Q: looking back on your preliminary task (continuity editing task) what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?

•May 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

A:

Honestly, I didn’t use many of the shots required in the preliminary task in my opening (shot reverse shot, tracking, pan etc) because they either weren’t needed or weren’t appropriate to create the desired effect in my thriller. I used mainly close ups or extreme close ups, due to the fact that these camera techniques are common in thriller openings to keep identities of characters a mystery and therefore keep the audience watching- guessing what is about to happen/ who the character is etc

However, if the film were to be completed, the techniques I learnt in the preliminary task, such as panning and shot reverse shots, would certainly be used in the film itself. This could be used in a thriller to show a conversation or conflict between two or more  characters- a common sequence in any film.

But I have included continuity in my opening in some ways- which we learnt in the process of the preliminary task (opening the door, going inside etc). In my film this can be portrayed by the kettle being turned on and then it being seen boiling in a later scene . This helped to carry the feeling of narrative and things moving along.

I also learnt through the preliminary task that editing must be kept in mind while filming your piece. I learnt that it is better to have too much film so that you can cut it than to have too little film that doesn’t flow and requires more footage.

 

Q: What Have you Learnt About Technologies From the process of Constructing This Product?

•May 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Well, throughout my research and actual construction of my opening I used a number of different things….

Video Camera-

Obviously vital for the task. I borrowed one of the school’s to do my filming.

From filming the opening I have learnt how to do different types of shots…for example, extreme close ups (Usually of a part of a characters face or hands), mid shots (from the top of the elbows, up), over the shoulder (literally filmed over a character’s shoulder) shots etc

This experience has also helped me learn what types of shots are appropriate depending on what is happening with the action and what kind of mood I’m trying to create.. such as if a character’s hands are shaking from fear, we would want to focus on them, as they would tell the audience how the character is really feeling. Therefore we would use an ‘extreme close up’ to capture this moment and make the audience focus their attention on it.

I also learnt that you can use different angles to try a portray a certain feeling. For example, a low angle shot would show power..etc. And, sometimes putting  the camera in a different position can make the film seem more interesting or give the audience a different point of view.

By getting used to filming I also learnt that for the film to look professional, you must keep the camera still at all times.  Unless of course you want to have a shaky camera for a ‘hand held camera’ effect- usually used to show panic or chaos.

So overall I have learnt different techniques to use when filming and how they can improve your overall quality of film.

Tripod-

Also borrowed from the school…

This helped me keep the camera straight and steady throughout the filming. And it also helped me filming at various heights, postions and angles.

Overall I learnt that it was a helpful tool for experimeting with ideas, and could overall help me keep the camera still as the action occured.

WordPress…

I’ve learnt that a blog is a handy tool to keep up with work. It lets me see what I’ve done previously and what work I have left to do. It also helps me show my teachers I’ve done the work without actually having to ‘hand it in’ as anyone can access it.

It was particulary helpful when filming. By recording after every shoot it helped me realise what I’d filmed and what I hadn’t done yet…

At first it was quite hard to use. But I got used to it in a matter of weeks and learnt how to post pictures and videos to help demonstrate my understanding of the website and my research.

Windows Movie Maker…

This was for constructing my storyboard for my film and turning it into a little film of it’s own.

The program was helpful as it helped me make kind of practise ‘opening’ for me to base my final opening on. It was also quite simple to use and it didn’t take long to produce the film.

I learnt how to add basic titles, transitions and special FX to my film. Which prepared me for the more complicated verison of wondows movie maker, which was….

Adobe Premiere elements…

Because I’d never used Adobe premiere elements before, it took some getting used to and was quite complex. After some experience from playing around with films though,I learnt that this program can help make your film look professional. I learnt how to…

 cut certain bits from my film I didn’t want/ were too long to make the film more interesting to watch etc

Add special FX such as ‘ghosting’ to help deliver a desired effect to the audience,

Rip the audio from certain clips so that I could do whatever I want with them,

Add titles to my film with specified sizes, colours and fonts depending on what kind of mood I wanted to create.

I’ve learnt that Elements is a good program to use when trying to enhance amateur films and make them look professional. I’d definetly use it again if making a film.

Some websites I used for research…..

www.artofthetitle.com – This website helped me search for iconic and popular title sequences in films. It was helpful for my own title sequence as it gives you pictures in order, showing how each film’s title sequence plays out. It then made me think about how my own titles would look and what things I should consider before doing it (i.e looking at how other films have done it first) 

www.IMDB.com  – This webiste was perhaps the most helpful for my textual analysis’. It told me all kinds of info. about the thriller’s I’d watched, such as: director, writer, release date, stars, awards and all kinds of other things that was helpful in my research. It helped me gather information about the films I’d seen so that I could go out and make my own film based on my influences.

