Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Closing Post

I have now finished my AS Media coursework and I am really satisfied with it even though I have had a few difficulties and I have learnt so much.

Myself and Emily Peachey have put so much hard work and effort into constructing our opening sequence and we have really enjoyed producing our final opening sequence of our thriller film. It took us a very long time to complete but it was definitely positive and worthwhile.

I would like to say thank you to everyone who helped out with our film making: our media teachers Nina Moore and Alan Fairnie, Lucy Taylor and Emily's dad.

THIS BLOG IS NOW FINISHED!

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Our Film Opening Sequence: ''Cruoris''

This is our finished opening sequence 'Cruoris'.

video

We spent months on planning and researching our film opening in order to make it. We are positive about how it has turned out.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Our Film is Now Completed: Cruoris

Today, we have finished improving our film.

We got rid of the names throughout the opening sequence and changed it. We decided not to have the titles on our actual opening images as it will take the audience's attention away from the scenes as it will ruin the atmosphere. For the names we used the font 'About Dead' after the background goes black.

Lastly, our opening title sequence of mine and Emily Peachey's thriller film is now completed!

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Making Improvements

Yesterday, we decided to start making improvements to our opening title sequence.

Firstly, we decided to edit scene 10 out where the conversation takes place so it ends with Lucy's character walking to meet her friend. After watching it without this scene, we preferred it better and has improved our opening further.

Secondly, we agreed to change the title of our film to 'Cruoris' which is Murder in Latin. Also we changed the colour of the title from red to white in the black background which stands out more. We definately liked this title as it is not obvious and the audience will not know what this says so therefore this is likely to draw their attention. We used the effect 'wipe' and 'SchoolHouse Printed A' as our font. We agreed that these are suitable for our film.

Lastly, after the sequence is finished the music carried on playing so we edited that out. The music now stops after the title appears.

We will be improving it further next week. All we need to do now is re-arrange the names in different parts of the sequence and we might tamper with the music so it is quiter in some parts. After discussing it, we may leave the music as it is.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Evaluation

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

Our film opening sequence pursues to the forms and conventions of other existing thriller opening sequences. The genre of our film is of a thriller; based on an obsessive stalker following a girl. We created an opening title sequence using conventions of this genre in order to make it common and well-known to the the target audience. The unknown antagonist follows the girl until the end where he stops and walks away in the opposite direction. We hope this ending will make the audience continue watching the film.

Our opening sequence conforms to the expectations that the audience would have of other films with the same genre. We have used the titles of the main actors, the production company, the director and the producer as the key codes and conventions expected to be seen in the opening title sequence of a film.

Our opening sequence was heavily influenced by "se7en" by Kyle Cooper. We preferred our audience perceiving a potential murderer planning his next murder but the audience do not actually see who the murderer is. This is where we got our idea from. The audience would see that this part of the opening sequence intends to builds up suspense and we was influenced by this and decided to that our sequence would consist of our audience seeing a stalker planning on to kill someone. We have also introduced the possible victim in our opening.

We were also inspired by the fact that the scenes of the murderer were in black and white as this will also build up the suspense and gives it a dark mysterious atmosphere. We intended to build up the same atmosphere in se7en by having the scenes in black and white when the antagonist prepares how to murder the next victim. This would make it clear to the audience that the black and white scenes are somehow associated with the stalker and it will stick in the audience's minds.

During our film opening, some of the typical themes include: Obsession, Murder, Fear, Paranois and Suspicion. These themes give an indication that throughout our opening sequence, it is very alike to the themes of most thriller films. With murder and obsession as being an obvious theme, our film involves a mixture of several themes.

Our opening sequence introduces the characters, the location - this is when the audience get an idea of what could happen throughout the film. Also, the title of our film gives an enigma to the audience of what they could possibly expect to see. We have tried to attract our audience by setting the atmosphere, the mood, the tone and pace . We have edited our opening sequence to cut between the shots of the stalker spying on the victim and the black and white scenes quite rapidly to signify that the pace of the storyline is swift. The audience knows that the girl is possibly going to be murdered so therefore the mood appears to be vague. This is the same for the tone as the antagonist is infatuated with the girl who is completely unaware of the situation around her.

Question 2 - How does your media product represent particular social groups?

