The purpose of an opening sequence is to establish the genre of the film but sometimes tointroduce key elements of the narrative to the audience watching the film. An example ofhow key elements are introduced through the opening sequence is Panic Room. PanicRoom written by David Keopp and directed by David Fincher, is a thriller that was createdin 2002. The first shot of the opening sequence is an establishing shot of a city skyline wherewe can see the urban metropolis , immediately we can see text over the clip of film ,showing the audience who has produced the film, where as compared to my openingsequence where in the first shot is of some spinning trees in a bleak atmosphere, theimpression that the mise en scene is giving off is that the trees give a sense ofinterpretation as it is an unknown location that has a presence of mystery that surrounds it.Panic Room’s first shot of the city, the is nothingunusual about this location as it a metropolis skylinewhich is beautiful to look at and it lulls theaudience into a sense of security which will be lateron destroyed through the narrative.In our opening sequence straightaway the audience inthrown into a state of desperation due to the rotatingcamera shots of the forest, paired with the editing to makethe shot look extremely creepy , we are introducing theaudience to a future location within the film that they areunaware of.
The opening of Panic Room consists of establishing shots of a city, the shots show the everydaylives of the city’s inhabitants going on with their everyday lives. From these shots of the openingsequence we are not able to clearly establish the genre of the film. This is where music isimportant because the music from Panic Room is very dramatic and it builds up, this is used tobuild the required atmosphere for a thriller genre. In my opening sequence my group had ahard time deciding what piece of music to use in the opening sequence, ultimately afterreceiving feedback from a focus group, we changed the music to Possibility by Lykke Li andLindsey Stirling and Pentatonixs cover of Radioactive. We found that Lindsey Stirling andPentatonix’s version of Radioactive was the best for our opening scene as it had a greatinstrumental from a violinist, the instrumental builds a certain expectation for the openingsequence and as our opening sequence finished just as the instrumental is reaching the bridge itentrances the audience in to want to watch more. Panic Room’s music is very dramatic asthroughout the opening sequence it builds through the tempo speeding up and the pitchincreasing.As Panic Room’s opening sequenceconcludes there is a voiceover in thebackground, we are still not introduced toany characters but we hear some dialogue,this intrigues the audience to listen to seewhat is going on.In our opening sequence we challenge the conventions thatPanic Room use in their opening sequence as we yet to havespeech in our opening sequence. The closest our openingsequence comes to having dialogue within the sequence is afrustrated sound Sabrina makes at the end of the scene. Wedid not want to include masses of dialogue within our openingsequence as we wanted to keep the aura of mysterysurrounding the narrative as we wanted to play with theconventions of the thriller genre.
Through my opening sequence we wanted to establish character through theuse of props/iconography, setting, costume and even genre.We were able to establish our female lead’s (Sabrina) character through herchoice of two costumes. We had Sabrina wear a red dress for the majority ofthe filming as we wanted to use the colour red to symbolise the dangerSabrina posed to the other characters through her obsession. Her othercostume in opening scene contrasted with her original costume as it wasextremely mundane, the costume is used to lull the audience to believe she isnormal. Compared to Panic Room where there is no characters within theopening sequence we have no understanding or prior knowledge to thecharacter’s characteristics, the only ‘teaser’ we receive is a character talkingtowards the end of the opening sequence.The choice of the red dress for the costume is to playwith the conventions of a thriller as it is suggesting to theaudience subliminally that this character has an aspectof danger around her and the audience should be waryof her. The decision to use the colour red was for thepurpose of tricking the audience as later on in the filmwe will see that the red dress will be a significant in thenarrative.By us using mundane looking clothes in the openingscene we are conveying to the audience that Sabrinais a normal person and at this stage of the narrative thiswill be before she goes under the transition to herpsycho persona.
