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Monday, 21 March 2011

TW - Evaluation Question 1

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

Our media product has used and also challenged many forms and conventions of real life media, mainly from it's genre, the horror genre.

To begin with, our film opening's title is 'Oblivious', purely because of the film opening. This is because the plot sequence revolves around a girl, who also demonstrates the 'Scream Queen' convention, being tormented by a mysterious phone call, whilst being totally oblivious that this is actually a killer playing a mind game with her before he decides to finally kill her, ending our film opening. The title 'Oblivious' gives an initial image of the victims being completely unaware of what is going on, and that is the exact image we wanted the title to portray. The use of this horror title has been backed up by IMDB's Best/Worst 'Horror' Titles, with a similar title 'The Unknown' ranking number 27 in the Top Rated Horror section.

Our company identification does not really resemble the typical eeriness and usually dark type identification you usually see before ht film begins. This is purely because we do not know what genre our company would like to primarily produce, therefore we have not constructed our identification in any particular way, just to meet our expectations.

We tried to incorporate a very rural and secluded setting, with an aim of a house away from today's urban culture and located nearer the countryside (see setting and location blog post). A quote from that post best sums up our aims for location planning;
'The house will be modern and we will be aiming to represent a middle class style of living. It would also help if the house we use is in a rural area as this will hopefully add to the tension and immediately give the characters a sense of isolation.
Still of house - eerie setting is apparent
We will be filming inside the house, so we will be aiming to recreate a typical modern middle class environment with aspects of mise-en-scene including; Electrical appliances, classy looking furniture and a sizeable amount of space in each room.
Finally, we will need to film at a time of day where it is dark out, because this will add suspense and also will not affect our filming as we will be filming inside with light. The reason we need the darkness is to add to the sense of lack of security the woman in our film will try to present which should combine with the rural landscape'
We aimed to pay homage to an environment similar to that of the film 'Scream's or 'Halloween's, in which both locations use a lonely environment to anchor the fact the victim cannot escape the killer.
The Amityville Horror's film location
is urban yet rural at the same time - this is a good replica
of what our film's setting ended up looking like
We were however unable to meet some of these goals,primarily the ones we set for the outer house environment, resulting in us having to change our location to a house in a urban environment. However in the shots we used, there is still a range of semiotics that help signify the lack of security and isolated environment we need, such as the foliage around the house, and also due to shooting in the dark, it is hard to specifically point out housing near the house. Although the original denotation would be to suggest the location is not isolated, we still believe that there is an element of withdrawal and lack of security for the victim as a secondary connotation at the least. 

The characters are seen here wearing typical teenage clothing,
they are not wearing anything that would make them look odd in the scene,
 after the implied sexual activity
In regards to our costumes, we did not really need to use to many eccentric pieces of clothing. For our 'jock' and 'scream queen' we used plain, typical clothes that we believed would fit their description in order to get a typical teenager look across to the audience. 

Mobile Phone used in our Production
Mask used in the production
We did however use some very important props, which were key to the film. To begin with, there is a close up shot of our 'scream queen' named 'Amelia' locking the door with a set of keys. Although this could be connoting safety, we wanted to differ from the typical preferred reading and use it to signify that she now has no way out and is trapped with the killer. The second prop we use is the mobile phone, which is important in regards to communication. Without the mobile phone the killer would not have been able to speak to Amelia in our production, although the conversation is unheard, meaning we would lose all tension the phone call provides before the actual killing. We then move to a close up of Amelia pouring a glass of wine, which shows she is committing a sin in horror terms as she is drinking alcohol, therefore she must be punished, which comes in the form of death commonly. The final prop we use is the mask for the killer, this is extremely important as it is required to hide his identity from both the victim and the audience, this is an extremely commonly used prop and as become a convention in typical Horror films due to it's excessive use. The mask helps progress the story as with the victim remaining both nameless and faceless, it provides narrative enigma for the audience as they want to find out who the killer it, whose identity is usually revealed at the end of the film, as a culmination of the films prior events.