Our media product is aimed at a few social groups, including teenagers, young males and females. Our media product mainly represents teenage girls as the victim looks like a stereotypical modern teenage girl. This is because the girl is dressed in casual clothes and she is listening to her iPod whilst she is walking which indicates that she likes music. At the end of our opening sequence, the audience sees the girl meeting her friend which is what nearly all girls do in their leisure time. This is what we want to put across to our audience. The audience sees the antagonist following the girl and this might make them think that she is being followed for some unexplained reason which could be why this is happening in the first place. We agreed that Lucy Taylor would be the victim as she is viewed as a typical teenage girl which the audience would not expect to see as anything suspicious about. This would also make the audience consider how she got involved in this situation so therefore it will be a mystery to them.

The killer's character in our title sequence has an obsession with the girl. This is clear as he constantly observes the girl, while simultaneously stalking her. In addition, he has a lot of photographs of the girl in his possession at his home spread out on the table. The room is very simple and plain but yet, he has managed to put effort in getting hold of the pictures somehow. The blood on the pictures may be the antagonist's own. It could signify that he intends to murder her. We get the feeling that he may have had some contact/relationship with the girl as he knows what she does during the day (this is not the first time he has followed her) and he clearly does not want to be identified. This is shown by the fact that he dresses in black clothes and wore a mask on his face. Also, he hides behind the bushes so this helps it to camouflage himself within the dark scene. The girl could possibly be an ex-girlfriend of the stalker and now wants to get his revenge on her personally. They might have ended their relationship in a very negative way and therefore this has affected him tremendously. He is possibly mentally unstable as people who finish their relationship do not react by intending and planning to kill their ex-partner.

The character of the antagonist is supposed to be a male but we were not able to find a male who would play the character for us so therefore I volunteered to be the stalker but this is disguised by the fact that I am dressed in black so this did not cause us any problems. The sex of the stalker is not identifiable as my face is hidden by a black mask, a pair of black gloves were worn, my hair was covered by my hood and I wore a black coat, trousers and shoes.

The props used in our opening sequence were: fake blood, black mask, knives, white sheets and several photographs of the girl.
* We decided to hide the antagonist's identity to the audience to give it a sense of mystery. To get our idea across to the audience that the antagonist is obsessed with the girl, we had a shot of photographs of her on a table in the middle of the room. This will build up the tension as the audience do not know how the antagonist got hold of the pictures in his possession.
* In addition, we tried build up even more suspense as the audience saw the shot of the knives and see the antagonist pick up the biggest knife. This symbolizes that he has a wide collection of knives and it gives the audience a hint that it will be used against the girl as the potential murder weapon.
* We used white sheets to cover up the computer and other furnishings within the room which indicates that he does not care about his home environment and emphasizes the fact that his life revolves around murdering the girl. He puts more effort in chasing the girl rather than his home.
* We used fake blood on the knife and the photographs of the girl; this shot was intended to represent the theme of murder.

Setting: We decided the setting of our film will be in Abbey Wood Ruins, as there is a dark scary atmosphere. It is in the heart of suburban London and this location has been very important throughout history. As we chose to film early in the morning, there would barely be much people walking around and it would be fairly dark.

Overall, I think our opening title sequence represents certain social groups successfully and for this reason, it appeals to the audience who belong to these social groups.

Question 3 - What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?

Our opening sequence will be likely to be distributed on a small scale as it is does not have the image usually associated with blockbuster films.

As we do not have a huge budget, our opening sequence would not become very popular worldwide but I think it will contact those who have had interest in thriller films.

The sort of media institution that would be likely to consider distributing our film would be a distributor for instance Guerilla Films. Through distribution, they have maintained British films and over a few years they intend to increase their output. This media institution is willing to consider any completed film searching for UK distribution especially if it is British or Irish - www.guerilla-films.com

Another media institution could be Fragile Films as they consist of different genres and since the company was established in 1997 by Barnaby Thompson, this company has been behind 19 independent films in the UK. I think this production company is a potential media institution that could be able to distribute our film as all the film in the past have a success. Furthermore, it releases film of all kinds of genre including thriller and none of the films have been large blockbusters. It also distributes British independent films so this company may be interested in distributing our film. www.imdb.com

Another example of a possible distributor is Dogwoof. They are known for "renowed for supporting independent film in non-traditional ways" - www.dogwoof.com .

