Monday, 21 March 2011

Evaluation Question 7 - Learnt Since Pre-Lim

Looking back at your preliminary task, what would you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to full product?

Before starting anything we spend a large amount of time researching into our chosen genre. We watched the openings of existing films of the same genre and comapared any themes, conventions or similarities we found within these openings with those we could find on reliable websites. This gave us a good insight into out genre (mine being slasher), and helped us whilst brainstorming for ideas, by giving us a platform to build on.

Our time management was majorly interupted by actors dropping out last minute, or not turning up without letting anyone know. However when we did manage to get everyone on set, our time management was sufficient because of the use of a call sheet and storyboard. We gave each actor a script with all the lines on so they knew what they needed to say and where they needed to come in. We also gave the actors the script as soon as we were on set so they could start learning their lines whilst we set up the camera, which would essentially save time.

On our reshoots, we have a printed version of what we needed to get done after advice from feedback. This made it alot easier to shoot because it meant that we didn't have to worry about not being able to read each others hand writing, and also that we didn't have to try remember what we needed to get done off the top of our heads, and potentially forget something.

The pitching for the pre-lim task was done once we were split into the groups that we were going to do the pre-lim task in, therefore it was much easier to get your idea across because there was no pressure of talking to whole class, whilst being timed. However during the pitches for the coursework, we were given a minute to speak which was timed to the second, and we were being filmed which put alot of pressure on the person speaking, therefore not making there pitch come across as clearly.

Our choice of possible actors was fairly small, and due to the fact that some people either didn't want to, or didn't feel comfortable infront of the camera, the choice was greatly shortened again. We decided to try find our actors from our media class, and the other media class, this however proved impossible due to everyone being so busy and everyone also helping others with their media. We then realised that our actors would have to be chosen from outside of the media class. Our actors were all discovered in different ways: - Lucy was found due to being friends with her, and because she has blonde hair (which works well with the scream queen idea) she was selected. Liam was selected by trying to think of friends that either took drama or media studies, and because Liam is studying media he was also selected. Pete was selected due to the fact that he was interested in doing some acting for us.

During the pre-lim task we didn't experience the importance of having a soundtrack. This was a drawback not realising this, because it would've given us ideas on how to structure and create the soundtrack. We do have an almost complete soundtrack, but there is nothing that we have created ourselves, all the sounds we are using at the moment are from iMovie which restricts how well they go with the moods or movements in the film.

For the pre-lim, one of the major priorities was attempting the get the continuity editting perfect on a simple task. This was fairly easily achievable and gave us an insight on how to edit the coursework task with continuity. However, when editting our first cut of the coursework task, trying to edit with continuity proved very difficult.

 For the pre-lim task we weren't required to make any idents. For the coursework task however, we were required to make two idents; one for the production company, and another for the distribution company. This was achieved via editting using LiveType; this proved fairly difficult due to the fact that we had never seen or used the program before, however we managed to create two good idents.

Evaluation Question 6 - Learning On Technologies

What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?

The first and most important technology we were given to use was iMovie. This was introduced to us during the production of our micro dramas. It's used for basic editting for low-budget films - for instance our micro dramas, pre-lim tasks and coursework task. This is one of the main programmes used throughout the production of the coursework task, because without this the shots we got whilst filming would be worthless.

A second and also important resource I used is the IMDb website which I used for research into stats including box office figures of films, and to research into companies that produced films in my genre, and also companies that distributed films.

The technologies that allowed me to share/ embed my media work (filming, podcasts, vodcasts etc), were:
  • YouTube - this allowed me to upload the footage, and share with other media students, friends and the youtube community to gain feedback on the film.
  • Scribd - this allowed me to upload documents and embed them into my blog.
  • DivShare - this gave me the oppurtunity to upload and form of media and post onto my blog for others to listen, hear or read.
  • Vimeo - this is a wesbite for the specific purpose of uploading video/ movie files and embedding to share with peers, or for the vimeo community to browse. This is a much more useful technology to use than another video sharing site for instance YouTube, because it allows acess for viewing in school.
  • LiveType - livetype was used to create both the company idents. These were the distribution company and the production company. Livetype was potentially the most difficult program to use - at first glance it's fairly confusing, but I fairly quickly got the hang of it and made the company idents.
  • Blogger - This is the technology that gave me to share my work to. Anyone can access my blog and add comments to potentially improve work. This is the most used program throughout the media project, as virtually all work done, is recorded via my blog page.
All of these technologies were used via the apple mac computer. However there are several other technologies that were the foundation stones of any practical media work.

First and foremost, we used JVC Handycams to film our project. These are easy-to-use video camcorders, which allowed us to upload straight to a PC after filming. They also used tapes as a pose to SD cards, which is to my personal preferance. We used a range of tri-pods which were used for the majority of shots during filming, due to the fact that the only other shots we could get were POV shots, as other equipment for other shots such as dolly and jib is very expensive and also unpractical for the scale of our film openings.

At the beginning of any form of filming during media lessons, we were still learning the basics of using the equipment/ technologies, however now we're much further on, and the skills that have been learnt now come naturally without thinking, as a pose to the start where they were very difficult, took a long time and were very difficult to get right.

Evaluation Question 4 - Target Audience

Who would be the audience for your media product?

