Monday, 30 January 2012

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

My opening develops the conventions of a horror openings in the following ways. It goes against a traditional horror location in the Gothic sense where films were located in haunted houses (The Haunting, castles (Frankenstein) or graveyard (Dracula). Instead I have moved it to present day Britain and in a 'normal' suburban estate. You can see this from the above shot of the garden which has a lawn, washing drying and fences - this is an ordinary garden.
This plays on the conventions seen in many modern day horrors that chose locations that are deemed normal or safe, such as Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween which both use surbaban areas. Here this is a very British set up.

My opening both used and develops conventions in terms of props. The props used are very typical witchcraft props such as voodoo dolls, pentagrams and crystals, the difference in my opening is that they seem very child like and home made. The idea is to inform the view that this isn't a typical witchcraft story of cauldrons and dungeons as you would see in a Disney fairytale, but all domestic and homemade. The use of materials is suppose to add a took a comedy to the opening as well. All the costumes used are 'everyday' again to create ideas of this being any neighbourhood, however, this is changed slightly with the use of the very black make-up, this is give the idea of something not being quite right.

We are introduced to three characters two boys and one girl. The way they are dressed is very ordinary and they are located in a typical British backyard. While not too much information is given away there is a suggestion of confrontation and violence in the above close up, the fact that the second character is carrying a plank of wood over his shoulder (see location shot) and the distorted close ups on the female character. The idea is that these are on the surface ordinary people but perhaps lying underneath there is violence.

Camerawork and editing
The whole idea of the opening is to create an intense and disorientating opening that is uneasy to watch for the viewer. The idea came from the True Blood opening which is full of quick moving shots, close up and effects. I have tried to do the same by using extreme close-up for most of the shots (see the above shot of the spider key ring), especially on the props and then using effects for the wider shots. The editing process - I tried to keep the cuts short and sharp so the audience didn't have time to fully work out what was being presented. This was similar to the opening credits for Seven.

The font I used for the credits is Algerian Mesa. I created these in Photoshop and then included a drop shadow so they would stand out against the footage. The choice of the font is quite conventional for a horror film as it is quite old fashioned, quite formal and gothic looking. It reminded slightly of the Buffy the Vampire credits as it is full of modern day imagery but the writing is quite old looking. Looking back, the writing is occasionally hard to make out so a brighter colour might have made more sense.

My opening is fairly unconventional as it does not establish a clear storyline. What I believe it does it set up atmosphere and gives bits of information. For a start there is the suburban setting which is normal, yet everything else is creeping and abnormal. The plan was to create the idea that there could be evil and witch craft in the average everyday places.

The genre required in the brief was horror so I tried to put the viewers on edge with disturbing and distorted images. I also tried to make a link between the human and animal images with the use of the close up with the eye in of the dog and character following each other. This was based on the True Blood opening which makes the link between animal behaviour and human through its imagery. This is a theme used in horror a lot such as monster films like the wolf man and as the idea of humans being predators.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

2. How does your media product represent particular social groups ?

2. How does your media product represent particular social groups ?

Below are photos of Tansy, the character from my opening and Willow from the old TV series Buffy the Vampire slayer. I believe they are quite similar in terms of how the are represented.

Most obvious thing they have in common is that they both practice witchcraft in a modern day setting. Rather than being like a typical witch that you might see in fairy tales with the familiar broom, black costume, cat and being typically 'evil'.

Both Characters wear quite neutral colours - brown, beige combined with natural hair (long) and little or no jewelry. The dress is relatively ordinary but a little bit alternative. This suggests that she on the whole fits in, but can't be called mainstream.

In the series Willow is quite a geeky girl who through her intelligence becomes a powerful witch. She only uses her power for good until her partner is killed. After that Willow goes out of control and relies more and more on witchcraft, becoming a danger to those around her.
Tansy, begin using witchcraft to benefit her partner but just like Willow becomes dependent on its use and again this ends up with bad consequences for those around her.