In addition, they have set up Dogwoof Indie and they help potential filmmakers by giving them access to professional film distribution services and offer a "choice of the services they need, whilst letting them retain the rights to their film, controlling costs, actually having the chance of seeing revenues and profits". They aim fro Hybrid Distribution launched this after the success of a film. I think this media institution will be very good in distributing our media prodcut as they "support independent filmmakers and promote fresh talent in the film industry" - www.dogwoof.com/indie

We could also consider using the Internet to distribute our media product. Using the Internet is a cheap method to market our film and this can assist us to increase more people to attend the viewings. Through recommendation, it can also attain popularity.

www.undergroundfilm.com - this media institution aims to "create a digital film library with the widest breadth of content possible and broaden exposure by making hard-to-find works available through Internet distribution". It focuses on independent film distribution through the Internet.

Within the film industry, the distributor plays a significant role as it gains larger audiences to improve further how successful it is and offers exposure for films. The distributor verifies the release strategy and date after the film is delivered. Subsequently, the distributor presents the film to exhibitors and agrees to have the film shown within cinemas. They develop a marketing campaign to attract the target audience and commence the film.

Our film could be shown at independent cinemas where they offer events and one-off screenings.
This would be likely to attract local people and people who are interested in the genre of the film.

Screentest is a UK National Student Film Festival which assists in encouraging student films throughout the country. In Bristol, they host a three-day film festival with celebrity speakers, workshops and screenings. This way would be simple to screen our film but the distributor may be able to get interest from independent cinemas which is likely to appeal to a much wider audience. An example could be Phoenix Cinema.

Exposures is the UK's largest film festival of student image work. This festival is held in Manchester and takes place every year.

Question 4 - Who would be the audience for your media product?

Our PRIMARY target audience for our media product is:
* Age: Anyone between 13-21 years. We thought it would appeal to more younger people as our main character is a teenage girl.
* Gender: Both male and female. Our media product is not aimed at a particular gender. However, I think that it will appeal more to teenage girls due to the main character.
* Interests: Anyone who enjoys watching a scary thriller film and the themes within it.
* Class: All classes. Anyone who enjoys thriller films and themes of murder.
* Education: People with different levels of education.
* Occupation: All. Again, anyone who enjoys thriller films.

Our SECONDARY target audience includes:
* Age: 12-40
* Gender: Both

* We chose this wider audience as we consider anyone who has interests in the themes of our opening would be likely to be interested at any gender and these ages. Anyone who has an interest in murder or stalker themed films.

* We also believe our film could appeal to families as everyone would be familiar with it.

* I believe particular gamers would watch our film especially if they play scary games that involve murdering people. Therefore, our thriller opening sequence will be a possibility that they will watch it.

Moreover, people who have enjoyed watching thriller films like se7en, Messiah, One Hour Photo, Halloween, The Blair Witch Project will be likely to find our film very pleasurable. People who liked to be scared or like to watch it during the night/Halloween. Thriller seekers would take an interest in our film as they would want to see something that will scare them and the themes associated with murder.

People who enjoy romance, comedy may not be interested in our film as it targets certain social groups and audiences.

Regardless of the audiences' characteristics (gender, sex, ethnicity, class, occupation, race, level of education) I believe anyone who has an interest in thriller films will be likely to want to watch our film.

Question 5 - How did you attract/address your audience?

We agreed to include the conventions of thrillers so our audience will understand and therefore it will attract their attention as it is a popular genre. It conforms to a typical thriller film of the exact genre. Our opening sequence conforms to standard themes of thriller films so therefore the audience will know what sort of things to expect.

As a thriller opening sequence, we tried to create suspense to interest the audience. We tried to do this by changing from the scenes at the woods with Lucy walking to the scenes at the stalkers house where the knives were laid on the table with the stalker picking up a knife holding it up high and examining it carefully. At this point, we intended the audience to sense the anticipation that was gradually building up. We wanted the audience to think that this knife will be a possible murder weapon. We wanted to create tension as the stalker comes out of hiding and observes the girl walking alone who is completely unaware of what is going on. The audience is now aware that the stalker is the antagonist but becomes apprehensive as to what he will do next and what is going to happen as the girl is in a vulnerable position. We wanted to draw the audience within the world of film and make them watch the whole film thoroughly.

