Links To My Co-Producers Blogs

Monday, 20 December 2010

JW - Initial Coursework Ideas - 'Oblivious'

Our working title: 'Oblivious'
After researching the name 'Oblivious' on imdb, I found out that there are two short films under the name and a TV show that ran in 2001.
One short film was released in 2001 and directed by Ozgur Uyanik (given a 4.1 rating on imdb). The second one was released in 2010 and directed by Tomasz Zadurowicz, it does not have a rating on imdb.
We have now decided that this will be our working title given that there are no exact matches on imdb or other aspects of media (music, TV series, radio stations etc.) that go under this name. Although, there has been several films under the name of 'Oblivion', this is similar to our name but not as close as too cause a confusion.
My group for the coursework consists of Tom, Will and myself. All three of our pitches were for a slasher, so we decided that we would try and combine our three ideas. This way we could develop our idea to it's utmost potential and also could adapt our final idea to suit each of it's creators.
Our final, initial idea is;
- a boy and a girl are alone in a modern household.
- there are strong implications that the two are sexually active and have consumed reasonable amounts of alcohol (this is obviously a sin!)
- the boy then abruptly departs, leaving the girl alone in quite a dark house.
- the girl turns everything off, lights, music etc. and decides to go to bed.
- the music turns it self back on (seemingly) and gets stuck in a 'loop'
- this obviously freaks the girl out, she then hears a loud bang/knock on the door, she looks through the window to see who/what is there, using various shot types, a masked face/villain suddenly appears.
- this sends the girl into shock and she stumbles backwards, falling over a table or chair and bangs her head, hard on the floor.
- she will be then be 'blurring in and out of conciousness' using effects and a POV shot.
- the hooded, masked villain who scared her initially, slowly approaches.
- he gets closer with every 'blink' as the girl remains to keep conciousness but she is petrified by fear.
- the villain is then stood directly over her, holding a long, glistening knife.
- the scene ends as a knife comes crashing down towards the girls chest.
- it will then cut to black.

This is the basic, finalised idea for our coursework, however I'm sure adaptations will be made to make the film better and so that it can be more easily done.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

JW - Deconstruction of 'Buried Alive'

- Directed by Robert Kurtzman in 2007.
- No budget or box office figures are given. I'd presume that it had a relativley small budget, it does appear to be quite an 'indie' movie given that I had never heard of it before so it must of had no particularly large advertising campaign. Plus, no mainstream actors are involved in this film.

Opening Scene (Ends after 4mins 30secs approx) - Very little actually happens in this opening scene, our main focus is on a woman in the bath. Given the nature of shots (panning up and down as she shaves her legs) it is quite clear that she is sexually active. This is often interpreted as a 'sin' in horror/slasher movies, so she may die quite quickly in this film, however she may also be the 'final girl'. This would be taking a different approach to the traditional way slasher movies are set out; the traditional 'scream queen', being the final girl.
The beginning of this scene is quite clever, at first you get the impression that what's happening is actually reality, there are no clear signs that what's going on is a dream. This changes however, when a very clear aspect of editing is used. using the blurriness of looking at something through water, the character who firstly appeared to be drowning the girl, changes and it becomes a different man. You can not think however, that this may be foreshadowing what might happen later on in the film.
Not much else happens in the opening scene that I can deconstruct, the music is very 'stereotypically' associated with horror; creepy piano notes. Little editing, mise-en-scene or camera shots are used that can be particularly deconstructed.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

JW - Deconstruction of 'A Nightmare on Elm Street'

- Directed by Wes Craven in 1984
- Had a budget of $1.8mil and made $10.8mil in the USA, (No UK figures given)

