In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? My thriller opening for ‘Music Box’ mainly originated from the thriller ‘Creep’ which also uses the thriller conventions which we used in filming and editing, the main one being extraordinary events happening in ordinary situations, as both thrillers were set in a train station and on a train which is a perfectly normal situation to be in. The antagonists in both thrillers are people that you would not normally expect to be an antago0nist which creates the thriller convention of having a complex narrative structure, with false paths, clues and resolutions. In ‘Creep’ the mise en scene is very eerie, uncomfortable and creepy which was the mise en scene we wanted to incorporate in our own thriller opening, by using very little lighting, dark lighting to make the audience feel on edge as they cannot clearly see what is happening. In the opening of ‘Creep’ there was a black out on the train which we thought was a very good way of creating suspense within the thriller opening so we included this in ours. We also used the same technique when displaying the antagonist; using long shots of him so the audience cannot relate to him anyway, but using the close ups on the protagonists so that the audience feel more related to them in the thriller which will, in turn, make the antagonist more scary to the audience and create the ominous mise en scene that we were aiming for.
Another convention which ‘Music Box’ uses as well as ‘Creep’ is the titles reflect and aspect of the pro/antagonist’s physical and psychological state . In ‘Creep’ we liked the way that the titles mirrored a train map which you normally see above your seats on trains. It already proposed that the film would take place in a train station or on a train without us even looking at a trailer or the opening. We copied this idea and you can see in our titles that we used writing which fades onto the screen with a white ‘wave’ going from one side of the screen to another but in the same direction of the train moving in the following opening shot which shows that the train station and mirrors the train itself which is the main setting in the opening sequence to music box.
Thriller conventions that ‘Music Box’ incorporates: <ul><li>The thriller conventions which ‘Music Box’ uses are as followed: </li></ul><ul><li>A crime at the core of the narrative </li></ul><ul><li>We know that from this opening that there is a crime at the narrative as we know that the little boy is the antagonist who has either captured or killed the protagonist (we do not know yet but if there was a full length film we would do) </li></ul><ul><li>A complex narrative structure, with false paths, clues and resolutions. </li></ul><ul><li>Even though the little boy is a mystery to us we make the assumption that he can do no harm as he is only a little boy, which leads the audience down a false path as they will soon find out different. </li></ul><ul><li>A narrative pattern of establishing enigmas which the viewer expects to be resolved </li></ul><ul><li>From this opening we do not know who the boy is, who the teenagers were, where they are or why the little boy is after them. These are just some of the enigmas created which the viewer expects to be resolved. </li></ul><ul><li>Extraordinary events happening in ordinary situations </li></ul><ul><li>The teenagers were only travelling on a train which is a perfectly normal situation to be in. This thriller convention is created when the extraordinary event of the power cut and the boy and dog disappearing happens. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
<ul><li>Themes of identity. </li></ul><ul><li>We can all relate to the teenagers on the train as we have all travelled on a train at one point. We know who are the protagonists and antagonists in the film and we see part of their personalities in this opening. </li></ul><ul><li>Themes of mirroring. </li></ul><ul><li>From this opening we can see that there is more than one protagonists. These protagonists are all in the same situation; on a train with a strange boy. But when they split up they have different situations; the girls who get of the train to find the boy have a different situation to the boys who stayed on the train. </li></ul><ul><li>Protagonist with ‘flaw’ which is exploited by the antagonist. </li></ul><ul><li>The protagonists’ flaws in this opening is that they underestimate the young boy, as we do also, which leads to them being attacked by him. </li></ul><ul><li>Titles often reflect an aspect of the pro/antagonist’s physical and psychological state. </li></ul><ul><li>At the beginning the titles appear. As the writing fades onto the screen behind it is a white ‘wave’ going from one side of the screen to another. This could mirror the train moving which enables this thriller convention to be in use as the train station and the train itself is the main setting in the film. </li></ul><ul><li>Mise en scene which echoes/mirrors the protagonist’s plight. </li></ul><ul><li>When the teenagers on the train are having a good time the lighting is very bright and everything seems to be happy but when they split up from each other and go after the young boy the lighting becomes dark and we find ourselves outside in the night in and alley which mirrors the feelings that the characters and we as an audience may be feeling at this point in the opening, this also creates the suspense needed to make this opening a thriller. </li></ul>
How ‘Music Box’ develops or challenges conventions: Originally in our opening sequence we were going to have the antagonist be an older boy, the same age as the teenager protagonists, but when receiving feedback about our narrative being too predictable we decided to change the age of the antagonist to make the storyline a little more diverse and fickle. Doing this made us look at the theme of ‘Age’ and how this theme is represented in our thriller opening and others. Stereotypically within thrillers younger characters are portrayed to be more vulnerable than older characters therefore less likely to be the once that are capable to cause harm compared to older characters. By looking at this we took the convention and challenged it by creating a situation where the antagonist, in our opening sequence, be a little boy instead of an older one to make the audience assume that there is nothing that the little boy can do to the older protagonists, because they are older. This will make the predictability of our thriller less obvious because as the opening develops we can see that the antagonist is in fact the little boy and if this were to be made into a film a harmful one, which is not predictable.