We mainly addressed our audience through the genre. We know majority of people enjoy thriller films as they like watching the scary scenes and we tried to do the same by making our audience watch the antagonist preparing to murder. This will hopefully have a similar effect on our audience as other existing thriller films. Our scary storyline will effectively attract existing thriller fans and make them watch it as we know that a lot of people fear a stalker especially if they do not know the person. The stalker is in fact an ex-boyfriend of the girl. Our opening sequence consists of creating suspense and tension through the pace and sound of the music and has a narrative element that gives them a clear and obvious idea what the storyline is going to be about without telling the whole story.

We identified that the audience would find our opening sequence familiar so we drew on what the audiecne knew already. The setting is in a popular site which many of the audience will be able to relate to.

On the whole, I think we addressed and attracted our audience effectively to watch our film.

Question 6 - What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?

From creating this opening title sequence, I have furthered my knowledge a lot about technologies.

To produce this coursework, the technologies we used are:
* Blog: My media teacher taught me how to use Blogger as I had not used this before: how to create an account, to document creative ideas, add posts or remove them, upload pictures and videos on my postings. I have posted all my research and plans on my blog so I can see the different stages in film making.
* Video Cameras: I had to learn about using the tape and batteries as I had never used them before. We attached the camera to the tripod whilst shooting; which we had to learn to use effectively. This allowed us different types of shots which helped to make our opening title sequence more interesting. Also, it gave us more different angles and movements.
* Editing: To familiarize ourselves with this next step, we had to learn the technology of software which would enable us to edit effectively. We used I-Movie and I learnt many techniques, such as how to edit the unwanted scenes out and how to make the continuity of our scenes flow. We discovered that a lot of mistakes from shooting can be solved by using these technologies. After I have understood everything, it is simple to use and you can create a wide range of effects. We learnt that the editing process is crucial as each stage gives meaning to the audience. It has taught me patience as I have learnt from my mistakes along the whole process of creating our opening sequence.

We realised that using technologies to improve our final media product can have a positive impact and a lot of time needs to be spent using these effectively and efficiently.

From this process I have learnt:
* I have learnt various types of shots used and camera skills such as continuity and careful movement.
* I am much more comfortable with handling the equipment whilst shooting and my easy of use has improved. The portability of equipment is important as it is practical to use a car to take the equipment to the location because we used a tripod to maintain the steadiness of the camera movement. Also, it can be quite heavy.
* Once I had understood all the technology it is simple to use and you can create so many diiferent effects.

In Hindsight:
* We should have checked the quality of our DV tape as one of our scenes came out extremely bright. It would have been better if we did a test shoot to iron out any problems with the tape or camera. It would give us an opportunity to see what worked well and what didn't work so well.
* We could have used more interesting camera angles or movements.
* We realised that we should have watched our footage back on location and be alert for mistakes that we might have noticed while filming. We would not have had to re-shoot our original scene 10 if we had noticed the error and we should have focused on this more. This would have helped us to minimize the amount of shoots that we need and reduce the re-shoots.

Each stage in constructing our opening title sequence is very important and I have gained a lot of knowledge on it. Within the long process of planning, researching, filming, editing our opening sequence; I know that a lot of work is needed to produce a high quality film which the audience would pay to watch it.

Overall if we were to do the coursework again, I would feel more confident in making improvements and therefore increase the quality of our opening title sequence.

Question 7 - Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?

Preliminary Brief: Film and edit a character opening a door, crossing a room and sitting down in a chair opposite another character. A couple of lines of dialogue must then exchanged between characters & match on action, shot/reverse shot and the 180-degree rule should be demonstrated.

Video Brief: The titles and opening of a new fiction film, to last a maximum of two minutes (all video and audio material must be original, produced by candidates, with the exception of music or audio effects from a copyright-free source).

We saw the preliminary task as the beginning process which would enable us to prepare us for the main task.

Firstly, we made plans on who would be the casts, where to shoot and the types of shots we could use. We re-shot a couple of times until we were satisfied with it.

