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Thriller evaluation

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Harley Evans

on 28 April 2010

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Transcript of Thriller evaluation

Thriller evaluation: The Neurotic In what ways or forms dies your thriller opening, develop or challenge forms and conventions of existing thriller openings? My group’s thriller ‘the neurotic’ is inspired by many films. The main inspiration came from David Fincher's thriller 'se7en', this thriller uses shot quick cut extreme close up’s and a bold eroded font to create an eerie film opening. The location ideas where inspired by the French thriller l’homme du train and the film noir ‘strangers on a train. We found the idea of transport very useful as it connotes many different ideas about running away, a sense of the unknown and the powerful idea of insignificance in a new location. We chose to use train’s as they are easily accessible and because of the many ideas which can be linked to them. The soundtrack combined with the short video clips creates a foreboding sense and makes our opening very mysterious and unpredictable. In this shot you can see that we also used a bold eroded font. I personally feel this font sends off all the correct meanings for our thriller opening. As the eroded element connotes the delicate state of the characters minds. Or the falling apart of our male characters sanity. We used a large amount of editing in the male characters sequences to give the desired effect emphasis. In all the shots we took away all colour and transferred them into monochrome and increased the contrast hugely, this created high definition in the light and dark areas of the shot. The mise-en-scene in this shot is basic. We used a simple office light to plunge the character into darkness to add enigma. The only other visible aspects are books and sheets of paper creating the illusion of an office. We tried to use the rule of thirds in this shot, which I feel was very effective as it gives a very negative feel to this shot. In our thriller opening we used a dark croaky voice over to generate a creepy and menacing feel which worked very successfully. However the recording equipment we used wasn’t of high quality so the voice over isn’t of fantastic quality. We got the inspiration for the voice over from the drug thriller ‘Layer cake’ We continued using jump cuts and fast editing throughout the opening this was to keep the action fast paced and exciting for the audience. This shot has once again been edited with the high contrast monochrome effect to give dark and light added emphasis. This shot reveals slightly more of the male characters face; however we never fully reveal this characters face in the opening to create enigma and mystery. And keep the audience enthralled. When we introduce our secondary female character ‘Eve’. We used a mid shot and panned to follow the characters movement. We also added a tilt to this shot to break the conventions of boring slow paced mid shot. For the Eve’s scenes we used full colour shots with no editing and fully ambient lighting to create a natural realistic. Our thriller is an independent style film even though we used mainstream thrillers for inspiration. The train station had very interesting architecture which helped reinforce the eerie feeling of our opening. The train station also connotes lots of other ideas about leaving, running away or escaping. When the colour shots are mixed with the monochrome shots it implies the idea that the monochrome shots are in the past, flashbacks are a very traditional convention of thrillers as they allow directors to elaborate on the plot line. This shot is very effective; we used an extreme close up of the male character writing about the female character ‘eve’ and how he must find her. By writing this small section on paper it meant we didn’t have to use dialogue or a voice over to convey what we wanted the audience to see. The male characters finger nails are very dirty making him appear rough and rugged. This makes us see him in a different light. This helps with characterization and makes the audience see him as a strong man who works with his hands. When editing this shot we used the time stretch tool and compressed this shot to make the running time shorter however I personally think that this makes this shot look tacky and poorly constructed. Continuing the male characters short sequence. We introduce a new shot of the characters hand. We used multiple shots featuring this characters hands and arms to imply that the character uses his hands and he is strong and masculine. This shot is dominated by the mise-en-scene of the office. This contradicts the idea of a strong man labouring man, and makes the audience think twice about this character. The large amount of memory sticks and computer accessories imply this character is also clever and up to date with technology making him seem more menacing. The large font saying super nova productions, reads the title of our imaginary production company. When shooting our male characters scene we noticed random sections of text pasted onto the wall, we saw this section and agreed it was very appropriate in our thriller opening, so we took an extreme close up of it and added a shaky effect to make it more unstable, as we want to portray our male character as unstable. In our thriller opening we have used lots of different ways to transfer the story to the audience. The most unconventional way was through using text and writing; this not only adds a particularly eerie effect to the opening but also breaks up the action and makes it different to what the audience would expect. This shot features a very film noir sheik, through using the shadow or silhouette, with the