My finished film opening sequence.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

This blog is now closed

I have completed the AS media project and so there will be no more posts on this blog. I hope you enjoy reading the existing posts!

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Evaluation Post 1: In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

The opening to 'Shadow of Your Past' challenges certain conventions of the crime/thriller genres, while using and developing others, such as the narrative and style of the genre. We did this to make sure that our sequence felt fresh, but was easily identifiable as part of it's genre.

The narrative of 'Shadow of Your Past'

'SOYP' tells the story of successful lawyer Shania Mollcott who is being stalked by the just-released rapist Jeff Richardson who she helped convict. When Richardson finally manages to capture Molcott he keeps her locked up in an abandoned shack and threatens her. She almost manages to escape, but is captured once again. The police find out where Molcott is being held and start to plan how to get her out. They burst in and have a shootout with Richardson which he manages to escape from. By the end of the film Molcott has had to relocate and change her name, as Richardson is still on the loose.

Form

My opening sequence uses many conventions for film openings, such as introducing the main character, by focusing on Shania Molcott's morning routine, and establishing the location, which is done through the shots of the home and the street. This is shown in the stalker film 'P2' (2007), which starts off with one long unbroken establishing shot of the garage setting before introducing the main character.


Our sequence is also conventional in that it sets the tone for our film, with it's tension and threat. This is common in films of all genres, and is shown aptly by one of our main inspirations, thriller 'Se7en' (1999), where the titles are shown over disturbing music with dark and disturbing visuals.

       

Overall, I believe my opening sequence does an apt job of using the typical conventions of an opening title sequence by introducing the  main characters, the London setting and the tone.

Genre

The following presentation focuses on crime/thriller conventions and how we attempted to implement them into our sequence.



Narrative structure

The presentation below looks at the way we used genre conventions to create our narrative structure:



We also used Barthes codes to make our sequence more narratively interesting - for example by using the action code to create the red herring situation, as the viewer will assume due to the previous shots establishing Richardson's presence, that he is the person running up behind an unaware Molcott. Due once again to the previous shots the viewer assumes that Richardson is going to attack Molcott or harm her in some other way, therefore increasing fear levels and tension before it is dissolved by the reveal that the person running towards her is just a jogger.

Style


The style of our film is very much conventional of the crime/thriller genre in many of it's aspects. In terms of visuals it is desaturated in a way similar to films such as 'Se7en' and the TV series 'Sherlock'. in order to give the sequence a more serious and gritty look. The main colours of the sequence are washed out grey, black, white, brown and green colours, giving the sequence an overcast suburban feel.



Our soundtrack consists mainly of two different pieces of music from Freeplaymusic.com, 'Ever Evolving' and 'Codename'. These two tracks are very different to each other, with 'Evolving' being used during the calm waking up scenes and 'Codename' being used to increase tension during the 'red herring' scene. The music tracks both link with the pacie and rhythm of the scenes they soundtrack, with the longer, more intimate shots of Molcott having 'Evolving' playing over it, while the more intense outdoor scenes contain faster music which builds up to a tense climax in a similar way to the scene.
The titles in my finished sequence
The titles in our sequence were largely inspired by those of 'Se7en' and 'Shutter Island', due to their effectively unsettling and stylised movement and font.

Evaluation Post 2: How does your media product represent particular social groups?

The main social group we are focusing on is that of black working women, a group which I believe is poorly represented in cinema, when they are represented at all. The Prezi I've created below explores this issue in greater depth:                  



The main inspiration I had for the character of Shania Molcott was Jessic Pearsonn from TV series suits, as she is one of the few black female lawyers presented in a positive light on a mainstream TV show. She is intelligent and works in a highly prestigious role, similarly to Molcott.








How we challenged these representations


Evaluation Post 3: What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?

We chose 'Summit Entertainment' as our distributor and 'BBC Films' as our production company.


This company is part of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), which originally produced only television programs, but now produces both films and TV shows. I believe this would be a good production company to use, as they are experienced with making films with a strong British setting, cast and crew, and because they have successfully some thrillers that are similar to ours. Some examples of similar films are shown below:


Our distribution company is 'Summit Entertainment', a major distributor and part of the even larger 'Lionsgate' Entertainment and media corporation. I have focused on the company in more depth in the slideshow below:



I believe that this would be a good distributor for our film because they have experience with distributing low-budget thriller/stalker films successfully.

'Shadow of Your Past' could be marketed in a variety of traditional and new innovative ways, similarly to 'P2' which was distributed by 'Summit Entertainment'. An example of this would be through TV advertisements which show a variety of exciting moments from the film to drum up excitement and catch the attention of audiences.