Do the thriller conventions you have used indicate a sub-genre? For our thriller opening we did not want to include a specific thriller sub-genre as we wanted to use generic conventions which were found in most thrillers. We did not want to include any fights to make ‘Music Box’ have an action thriller sub-genre, doctors or hospitals involved so it had a medical thriller sub-genre or any weapons to have a crime thriller sub-genre as we did not want to confuse the audience. Another thing which we did not want include in our thriller opening is any fake blood or anything of that kind as we did not want the audience thinking this was a horror opening instead of a thriller opening. We did not want our thriller opening being too complicated because there is not a whole film to resolve all the enigmas, which doing this will include, in and this would loose their interests they would not understand what would be going on, therefore, we decided to use strict thriller conventions to ensure this would not happen.
How we analysed ‘Creep’ to influence our opening sequence: We looked at these titles and liked the way that they convey the train station setting already and gave us the idea for ours to have something move across the screen in the same direction as the train will be moving in the next shot to convey this also. To have an ordinary event happen, such as someone sitting down on a train was a great way to lead the audience into thinking that she would get out of the train station safely, this prepared a false path, which we wanted to include in ours so we had the teenagers sit on the train before we even knew there was an antagonist to create the same thriller convention.
The black out in ‘Creep’ really set the scene as we did not no what was going on in this scene, as we could not see because of the limited lighting the black out left us. We couldn't see if there was anyone with her so this creates the suspense factor with we wanted in our own thriller so we involved a black out in our opening to create the same effect.
How does your media product represent particular social groups? For ‘Music Box’ we decided to have a group of teenagers being the main social group we see. We chose teenagers to be the main protagonists also so the audience can relate to it and understand the social aspect of it. Because the teenagers are the ones more vulnerable and the ones in danger this will rub off onto the audience which will hopefully make the opening sequence more daunting for them. In ‘Music Box’ we represent this teenage social group by having their costumes up-to-date with what everyone at that time would be wearing. They are messing around on the train; looking at each others phone etc. which also represents the characters personalities as well as being teenagers. Stereotypically a little boy isn’t scary which is why we chose the antagonist to be a little boy. We thought that if the little boy was the antagonist and the one to be scared of this will add to the suspense and surprise the audience will feel and get when watching the thriller which is the emotion we wanted to obtain from them. We thought that the antagonist should still be male to follow the general thriller convention as it may still embrace the stereotypical male dominance, even though he is a little boy.
What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why? Firstly we will distribute our media product to small companies to see what they think of it and see whether it is successful. If so, we will pitch our idea to an international or larger media company. Distributing and showing our media product to both small companies and large companies will quickly broaden the audience base and the film title will become more popular so we should gain a bigger audience from that. By distributing our media product to a smaller company first will allow us to get feedback and let us know how successful our media product will be before we move on to larger companies which would have wasted our time if it was not successful. Distributing to larger companies we would increase the films reputation which will increase the amount of people wanting to see it therefore increasing profit. We should firstly show our film at amateur cinemas to gain popularity within local areas and see whether the potential is great enough to make it at larger cinemas. If this film is only successful in amateur cinemas a DVD will be produced a month or so after the film was shown at the cinema for a week. If the film is successful at larger cinemas a DVD will be produced about 2-3 months after the film has been at the cinema for 3 weeks.
The internet is a great way to share films and this thriller opening so by selling our media product as internet files we could share this on the internet so it can be used to educational purposes (students studying media) or just for entertainment purposes. Merchandise would be a great way to increase distribution of ‘Music Box’. For example novelty t-shirts, mugs, posters etc. as these would be popular within our target audience which will, hopefully, create the right publicity needed to make the opening a popular one or even make in into a full length film with the possibilities of sequels to keep the audience watching.
