Evaluation Question 1

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  1. By researching recent products before I began to think of film ideas, improved my understanding of the forms and conventions of real media products in the…
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  • 1. By researching recent products before I began to think of film ideas, improved my understanding of the forms and conventions of real media products in the psychological horror genre. However, before my group and I agreed on a specific horror genre, we researched into the conventions of the main sub- genres to see which one would be the most practical to produce in terms of accessibility and knowledge and we agreed on Psychological. I looked specifically at 2 trailers; ‘The Strangers’ and ‘The Purge’ in order to help me improve my knowledge on the conventions of this sub- genre and I looked at Mise en scene, camera shots, editing and sound within my analysis. I briefly looked at the ‘You’re Next’ trailer, ‘May’, ‘The House of Wax’, ‘The Conjuring’ and ‘FridayThe 13th’ for further inspiration. From all my research, I have established the conventions of a horror trailer include: • Fast montage of shots • Low key lighting • Film title • Release date • Text in-between shots • Todorov’s narrative order • A ‘sting’ • Fade transitions Throughout this evaluation question, I have stated where I have challenged and conformed to these conventions and also referred to how I have represented our characters.
  • 2. From my research into psychological horror conventions and existing products such as ‘The Purge’ and ‘The Strangers’ for the setting, I established that I wanted our setting to be in a house as this symbolic convention suggests realism in the trailer enabling the audience to relate to the characters making them feel tense as they may think it could happen in their own home. It is also iconic to the horror genre so therefore helps the audience establishing the genre of the film. Also, due to problems last year, we thought that if we were filming in a public environment it would be difficult to re film any shots if we needed to as the setting may have changed. However we thought of a location before a narrative as we needed to see how practical different locations would be as we may have had to change our ideas if it wasn’t possible to film. We went to our initial idea location which was Kayleigh’s house to help us make a decision and see how suitable it would be for us and we all agreed it was good as it had the correct lighting, props, atmosphere and furniture etc. Also, as we used weapons in our trailer, we couldn’t have filmed in a public environment as we could have been arrested. We also based our location on what feedback we had in our focus group. My audience said they would associate a house with a psychological horror film as they would find it more realistic but creepier if it was old fashioned and we did film in an old fashioned house; therefore this helped us with our decision. However, as we wanted to challenge other stereotypes such as character representations in this trailer to be more creative, we kept the location stereotypical as we wanted the character representations to stand out as we challenged these the most and if both of these aspects were challenged we may have confused the audience and the film would not be a success. Overall, the home location was successful, conformed to stereotypes, it was local, warm and we could easily re film shots when we needed to. It provided me with many opportunities to meet and challenge conventions and utilise my surroundings especially when I was filming mid shots in the kitchen, close up shots of taking drugs (we used tick-tacks) and action shots as these are shots we couldn’t have done if we were in a public environment. Setting
  • 3. Female Protagonist costume For costumes, I used forms and conventions of real media texts as our protagonist Maddie, is wearing tight but casual clothing throughout the trailer and her costume on both the poster and magazine cover can be seen in the trailer to make them all link. My aim for Maddie’s costume was to dress her in tight clothing throughout to make her look feminine to conform to stereotypes. However, I have slightly challenged female stereotypes as she isn’t wearing anything low cut to make her look ‘sexy’, just feminine and a lot of horrors over sexualise women so we stayed clear of this as we didn’t want our trailer to be predictable as this can be boring. Also, especially in these shots of Maddie in the trailer you can see that the outfits represent her as innocent due to the light colours, however she also comes across as very feminine as I dressed her in quite tight clothing to conform to female representations which I think is a successful part of our trailer. I was inspired mainly by Julie James from ‘What I did Last Summer’ as Maddie looks casual but nice like Julie, which enables our audience to relate to her. Costume
  • 4. I decided on set before we began to film, to dress her in casual clothing for the equilibrium as this shows a normal couple moving in together and I wanted to dress her in something that female characters can automatically relate to so they are hooked from the start; therefore I added a loose shirt over a tight black top, again, inspired by Julie from ‘What I did Last Summer’.
