Links to my Co-Producers' Blogs

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Welcome To My Blog

Welcome to my Blog!

On here you should find everything you need to know about our film, "Oblivious".

My fellow group members were Jem Whitehead and Tom Wardman. Please feel free to click the links and visit their blogs too.

Any comments left will be very much appreciated and I hope you enjoy reading my blog!

Our Final Film Opening - Oblivious

Before viewing our Final Product, please ensure that the annotations are turned off (Click the speech bubble button on the video). Thank you and I hope you enjoy our film.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Evaluation Question 1

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? (i.e. of film openings)

We decided to generally stick to the codes and conventions of a typical Slasher film during our film opening. To do this, we all watched a number of film openings, analysed and discussed them. After we decided on our cast, setting and storyline so that it fit into the typical conventions of a Slasher. Having said that, we did decide that, if the film were to be completed, our Final Girl would have appeared to be a typical “Scream Queen”. This would have challenged the typical conventions of the genre and made the rest of the film more exciting and surprising to the audience.

The title of our film, “Oblivious”, is actually a reference to everybody been oblivious to what is really going on. The opening, and the rest of the film all points to the Killer been “Carl”, who is introduced in the opening to the film. In the end, it would have been Carl who revealed the identity of the Killer. The Title enters dramatically at the end of our film opening to try and reach maximum effect. The title follows the scream of our “Scream Queen” and a jump shot to the outside of the house.

The Setting for our film opening is very traditional for Slasher films. We have used Camera angles to make the house where the opening is set, look very isolated and secluded. This is a vey traditional part of the Slasher genre as it implies help and safety is a long way away, and makes the victim even more scared and vulnerable. Examples of this in other films in our genre include the opening scene of “Scream" (Wes Craven, 1996), and the main house in “When a Stranger Calls (West, 2006)” These are just two of many examples of this kind of setting been used in a Slasher film.

To keep the film realistic, we didn’t want to overdo any of the costumes. For this reason, we kept them simple, whilst still trying to tell the audience about the character. For example, we had “Amelia”, a Scream Queen, wearing a short skirt and quite a revealing top. “Carl”, a typical high school male, was wearing jeans, a t-shirt and importantly a belt which we used to signify sexual activity had taken place. These costumes tell the audience about the characters, but aren’t over the top making the film tacky. The killer was dressed in a conventional way; dark clothes, a mask to keep the identity hidden and provide a narrative enigma and armed with a knife.
Props were relatively simple. We wanted the house to be quite ordinary and so didn’t really change much. Important Props that we did use include the wine bottle, signifying the consumption of alcohol (a sin in the Slasher genre world, and another example of our film following the conventions of a typical Slasher). The knife is also an important prop, as it fits in with many other Slasher films such as “Halloween (Carpenter, 1973)”.

Editing is very important for our film as it is the editing that creates the good effect with the increase in pace. Throughout our film we have the pace of shots increasing. During feedback, people told us that they thought the pace of the film was too slow to start with. Whilst we improved that a little bit, by cutting out a couple of shot sequences, we wanted to keep the early steady pace as it helps to create the fast effect towards the end. When the pace starts to increase, it suggests to the audience that something may happen, which is the effect we wanted. To maintain this effect, we only used one transition in the middle of the film opening and that was to show a short period of time passed. Cameral Shots are always important in a film and our film was no different. Because we used few transitions, most of our cuts are jump cuts. We also made use of Dutch angles (a common shot type in Slasher films as they are often used to show that something is not right), close ups, to focus in on something significant (such as the fact that Amelia locks the door, giving the impression that she is safe, but she has left a window open as seen in an earlier shot in the opening) and Extreme long shots and establishing shots at the beginning to set the scene (from watching Slasher film openings we discovered this was something that was very often done).
The rest of our story revolves around this character “Carl” been framed for the killings of other characters. The opening sets this up well, as Carl is the last person, except the killer to see Amelia alive. Carl’s sister is in fact our final girl, and therefore she’s the main target for our killer. The opening of our film makes the audience think that it is Carl who is the killer and who is ringing “Amelia”. If the film was to progress, we would discover that it wasn’t Carl on the phone.