After reading the rating specifications on the BBFC website, we decided the most appropriate rating would be 18. Although there is no violence, drug taking or sexual behaviour in the opening, there would be violence further on in the film and due to the fact that the group are staying in an un-used house, there would also possibly be drug parafanalia to hint that that's why they entered the house in the first place. Due to the fact that our film would be an 18, the target audience would be mainly males of 18-26. Race is not considered in the target audience as we do not think it would appeal to one race more than another.

The film would obivously appeal to people interested in the slasher genre, but also especially people that have previously enjoyed watching Friday the 13th (2008) & Halloween (1978), as these are two films that i gained inspiration for the idea of Acts of Repulsion.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Evaluation Question 3 - Distributor

The genre I have made a film opening on is the Slasher genre, which is a sub-genre of horror. Warp films is a largely respected film production comapany which has worked alongside many popular distributors, for instance Crown International Pictures and Magnolia pictures to create the 2008 slasher/ thriller film which is Donkey Punch. However, Donkey Punch was filmed in a reasonably short space of time of 3 weeks, a 'small' budget of $500,000 (this budget is only small in comparison the larger films, working with companies such as Universal Pictures). 

However Lions Gate distributed the whole of the 'SAW' series, films which worked with budgets well over $1 million, SAW 1 also gaining a box office of $18.2 million, with a total gross interest of around $55.1 million. Contrasting with this point, is the fact that much smaller companies distributed more well known films such as Halloween (1978) which was distributed by Compass International Pictures, and also Scream (1996) which was distributed by Dimension Films. Scream was given a budget of $15 million, and gained a box office of $6.3 million, whereas Halloween was only given a budget of $320,000 (no box office figures can be found for Halloween), however made $47 million gross in the US alone.

All of the examples given are clearly way out of preportion to the zero budget required to produce my film opening, however if I was to develope my film into a full scale slasher movie, then a budget would be required, although still being very small amount of money. I think warp x would be a suitable distributor to use, because they mainly offer low budgets and due to the extremely small budget of my movie, they would make a high interest.

Evaluation Question 2 - Representations

Liam plays 'Jason' the male
killed on screen.

How does your media product represent particular social groups?

My media film, the social group represented is not what would be classed as standard for a slasher film; the characters on screen are purposefully seen as more passive people with no competition for the role of alpha male. For instance the male that is killed on screen is played as a straight male who is comfortable to be seen asking his girlfriend to 'go upstairs with him'. 

Lucy, our scream queen.

However, although the role of alpha-male is not used as a stereo-type in our film, the female is an obvious 'scream queen'. If the opening were to be made into a full length film, then she would be killed towards the end. This is also bending the conventions of the typical slasher film, usually the scream queen would be the first to be killed and the last would be the 'final girl'. However the idea of mixing the final girl with the scream queen could potentially make for a more interesting end to the film.

Pete, second male in our film.

We also have another male in the film that is seen as the more passive male. He would be one of the last people to live, if not, he would survive. His role in the film is to be a slightly 'shady' and suspicious character. He doesn't have an obvious role, which could potentially increase the suspicion that he could be something to do with the murder. 

Evaluation Question 1 - Use of conventions

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

A slasher film is a sub-genre of the horror genre, it classically involves a mentally deranged killer stalking and murdering a group of victims in a graphically violent manner. This group of people are often a group of friends involving a couple (which typically are killed first due to 'sinful' acts together). They're often killed with a slicing implement such as a large knife or a scythe. 

The term "slasher" may be used as a term for a horror film involving graphical murder. However the slasher genre has its own set of characteristics which set it apart from related sub-genres, although sharing some codes and conventions with similar genres. The group of friends in a slasher movie, typically have a couple (the female being a dumb, busty, blonde girl), a single girl (usually brunette and the sober character if the film involves alcohol), a single male (who is often trying to get the girl to sleep with him) and also another single male who is friends with the single girl (he is left on his own a lot, to show that he is lonely and is only with the group because of his friend). 

janetleigh1.jpgThe order this group of friends are killed in is also typically the same; the dumb blonde being involved in the wrongful act with her boyfriend is also known as the scream queen, she is usually killed first. The boyfriend is killed next, or badly injured so he will die soon. Then they killer stalks the group purposefully scaring them then strikes at the male who tries to get with the brunette female. The killer typically appears to leave them alone, then strikes out suddenly (often with a 'false scare' moments before), killing the last male. The brunette girl left is also known as the final girl, she is seen fighting off the killer. The final girl then delivers a 'lucky' life-threatening blow and attempts to escape, sometimes successfully, but often she 
escapes and is later captured and killed. 

A perfect example of this final girl idea is seen on Eden Lake, the girl on this film escapes and finds a man driving a van so he stops to pick her up. The man then says he needs to go to pick up his brother from the wooded area, the man leaves the van when he arrives there to ring his brother, leaving the girl in the van. When his brother finally appears she realises it is in fact the attacker! She is then spotted by the attacker as she desperately attempts to access the drivers seat. She manages to reverse away as the attacker and his brother run towards the vehicle. She then becomes incapable of driving properly due to a blow to the head whilst escaping and crashes into a house. She rushes into the garden demanding help, later whilst she is being helped clean up, the attacker arrives home with his elder brother claiming she murdered his friend, as is killed by the father of the family soon after.


'And then there were none' is a very early slasher film, and the codes and conventions of this film are (obviously) outdated by todays conventions. This shows that the conventions of genres (including slasher) are very flexible and subject to change.

My film opening challenged many conventions, for instance in a typical slasher we would have another male and another female involved, but they would be introduced later on; after the first death.