It also helped me think of what films I should watch. At the start of the course my knowledge of thrillers was quite short. But the IMDB gave me a list of their ‘Top 250’ thrillers of all time (as voted for by regular users of the website). It was here I found ‘Se7en’, ‘The Usual Suspects’, ‘FightClub’, ‘The Prestige’ and decided to watch them for my research.

(IMDB’s top ten thrillers…note the ones I circled)

www.BBFC.co.uk – This website helped me think realistically about my film and it’s content. It helped me think about what might affect audiences/what might not etc if it were to be completed into a full length film. By reading the guidelines I learnt a lot about the process a  film goes to when being rated…especially children’s ones. And that it is very important to think about WHO will be able to acess and buy your film legally before you start to distribute it.

www.freeplaymusic.com – This website was helpful for thinking about backing tracks and sound as a whole. It helped me search for the perfect, uncopyrighted track for my piece and taught me that it is important for the sound to be right to create the right mood in your audience. It also helped me with it’s defined searches, helping me experiment with different kind of tracks and find the right sound I was looking for.

(An example of how the website lets you search for the perfect uncopyrighted music)

www.Google.co.uk – Alas, the faithful search engine was probably the most used website. It helped me search for anything I needed/wanted to know about my influences. It helped me find information about absolutely anything I wanted through it’s search engine..(the pictures are when I searched ‘dead man’s shoes’ which is a thriller, just not one I analysed…)

And also, Google images helped me find pictures to add into my blog for a more, I don’t know…interesting or entertaining touch. It helped show I had done more than just type endless amounts of writing and futhermore helped portray my interest into the films and the subject as a whole.

Q:How Did You Attract/Address Your Audience??

•April 29, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Well, I knew from research that thriller’s openings attract their audiences  in a number of different ways…

Keeping it a Mystery…

In thrillers, the openings tend to keep the plot and characters a mystery, to attract the audience and ultimately make them want to watch on. It keeps them interested as they want to know who a character is/what is happening. I tried to do this in my opening by writing a few words that would connotate a crime in the plot, such as : ‘murder’ and ‘injustice’ which then makes them think ‘well what does this mean? Is something bad going to happen??’ etc etc – making them interested in what is going to happen next.

I also did this with ‘small’ things, such as the ripping up of the child’s picture and the specks of blood at the beginning. I wanted to show the audience a little of what was going on, but not give them the entire picture. If I showed them all of what was going on they would get bored, but the small implications at something bad or wrong happening would attract them to watch the rest of  my film.

I learnt this from watching ‘Se7en’ and ‘The Prestige’. In ‘Se7en’ we see all these gruesome pictures of people being tortured- which addresses the audience and lets them know that something bad is happening- but they don’t see the identity of the person with the pictures. This leaves the audience wanting to know more instead of just being told what is happening.

In ‘The Prestige’ they use a similar technique- the audience watch a magic trick go wrong and one of the main characters (Hugh Jackman) drown as another (Christain Bale) witnesses it. They are addressed and told that a man has died, but do not know yet if the other man was responsible, and will have to watch on to discover the truth.

Colours…

I attempted to show that my film was a thriller by using specific colours which connotate different things. For example, I chose a white font because it suggests vulnerabilty and innnocence. I chose to have blood being washed down the drain because it connotates murder, anger, danger, hate and bloodshed. I chose for my lighting to be dark because it connotates dark deeds and villianous characters.

I thought these colours would help attract an audience because they connotate that something bad is going to happen and give off a very dark and thrilling atmosphere. It would make them feel tense and want to see what happens in the rest of the film, as it looks like their will be villains, victims, but no sign of any heroes, and this will make them wonder who will take on this role.

Colours can be used in many ways in thrillers. Most notably, mine is a lot like ‘Se7en’s where the titles are in white to suggest innocence (of John Doe’s victims- perhaps Tracy). Dark backgrounds to suggest dark minds and characters (John Doe- the villain). And Red lighting in the villain’s green room to connotate bloodshed and murder (The seven deadly sins victims, John Doe’s death etc). This all gives the audience an idea of how the film will be, and what it will deal with in terms of themes (such as murder and crime) and this will help them determine whether they would want to watch on or not.

The Music…

I intended to use ‘tense’ and ‘upsetting’ music to try and address my audience. I also tried to show them what type of general mood my film will have. It lets them know that my film will deal with upsetting themes such as loss, sacrafice and grief. It overall helps them determine whether they will want to watch on or not.

Music can be important when determining whether you want to watch the rest of a film or not- well, it’s an important factor. For example, if a person who detests chick flicks and romance films starts watching a film, and the first thing they hear is an upbeat pop/girly song, they will immeadiently stop watching as they already know what type of film they’re about to see.

