequence… We did this by making sure our actors fitted the stereotyped nature of their character. For example, the character Sophie, was portrayed to be an outcast and rejected from other teenagers. Therefore her clothes couldn’t be fashionable or popular among them. By keeping the lighting, setting and action/activities as ‘normal’ as possible, we wanted to show how the setting of this film was just another ordinary day for the life of the character Sophie. However we did need to have her facial expression and dialogue morbid, to show the audience she is not a happy person.
By having our main ethnicity and nationality of the audience aimed at white-British would enable them to understand the film and problems which occur in the film more likely than any other culture. As white-British is a large mass audience, our film would be financed fairly well and so achieve a lot. Our questionnaire shows us that our target audience fits well into our group as all participants thought the genre was thriller and thought the opening sequence was visually appealing.
Media Distribution If our media product was to be made, it would most likely be financed and distributed by a British company such as FilmFour. As FilmFour has produced such small films before and become very successful, i.e. Trainspotting, it could be possible that our project would do the same. Hollywood may consider distributing our film and making it Indiewood. Although this would be very unlikely as our film may not appeal to a very large audience and so Hollywood would not take the chance in losing a lot of money.
Attracting and Addressing the Audience An audience expects to see what kind of thing the movie is about in an opening sequence, e.g. murder, love. We decided to have our disruption set in a college as most of our audience go to college and can relate to the social aspects that occur. To attract our audience, we made the order of the opening sequence non-chronological to keep them intrigued. We created bio nary opposition by having two characters attracted to each other who were very different in appearance and personality.
We tried to keep the music in our opening sequence relevant to what was happening at the time. For example, to create suspense and tension we increased the pace of music and for sad moments, we had it quiet and soft. This was again very successful with our audience. The main ideology we focused on in our piece was teenage trauma and suicide. It is effective in our project as because it shows how other people may not understand what one person is going through, which is relevant in today’s society.
The shots we used depended on the mood in the sequence. To use power we used a low angle shot and to show emotion we used a close up. By keeping the lighting high-key we showed Sophie’s mood and personality was emphasised more than other peoples. Our editing included a mixture of transitions that were aimed to be as simple as possible, yet show one scene from the next. Our main transition was fade-in, fade-out. We also used a blurred effect on one of our scenes to show how Sophie was having a haluncination.
Technology When in the making of my project I got to use a range of technology from Apple mac’s to video recorders. I learnt that by using the grid on the camera really helped in the positioning of objects and also the tri-pod is great for steady shots. The i-movie editing software was great for allowing our sequence to be smooth running and also gave us the opportunity to add in extras such as voiceovers. We used technology to show our audience feedback on graphs. This was great as it was quick and clearly showed our results. To keep a record of what stage we where up to whilst making our project, we uploaded our progression onto www.blogger.com We also used a stills camera to take photographs of our locations and editing.
Prelim Task and Progression From my prelim task to my final product, I felt I have learnt a lot… The positioning of objects on the screen is now more accurate I also learnt what kind of thing the audience want to see and how to deliver it to them effectively. The editing of the shots run far more smoother.
Conclusion In conclusion, I would like to say we did a very good job in the making of our opening sequence. Its key strength was gaining the audiences and enabling them to enjoy it. I think the main weakness was having the story line a bit too confusing and not showing clearly what is happening in the sequence. Overall I would say our opening sequence comes fairly clear to the real article. Also my use of technology and understanding of filming has improved very much.