In what ways does your mediaproduct use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
Before we created our media product, we researched theoverall horror genre, by watching a number of horror filmtrailers, in order to help us understand what typicalconventions they used to create an effective trailer. Also bylooking at a variety of different horror film trailers it gave usideas of what we wanted to include in our media product, forexample in the trailers we analysed, ‘30 Days of Night’ and‘Jennifer’s Body’ there was a victim, screaming, blood, tensemusic overlay and quick shots.
In addition to watching ‘30 Days of Night’ and ‘Jennifer’s Body’,we also looked at ‘Let me in’, ‘Orphan’ and ‘The Others’. We didthis as they all have the key similarity of featuring children,which was one of our main ideas, as we felt that children or achild definitely give the film a creepy element. After watching‘Let me in’, ‘Orphan’ and ‘The Others’, we both were in completeagreement that we wanted a child to feature in our film as thepure and innocent connotations, which are associated withthem work so well in a horror film as nobody suspects them.However after brainstorming an idea we felt that the child in thefilm did not necessarily have to play the antagonist, which inmany films that feature demonic children are. Therefore wedecided to have the little girl in our trailer to be the protagonistand be a warning to the victim.
One of the main conventions we followed was tohave an innocent young girl feature. In all filmsthere is a victim and we saw in many of the filmswe analysed that a common victim was a younggirl, this is because this type of character isnormally naïve, vulnerable and powerless, whichmakes her easy prey for the antagonist.
Another extremely important element that goes in to creating an effecting horror filmtrailer is lighting, we saw this in both ‘30 Days of Night’ and ‘Jennifer’s Body’, howeverit was done very differently in both. Since in ‘30 Days of Night’ the natural lighting wasdark throughout as it was set at night and only in key scenes to show the vampirescoming did they have the lighting change, whereas in ‘Jennifer’s Body’ the lighting wasconstantly changing and as the trailer went on the lighting seemed to darken.Therefore taking all these lighting techniques on we decided to use various lightingthroughout, for example the trailer starts off in daylight, however although it isdaylight it has a slight tint of darkness and is light is not bright instead is a little gloomyAlso when the audience are first introduced to the little girl at the top of the stairs thelighting here is very significant. Since the lighting is much darker at the top of the stairswhere she is standing, which means that the audience can only just about make outthat there is something or someone there, creating mystery for the rest of the film andtrailer.
We kept to conventions when it came to some of the camera shots we used,one being our opening shot which was of the signpost saying ‘Churchfield’we decided to use an establishing shot as in many of the trailers they openedwith a shot of the place where the film was going to be set, also we neededto include the sign as it was a crucial link to what happens further on in thetrailer and will help the audience understand what the film will be about.
Another type of shot we used was a jump scare as this issomething which is used in the majority of horror film trailers,we created our jump scare by having quite a fast pace scenewith the character Elizabeth running and having footsteps ofmystery man shown, then the shot goes very still and the musicoverlay stops. This relaxes the audience as they will thinknothing else is going to happen it is only after the title of thefilm is shown ‘The Message’ a close up of Elizabeth screamingappears on the screen, which should scare the audience andmake the want to go and see the film.
The pace of the trailer is another thing that is crucial to get right,as a good trailer should keep the audience on the edge of theirseat and wanting more. I would say started of slow and fastenedup as it when on and the drama heightened, for example one ofthe key scenes where the female character Elizabeth sees the littlegirl for the first time is a very quick scene we decided to increasethe speed in the editing process of when Elizabeth puts her headdown and then up again, in order to create the drama andconfusion of what was there. In addition to this in this scene a lowangle is use this will make the audience question whether the littlegirl is the protagonist or antagonist, since it is convention in horrorfilms that the person with more authority and who has the higherangle is the antagonist.
As I previously mentioned the little girl thatfeatures in the trailer is not the antagonist,however I think that it may remain unclear tothe audience whether or not she is theantagonist or the protagonist, which I wouldsay is something quite unconventional since inthe majority of horror films firstly asupernatural or spirit would normally be theantagonist. Secondly in most trailers we feltthat it is always made clear who plays thevictim and villain, therefore we have createdan enigma by not making the clear.