In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
As we have chosen to make our film within the slasher genre we have followed the conventions from a wide array of texts. In our film opening we portrayed our scream queen, young attractive teenage girl in casual clothing, however we went against the usual stereotype of the blonde haired scream queen and actually created a counterype by using an actor with red hair.
We tried to use the typical setting of many teenage slasher films by having it set in a nice quiet suburb where we could quite quickly change the equilibrium through the first attack.
Something that may have challenged the conventions of many Slasher films was our use of diegetic jazz music within the opening scene, this was done as our film begins with adults and we were trying to appeal and reach a more mature audience as well as the typical youth audience. However during the attack/frenzy sequence of our film for our non-diegetic soundtrack we tried to use the more common high pitched tones and eerie music associated with the Slasher genre, like in A Nightmare on Elm Street.
We also tried to use the convention of a false scare by creating tension and making our scream queen think she is going to be attacked or feel threatened and then her pet dog runs out, which then puts her and the audience at ease and then suddenly after the real threat is appears.
We also looked at the visual effects in many David Lynch films and how we could enhance small details like the lighting of a cigarette or the pouring of champagne, we tried to develop this by getting an extreme close up of the flame igniting the tip of the cigarette.
We also used a poin-of-view shot to make it look as though the antagonist was looking at our scream queen through the window, like a stalker shot adding to the suspense of the film.
We tried to challenge the convention of many horror films by having our title credits and font in an eerie, gothic font and we went for a more comic style, as a sense of juxtaposition and add some narrative engima, however arguably this is used in many slasher films like in Scream.
How does your media product represent particular social groups?
Our film opens with a dinner party, and the men in dinner jackets and the ladies in cocktail dresses as we felt these were strong signifiers our characters were middle-class, also they are drinking champagne and listening to jazz music. These are the parents and as our protagonist in the opening of this film is a teenage girl the parents are represented as the "bad guys" and negatively and our protagonist is the rebellious teenager and yet represented in a more positive light. She is from the middle-class family and trying to go against it, whether that makes her a different class is however polysemic.
Our antagonist, the masked killer, is representing criminals and perhaps a lower class of society though clearly the gender, ethnicity, etc. is hidden from the viewer. As the film is set in the North of England our antagonist could be representing the new stereotype of the chav.
All of the characters are caucasian and English, there is no representation of ethnic minority groups, this goes with the idea of us creating the stereotype of an English middle-class suburb without a diverse population.
Also the characters we portray are hetrosexual, there are two married couples, and we try portray that our protagonist is from a typical family, mother and father, pet dog, big house in a suburb and this is what she wanting to rebel against.
What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?
As our film tells a story within those two minutes it could perhaps be used as a short, or an advert. As it is showing a young girl being attacked so close to her home, it could be an awareness advert preventing crime especially against children, perhaps too far for childrens charities like Barnados or NSPCC.
Also it is filmed and set locally it may well appeal to the local branches of the BBC or ITV or other local media institutions also the National Media Museum in Bradford may well take an interest or even the UK Film Council as they like to see independent films being made also Film Four may be interested, also we will be entering our film to the co-operative film festival and it is on youtube and facebook so we are trying to widen the appeal of film to see what institutions may be interested in it.
Who would be the audience for your media product?
I think our film would be able to appeal to both a youth and a more mature audience, as the opening revolves around both age groups, as well as both sex's. The idea of our scream queen being a young attractive female links with the male gaze theory and so this may appeal to a male audience more so a youth one, however arguably females may be attracted to the film and those that believe in post-feminism may she her not as the scream queen but a strong, determined young girl putting up a fight against the antagonist.
Likely to be a middle class/ABC1 audience who would be interested in seeing the film as they can relate to the more comfortable lifestyle, aspects of the film like the violence, or the smoking may appeal to a wider audience and those from maybe a C1/C2 background.
Also as the film is filmed and set within the north of England and especially Yorkshire that is likely to appeal to a wide range of people from the area, for example with the success of films like Calender Girls many people local people went to see it purely due to the location it was filmed in.
Also due to our low budget it is likely that we would release the film as straight to video/DVD so this would not be able to an international audience but more likely a UK national or regional audience, and if we were to screen it again it would likely to be within the UK, like at the co-operative film festival, however we are likely to gain recognition through this and it may be viewed by people from other parts of Europe.
