Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Analyse one of our products in relation to narrative.

Narrative is very important to films as it drives the story forward, " A narrative draws your audience into your story and keep them focused on your storyline until your final conclusion." At AS I produced a crime thriller  called "Mind Games" as part of my foundation portfolio. My thriller follows a linear narrative structure with a beginning, middle and end. However, I have veered away from a typical opening as, right at the start, we are thrown into the world of the antagonist; in other words,  a typical film following a linear narrative structure would start with something happy and cheerful, representing normality, and then build up to a disruption, in Todorovian terms, followed by attempts to repair that disruption, and in the end, it's all resolved - a new equilibrium is achieved. In my thriller, there is not a happy and cheerful start; we are instantly put into a totally opposite atmosphere which is malevolent and claustrophobic. We see this as a kind of equilibrium, although it is the normality of this psychotic villain's life and therefore unusual. Others might see it as a Todorovian disruption as the policeman's life is threatened by arriving at the antagonist's place withing the first 2 minutes of the film. An example of film that starts similiarly to mine is the "Machinist." This film also veers away from the typical structure by starting in the world of the antagonist. Therefore the audience's narrative expectations would be that the disruption will be repaired an an equilibrium is established.

Levi - Strauss suggested the idea of binary opposites i.e. hero vs villain, evil vs good etc. In my opening it is very clear who the the opposites are - protagonist and antagonist. The mise - en - scene i surrounding each character helps indentify the binary opposites. The antagonist is shot in dark poorly lit room and the protagonist is shot in bright lear daylight dressed as a n authority figure. The reason i chose to use binary opposites is that both characters rely each other. For example the villain feels thrilled that he has somebody to run away from and in turn the hero can not possibly be a hero without defeating the evil. The fact that the policeman is the protagonist and is an authority figure, the audience empathize with him and feel sympathy for him. I have used high angle shots of the policeman to make him feel minute and help build sympathy for him. The narrative expectations for the audience is that the protagonist defeats the antagonist and an equilibrium is reached. However, i did not really convey this as at the end i have made it seem like the policeman got killed by the villain or the policeman has knocked on the wrong door. Now the question has arised that is he the real protagonist. 

Roland Barthes talks about enigma codes and action codes. An enigma code is a question that is not immediately answered and thus draws an audience into a text, and action code is an event thats rives the story on. Above i mentioned that the audience are questioning whether or not the policeman is the real protagonist. The enigma code that i have used at the end creates this question. At the end of my thriller opening, i ended on a cliffhanger with the shot of the policeman outside a door and the sound of him knocking on that door. There are two possible outcomes which could have happended, these are that either the policeman has been killed or the policeman has knocked on another door not even coming to look for the villain. The evil laugh right at the end reinforces both cases. I feel as that i ahev surprised the audience bec

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

analyse one of our coursework production in relation to genre

In this essay, I am going to write about my foundation portfolio thriller opening, "Mindgames," in relation to genre. My product is a crime thriller about a serial killer who is the most wanted person by the police who comits murders to random people, My group and i decided to classify this movie as a 18 due to the gore and violence. Our target audience consists of males and females aged between 18-29. In order to create a successful product, it is important for myself and producers generally to consider the genre  before beginning the task,as this is key to attract the important target audience.

The first theorist I am going to discuss is Barry Keith Grant. His  theory is that within a genre, you see familiar and recognisable characteristics which indicates to you the type of genre it is. For example, within my thriller i had a slow pan of some drugs on a table, and the shot of my antagonist holding the knife. When the audience sees the drugs and knife they are lured into the direction of a thriller/horror/action genre. A thriller has set generic conventions which include: violence, suspense and tension, suspensful soundtrack and fast paced editing. I included all of these conventions into my thriller for example: the soundtrack which i manipulated to sound more suspensful, the violence with the knife and the fast paced editing and suspense and tension mixed all in one when i used cross cutting and parralel editing towards the end of the opening to show tension building.

 Neale states that genres are made up of not just groups of films, but also audience expectations. In my case, i produced a questionniare asking questions as to what they expect to see in my thriller. The audience already had in thier minds prior to watching my thriller what they want and expect to see for example, the most common answer was violence followed by suspense. Here we can clearly see how important genre is, the audience are coming to see this film knowing that it should include thier fundamental elements.

Another theorist ryall, says that different genres of products are produced to appeal to different target audiences. As i mentioned above, the audience for a thriller have different expectations for a film that say an audience for a comedy. The producers can take advantage of this and specialise thier product according to the target audiences needs. Having included their expectations about the genre they can make thier film much more appealing to ther intended audience.

Genres and other classifications

Genre is often thought to be restrcited within certain boundaries which makes unable to change," Once you've seen one, you've seen them all. However, there is always both repetition and difference at play in genre products. Genre describes way in which companies producing the media goods group and sell thier goods through expectations.

genre theory: Neale - 1980 " a regulated variety"

Genre theory is to do with a circulation of expectations between industries, media texts and audiences. This leads to a " regulated variety."

Hartley -  1999

A contract between the producer and audience which," disciplines' choices and reduces desires.

Genre as idealogical?

The genre film offers a lesson in how to act within society and how to deal with current problems and anxieties. But it does no offer neutral ways of dealing with social problems; instead it prescribes a preffered set of values.

