Final Group Sequence

Preliminary Group Sequence

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Closing Post

hey, this is my final post going onto my individual blog.
i had a great time doing this project and enjoyed working with the people in my group. thank you patricia, jay and bianca!!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Question 1

Forms and conventions are constantly used in the film industry however; they have been altered to develop or even challenge to produce unique media products.
The genre that we chose for our opening sequence was horror.

Horror Conventions

In the opening sequence of Peeping Tom (Michael Powell, 1960) we see quite a few horror conventions. At the start, we see a man, whose face is not shown, and a woman dressed in “appealing” clothes. The setting is in an empty street at night time. The female characters appears innocent whilst the man looks creepy, and his hidden identity signifies that he may be the villain as not much information is revealed.

In this screen grab, from The Final Destination (David R. Ellis, 2009) we see that the male character is acting as the hero, trying to save the girl from the danger.

In the opening sequence of Scream (Wes Craven - 1996), when the phone rings, there is a Dutch tilt of the phone, hinting to the audience that there's something wrong.

The conventions which we have used in our own opening sequence are
  • Female teenager
  • Innocent
  • Isolated house
  • Dark
  • Vulnerable and alone 
We used this conventions mainly because of the reaction that we wanted to gather from our target audience. We believed that these conventions would make it obvious to what the genre of the film was from this, so that they could expect what to see in the rest of the film. 


Sweeney Todd (Tim Burton, 2007)

Edward Scissorhands (Tim Burton, 1990)

Blade 2 (Guillermo del Toro, 2002)
The form of an opening sequence usually
X has titles with the name of that director, producer, production company etc
X gives an introduction of main character
X sets the location
X gives a sense of the genre of the film
X has the name of the film revealed towards the end of the film
X has iconography to give hints as to what the genre may be, and the narrative structure

From this research, in our own opening sequence, we decided to have all of the above points enforced. However, from the above opening sequences, I realised that they usually had graphics with titles instead of the introduction of the main character. However, in the Blade opening sequence, we have a small glimpse of  someone, hinting to the audience that this may be the main character.
Therefore, as we weren't experienced in making glossy graphics, we decided to have the introduction of the main character and start straight with the story line, so we the audience would be interested right from the start.

This is a 9-shot storyboard of our own opening sequence. In this opening sequence, we introduce the main character and the location in the first shot. Then, through-out the opening sequence we have the titles with the main character's and then the producers and directors and so on.

Narrative Structure
I have applied Todorov's narrative structure to my film.
Todorov's theory is based on having three principles. They are :

I have applied this principles to my film.

Equilibrium - Jade comes home from a night out, goes to the kitchen to get some wine, casually doing what she normally would do from a night out.

Disruption - Jade checks her house phone to see three new messages. Disruption only occurs after the second message where Mandy has left a message to say that something has happened which has made her scared and worried. As Jade leaves to go and help her, another disruption occurs which is someone or something at the door, making her react frantically.

New equilbrium - This is established in the rest of the film.

Also, from just the opening sequence, we have introduced some character roles. They are:

Villain - from just the opening sequence, the audience can assume that there's someone at the door who is probably the bad guy.
Victim - Mandy and her friend Jade.
Hero - Even though she is a victim at the end of the sequence, from the point she started to get ready to leave her house, she is seen as a hero who is preparing to save her friend.

We wanted to create a realistic film that was based on real drama in London. However, we wanted to add a horror touch to it, to make it unique from gritty dramas.
To create this style, we used eerie music as a soundtrack. However, we wanted the audeince to be more focused on what was happening in the sequence, rather than distracting them.
This is the music we chose. We felt that this was the most suitable music as it was an instrumental and was simple yet it gave a eerie feel to the sequence.

The pace of our opening sequence is realistic timing, but towards the end the shots are last for a second each, making the pace quickening, which coincides with the quickening of Jade's heart as she starts to rush and panic.

Question 2

Representations of Age and Gender
In our opening sequence, the main representations are age and gender.

Our character is a young female aged around 20.
When the character first walks through the door, we see her dressed in a “going-out” outfit, signifying to the audience that she has come home from a night out. Her dress code suggests that she has dressed to look good, and even though she has arrived to her house, where she lives alone, she continues to care about her looks as we see her checking herself in the mirror.