Who would be the audience for your media product? Our target audience is 16-25 year olds male and female. In relation to our storyboard and our idea, we think that it is suitable and meets requirements of this audience. The age group of the characters is 16-18 years old so fits in with the target audience and allows them to relate to them and the story more. Our story relates to our target audience through our setting. One of the most popular forms of transport these days for young adults (16-25) is trains. Now days people travel further to go shopping, watch the football etc. and to get to these places need the trains as it is cheaper and faster than anyway else. Also, a younger generation will understand the social aspect of the setting and this will increase the interest they have as they too will have been in that situation. In our research we found that the film ‘creep’ was similar to ours in many ways for example this film was set at a train station and on a train itself. There is a main antagonist in which every one is scared of and there are protagonists also.
How did you attract/address your audience? We tried to attract/address our audience by using as many point of view shots as possible to try to make the audience empathise with the character. This also makes the thriller more realistic and draws the audience in as they feel apart and involved with what's happening. We used Point of View shots in the establishing shot when we can see the train coming in. This makes the audience feel like they are just waiting for a train, there is nothing really scary about that which also includes a thriller convention of leading the audience down false paths as they do not expect anything scary to happen whilst waiting for a train. Other point of view shots used in ‘Music Box’ are when the boy moves from behind the teenage boys to next to them. We used Point of View shots here so the audience can see fully exactly what the characters can see, this makes them feel more involved with the situation and makes the situation more realistic. We used other shots like close ups and reaction shots as well as Point of View shots to also create the same affect. For example when one of the characters says to the other who is that there is a close up. Another way we attracted our audience is by using teenagers for the main protagonists. This attracts both young and old viewers as the young teenage viewers can relate to the characters in ‘Music Box’ and the old/older viewers are attracted as they think ‘stereotypically’ that the teenagers are going to get into trouble so they want to see what trouble they may get up to. The setting of ‘Music Box’; at a train station; can attract everyone as everyone has been on a train with there friends. Everyone can relate to them and as it is an ordinary situation to be in it makes the viewers more attracted to ‘Music Box’ as they want to see what can happen on an ordinary train.
What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing the product? For the filming all the camera equipment we needed was a camera and nothing else. Although I think what would have made the shots we filmed better would be to use a tripod, as some of the shots that were meant to be steady are wobbly and this created an amateur feel so that could have been improved. When editing ‘Music Box’ I used only two programmes to do so. These were: Serif I used this to edit the footage of ‘Music Box’ therefore I used this to cut footage and rearrange it, speed up or slow down footage and to add soundtracks. I found it very easy to use although at times it was very slow. After effects We used after effects for tall the titles; ‘JAGM productions’ at the very beginning , and all of the names ‘Jessica Stares’ Alexandra Helsby’ ‘George Miller’ ‘James Stares’ and ‘Matthew Cumbers’ . All of the titles mirrored the main theme of ‘Music Box’ as on ‘JAGM Productions’ the white ‘wave’ object moving across the screen mirrors the establishing shot of the train coming onto the platform as they are both moving across the screen at the same speed and at the same direction. The effect used for the names is called ‘bullet train’ and reflects a train moving so this also reflect the main theme of ‘Music Box’.
Free Sound and Dilandau. I got all of the sound effects from http://www.freesound.org/ ,which only lets you download small sound effects i.e. All of our sound effects (small files), except the main theme tune which was obtained from http://www.freesound.org/ , which lets you download full songs i.e. bigger files. We used these websites as they were easy to download music from and had all the sound effects we needed. All of these programmes and website are ones of which I have never used before. Through the process of editing ‘Music Box’ and constructing our finished media product I have learnt many new techniques and ways of editing by using after effects and Serif and I have learnt how to download sound affects and use them through Free Sound and Dilandau.
Looking back to your preliminary task, what do you feel that you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product? Here is my preliminary task: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuTb8gQMZfs When we filmed this preliminary task we only had around 20 minutes to prepare and about an hour to edit which isn’t very much but I feel that it went well considering, but, I do think that we could have included more shots within where the preliminary task took place and was filmed, as there wasn't very much room to move about so we could have included different types of shots to make it more interesting than it already is. When I filmed the preliminary task I had only just joined the course so was unaware of techniques to filming, different shots to use to create a different mise en scene which is completely different to when we filmed ‘Music Box’ as I had learned many techniques to create the correct atmosphere, Mise en scene reaction from the audience etc. Looking back I feel that my knowledge of media terms/language, techniques, camera work, editing have all improved greatly. Working as a group I think that I have learnt to be more organised, so that our filming and editing experience would be more fluent and smooth.