Opening Credits/Establishing Scene (ends after 1min 6secs) - This scene shows us all the company idents, but also half the screen is very well done. It implies lots of narrative enigma, but to fans of the horror/slasher genre they will know what's going on. It is of course Freddy Krueger creating/building his infamous 'claw'. Mise-en-scene used in this scene is very relevant, the famous red jumper that Freddy wears, and also the wide variety of obscure props. The location is also vital, although most of it is hidden, from various clues (water pipes, variety of monitors) we gather it could be some sort of boiler or gas chamber area. Yet again, fans of horror/slasher will know it's the boiler room. This entire scene is also shot using a considerably smaller screen than the rest of the film, this is done for two reasons I believe. One, because the opening credits etc. are also present and need some screen space. But also, to invoke the idea that this has already happened, or perhaps is supernatural. Hence why they use a smaller screen, it gives the impression that it is not normal, and therefore may not be of true reality.

Opening Scene - The opening shot of this is very significant, the close up of the lady, infront of a glistening white backround. This is a clear indicator, that is a dream. Also, the location the woman is in compared to her dress. She is in a white, upper-class night gown. For her to be running through what appears to be a large boiling area, would be quite obscene. So the idea of this being a dream becomes quite clear. The music also contributes to this idea, it is quite supernatural and almost sounds like something from a fairy tale, yet again adding to the sense of this being a dream. A fake scare is used (the goat/sheep), a very common piece used in cinema, creates an initial shock factor and increases the heart rate of the audience, it also invokes a false sense of security. Lots of POV (Point Of View) shots are used in this scene, to give the impression that someone is watching/stalking the soon to be victim. This is yet again, a very common method used in cinema, gives a real first person view to the film. Narrative enigma, is possibly the most important of this opening scene. Who is watching/chasing/stalking this person? What did she do? Is it real? These all of course, are answered in due course in the film. The idea of religion (God vs the Devil) is slightly represented in this scene, towards the end. The girl, hugs the cross, in a bid to save herself from the terror. This gives the idea that the bad guy is a representation of the devil, and perhaps supernatural.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) wallpaper

Sunday, 12 December 2010

JW - Deconstruction of '5ive Girls'

-Directed by Warren P. Sonoda in 2006.
-Had a budget of  $3mil, no box office figures given.

Opening Scene - (Ends after 4mins 42secs)
This is one of the more interesting opening scenes to a horror film that I've seen, this is mainly due to the fact that I would describe this type of film as a more religious horror then a straight out horror. The fright and tension is mainly created by using the religious 'fights' between the Devil and God/Jesus, but they usually invoke the Devil taking over or possessing characters, and this creates the fright factor, as I've seen in many films, (most recently, 'Devil' - John Erick Dowdle, 2010).
The establishing shot in this opening is quick to anchor that this movie will have a religious theme - the giant white cross on the building connotes Christianity and it could possibly signify goodness or heaven from the colour of it, granted that white is so often associated with goodness - the opposite of black. The mise-en-scene in this opening is quite striking, the costumes first of all reveal a lot about the characters. The reverend or 'father' is portrayed and recognised due to his clothes, and he is clearly a teacher to the pupils. The costumes of the students connote a religious school. The music in this is very suspenseful, it builds up slowly to the dramatic conclusion of the scene and this adds lots more intensity to it. Little substantial editing is used, but the special effects are quite dramatic. The bizarre substance that creeps up 'Elizabeth's' face and them appear to jump off it seem very realistic.
This film does seem slightly more indie then most horror films, it's budget isn't particularly large. I intend to watch it all and give my opinion on it, although it's got a low rating on imdb (4.6).

JW - Our Prelim Task - Our Production

All - Microdrama Video

Just realised I hadn't put out 'microdrama' on here from the start of the year.
So without further ado, here it is.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

JW - Deconstruction of 'Idle Hands'

-Directed by Rodman Flender in 1999
-Had a budget of $20mil and made $4mil in the USA boxoffice, no UK figures given.
-To see the imdb page for this, click here

Opening Credits: (End after 1 min 34 secs). Main colour is red, clear signifier of blood, lots of blood and gore in opening credits. What appears to be a skinned head or something similar, screaming in agony. Definite horror feel, although music gives slightly different feel. Quite fast tempo and a modern feel, more of a suspense/thriller feel from the music. However, creepy piano music (similar to that of The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973), which is one of the most famous horror movie soundtracks ever). The actor names are very significant, shown in bold white lettering which is a strong contrast to the dull red of the backround.