On one hand it is important to try not to ‘scare off’ audiences with backing tracks that don’t fit your genre. But it just depends on the tastes of the audience. I’ve just tried to make sure that my music fits in with what is happening on the screen and the mood I’m attempting to create. Whether the audiences like the music is a different story.

For example, in ‘Se7en’ the audience gets a real idea of what type of film it’s going to be through the remix of ‘Nine Inch Nails- closer’. It’s tense and has mixed sounds like that of a razor or a heartbeat. It makes the viewers feel intimidated- like they are about to watch a mass murder being committed. Which, in fact, they are. So it is true to say that ‘Se7en’ addresses the audience through it’s music and makes it clear what they’re about to watch will be tense, thrilling and psychologically frightening.

Q: What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?

•April 29, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The Definition of a Film Distributor…

A film distributor or distribbery is an independent company, a subsidiary company or occasionally an individual, which acts as the final agent between a film production company or some intermediary agent, and a film exhibitor, to the end of securing placement of the producer’s film on the exhibitor’s screen.

 In the film business, the term “distribution” refers to the marketing and circulation of movies in theaters, and for home viewing (DVD, Video-On-Demand, Download, Television etc).

So What Distribution Company Might distribute my film??

After researching what distribution companies were chosen for my influenced films, I think that if I were to complete and ‘distribute’ my film I would use either one of these companies…

New Line Cinema..

File:New Line Cinema.svg

A little about the company….New Line Cinema, often simply known as New Line, was founded in 1967, and is one of the major American film studios. Though it initially began as an independent film studio, it became a subsidiary of Time Warner in 1996, and was merged with larger sister studio Warner Bro.s in 2008.

I think New Line Cinema may distrubute my film, based on the fact that it distributed my main influence ‘Se7en’. It has also distributed many well known and loved thrillers/horrors, such as:

‘Nightmare on Elm Street’- A well known horror film, which is likely to have influenced more modern horrors.

the ‘Final Destination’ series – A number of  thriller/horror films which we have looked at in class.

‘The Butterfly Effect 2’ – the sequel to the thriller I analysed earlier in the course.

‘The Number 23’ – A suspense thriller starring Jim Carrey.

So therefore, my film, which is a thriller linked with crime and mystery, may appeal to New Line Cinema due to the films they have previously helped distribute to the world.

The distribution company has also been known to distribute many ‘series’ of films, such as the ‘Lord of the Rings’ triology, this may be helpful to me because if they distributed my film and I wanted to make another it is likely that, if my film were succesful, they would comply to distributing my sequel.

Also, by reading New Line Cinema’s FAQ they seem very helpful towards new screen writers and film makers saying that: 

‘If you have a completed film or are already underway with production, we would be happy to receive an invitation to view your work. Please remember that we are unable to accept unsolicited screenplays or pitches, and that this e-mail address should be used only to invite us to view finished films or production in progress. Any unsolicited screenplays or pitches will be returned without being reviewed. You may email New Line to invite us to a screening of your film.’

This gives me the idea that they would be a good distributor for my film as they seem helpful and open to new ideas and inexperienced film makers like myself.

UK Film Council…

UKFC Logo

After looking at distribution companies that are a little more ‘closer to home’ (not over in the US) I thought that it may be a better idea to distribute my film (if it were completed) with a UK film distributor as there is not as much competition as there is in the US with films.

From work in other media classes I know that the UK Film Council will let films take a ‘British Cultral Test’ and if they qualify as ‘British’ films (which is to do with the plot, culture, themes and actaully workers of the film) they can qualify for funding – which would probably be needed to complete the rest of my film as I have a limited budget of my own.

It has been known to distribute well known British films – such as : ‘This is England’ and ‘Dead Man’s Shoes’ which although they only had limited success in the US, did well in Britain.

I think this would be helpful for my film as I am not sure it would attract US audiences and would probably be ‘pushed out’ by more popular films. So by being distributed by the UK Film Council I would get funds to make the rest of my film and would be able to get my film distributed to British Audiences if American did not like my film.

Due to the cast I would choose if I made the rest of my film (Paddy Considine and keely Hawes) I think the UK Film Council would be attracted to my film as it has a strategy to:

‘The UK Film Council is the Government-backed lead agency for film in the UK, ensuring that the economic, cultural and educational aspects of film are effectively represented at home and abroad.Our mission is to ensure that UK audiences can enjoy great films. We do this by:

  • Nurturing our film talent
  • Assisting our film industry
  • Celebrating and safeguarding our film culture’

And by having my two leading roles as English and being set in England I feel that the distrubutor would be more likely to take my film seriously than an American one.

Q:In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

•April 21, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Answer:

The Title of the Film

The title of my film, ‘DRifter’ is displayed within the first 30 seconds of my film. It is in a ‘chiller’ font, which is used because it looks scary and threatening. This font is also used on all other titles in my opening. The film’s name and in fact all of it’s titles are written in white and is postioned in the top right hand corner of the screen to prevent it from interfering with the action. The title is also put slightly on the side to give off the impression that something is not right. Behind the titles is blood swirling down the drain, backing up this idea of something bad happening. (As seen below).

