Final Opening Sequence

Final Opening Sequence

Preliminary Task

Preliminary Task

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Note to Moderator

Dear Moderator,

Here is my finished blog, I very much hope you enjoy reading it and I thank you for taking the time to do so. You will see on the right of my blog I have links to my Group 1 blog, Alexander Thoupos' blog and Matthew Smith's blog which will hopefully allow easy navigation for you. I also have a link to the class blog, labelled BLK Foundation Blog, which itself contains links to all the blogs in my class.

On my blog you will find evidence of Research, Planning, Production and Evaluation, ranging from theory and narrative structure research to final scripts. You will see my preliminary task video at the top of this blog, and all my evidence for that is labelled Preliminary Task.

On my group blog you will see labels for Research, Planning, and Production as well as the labels for the names of each group member. Under the label James, you will see the posts I personally was resposible for.

Thank you again for taking the time to read my blog
Kind regards
James Reader (3650)


Unfortunately, my time is up
I have enjoyed this media course, as I thought I would and it is a shame that it is over so quickly


Monday, 4 April 2011

Evaluation Question 1

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

The chosen genre of our film was Action Horror. We chose this genre for our film as not only did we like it as a group ourselves, but it was also very popular with our primary target audience who were 15-25 year olds males.
I Am Legend (Lawrence, 2007) was an influential film for us as it fit into the genre of Action Horror and also had a similar theme to our own film. The ‘beasts’ in our own film were also based on the antagonists from I Am Legend, as they hide in the shadows and attack humans.
Another film which influenced our costume choice was Green Zone (Greengrass, 2010). In this film they enter a dark area wearing gas masks and suits. These soldier costumes helped us to really visualise how our own soldier would look in our opening sequence.

In our film we followed typical conventions of our Action Horror genre. Our main character in our opening sequence is portrayed as the tough military sergeant who inevitably ends up getting killed by one of the antagonists. We have also followed conventions as our film also has typical events and settings for the Action Horror genre e.g. dead civilians, empty residential streets, unseen ‘beasts’ etc. In post-production, we added an effect to our whole film which gave our whole sequence the typical ‘post-apocalyptic washed out’ look, which I think was very effective.

Continuity is also a big convention of films. In our sequence we tried to stick to continuity techniques such as match-on-action, eyeline matching and the 180 degree rule. However, we found we had one continuity error in our piece. When one of the Forensic officers turns to call the Soldier over, you can see the Soldier through the gate. In the next shot, however, he is a few metres down the street from the gate, and he then walks to the position he was previously standing in a few moments later.

The narrative structure to our film is also quite conventional, as it uses theories from Propp, Levi-Strauss and Todorov. We used Levi-Strauss’ theory of binary opposites to help us plan our film’s plotline. The binary opposites we used were:

·                     Good vs. Evil
·                     Known vs. Unknown
·                     Humans vs. Creatures
·                     Normal vs. Strange
·                     Life vs. Death
·                     Light vs. Dark
·                     Guns vs. Claws/Teeth

(Known vs. Unknown and Normal vs. Strange were used particularly in our opening sequence)

We also used Propp’s 8 character theory, which as you can see in the table below, can be compared to James Bond: Casino Royale which is a popular Action Film for our target audience:

Finally, we used Todorov’s theory of Equilibrium:

Our film uses screen effects to wash out the colours and this gives the film a ‘post apocalyptic’ feel to it. Our soundtrack also backs this up as it is mysterious and builds tension at the start, but becomes more and more fast paced until the end where it builds up to its maximum before suddenly stopping. In one of our establishing shots we also use a gunshot which helps to establish the action part of our genre early on in our film’s opening sequence.  
Specific narrative techniques we used in our opening sequence include Real Time editing (i.e. our film does not contain montages or dissolves to show time has passed so that it flows as one continuous sequence). We use enigma codes (there is the enigma around the soldier in the gas mask as to who he is before the reveal, also the enigma of what is watching the forensics/who has killed the girl)

We also use action codes (what’s going to happen to the soldier when he goes into the garden, what has happened to the forensics/ why are they screaming)

I believe our opening sequence follows the typical features of an opening sequence of the Action Horror genre. It starts off with an establishing shot of an empty public area (a park) and then dissolves into the action of the soldier wandering down the street. I think our opening sequence sets up the rest of the film and straight away, through the dialogues and costumes, the audience can tell the genre and some of the background information they need to know for the plot of the film.

Our film opening sequence is very similar to that of Night of the Living Dead (Romero, 1968) as both sequences start with an empty shot and then gradually build in the characters and the tension. The Night of the Living Dead opening sequence shows a car driving along an empty road to a graveyard, where two characters are then introduced through dialogue. In a similar way, our sequence opens with a soldier walking down the street where he meets two forensic officers, who are introduced through dialogue.
Chart showing how our film compares to the typical conventions of Costume, Camera,
Setting and Posters for our own film

Evaluation Question 2

How does your media product represent particular social groups?