Opening Scene: (End after 7 mins 14 secs). The first thing that struck me about the opening scene is the large amount of 'fake scares', there is at least three in the opening scene. I think this is done to add to the slight 'comedic' area of this film, due to the fact that is generally classed a 'horror/comedy'. Something happens that first appears to be something terrible (such as the screech of a cat), it then adds to the comedic effect when it's something silly. However, these could've also been used to lull the characters and the audience into a false sense of security, so when the real actual scares, our heart is already racing and we might not expect it quite as much.
The second thing that struck is the references (possibly deliberate, possibly accidental) to other classic horror movies, such as the pumpkin as the first shot (possible reference to Halloween) and the lamppost outside the family house (possible reference to the infamous lamppost outside the house of The Exorcist). These could've been used to add to the fact this is sort of a more spoof movie rather than a true horror, and also it engulfs classic horror movie fans. The mise-en-scene if the first scene is quite standard, it seems just like a typical American house that take Halloween very seriously (due to the large amount of decorations in the establishing shot), there is nothing particularly special about the couple (despite the fact they're quite elderly, this age group isn't traditionally used as victims in horror films). There is little sound in the opening scene, the focus more is on the scene being quite quiet. This way when noise does crop up, it is a lot more alarming to the audience and this adds to the 'shock' affect. Little editing is used, nothing that is particularly noticeable, it's mainly continuity editing.

Monday, 6 December 2010

JW - My Pre-lim Task

My Pre-lim task

Preliminary exercise: Continuity task involving filming and editing a character opening a door,crossing a room and sitting down in a chair opposite another character, with whom she/he then exchanges a couple of lines of dialogue. This task should demonstrate match on action,shot/reverse shot and the 180-degree rule. 

Match-on action: A match on action, a technique used in film editing, is a cut that connects two different views of the same action at the same moment in the movement. By carefully matching the movement across the two shots, filmmakers make it seem that the motion continues uninterrupted.

Shot/reverse shot: Shot reverse shot is a film technique where one character is shown looking at another character (often off-screen), and then the other character is shown looking back at the first character. Since the characters are shown facing in opposite directions, the viewer assumes that they are looking at each other.

180-degree rule: The 180° rule is a basic guideline in film making that states that two characters (or other elements) in the same scene should always have the same left/right relationship to each other. If the camera passes over the imaginary axis connecting the two subjects, it is called crossing the line.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

JW - Deconstruction of the The Matchmaker

Deconstructing the opening of The Matchmaker

-Directed by Mark Joffe in 1997
-No budget figures are given but it made $3.4mil in the USA boxoffice
-To see the imdb page for this, click here
Open with an establishing shot and high angle of Boston and anchorage connoting the location.
Busy work environment. Lots of people talking over each other. Costumes- formal attire.
Flags connote political work environment. Anchored by the way they address each other- Senate.
Steady cam following the woman into the office. Long shot takes. Continuity editing.
Shot to shot whilst talking in the office. Power/authority over the woman is shown through her response to the men.
Sound of telephone in the background and talking. Verisimilitude is shown through lighting and costume. The lighting is realistic for an office.
Representation: Woman shown as having no social life... pretending to talk on the phone. Binary opposite to the polititains who are winning people over. She is bored/fed up with her work life, controlled by those in authority.
She is the main character as se is the focus in most of the shots.
The bosses seem quite pompous as the way the like seeing themselves on tv.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

JW - Deconstruction of 'The Texas Chain Saw Massacre' (Tobe Hooper, 1974)