  

It is very common for a thriller film to use fonts that look threatening or disturbing such as the ‘chiller’ font, as this is used to connotate what the audience is about to witness in the rest of the film. It gives big hints on the genre and themes of the film itself through it’s choice of font.  For example, in ‘Se7en’s title sequence a similar font is used…

 

 

Here we can see that the font used for the title is blurred and smeared. Like the font I used for my opening, it gives connotations of something disturbing or not being quite right. It leads the audience to expect that the film will have many twists in the plot. Also like my titles, ‘Se7en’s is always white. This helps the titles to stand out on dark backgrounds and also gives off connotations of vulnerability and innocence admist the film itself. The title moves around, unlike mine, from taking up the full screen to being in the right hand corner, out of the way and not distracting the viewer’s attenton. A lot of films, including thrillers and mine, do this so that the audience does not miss anything important but still sees the name of the film. Behind the title is a man picking out a book/diary. This is significan to the film and subtley put in to show aspects of the character’s personality.

But when we look at ‘Face/Off’…

However, thriller’s do vary in this subject, such as ‘Face/off’ where the titles are black and white to signify the clash of the two main characters in the movie (Cage/Travolta). It gives a connotation of right/wrong, good/evil etc (like my titles and ‘Se7en’s) and leads the audience to expect the film to be a thriller- mainly revolving around the lives of a bad character and a good character.  Behind the titles we can see a character, in the shade, suggesting he is this ‘bad’ character and this source of something not being quite right. This is similar to both previous titles, as both films (mine and ‘Se7en’s) show something in the background, while the title is being shown, that links to this sense of something bad happening. Unlike both other film openings, ‘Face/Off’ has it’s title in the centre of the screen, giving it all the audiences attention although something important is happening in the background. These titles show that it depends what themes thriller’s deal with, which will all alter the style, postion and colour of their titles.

Setting/ Location

The reason I chose my own kitchen as the setting/location of my opening is mainly because it isn’t specific- it could be anywhere. It could be anyone’s kitchen. This adds to the mystery of the film and leads the audience’s asking a lot of questions- and the only way they’ll find answers to them is by watching the rest of the film. I also chose this location because it was easily accessed, saving time and did not affect my limited budget, saving money. (As seen below).

This is not unusual in thrillers. For example, in ‘Se7en’ there are so many close ups that the action we see could be happening anywhere, leading the audience to wonder where this action is taking place, pushing them to watch on. (See below, in the title sequence we see all sorts of things happening, but not a lot of the actual location it’s filmed in is shown to the audience, as the director says in the film’s commentary: ‘it was filmed in a wardrobe, the location itself didn’t really matter’.)

 
 

 

Actually, this seems to be a very big and important convention in thrillers. Although sometimes they perhaps show a bit MORE of a setting/location they still don’t really let the audience know any facts until later on- when they are hooked into the film and have to watch on. For example, we see in ‘The Usual Suspects’ opening that the location is a boat, but we don’t know where it is, or who’s boat it is. This, like my opening, leaves the viewers wondering about the actual setting/location and whether it will be relevant to the film later on. (Below, ‘The Usual Suspects’ starts it’s film located on a boat.)

 
 

 

 

Costumes and Props

Every film, at some point, requires certain costumes or props. This can be used for many different reasons, such as to show the time period, job of a character, personality of a character, class/background of a character etc etc

Props serve the same purpose, but they are more vital to the story. Props can help show what a character is doing, or about to do which is vital to the audience’s understanding of the film’s plot.

In my opening, I was lucky enough not t require a costume. This was due to the fact that  I wished to keep the character’s identity a secret, so therefore a costume for my character was not required. It helped to keep a sense of mystery in my opening and because I was on a limited budget, also saved me money.

This is similar to ‘Se7en’s opening…here we see the character’s hands, but we don’t know whose hands these are. A costume was probably not required for this actor either, as the audience would not be able to see any of it anyway.

However, sometimes thriller’s are known to use costumes in their openings to tell us something about the characters or to give us the impression of what type of character’s they are. For example, in ‘The Prestige’ we can tell that Hugh Jackman’s character is wealthy and clever, as he is dressed in a smart and expensive suit and has slick, shiny hair. This costumes leads the audience to make an assumption on the character and their role within the film.

With props, they can be vital to telling the audience the themes of a thriller and can also tell them a lot about the character’s using them. For example, in my opening I used the prop of a diary to show that the character writing is obsessive and troubled, and this leads them to think this will be an underlying theme in the film. It also leads them to think that one of the characters they see that later on will be this one we see in the opening and will try to spot him/her.