Our film opening suggests our film is a Slasher by been conventional. This is one of the reasons that we chose to stick to most of the conventions of a Slasher movie; we wanted our film to be easily identified as part of the Slasher genre. The setting we have used (an isolated house), the cast (a typical Scream Queen and Jock, as well as a conventional killer) and the props (the knife, alcohol, knives in the background etc.) all point to our film been from the Slasher genre.

Three characters are introduced in our film opening. Carl and Amelia are introduced together as they leave the bedroom, signifying that they have just had sex. This means that from the start, they are portrayed as sinful characters that deserve to be punished and killed. The killer is introduced right at the end, and spends very little time on screen. The longer the killer spends on screen the less scary they become. For that reason, our killer is only introduced on screen very briefly.

Our title, “Oblivious”, enters at the end of our film opening. We decided to do this because it makes it clear that this is the end of our opening to the audience and we felt it ‘rounded off’ the opening effectively. The film title entering at this stage is also seen in the film “Black Christmas (Morgan, 2006)”. The title is a Serif font. This too, is something that we decided on after watching a number of Slasher film openings and researching this topic. Strangely though, one of the biggest films in the genre, Scream (Craven, 1996) uses a sans-serif font, which is quite unusual as the sharper edges on fonts can signify a sharp, and slightly mysterious edge to a film. The names of our group and cast appear near the beginning of the film opening, introducing the group, but they are deliberately out the way before the main action begins to ensure that there is no distraction from the story.

We haven’t included many special effects in our film for the simple reason that, if you over do the special effects then your product loses verisimilitude and the editing, which should remain invisible (the audience should not notice it when they watch it!) becomes obvious to your audience and distracting from what you want them to be focusing on. Our Micro Drama was an excellent and fun opportunity to play about with special effects, and whilst we enjoyed doing this, we made a group decision to move away from that aspect for our Final Product. We did however include some transitions, to show time passing, as well as to move from the outside of the house to the inside and we also included a transition after the killing to back outside the house and the film title.

Evaluation Question 2

How does your media product represent particular social groups?

Our media product, as it is only the beginning to a film, is only representative of a couple of Social Groups. A longer piece of footage may have allowed us to include more social groups, but our task was just the film opening.

There is of course the binary opposition in our film opening with males and females. Each gender can be split into a large number of Social groups, but with only having one male and one female, we have only included two Social groups. Our male character, "Carl", is a typical high school jock. He is represented by dressing like an average teenager, but having quite a cocky and confident personality.
Our female character, "Amelia" is a Scream Queen. This is signified by the way she dresses, and her flirty body language when she answers the phone, and the fact that she is drinking alcohol. A Scream Queen is one of the main character types for a Slasher as well as a Final Girl, who would have been introduced if our product was longer.

The social Class that is represented in our film is middle class. We believed this was quite typical for a Slasher from the openings that we have viewed, for example "Scream (Craven, 1996)" and "Black Christmas (Morgan, 2006)". Middle Class is mainly signified in our film through the house; both the interior and exterior.

Our film does not represent homosexuality. Through watching Film openings, we did not pick up on any signs of same sex relationships and for this reason, and because we wanted to stick to a typical style Slasher film, we decided against including homosexual activity. If the film was to continue however, it may have been something that we could have considered as it would really separate our film from other slashers.

Disability is another area that we didn't see in the Slasher films that we have watched. We thought that this may be seen as quite unethical to have a killer pursuing somebody with a disability by the audience. For this reason, we decided against having people with disabilities in our film opening.

Although there are no ethnic minorities seen in our film opening, including characters from different cultures was something that we would have been interested in doing later in the film. Slasher film characters are predominantly white, although ethnic minorities are also seen (Phil and Maureen, Scream 2). 

On the left here, is Megan Claydon, the Scream Queen in our film, "Oblivious".

On the right is Sarah Michelle Gellar, who plays "Cici" in "Scream 2 (Craven, 1997)".

Comparisons could be made between the two actresses and they play the same role in their respective films, The Scream Queen.

Please find below a vodcast about the Social Groups represented in our film:

Evaluation Question 3

What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?

Considering we made our film on a next to nothing budget, it would be absolutely ridiculous to think that a company such as Warner Bros. or Universal Studios, major companies in the media industry, would distribute our film.
A more realistic film company to distribute our film would be Working Title Films, although this company is still well beyond what we could expect.