After watching the opening scene of this, (which ended after 3mins 20secs), we get a sense of this film trying to more like a documentary. The whole feel of it signifies that this story really happened, and this increased your levels of fear about it, the thought of 'this actually happened to someone, and could happen to me'! The budget of this film was only $83,532. This is obviously very low in comparison to the remake in 2003 which had a budget of $9,200,000, however the general feeling is that the original is much more scary due to its realism it portrays, because of a low budget they couldn't get amazing cameras or state of the art editing equipment, but this fits in well with the idea that this is being filmed as it's going along. However, this is not reflected in how much each film made in the box office, the original made $30,859,000 in the USA, whilst the re-make made a huge $80,148,261. This could be due to a larger advertising campaign due to the larger budget, and also wider interest in the re-make because of hearing about the original. There have been three sequels to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre; 'The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 2 (Tobe Hooper, 1986)', 'Leatherface: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre III (Jeff Burr, 1990) and finally, 'The Return Of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Kim Henkel, 1994). None of these three sequels particularly did well in the box office or in the imdb ratings (none scoring over 5.1), this could be due to a lack of originality or new ideas. Seeing the same thing (of people getting murdered by Leatherface) may become boring. One prequel was made to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; 'The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: The Beginning (Jonathan Liebesman, 2006), this had a budget of $16mil, and made a gross of $39.5mil in the USA and £1.2mil in the UK.

This is the opening narration to 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre'

JW - Deconstruction of 'Dumped'

Our 60 second film was meant to use various implications of mise-en-scene to convey various messages to out audience. I think we did this reasonably well, apart from the opening scene, all of the movie is very dark, this gives a eery feel to the movie and also adds a strong sense of mystery (as most horror/slasher) because we cannot know what's coming out of the darkness. Secondly, the costumes in our film (although being very basic) help supply some verisimilitude, a very real feel throughout. There's nothing particularly special about any of the characters that would make them out of the ordinary, apart from there's obviously something mentally wrong with the character seeking revenge on his ex-girlfriend. This yet again, plays with the mind of the audience. The target audience for our film would most likely be teenagers, predominantly male.
There was little editing in our film, several transitions towards the end and a slide anchoring a change in time. This was done yet again to add a sense of realism, if there were lots of flashy transitions and exuberant sound effects, it could start to look tacky and people could start to see less severity and realism within it.
The sound is all diagetic, there is little dialogue and the only other sounds we have are a door slamming, heavy breathing, loud footsteps and feet scraping on stones. No non-diagetic was aloud but if it was, I think it would yet again take away some of the realism from our production.
We use a variety of camera shots and angles to portray various aspects of different ideas for our film. The most memorable shots is the POV shot within the 'stalker/killer'. This just gives a great sense of narrative enigma as to who this person is and it also gives us a sense of him stalking his soon-to-be victim. Another good use of camera angles is the panning up from foot to face of the killer. This makes him look like a very powerful and abrasive person.
We learnt several things whilst filming and editing our production, firstly, that when it's pitch black, it's very hard to capture what you need to on the camera. alternative light sources need to be used and these can be rather tricky to obtain and use properly. However, the darkness can be used to well to add mystery and suspense. Secondly, it can be quite difficult to create feelings of suspense and tension without music (which can affect your heart rate), using silence can sometimes work because it makes the audience prone to loud noises (which will invoke a larger feeling of shock) but some of the time it can get rather dull.

Here is our production...

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Deconstruction of 'Day After Day', Edited by George and Harry