increased contrast this looks very effective and it keeps the enigma of this character very high, as we still haven’t revealed who this character is. This is a very conventional shot and can be found frequently in film noir style films, such as the third man or china town. Thus making this particular scene very conventional. This shot is a very unusual low angle close up of ‘Eve’s’ feet walking through a train ticket terminal. This shot is very interesting and isn’t commonly used in thriller films. This shot uses enigma to generate the question ‘where is she going? And why?’ this shot also differentiates from many of the others as we usually hand held the camera to add a shaky effect to represent instability with the characters. However this shot is perfectly balanced and stable. The dress sense of this characters is very basic and of simple measures. We decided we wanted to have young characters and we wanted them to fit in with regular teenagers, so we used high street costumes. This shot is very interesting as it features lots of hidden connotations which will hopefully will be picked up by the audience. The flame instantly draws the viewers attention, as it is bright and in the centre of the frame. The fire represents the danger of this character and the consequences of using this character ‘if you keep playing with fire, one day you will get burnt’ is the best way to describe the meaning behind the lighter. The keys are also very dominant in this image, and the keys represent opening doors and finding answers and engage the audience with why this character is the way he is. In this shot we show Eve walking down the outside of the train heading towards the door. We shot this scene on a very sunny day, which is ironic as the weather is beautiful and is the total opposite of the dark menacing theme we wanted to convey. This breaks the conventions of main stream thrillers and the majority of independent. However we were able to use the lighting to create interesting light effects take the large beam of light half hiding eve’s face. The bars she walks past also give the illusion of a prison cell, this was to imply the idea of being trapped by her past memories, and this contradicts the idea of running away and creates an ironic sense. This shot was taken from aboard the train, we decided to use this shot as it shows bleak surrounding and the desolate plains. This gives the audience a sense of what eve is feeling, isolation. We again used the sun to create interesting beams of light across the screen. This particular shot is also very grey and dull giving a depressing tone to this sequence. A cantered close up is used here to show Eve and her reflection sitting on the train. This shot is effective because of the reflection, which is very faded against the background, generating the idea of Eve loosing herself. When casting for Eve we chose to use Sarah because she has dark hair and dark eyes this gives the impression of mortality or foreboding. The sun streams through the window and highlight’s Eve’s face however in the reflection the characters face is very dark, implying she has a good side and an evil side, but the good side is more dominant. Once again we have used an extreme close up of the male characters hand to reinforce the idea of a masculine hard working character. This time we have focused on the characters watch, we decided to do this as it creates the idea that he or Eve is against the clock. The heavy shadows make this scene look very effective and half of the image is almost in total darkness. By using the rule of thirds we could easily create a dominant feeling or make something or someone appears dominant to the rest of the mise-en-scene. The close up of Eve’s face shows her fear of what she will face on her journey to the unknown. We have once again used the rule of thirds in this sequence and by only placing Eve in one third of the shot we can make her appear vulnerable or insignificant to the world around her. The mise-en-scene is very pale and there are no obvious attention drawers making it difficult to anticipate what is going to happen throughout the film. This shot of the trains interior reveals how packed the train is and how physically Eve is not alone however mentally she is isolated. This mid shot is very generic and seen commonly in other thrillers. However we held the camera by hand in this shot to create an eerie motion to show the instability of Eve’s mind. Here we used a tripod to set up a long shot of a train passing the station, the high speed of the train and the noise of the train’s horn reinforce the location and make it clear she is at a train station. The angle in which we shot this shows the tracks in the distant disappearing into a vanishing point. This encourages the idea that eventually everything becomes nothing and that eventually nothing will be left. Here we use an extreme close up of the male character yet still not revealing the entire face. This shot is very eerie because the character is looking directly into the viewers eyes. The monochrome effect combined with he high contrast has made the characters eyes appear almost black giving a very sinister effect to the character. We also see the character is very young, much younger than the audience would have anticipated Generally thriller films use characters with very defined and textured faces; however we have gone against usual conventions and used very young characters. Therefore relating to an entirely different audience. Again we have used the simple office light to great effect combined with a clever zooming technique we managed to make a successful shuddering image where the light goes in and out of focus. This light was an extremely useful prop as we could use it to create the non ambient lighting for the male characters