In this final draft, I added diegetic background noise of people speaking during the camera shots inside the house with the family, and also scary diegetic sound of the wind blowing through the trees. I did this to enhance my sound as this now shows that I have used both diegetic and non-diegetic sound in my film opening, and both of these add to the tension and suspense which my film opening has.
1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
I believe that my product uses, develops and challenges forms and conventions of real media products.
Firstly, the title ‘Wired’ is short, punchy and sharp, and indicates to the audience what the film is about. This is similar to other films in the genre, such as The Purge and Saw. The informal dictionary defines “wired” as “in a nervous, tense or edgy state” and this immediately implies a victim, suspense, mental health issues and confrontation – all typical conventions of a horror film. However, I feel that as well as using the typical conventions of the horror genre, my title challenges them as well. I feel that the name could just as easily be the title of a thriller. Like The Call and Wind Chill, my product has both elements of horror and thriller – I like to think of it as a horror which is thrilling, and I think that the title conveys this to the audience. The simplicity of my choice of title font LETTER GOTHIC STD, is typical of real horror products, and I have developed this by using gaussian blur effect, a wiggle frequency (as in Insidious Chapter 2) and layering. These elements suggest suspense and tension.
The mise-en-scene of my product conforms to the conventions of real horror products. Most horror films are set at night, in order to accentuate danger, fear and loneliness – and I have used stereotypical dark, night-time lighting. I have also used typical establishing location shots, such as the dimly-lit house, and a shot of a dimly-lit castle to show isolation, like the straw field does in “The Lovely Bones”. Another stereotypical convention I have used is the use of torch-light, which builds drama and tension, as in House at the end of the Street However, I have also challenged these conventions, by showing a busy, happy, family scene. I have found one other similar scene, in “Ghost Ship”, where a busy, happy scene on a boat is shown, before the mood of the movie changes. My characters and props use the forms and conventions of real media horror products – a young, innocent girl, like in “House at the end of the Street” and a mask, as in “Saw”. The mask is a clever, if stereotypical, way of increasing tension, as the audience cannot see the real face or any expressions of the stalker.
I have developed forms and conventions of real horror products by using sounds such as heavy breathing, wind blowing and a scream – all typical sounds from the horror genre. However, I have challenged the convention by adding the non-diegetic sound of children chanting a rhyme. I got this idea from The Woman in Black, which I believe is the best opening scene I have come across. The fact that it is children chanting as if they were reciting a nursery rhyme, shows innocence and vulnerability, but the emotionless tone makes it eerie and sinister.
I have also developed conventions of real horror products by using shots through the window from the garden, and shots of the victim through trees and bushes to emphasize that the girl is being stalked. I got the latter idea from House at the end of The Street. The stalking element of my opening scenes suggest to the audience that my media product is more of a thriller/horror, rather than a psychological horror. Even though my opening scene is short, I have used editing and camera angles to show footage from both the stalker’s and the victim’s point of view, to add variety. I believe that it is obvious from my opening, that my product will be dramatic, thrilling and tense, and the presence of the mask, as well as the isolated locations and dark lighting inform my audience that it is from the horror genre.
How does your media product represent particular social groups?
In order to evaluate how social groups are represented in my media product I can look at both my main female character and the stalker.
My main female character can be compared to other female characters in similar horror films. She was played by my 15 year old cousin Jess, and I chose her as she represented a young, fresh-faced, attractive girl. She had to portray the typical girl next-door, and for that reason she had to wear ordinary every-day clothes and her face had to be devoid of make-up. This is to emphasize her vulnerability and innocence, and make the audience feel that what develops in the storyline could happen to anyone – it could happen to them. The film would not work if the audience could not identify with her. I believe that young girls are often chosen to be the victims in horror films, as it easier to portray the vulnerability of females, and there is often an insinuation of sexual motive. My main character Jess is similar to Saoirse Ronan who played Susie Salmon in The Lovely Bones, Abigail Breslin who played Casey Wilson in The Call and Jennifer Lawrence who played Elissa in House at the end of the Street. The similarity between my lead female character and the lead characters of these movies would help my product to attract similar audiences.
My second main character is the person in the mask. Obviously not all horror films use masks, but many do. The reason is that the mask obscures the identity of the character, and the audience is afraid of the unknown. They have no idea of the age and gender of the perpetrator, and cannot see any emotion. The mask also hints at some form of facial disfigurement. A media product that uses a mask in a similar way to mine is the movie Friday the 13th. Another is Saw. I initially chose a mask which was too similar to the mask used in Saw, and so changed it to a mask of an old man. I feel that the mask worked as it was oversized, giving the impression of a huge, strong stalker who could easily overpower the victim. It was much more lifelike than the masks used in Saw and Friday the 13th, and I think that this makes the stalker more realistic, and would make the audience more frightened. I think that the pale colour and wrinkles in the mask make it more creepy. I think that the mask used in Saw in particular is so identifiable with that film, that it has become iconic and is now a staple of Halloween costumes. My mask could never compete with that, but I like the fact that it is more realistic.
Here is my ident:
What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?
When looking for suitable production and distribution companies for my movie, I considered many different factors, such as their role within the film industry, the genre of films they have experience in dealing with, the scale of their projects and their budgets.