Phone calls increased the pace of our editing
Our camerawork and editing is to a great standard we believe, as we believe we have added voiceover to desired locations where needed and in perfect position to replicate a conversation. This adds to the realism and verisimilitude of a phone call as they are usually fast paced with a medium amount of dialogue, however if one of the participants is under threat, like in our film, then the dialogue would be more past paced, which we believed to have achieved. We also believe that the very limited use of transitions seen in our film signify more positively that time has passed, because if we had added transitions after every scene, the audience would assume that we had not intended for time to pass and this was just for visual effect. 
Close-ups on action were just
some of thecamera shots we used
We have cut scenes to what we believe to be a perfect length, with the film meeting the 2:30min time limit almost perfectly, showing we have used maximum allocation to ensure our production is as good as it can be. Our range of shots can also be seen, with a range spanning form a close up on keys when locking a door or when Amelia washes her face, to an almost extreme long shot of the rear window of the house when Amelia and 'Carl' (male 'jock' character') walk past, to signify someone is watching. Our soundtrack is also to a inch perfect length we believe, and whilst it does play in a slightly noticeable continuous loop, we believe we met our expectation of recreating a Halloween type soundtrack, although we are careful not to make it to similar to avoid copyright infringement. 
Lack of track and pan shots meant
we had to use a wide range of angles
One negative point I would make however, is the fact that we did not use a lot of dolly, pan or track type shots, in which we tended to revert to different angles instead of following the character, which proved to be a huge success in the Scream film opening. This meant that we had to edit in many different angles instead of using one tracking shot to show what the character is doing, however this did mean that our camerawork remained steady throughout, which is a positive. 

Titles used in our production
We decided to use a very basic white coloured font, in a large scale, in order to immediately attract audience attention to our title against the dark, shot of the house/location we used at night. The drifting effect we used in our opening credits shows silent movement, which is what an oblivious killer would need, although after the killer has performed his act, he can move more freely so we have added a typewriter sound effect as the letters come onto screen, to add a sense of triumph and almost as if the sound is his reward for performing a perfect, silent kill. We did obtain a font from the internet because the ones available were not deemed acceptable to the needs of our production by the group, the font we have now used is slightly jagged, whilst being neat, to give a sort of scary form of intelligence to the titles, which would represent a killer, as they are also neat, careful, intelligent and crazy, hence the borderline jaggedness. 

Carl. Amelia's boyfriend, escapes
punishment for his acts of sin
Our films story in very basic terms is as follows; a boy and a girl engage in sexual activity, the boy leave, the girl is tormented and finally killed as punishment for her acts of sin. The story after the opening would revolve around the boyfriend of the victim and his group of friends dealing with the death of a loved one, whilst they also have to try and stop the killer from striking again as he begins to pick them off one by one. The story can be set up by the 'Carl' leaving the house, therefore he cannot be punished for his actions, so the killer can target him after 'Amelia' meets her untimely death. Because he is with a group of friends the killer may also have to dispatch of them as well. We would also like to incorporate a 'Final Girl' into our film to include another common slasher convention, although it is unsure at this point how we would slot her into the films plot, one idea we have in mind is that the final girl could be one of Carl's less sexually active friends who is considered as a 'Good Girl' so that the killer has no reason to punish her.
The scene does not appear urban even
though it is in fact very much so

Our target genre was the Horror genre, with a target sub-genre of slasher. Our film suggests this with a very eerie setting in a dark environment. I have already stated that the setting did not fully meet the rural setting we aimed for, however the type of shots we have used do not make this apparent in the slightest. This in fact worked to our advantage as it does in fact suggest horror due to the dark against the house lights, to signify that the opening will take place inside or around this environment. Another suggestion of horror is the soundtrack. The eerie continuous keyboard sounds make the audience feel the tension and show the loneliness of Amelia when she is alone in the house, as if something could occur at any moment. One more obvious point is the fact that the boy and the girl are committing sins, which is a common way to begin a horror film, and then the killer comes and punishes them. This is replicated in our film almost perfectly so as soon as it becomes apparent that the characters have performed a sin, it becomes obvious that it is unlikely that these actions will go unpunished.

The killer's entrance point is left
unclear as a form of narrative enigma
The two main characters of the opening are introduced by coming out of the bedroom, and are seen straightening out clothing to connote sexual activity, which is regarded as a sin. This was the sole reason for them being first shown leaving the bedroom, aside from the fact that the audience gets a brief view of what the surroundings of the house look like. The outside shot of the window also looks like someone is watching the proceedings, which in a way introduces the killer. The killer is introduced in the bathroom, almost stalking the victim, in a sort of jumpy manner, as he appears out of nowhere in a view of the mirror. It is implied through a zoom of the door that he entered through this entrance, but the view of the back window means he could have also through there.
A loud bang provided a scare for Amelia

We did not use many special effects, as this would have been unfitting to the horror genre. The only thing we did use was minimal transitions and a makeshift loud noise to scare Amelia. The bang was important as it provided a scare to our audience, the transitions were key to show time had elapsed.

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