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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.