Opening Credits
The opening credits see white letters falling onto a black backdrop, almost too casually. The music is very energetic and quite happy. This could be to install a false sense of security or perhaps to give the idea of the same thing recurring, such as the title ‘Day After Day’, it would appear the events that occur happen everyday of this man’s (Charlie’s) life. Non - Serif font is used to create a sense of ordinary, nothing unusual is happening, and this type of scenario is rather average.
I think the location of the filming is vital, given the elevator, and the rather casual formalness of Charlie, George and Roam, you get the impression that is being in set some kind of big company building. You feel it must be quite important, given that there’s a doorman who must open the door from the inside to allow entrance. The clothing of the characters doesn’t give us too many clues about their actual character, apart from the fact that Harry is representing a slight stereotype of a typical London newspaper salesman, given his accent, hat and loud ‘bargaining’ yells. We are also given a slight impression that Charlie may be quite a high, important man in the business corporation given his casual yet formal attire, and that the doorman opens the door for him. There is nothing significant about lighting throughout the drama.
Camera Shots
I think that camera shots have a very significant effect in this drama, which could have been un-intentional but in my opinion, I think they were used intentionally. In ‘Day One’ of the drama, very conventional and ‘average’ camera shots are in use, medium long shots, medium angles, medium-long shots etc. I think this was done to create a sense of this day being very ordinary, nothing special is happening and this reflected in the camera work, with the shots being ‘nothing special’. They merely follow ‘Charlie’ on his journey. On the second day however, we immediately get a sense of something going wrong, because a high angle shot is being used on Charlie buying his newspaper, giving the impression of loneliness and isolation, but also weakness that could come in to context later in the movie. Secondly, another high angle is used to show the ‘mysterious’ characters feet, this is done to create a sense of mystery with the possible killer, we don’t know his face so therefore don’t trust him as much. A third high angle is used on the murdered Roam, yet again to create a sense of mystery and weakness about the characters; our lack of knowledge on the mysterious killer.
Aspects of Narrative
I struggled to see many aspects of narrative that we learnt about in this micro-drama, we cannot relate the story to Todorov’s narrative formula, because an equilibrium has been established and then an interruption occurs, no balance is re-instated and no second equilibrium, has been established. Levi-Strauss’s binary opposites slightly occurred in this, the contrast of normal to abnormal (Day one and Day two) and also a sense of right and wrong from the obvious murder (although we don’t have any idea that there is a good character in the play through lack of information). Finally, Propp’s 8 recurring character types are slightly represented, there is a definite ‘villain’ - the mysterious footsteps and quite probable murderer. Although no other aspects of it are represented, you get a vague idea that Charlie could be a hero as most of the focus on the drama is on him, and he clearly has a relationship with other characters, such as Roam and Harry. No other ideas that Propp developed are really put in practice, such as the donor, or princess.
There is very little editing in this film; the transitions are also normal apart from one that is used very well done, to signify the change of day they use a dramatic fade out. The opening/ending credits are one stand out piece of editing, they are there to give the film start and finish it needs, and also to signify little snippets of information about the movie, even though these could have been done in a false manner (see Opening Credits). Another strong piece of used that is done really well is when Charlie is walking down the bridge and has been given a very strong 'slow motion' affect, also a strong 'windy' noise is used, this is done to yet again, to signify a great sense of something being wrong, something mysterious and our of the ordinary.
Sound is mainly used in the opening and ending credits of this film, in the opening credits, it's quite a bouncy and up-lifting song, almost as if this film is going to be a comedy, or something of a similar nature. However, the sound on the end credits is a lot more deep, and mysterious. They've used this type of music because the film ends on a 'cliffhanger', so the music is helping to denote that the story is not over, nor has a new equilibrium been established. Finally, I think another important sound that needs to be noted occurs at '1.38' in the film, it's that of a loud, 'bang' sound. This is important in terms for the story because it very possible linked to the 'footsteps/murdered', perhaps he broke into the building or it's the body falling to the floor. It also occurs when Charlie's back is turned, thus adding to the sense of mystery and suspense.
Target Audience
I think it's rather tricky to get a 'core' target audience for this production, from the first two minutes of the film, it's rather difficult to tell what genre it is, it could be one of many (Horror, slasher, murder mystery, suspence etc.). Given this information, it is harder to set a quite specific target audience, but I'd say that the target audience for this film would be teenagers to mature adults. Especially those who enjoy films involving murder and a great sense of mystery and suspense, from this it is more likely to be males.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Lessons I've Learnt From My Microdrama

