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Media AS Evaluation

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Naeemah Essak

on 20 April 2010

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Transcript of Media AS Evaluation

AS Media Evaluation Question 1
In what ways does your media product, develop
or challenge forms and conventions of real media
products? Question 2
How does your media product represent particular social groups? Question 3
What kinds of media institution might distrubute your product and why? Question 4
Who would be the audience for your media product? Question 5
How did you attract/ address your audience? Question 6
What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product? Question 7
Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel that you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product? Here, I have used screenshots from my own thriller opening sequence and contrasted them to screen shots from the thriller "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer". "Henry" is a film that can be closely linked to ours as the plots - which revolve around real serial killer stories - are very similiar.
Our opening sequence uses various conventions of the thriller genre, whilst also using conventions that our group deemed to be appropriate for the opening.
As the title would be one of the main focus points of the opening, our group deliberated where to place the title. Initially we decided on having the title, at the end of the sequence, in white font in front of a black background, very much alike the one in "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer". However, we then decided that this would make the sequence look too much like a trailer. So we decided to keep the text in the middle of the sequence. The title is in the same font as the other credits to keep it complementary. However, the size is larger to draw in the audience's attention and to signify the importance of the title. Though the font is not used on black background, the white font is a stark contrast to the background; as is the title in "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer". However, the title in "Henry" stays immobile, we have used an jumpy effect which is reminiscent of the one used in "Se7en"; the font's jumpy effect directly translate to the unstable mindset of the antagonist. Establishing the location in a way appropriate way for the audience is another method we needed to incorporate into the finished sequence. The opening shot we decided would be a long shot, to establish the setting of the film. Thus, opening shot is of a busy suburb, this gives a false sense of security to the audience, until the antagonist comes into view. The opening shot is shown in the 5th screenshot. Nelson Road can be roughly split into 3 segments, depending on the location the protagonist is in: the cafe, the train station and the Heath. Each area is more isolated than the last, building up tension. This can be seem to be similar to "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer", where Henry is going about a town, including a cafe. However, the shots of Henry are interlinked with shots of graphic dead bodies, whom Henry has presumably killed. In Nelson Rd. death is only insinuated. The costumes and props used in films are essential in determine the genre of the film, or even able to set the atmosphere of a scene. For Nelson Road, we attempted to portray the characterisation and the outcome of the opening by using costumes and props.
The costume for both the characters was thought about in advance. For Sophie, the female protagonist, we had decided she would wear something bright, to initially warn the audience that she was in danger. The colours white, or yellow were chosen. In the end yellow was picked as the colour was a bright colour and able to convey her bright personality. Also, as we wanted to highlight her young age, the colour also connoted youthfulness. Furthermore, though we thought white was a colour able to represent her innocence, yellow could represent her "sullied" innocence. As, Sophie turns the audience see a "V" cut out of the back of her top. The V could represent her sexuality. We decided on reinforcing conventions by having the antagonist dressed in dark, sombre clothing. Dark clothing is also used by Norman Bates in "Psycho". Moreover, the antagonist wears an oversized jacket which obscures his form, creating an aura of mystery and enigma. This contrasts with Henry, who wears bland, neutral clothing to blend in with his surroundings. We also used props in the opening. The most significant one is shown in the last screenshot. It is a pink milkshake; we had thought that this would further reinforce the idea of the protagonist's youth and feminity. When the sequence first opens up, the audience become aware of the characters. We show the antogonist watching Sophie and her friend, thus effectively introducing the characters. This is an important in establishing the antagonist, as well as the protagonist. Sophie, the protagonist is instantly identifiable due to her bright clothing, as opposed to her friend who is wearing neutral colours allowing her to blend in with the background. The opening sequence can be related to that of "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer", as both show the main character carrying on with daily life, implementing elements of normalcy into otherwise gruesome tales.
Another area of consensus between both openings is of the stalker themes running throughout; in Nelson Road, the antagonist follows Sophie, and in the 3rd screenshot of "Henry", the audience can see Henry watching what may perhaps be his next victim. Here, I have contrasted Henry, the antagonist from "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer", and the antagonist from my own thriller "Nelson Road".
