Monday, 27 April 2009
My media product follows many conventions already established in the media. It follows the post-modern idea and has a few inter-textual references to films already produced (not all of them are of the “teen drama” genre). I think that inter-textual references are important for films aimed at the ‘youth audience’ as it adds humour and familiarity to the text. I also think that I have added some ideas that would not necessarily fit into other genres, which make my film unique. One very obvious thing is that many teen dramas are television series, with very few films made with the same conventions and styles. This means that there is a gap in the market for a film along the same style and conventions of “Skins” and “Shameless”.
In the opening of my film I have used a common story-line for a drama based around teenage characters: with a young man having just moved to a new town and the struggle to fit in with a new group of people. The question of “fitting in” is an issue that comes up a lot within teenage circles, and is something that many teenagers would be able to relate to.
The opening of films aimed at the youth audience (15-25) tend to be one of two styles; fast paced editing with upbeat music and some kind of voiceover, or a slow, drawn-out opening with panning shots and downbeat music. I chose to follow the first pattern as it grabs the attention of the audience and moves the narrative on quickly.
In the introduction of most films contains some form of narrative enigma (otherwise what would be the point, if you could tell the plotline from the first 2 minutes?) and my media product follows this convention. When the dark shots of the girl slumped on the sofa come of screen there is no explanation for why that has happened and this makes the audience want to watch the rest of the film.
How does our media product represent particular social groups?
In my media product there is a distinct contrast between the upper classes of the south of England and the middle classes of the north. Alex and his mother have moved from an upper class section of London to a middle class town Yorkshire. Although not shown in the first 2 minutes of the film, Alex’s mother acts as though she is much more important than the people who she now lives with. Alex, on the other hand, desperately tries to fit in with the new social group, and at times hides his accent. The film follows the conventions that the upper class people are “snobs” and the middle class people are lazy and not interested in anything but having a good time.
This film also highlights the stereotype often linked with teenagers; that they are lazy party animals who get drunk, take drugs and generally cause a menace.
What kind of media institution might distribute our media product and why?
Major independent producer and distributor. Recent releases have included Hunger and Easy Virtue.
I think that Pathé would be a good distribution company to distribute my film as many of the films that it distributes are low-budget, independent films like ‘Displacement’. Pathé Distribution is a well known distributor, and as such would know many of the advertising techniques needed for a successful film launch, but is not too mainstream to turn down all indie films. Another company that could distribute my film is Icon Film Distribution UK. They are slightly less mainstream than Pathé, so there is a better chance of acceptance.
Who would be the audience for your media product?
I think that my media product would appeal to a fairly wide audience. It is mainly aimed towards the youth audience (15-25) as the fast pace of the editing, the loud, upbeat rock music and the young actors would appeal to that age-range. Many issues that are only really relevant to the youth audience are tackled in my media product, so it would be a film that they could relate to. According to common stereotypes, this film would not necessarily draw any attraction from the male gaze, as the female protagonist is not a busty blonde who is sexually available, but would still appeal to a male audience through the violence, humour and sexual activity that is included.
Different regions of England are represented within ‘Displacement’, and so it would have a wide regional appeal. This would also appeal to an American audience as it represents two of the strong English stereotypes that often appear in American pictures.
How would the audience be attracted / addressed?
Having researched and found that most cinemagoers are predominantly from the 15-35 age range, I built up the audience of my product from there. By using the upbeat loud music at the start, the quick editing and the teenage actors, there is immediate appeal to this youth audience. The narrative of this film reaches out to the audience and it is particularly relevant to this particular group, as it deals with issues that are faced in teenage life. The music that I have chosen to go in the background appeals to the youth audience, as it is punk-rock and very fast pace. Sound is very important when determining the audience of a film.
Having the range of accents within the product, it makes the text more recognisable to oversees markets, as the southern accent is most often the one that other countries tend to associate with British citizens.