Friday, 15 March 2013

How napster has effected the music industry

Napster is an online peer to peer file sharing service which enables users to share and download music. Napster was developed in 1999 by Sean Parker and Shawn Flanning. However, this service was short lived as it was shut down in february 2001 after going through court. The main reason as to why it was shut down was due to the fact that it offered an illegal service by letting people download tracks without having to pay for it, this had a direct impact on the music industry.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Discuss one of your media productions in relation to the concept of audience

When producing a product such as movies and music videos, audience plays a key role in developing and producing the product. I am going to talk about my first product which is my thriller opening for my foundation portfolio. While producing this crime thriller, i had to take into account what the audience expect of the product and how they will affected. I will now talk about my thriller " Mindgames" in relation to the concept of audience. My target audience are people aged between 18-28. I found this information on the pearl and dean website which displayed data that showed what particular age groups watch which genre of film.

Referring to the uses and gratifications theory, my thriller offers "escapism" where the audience after a long tiring day at school or at work just want to esacape reality and relax and watch the thriller. My thiller is full of nail bitting scenes providing the adrenalin rush and the thrill. Additionally, it can be social as the cliffhanger/enigma codes can cause conversations between friends as to perhaps what will happen next.

The "  hyperdermic needle" effect theory suggests that we are passive audiences and that we are directly effects by media texts that we are presented. In my thriller there is gore, use of semiotics such as the drugs, violence, strong language and killing scenes. This theory suggests that these actions will be replicated. In reality, people are old and mature enough not to replicate what you see, hence my target audience. in conjuction to the cultivation theory, if the audience are exposed to these scenes, i think that they will still resist to replicate what they say.

The "reception theory" is when the producer/director encodes a text and the audience decode this text in relation to stuart halls theory. Different people will decode the text differently according to thier status for example, age, gender or personal terms. By the way i have reprsented the antagonist, some people may think of him as a rebel and someone eho should be punished severaly, however other may think of him as sneaky and michievious as he avoids the police numerous times. The enigma code in my thriller such as the laugh at the very end suggests that the antagonist has possibly killed the policman or the policman has not come to look for him at and knocked on someone elses door. The oppositional reading of my thriller is that there are fewer and fewer female protagonists and that they have less important roles in films like this. From a feminist point of view, males are more dominant than females and that the antagonist and protagonist are males.

I also used audience research such as a questionniare and a draft viewing so i can get feedback along the way, this ensures that i make my thriller as best as possible for my audeicne. Out of 30 people, most of them wanted to see more violence and more suspense. The cross and parralel editing in my thriller where the policman enters the flats and the antagonist realises he is there. This scene is shot purely to create suspense and tension in the audience.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

How has digital technology aided your creativity to during your coursework products

Over the two years of studying media and producing my foundation and advanced portfolio's, digital technologies have had a key rold inb contributing to my creativity during the making of my products.

At AS, i created a thriller opening of a crime thriller. At the pre-production stage, i created an animatic on final cut from a camera which had taken the shots of my thiller of which i drew by hand. I uploaded each shot onto the final cut timeline in chronological. This gave a brief idea as how the visuals will look and how well it synched with the actual soundtrack. After seeing this on the timeline, it allowed me to realise that i can do much more with what i have in terms of add new shots or change the duration of them etc. Using final cut really helped me be more creative and help improve my product.

Secondly, i used garageband to create and manipulate a soundtrack for my thriller. The main convention of a thriller soundtrack is that it had to create suspense and tension. To create this effect i qweaked with the volume, texture and the track itself to create this atmoshere and most importantly complement the visuals. For example, when the police officer enters the flat and approaches the villains door, i used garageband to cut a part of the track with a loud "bang " sound and add it to the track at the point where the police officer is on the second floor. Using garageband to manipulate the soundtrack also helped m be more creative as i have taken a track and changed it to accomodate the visuals.

Additionally, i used youtube alot for searching for inspiration and tutorials on how to use advanced functions on final cut. For my thriller, i wanted to include a scene with fast parralel editing to show the suspense and tension escalating i.e. when the officers enters the flat. Having seen the film " four lions," it has a parralel edited scene within it which was exactly what i wanted to replicate. So i went on youtube and searched for this particular scene. After finding it, i grabbed the ideas from it and incorporated it into my own thriller. In relation, i wanted to use youtube to search for a final cut tutorial on how to increase the duration of a shot to make it seem like a "slow motion" effect shot. The shot of the villain getting the knife out if his draw is the shot where i used this slow motion effect. From getting ideas from youtube i wa able to be more creative with my work and learnt how to use functions on final cut which i did not know about.

At A2 level, i created an indie rock music video. Produing this piece of work also required use of digital technologies.

One of the main digital technologies i used was the camcorder. I used a canon camrecorder which had lots of buttons and fuctions and i did not know what even half of them did. So i referred to the users manuel and found out the basic functions. I wanted this music video to be filmed on black and white, so all i did was enter the visual settings on the camcorder and set it to black and white. Secondly, i wanted to include a focus pull in the video, following the same procedure i found out how to do it. This focus pull can be seen in the second last shot whre the artist moves away from the mic and out of the shot and the mic defocuses and then focuses. The use of these fuctions on the camcorder improved my creativity and the creativity of the product itself.

Moreover, after a year of using final cut i am know more better at using it and know how to much more things on it, e.g. shot duration, transitions, visual effects and general editing. I have different transitions between shots and various visual effects such as colour corrector and the "earthquake" effect throughout my video. This shows that i can use final cut properly and making use of its functions, also on top of that final has aided my creativity towards my product.

Another digital technology i heavly used was the internet. I used this for about 70% of my planning and also all of my inspirtation. I had come across a website which showed typical music video shots and also some really unusual ones, e.g. canted angles, dutch angles and tracking shots. The use of these shots shows variation and creativity of the visuals. In comparison the last years product, i used basic shots like close ups, point of view and long shots. In this product i have used more creative and unusual shots.

In conclusion, digital technologies have been very imporntant in aiding my creativity towards my products, and also helped me improve from last year in terms of using these technologies to make my work better and most importantly, more creative.