Kate GourlayQuestion 1) in what way does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? 1) Evaluate the codes and conventions of your how you executed your chosen genre Evaluate how you used, developed or challenged the genre convention by evaluating: construction of narrative use of setting construction of character use of costume/props
When researching the construction of narrative within the ‘Drama’ genre, wefound that many films showed similar plots and structures within theirnarrative. The theme of illness is commonly explored within plots of thisgenre, for example; films such as ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ and ‘Beaches’ all presentterminal disorders. We wanted our trailer to therefore use this theme withinour narrative, in order for our trailer to have the same success of gaining aninterested audience like other films within this specific genre. We believed thatby using this theme within our narrative, would gain a wider audience, asillness is a theme many ages can relate to. However, we found that throughresearching real media products, illnesses displayed in films are verylimited, mainly focusing on terminal cancer. Even though films such as‘Stepmom’ which use this illness, are very successful, we decided to developthis specific theme when constructing our narrative, to a less publicized yetequally as serious illness; Huntington’s disease. Therefore, we used commonthemes presented in typical drama’s, yet developed this idea further bychallenging the idea of using cancer, by replacing this illness with a less knownone.
When watching real media products within the Dramatic genre, as agroup we noticed that films including illness are commonly focusedupon the disease itself, people to whom it may effect, and basedwithin a domestic setting. Films such as ‘My Sisters Keeper’ and‘Stepmom’ are both based in a domestic setting, minimizing the rangeof other plots which could be related to the film. Therefore, wewanted to challenge this, having our chosen illness in combinationwith other elements of plots, such as a love interest which developsinto a relationship. Therefore collaborating the Dramatic genre withthe Romantic. We challenged the idea of having our trailer based in adomestic setting, commonly used in the Dramatic genre, by havingour entire trailer set outside, with the couple; Lillian and Oliver, sight-seeing and spending time with each other in the city of London. Wethought that by having it outside could represent Lillian’s character asan outgoing, free-spirit in regards to the attitude she has towards herillness. Also, we did not want to our trailer to be set in a domesticsetting, as unlike real media products within this genre, we did notwant our characters to be set within a family environment. In order topay specific focus on the relationship, and the central charactersopposed to family members.
Within the Dramatic genre, the characters that are usually inflicted with pain andillness tend to be women. We discovered this when researching real media productssuch as ‘My life without me’. When constructing our characters in relation to ourstoryline, we wanted to conform to this ideology apparent in the Dramatic genre, byhaving our protagonist female. When evaluating our trailer, with audiencefeedback, the entirety of our audience was female. We believe that by constructingour character as female, allowed our female audience to align themselves with thischaracter. However, we found through real media products within this genre thatthe age ranges of the character that is overcome with illness are limited. Films suchas ‘Stepmom’ and ‘Beaches’ explore the older age range, being between 40-50.Opposed to films such as ‘My sister’s keeper’ whereby the protagonist is of a muchyounger age, being under 15 years of age. When researching trailers, the only agerange which differed from these was the protagonist in ‘My life being without me’being 30. To ensure our trailer was individual and unlike other real media productswithin this genre, we challenged this particular age conformity, by having ourcentral character, Lillian, being 19. When evaluating the character, we found that shewas easier to relate to for our younger audience due her age. By the end of thetrailers we researched within this genre, each trailer allowed the audience to realizesomething negative shall occur, but left the audience with optimism. Yet, throughour narrative not being from our protagonist’s point of view, but from Oliver’s, withfinal lines “then she just… disappeared’ allowed us to challenge this, communicatingto the audience that this story shall not have a ‘happy ending’.
The use of costumes and props, are used to portray the character inhands personality, attitude and message throughout a film. Typically, thecharacter that is overcome with an illness or is going through somethingnegative within a Dramatic film is dressed in pale colours to resembletheir innocence and vulnerability. We wanted to use this idea that thecostumes and props would represent our character; however we wantedto develop this further by challenging the stereotypical colours and propsrelated to this character. We did not want to represent our character astypically innocence and vulnerable, we wanted to represent Lillian as ayoung, normal teenage girl. Props including a pack of cigarettes andmobile phone, to symbolize her normality, with elements of her rebel-style, carefree attitude towards life. Unlike real media products, wherebythe central characters are dressed in pale colours, we challenged this anddressed Lillian in a combination of dark colours at some points in thetrailer, then contrasting to pink’s and purples. We believe that thisrepresented her femininity, but also portrayed the idea that she is notvulnerable and she shall not let her illness override her life.
