In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? Thriller conventions: Protagonist / antagonist, Mystery / suspense, Representation of state of mind, Themes – death, character identity, mind set, Changes in audience loyalty
The media product our group created incorporated and developed thriller conventions by using a protagonist and an antagonist. We developed the mystery and suspense in our media product by not showing the antagonist's face and by showing a lot of the rest of their body, but hiding the face, this was done by showing the character's chest and downwards, the back of their head or by having the character covering their own face with their hands. This was an opposite to the protagonist who was a detective and we showed his face.We used close up shots to convey mystery, because we did not show the antagonist's face, but we also used close ups to emphasise and make the audience aware of what the antagonist was doing Our thriller also investigated a person's mind set, this was displayed by the use of props, how the antagonist acted and by cutting bits from the film so that the camera work looked almost jumpy in some parts. Discuss the ways in which your thriller incorporates generic conventions
How does your thriller develop or challenge these conventions? Our thriller developed the aspect of death by almost making it borderline on horror, we did this by showing pictures of women who had been beaten or hurt. We didn't really do anything to challenge the conventions of thrillers, we just developed and made use of previous conventions. We didn't investigate the convention of audience loyalty, we thought that it would be better if the audience could tell the difference between antagonist and the protagonist, whilst not showing who the antagonist, so that during the film the audience would still be able to suspect anybody that they thought looked like the antagonist in the opening credits.
Does the use of conventions indicate what sub-genre or hybrid genre your thriller is? <ul><ul><li>The use of the pictures of beaten women and the use of the red lighting can be seen as something from the horror genre, this is because the red can represent blood. Making the antagonist look mentally ill shows that there is a theme of psychological thrillers, and having a detective in our film could make the film part crime thriller , so our horror is almost a hybrid of multiple genres, our film can therefore be classed as a psychological/horror/crime thriller. </li></ul></ul>
Does your use of conventions indicate what other thrillers have influenced your work? <ul><ul><li>Our media product was heavily influenced by the film Se7en (Seven), the parts of the opening credits that influenced us were: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>music,
The antagonist has religion related motives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Watcher (2000) influenced our product because the antagonist in the film stalks his victims and takes photographs of them before killing them, this influenced our product because of the use of photography and stalking victims. </li></ul></ul>
What are the social groups represented? Gender is represented by having male characters in dominant roles, the protagonist is male and the antagonist is male, whilst all of the victims are female and so they are represented as weaker, this is a classic representation or stereotype in thriller films, because it draws upon times where women were seen as being in need of saving (damsel in distress), whilst men were portrayed as being strong and having to save the women. Our media product represented a mentally ill character, by mentally ill we mean that the character is shown as being a psychopath, we represented this when the character holds his head in his hands whilst the camera circles him. The character is also shown as having many photographs hanging up in his room, so this shows that he has some skills as a photographer. Our product also represented a strong male character, as the detective, who is there to catch the antagonist, we showed him smoking because we thought of that as a stereotype of a classic detective, and the use of a trenchcoat is a common stereotype for detectives.
What kind of media institution might distribute your media product? I believe that with a bigger budget, better equipment and better actors then this film could be a product of a Hollywood studio, this is because there are films that have similar story themes and so a film company may see it as a safe film to produce, it may not be a blockbuster though, but I think that it would do well in cinemas and being sold on DVDs. One problem may be that there were a lot of famous thriller films from the 1990's, whilst thriller films in the 2000s stick more to being made up of only 2 genres which are usually horror thrillers or police thrillers (where corruption is a major theme), whilst our product seems to be more like a thriller film from the 90s instead of the 2000s. There is a possibility that the film could be released with novelizations or possibly a sequel or even a prequel, this is because a sequel or prequel could investigate the detective's life or even look at copycat antagonist's who are basing themselves around the original antagonist, although this would probably work better if the film was more of a spoof. The visual style of our product seems more like a thriller film from the 1990s, this may be because our product is heavily influenced by Se7en (1995), but I like this style, because I think it's almost bringing back thriller films with more depth to them, and have more of a story to them and more mystery, instead of the plot being fully know from the beginning, like most newer thriller films. Also we did not show any modern technology (phones, digital cameras, etc.) in our shots, this gives a more stylistic approach in our film as we did not want to base our film around a need for technology.
