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Thriller Codes and Conventions Notes.

AS Media Studies Thriller Codes and Conventions Notes.

Thriller Codes and Conventions Notes.

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EDITING
Fast editing – is used to create interest in the scene and
keep the audience hooked in, often by using close cutting
editing to quickly jump from scene to scene
Cross cutting – most powerful form of cinema, can edit
back and forth between characters to build up tension.
Flashbacks – allow us to gain an insight on how
characters feel about a certain event that is occurring.
Create a feeling of space and disorientation
CAMERA SHOTS/ANGLES/MOVEMENT
Fast editing – is used to create interest in the scene and
keep the audience hooked in, often by using close cutting
editing to quickly jump from scene to scene
Cross cutting – most powerful form of cinema, can edit
back and forth between characters to build up tension.
Flashbacks – allow us to gain an insight on how
characters feel about a certain event that is occurring.
Create a feeling of space and disorientation
Tracking and pan shots – often used in the beginning of
films, used to create excitement and hook the audience in
during scenes with movement
Tracking and Pan shots: They are used in the beginning
of thriller films. It does this to keep the interest on a
particular point or
POV: In this instance it allows us to see through eyes of
the killer, which gives us sense of suspense, as you are
helpless to what is going to happen. It gives the audience
a clear view of Clarisse reactions and helpless
Establishing shots: in terms of camera work the
establishing shot is integral: not only does it give the
audience an idea of the setting of the film, but it can be
used to establish the tone of the entire film. The
establishing shot is a way of easing the audience into the
other world.
Close up: A head and shoulders shot often used to show
expressions/emotions of a character.
Birds eye view: Birds eye view/aerial shots are can be
used for a few different reasons. One could be to
establish where the characters are. Another reason could
be to show how small the characters are giving the idea
of weakness. This is important in thriller films as it is
often used to show when a character is weak or losing.
SOUND
Sound refers to everything we hear in a movie – words,
sound effects, and music.
Sound is used in film to heighten a mood, provide us
with information
-Ambient
-Score – the musical comment, which shows how, the
characters are feeling
-Selective
-Synchronous
-Pleonastic
-Silence
THEMES & MOTIFS
-A main subject that is being discussed in a movie
-A motif backs up the themes
A conspiracy is defined as the act of two or more persons
called conspirators, working secretly to obtain some
goal, usually
SYMBOLIC CODES (including enigma and binary
opposites)
-Including enigma and binary opposites, are objects and
ideas that have a deeper meaning linked to thriller on the
surface they may seem superficial but there are a range
of underlying themes an ideas linked to thriller films.
Mystery:
-Symbols: keys, looking glasses, mazes
-Example: ‘taken’ searching for his daughter
Death
-Symbols: The colour red, guns, knives
-Examples: ‘Prestige’ death scenes via drowning
Chasing scenes
-Symbols: Busy streets, fast cars, and running shoe shots
-Examples: ‘The Bourne ultimatum’ Jason Bourne being
chased
-Symbolic codes are what make thrillers, thrillers. They
are the stereotype
IDEOLOGY
-Ideology is the underlying messages that pin the film
down. It runs along the main plot line, used to introduce
deeper meaning.
-Fairness, anarchy, humanity, hiding behind a façade,
social justice and gender representation.
-Misogyny – when males think they are superior to
women, balance of power between men and women.
-Fem Fatal – women that cause destruction and problems
for men,
-Moral ambiguity – surrounding protagonist, morality is
a grey area rather than black and white
NARRATIVE
Inciting Incident:
-Act 1 climax: Usually used to send the plot into a new
direction
-Midpoint: Major shift in dynamic of the story, the
character has a major success, devastating failure of a
powerful revelation
-Act 2 Part 2: Things get serious. The protagonist faces
conflict internally and externally.
-Climax: Big finale, the protagonist and antagonist face
each other. Tension and conflict are at their highest
-Resolution: Loose ends are tied up; the audience has a
sigh of relief
-Memento: neo-noir-psychological thriller film, both
linear and non-linear, two different sequences
-Black and white scenes: Chronological, linear narrative,
flashbacks on his job before he lost his memory
CHARACTERS REPRESENTATION
-Protagonist: the good guy (heroic, intelligent, wanting to
solve problem), usually at a disadvantage to the
antagonist, faces antagonist and defeats them, completely
different person at the end in comparison to how they are
presented at beginning.
