The ultimate task was to produce a short film with a length of 5 minutes, a film poster related to
the short film, and a double page-spread. We were to chose a genre, story line, settings and
everything included in the film to make it our own. The film which we made (In a group) is
entitled ‘The Unchanged Variable’.
Film title: The Unknown Variable
Genre: Action - Thriller
1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or
challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
In our film, we incorporated Barthes Enigma theory of narratives. This is where tension is built up and the audience is left guessing what
happens next. It is therefore the hermeneutic code which refers to any element of the story that that is not fully explained and hence
becomes a mystery to the reader. In our film, our narrative share structural features that are brought together in different ways.
Our group realised that certain aspects of our short film would need to be similar to existing films in order for us to target the audience we
intended it for. In order to do this, we had a look at many short films, as well as normal length films. We wanted to follow these
conventions to make our film appear to be as professional as possible. At the same time, we were also willing to challenge forms of real
media products in order to convey a strong behind the video. This would allow the film to be unique, and stand out in a way that is
different from existing films.
When making the film as a group, we had to follow certain codes and conventions to help make our film look as professional as possible,
and challenge forms of real media products. I have done a lot of research on cinematography, genre and narrative and this has provided me
with a lot of knowledge in the film industry before starting to produce one of our own. I have also done a lot of research on the features
which contribute the most in drawing attention to the audience in terms of narrative, storyline, texts such as title, taglines and stickers and
much more features. As a group, we looked at numerous short films to give us an insight of how professional films look like. Personally, I
was particularly inspired by the following short films: Black Button and Desire of a House Wife (Indian film). These short films inspired me
in terms of cinematography and the story lines. I was also inspired by the setting. The film is set in a plain white room with two characters
acting. This inspired me because it made me realise that a short film does not particularly have to be in different settings throughout. The
idea of filming in a white room throughout the film would appear to be very dull and monotonous to me, if I had not watched the film. It is
the story and the message behind the film which makes it provoking. Not only did we look at short films, we also looked at normal length
films to see the differences between them and short films.
As a group, the first thing we considered was the genre of the film. We had numerous ideas within several films genres but our main chosen
genres which we chose included both drama and thriller. It is therefore a sub genre of drama-thriller. A film with the sub genre drama – thriller
paced segments and tense sections and this can be achieved by the use of quick cuts between shots and other camera shots. Whilst making out
film, we tried out different shots and angles whilst trying to maintain a professional look on the film. Some of these shots and angles where for
the purpose of creating anticipation amongst the audience. We used a lot of camera shots and angles in order to create different experiences
for the audience as well as to create different point of views for different effects.
After deciding on genre, we went on to decide a story line and possible locations as well as the characters and the number of them to be
included within the film. In terms of characters, we also realised that in order for a short film to be captivating, it does not necessarily have to
include many characters. Just as the film ‘Black Button’ shows . The film has only two characters since the story line simply needs only two
characters. Our film also contains two characters but we made sure that it still entices the audience.
Another convention which I have met is the use of close up, long shots and mid shots. For example in terms of the long shot, usually, the
opening establishing shot of a movie is a long shot. It may build where the story actually begins for example a church, forest, city etc. which
ever the location, a long shot is likely to be the best way of establishing it. So as a group, we experimented on using long shots at different
angles for the purpose of appealing well to the audience. We did this with wide angle lens. The main thing is what the shot encompasses. If it
encompasses a general setting that gives the opening shot of the film as much information as can be clearly presented with one angle, then it's
an establishing shot and can be shot with any lens. An example of this is shown by the following link:
It is called a long shot because the camera is placed far away to capture a large area of view, and this is what we wanted to achieve.
In terms of Medium shots, I've learnt that The medium shot should generally contain all the action of the scene and it should be well matched
with the flow of the long shot. If the medium shot is a continuation or a further development of the story contents captured by the long shot,
then the medium shot should be matched to some characteristic of the long shot with which it is supposed to be intercut. John Ford is famous for
relying heavily on medium shots in shooting his movies.
In many media products, it is the title, main image, and in film, taglines, are all usually used as a source of providing an insight of a film. I have
learnt this by looking at many media products not only in film, but also magazines and books. This has definitely allowed me to be a lot more
aware of how to create product which engages the attention of the audience at first sight, before seeing or reading about the actual product. The
most common conventions of a film poster include the main image (mainly of the main character) which is usually the main source of attention
along side the title which is usually bigger in comparison to other text, main actors, a tagline and a billing block. Also the certificate (of age
entitled to view). My film poster challenges the conventions of a film poster mainly because instead of containing an image of the main
character/s, I have provided an insight of the story by including an image of a scene including drug use which is cocaine. Usually, films don't
always provide an insight of its story just by the main image. Main images usually include images of the main characters but in this case have used
part of the story of what actually happens in the film visually. This situation potentially leaves the audience to wonder who is involved in the film
and what they do.