This is similar to ‘The Usual Suspects’ where the props used in the opening are vital to discovering who Keyser Soze (the villain of the film) is. The watch and cigarette lighter he uses are specific props and, whether the audiencce realises this or not, will help reveal the identity of the killer later on in the film. The gun used to murder one of the characters at the start of the film also gives the audience a hint that the film will have themes of crime and violence throughout.

On the other hand, sometimes props aren’t as important to thrillers as other aspects are. For example in ‘Fight Club’s opening, limited props are used and the audiences attention is more focused on the character’s and their dialogue (especially the main character’s Voice Over) which is used, without the aids of props, to give the sudience an idea of what is going on and what themes they should expect.

Camerawork and Editing

Here you can see that my opening consisits of close ups to extreme close ups- keeping the character’s identity hidden to the audience, which then keeps a level of mystery that most thriller’s have. To make my opening look as if it is ‘jumpy’ or ‘confusing’ I took shots of the same thing from different angles, postions and distances. For example, you can see that I’ve shot the tap running from about a mid shot on the left hand side. And then we jump straight to another shot of the tap, but now from the right hand side, and close up.

This is similar to ‘Se7en’s opening, as they constantly use extreme close ups of the characters hands to help hide the killer’s identity. It keeps the audience guessing who the villain is, and making them want to watch on to find out who it is. Thriller’s often do this, as because if the killer was identified in the first two minutes, it would be very unlikely that audiences would feel the need to watch on.

However, sometimes thriller’s take a different route. They introduce characters and don’t try to hide their identity as such, but they give a sense that one of them is not telling the truth, and is secretly the killer. For example, in ‘FightClub’ we meet the main character’s within the first two minutes of the film starting, establishing them with close ups of their faces and shot reverse shots as they exchange dialogue. But we don’t know why they are in the situation they’re in, they’re relationship, or how they got there. This the leads the audience into a flashback to find all the answers to these questions without the film actually having to hide anyones identities from them.

While editing I tended to use certain edits for the film, to make it more sinister or look more professional than just a roll of footage I’d filmed. I tend to used ‘ghosting’ a lot. And I though this looked like the film was blurred or mixed, and this would have connotaions of the plot having confusing twists in the plot. It also gives evidence of the character being decietful or seem on ‘both sides’ (good and bad). I also used transitions such as ‘zoom’ and others that were perhaps shaky or dark. I tried not to go over the top, as it may prove hard to watch for the audience but I wanted it to connotate that something was out of the ordinary or wrong.

My overall editing is similar to ‘Se7en’s as they seem to use the ghosting effect in  their opening too, to connotate the same things- the person writing has a troubled, jittery mind…what they are writing is disturbing or out of the ordinary etc and this proves to be accurate when you watch the rest of the film.

My choice of transitions prove to be a bit different to soem thriller’s though. I tries to use transitions to back up my genre and themes of my film, but it is clear that most thriller’s don’t do this, probably because it may look tacky or inappropiate.  For example, in ‘The Machinist’ the transitions are clean and cut without any shaking or moving. This could be an attempt to make the film look realistic to the audience.

Title Font and Style

As I mentioned before, my titles are written in a ‘chiller’ font and in white throughout. This is to help show the audience that this film will be a thriller, as the font suggests something sinister in the plot. It also helps the titles stand out on the dark filming. As I said before, in ‘the title of the film’ this technique of white titles is constantly used in many other thrillers, such as ‘Fight Club’ and ‘The Usual Suspects’.

Story and how the Opening Sets it Up

In the opening, I set the story up for my film mainly with the diary and the words being written down within it. By revealing words such as ‘murder’ and ‘injustice’ it gives the audience ideas about what the story of my film will based on. They will imagine that the story will invlove a murder, but will wonder who is the victim/killer, and they will also wonder about the injustice, and whether the right person is blamed. This sets my story up for my film well as this is what my film is basically all about. (As you can see in this still).

Again, this is very similar to ‘Se7en’. The film’s story is ‘set up’ by the words the killer writes in his diary at the start of the film. We see him black out words with a thick marker pen, which tells us that he may have a negative attitude towards them. For exapmle, when the audience sees he is blacking out words such as ‘homos*xuality’ and ‘ and then cutting out the word God (and handling it with tweezers, like it is fragile and precious) this gives the impression that the film with have a story that is linked to God, sins and a person who is obsessed with all these things.

However, some thrillers prefer different methods of setting the story of their film up. For example, in ‘American Beauty’ it is more what the character’s say in the opening that leads the audience to think about the plot. Such as when Lester’s daughter says ‘I hate my dad….’ and an unknown filmer replies: ‘Do you want me to kill him?’ to which she says: ‘Yeah. Would you?’