How did you attract/address your audience?
We tried to add a sense of narrative enigma to our film and make the start of the film quite different to the usual opening of a slasher film, and also by cutting up the footage with the credits rolling I felt kept some momentum to the film without showing the audience too much and keeping them immersed.
Also the variety of shots used I feel helps keep the audience interested in what they are watching, like the shots of the champagne being poured or the different angles when our scream queen picks up her cigarettes and slams the door to go outside.
Also I felt by cutting between the attack sequence and the excitement of the dinner party would create tension and isolation and help to immerse the audience in the film, as well as creating a nice binary opposition.
Also using a false scare with the pet dog running out we felt gave some relief to the audience as they watched the film and helped them become more immersed within what they say on screen and for them to be following/looking out for the welfare of our protagonist.
Also we had some narrative enigma as we tried to make the audience unsure who our protagonist was, or whether it was ensemble, as we follow both the adult character (parents) and the teenage girl.
We tried to keep our audience immersed within the action of film by having enough narrative enigma so that they were trying to work out what is going on within the story whilst also giving them enough anchorage and signifiers to work out the genre and the basic narrative of our film. We felt the French narration gave a mysterious aspect to the film and attract an audience that enjoys French language films or francophiles, however since we have changed our film to English we still feel that the mystery is in our film but making the narrative a little easier to follow by having it in English as we want to make the audience question the narrative not to confuse them.
Again with our film being quite a unique idea and original idea this again attracts an audience that enjoy independent low budget films that do not necessarily follow all the conventions of big hollywood movies.
The hybrid genre is also a good way of attracting a wide range audience due to the two genres that appeal to two very different groups of people.
What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?
We have learnt about how to get certain shots with the video camera's and the effects and signifiers we can add through different angles and framing of shots, also the effects we were able to add to our film with the programme we used to edit our footage. How little things effect the mood of the film like different music, lighting effects, use of angles and frames, contrast, narration, the pace of film, etc.
We learnt about the effect of lighting and how it can drastically change the mood of the film like the red lighting in the alleyway scene worked as a good signifier and made the footage look sinister.
We were able to use nice transitions to move the story along and used link shots for the continuity of the story. We were able to add extra sound in like the footsteps when our central protagonist walks down the alleyway as this was lost due to the wind but when we put it in again it made the footage look much more convincing.
Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?
We were able to expand on things we learnt in the preliminary task like the use of the match on action shots which we favoured in our film as it worked well with pace of film and also left much to the imagination rather than having to show too much violence on screen.
We also were able to expand our range of shots, angles and framing, and also lighting as we got a nice effect in our film in the alleyway scenes with the street lamp giving our film a slight red tinge which worked well with our genre and concept of vampires and blood.
As we wanted our film authentic and not too phoney and we tried to make our hints a vampires quite subtle by just having briefs shots of the vampire fangs and red eyes, and also adding plenty of narrative enigma by making the attack scene between the vampire and the girl look more like a rape scene than a vampire attack.
During filming we have of course had some difficulties and things that ideally we would like change about our film, in some of our shots the sound is not good due to the wind and so a boom mike may have been useful at this moment, however due to us putting the soundtrack and voiceover in its place it wasn't too much of a problem. Some of our shots may have looked better if they had better framing, especially in the bar scene, also we really wished we had more close ups and extreme close ups of the cigarette end as this would have made a clearer link shot for the transition to the flashback with the lamppost light.
For the mise-en-scene we took care in making a convincing bar setting, and focussed on details like bar glasses, ash trays, bottles behind the bar, etc. and luckily the framing we used made it look convincing however it could have been improved on.
We tried to use a variety of shots within the film and I think we achieved some fantastic shots in our project however I do wish that we had got some more interesting or exaggerated shots, like extreme close ups or high angles and we did use some nice canted angle shots to signify something sinister was happening on screen.
Perhaps the best thing we have learnt from our preliminary task was the research into genre and cinematography was key to creating a film, through watching film openings and extracting all the key details and conventions of film openings. We had to think about every aspect, how to have a convincing attack scene through match-on-action shots, a scary soundtrack which we used creepy piano music, the lighting which we had a hint of red to signify the genre and that of blood and vampires.