Monday, 9 May 2011

Evaluation - Question 1

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

This is the 9 frame grid that I made for our opening sequence as well as for the existing Thrillers. I will talk through the shots I've used and how they conform to the Thriller genre and typify existing opening sequences by comparing the two grids. 

Retribution (Our Film):

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: 

1) Shot 1 in my 9 frame grid shows the title of our film. I believe that the font style used uses conventions of existing opening sequences, because when I conducted my research into the typical styles of font used in Thriller films, I concluded that the majority of them are often big, bold and vibrant. Our title is effective because it contains all of these elements. It is all in capitals which makes it appear big and bold and is also in the colour red. We deliberately chose this colour because from my research I identified that Thriller films often have red to connote blood and death to represent the iconography of the genre; two elements which are the two main themes incorporated into our opening sequence. From my research, I also identified that the majority of font styles used in Thriller films never flow, as they are broken up which indicate a sense of danger and suspense that something isn't right. Therefore our title creates suspense and heightens tension for the audience, which are typical conventions of the Thriller genre.

Similarly, the title in shot 6 for Sweeney Todd is aso in red to which is used a consistent theme throughout the whole of its opening sequence. This represents blood and therefore reinforces the iconography of the Thriller genre. However, a contrast is created because the font style is rather smooth and flows whereas ours is broken up to show the genre. Thrillers are often equally occupied by a font style that can be both scary by visually being broken up, or smooth by being big and bold. Both create a sense of uneasiness as a broken up title shows a connection with danger and therefore creates fear within the audience as they anticipate what is going to happen next, which is a convention of the Thriller genre. Big, bold font also creates a sense of uneasiness as it asserts authority and suggests something sinister and dominant, consequently inducing fear within the audience and thus conforms to the Thriller genre. 

Both of these shots show how our title is similar to and both challenges the title of Sweeny Todd.

2) Shot 2 in my 9 frame grid shows the use of setting/location that we used. We filmed the basement scene in the Drama Room of our school and adjusted the props available to us in order to make the setting appear dark and neglected to create a basement atmosphere and authenticity for the audience. From the shot you can see the use of mise-en-scene and how Megi is surrounded by props. There is some sort of basin placed behind Megi, a wooden basket placed next to her on the left, a big black box at the back of the room, a lamp to create a spotlight on her followed by a curtain backdrop to create the darkness. This is to show how a basement doesn't necessarily have any fancy props as it is a place that you wouldn't usually live in and thus it serves to convey how Megi has deliberately been taken to this place because she has been kidnapped. This shot is typical of existing opening sequences because a generic convention of the Thriller genre is the use of a dark, isolated setting to portray the vulnerability of the character and to show their journey and therefore our use of setting and mise-en-scene exemplifies this.

The 1st shot in the Sweeney Todd 9 frame grid shows a city, which is a piece of Thriller iconography because cities are often used in contemporary Thriller films as a way of bringing the drama closer to home for the audience as a way of creating fear. Shot 2 in the frame also shows a single chair featured within a spotlight which suggests how it is going to be used for some sort of intention as if it were an interrogation. In our sequence, this is a similar convention we have used because Megi is tied to a chair whilst only having a spotlight on her, as created by the lamp prop that we used. The Sweeney Todd sequence also shows an antique/vintage painting of a silhouette of a woman's head and shoulder in shot 3 which makes the audience assume that the time period is from a very long time ago. This is further reinforced by the lion's head in shot 4 which ultimately, combined with the vintage painting,  suggest that this location belongs to somebody who is of upper-class in society and maintains a high status. Shot 5 however, shows some sort of mechanism which suggests that the occupier is involved with the engineering and technical side of things. Shot 7 shows a mincer, shot 8 shows a drain whilst shot 9 shows some sort of bath/basin. These majority of these shots create ambiguity as the reader is left to question whether this location is a house of some sort. They are left to question this because an important fact to note is fact that each shot within the 9 frame grid has an element of blood in it. There is blood falling all over the place which ultimately serves its purpose by informing the audience that their is association with death, blood and gore; three elements which have occurred within this location. Therefore it makes the reader question whether this a house of some sort where this sort of sinister, ruthlessness supposedly takes place. Similarly, in our sequence we have included close-ups of Megi's arm to show the cuts and blood that have been caused as a result of the abuse she has endured and have therefore kept to the typical convention of blood within the Thriller genre.

Six Feet Under:

3) Shot 3 in my 9 frame grid shows the use of costume and props, from a high-angle shot of Megi. As you can see, Megi is wearing a blouse which suggests that it is part of her school uniform as represented through the flashbacks. However, her blouse is slightly unbuttoned which indicates that she has been assaulted. There is also a basin behind her with a rope in, which shows how her kidnapper and abuser had intentions and may have repeated this procedure many times before. Megi also has gaffa tape on her mouth to show how her abuser is trying to prevent her from shouting out and calling for help. You can briefly see Megi's arm in the shot, which is tied up by rope to prevent her from breaking free and escaping from her abuser. 

The use of mise-en-scene in the 9 frame grid for the film Six Feet Under is very efficient because as you can see, in shot 3 you can see a pair of feet with a tag on which suggests that the body is in a mortuary and thus you automatically know that the film has aspects of death in. Shot 4 also shows a hospital with a long shot of a male silhouette with a close-up of what appears to be a hospital trolley for performing medical procedures. Shot 5 shows the head of a female and the feet in shot 3 could possibly belong to this woman, which shows different parts of her body throughout the sequence, but through cuts to break up the shot.

4) Shot 4 shows the use of camera as we have recorded a close-up of Megi's upper body and arms. The purpose of this shot was to illustrate how she has been physically assaulted at the hands of her abuser. The use of black chalk to create the bruises and the use of red ink water paints to create blood/cuts reinforce this as they show how the extent to which she has been harmed. Blood is a general convention of the Thriller genre. 

Similarly, shot 6 in the 'Six Feet Under' 9 frame grid shows the close-up of a hand. From the close-up I believe that the hand belongs to a middle-aged male. In the sequence he is holding a post of a coffin which shows how the film is based around death.

5) Shot 5 within our 'Retribution'

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