This section of dialogue at the very start of the film sets the story up of Lester’s murder. The audience know he is going to be murdered (From his voice over) but are not quite sure yet in terms of who the murderer will turn out to be, as they don’t know whether this exchanged dialogue was just a joke, or actually carried out by the person filming. This also sets the story up to be quite a confusing one with lots of twists in the plot.

Genre and how the Opening Suggests it

I intended to make the genre of my opening (thriller) obvious to the audience through various things. One of these aspects was the props I used, which most of them were red (such as the red ink pen and red book). This helps connotate bloodshed and crime, which is a usual convention in thrillers. The child’s picture represents vulnerability and innocence, which could insinuate the ‘victims’ within a thriller film. The fact my character rips this picture up and writes words such ‘murder’ and ‘injustice’ shows feelings of anger and frustration, which would lead the audience to think about these themes of law/crime, which is reguarly featured in thriller films.

The lack of dialogue and hidden indentities could also suggest a thriller, as thriller’s tend to leave the audience asking for questions and confused at the beginning of their film. The background track, which is entirely instrumental, is intended to show the genre of my film also: sounding sad and slow, like something bad is happening/about to happen.

Hints at genre such as these can be seen in ‘Se7en’s opening. They reguarly use the colour of red to connotate the bloodshed which is about to occur, leading the audience to make the assumption that the film will be a thriller. The backgroung music in ‘Se7en’s opening, which is a remix of ‘Nine Inch Nails: closer’ also suggests a thriller. It makes the audience feel intimidated and as if something horrific is about to occur in the film (which is John Doe’s murders), which usually happens in thriller though crimes, sacrafices etc.

However, some thriller use different things to show their genre to the audience, such as ‘The Life of David Gale’ uses characters, such as Kate Winslet’s, to help the audience insinuate a thriller. By showing footage of the journalist running down a road with a videotape in her hand, the audience are left wondering just what is going on. This also suggests a thriller as we are left wondering what she is running to, and that it is likelyto be a life/death situation as she is running quite fast.

How Characters are introduced

None of the charcater of my film are actually introduced to the audience. I only show the main characters hands, his name and identity as a whole is kept hidden away from the viewers.  I did this to keep a mystery theme in my opening, and also to keep the audience wondering what will happen in the rest of the film and how the opening will relate to it.

Thrillers are well known to do thi in their openings. For example, ‘the Machinist’ does show the main character, played by Christian Bale, but his name and what type of character he is is left out of the audiences knowledge. This makes them eager to watch on as they need to be reassured of what will happen to this character, and who he really is. In this opening we also hear another character say to Bale: ‘Who are you?’ which backs up the question the audience wants the answer to.

However, ‘FightClub’ tends to go straight into the plot, introducing the characters (correctly or not) in the opening two minutes of the film. Although we never actually hear the narrator’s (played by Edward Norton) name, we do hear of ‘Tyler Durden’ and are given insights into his personality and what type of role he is in the film. This then leads the audience to wonder more about Norton’s character, and therefore we are plunged into his flashback.

Special FX

I did not use any special FX in my film- as it was not required. I did not have the technology at hand and had a very limited budget, so this was out of the question. I didn’t want special FX anyway because I wanted to attempt to make my opening look realistic, which is what thriller’s tend to do to scare their audience- to make them believe what is happening could happen to anyone.

It is common for thriller to do this, as special FX, such as murder victims and explosions usually come later, when the film has been introduced. For example, in ‘the Life of David Gale’ the opening is basic, with no need for any special FX. It does this to focus the audiences attention on the characters and plot and not any uneeded special FX.

Nonetheless, some thrillers are an exception. ‘The Usual Suspects’ for example does use special FX in it’s opening, with a large explosion on the boat, killing most of the main characters. This shows that it depends on what mood the thriller is trying to create in the first two minutes on whether they use special FX straight away or not. The film probably intends to shock their audience with this huge explosion, telling them that the film is dealing with a very dangerous villainn (Keyser Soze)- making them want to know (even more) who he is.

What type of audience would my media product attract?

•April 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This is a good thing to consider, as the consumer’s are the whole reason for any media product being created. For the audience’s entertainment, to get popularity, and last but not least, money…

So here’s a sample of somebody I think would enjoy my film (if it were to be completed)…

Name: Gordon Byrne

Age: 24

His interests:

Films

Gordon loves films, Tv programmes and books.When dealing with his choice of films it is clear that overall he loves the genre of thriller and the occasional drama or comedy from time to time. He lists his favourites films as :

‘Se7en’ – because it’s creepy and ‘messes with your mind’.

‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ – it’s very psychological and moving to see how mental patients cope in day to day life…

(A still from the Jack Nicholson film)

”The Prestige’– it kept him on the edge of his seat and has a lot of brilliant twists in it

‘The Dark Knight’– you never guess what’s going to happen next

‘The Usual Suspects’ – it’s an extremely clever film with brilliant actor’s and totally ‘unpredictable’ making it more entertaining to watch

‘The Green Mile’ – it’s a very tense and chilling film. Deals with death, mystery and crime, which is what he likes to see in his films.