Film covers usually contain images of the main characters at the front, with the names representing them. I was seeking to differentiate my own
film poster a little bit, therefore I decided to add an image which reflects the main events within the film, instead of the main characters. In this
case, an image of drug use. This is portrayed by the image on my film poster. I did this mainly because I was seeking to let the audience wonder
what the events are within the film. The title is also another feature which contributes in allowing the audience to wonder what happens within
the film. Other factors which emphasise this effect is the colour black. There is a sense of loneliness created by the emptiness of the surroundings
of the image (the drugs). This is emphasized by the colour black and the main image being of a white colour contrasted against black background.
The contrasted image against the black background enables us to see the image very clearly. Originally, the image had colour including some lilac
on the £20 note which would spoil the colour scheme, of which I intended to be mainly black, white and red. I chose this colour scheme mainly
because of genre.
2. How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?
The film is aimed at the young audience between the ages of 16 – 25 mainly because of the drug use. I felt it would be necessary to
include a theme which would be appealing to this particular age group. Common themes such as the colour scheme of my film poster.
I used the colours red, black and white as my main colour scheme and also similar texts throughout. This was for the purpose of
making it look as realistic as possible without making it look too dramatic. This feature also appeals to the audience and complements
the story line of the film. The red and black depicts the genre of the film which is a drama-thriller in this case. What appeals to this age
group the most is the events which happen within the film. Also the characters who are also young. The characters are late teens of
eighteen and nineteen years. Having such an age group as characters also contributes to appealing to the young audience of 16 – 25.
I looked at different examples of film posters and reviews whilst focusing on the codes and conventions. After researching and analysing
different film posters and film review, the purpose of a poster and review became clearer to me. That purpose is to advertise. Film
posters contain features which are aimed to grab as much attention from the audience as possible. They usually include a title which
stands out from the rest of the text, a main image which is usually the main source of attention, also sometimes include taglines . I have
learnt that a main image and a tagline is there to provide an insight of a film, but not to give away the story too much as this would
diminish the interest of the audience. Within my film poster and review, I made sure that I included a main image which I made to the
main source of attention alongside the title. This is depicted by their sizes in comparison to other features. The tagline which I added as
well as he main image provide an insight of the story of the film, without giving away too much.
In terms of the film review, the large image and fonts contribute to emphasizing the genre of the film as well as appealing to the
audience. Typical films with a young target audience such as ‘Harry Potter 'usually contain many images to intrigue the target audience.
This is shown in the next page. I feel as though my film review could have appeared a lot more appealing to the audience if I had
included several events as images. This would be for the purpose of engaging the target audience. Young audience are usually fascinated
by pictures instead of words as they usually prefer to visualize with the images rather than to read and read a lot of text.
As well as creating our film, we also had to create ancillary texts which are individual film posters and a double page-spread of the film review.
They needed to be an effective combination of the main product, which is the film . I decided to make a modern film poster (and review) as
opposed to old style film poster such as Psycho or The Blue Dahlia. This is because we decided to create a modern film which would only make
sense to also create a modern film poster.
It may be argued that these films are not an effective combination of the
films they represent. I decided that my ancillary texts would be more
modern than these authentic posters.
My film poster and review take the form of modern style of film posters
with actors’ names, title, billing block etc. my ancillaries interlink with
my main product in the sense that they show the two main actors. An
audience who sees the short film would realise this.
The editing of the text as well as the image
allows the film poster to look very modern.
Compared to these old style film posters
which appear in a lower quality than modern
film posters. Even the text, I used certain
fonts which contribute in depicting a modern
appearance on the film poster.
The title of the film is ‘THE
UNKNOWN VARIABLE’. This is
what we decided as a group to call
our film. For the title, I chose a
Trajan font mainly because I was
looking for a serif font which is
quite thin. I chose to add a metallic
texture on the title for a dramatic
appearance as it would appear to be
dull if it was a flat text with no
texture. The title appears to be a
shiny texture and this contributes
to allowing it to stand out from the
rest of the text. The title is written
in capital letters were the first letter
of each word is slightly bigger in
comparison to the rest of the text in
the title. This enables the title to
stand out. Being a bigger size than
the rest of the text allows the title
stand out being one of the main
sources of attention along side the
The cast names are shown here at
the top in such a way that does
not distract the title. In
comparison to the title, it is in a
smaller and different font. The
cast names are in a serif font. This
is so that it allows the title to
The tag line is entitled ‘A MATTER
OF LIFE AND DEATH’. It is in a
red sans serif font. This tag line
provides an insight of the story of
the short film as it is suggesting
that there is a scene of something
risky happening within the film.
Being in a red font, it is
differentiated from the rest of the
text and also the picture. The
image is emphasized by the tagline
suggesting that the risk here is
that someone’s life is being
affected by drug use.