Kate GourlayQuestion 1) in what way does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? 2) Evaluate how you used, develop or challenged the conventions of trailers from this specific genre use of titles use of institutional information structure of trailer use of font types use of sound use of transitions editing
When constructing our titles, we did not wantthe names of our actors to appear or bededicated in a whole screen within our trailer.This is commonly done in real media products,in order to promote the film with famousactors to gain a wider audience. However, dueto the actors in our film not being of thisstatus, we thought that by doing this would beirrelevant and would be more effective if thetitles were kept to a minimal, with more timespent on the action of the trailer itself.Therefore we challenged this convention anddecided to not include Jessica and Josh’snames at all within the trailer. The titles we didinclude were the film title; “The Big ‘H’”, theending of the film stating, ‘coming soon’ anddate of release. We thought that by notoverloading the trailer with titles like othertrailers within this specific genre, such as ‘Mylife without me’ having a large range of titles,would make the narrative of our voice overmore effective and allow the audience to payfurther attention to the action instead ofreading constantly throughout.
An important element we found in all of our researched film trailers within bothdramatic and romantic genres was the inclusion of institutions and companies. Webelieve this allows the trailer look professional and reassure to the audience thatthe film they are witnessing or are possibly witnessing shall be good, as certainnames are connected to it. Therefore, we used this idea from real media productsand ensured we included institutions, dedicated separately on different screens, tohave the same impact on our audience. However, when looking at the most populartrailers within our chosen narrative, such as Hollywood blockbusters ‘My SistersKeeper’ we noticed that institutions were world-wide, acknowledged companies.When noticing this, we had to remember that our chosen audience was not to beaimed at a world-wide range of people. Contrastingly, we wanted our film to bebased in Britain as a local yet successful piece of material, represented through theactors being both British and the scenes and locations being within Central London.Therefore, we decided to develop this idea of using institutions in relation to ourtrailer’s specific audience, by including companies such as ‘Film4’ to represent thefilm as a local, indie-type piece. By including these institutions worked particularlywell when constructing our own independent magazine ‘WATCH’, a magazine wecreated being based in London for local films. The ‘Film4’ in particular worked incombination perfectly with other companies such as the ‘BFI’ when both werewritten on the front of our magazine.
As a group, we wanted to ensure that our final product was as professional as wecould possibly make it. Therefore, we used many elements from real media productswithin our own trailer. One of which, was to ensure that the pace of the trailer wasfast and according to the beat and pace of the music layered on top of our image. Wefound that through researching real media products within the Dramatic genre, thepivot in narrative is always slightly shown within the trailer; therefore music is used todemonstrate this. A trailer in particular within this genre that used sound editing torepresent the mood of the trailer and the change in narrative, was ‘My life withoutme’. Thus, we wanted to use this idea and conform to the conventions shown withintrailers of this genre in regards to sound editing and music. Such as during theopening of our trailer, we had an upbeat song to represent the happiness andcarefree attitude of the couple on screen. Within this, we edited the images inaccordance to this music, having a range of different shots of different scenes andlocations. We thought that through this it could identify the happy atmosphere of thecouple, with the fast pace editing to distinguish their youth yet also to build up aclimax for a turn of events. We found that this build up was evident in many realmedia products, whereby the audience are led to believe one situation such as ahappy condition, to merely be transformed into the exact opposite.
Due to this being effective in other trailers we saw, we decided to use this in ourown and have this same shift in narrative. In order to do this, we used the ideafrom real media products, to change the atmosphere by transforming the pace inedit and the feel of the trailer by the music layered on top. Therefore, we layereda softer, slower song on top of the previous upbeat happy song which allowedthe prior song to transfer into the next. This allowed our change in mood to besuccessful. Due to the lack of beats in our second song in comparison to thefirst, we were able to decrease the pace of the second half of our trailer, in orderfor the audience to distinguish the shift in narrative and reflect Lillian’s illness.Therefore, giving the audience an insight into the dilemmas our couple shallface, and the hardships their relationship shall entail due to this issue.
When it comes to typography within the Dramatic genre, we noticed through realmedia products use unusual fonts, in order to gain the fragmented storyline. Anexample of this is within the film trailer, ‘My life without me’; the titles are alldisplayed within the same typography, being in a handwritten style, uneven in sizingand lettering in a pale colour. We believe that this was due to the narrative being incombination of footage of her and the voice over being a dairy like stylemonologue, guiding the audience through her journey. Through the handwritingtypography displays the immediate relationship the audience shall have with thisparticular character as it is from her perspective. Yet we wanted to challenge thisidea, and have our narrative from another perspective in our trailer, shown throughthe voice over from her boyfriend; Oliver. Due to this, and the lack of immediateconnection the audience will have with Lillian within the trailer, we did not want touse this personal typography. Instead we had a simple ‘Century Gothic’ fontthroughout, being an average size, to represent this isolation from the protagonist’sfeelings in the trailer. The use of the colour white in the typography is commonwithin the dramatic genre, to represent the innocence of people when it comes toillness’s to represent that it can affect anyone, and we very rarely have much controlof the circumstances it shall end in. This is shown particularly in ‘My life withoutme’, and was successful in portraying this message; therefore we conformed to thiscode and convention in film trailers of this genre, and ensured our typography wasalso in pure white.