(Stephen King’s brilliant crime thriller)

Gordon makes it clear that he enjoys psycological and ‘clever’ films. He states that they are ‘more fun to watch…I don’t want to know what’s going to happen in the rest of the film before it’s even started. That’s why thriller’s are so good- they’re so clever that just when you think you know what’s going to happen…they twist everything around…’.

TV

In TV Gordon’s tastes don’t differ. He lists his all time favourite TV shows as:

‘New Tricks’ – He’s likes the crimes the team try to find the culprit to, and often finds he can’t solve the crime before they can. It’s challenging to watch, he says.

‘Life on Mars’– He says this show is probably his favourite. ‘So confusing you’re never really sure what’s going on, so we’re kinda on the same level as the main character, Sam Tyler…but that’s what makes so different to all the rest of the TV shows out there’. Gordon explains that he enjoys the ‘retro’ feel and the brilliant storylines- he says that the culprit is always the one he never suspected and that the series is psychological and totally unpredictable. He also likes the clash of personalities and methods of the coppers in the series. He finds it interesting to see people’s different ‘attitudes towards criminals’ and also finds it ‘quite funny to see the character’s bicker’.

(The fantastic British detective series, Life on Mars, with it’s main cast)

‘Fringe’– He likes the US series because it is ‘very confucing’ and deals with supernatural themes that ‘challenge your brain’.

Novels

The novels Gordon enjoys are as follows:

‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s nest’ by Ken Kesey– he likes the psychological aspects of the book and the deep description of the novelist.

‘Regeneration’ by Pat Barker– He says that it is interesting to read about the mental illnesses of shell shocked WW1 soldiers…he says it was ‘different to what I’d usually read, and quite tense in parts’.

(Pat Barker’s novel on the soldier’s mental health during and after WW1 )

‘Firestarter’ by Stephen King– He says he liked this book because it was supernatural and thrilling to read. With also aspects of crime and the FBI

(the king of horror’s Firestarter…a novel about people with supernatural powers)

‘Maximum Ride series’ by James Patterson– Gordon says he enjoyed reading this book when he was a teenager because they were like thrillers in ‘their own right- but more of an action/supernatural thriller than a clever one’.

Music

Although Gordon isn’t a  big fan of music he says he loves David Bowie because he ‘sings songs that can mess with your brain…I’ve always like Bowie’s songs because they’re so…clever is the only word. Any one can listen to his lyrics and instantly feel something, an emotion or a glimmer of a memory…that’s why I like him’. When asked for his favourite song of the artist, Gordon said either ‘Life On Mars’ (because of the great lyrics) or ‘The Heart’s Filthy Lesson’ (because it messes with your head).

He is also a fan of Nickelback, R.E.M, Linkin Park and generally any soft rock music. He sometimes listens to music channels, but not often, and if he does it is on Kerrang! or Q.

Favourite celebrities

Gordon lists his favourite celebs as:

John Simm (actor) – Because he plays a good detective character and usually takes on roles which are clever and linked with crime and law.

 (talented British actor John Simm is well known for his part in Life on Mars as DI Sam Tyler)

Kevin Spacey (actor)- Gordon likes the American actor because he can ‘play a great physcopath…just look at Se7en if you want to see my point’. Gordon says that Spacey’s role as John Doe was the ‘best depiction the film could have hoped for’.

 (Spacey is well known for his brilliant acting as the pyschopath John Doe in Se7en)

David Fincher (director)- Makes good ‘clever thrillers’ so Gordon says. He likes the directors specific style he uses in his films.

So, what does this example tell me?

This example gives me a good idea of what type of person would enjoy my opening if it was made into a full length film. It’s a good thing to consider this as it tells me who my target market/audience is most likely to be. Which is someone who enjoys thriller/horror/drama films, mystery/detective/crime TV programmes and the same genres of books. It lets me know what type of person my film would be likely to attract.

characters/actors/soundtracks and so on…..

•April 7, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Well I thought I’d list, since I’ve pretty much finished my two minute opening, I’d list all the things I’d put in my film IF I made it into a WHOLE film…like which actors would I use (within my own limit). And then which would I use if I was a big hollywood director with all the money in the world to hire any actor I wanted ….

And then the same with sound…what I used in the background…And then what I WOULD have used IF I had the money and IF there was no issues about copyright 🙂

So….Actors…..

Well, luckily for me, I didn’t really need to use any actors in my two minute opening. Well, I only used one and that was my friend, Naomi. And that was only for her hands.