Some mistakes we made:
* Not zooming out when Emily (the visitor) entered the room. It began with a close-up shot of the door and Chris who was filming, was supposed to zoom out when Emily entered so the audience could see her.
* Lucy H and Emily kept on laughing when they were supposed to be engaged in the dialogue so therefore we had to re-shoot that several times.
* As Lucy existed the room, I (the guard) opened the door and accidentally slammed it against the cupboard behind it and it made a loud noise. As I closed the door, me and Lucy were trying not to laugh and Chris stopped filming. Fortunately, this error is not very noticeable and we decided to leave it as everything else went so well and we thought it sounded like a prisoner banging on the wall. This gave the ending a nice effect which goes with the title of our preliminary brief: "The Visit" which is a prison visit.

Apart from the last mistake, we were able to correct our mistakes by re-shooting and using the I-Mac to edit in order to make it look fluent. We were happy with the continuity as we focused a lot on this aspect.

* We had a script and arranged the shot order of how we were going to shoot. This saved us time as we knew every shot that we had to shoot and the dialogue between Lucy and Emily meant that it looked realistic.
* We made the process of running a shoot efficient as before we shot we would nod our heads or gesture so everyone in the group knew when to begin. We used this method when filming our opening sequence which meant that weveryone could check everything was ready before.
* To each member we allocated a role in order to make the shootings easier as everyone knew their role and this made it very efficient. We used this filming of our opening sequence and it helped a lot as it took a lot shorter to shoot than it could have.

These factors made our preliminary brief positive so we decided to keep this mind when we filmed our opening sequence of our film.

I have learnt that in the progression from the preliminary task to the full product:
* We need a script if we included any dialogue.
* Re-shoots are very important and is necessary if you are not satisfied with a scene.
* More time needs to be allowed for more takes of shots so that you can select the best take which can make a huge difference to the quality of the final product
* It is useful to shoot with more shot types of angles and distances to make the opening sequence more appealing to the audience.
* It would have been helpful if we had produced a storyboard; this would have enabled us to use our time more effectively.
* We clearly needed to go into much more detail for the video brief which our continuity sequence did not prepare us. However, it gave us an insight into what it would be like in producing the video brief so it would not be completely new to us.
* We could have showed our preliminary task to other people to find out if it attracts their attention and improve it further.

I felt more confident in using the different technologies after this task and I looked forward to the main task. We knew that it would be more difficult and needed a lot more planning to save time and make fewer mistakes so we were more organised. For the preliminary brief, we had four members in our group whereas for the video brief it was just me and Emily. Two members of our group were familiar with the technologies so this was very helpful as I had not used any of it before.

* When we produced the preliminary task we did not have to have a story behind it and unlike the video brief, it did not have to an opening sequence.
* The footage looks different on the camera to when you upload it on the computer and we need to keep this mind whilst filming so we do not come across a lot of re-shoots.
* This brief has taught me that team-work is essential throughout all the stages and our target audience is really important especially of an opening sequence of any film as this is the what the audience perceives first.
* We did not have to have a specific target audience as it was just an experience to learn how to construct an opening of a film and/or test out any problems.
* We found that filming takes longer than we think and shooting in a short space of time is not a good option so therefore we allowed a few hours to ensure everything would run smoothly.

The Crit Session

On Friday's media lesson, we had the crit session where everyone in the Media class watched each other's films and assessed it. Everyone said what they liked and disliked and suggested improvements.

The mark scheme: minimal, basic, proficient and excellent.

Mine and Emily's film was proficient but it can be improved further and possibly become excellent.

These are the improvements my teacher and the class suggested:
* Changing the title of the opening sequence and the typography of the credits - "He's Coming After You" is very obvious about what the film is going to be about, even just by watching the opening title sequence. Therefore, we need to think of an interesting title which is unusual and is likely to stand out.
* The Music - We need to tamper with the sound; maybe it could be quieter in some parts.
* Scene 10 - We don't necessarily need the conversation so we are considering editing this bit out.

We will be making these changes to our opening sequence as soon as possible and we plan to start next week.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Our Animatic

We used our storyboard pictures to make them into an animatic.

Some of our ideas have changed since we drew the pictures for our animatic when we filmed, which affected some of the scenes. Apart from this, everything else is the same.

This is our Animatic, "He's Coming After You":

video

Animatics give filmmakers acute technical control as well as creative control. It brings creative visions to life.

We filmed our animatic to see how our real film opening sequence would turn out like.