This media product challenges
the norms of the codes and
conventions of existing media
blogs as I have used an image
which depicts the main subject
of the film, instead of the actual
characters. This image suggests
to the audience that there are
scenes of drug use within the
film. This is reinforced by the
tagline again, gives the
impression that someone has put
their life at risk. Drug addiction
is the main thought which is
drawn after looking at the
tagline and the image.
I have also edited the picture on
Photoshop to make it black and
white, not only to follow the
main colour scheme, but enable
to audience to wonder what this
film is about.
The billing block contains the names of the
director, producer , writer, actors and the
distribution company. It is the smallest text
on the cover and does not distract any
important features such as the title, image
and the tagline which are the main features.
It also shows the running time to allow the
audience to know the length of the film.
The distributor company is ‘MCS
Productions.’ The aim was to keep it as
professional as possible. The names
included in the billing block and the
distributor are in a bigger to the rest of the
text. It allows the names to stand out
showing the importance.
We decided that our film is aimed at an
audience of 15 years and above mainly
because of the contents of the film which
is quite explicit for the younger audience
below the age of 15, although the
explicitness is controlled, there is some
drug use involved. This is emphasized by
3. What have you learnt from your audience feedback?
The benefits of audience research are that they allow one to make decisions based on different
opinions. This is why it is essential to get as much as possible. Feedback helps the receiver to
understand themselves better through others, and can help them to further develop, especially if it is
critical. The limitations however are that; results may not always be accurate, and also if there very
little feedback, there are no opinions from a variety of audiences. I conducted questionnaires for 40
people asking them questions shown on the next page. I did this questionnaire as one of the first steps
before making the film. The aim for this was to get opinions from 40 random people to get a view of
their opinion, and also to find out the most preferred film genre for the young audience especially
between the ages of 16 – 25 as this where the target audience for the film is.
The results show that the most popular film genre
appeared to be Drama followed by comedy and horror.
After making the film, I constructed another questionnaire asking the audience for feedback on the film.
For this questionnaire I asked a wider
range of audience which was 50 people
different age groups. From their
responses, I have learnt that overall, the
audience were mostly attracted by the
main image. This especially from the ages
of 16 – 30. Most people were also
enticed by title of the film. Many people
believed it to be a crime film with
elements of horror mainly because of the
colours of red and black. I have learnt
that as a way to improve, I should include
a billing block.
How did you use media technologies in the construction of and
research, planning and evaluation stages?
Most of my research was from secondary data such as internet research as well as primary research such as
questionnaires. My secondary research included search engines on google and YouTube. This included research on
genre, how to create short films including the angles and shots which makes a film look professional and in terms of
editing; how create effective texts for film titles etc. I used YouTube to watch several short films of which many of them
inspired me in terms of creativity. The internet provided facts on media conventions from existing media products. I
have published my planning, research, publishing, work in progress and many more things related to the task on
Tumblr. this is because it makes it easy to present everything on the blog for easy access.
I used Photoshop and InDesign for the film poster and double page spread of the film review. Photoshop was for
editing images and text. I have learnt a lot from the internet how to edit text and photos on Photoshop from tutorials
online and from my experience, I have definitely benefited greatly. I have tried my best to create a film poster which
looks as professional as can be by creating my own text, especially the texture instead of just using a standard font.
InDesign helped made it easier for me to create my double page-spread the way I intended to look.
Critically, I have faced quite a lot of difficulties whilst producing my film poster and the double page-spread. Whilst I
was learning how to create certain texts on Photoshop, I did not particularly comprehend everything. As a result of
that, I had to work out how to achieve certain outcomes of which some of them I managed to tackle, whilst others I
struggled. An example of this when I was creating the fire text. I did not understand every step. On the positive side,
I did benefit from certain parts of the editing such as creating a glowing effect on the text.
I also found that InDesign does not has auto correct which made it a lot more
difficult when having to change the wrongly spelled words. The same goes for
We captured out film using a cannon 600 D camera.
With this camera, we tried out using a lot of different shots and angles to get the
best view of the actions and events in the short film.
We Adobe Premiere Pro for the editing of the film in
order to create special effects to make the film look
professional. This application also allowed us to remove
unwanted scenes by cutting, and also to order the film in
the way which we preferred.
I used Microsoft word and PowerPoint as templates for my texts. I used
PowerPoint for the work which I converted to slideshare for ease of access. I
also used Word for my other texts such as film poster analyses then converted
to Tumblr for ease of access.
I Converted everything (including the work on slideshare) onto Tumblr
which includes all my task work which I have produced. I found that it was
much easier to write everything on word first before converting the work
onto Tumblr and also from Microsoft, to Slideshare then onto Tumblr for
ease of access. I used slideshare for the work which included more than
one page such as the text progressions, evaluation and editing processes.