I chose her because she lives nearby and was really easy to get over and do filming with. She’s also a very trustworthy and close friend, one who will trust my descisions and basically do what I tell her to do! She can also take critisisms without it scaling into an argument and losing precious filming time. So that’s why I chose her.

But…If I was going to film the rest of my film…on a limited budget…this would be my selected cast and reasons:

Male Lead (Max Tyler) – My brother.

 I would use my brother for this role because he fits my interuptation of the character. He is also tall (6 foot 3) and could be seen as quite intimidating on screen. He is also the same age as the character (in his twenties). In acting terms he would be easy to reach and communicate with, being my brother, and would probably understand my descisions on filming without a clash of personalities.

Female Lead (detective Kitty White) – a friend.

Although this friend, who I’ve let be unnamed because I feel it”s more appropiate too, is too young for the role, I would probably choose her. This is because she is very mature in her nature, and also very intelligent, so I believe she could be passable for someone much older. Also, she is a very keen drama enthusiast, and I’ve seen her act before…so I know she would be very convincing and would play her part well. Also, being a friend, I think she would take critisms (although I doubt with her skills of acting there would be any) well and listen to them and take note of what to do.

Welll, on the other hand…if I had lots of money I would choose……

Male Lead (Max Tyler) – paddy considine

I would choose Paddy Considine. Mainly because he is English, (and my film would be English) and is a good actor, if not very well known. He is also quite young (36 years of age) and from previous films he has been in (such as Dead Man’s Shoes, where he played the leading role, pictured below) I know that he can played dark and disturbed characters very well. This is why I would choose him, because I think he’d be able to play the male lead better than most.

Female Lead- (detective Kitty White)- Keeley Hawes

I think I’d choose Keeley Hawes for the role of the female lead because she is a talented British actress, being in many British TV drama’s such as ‘Ashes to Ashes’ (which is currently being aired on the BBC). And I htink her previous role’s have contributed towards my choice. Because in the series she plays a detective, I think she would find it easy to play the role, as this character is a detective also. Also, in ‘Ashes to Ashes’ Keeley plays a character with a personality much similar to the one in my film, and therefore I think she would be a perfect choice. (A picture of the actress is on the left).

So, there are my choices….frankly I think this was a helpful task. It helped me think about my characters and who I would choose if I had the money or time or whatever. So…it hepled me think about the characters in more detail and therefore my plot in more detail. Overall it helped me to think rationally about who I’d choose and why.

Soundtracks

Well, in my opening I chose a song called ‘Silent Eninity’. I chose this soundtrack because it was copyright free, which we were specified make sure any sound was, and because I thought it fitted my piece and genre well. It is entirely intrusmental, and has a very low and sorrowful beat, reflecting the feelings I intend to create in my audience through my two minute piece.

Soundtrack I would have chose if copyright and budget wasn’t a problem…

Well…I’m quite stuck…I’ve realised it’s quite hard to determine what would ‘fit’ into my film…but I think either of these two songs would have done fine…

David Bowie- Life on Mars

Well, I chose this song because it is quite confusing, like my plot and most thrillers in general. It also references to law in the lyrics: ‘Take a look at the law man beating up the wrong guy’

These suggest that policeman’s ideas and assumptions on people they believe to be criminals aren’t always correct. This reflects my plot, as the audience would be made to belive that the main character is, a sense, this ‘wrong guy’ being ‘beaten up’ for a crime he didn’t commit. It would help fool the audience into believing the main charcter’s innocence when he really is guilty.. 

The lyrics of the song also reflect the female leading role:

‘It’s a God awful small affair, for the girl with the mousy hair..

But her Mummy is yelling ‘No’…and her Daddy has told her to go…

But her friend is no where to be seen, now she walks through her sunken dream..’

This reflects the feelings of confusion and disapointment in the film itself. The plot, and mainly the ending, are intended to confuse the viewer, and I think lyrics like these would help acheive this sense of confusion.

My other choice…

Alabama 3 -Too sick to Pray

Alabamapic2.jpg image by dreklyzone

I think I’d choose this soundtrack or the David Bowie song. Mainly because it reflects the main character and the issolated life he now has thanks to being falsely accused of his wife’s murder…such as the lyrics..

‘I ain’t seen the sun shine since the sixth of June…

I’m in a crowded place, and I can’t recognize a single face…’

These lyrics would help the audience realise that the main character is one that feels lonely or issolated from others, and this would lead them to ask questions and want to watch on to have them answered.

‘Easy Prey…

Don’t call the doctor, I’m gonna get better..

Don’t run for the priest, I’m gonna find some faith…

Just because I burnt my bible baby, It don’t mean…I’m too sick to pray..’

The whole song in general depicts a troubled man’s mind. He is in a state where he doesn’t know what to do or who to to call upon to help. (like my main character) but through all this, he still has ‘faith’ and a small light of hope that things will get better (which could represent my female lead).