Our microdramam taught me a lot of things about the filming industry and how difficult it can be to create a good, believable drama. Firstly, i've learnt that preparation and planning is by far the most important thing for creating a film, the story board and call sheets are essential. If you complete these to a good standard then the rest of the filming task will become a lot more easier.
Secondly, you need to use your time allowance a lot more wisely.  This could also come under planning but using your time carefully to make sure you get everything done is key. Also, the way you film shots is vital, don't try and do something you're not capable of or that doesn't fit in with the scene, for example if you are trying to make a character look high and mighty, don't use a high angle as it will give the impression of him being small and in-significant. Following on from this, when filming a conversation, it is key not to follow the conversation with one single shot, use different shots and different angles. This will add more to it and will also keep the audience more entertained.
We found out that a voiceover or narrative over the film could be very useful, especially if the dialogue is lacking or if something needs to be explained more so to the audience. A voiceover can also be used for great dramatic affect, for example it could be someone telling their story, this makes the whole film seem a lot more realistic, thus more frightening or funny.
Finally, we've seen that from other films, end credits or 'blooper' scenes can work really well as an ending to a film, they give it a nice finish and use really good editing techniques.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

My Five Favourite Films of All Times

1. Black Hawk Down
(Ridley Scott, 18th January 2002). Budget of $90mil. UK Gross: £5.7mil and USA Gross: $108.6mil.

2. Lord of the Rings Trilogy
(Peter Jackson, 19th December 2001, 18th December 2002, 17th December 2003). Budget of $93mil, $94mil, $94mil. UK Gross: £65.3mil, £57.1mil, £60.7mil. USA Gross: $314.8mil $340.5mil, $377.1mil

3. The Hurt Locker
(Kathryn Bigalow, 28th August 2009). Budget of $11mil. UK Gross: £308,887. USA Gross: $12.6mil.

4. Saving Private Ryan
(Steven Spielberg, 11th September, 1998). Budget of $70mil. UK Gross: £18.7mil. USA Gross: $216.1mil.

5. The Hangover
(Todd Philips, 12th June 2009). Budget of $35mil. UK Gross: £21.7mil. USA Gross: $277.3mil.

1. I love this film just for the passion you can sense throughout it, the main storyline is somewhat lacking but the action scenes and acting is great throughout. I just love it.
2. Lord of the Rings is the only trilogy in which I love all three films. The action scenes, dialogue, acting and special effects are all sublim3. This film is very original, i've never seen another film quite like it. The lead role is done superbly and the sheer tension throughout is mind-blowing.
4. Possibly one of the most violent films i've seen, but the passion and drama is present throughout it. Tom Hanks is excellent and with Spielberg directing, the cinematography is pure brilliant.
5. The funniest film i've ever seen. The story line is so simple, but the comedy is just pure genius. It has so many original ideas and I just hope, that if they make a sequal, it is representative to this one.

Friday, 8 October 2010

My Coursework Task...

Your mission is to carry out the following brief:

Preliminary exercise: Continuity task involving filming and editing a character opening a door, crossing a room and sitting down in a chair opposite another character, with whom she/he then exchanges a couple of lines of dialogue. This task should demonstrate match on action, shot/reverse shot and the 180-degree rule.
Main task: 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 the candidate(s), with the exception of music or audio effects from a copyright-free source.

The coursework is worth 50% of the AS (same at A2) and the marking (detailed later) is divided into 3 sections:


  • In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? 
  • How does your media product represent particular social groups?
  • What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why? 
  • Who would be the audience for your media product? 
  • How did you attract/address your audience? 
  • What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product? 
  • Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?
 When the examiner is marking all this, they've got to write a paragraph for the exam board justifying the marks they've given you. The grid embedded below summarises the criteria they have to follow, and so you're advised to occasionally re-read this and ask yourself where you think you'll fall within the marking scheme!
For each section there are key components of the work which they have to assess as being one of the following:

G321 - Simplified Marking Criteria as 1 Sheet