Who would be the audience for your media product? We aimed our product for an audience in the range of 25 – 35 years of age, this is because we thought that the product would be more attractive because of the psychological themes and because the antagonist is so disturbed and how he mutilates his victims; although the mutilation is not seen I feel like our product could hint at this quite well, whilst not making the audience to disgusted. Our product would be good for fans of Se7en, this is because of our heavy influence from the film, which is aimed at an older audience.
Music Our use of music was influenced by the use of a remix of the Nine Inch Nails song – Closer. In our media product we used the song Vessel by Nine Inch Nails, from the the album “Year Zero”. I downloaded a multitrack version of the song off of the Nine Inch Nails website ( http://remix.nin.com/ ) and then I edited the song using Garageband on the Mac to remove the vocal track, I did this because vocals would take away from the effect of the rest of the song. The next 2 slides show the changes made to the song in Garageband.
Here is the original version of “Vessel” by Nine Inch Nails
Here is the multitrack after editing, the lead vocal track has been deleted, whilst the background vocals are muted.
How did you attract/address your audience? We attracted our audience by using psychology, and by having a lot of mystery in our product, not enough to confuse them, but enough to leave them wanting to see the film to find out what happens in the end. The use of males in lead roles and as strong characters in the product would appeal to males from the age range of 18 – 25, the protagonist would be admired because the male audience would think “this guy is cool, I want to be like him”, and so there would be a want to relate to this character.
Use of camera work The camera we used was a Panasonic NV-GS60 camcorder, it was fairly good camera, but there were some problems we found with it. Problems with the camcorder: Does not pick up low levels of light very well, instead it just sees darkness, Not very good picture quality, Battery life is quite small. Picture obtained from: http://www.bidmadness.com.au/uploaded/others/Cameras/PanasonicNVGS60_2.jpg Good points about the camcorder: Small and light, so it doesn't get in the way, Easy to use, previous use is not necessary, Has it's own light.
What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product? I have learnt that camera work can be hard to master, and it can be hard to get certain shots if there are other objects that may get in the way. Nathan did really well with holding the camera so that there was not much shaking, if any. I learnt how to use Garageband on the Apple Macs, it is not that hard a program to use, but if you have no previous knowledge of how to use it then it can be quite tedious to work out what you can do with it, as I found out. We also learnt how to use the editing software “Final Cut Express” for when we wanted to edit our product, it is a fairly simple piece of software to use, but there can be some times when it won't do what you want it to do. A good thing though is that there are tutorial videos on the internet that teach you how to do what you want with the software.
Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel that you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product. I feel that we have accomplished a lot in a short time since we first started trying to make a short video, we have learnt how to edit out pieces and how to add an audio track to accompany the video. We have learnt how to use the equipment and how to get around any minor problems that we have had, for example the camera didn't pick up low levels of lighting very well. We have also learnt how to edit an audio track in Garageband and then how to import it to be used with Final Cut Express. Our first task when using the camera equipment was to make a short clip of someone opening a door, coming in and sitting and having a conversation with someone, we had to storyboard the sequence and work out the camera positions, we then had to edit the piece and put it on a disk to show others. When we first did it, it seemed quite difficult and some of the work seemed fairly tedious, but now that seems fairly small in comparison to the media product we created. Since starting the project I feel like I have learnt a lot about how the production of films works, and I feel like I have accomplished a lot from learning how to use an Apple Mac, learning how to use editing software, to how to edit a multi track format audio track.
Props Props: Plaster Skull – I made this by pouring plaster of paris in to a latex mould of a skull. It shows that the antagonist is a fan of death, Bible – shows that the antagonist is religiously motivated, he writes down a line from Revelation, 18 Notebook – shows that the antagonist has planned out who he is going to kill, Saw – shows that the antagonist mutilates the bodies of his victims, Bandages – give hint at the idea that the antagonist self harms, Notebook – shows a list of the antagonist's victims, he circles one name giving the impression that she is the last person on his list left to kill. We also had a piece of paper with the words “I am Redemption” on, this was to show that the antagonist thought he was redeeming mankind.
Here are three screen shots from the film Se7en, they show areas that influenced us. The use of overlaying two clips impressed us, but we did not know how to do it, but we did like the use of the colour red, so we managed to incorporate that into our product. We thought the idea that the character was crossing out phrases from a book, we did consider using this idea, but we did not want to deface a Bible. This use of overlaying two clips amazed us, we wanted to do this in our piece as the antagonist wrote out the names.
This picture is from Silence of The Lambs, it shows a lot of pictures stuck to the wall in an FBI office, even though this was a law enforcement area we decided to use this idea for the antagonists wall.