To distribute our film, we would need to look for a company that takes projects on from young and new film makers, who have worked with a very low, if any budget at all. This is our first production, and therefore we need a company who is willing and used to dealing with people in our situation.

From looking on the internet, I think I have found an example of the sort of company that may distribute our film. Caravan Film is a low budget, Independent, British Company. On their homepage, they describe themselves as:

“Caravan Film is a London, UK based independent film production company, artistically helmed by award winning feature and documentary filmmakers Leon & David Flamholc. We're always looking for new people to work and collaborate with: producers, directors, writers and people with new ideas about film.”

From reading just that short passage, you can get the idea as to why this would be a useful company to distribute our film. They look for new people to become part of the industry and are a UK company, which helps because it means we wouldn’t have t travel abroad to get the film distributed. Therefore, even though we have a very small budget and are very unlikely to make big money when the film is so low profile, Caravan Film is the sort of company who may take this kind of project on. For these reasons, I think this would be a good place for us to start our film careers.

Evaluation Question 4

 Who would be the audience for your media product?

Our media product would have two different categories of target audience; a core target audience and a secondary target audience.

Our Core Target Audience would be people between the ages of 15 and 24. From Research into the genre we have discovered that this is the most common age group for Slasher films, as they combine fear, action and terror, whilst allowing the audience to “get involved with the film” (this is mainly down to the predictability of Slasher films, so the audience knows what is going to happen). The film been available to 15 year olds is important to us, and has been throughout the making of our film. For the film to be classified as a 15 by BBFC, there are certain guidelines that must be adhered to, and certain areas and actions that are prohibited. We have followed these guidelines to ensure that our film could be classified as a 15.

Our secondary audience is people aged between 25 and 35. We wanted an extended, but not as key target audience because obviously you want your product to appeal to as many people as possible. However, it would be very hard to have a large core target audience as different age groups prefer different things. The purpose of the Secondary Target Audience is that the product would hopefully appeal to quite a large number of people from that group, although we would primarily target our core audience for the majority of our fans. For this reason, we have a Coe target audience of people aged between 15 and 24, and a secondary target audience of 25-35 year olds.

We found in our research that the Slasher genre is becoming increasingly popular amongst females, so much so that the balance is starting to even out between the number of male fans, and female fans. For this reason, our production is targeted at not only males, but females as well.

Because our cast (from our opening at least, if the film was to develop it would be possible that people from different cultures and religions may be cast into the film) are all White and British, we think that our core target audience would be white, British people. This isn’t to say that people from different cultures and ethnicities wouldn’t enjoy our production, it simply means that we think the film would appeal more to this kind of person due to the cast and actors that we have used.

Although we have not included anybody in our Film with a disability, we would hope that people with a disability would be interested in our film. The exclusion of anybody with a disability was mainly down to the storyline we chose, meaning it would have been very hard to fit a character with a disability in. We would hope, however, that anybody with a disability who is within our Target Audience would still be interested in watching our film.

Target Audience Profile

Evaluation Question 5

How did you attract/address your Audience?

With all the technology available to us these days, we had a variety of ways to try and get audience feedback. Obviously, our priority for Feedback was from people within our Core target audience, and then our secondary target audience. We wanted to try a range of ideas to get feedback, below are the ways we worked to recieve feedback:
  • Facebook (Social Networking Site)
  • You Tube (Video Sharing Website)
  • Asking Media Studies Students within our Core Target Audience.
  • Asking non-Media Studies students for feedback.
  • Asking family members within our Target Audience for Feedback (for example, my 20 year old brother)
So after recieving feedback, we needed to put it into practice. There were little things that were changed, for example editing the footage for better continuity. However there were a few big areas that we changed due to feedback:
  • We completely changed our idea following Rough Cut One
  • We removed a scene where the killer's mask appears outside the window following feedback on Rough Cut two.
  • One bit of feedback that we did recieve on the second rough cut was to speed up the pace. People often suggested that we speed up the pace of shots and action at the beginning, but we decided against this for reasons mentioned in the Podcast below.
To hear a more in depth view on the above, find my Podcast below. 

Here is my Podcast: