Links To My Co-Producers Blogs

Thursday, 17 March 2011

All - Final Production

This our groups final production of the first two minutes of a slasher feature film entitled 'Oblivious'.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

JW - Evaluation Question One

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
We feel that even with our production only lasting two minutes, we have established many common codes and conventions that are used often in slasher movies.
Firstly, our title of 'Oblivious' could easily be used for a Hollywood style production of a slasher. Because, just like many other slasher movies (Scream, Halloween, Madman, Hatchet and many more), the title is short, memorable and gives a slight insight into what the film could be and what might happen in it.

'1. Lacking all memory; forgetful.
2. Lacking conscious awareness; unmindful.'

The above is a definition of 'oblivious' from The reason we have called our production this, is primarily based on the opening two minutes where our scream queen has no awareness of her killer or what is going on. However, as you can see in our plot overview post, the rest of the film would pan out so that we are all oblivious as to who the killer is.

Our company idents (seen below) are not really reflective of the horror genre. The music signifies a more sci-fi feel to the idents - due to the sound. However, the names of our idents could easily be used for horror movies. Firstly, 'Hawk Eye' - the name and the ident both signify that you are being watched, this idea could be formatted in a horror picture because the killer would be watching his/her victims before killing them. Following on from this, 'Jagged Edge' could very easily connote a jagged edged knife. The killer in our film uses a knife (see reasons why), knives (being the most common in slasher movies) could easily have a 'jagged edge'.

The use of a variety of shot types in our production also relates to real media products, firstly, our establishing shot(s) are setting the location. They are located around the front of our main location, and we based our establishing shot on the establishing shot of Halloween (seen below).

We were aiming to have our establishing shots be similar to this image, with only the bedroom light on and very little known about what's going on inside the house.

Whilst in our main location (interior of the house) we aimed to keep as many aspects connoting verisimilitude as possible, we did this because we wanted to make our location seem as real as possible. This would add to the scare factor, because our audience watching the production could in-vision themselves in the same situation.

These two photos are two location shots and connote the upper-middle class status of the house and it also signifies the idea that our characters are fairly average people - there is nothing special about their house that would make them stand out.

Slasher movies generally involve a psychotic killer, stalking, scaring and eventually killing a group of teenagers, classic examples of killers arMichael Myers off Halloween, Ghostface off Scream, Freddy Krueger from The Nightmare On Elm Street series, Jason Voorhees from the Friday The 13th series and many more. In our production, we have stuck with the classic idea portrayed in many of the aforementioned slasher movies of not revealing the killers' identity. This adds a huge element of narrative enigma into our production which will keep audience members intrigued, it could potentially also build up to a big finale at the end of our production. 

Similarly to other slasher movies, our opening sequence ends on a strong sense of narrative enigma. We have hidden our killers' identity, but as-well as this, the audience will wondering why the girl was chosen to be killed, how she was killed (since we do not show it on screen) and finally what will happen to the killer. As I saw in A Nightmare On Elm Street, hiding the killers' identity is a key aspect to keeping the audience involved in our production.

    Wednesday, 2 March 2011

    JW - Evaluation Question Two

    How does your media product represent particular social groups?
    Our media project portrays several stereotypes that are very common in horror movies, particularly in the sub-genre of 'slasher'. Firstly, we have used a very stereotypical 'scream queen' as the main character in our opening. She is a busty, blonde and sexually active girl who meets her fate at the end of our opening. We chose 'Megan Claydon' for this role, as we thought she fits that criteria. To the right is a picture of a stereotypical scream queen that appears in many slasher movies, we have hoped to emulate this is our production.

    To the left, is an image of our scream queen (Megan Claydon), and to the right, an image of our ideal scream queen, as you can see they have very similar features, such as blondeness, attractiveness and several others.
    The other minor role in our production was that of 'Carl', or 'Amelia's boyfriend', we picked 'James Crowther'. We did this because he can represent the 'jock' stereotype that is often portrayed in slasher movies, usually (as we have done) as a scream queen's boyfriend, who is very naive to fact of the killers presence, perhaps even oblivious to it. Below, is a picture of a jock of which yet again, we have tried to emulate with our 'Carl' character, although since he leaves very early on in our production, little can be known about him apart from that he has sexual encounters with our 
    scream queen, Amelia.