We also tried to represent the relationships that females at that age tend to have. From the first message, the audience realises that she has a boyfriend, a relationship which most people tend to find at that age. Then, from the next two messages, we learn of Jade’s closeness with a friend who has called her for help. This is an aspect that most of the audience can relate to.

Whilst she is walking through her house, she seems stable in her walking, which has signified that even though she has just returned from a night out, she has been sensible as we later see that she goes to the kitchen to get wine, showing that she drinks but sensibly.

In most teen drama’s, teenagers are shown to be drinking at ridiculous levels, where they are represented to behave badly due to their drinking activities. We decided to represent Jade as being sober, to show the audience that you can still enjoy a good night out and have fun, without drinking.  

Question 3

Our production company is called “Black Rose”.
Black Rose reach an audience who enjoy watching gritty dramas based in city areas such as London. In the films that they produce, they mostly feature young adults and teenagers to make it easier for the audience to relate to the characters. This film is one of the first films that they have produced in the horror genre. They are an independent film company with low budgets.
Moonlight Studios have helped Black Rose in providing a suitable setting at relatively low prices, to help Black Rose keep within their low budget.
As our film is reaching a niche market, we would want this film to be firstly exhibited at film festivals which attract a similar audience to our target market. For example, the BFI hosted a London Film Festival around the October period last year. So, we thought it would be suitable to exhibit this film around this time, as it ties in with the Halloween period as well as reaching our secondary market that reside in London and are film-fanatics.
We would be releasing our film similar to how Paranormal Activity (Oren Peli, 2007) released theirs.

However, we think that instead of waiting for a famous director to discover this film, we would exhibit this film at festivals and simultaneously, release short videos or first 20 minutes of this film online, through free access. Hopefully, we would be creating interest from our audience, and by giving them a short taster, it would make them want to watch the rest of the film, which they could buy online at a cheap price. The internet would be a great platform, as a high percentage of our target audience are high consumers of the internet and the fact that the advertising would be for free.
Our last platform would be exhibiting our film at small independent cinemas around London. This would appeal to the film fanatics and viewers who are open to watching films made by independent production companies.
The Rio would be a great example of this, as they show films from foreign countries, as well as the latest blockbusters and independent films. This shows that they attract a larger range of audience, making it easier for our film to be talked about through word of mouth.

Question 4

Here is word cloud summarising what I think our target audience is all about.

From this word cloud, I was able to draw up a target profile of a typical person from our primary audience.

Our secondary market, which is more of a niche market, are people either a bit younger or a bit older, who enjoy films merely because of it being small and independent, rather than judging it on the fact that it doesn’t star famous people or directed by a successful director.
We are hoping that our main audience will be set in England, making this film appeal to a national audience. 

Question 5

Seeing as our core target market would be young adults, we figured that the best way to reach them to our first screening would be through a Facebook event as they were an audience who are constantly spending their time on the internet.

During our screening, we gave the viewing audience a questionnaire to fill out. After collecting these in, I can summarise these main points:
(insert questionnaire)

In our opening sequence we have used a number of emotions so that the audience would be able to relate to them. A way of seeing this, is applying the uses and gratifications theory.
  • The audience learns about the way they should react if they were in similar situation to Jade (whilst hearing the messages, the audience start to think about what Jade should do and then later judge whether she has done the right thing at the end)
  • The audience want to know what happens to her at the end and who’s at the door or what she reacts to.

Personal Identity
  •  The audience can relate to any of the three characters in the opening sequence, and identify whether they are similar to any of them.
  • The audience can feel good about themselves if they see that they’ve made the same decision as Jade.

Integration and Social Interaction
  • Relate to the relationships and friendships.
  • Talk about this film with their friends and share their opinions.
  • Relationships help the audience understand more about their own.
  • Enables the audience to connect with family and friends if they’ve all seen it.

  • The emotions of the character helps the audience emphasise with her and hence making them forget about their own and in a way, providing a sense of escapism.  escaping, or being diverted, from problem.
  • We also managed to attract the audience by choosing a popular genre of film; horror. This is a genre which our target audience like to watch based on the emotions they make the audience feel.
  • In our opening sequence, we have the character acting worried when she first hears her friend’s messages. This, in a way, helps the audience relate to her, and maybe even make them feel those emotions themselves.