The quick paced editing is a very popular style for media texts aimed at the youth audience as it grabs and holds the attention, with the need to keep up meaning that they don’t drift away. This is also reflected in the music that I have chosen for the background.
What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this project?
I have used two main technological systems within the course of this project; iMovie and Blogger. iMovie is the editing software that we used to cut and edit our media products. It’s an Apple based software in which we could import out footage and edit it accordingly. I learnt several new skills whilst using iMovie, the most useful of which being how to add a voiceover to a media text, cut down clips to fit them into a particular sequence and add titles and transitions to make a film look more polished. I also learnt how to export a file from iMovie and burn it onto a disc using iDVD. Blogger is an online blog website that allowed us to store our coursework in a neat and efficient way. It’s accessible from any computer with internet connection, which was greatly beneficial as it allowed us to publish work from home without the worry of remembering to bring it into lessons. I have learnt how to create, edit and publish a blog, including things such as uploading videos and photos on this blog.
Overall I found that these technologies can be very useful in constructing a media product and invaluable in the editing and documenting process. Blogger was particularly time saving, in that I only needed to document something once and it was saved onto the internet.
Looking back at my preliminary task, what do I feel I have learnt in the progression from it to full product?
I think that the prelim task was an important of this project, as it enforced the importance of shot variety (to add interest to the product), continuity of shots and interesting narrative. I also found by experimenting with the software during the prelim task I was able to plan a realistic sequence for the main project. I think that I have learnt a lot through out the whole process, about everything from technological knowledge to practical skills with handling the camera, but also the steps that must be taken in order to produce a strong media text. These include the primary research, then the ideas, planning, drafting, rough cuts and the final product. Overall I feel my knowledge of the media industry and productions have been widened considerably, and I have a better understanding of the process of film-making.
What needs to be changed?
There are several things that I think could be changed in my product to make it stronger. Some of these were things that I could have done with more time, but some I didn’t think were possible.
The first thing is the town montage. The shots are obviously taken from a moving vehicle, and so it would make more sense to the narrative to have a shot where the character Alex got onto a bus. However I felt that I would not be able to get a clip of a bus, as one was not readily available. I had originally planned for the montage to look as though he was walking around town, although it wasn’t necessary. In “The Parent Trap” (Disney 1998) there is a montage when Hallie and her mother are walking around London. The shots are similar to mine, quick pans of prominent parts of the setting. This was where I got the idea for that particular sequence, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing that the shots are fast but there was no bus involved.
The shots when Alex was on the bridge taking out his mobile phone are unfortunately over-exposed, as the white balance function of the camera that was using would not work. This could easily be reshot, but due to time constraints I couldn’t for this edit.
I think that the beginning titles could do with some improvement. I think the white title over black background worked well, and linked with “Shameless”, but it would have been more interesting if one of the letters was slightly out of place (which would also tie into the title of the film). I also think that the name of the actor written on the mirror could have been more obvious, possibly added with computer graphics to make it stand out more (a technique used in the titles of “10 Things I Hate About You”).
The male actor’s gestures at the end of the sequence were not suitable for the narrative. He was meant to be shaking his head as though he’s trying to get rid of this premonition he has just seen, but the movement he does is quite weak and looks a bit out of place after such a dramatic flash-forward.
Due to time constraints when working back into my final piece I didn't have enough time to adjust the audio so that the backing music stopped when the three bangs started, and then slowly fades back in. This is annoying as it does create a very dramatic effect. However, and example of how that sequence is meant to go can be seen in "Rough Edit 3". It's the part that comes just after the girl has walked up the road and smiled at Alex.
This clip can be found here http://hegragabe.blogspot.com/2009/04/final-cut-eeeeeeepppp.html
Sunday, 26 April 2009
Alex Bright is dressed casually, as though he hasn't thought about what he's wearing as he was in a rush to leave the house. He wears plain blue jeans, a plain black jacket and shoes with black and green patterning. He has an ear piercing in his left ear to signify that he is a rebel, and doesn't want to conform to his social group in London (a very virtuous and conscientious group.)
Faith is wearing all black, again very casual but, unlike Alex, a much more thought out look. She wears a long, sloganed black t-shirt, a long black cardigan, black leggings and black pumps. The black clothing accentuates her pale skins and dark hair. It also gives her a very gothic look, and this ties in with the social group that she hangs around with. She wears similar clothing in the overdose shots, with a lighter coloured t-shirt.
This is a still from my film "Displacement". It shows the shot of the Alex's bedroom. The mise-en-scene in this shot is very important as it says a lot about the character. I chose to shoot this in a friend's bedroom, as he is a typical boy and thus he has a typical boy's bedroom. This image shows a football in the corner as a representation of teenage boy activities. We chose to have the room fairly empty, with boxes around to signify that he has recently moved in. He doesn't have a proper bed, just a large beanbag, so this shows that he has moved in so recently that he hasn't assembled his bed yet.
This shot shows the neighbourhood that Alex's house is in. It's a long road, clearly not in the city to contrast with the busy capital that Alex used to live in. The houses are semi-detached, to show that they aren't in as inexpensive a residence as a council estate, but it's still a vast contrast to the sort of house that Alex would have lived in in London.
Also, the road that Alex walks down is straight and downhill. This signifies that things are going to get worse for him, and it's going to be quick. It was very important that we found a street that could signify the decline, and this one was perfect.
When the sequence of shots to show various areas of the town, I felt that it was important to have a shot of the church. This is because it wouldn't be a big part of a city setting, but within more rural areas, the church is often a prominent part of the community. This ties in with the stereotype of a small English country town (many films and television serials presenting small town folk as very religious).
This road I thought was perfect for the end of the films introduction. I like the cover of the trees, and the nearby park and river. It's obvious that this is a fairly main road within this town, but it's nothing like as busy as a road in London is. The sign for a public footpath is a signifier of a more rural environment (as most places in London have public transport like tubes and buses).
This is the second edit of my final piece. I've changed the volume of the "death bangs" which I think works well, and I added the monologue. I have also added the title 'Displacement' to the start of the film. It's in sans serif white text of a white background, which I got from the television series "Skins" and "Shameless".
After Audience Feedback
The backing music goes on after the "death bangs" just for a fraction too long, and people in my media class said that I should try to cut the music off the second that the image changes. They also said that the monolgue needed to be louder, and the backing music should go quieter when Alex is speaking.
Saturday, 25 April 2009
“In the UK teen dramas were aimed at older children and teenagers. They were shown after school hours in special variety shows. Presenters would introduce them in between cartoons and other children's programmes such as Grange Hill and Byker Grove. The only exception is the teenage soap opera "Hollyoaks" and older audience aimed teen dramas, such as the groundbreaking "As If" and also "Skins", "Sugar Rush" and "The Inbetweeners" all shown on Channel 4 and E4 with "Hollyoaks" shown at 6:30 pm and Skins, "Sugar Rush" and "The Inbetweeners" shown later at night..” Quoted from Wikipedia.
Within the first two minutes, no Non-Caucasian characters appear in my film, although would plan to have some later on in the narrative. I didn’t plan to have no ethnic minority characters to appear in the part of my film that I made, but due to the availability of actors, I wasn’t able to include any.
Although my product isn’t targeted at a specific gender group, I think that females would prefer this film. I don’t believe that my product would exclude either gender. The girl in my film is stereotypical of the kind of girl that usually appears as the “out of control” character in teen dramas. The boy in my film is counter typical of the male protagonist of a teen drama. The gender roles in my film are typical of a teen drama, with the girl in control of the boy’s heart, and the boy trying to do whatever he can to get the girl to like him.
Although not specifically focused on socio-economic groupings, my film does have some difference of social class. The main character, Alex, has just moved from London, a very upper-class and expensive place to live, to a small town in the countryside. He finds it very difficult to adapt from the upper-class setting of London to the middle/working-class setting of the new town.
I believe that fans of the following would be interested in my product; Skins (2007, TV series), Kidulthood (2006, Menhaj Huda) and Cruel Intentions (1999, Roger Kumble). This is because the storylines of the three films are all similar to that of “Displacement” and also the style of my product is a mixture of these three styles, plus Mean Girls (2004, Mark Waters).
The audience that I believe would be most interested in this film would be the 15-25 youth audience, students who would be able to relate to this sort of narrative and identify with the characters (i.e. teenagers / young adults who like to go to parties, take drugs etc.)
Wednesday, 22 April 2009
Thursday, 16 April 2009
The following software can be connected with the camera:
Drivers & Utilities
Canon Zoombrowser EX
It uses a mini DV tape for playback. The image format is JPEG, it has special effects such as Art, Black & White, Sepia, Mosaic, Ball, Cube, Wave, Colour Mask and Mirror. There is a built-in image stabilizer and is available in widescreen. By using either normal movie mode or digital photo mode you can choose from shooting programs such as spotlight, portrait mode, night mode, fireworks, sport mode, sunset, beach or snow. This camera was effective and of a high enough quality to ensure a well-filmed product.
- I chose Lawrence because he has experience acting (he was also in Coma, a film by SAMYOUWILL productions) and is a countertype to the typical dark hair, blue eyes protagonist of many teen dramas. As he was available for filming, he was the actor who was in the final text.
- Holly was my first and only choice to play the part of the Faith. She has acting experience (she studies Drama for A Level, and was also in “Coma”) and is the perfect build for the character. She is slight and pale, which means she could easily seem like the typical girl to go off the rails and take drugs.
Thursday, 2 April 2009
Wednesday, 1 April 2009
Originally I was going to be in a group with Holly Davy and Saskia Adams, but due to "creative differences" we decided to split into 3 seperate groups. I wanted to do this because I thought that I would do better in this task by having full creative control of the filming and editing, and we had different ideas of which would make a better introduction.
Outline of Idea
The film I am making the introduction for is based around a young boy, Alex Bright. He has moved from London to a quiet town in the North of England, the first time he has seen the countryside. In his life in London, he was one of the "good crowd," always getting his homework in on time and eating sensibly etc. He was the rebel of his old friendship group (signified by his earring) but when he moves to this new town he is quiet and timid and unsure of himself. He tries to take up his previous rebellious role by falling in with a bad crowd. In this crowd is a girl named Faith Davies, whom he falls deeply and uncontrollably in love with. He starts going to various house parties that get out of control, involving too much alcohol and illegal drugs. When Faith dies of an accidental overdose, Alex is caught wondering if it's all been worth it. He kills himself at the end of the film.
Establishing Shot – Gives anchorage to the setting, period of time, culture or physical location in which a text is set.
Extreme close up – To show the emotions that are occurring on the characters faces and to highlight small but important details.
Close up – Gives an object specific meaning, shows emotion on a face, and usually only one character so that it can make the character seem isolated.
Mid Shot – a shot from the waist up of the subject to get more detail on the expression and register the emotion, butt doesn’t over-emphasise.
Long Shot – Presents the setting in which the scene takes place in simple details. Sometimes includes characters.
Extreme Long Shot – To show a broad scale of the surroundings, and to give anchorage to the setting.
Low Angle – Used to make a subject appear bigger, stronger and more powerful, or to make an audience feel smaller and more vulnerable.
Mid Angle – Just to show the basic actions, to not distract the audience, and to not make much of an impact on the scene.
High Angle – To make the subject seem frail, weak and small, or to make the audience feel more powerful. Also gives the audience a sense of scale.
Dutch Tilt – When the angle is nearly mid angle, but is off to one side just slightly, to give the audience a feeling that something’s not quite right in the scene.
Conglomerate – A media conglomerate describes companies that own large numbers of companies in various mass media such as television, radio, publishing, movies and the internet
Major – a major film studio is a movie production and distribution company that releases a substantial number of films annually and consistently commands a significant share of box office revenues in a given market
Indie – Short for independent, a film that is produced outside of the Hollywood studio system, produced and funded by an independent company. An indie film will break the rules of traditional narrative and experiment with new and different ways of telling stories - to create meaning in a non-realistic way.
Cross Media – is when promotional material relevant to film marketing can be communicated by any mass media such as e-mails, letters, web pages, or other recruiting sources. This method can be verly successful for publishers because the marketing increases the ad’s profit from a single advertiser.
Convergence – Convergence is to use various media platforms to create new experiences, new forms of media and content that connect us socially. Convergence is very popular. For the consumer it means more features in less space, while for the media conglomerates it means remaining competitive in the struggle for market dominance.Synergy – synergy is the promotion and sale of a product (and all its versions) throughout the various subsidiaries of a media conglomerate e.g. films, soundtracks or video games. These products can help advertise the film itself and thus help to increase the film's sales.
- The premiere was seen by a total of 17.3 million viewers in the United States—almost 10 million more than its predecessor — making it, at the time of its airing, the highest-rated Disney Channel Movie.
- attracted 16 million viewers, the most-watched made-for-cable movie ever (the previous record was held by TNT's January 21, 2001 airing of Crossfire Trail, which brought in 12.5 million viewers)
- Sequel, has a large fan base from the first film. There are links to the first film in the settings shown, the music played and the basketball in the gym, linking to a major theme from it.
- Close up of school clock with over-exaggerated ticking sound. Time says 3.05 to signify the end of school.
- Music links in with genre of film and links to the finale song from the first film so is familiar to the fan base already established.
- Title of film gives anchorage to genre “musical”. Also provides anchorage that it’s a sequel.
- Titles shown in shape and colour of a beach, to signify the beach and the summer. This reflects that the film is set over summer vacation.
- No titles appear over the opening sequence, other than the actors names. This is because the youth audience it’s based at would be impatient and eager to get to the action.
- Set in the day time. Using the commutation test, if it had been set at night, it would appear much more sinister.
- Names of actors come up in white serif font to not distract attention from the action.
- Pans slowly through various locations in the school, all settings of songs from the first film (e.g. the gym “Getcha Head in the Game”, the stage “Breaking Free” and the cafeteria “Stick to the Status Quo”)
- In obtrusive editing.
- Not much exposition to story of film yet.
- The accent of the teacher provides anchorage for setting [set in America].
- Further anchorage to the time of year, the teacher talks about the “shimmering lights of summer”
- Skull in school classroom is inter-textual reference to ‘Hamlet’.
- Over sized clock emphasizes students are more interested in the time than there teacher.
- Student fidgeting connotes excitement and anticipation (for the end of the school year).
- Clock gets bigger shows time is important.
- Reluctantly moves from the clock to the teacher, signifies that the students should be listening to her but are more interested in the time.
- The basketball reflects a major theme of both films 1 & 2. Also connotes racial stereotype, African-American character holding the ball.
- High angle shot to enforce that the students aren’t in control of the situation.
- The ticking of the clock get louder as it gets bigger, the noise drowning out what the teacher is saying. Also builds suspense, we don’t know what will happen when the ticking stops.
- The students start to chant the word summer over and over again, to signify the eagerness for the year to finish.
- Sudden release of tension as the chanting and ticking stops (and the bell goes off) in contrast with the calm opening of the film.
The main thing that I changed for this cut is the audio levels. In the previous cut the monologue was very quiet so I lowered the volume of the backing music and raised the volume level of the dialogue.
I also added some more clips to the town montage as people thought that it shouldn't jump from down in the park to a shot of Alex walking down the road.