  • 5. Antagonist’s costume Costume and makeup are also important to establish a films genre and this played a huge role in our trailer especially for the antagonists to make it look like a horror film. For my antagonist’s costume, I used forms and conventions of real media products as I was inspired by ‘The Purge’ and ‘The Strangers’ trailers and we dressed our antagonists (cult) in casual clothing. I also used masks to hide their identities and create mystery to achieve Roland Barthes enigma codes in our trailer. Masks are part of the horror genres iconography and therefore we included masks for the antagonists costume so the genre was identifiable and based on audience feedback, the genre was.
  • 6. Furthermore, for my female antagonist Delaney, I challenged forms and conventions of real media texts as I dressed her in casual clothing so she looked like the rest of cult, but instead, she wore a white low cut lace top as I wanted to challenge stereotypes and portray her as sexual.This is because most antagonists wear black and dirty clothing or masks and are the ugly villains such as in ‘Friday the 13th’ with Pamela Voorhees. I wanted to find something similar to the white dresses worn in ‘The Purge’ trailer, but couldn’t so instead I dressed her in a top which looked similar. The fake blood on Delaney’s face portrays violence in the film; however she still looks sexualised due to the eye makeup and hair which is what we aimed to do to appeal to our male audience.The blood was inspired by mainly most media texts I had looked at as this is an iconic convention of the horror genre so therefore I used it.
  • 7. From the start, I believed that challenging forms and conventions of real media products by sexualising our female antagonist was going to be successful as it is unique. From our target audience feedback, they said it was very creative when we asked them in our focus group so this was a good decision to make. This representation was inspired by the film ‘May’ as the antagonist character May was represented as innocent and pretty at the beginning and I wanted to do the same for our trailer. In one short shot of our trailer I have dressed Delaney in a tight dress (which is quite difficult to see), however this is to mislead the audience into thinking she is a sex appeal when she is really a psycho like the character May.
  • 8. Throughout my research and planning, I looked at real media texts such as ‘The Strangers’ trailer and ‘The Purge’ trailer. I used forms and conventions of real media texts and tried to use inspiration from them to produce a range of camera shots to conform, challenge and create different representations of my characters and also to create different moods. Altogether I used a range of shots such as point of view shots, follow shots, hand held camera shots, high angle shots, long shots and trunk shots and many more which followed conventions of real media products. Camera shots- technical convention
  • 9. At the beginning, Maddie was the first character introduced to the audience through a high angle shot to show that she is one of the most significant characters in the film as this is common in most horror films. I also conformed to stereotypes of real media products by trying to achieve the male gaze theory through the use of camera shots with Maddie as this was used at the beginning of ‘The Strangers’ when the couple were being romantic and is often a theory used in horror films to represent the female character as very feminine and this is what I wanted to achieve.This was done to make our film appeal to a male audience and I did it by using a close up shot of Maddie walking into the bath and dropping a towel to show her legs. I believe this was successful as it complimented the close up shot of her actually in the bath further on in the trailer as well as appeal to our male audience which I found out from my audience feedback.
  • 10. Another shot I used to conform to stereotypes was a high angle point of view shot of Maddie being pushed into a corner by an antagonist.We gave the camera to one of our antagonist actors to use as a hand held camera to film with as this would give a more realistic representation of the antagonist and the danger Maddie is in. We did this to represent Maddie as a damsel in distress as she is helpless and vulnerable which the high angle shot helps to achieve, suggesting to the audience she needs help.The damsel in distress representation is often used in horror trailers such as in ‘Scream’ where Sidney is a beautiful young woman who is in trouble being chased by an antagonist and she needs a hero to rescue her.