scenes but we could also use it as a subject for filming. We reshot the piece of paper that the male character wrote on from a different angle and we got a whole new perspective. We see the dirty hand of the male and again begin to wander who this character is and what they want with the character eve. This shot doesn’t use the usual dark mise-en-scene but instead uses several bright items which have a bright effect and contradict the images dark outer. Again we have used a cantered long shot of the train tracks to reveal a very distant vanishing point. The sun was still shinning so to make the most of the unwanted ambient lighting we used the sun to create glare which caused this large beams of light, we weren’t aware of how successful this would be until we saw the end result. The burst of light has half hidden the frame connoting a religious idea of following the tracks into ‘the light’ These next few shots were inspired by ‘strangers on a train’ and the clever way they create enigma and suspense by using close ups of body parts. The male character begins to open a door, but to where the door goes, the audience have no idea as he opens it to black. We used this darkness as a scene transition and linked it to the next shot. Here we see a close up of the ticket going into the ticket terminal. We now begin to question whether the character Eve has arrived or not. The mise-en-scene of this shot is very metallic and continues to develop the idea of being trapped or incarcerated. This shot is heavily influenced by ‘strangers on a trains’ walking sequence were we see two pairs of feet walking towards one another. We decided to do a similar idea. However positioned the feet walking one after the other to create the idea of a chase. The non ambient lighting works very effectively and is very generic in the thriller genre. The shows walking in one direction again create enigma into where the character is going and why they are going there. The title then appears and the voice over begins to wind down. The lighting for this shot is extremely effective and creates a very effective shadow over the characters feet, and the title looks very dominant in the dark section of the shot. The eroded font heavily reveals a lot about the characters state of mind. This male character still hasn’t been revealed to the audience and the suspense of who this character is becoming very high. The characters costume looks very tatty as we can see from the shoes as they are ripped and torn at the seams. This looks very spooky and tells us this character doesn’t particularly care how they look. The voice over then ends and the images die out to reveal a dark still screen where the title is clearly dominant. This is a very generic convention of thriller films as it is very effective and clear to the audience. How does your thriller opening represent particular social groups? Our thriller opening refers to a very small amount of social groups; this is because we didn’t take it into account when planning. However we do cover several aspects of the groups we did cover. Our thriller required two characters a male and a female. We wanted them to be young so we chose mid teens. This means that a large group of teenagers can relate to the characters trials and tribulations. The age group we aimed to represent was 16 to 17 year olds which we successfully achieved through the characters we cast. Both of our characters were middle class, white British teenagers. Therefore we didn’t represent any other culture or race, which is very close minded and would reduce the amount of people watching or agreeing with the political correctness of the film. We used high street costume to take our characters closer to the target audience and used realistic local accents. When filming the thriller opening we didn’t discuss stereotypes and therefore we have challenged some stereotypes and some are very generic. The female character Eve is the victim and is portrayed to be vulnerable and weak which is in many ways a very stereotypical representation of women. The male character however follows the stereo type being rugged and having dirty hands which represent he is a labourer and works with his hands, however this character is very young and usually an older generation would be playing this role as an evil character would generally have a very textured face with strong detailing. And the age of this male character reduces the stereotypical aspect. We loosely included religious ideas through several shots. The main one being This shot as it connotes religious ideas of stepping into the light. The track represents the journey to heaven and the light represents heaven itself. However this is the only real connotation of religion. We represented good and evil through several different methods. One being monochrome editing with high contrast to create a huge divides between light and dark; this would connote the thin line between good and evil. We also used much more subtle ways of showing good and evil In this image we use the reflection and the ambient lighting to show good and evil. In reality Eve’s face is well lit and her outline is bold, but in the reflection her face is dark and her outline very pale. This implies that she perhaps has an underlying dark side. The chiaroscuro lighting we used in the male characters scenes was a very effective way to use light and dark to represent good and evil. As we wanted this character to be evil we used mainly darkness, and abided by the rule of thirds and used darkness to consume two thirds of the screen. In conclusion I think that our group failed to address enough racial, social, religious and age groups and if we were to re do our thriller opening then I think we would have included much more content suitable for a large audience demographic.