-Antagonist: could be some sort of criminal, can struggle
with personality disorder, at first can appear as though
they have nothing to lose, usually presented as initially
ahead of the protagonist, for majority of the film until the
end can be presented as someone of high status with
power, escaped cons, can be involved in twisted minds,
its common for them to not have motive (may not be a
personal issue)
-Victims: realistic person, your average citizen, nothing
that distinguishes them in particular, young woman (can
be victim of rape and violent psychopaths, usually older
men), people who are close to the protagonist, antagonist
LIGHTING
-Can be used to set different moods e.g. foreshadow in
films – red light connotes danger/evil
-Lighting is also used to guide the audience’s attention to
a specific point
-The lighting in films in closely linked to the narrative in
films
-Inconsistent light represents mystery, which is a strong
theme in the thriller genre
SETTING & MISE-EN-SCENE
-The setting in a film includes, location, time and where
everything takes place and sets the mood for the story
-The setting is important in establishing the genre and
themes of the film. In thriller the setting can set a
platform for the themes and conventions of the film
-Divergent is an example where the film is set in a
futuristic dystopian universe this means the setting has to
provide the audience with indicators of what I will be
found in the film
-Mise en scene and setting are the same convention and
both are the elements of background that are
incorporated in film and theatre to express places/themes
to the narrative of the film
-The dark knight rises has a strong theme of darkness,
which is incorporated in the lighting, plot and mise en
scene. Every element of this film is dark which shows
very obvious setting conventions, which well represent
the thriller genre
MOOD & TONE
-Mood is the emotional tone of the film – how the
director makes the audience feel
-Tone is the atmosphere of the film that implied is by the
director usually through thriller codes
-Mood in the thriller genre can be seen through the low
key lighting of many scenes as well as camera angles and
editing techniques like parallel editing and jump cats,
which gives the audience a suspenseful and ominous
feeling. This feeling, or mood is often intensified by the
diegetic and non-diegetic as well as other sound elements
playing throughout the films in this genre
-Films in this genre use tone as an element to convey
hidden meaning, and often films within the thriller genre
often use the ‘unknown’ as an underlying theme which
directors convey is the sum of all fears for us as humans.
Similarly, lighting and sound is a primary technique to
convey the tone as well as the mise-en-scene of eerie and
unwelcoming places.
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Thriller Codes and Conventions Notes.

  • 1. EDITING Fast editing – is used to create interest in the scene and keep the audience hooked in, often by using close cutting editing to quickly jump from scene to scene Cross cutting – most powerful form of cinema, can edit back and forth between characters to build up tension. Flashbacks – allow us to gain an insight on how characters feel about a certain event that is occurring. Create a feeling of space and disorientation CAMERA SHOTS/ANGLES/MOVEMENT Fast editing – is used to create interest in the scene and keep the audience hooked in, often by using close cutting editing to quickly jump from scene to scene Cross cutting – most powerful form of cinema, can edit back and forth between characters to build up tension. Flashbacks – allow us to gain an insight on how characters feel about a certain event that is occurring. Create a feeling of space and disorientation Tracking and pan shots – often used in the beginning of films, used to create excitement and hook the audience in during scenes with movement Tracking and Pan shots: They are used in the beginning of thriller films. It does this to keep the interest on a particular point or POV: In this instance it allows us to see through eyes of the killer, which gives us sense of suspense, as you are helpless to what is going to happen. It gives the audience a clear view of Clarisse reactions and helpless Establishing shots: in terms of camera work the establishing shot is integral: not only does it give the audience an idea of the setting of the film, but it can be used to establish the tone of the entire film. The
  • 2. establishing shot is a way of easing the audience into the other world. Close up: A head and shoulders shot often used to show expressions/emotions of a character. Birds eye view: Birds eye view/aerial shots are can be used for a few different reasons. One could be to establish where the characters are. Another reason could be to show how small the characters are giving the idea of weakness. This is important in thriller films as it is often used to show when a character is weak or losing. SOUND Sound refers to everything we hear in a movie – words, sound effects, and music. Sound is used in film to heighten a mood, provide us with information -Ambient -Score – the musical comment, which shows how, the characters are feeling -Selective -Synchronous -Pleonastic -Silence THEMES & MOTIFS -A main subject that is being discussed in a movie -A motif backs up the themes A conspiracy is defined as the act of two or more persons called conspirators, working secretly to obtain some goal, usually