We have shown the antagonist to be a rather mysterious figure, and not much is shown to the audience regarding him. This is a stark contrast to "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer", as the film is shown from his point of view. We have used factors such as costume design and camera angles to create his character. The costume is an integral part of creating the characterisation for a character. As stated in the previous question, alot of thought went into designing the costume for both characters. The antagonist is almost completely swamped in the clothes that he wears, creating mystery about his appearance. The large oversized jacket and hood help to obscure his identity.
Also, the dark colour palette of the costume reflect his dark personality. In western culture, the colour black is associated with death and mourning, showing this to be an omen about the protagonist's fate. Though there are surface similarities between Henry and our antagonist - including their characters being based on real life serial killers, and the deranged state of mind - Henry's costume does not reflect this. Henry wears general everyday clothes, such as shirts in neutral colours, this is how he blends in. Also another antagonist that is at odds with our own is The Joker from The Dark Knight. The Joker's deranged personality is obvious from his costume: the haphazard face paint, and brightly coloured clothing. The protagonist is a female character, as this fits in with conventions of female victims in thrillers. It also fits in with Propp's theory. Propp identifies set character types, and the heroine or the "damsel in distress", is a recurring role in all genres. As with the antagonist, Sophie's costume helped us when representing her character. As stated in the previous question the colour palette was used to highlight the traits of her character. The yellow colour is a bright colour that could forewarn the audience that Sophie is in danger. Furthemore, the colour yellow places emphasis on her youth and carefree nature. It is also significant that we chose yellow instead of white, as this represents her sullied innocence - or the loss of Sophie's chaste character. Also, it is notable that we chose for Sophie to wear a top with a "V" cut out. The "V" can stand for her sexuality which also may be an omen. The V has also been used in popualar media therefore, is identifiable for our target audience. This is our production logo. It appears in the beginning of the sequence, as from our research, we found that this was a recurring theme in all the thrillers we watched.
The title "Whitton Dene Productions" appears in white against a black background. We believed that the appearance needed to be sombre to appear professional and also to fit in with the genre. The name itself, is quite unique. Our group decided that instead of having our initials as a production name, we would have a place name. The area Whitton is also close to where we shot the film, so the name felt quit apt. Production companies are in charge of the production process of a film. The production process consists of pre-production, production itself and post-production. The people involved at this stage are: the producer, screenwriter, director, cast and crew, as well as the editing and music team. Other examples of production companies include Working Title who have produced Billy Elliot, Shaun of the Dead and Love Actually, and WARP films, an independant production company behind This Is England. After the production of the film comes the distribution process. Distribution is also made up of different areas. The release date is set after much deliberation, marketing, a press campaign, getting the film to the cinema and a relatively new addition: digital distribution. Distribution companies are usually large companies that have access to cinemas on a national or even international scale.
One such example of a large distribution is the conglomerate Universal Pictures. Not only does the business distribute, but due to the structure being vertically intergrated. This means that the company owns different stages of prodution, so as well as distributing Universal can produce and market films. Universal would not be interested in distributing our film as it is a small scale, amateur film very different from their usual films which include: Mamma Mia, Brokeback Mountain and The Bourne Ultimatum. In my opinion the distribution companies most likely to distribute our films would also be small independant companies. Furthermore certain distribution companies will promote films with a certain genre, so finding one pomoting thrillers or social realism would be useful.
One distribition company we could use is Guerilla Films. Since 1999 the company has been committed to distributing British and Irish films throughout the UK and Northern Ireland. As their films generally focus on edgy plots our film would be ideal. Also, the company has been able to distribute their films to major cinemas and license them to larger companies such as the BBC, Channel 4 and Fox FX. Some of their films include: Silent Grace, following the struggles of women for political involvement in the Republican Party; Night People and White Angel, a serial killer thriller. Another company we could perhaps use is Blue Dolphin. This distribution company has been distributing for 25 years, including the likes of West Side Story and Mean Streets. However, as this company has dealt with big Hollwood titles and critically acclaimed directors, they would probably not look into an amateur production. Funding for films is an issue that independant production companies. Other production companies such as Working Title, that are part of conglomerates, have no need to worry about funding. For example, Working Title gets upto $35 million per film.