  • 11. I used a low angle shot of my antagonist walking down the stairs as from watching the trailer for ‘Friday the 13th’, low angle shots help create a representation of power and authority, and by representing our antagonist like this, it makes our audience wonder if the protagonists will stand a chance against them, and therefore will encourage them to watch the film. However this could also be seen as challenging stereotypes as a lot of the time, it is the protagonists that are represented as the most dominant and powerful through the use of camera shots, such as in the film ‘The Purge’. I also used a lot of close ups, extreme close ups and long shots of our antagonists throughout the trailer as these shots were used a lot in ‘Friday the 13th’, for example when he was shown chasing the female character when she was on the floor, and we all thought it was very effective as they created a frightening representation. I thought these shots we used were successful as the long shots also showed their costume and we wanted to show this in our trailer as costume also adds to the fear factor as it shows that the characters are normal people just with hidden identities as the masks cover their faces which make it more frightening.
  • 12. ‘The Strangers’ used a wide establishing shot of swings to create enigma as to who moved them, and I created enigma though our long shot of an antagonist sat on them.The fact they are made from rope and wood makes them look old fashioned and based on my focus group from our initial idea, my audience said that old fashioned locations are creepier and so I feel this is a successful part of my trailer. This shot of Maddie being pulled down the stairs was inspired by one of the characters being pulled along the floor in ‘The Purge’ as this made us jump and we wanted to do the same. It also represents her as innocent and helpless which is what I was trying achieve for her representation.
  • 13. A very significant shot we included which conformed to forms and conventions of real media texts and the horror genre was our ‘sting’ at the end. I included a close up shot of one of our antagonists after the film title appeared to make the audience jump which it did when our target audience watched it.This was inspired by ‘The Conjuring’ trailer as it left me in fear of what is to come from the full film and I wanted to use 'a sting' at the end to leave the audience remembering the trailer as a main purpose of a trailer is to make people remember it so they watch the film. I originally wanted to use a shot of our antagonist Delaney for the sting, however when we filmed it and put it together in the editing process it didn’t look right as we felt the acting wasn’t fast enough and even when we sped it up it didn’t give the same effect as this shot did.
  • 14. Our montage was very successful in our trailer as it helped us conform to horror trailer conventions,To include a montage, I was inspired mainly by the ‘You’re Next’ trailer however ‘The Purge’ gave me the initial idea of including one.The ‘You’re Next’ trailer included a very fast paced montage with short shots and this is something my group and I really liked and tried to recreate. However, in my opinion if I was to do this again I would make it longer, but we added text into it which made it creative as we haven’t seen a montage with text in before therefore here we slightly challenged forms and conventions of real media texts but I feel as though this is a successful part of our trailer as it is complimented well by the fast paced non diegetic soundtrack and my audience said the montage was one of the best parts of the trailer when they watched it.
  • 15. For my film poster and magazine cover I have challenged and conformed to forms and conventions of real media texts as I have used action shots which look like they are taken from the film for the dominant image. For my poster I have used a close up action shot of Maddie our antagonist and I have challenged this convention because I found out from real media texts such as ‘The Purge’ and ‘The Conjuring’ poster, that their dominant image is usually a separate image from the film such as a close up of a character on ‘The Purge’ poster for example. I wanted to challenge these conventions as I wanted to produce something different to my audiences expectations this may foreshadow a unique and creative film. For my posters dominant image I have also used an action shot and it is of the antagonist holding Maddie with a knife to her throat to show horror iconography. However, this time I have conformed to forms and conventions of real media texts as most horror magazine covers use photos from the actual film as the dominant image. For example ‘Fangoria’ for the film Insidious has the shot at the end of the film as the dominant image and ‘Scream’ also does.