Willow until the ends of the Buffy series was always seen as a geeky, plain girl who happened to develop an special power. Ensy from the opening is seen a more threatening. The spinning sequence shows that there is something different about her. The use of black up with it getting meshed up and caught on the teeth is more in line with a gothic type witch and then there's the similar eye shots with the dog adding a supernatural and animalistic quality to her portrayal.

Tansy the female witch from my opening

Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Saturday, 28 January 2012

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

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

The most obvious company that might get involved in the distributed is Icon Film Productions that are responsible for much of the distribution for the new Hammer Studio that have begun creating new low budget horror films from Beyond the Rave and Let Me In (the remake of Let the Right One In). Looking at their roster they tend to distribute low budget, independent cinema, even quite a few documentaries such as Project Nim and Man On Wire. They seem to be prepared to take a risk on lower budget films and distribute to independent cinemas.
Another potential company would be Optimum Film Distribution that have distributed many low budget British films such as F (which was filmed in CRC), This Is England and Dog Pound. These are similar in setting to my film in terms of location and setting.

Another way of getting distribution would be to get my film shown a various film festivals, specifically the UK's Fright Fest which has specialised in showing low budget horror. If it was to get to a good reaction there, that might lead to a buzz on the net and in horror communities which would lead to bigger interest.

Friday, 27 January 2012

4. Who would be the audience for your media product?

4. Who would be the audience for your media product?

There has been a recent run of UK based sci-fi and fantasy programme that are aimed at young people.

Above are Being Human - TV series on BBC3 about a vampire, werewolf and ghost living together, Attack the Block which is about aliens attacking a London estate, Tormented - a horror film set in a UK school and Misfits, which is about young offenders getting superpowers.

Each of these products have been successful and each show classic fantasy stuff - aliens, ghosts, vampires, superpowers - but located in a modern contempoary setting. Also in the case of Attack the Block, Tormented and Misfits, in an urban location focusing on UK Youth. This shows there is an appetite for horror and sci-fi but stuff the plays around with the conventional settings (US or traditional Gothic settings) and deals with it in a new way. This is the audience I hoped to target.

As the film deals with witchcraft by girls, it might appeal to a female audience looking for a different portrayal of heroines. This audience may be into female led supernatural films and books such as Twilight, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed - that are not all about horror, gore and action but about the supernatural and relationships - which is what Night of the Eagle is all about.

The story of the film also is a bit like the film The Craft.

The Craft played on the conventions of High School dramas such as Mean Girls but added the element of witchcraft to make it different.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

5. How did you attract/address your audience?

5. How did you attract/address your audience?
Watch this video and look at the annotations.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

6. What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?

6. What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?

The technololgies I mainly used to create my opening were Photoshop, the interent, Final Cut, a digital camera and Garageband.

The Internet was a very useful tool when it came to research and planning the opening as it was a good source of information when researching Hammer, the original film and looking for inspiration for film credits. Wikipedia was a good place to start research as it has links to where the information is sourced from. Youtube was good for looking for clips and embedding on to the blog which again was good use of the internet. Blogger was a lot of use for other groups who had previously done this project as it was a place that group members could all access, yet I was working on my own.

Photoshop was useful when it came to creating my own visual resources. I used it to present my understanding of the original film in the minimalist poster, but it was mainly used to create my credits. I used the Algerian Mesa font was downloaded from I create a separate layer for each credit and put drop shadow on them. I then saved them as a png24 as this was a good file type to be compatible with Final Cut.

GarageBand was used to create the soundtrack I did by using the samples and loops. It was very easy to put it together, but when comparing it with past student work on film openings it was clear that a lot of other people used similar samples. I tried to use effects on each sample but it was difficult to use anything that had a real impact.

Final Cut was the main piece software that I used to put everything together - the footage, the music and the credits. It's main used was to place all the shots in the correct order, but was also useful for altering the quality of the footage by applying filters and effects.

I have learned that to get the most from most software it is good to combine it with others to get the most from them.