However, small inderpendant productions such as Whitton Dene Productions would most probably find funding from the National Lottery and the UK Film Council. Furthermore, financial support from companies such as BBC Films and Film4. As part of our research into the thriller genre, my group and I watched various thrillers. Whilst watching these thrillers we were able to identify key roles that were named in the credits. After we identified the most common roles, we decided on what we thought were important to incorporate into our credits. These roles incuded the generic titles (such as director, cast and producer), as well as others such as costume and screenplay. My target audience would be adolescents, between the ages of 15-21. I believe that more mature adoloescents could understand the adult themes of the sequence. I have chosen to use Emily Fitch from the tv series Skins to represent a member of our target audience. This is as she fits into the age group. Also, as she does not look too "mainstream", and in my opinion conventional teenagers would not choose to watch our film due to its gruesome nature and its amateurness. We used different methods to attempt to keep the audience's attention, as is shown: This screenshot would attract our audience, as the opening shot establishes the urban backdrop of the film. Furthermore, the antagonist instantly adds suspense to the sequence. Moreover, the female protagonist, whom the audience can identify with, is shown. Throughout, the production process of the sequence I used a vareity of equipment: MAC computer Video Camera Tripod This shot further shows the urban atmosphere of the sequence, appealing to the urban audiences. As our audience would be those who enjoy thrillers, they would enjoy the suspense of watching Sophie enter the dark alleyway. This shot also would appeal to the urban aspect, as well as injectting an element of social realism into the sequence due to the unattractive background. This shot shows Sophie entering the train platform. The eeryness of the music paired with the stark branches of the tree, build tension within the audience. The tree braches forebode what is to follow later on in the sequence. This scene would appeal to the audience as the isolation of the Heath, further builds up tension and desertedness of the Heath contrasts with the urban atmosphere of the Cafe scene. In this shot, it shows the action between the stalker and Sophie. Again, the bare trees are the focal point of the shot, this adds a sense of mystery and ominous end to the sequence. 1) Blogger: This is the website on which we created our blogs and recorded our progress from research to the planning and actual production of the sequence.
2)YouTube: On this video-sharing site, we uploaded our preliminary task, sequence and audience research, so that they could be embedded onto our blogs.
3) Facebook: Our group used Facebook to create a Facebook page, related to our media work. This was useful as we were able to use it for audience research, feedback and to generate ideas from our target audience.
4) SurveyMonkey: this is the website we used to create the survey we then used for audience research.
5) GarageBand: We used GarageBand to create our own music, that would be suitable for our sequence. This was to make sure that it was not copyrighted. We also used this to add voiceovers. W learnt about the loops, how to use the microphones etc.
6)LiveType: One feature of FinalCut, we used this to add the credits into the sequence. FinalCut is useful as it allowed us to create more complex titles with a vareity of fonts and effects.
7)iMovie & FinalCut: We used these two peices of software, to edit our sequence, with FinalCut being more advanced than iMovie. We used the softwares foe various purposes: to cut unwanted sections, to mute or increase volume of sections, we changed the contrasts etc. to get the effect needed. I personally feel that as a group we have learnt quite a bit in regards to camera angles and editing. From our preliminary task, we showed basic understanding of simple techniques and in our opening sequence, we expanded on these. The 180 degree Rule and
Shot/ Reverse Shot In our preliminary task we attempted to use the 180 degree rule and shot/. reverse shot in conjunction.
As is shown by these two screenshots, the shot/ reverse shot has been completed sucessfully as the both characters are in the shot, one facing the camera, the other's back to it. Also, by keeping the camera on oneside of a "line", we were also able to use the 180 degree rule.
Both these techniques are used to show the reaction of a character, as is shown correctly. However, the preliminary task shows that our framing was not correct, and needed working on. Match on Action In our sequence, we decided that it would be easier to use each technique seperately.
The first two screenshots show the 180 degree rule, with both the characters on view. This is a much clearer version of the rule.
The second two shots show the shot/ reverse shot. As compared with the one used in the prliminary task, this is a clearer and better framed example. In our preliminary task we attempted to show the match-on-action rule. However, this was jerky, and did not seem professional. This is an example from our sequence of match on action. In the first shot, Sophie turns around to face the stalker, and in the second shot we have used match-on-action to show the stalker. In the sequence, the rule is more fluent and a less noticeable change.
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