What kind of media institution might distribute your thriller and why? Our thriller is very independent so to gain media coverage and to get into the public spotlight we would have to begin at the bottom and generate fans, win film competitions and enter the film into new media websites. As our thriller is independent starting off is very difficult as mainstream films are already signed with a production company and a distribution company where as independent directors have to establish the links themselves. To begin with we would post our thriller opening onto YouTube and other various new media websites. The internet has made it possible to distribute a film to a massive audience for relatively no money at all. Other popular new media websites may include 4od created by channel 4 television. BBC I player created by the British broadcasting corporation. These websites allow you to interact with your viewers, they can give feedback to the film you posted making this websites very critical but also very useful if you can conquer them. Another very effective way to help get your thriller known would be to start a fan page on a social networking site such as ‘Face book’ because a huge majority of the global audience has access to this website therefore if you film can generate attention from this site, then the film will have a huge fan base, and public support backing the release. If you attract enough attention to your thriller opening then it is easy to take it to the next stage of gaining the public support to produce this film. A secondary way to attract an audience and generate public support is film festivals. Film festivals are places for film lovers and smaller production companies to find out about new upcoming actors and film directors. If your film is successful at a film festival then there are many different types of awards you can win these will gain attention from the media universe and your film will be one step closer to being a public phenomenon . There are also online film festivals or competitions where you can enter your film, the prize could vary from a production deal or even more wanted attention from the media. Our thriller would need to go through these processes to get attention from the audience demographic. By starting from new media websites getting feedback and making your video viral and exceedingly popular. Then taking your critically acclaimed film and entering it into a film festival or completion. There are several small independent film producers who could possibly produce our thriller. Verve pictures are a small production company who have produced films like ‘Red Road’. Warp production is also a small independent production company who would be likely to produce and distribute our thriller. If our thriller was to be exhibited then it would most likely be shown through the picture house branch of cinemas as they are renowned for showing independent style films. Vue cinemas and Odeon cinemas are very much mainstream and would reject our film, as it is not to the style of what the audience would expect from a conventional thriller. Our thriller opening could qualify for a short film competition on an online film competition website. The idea behind these websites is to generate media coverage for unknown, undiscovered film directors. Who would be the target audience for your thriller opening? Our target audience was the middle class people aged between 16 to 25 because these peopled can relate and connect with the characters as they are of similar ages. We are trying to attract people of this age group because they may like our unconventional thriller and will not be shocked by the eerie plot line or intimidating characterization. The issues we raise are very dark and people have to be prepared for this. We aim it at the young British public because of the locations and the strong local accents. And lack of expensive editing and filming equipment. Female characters will be drawn to Eve’s character as they will support her and want her to do well and stay away from danger. The age of this character connects well with the large British audience. Male members of the audience will dislike the male character in our thriller opening as the character is a very dark and evil portrayal of adolescent men. Making them connect with this characters mistakes. When deciding on the target audience I produced several interviews, the results can be found in the audience research section of my blog. This research helped me greatly as I found that the majority of people would much rather see a mainstream production. When planning the thriller we were originally thinking about making a mainstream thriller but there were far too many conventions to stick to, so we thought that we would make an independent thriller that can relate to a larger audience. We asked many peers of what style of film they watched and a vast amount said that they watched thriller style films. And we took this on board and decided that we would aim our thriller at a younger age group of 16-25 year olds. How did you attract/address your audience? We addressed our target audience through many different aspects through the actors the voice over and the issues we raised with our plot line. The first large indication of how we addressed our target audience is through the actors, the actors were of male and female British teenagers. This addressed our target audience through all areas. Both of our actors where 16 years of age, as our target audience was 16-25 this very closely reflects the age of the viewers. The audience will be able to place themselves in our characters positions and feel the emotion portrayed. The voice over is recorded by a 16 year old boy, which is quite clear to tell, this is yet another indication of the target audience. The accent of the boy is also reasonably strong making this film more familiar to a British audience. Being independent made it easier to film and cast for the actors as we wanted to attract and address a young British audience which I think we did successfully as the actors show the age and have the correct