The directors of Panic Room played with theconventions of an opening by only using establishingshots for the opening sequence, we are only able tosee the setting used within the narrative to establishcharacterisation. Even with this we are only able toestablish the character’s location and home. This isgood and bad because we are left in the dark tospeculate the characters’ but it bad because it isextremely simple and may bore the audience. Theopening sequence does not really convey the codesand conventions of a thriller opening sequencethrough the setting as we only view shots of a city.Whereas if you compare my opening sequence weare able to associate the already identifiedcharacter with the locations filmed. We can seeSabrina in a house, we can associate this setting asSabrina’s house. The trees in the forest we canassociate as a local hangout as our character islocated in the location. The locations we use are verysimplistic as they are everyday locations, in PanicRoom the locations in the opening sequence is toobig and populated.
In my opening sequence we had originally plannedon having the main focus on the props like in Se7en,in Se7en props played a huge part as they helpedcharacterise the main character as they showed hisinsanity.We wanted our opening sequence to be similar to thisso we made sure we incorporated a lot of props thatcould be associated with Sabrina later on in thenarrative. As our main character is female, the propsused in the opening sequence will be more feminine.We chose use more feminine props because we wantto make sure the props used can easily characteriseSabrina. We want the props to show Sabrina’s childishside as the props consisted of teddy bears, china dollsand her scribbling out pictures of Ben and Hannah.
SabrinaWe chose to use Sabrina in our opening sequence asshe fitted the creepy look with her dark long hair. Wechose Sabrina to be our main antagonist due to thefact that her hair and small stature could be likened tothe girl from the grudge and the ring. We thought thatthe audience may react to our choice of antagonistbecause if costumed correctly Sabrina would be ableto pull of the look of the ring girl, she should be able toinstall a sense of fear when she looks like this and thiswill hopefully link in to the codes and conventions of athriller opening sequence. Also as Sabrina is of Pilipinodescent she will be able to look like one of these otherantagonists as they always seem to be from orientaldescent. Because Sabrina is naturally pretty we didnot want her to wear make up as we wantedempathise on her natural beauty also due to the factthat our target audience is of a young age we did notwant our characters to look older than our specifictarget audiences so made sure she stays away frommake up with her costumes. We wanted our audienceto react to Sabrina in two different ways , the onewhere Sabrina is a psychopath and obsessed with Benand normal Sabrina that some of the audience wouldbe able to relate to, the desperation and insecuritiesof being a teenager looking for love. Sabrina’scharacter will be from a suburban background of amiddle class status, but we will not know her actualback story, there will be a sense of mystery thatsurrounds Sabrina’s character.
BenWe decided to use Ben in our opening sequence as Sabrina’s love obsession, Ben’s role in Beautiful Psycho is to be the protagonist who ultimately savesthe day and is Sabrina’s demise. We chose Ben because of the whole guynext door look, from the way he dressed in smart casual trousers and casualhoodies. We thought his look was perfect for the role as he was a normal guywho would attract a woman. His style is a typical style of a teenager of 2013with the smart slacks and hoodie, culturally his style is common throughouttoday’s society, Ben is an 17 year old man who lives in England and is from amiddle class background. Ben is a perfect example of the average male, hehas everything going for him, unlike normal movie heart throbs, Ben will bemore down to earth making it easier for our audience to have more of aconnection to with him, so the audience will be able to make theconnection with him being the protagonist easier.
Hannah’s character is portrayed to be the typical girlnext door that everyone will be able to associate as aprotagonist as she will be a victim to Sabrina’s obsessionwith Ben but unlike other thriller films there will not be ahorrid fate that awaits her. We plan on having Hannahovercome the problems she faces to make the audienceempathise with her character. The audience should reactto Hannah’s character by feeling sorry for her and thesituation she has been stuck in and that her boyfriend isbeing stalked by a psycho. She will typically look like ahigh fashioned young adult relating her to our youngaudience as they will be able to aspire to be dressed likeherself. Hannah is a typical English rose with her colouringand her demeanour, her hairstyle is modern and up todate. All of this helps the audience reflect themselves onHannah’s character as culturally the majority of theaudience will be the same age as Hannah’s character.