A production company is a company that provides a physical basis for works in the various categories such as film, television, radio, performing arts and new media art. A production company also handles budgeting, scheduling, production, scripting, and post-production. From my research, I believe a production company such as Twisted Pictures might produce my media product. Twisted Pictures is an American independent production company which mainly deals with films of the horror genre. The company was founded in 2004 by Mark Burg, Oren Koules and Gregg Hoffman from Evolution Entertainment. The company is best known for producing the Saw film series, which consists of 7 individual horror movies, which grossed about 100 million dollars worldwide. It was formed after the box office success of the first Saw movie in 2004, which led to a nine-picture distribution deal with Lionsgate. They then went on to produce the sequels in the Saw film series.
A film distributor is responsible for the marketing of a film. The distributor may also set the release date of a film and the method by which a film is to be exhibited or made available for viewing. As my movie features unknown actors and has an unknown director, the choice of distribution company will be very important for its success. Experience of marketing films of the horror genre would be crucial, as would access to the different markets such as film festivals, cinema franchises, and dvd, blu ray and download platforms. I think that Lions Gate Entertainment Corporation would be a perfect distributor of my film. Not only are they the most commercially successful independent distribution company in the USA, but they also have a history of working well with Twisted Pictures.
For a media product such as mine, funding would be very basic and minimalist. Most of the finance therefore would have to be self-funded. There are five main methods of financing the production of films – government grants, tax schemes, private equity and hedge funds, debt finance and equity finance. To attract funders, calculations have to be made estimating the overall and potential value of the media product, including its theatrical release as well as DVD sales over a 15 year period. I think I would try to use a crowd-funding website, which helps independent film-makers acquire the finances and platform they require. The most popular crowd-funding websites are Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The media product is posted to a market of potential funders, who will provide finance if they are interested. The benefit of this type of finance is that you have nothing to lose, as you only have to reimburse the funding when your project has made sufficient funds, and the process is great for publicity.
Who would be the audience for your media product?
During the planning process for my movie opening scenes, I conducted interviews with my brother Connor and his girlfriend Elise (who I know enjoy thriller and horror movies) and sent out a “Survey Monkey” survey via Facebook. I felt that a survey was an effective way of getting information from a wide range of people, but in order to increase reliability, I asked my mum to share the survey on her Facebook, so that I had a fair proportion of older respondents.
I discovered that the average respondent watches one horror movie every two months, and that the age range of those who particularly enjoyed the horror genre was 15-20. Gender did not matter, as approximately equal numbers of males and females enjoyed horror. However boys tended to prefer stereotypical locations, characters and props, whereas girls were less concerned with that. What surprised me was that the vast majority of my respondents valued the “thrill” aspect of the horror movie, and none were particularly interested in “blood and gore”. This shows that my audience generally finds cerebral rather than visceral horror more appealing.
This is Elise; she is 19 and is typical of the target audience for my media product. She enjoys movies, art, music and dancing. She left school after her A levels last summer, and now works in a local Bank. She watches movies at least twice a week, and her favourite genres are thriller and horror. She is only likely to go to the cinema once or twice a month, and most of the movies she watches are on Netflix or are downloaded from Sky Movies. Her favourite films are The Call, Seven, The Woman In Black, The Lovely Bones and The Silence of The Lambs. Her preferred storylines centre around people she can relate to – relatively young people in a real-life setting. She states that believable storylines and convincing actors are the most important considerations in her enjoyment of the film. She has watched many iconic horror films of the past – such as Halloween, The Exorcist and The Shining, but finds the poor quality and outdated special effects make them less realistic and therefore less enjoyable. She very much enjoyed the ‘Final Destination” series, but found the blood and gore off-putting at times. She usually chooses movies to watch, by looking at the critics reviews, and from personal recommendations.
How did you attract/address your audience?
To evaluate the way in which I addressed my target audience, I can look back on my target audience survey and interviews. After analyzing the results on Prezi it was clear that the typical convention of a horror film was to have an isolated location in the near dark in order to accentuate danger, fear and loneliness. Setting the scene with my location was obviously going to be very important. I used Gorey Castle, which is artificially lit at night, giving an eerie look. The grounds of the castle were good to film in too, as there were several random old-fashioned lamps giving off a very yellow light, and plenty of opportunities to shoot through bushes and trees, which add to the eerie effect. I also used torch-light, to build drama and tension. However, I took on board that my target audience wanted “thrills” and needed to relate to my characters for my film to be successful. I believe that if there is too much, constant fear, it is less effective than intermittent fear, so I included a happy, noisy, bright family scene. The objective of this was two-fold. Firstly it made my female character more “real”, and secondly, it gave me the opportunity to show that the stalker had deliberately singled her out. This increases underlying tension. I chose my cousin Jess to be the main female character, as my survey results showed that my target audience liked to see a young, innocent, attractive female lead. I also used a mask, as it was the main prop that my survey respondents expected to see. My interview informed me that masks increase tension, as the audience cannot see the real face or any expressions of the stalker.
I also used sounds such as heavy breathing, wind blowing and a scream to attract my audience, and these are all typical sounds from the horror genre. To make my opening a bit different, I added the sound of children chanting a sinister nursery rhyme. The fact that something so innocent and childlike can be changed into something so sinister and foreboding both shocks and engages the audience,
I also used my title to address my audience. The simplicity of my choice of title font LETTER GOTHIC STD, is typical of real horror products, and I have developed this by using gaussian blur effect, a wiggle frequency and layering to make it stand out, without being fussy or distracting. Finally, I believe the name of the film is attractive to my audience, as it implies thrills and tension, which are the things my target audience want to see.