The opening sequence of our film represents the typical strong, British army officer. This is shown with his costume, props and through the way he talks to the forensic officers. His costume and props clearly show he is an army figure as the clothes are camouflaged. The body language and the way he talks towards the forensics also shows he is above them in ranking, as he bosses them around.

However, throughout the sequence we have shown that he is stressed and on edge as before he starts talking to the forensic officers, he leans against the fence and wipes his brow. He does this again after the conversation, showing that he is strained and under pressure. His authority is also shown over the forensics as he raises his hand to the first forensic when he calls for him to tell him to be silent.

We also represented the beast as being the unknown danger, preying on the vulnerable humans. We planned the sequence so that you never see the beast, adding to the tension and enigma. We also learn that the beast’s first victim was a young teenage female, also portraying the fact that it possibly preys on the weaker humans.

Evaluation Question 3

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

Our production company is Mangleweb Pictures.

We specialise in Action Horror movies which appeal to the vast British audience. Cataclysm is our first of (hopefully) many productions we will produce. The target audience of our films are generally British young people, who are most interested in the genre of Action Horror. We are similar to DNA films, who produced 28 Days Later (Boyle, 2002) for a worldwide audience which was based in London. However, their film was distributed by 20th Century Fox Film Corporation who are a worldwide company and our film is more indie.

Our film Cataclysm (above) and 28 Days Later (Boyle, 2002)

As we are an indie company who produce films for specifically a British audience, we would most probably use our own distribution company, Bullseye Distributors, to distribute and promote our film.
A possible logo for our indie distribution company, Bullseye Distributors
Ideally, we would like to use a distributor who has global reputation and links, but unfortunately our films do not appeal to a wide enough global audience for that method to be worthwhile. This is why we would use our own individual distributors. Using our own distributor would also give us more input into the promotion campaign and theoretically get more profit from sales, as we wouldn’t have to pay the distributors.
To exhibit our film, we would probably use a film festival rather than a large London premiere. This is due to the fact that our film is aimed at a British audience, rather than a global audience.

Evaluation Question 4

Who would be the audience for your media product?

Here is an audience profile of a typical member of our primary target audience:

Age: 15-25 years old
Gender:  Male
Nationality: British
Lifestyle/attitude to life: Laid back, typical film goer
Tastes in media: Interested in watching films, particularly enjoys horror movies
Film consumption habits: Goes to the cinema with friends on weekends / Friday evenings. Sometimes downloads movies at home from internet when watching alone.
Fandom/ expertise: Possibly knows a lot about horror films, enjoys watching them more than learning about the behind-the-scenes of media companies.

Alternatively, here is a profile of our secondary audience:

Age: 15-25 years old
Gender: Female
Nationality: British
Lifestyle/attitude to life: Likes films, doesn’t always have time to go to the cinema to watch them
Tastes in media: Enjoys horror movies, interested in films
Film consumption habits: Goes to the cinema with friends on weekends / Friday evenings. Sometimes downloads movies at home from internet when watching alone.
Fandom/ expertise: Possibly knows a lot about horror films, enjoys watching them more than learning about the behind-the-scenes of media companies.

As you can see from the profiles above, our primary audience is a national niche group of mainly British young males. However, our secondary audience is young British females who are particularly interested in the genre of Action Horror.
We chose these audiences as they are generally most interested in the Horror genre, which our film could be categorised as

Evaluation Question 5

How did you attract/address your audience?

Our core target audience for this film was 15-25 year old British males. To attract them in our film, we drew on film plots and aspects that they enjoy. Our audience enjoy horror films largely, and to appeal to the horror aspect we used ripped open dead bodies and beasts. We appealed to the visceral pleasures and the ‘unknown danger’ idea behind horror films to appeal to our niche primary target audience. Our audience also like the Action aspect of our film, so we have put gunshots and action sequences in our film, to build suspense and appeal to our audience.

We used blood to appeal to the visceral pleasures of the audience

We used the unknown idea for the beast through
POV shots of the forensics and soldier.

We added in a gunshot which showed the action genre in our film,
appealing to our primary audience 

When we premiered our film to our audience, we got this reaction:
We also got them to fill out questionnaires based on our film when we screened it to them. Generally our film was received well from our audience, and the feedback we got was very useful. The majority of our audience thought it would be a National film, with a few people saying it could be Global. However the majority of the audience said they would see it playing in a large cinema chain such as Cineworld rather than a small indie cinema.
When we asked our audience what they thought needed improvement, the general feedback was that the acting and lighting could be improved, as it either wasn't very believable or didn't give the desired effect on screen.
Overall our film received good ratings from our audience, with most people giving it 7/10 or above.