As the budget we had to produce and create our film we were unable touse big international production companies, we had to look for aproduction company closer to home. As our film is an independent Britishfilm, we decided to go with a national distributing company instead of alarger scale institution. A film distributor is a company or individualresponsible for the marketing of a film. From the research I had conductedprior on my blog, I decided that the distributing company I was going touse for my opening sequence was Vertigo Films as they are a rising moviedistributing company as it was only created in 2002. I wanted to use thecompany because they are fast, gaining a wider portfolio of films and Iwould like my film to be produced by them as well. I have shown in ouropening sequence the choice to use Vertigo Films by having their logo atthe beginning of our opening sequence so our audience knows our choiceof distributer. We are giving Vertigo Films credit for the production of thefilm by using their logo and promoting their name by doing this.
The target audience to Beautiful Psycho target audience is 18-25 females andmales. We decided to make it for both genders because we believed thatbecause the narrative followed two different characters, one male, and onefemale, it would be appropriate for the film to be targeted for both male andfemale.The BBFC is a crucial part of the film industry in the United Kingdom as it is theclassification system we use to classify the age rating for films and some videogames.We as a group needed to decide what we were going to rate our openingsequence by following the guidelines of the BBFC, after looking over theclassifications of the BBFC we decided that the best age certificate for ouropening sequence was an 18. Without conducting research we assumed thatour rating should be an 15 due to the fact there was some blood and intentionof violence, but from further research we did in fact discover this rating would nobe acceptable for our opening sequence.Here is the official regulations from the BBFC website:
What sort of issues might I find in an 18 film or DVD?18 works are for adults and can contain strong issues such as:very strong violencefrequent strong language (eg ‘f***’) and/or very strong language (eg ‘c***’)strong portrayals of sexual activityscenes of sexual violencestrong horrorstrong blood and gorereal sex (in some circumstances)discriminatory language and behaviourIn our opening sequence we do not plan on using the majority of theseclassifications because what would be the point? If the opening sequence wasto include all of these exciting factors there would be no point in having a film asthe majority of these aspects would be included in the opening sequence. Inreality the opening sequence only contains content that would be acceptablefor the rating of a 12, but because we have to consider that the rating is for theentire film not just our opening sequence, we need o take into account thecodes and conventions of a typical thriller film. Because it is a thriller we wouldbe including some kind of sex scene that would lead to our female lead’sobsession, we would have strong blood and gore due to the fact we have asub-genre of horror, so we plan on having murder and mutilations within ouropening sequence.
How much strong language is there in an 18?There is no limit on the number of uses of strong (eg ‘f***’) or evenvery strong language (eg ‘c***’) which can be passed at 18. Usescould be aggressive, directed, frequent or accompanied by strongviolence.In our opening sequence we do not plan on having any dialogue sothis does not apply to our opening sequence but we do plan onusing a few swear words within the film but only when characters aredistressed because ‘Beautiful Psycho’ is aimed towards a femaleaudience seeing as the narrative is about a woman’s obsession witha man. We do not plan on using extremely strong language withinour film and opening sequence as women are often more refinedwith the elocution and their vocabulary so we do not plan using thislanguage as it may be off putting towards our target audience offemales.
What about discriminatory or offensive terms?There may be racist, homophobic or other discriminatory languageat 18, and the work could explore themes relating to this.Though a work as a whole must not be in breach of any relevantlegislation, it is possible for discriminatory language or themes to bethe main focus of the work, and for main characters to engage indiscriminatory behaviour.We do not plan on using any discriminatory language within our filmor opening sequence like racist or homophobic as we do not faceany of these issues within our narrative, if our genre was a horror ordrama this would be more common as they often face issues likethis.
How much sex and nudity is allowed at 18?There can be strong and detailed portrayals of sex at 18, including fullnudity. There are no constraints on nudity in a non-sexual or educationalcontext. Very strong, crude and explicit sex references are permitted at18. An 18 film or DVD might also contain depictions of real sex if it isjustified by context, as long as the film or DVD is not a sex work.We plan on having a mild sex scene within our movie, nothing to graphicas it would not fit into our narrative. The use of the sex scene in our filmwould probably suit the rating of a 15 as we do not plan on having astrong and crude sex scene. This would be completely irrelevant for ouropening sequence as it would confuse our audience if a sex scenecame on, it does not fit in with the genre. If it was a rom-com it wouldwork better, take Bridesmaids for example, the opening sequence is acomical sex scene that automatically makes the audience feeluncomfortable, this would fit in with codes and conventions of a rom-com.
