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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.

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