How does the media product use, develop and challenge forms and conventions?
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