Can there be strong violence?Yes, at 18 violence can be strong and be portrayed with strong detail. Theremay even be dwelling on the infliction of pain or injury, or scenes of strongsadistic or sexual violence. The strongest gory images are permitted at thiscategory.In our opening sequence we do not plan on having an violence, as we areonly establishing the narrative and usually in a thriller film, directors try toconvey a sense of mystery, often opening sequence do not make sense buthave some sort of iconography that relates to later on in the film. We willprobably have some sadistic violence later on in the narrative but not in ouropening sequence.What about horror works?The strongest horror works are passed at 18, they may contain strong horror,gore or sustained threat and menace which exceeds the boundaries of 15.As our opening sequence/film is a thriller but has a sub-genre of a thriller weare going to include aspect of a horror like the obsession of a woman thatleads to death.
Genre is extremely important when you are making any media product, you have to consider all of thecodes and conventions of the specific genre. My opening sequence manipulates the thriller genre’sconventions to its advantage. Before we received feedback on our opening sequence, our originalplan was for us to scare the audience by building up a thrilling atmosphere through the conventions ofsound, we introduced a thrilling soundtrack that built the atmosphere.In the early stages of production we conducted some research to do the naming of the film productsand also making some of our target audience take part in a quick survey to determine what idea thepreferred.Here is our tally we created to seewhich idea the audience preferredfrom this data I was able to create abar chart.IdeasIdea 1Idea 2Idea 3This piechartshowsthat themostpopularidea fromtheselectionof threewas thethird idea.I believe the third idea was the most popular for our target audience as it contains themost aspects of a thriller genre as a cloud of mystery was present within the idea, weplanned on using lots of shots of props so we would not see the character as much, fittingin with codes and conventions of a thriller as the main focus is on the sound as this is wherethe atmosphere is built from.
After we had created our opening sequence for the first time we receivedfeedback from our teachers we are group decided to conduct a focusgroup and ask them what they thought of our opening sequence? Youcan see this work on my blog here:http://maddisonnicolepage.wordpress.com/2013/04/23/feedback/
From before I underwent this process of coursework, I think unfortunately I didnot have a wide understanding of the technologies that were available tome, however I did have some understanding of construction process as I hadcreated a media trailer for a fantasy film the previous year on Sony Vegas. Ifaced a few problems using this software as we encountered an error quite a fewtimes that ended up closing the program and loosing all the work we had done.We conducted research as the basis on creating an opening sequence, wedecided ultimately that we wanted to create a thriller opening sequence so ourgroup knew to research thrillers and make sure our research consisted heavily onthriller opening sequence. We commenced researched on two famous openingsequences directors (Kyle Cooper, Saul Bass) we also analysed Laurent Kelly’s‘Importance of opening sequences’ and we were able to pick out key points fromhis critical essay. Also we watched two opening sequences and analysed what theopening sequences were like and how the fitted in with the mise en scene andcodes and conventions of a thriller opening sequence.
In our planning stage of the opening sequence we had to scout out areas that wefound were appropriate for our filming locations, keeping in with the mise en scene ofthe thriller genre. We found a creepy trail like forest round the lake. We also decidedto use two of our bedrooms because we did not want to have too complex locationsto distract away from the narrative. We also had to conduct health and safety checkson all our locations to make sure it was completely safe for our actors and so we wereprepared for an emergency. Other aspects of planning included creating astoryboard and a script so we had a guideline to follow when we werefilming, although a lot of our footage was improvised as we found we were able toexperiment more.I learnt how to use some new technology through the planning stage of thecoursework was how to use the blogging website, as although the concept is prettyeasy to understand, we learnt more on how we blogged the post and how we wereable to insert multimedia into the blog posts.