One of the main aspects of our opening sequence was the use of key iconography. Right from the start, the dress code of Jade appeals to the male audience, and also to the females who like to look good. The wine suggests appeals to the audience who enjoy drinking. When she walks back in the hallway, she opens her handbag to take her mobile phone out, keeping in touch with the side of the audience who like their technology. This has brought our opening sequence to appeal to those living in the 20th century.

We have a build up of enigma right from the start, with our first shot being an answering machine beeping with the number three. The close-up of this object, suggests to the audience that it plays a part later in the film where they try to figure out why before we reveal it to them.

There’s a surprise at the end for both the character and the audience. When she opens the door, she reacts and quickly closes the door. The titles cut in, making the audience curious as to who was behind the door, hence making them want to watch the rest of the film.

The location of our opening sequence appeals to the younger audience, it being a medium class home. It gives the audience a sense of familiarity, as the house looks like it’s based in London.
(Insert shot of BH)

Question 6

Throughout this project we had used similar technology to what we had used previously in the preliminary task.

At this stage, we were planning exactly what we wanted to happen for the rest of the project.

Storyboard – Insert picture  
Our storyboard helped us to visualise what we wanted to happen in each shot. It also gave us a base that every member of the group could see, so everyone was visualising the same thing, and not their own interpretations.

Time line – insert picture
The timeline helped us with the timing of each shot, and whether we would be able to reach the 2 minute duration that we were set in brief with. Without the timeline, I think that our timing could have gone wrong, and that we may have made our sequence to long, but we managed to avoid this issue because of creating a time line.



Canon Digital Mini-DV – I had used this in the preliminary task and therefore was able to use it with confidence. I rarely used the viewfinder, as it was harder to see the shot through there. Therefore, when I was on the camera, the viewing screen was always open. It also it made it easier for the other members of my group to judge whether the framing of the shot was good or not.
One problem that we came across whilst using this camera was trying to get the auto-focus to work. We managed to overcome this problem through a few test-shots making our final one look fine.

Tripod – this was a very easy piece of equipment to use. I just had to be careful when handling it, as I knew that the legs of the tripod were fragile. I also made sure that no wires were tangled up with the legs of the tripod.

Shotgun and boom mic – these were relatively easy to use as we didn’t really have a problem with sound as we were shooting inside a house and not outside. However, I realised that there were different settings, and how the sensitivity changed depending on the setting. With the boom mic, we didn’t really use it in a real shot, but only used it t record sound, to create the effect of someone leaving a message on the answering machine.

Clapperboard – this was the first time using this, and we felt that this helped the group so much when it came to the editing stage. We effectively used this, by using it for every shot, so when we were capturing a shot whilst editing, we were able to find each shot with the help of the shot log. We used a shot long to write down every shot we filmed.

USB Mic – initially, we wanted to use the sound recorded from the camera but when it came to capturing these shots, the quality of the sound was good. Therefore, we used a USB mic to record the voices of the characters.


Adobe Premier Pro – before starting this project, I felt a bit unsure of this program as it had been quite a while since I used it for the preliminary task. However, I was determined to learn more and develop my confidence.
This software used a non-linear timeline, which meant that we were able to have separate timelines, allowing the clips to be on different timelines. This made it easier to edit and move around.
We were able to add an effect to the voice clips which were meant to sound as if they were left on the answering machine. However, from our questionnaires, the feedback hinted that the voice messages weren’t clear enough. Therefore, I think that we should have experimented more and tried to have made the voices sound clearer rather than making them sound more like answering machines voices.

Acid 5.0 – this was a simple program to use as all we needed to do was insert a USB mic into the computer, and record sound just by pressing the record button. However, we had to make sure that the sound that it was recording wasn’t too loud, which would be shown through the volume bars hitting the red region.

Livetype – even though this was the first time we had used this program, I believe that the end results which we gained showed that we were able to grasp it, and use it effectively. We browsed through many effects until we found the right one. After, we chose the most suitable text and positioned it so that the text was in the middle.