    To the left, is an image of our jock character (James Crowther). As you can see, he fits the desired criteria to portray a stereotype of a jock, this being muscly, tall, sporty and outgoing. To the right, is an image of a muscly character with a shotgun, however, from the image we cannot connote that he is the sporting type.
    Gender does have its place in our production, due to the fact that it was a slasher movie and slasher movies genuinely have a strong  reliance on certain gender stereotypes. Such as the scream queen, final girl etc. Due to us only creating the opening two minutes of a production, we didn't have a chance to develop a final girl, although in Plot Overview post, you can see that given the chance to make an entire production, we would establish a final girl.
    Slasher movies genuinely focus on a teen to young adult age range (ie. 15-24), our cast members are both ages of 17. Our target audience is therefore, ages 15-24 (predominantly male), see target audience post. Age is also used in our representation of characters, since both of our characters are teens, our audience would be able to relate to the production more, and this would also intensify the 'fear' of it because it would be easier to envision yourself in the situation if someone similar to you was in it.
    The ethnicity in our production is mainly white dominant. Although you only see two characters (both white British), if the rest of the film were to develop, perhaps a more culturally diverse cast would be introduced, this is party reflected by England, which in this present day is becoming a lot more of a culturally diverse country; currently the British population consists of 90% white, this could be reflected in our full-length production.
    Sexuality is quite a strong bit of representation for us, both of our cast members are heterosexual. We also feel in our plot overview summary, all of our characters would remain heterosexual throughout our production, there would be no homosexual representation. This would be due to several reasons, firstly, that homosexuals very rarely appear in slasher movies, and we wish to keep to this convention, and secondly it would be very hard to ask of our heterosexual cast (who are not professional actors respectively) to perform homosexual antics, this would be very demanding.
    Class and status isn't really given a chance to be represented in our production, since you only see one location. However, we feel that our location would probably fall under the socio-economic class of upper-working class. It is quite a rich looking house, given the rooms inside that are shown, however little is known about the class of the characters, their clothing is rather average and no props are used to suggest a special socio-economic class.
    Both of our characters seem to be in a rather normal physical state, they are no portraying any kind of mental or physical disability. During casting, we were not looking for anyone who had a disability, for several reasons, firstly, they are very rarely shown in slasher movies (especially in the opening sequence) however, in some cases such as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, one character does have a disability as it shows him/her as being vulnerable to the killer, if our film were to develop into a full picture, we may have used a disabled characte, such as Franklin Hardesty, above is an image of him from 'The Texas Chain Saw Massacre'. And secondly, it would be rather difficult to find actors who are willing to 'showcase' their 'disabilities' or pretending to be disabled in an a production that would go public due to embarrassment etc.
    Due to our filming being filmed in Yorkshire, you would expect it to bare some representation to this location, or have some regional identity being portrayed by the characters, location or props etc. However, I feel that our production has very little evidence to show it's from Yorkshire, our characters do not present a particularly strong Yorkshire accent, and there are no clear clues from props or locations as to where to the film is being set, as of the opening two minutes of our production.

    JW - Evaluation Question Three

    What Kind Of Media Institution Might Distribute Your
    Media Product And Why?

    Since we are a very low budget (virtually no budget) film company, and very indie as opposed to the big film distributors such as Icon Films or Walt Disney Films, we feel that we would be distributed through a very indie company.

    Since our film was so low budget and doesn't have the highest quality actors, props or locations, none of the big Hollywood companies would be interested in distributing our production, because they would be scared they wouldn't be able to earn enough profit from it. However, slightly more indie companies would relish the task because indie films have a very specific target audience and also since the films have such low budgets, it makes it very easy for them to achieve large profits.

    After doing some research into various low budget films such as Donkey Punch and This Is England, I've discovered that our ideal distributor would be Optimum Releasing. They distributed just over 200 films since they were founded in 1999. They distribute an extraordinary variety of films from very high budget movies such as Source Code which had a budget of $32mil, and films such as This Is England which only had a budget of £1.5mil. Since our movie had (virtually) no budget, it would make sense for us to use this distributor has the capabilities to distribute low budget movies, as seen with previous examples.

    JW - Evaluation Question Four

    Who Would Be The Audience For Your 
    Media Product?

    We feel that the audience for our media product would be (given our BBFC rating, and also our target audience research), between the ages of 15 and 24. This gives the opportunity of all teenagers of legal age to see the movie, as well as younger adults who still enjoy a good slasher film. 
    The age range of our secondary target audience would be much, much wider. This would vary from ages of approximately 12 until a lot later in life, we decided at approximately 40. After this age, adults prefer to watch more intelligent movies such as a psychological thriller.

    'Horror is most popular with teenagers and twenty-something’s, and this seems to go against the genre with a lot of critics, as if these age groups aren’t capable of making an intelligent film choice. This, of course, can be true; if at any time in the horror genre, we are being shown it now, with the surge of the re-make, where teenagers are unaware of the far superior (in most cases) films that are being regurgitated.'
    The above is a quote from regarding target audience for horror movies. I have used this quote to help back up my statement of target audience, regarding age.