  • 3. SYMBOLIC CODES (including enigma and binary opposites) -Including enigma and binary opposites, are objects and ideas that have a deeper meaning linked to thriller on the surface they may seem superficial but there are a range of underlying themes an ideas linked to thriller films. Mystery: -Symbols: keys, looking glasses, mazes -Example: ‘taken’ searching for his daughter Death -Symbols: The colour red, guns, knives -Examples: ‘Prestige’ death scenes via drowning Chasing scenes -Symbols: Busy streets, fast cars, and running shoe shots -Examples: ‘The Bourne ultimatum’ Jason Bourne being chased -Symbolic codes are what make thrillers, thrillers. They are the stereotype IDEOLOGY -Ideology is the underlying messages that pin the film down. It runs along the main plot line, used to introduce deeper meaning. -Fairness, anarchy, humanity, hiding behind a façade, social justice and gender representation. -Misogyny – when males think they are superior to women, balance of power between men and women. -Fem Fatal – women that cause destruction and problems for men, -Moral ambiguity – surrounding protagonist, morality is a grey area rather than black and white
  • 4. NARRATIVE Inciting Incident: -Act 1 climax: Usually used to send the plot into a new direction -Midpoint: Major shift in dynamic of the story, the character has a major success, devastating failure of a powerful revelation -Act 2 Part 2: Things get serious. The protagonist faces conflict internally and externally. -Climax: Big finale, the protagonist and antagonist face each other. Tension and conflict are at their highest -Resolution: Loose ends are tied up; the audience has a sigh of relief -Memento: neo-noir-psychological thriller film, both linear and non-linear, two different sequences -Black and white scenes: Chronological, linear narrative, flashbacks on his job before he lost his memory CHARACTERS REPRESENTATION -Protagonist: the good guy (heroic, intelligent, wanting to solve problem), usually at a disadvantage to the antagonist, faces antagonist and defeats them, completely different person at the end in comparison to how they are presented at beginning. -Antagonist: could be some sort of criminal, can struggle with personality disorder, at first can appear as though they have nothing to lose, usually presented as initially ahead of the protagonist, for majority of the film until the end can be presented as someone of high status with power, escaped cons, can be involved in twisted minds, its common for them to not have motive (may not be a personal issue) -Victims: realistic person, your average citizen, nothing
  • 5. that distinguishes them in particular, young woman (can be victim of rape and violent psychopaths, usually older men), people who are close to the protagonist, antagonist LIGHTING -Can be used to set different moods e.g. foreshadow in films – red light connotes danger/evil -Lighting is also used to guide the audience’s attention to a specific point -The lighting in films in closely linked to the narrative in films -Inconsistent light represents mystery, which is a strong theme in the thriller genre SETTING & MISE-EN-SCENE -The setting in a film includes, location, time and where everything takes place and sets the mood for the story -The setting is important in establishing the genre and themes of the film. In thriller the setting can set a platform for the themes and conventions of the film -Divergent is an example where the film is set in a futuristic dystopian universe this means the setting has to provide the audience with indicators of what I will be found in the film -Mise en scene and setting are the same convention and both are the elements of background that are incorporated in film and theatre to express places/themes to the narrative of the film -The dark knight rises has a strong theme of darkness, which is incorporated in the lighting, plot and mise en scene. Every element of this film is dark which shows very obvious setting conventions, which well represent the thriller genre
  • 6. MOOD & TONE -Mood is the emotional tone of the film – how the director makes the audience feel -Tone is the atmosphere of the film that implied is by the director usually through thriller codes -Mood in the thriller genre can be seen through the low key lighting of many scenes as well as camera angles and editing techniques like parallel editing and jump cats, which gives the audience a suspenseful and ominous feeling. This feeling, or mood is often intensified by the diegetic and non-diegetic as well as other sound elements playing throughout the films in this genre -Films in this genre use tone as an element to convey hidden meaning, and often films within the thriller genre often use the ‘unknown’ as an underlying theme which directors convey is the sum of all fears for us as humans. Similarly, lighting and sound is a primary technique to convey the tone as well as the mise-en-scene of eerie and unwelcoming places.