Construction was where I was introduced to new aspects of the editing process as wewere able to experiment with different editing techniques like enhancing the colourred in our clips with use of pure red screen. We were also able to use effects like darkerless contrast that enabled us to edit the clip to make it look like it was darker than itactually was, giving off the effect f it being night time.Some problems we faced with using Sony Vegas was that if you had too many clipsbeing uploaded at one time Vegas would crash and delete all of your work. I foundthat the solution to this was to just add the clips we needed and delete the ones wedidnt need.The addition of music was a little tricky because we didnt want the music to just endand not make sense, so with the new tracks we added we edited it to make sure that itended at the end of the bridge in the song and then made sure that the second trackfaded in before the first track had ended, making the music flow seamlessly. We onlyused diegetic sound for our sound effects in our opening sequence and this consistedof Sabrina typing on a laptop, we used the diegetic sound because it synced with themovements Sabrina was doing.We also added into the opening sequence portals transitions for the titles, we chose touse portals because the colour matched our theme of red and also it was a quirky wayof breaking up the scenes.
Evaluating my opening sequenceWe gathered a focus group and showed them our openingsequence and we were able to receive a wide range of feedback sowe could improve our opening sequence. I have previously statedthe feedback we received in question 5.Also we received some feedback off YouTube after uploading thevideo, it was good to be able to receive feedback off the web asthey would not be biased towards our work.Receiving the feedbackwas good as we wereexperimenting with wellknown technology onYouTube and uploadingour constructed work ontothe internet, we wereexposing ourselves topotentially meanfeedback, but we would oftook this criticism to heartdue to the fact everyone isentitled to their opinion .
When we first started this piece of coursework and we filmed our preliminarytask I was quite wary what was up ahead because some of the things we didat the time I was unsure about some of the camera angles like the 180 degreerule. But after completing the task it made filming our actual openingsequence a lot more easier. From the preliminary task I was able to get backinto the filming process as I had got a little rusty as I hadnt filmed in ages. Alsowhere we filmed the lighting was perfect as it was day time and there wasartificial lights. The weaknesses of the preliminary task was that we hadcontinuity errors like filming the same scene in two completely differentlocations . The strengths of the preliminary task was that from the use of thetripod it kept the camera shots nice and steady.
From our preliminary task we were able to establish as a group what not todo and what to do whilst filming our opening sequence. We learnt that forour opening sequence which was thriller that we should film the majority ofthe film clips free hand to give the films a more creepy effect. We wanted tofilm at night for the majority of the clips but we faced a dilemma of trying toorganise all of our crew and actors together to film. Also we faced theproblem that our equipment was not like the equipment many otherdirectors used, that costs more than a thousand pounds. We were using aSony handheld camcorder. We had to factor in the disadvantage that ourclips were not going to be of the same standard of Steven Spielberg’s, butwe made do with what equipment we had and we were able to , in postproduction, add effects to edit the film clips we had look like it was shot anight. When it had in fact been shot in the middle of the day.
The music that we used in our opening sequence was always a huge issue withinour group due to the fact that we all had different tastes and different ideas towhat we should have in our opening sequence. We had to learn as a group tomake compromises on decision making we had to make sure that we alwayswent for the majority vote as this was the fairest way for decision making. Overallwe had five different choices for music but after receiving feedback we stuck totwo and we are very happy now with our decision. I think the majority decisionmaking helped us with our progression as we were able to make sure everyone’sopinions were heard and we all had input.
Although making the opening sequence was extremely fun we did have quite afew hardships whilst in the planning and construction process. The issue was, howwere we going to create a two minute opening sequence for a narrative thatwas meant to span over a period 90 minutes? In our group we had to make surethat we had clearly thought about the rough outline of the narrative orotherwise we would be like headless chickens. If we compare my openingsequence to my preliminary task, you are able to see the difference from thepreliminary that is completely improvised on the spot and to my openingsequence which has a whole narrative and has to entice the audience in towatching the rest of the film from the opening sequence. As I mentioned earlierthe opening sequence is sometimes used to establish the genre of the film butalso to show the audience key events that take place in the narrative.These parts of myopeningsequence , even ifthey do not looklike it, areimportant parts ofthe narrative. Theytell the story ofwhat is to comelater on in thenarrative, we hadto think aheadwhilst planningthese scenes sowe knew why thescenes would beimportant later on.Our preliminary taskhad no meaningapart from getting usused to filming withthe cameras, as youcan see from thescreenshots that theactors are veryhesitant to what theyneeded to say or do.This is where ouropening sequencehad more strengthsthan the preliminary .