  • 16. For the transitions, I also conformed to forms and conventions of real media texts as I used fade to black transitions, in which I was inspired by ‘The Strangers’ trailer. In ‘The Strangers’ they were used to create tension and in my trailer I mainly included these fade transitions at the beginning for the equilibrium as they are there to show the calm mood but to also help with the build-up of suspense. Transitions- technical convention
  • 17. Our media product uses forms and conventions of real media products as we used low key lighting to create an eerie atmosphere and artificial lighting from torches to create shadows.This type of lighting is typically found in horror trailers, particularly in ‘Friday the 13th’ and ‘The Strangers’ which I looked at for inspiration. Throughout the trailer, particularly in this shot, there is a sense of darkness as for the house settings we used dim artificial lighting from lights to create a low key and scary mood.The darkness in the trailer connotates a feeling of insecurity and mystery, which are all key conventions of the horror genre and shows aspects of Roland Barthes Enigma Codes which is what I wanted to achieve.We were inspired by real media texts such as ‘The purge’, and the darkness in our trailer is used to create a semantic field of danger which is why it is incorporated to add to the enigma, making the audience want to see more. Lighting- symbolic convention
  • 18. Whilst trying to create shadows during filming, we tried to create a shadow like this from ‘Friday the 13th’ as it represents the antagonist as the dominant character. We used the only equipment we had which was torches and dark rooms; however, we found it difficult to recreate something similar but we managed to create shadows around Maddie in the bath using artificial lighting from candles to represent and foreshadow mystery and create an eerie mood instead.This is what we did: The lighting used on my film poster and magazine cover conform to forms and conventions of real media products as the majority of the products I was inspired by used low key lighting.These influences came from media texts such as ‘The Purge’, ‘The Strangers’ and the ‘Insidious’ poster and also the ‘Fangoria’, ‘Scream’ and ‘Empire’ magazine. All these products used dark colour schemes and dimmed images to add to the overall darkness of the product.The lighting I used was to foreshadow mystery in the film and create a build-up of suspense.
  • 19. Our media product uses the forms and conventions of real media products as we have incorporated iconography of the horror genre by including a Final Girl into our film narrative which is Maddie.You find many Final Girls in horror films such as in ‘The Purge’, ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ and ‘What Lies Beneath’ and we used this convention of real media products by representing her as innocent, intelligent and feminine through the use of camera shots and narrative as throughout the trailer, she was represented as become weaker and more vulnerable but survives at the end. We also slightly challenged the representation of the Final Girl as we didn’t oversexualise her unlike in the ‘Scream’ films where the Final Girls are wearing limited clothing. If we wanted to we could have filmed our Final Girl wearing limited clothing as our BBFC was 15 and sexual nudity is allowed, however it wouldn’t have been appropriate to film this. Narrative and character representations
  • 20. Another stereotype we have challenged is that our Final Girl has ginger hair and from looking at real life media products such as ‘Scream’, ‘The House of Wax’, ‘The Purge’ and ‘The Strangers’, they usually have blonde or brunette hair as this is stereotypically seen as more sexual. Due to our actor having ginger hair, this worked to our advantage as it helped us towards our representation of not over sexualising our female protagonist, however she is still represented as beautiful and feminine.
  • 21. Also, we originally planned to make part of the trailer a dream, however whilst editing we realised that after putting it together in the order we wanted, that it was too short for the dream to make sense to the audience so we didn’t include it. However we did stick to Todorov’s narrative theory order as I found out from looking at real media texts such as ‘The Strangers’, ‘The Purge’, ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ and ‘Friday the 13th’, that horror trailers are shown in narrative order so the audience don’t get confused. Finally we challenged stereotypes and used a female antagonist. Most films use a male character as for the antagonist as they are seen as dominant, however only a few films including ‘Friday the 13th’ with Pamela Voorhees use a female antagonist.We challenged this stereotype not only by using a female character, but also sexualising her as they are usually seen as very masculine.Throughout our trailer we wanted to be more creative than A2 and challenge more stereotypes but ensure the trailer still made sense to the audience therefore we decided to challenge character representations rather than setting, lighting or sound etc. and these conventions could confuse the audience and therefore they may not like the
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