accents and tones to relate to a British audience. The issues we raised also relate to our target audience because we tackle the issue of a relationship break up. This relates to our audience as relationships never last and this tackles the complicated, difficult situation of heart break. This situation is very common however we have taken it to the extreme and haven’t resolved it as it would usually be tackled. The costume is yet another indication of the target audience. Because we have used simple high street fashion which can be purchased by the public very easily from a high street name such as ‘top shop or top man’ The costume choice was very simple because we were on an extremely low budget so we dressed our characters with items the actors already had. Making it easy for the target audience to relate too. What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing your opening? Through researching producing editing and filming our thriller I have learnt lots of new information about technologies and ways in which technological convergence and the new media world has made our lives much easier. The new media interface has greatly improved all aspects of our thriller, through specifically designed websites and feedback methods. Firstly Blogger a blogging website owned by Google, has hugely helped me archive all of my media work dating back to the very beginning. Blogging is a relatively new process where anyone in the world can post their thoughts in text form, Photo, video or even audio. Blogger is an amazing introduction to the new media universe. You can post any digital format work onto it and can get instant feedback from other students and teachers. New media is basically a way in which the audience can give feedback and talk directly to the original creator. Blogger is a very easy way to organize all work as it uses labels and links to join all types of work and styles of ‘posts’ with ease, making it very simple to use and divulge all thought into. Blogger helped our thriller production as we could post all of our planning to our blogs and instantly get feedback from teachers and peers criticising weak points and complementing positive points which helped a huge amount in the plot line and the editing styles. The second largest help was YouTube another website earned by Google. YouTube is an online video sharing website, where people upload music film and television programmes. This website is so useful because it is one of the pioneers of the new media world. And has an excellent feedback community with all of the users. YouTube greatly helped with the research and also into visualising clips and extracts from existing films. We can find an opening or a sequence from a film we like and embed it into our blog to transfer the ideas we want. YouTube is also a great way to research a soundtrack as you can see what is popular and what isn’t you can also post your own media and instantly get feedback as to what is effective and what isn’t. YouTube also has a related video’s section, when watching a video at the end a small thumb nail cycle appears of all similar videos this is useful when researching existing films and soundtracks. Another very popular string of websites is ‘social networking sites’ these sites link audience members with their friends and have an effortless way to pass on information. Social networking sites include websites such as face book and MySpace. These two are the most popular; MySpace has heavily influenced music advertisement and makes it very easy to discover unsigned artists. Which helped with finding a non copyrighted soundtrack? Face book has ‘fan pages’ or ‘groups’ if you create a group for your thriller opening and attach the video to this page and send an invite to your existing friends, a viral effect takes place as friends will send it to their friends, and very quickly you have a mass advertisement campaign for free. This method helps as you can get simultaneous feedback and learn what the audience thinks about your particular product. Another way, in which our thriller has become easier to produce, is the technology we used. We used a simple video tape recorder. This was light and hand held meaning it was easy to carry around and very easy to take to any location. This type of camera is also very affordable meaning low budget directors can easily afford adequate equipment. However the camera we used recorded to a small compact film reel, this technology is almost obsolete now as everything is digital. You can now purchase pocket sized HD video cameras for a very low price, these record straight into digital format meaning you don’t have to capture on a computer. Here is a ‘Samsung u10’ this is very small and produces 1080p HD footage. This is the next step in low budget recording. We used an editing programme made by adobe. The software was very detailed and had many tools which were effective and useful for editing our thriller. However the cameras reduced the effect of the software, as the cameras didn’t recorded onto a digital format we had to capture all the footage onto the computer this lost some of the original quality. However the editing software has many features and the most effective were the scene transitions where you could create your own or use generic transitions such as cross dissolve or fade to black. The software was very simple to use and very easy to pick up. It also has a ‘tip’ mode where you can learn the different functions of the tools. The simple interface and clever development made it easy to edit our thriller. Technology has made producing a low budget film very easy, and with the development of the new media world online. It is very easy to get feedback and learn what you are doing wrong to what you are doing right. The development of camera has defiantly taken a step forward and if we were to shoot our thriller again we would use newer better quality cameras to make our thriller even more effective. However the development of technology and technical convergence has already greatly simplified the production process and made film producing much easier.

Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product? My preliminary task was of very basic camera shots and angles, and didn’t feature many interesting editing effects; however it did teach me very basic camera techniques and simple editing skills. When asked to film a short preliminary task film, we began planning very roughly and very unorganized; I missed out huge sections of work and placed it all in the wrong order. This taught me to keep everything organized and in order because it makes it very easy to understand where you should be and what you should be prepared for when filming. I found working in a production group very difficult when filming the preliminary task, this is because we all had very different ideas and different styles of filming and we argued allot about the effectiveness of plot lines and shot types. When filming my thriller I learnt that it is much easier if you listen to all the ideas and take aboard all the ideas and try each one out to test its effectiveness. Also to film each person’s shot idea and compare them all to see which is most effective. Working as a team is very important; especially when working in a time scale, if you coordinate your group and assign each person a different task then several jobs can be done at once, this is much more effective and increases the overall production of a groups work. During the preliminary shooting process we were taught several shooting techniques and ways to make a successful scene. The 180 degree rule was very effective and we obeyed by this rule throughout the filming of our thriller. The 180 degree rule is a way of filming a sequence and always filming to one side of the action this is to ensure the audience doesn’t become confused as to where they are or what is going on. The best example of the 180 degree rule is a football match, as the match is always filmed from one side of the pitch so the audience knows which side is shooting which way. My preliminary task used no non diegetic sound which greatly decreased its effectiveness. And I learned that at least a simple soundtrack can improve a films feel and portray a mood or tone in a scene. In the production of my thriller our group used a voice over and a simple eerie soundtrack. These were both of great effect as the voice over expanded on the existing plot line and revealed much more of our intent than the actual footage did. By adding a sound track we could easily add a tone or imply the emotion that we wanted to, a soundtrack can be a very simple or complex piece of music. We used a non diegetic soundtrack on our thriller which was very effective. Looking back at our preliminary task we didn’t plan any of the mise-en-scene we just pointed the camera and recorded. Therefore we didn’t plan costume or location we just used the school building around us. However this was effective but only in the context of our plot line. The thriller opening needed to have a planned mise-en-scene. Therefore we took all aspects into consideration the costume was planned along with the location and the lighting also. We took the mise-en-scene into a much deeper planning stage than we did with the preliminary task which was a positive idea as it was very successful and through developed mise-en-scene we developed a strong opening scene. The preliminary task had no real narrative structure making it easy to film, as we simply improvised the dialogue. Our thriller had no dialogue only a voice over, which we spent a long time developing as it had to portray the correct emotion and give off the correct feel without being inappropriate or offensive. This took a long time to perfect and was a long process in the planning of our thriller. In both the preliminary task and the thriller opening we used young actors, however the young actors were much more effective in the preliminary task as the location was a school, therefore immediately linking young characters to the scene. The thriller had young characters and to some extent they were very successful. They were successful because of the story line, which relates very much so to a younger audience and links them with the romance and the heartbreak linked with it. However being a thriller I think that the male character should have been replaced with an older male with defined facial features. As this is much more generic in a thriller film. The female character was played by a very appropriate actress and this character was very successful. The plot line for both the preliminary task and the thriller were very simple and easy to grasp. The preliminary task’s plot line was exceedingly simple and required the audience not to think at all to understand the action that is going on. This is very easy to watch and can be watched by an audience of any mood. The thriller has a slightly more complicated plot line but is also very simple to understand the plotline is so clear because the voice over makes it obvious as to what is going on and to a certain extent what the characters have been through and what is in store for the characters ahead. By having an over complicated plot lines the audience can be confused and not understand what is happening and jump to conclusions. Having an over complicated plotline is a foolish but frequent mistake and reduces a films effectiveness by a huge amount. The editing for the preliminary task was very basic and simple and didn’t require much skill, but it was still reasonably effective but it was incredibly obvious it was done by amateurs using numerous jump cuts. My thriller opening uses more refined editing skills and difficult methods of altering colours and tones and also using more complicated scene transitions such as cross dissolve. Audience feedback was a large part of development as we could quickly use ‘Blogger’ and YouTube to get access to what the audience thinks. However we didn’t do any research for our preliminary task and we didn’t focus on what they thought would be successful. When filming the thriller opening we focused much more on the audience and produced interviews and questionnaires so we could get access as to what they thought would be successful or appropriate. I learnt a large amount about film production when I produced a preliminary task film, and I took these basic skills and developed them when developing the thriller opening. The preliminary task I worked on features very basic editing and shot types. Whereas the thriller opening uses much more complex editing styles and shot angles and types. The preliminary task helped me greatly to understand the basics of producing a film and making it successful.
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