    Here is a video of me interviewing a member of our core target audience.

    Gender is a key aspect when looking at target audience, we feel that given the majority of people killed in slasher movies are women, men would be most interested. There is also the idea that given slasher movies contain some amounts of (primarily) female nudity, males would also be interested - especially younger males.
    However, with the stereotype of 'final girl' developing in horror movies and especially within the slasher sub-genre, more and more females are beginning to enjoy slasher movies due to the inspirational concept of a final girl.

    'We all aspire in some way to be the Final Girl. 
    That is; act virtuous, beat the evil. And as we know from what the media tells us, there is a lot of evil out there.'
    The above quote is from and gives a good idea as to what a final girl is, does and how to be one.

    < This image is Jamie Lee Curtis portraying a 'final girl'. In our plot overview post, we stated that we intend to include a final girl if our production were to be a full movie.
    This would increase our audience, because females would be more interested in seeing it.

    So to conclude, we feel that the audience for our media product would be a wide range of people, firstly, our advertising would mainly focus on attracting teens and young adults, of both genders. We would then expect a much larger variety of people aging between 12 and 40 to see our product.

    Tuesday, 1 March 2011

    JW - Evaluation Question Five

    How Did You Attract/Address Your 

    For this question, I decided to use the annotations tools on 'youtube' and annotate our second rough cut of 'Oblivious', I have added annotations to some vital areas which address how our production would attract its audience.

    Since this was not our final production, I feel there are other aspects of our final production that would attract our target audience.

    Firstly, the sound we would add. This would greatly increase the tension and suspense in our production, also, if our production has a recognisable song or relatively catchy tune. It is quite stereotypical to the horror genre, this would help our audience understand our preferred reading to understand that our movie, is a slasher.

    Since our production was filmed in Yorkshire, and our cast are also from Yorkshire. Their accents would bear some regional identity, which our audience could relate to. Also, the age of our actors would allow our target audience to be able to relate to them.

    JW - Evaluation Question Six

    What Have You Learnt About Technologies From The Process Of Constructing This Product?

    Throughout the whole process of making our media production, me individually and my team as a group have used an exceedingly wide range of different types of technologies, ranging from keyboards to high-tech software on the apple macs.

    As a group, our work mainly was on the macs, using a variety of programmes. These included imovie, livetype, and several others. Imovie was the most important application we used on the mac, this is because all of our editing for our production took place on this application. We have most definitely logged most hours on this application; editing our clips, uploading footage, adding soundtracks, adding transitions etc. This application is very used friendly and you can easily do what you need.

    During research and planning, the main technologies used was indeed this blog (to add posts, look at existing blogs etc) and also watching dvds of existing media products, primarily horror/slasher films. However, the most important aspect of media and technology I used was the internet. On this, I visited an extremely large variety of websites (from imdb, youtube, wikipedia and many more).

    One of my most important tasks that I challenged independently was to create the soundtrack for our media production. This was done using a variety of musical instruments (including keyboards and guitars) to gain a variety of sounds that would sync in well together. I also used an audio recorder to record the various tracks I thought up. This was done in the very simple process of just playing the instrument live to it. I then uploaded the tracks to application on the apple macs called garage band. On here, I was then able to trim the tracks down to appropriate sizes, add multiple tracks and also alter the pitch of certain songs. Here is a video of me playing my keyboard at home, the track I'm playing is a short cover of the introduction of Don't Stop Believin - Journey.

    I believe that if were to use technology from a decade ago, I personally would have found it very stressful because technology in general back then, was a lot slower. It also wouldn't have been as hi-tech as today's, and also there wouldn't has been a wide range. Finally, we have full use of the internet with broadband, this would not have been available to us ten years ago. This idea is summed beautifully by Jonathan Stark on his website, his quote is:

    'The biggest technology change of the last 10 years is the proliferation of the internet into mainstream society. It started with the widespread adoption of email. From that modest foothold, the internet grew to become what it is today: the de-facto medium for human communication.'
    To conclude, I feel that me and my group have used the resources available to us very well, we have used very different applications on the macs, our own individual computers to complete tasks (eg. uploading videos to youtube) and also used slightly more unusual techniques (ie. the musical instruments) to achieve our desired production. However, I do not feel that as a group, we used other individual's knowledge as well as we could have, never really ventured outside our group's individual talents.
    Perhaps we should have gained more information from other students or teachers on the best way to use the technology available to us.