Image result for p2 posterA film poster that clearly presents the main appeal of the film would also be a vital part of a marketing campaign, likely containing a reference to the stalker aspect of the film and showing Shania Molcott in a state of fear. This would appeal to thriller fans who are experienced with the themes of stalking and fear, and if the poster was styled similarly to much loved, classic films in the genre to inspire nostalgia in the target audiences.

Image result for the shining posterThe 'P2' poster for example is heavily reminiscent of the poster for psychological thriller/horror movie 'The Shining', a film that many thriller fans enjoy, so these fans would associate the film with feelings of nostalgia and the aspects of 'The Shining' that they enjoyed, likely encouraging these fans to watch 'P2'.

Viral marketing would also be an option, as this has been incredibly successful in recent times with horror film 'Get Out' starting a viral trend powered by social networking sites vine and Twitter, known as the #GetOutChallenge. This trend helped the film to top the US box office and to increase awareness to the film, and I believe a similar viral craze could be extremely beneficial to 'Shadow of Your Past', although it is difficult to successfully push and successfully promote a trend of this nature.

'Shadow of Your Past' could additionally be promoted at independent film festivals - 'P2' for example, was supposed to appear at the FrightFest UK festival, but was ultimately withdrawn at the last minute. These festivals would give films an opportunity to reach an audience who may not have otherwise heard of the film - as they might have gone to the festival to watch another film and then discovered ours. It also allows the film to be directly brought to our target audience of thriller fans, as they are likely to attend a festival focused on this genre.

Evaluation Post 4: Who would be the audience for your media product?

The main audience we had in mind when planning our opening sequence was that of crime/thriller fans, with the knowledge that due to the location and actors we used a British audience would be the best to attempt to appeal to. To try and figure out how best to appeal to a British audience I studied the BFI 'Audiences 2015' PDF, which is available online here.


Also notable from the BFI document is that while 15-24 year olds make up a very large portion of audiences, films with large amounts of this group in their audiences tended to be more light-hearted, fantasy/sci-fi based or action orientated, such as comedies '22 Jump Street' and 'The Inbetweeners 2'. However, there was a very large audience share for thriller 'Non-stop' (42% were in the bracket 15-24), so this may suggest that these audiences are still happy to watch more serious films as long as there is a strong action element.

The Prezi below looks at who our target audiences are and how we attempted to appeal to them.

Evaluation Post 5: How did you attract/address your audience?

My sequence makes use of the uses and gratifications theory, as shown by the mind-map below:



Other ways that I tried to attract audiences through the use of my sequence are:

- Playing on the audience's potential fear of loneliness and vulnerability through Molcott being stalked within her own home.
- Having smooth, accurate editing to preserve continuity, immersing the viewer in the film's world.
- Atmospheric music that adds to and enforces the tone of the scenes where it is present.
- Using the action and enigma codes to keep the audience interested:

ACTION CODE

Part of Roland Barthes codes of film, the action code is the idea that when a character in a film does something there will be a corresponding result. In my opening sequence the action code is used to create add tension to the jogger scene, as after seeing that Jeff Richardson is stalking Molcott and that he is attempting to get into her home, the audience assumes that the person running up behind Molcott will be Richardson, ready to attack. When it revealed to only be the jogger this gives the audience relief, but also adds more tension in the long run as the conflict between Molcott and Richardson has not been resolved.



THE ENIGMA CODE

This code was also theorised by Barthes, and is simply the idea that any kind of mystery or questions in a film will make the audience want to discover the solution or answer. This was used in my opening sequence through the character of Jeff Richardson, with the main question being what he is planning to do to Molcott. Other mysteries contained within the opening sequence are what the documents Molcott is signing relate to, who the person that calls her on the phone is and of course, what will happen after the sequence is over?



Audience feedback





To see how audiences reacted to our film the other members of my group showed our film to some people between the ages of 16-25, (our target audiences) and collected their feedback. From these test audiences and from feedback collected in written form from other members of the target audience, I have collated the following results:


Evaluation Post 6: What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?

During pre-production the main shoot the most significant technological skill I developed was working using my online blog. This blog functions  as a way for me to contain all of my inspirations and audience and institutions research within on e central hub. I have lots of experience with Blogger.com as a tool, and have had several blogs in the past, so I found it fairly simple to post whatever I needed to.


Throughout the process of filming and editing my opening sequence I learned a huge amount about all of the software and hardware I used, learning many new skills in the process. The new types of technology I used are shown and analysed in the presentation below:



Overall, I would say that I have massively improved at using the hardware and software I was provided with during this project, and I have learnt a large variety of important editing techniques such as grading, sound editing and how to create animated titles.