Monday, 22 February 2010

Gantt Chart;

As we come closer to the filming stages my group devised a week-by-week chart in order to keep on the tight schedule and make sure we include everything needed on our blogs.

Week Beginning:
22 Feb- Keep blog updated, finish audience research (questionnaires), storyboards, voice record opinions on intial idea
1st Mar-Finish storyboards, sounds, typography, lighting, scripts, recreations of characters from exsisting horror/thrillers, shooting schedule
8th Mar- Filming, video diary of filming (podcast), weather updates, changes in storyboard and schedule
15th Mar-Editing stages, final blog touches
29th Mar-5th Apr- HALF TERM finishing blog, guides on how to use macs, cameras and how to edit.
12th Apr- Editing
19th Apr- Evaluation
26th Apr- Evaluation

Initial Ideas;

In order to decide what initial idea was best our group analysed the results from the audience research (questionnaires and interviews), advantages and disadvantages of filming locations and additional information such as props, production rules and health and safety. We then decided Idea One was more appropriate and had more potential because I personally visualised the process and the post-production I saw success then communicated this thought to the group. Idea Two and Idea Three were very brief but don't have the opportunity to expand and would be very short pieces of film. The timing of the final film opening piece should aim to be a minimum 1 minute and maximum 2 minutes.

Planning Outline for Final Piece
Before drawing up out storyboards our group sat down and decided step-by-step what would happen within the film opening. In chronological order the story follows as:

  • Long shot of the moon with an voice over of a poem by a little girl, the long shot then pans to the car.
  • The shot cuts to inside the car with an over the shoulder shot of the stalker taking/looking at photos. This is also a point of view shot of the stalker watching the girl close her curtains.
  • Cuts to medium shot of girl in her bedroom preparing for sleep as she walks away from her window unaware of the man outside.
  • Close up of web-cam from laptop.
  • Point of view shot from web-cam (edited in final process to look from web-cam) shows she's being watched.
  • Girl gets into bed and zooms into her eyes. The shot is then graphic matched.
  • Shows girl in her nightmare in a coffin.
  • Cuts back to reality where girl is restless in bed.
  • Cuts back to coffin as she expresses her emotions by winking with evil laughter whilst coming out of the coffin towards the camera. But then collapses back into coffin, she is now dead.
  • Eyes are then graphic matched when she comes out of the nightmare, the girl is in bed when her eyes suddenly open (this is to thrill then audience).
  • Girls actions followed with tracking and match on action shots as she sits up in bed. The non-diegetic sounds of the poem has now ended.
  • A gun is then put to the girls head, the gunman's identity is hidden and only his hand with the gun can be seen.
  • Girl begins to protest and beg for mercy.
  • Cuts to black frame parallel to the gun shot.
  • 2nd gun shot and title appear within a sequence of each other.
  • An over the shoulder shot shows the stalker picking up a camera.
  • Shows half the LCD screen of camera and man's face.
  • The LCD screen shows a picture of the girl.
  • Zooms into the LCD screen photo then juxtaposes the photo into reality.

Initial Ideas;

Idea One
  • A girl in her bedroom suffers from a nightmare.
  • Flashbacks and match on action shots to show suffering.
  • Stalker effect from someone watching over her.
  • The scene in bedroom switches between reality and abnormality- It is unable to determine which is which.
  • Voice over(possible poem) suggests eerie atmosphere and begins to untangle the story.
  • Possible panning shot of creepy toys however this may not be included due to the age of the audience.
  • A number of locations and different time setting connotes to confuse audiences and juxtapose.
Idea Two
  • Main character is a male.
  • Voice over of character.
  • Characters running (diegetic) takes over voice over (non-diegetic) to produce the sounds of panic.
  • Running will take place in an urban location.
  • Running climaxes as he arrives at a shop to get milk- this creates false panic for audience, gives thrill.
  • An event happens to move the story along into the next scene.
  • Dark, evening setting.
Idea Three
  • Garage setting in an urban location.
  • Use of speeding up on editing e.g. fast paced walking.
  • Male character with baseball bat doing tricks with strong sounds to go with the blows as he swings it around. This sets an enigma.
  • Dark, evening setting.

Intial Ideas;

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Camera Experiments;

The advantages in media technology have allowed us to use gadgets such as a camera wheel which looks similar to a steering wheel in a car. This gadget keeps the camera steady so shots like panning and tracking can remain clear. In this video we demonstrated these shots by shooting a panning and tracking shots.

Our Examples are:

  • Panning the scenery which could be used as an establishing shot
  • Tracking shot of the boy running
  • Point of view/tracking shot of someone getting up from off the ground and then panning the camera to suggest the location.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Audience Research- Questionnaires;

Further research into audience reception of thriller films I decided to interview 20 people of different age ranges using a questionnaire.
1. What is your age?
2. Which media products promotes films to you?
3. Do you think most mainstream horror/thriller films have similar plots and outcomes?
4. Do low budget films create a unique outcome compared to mainstream films
5. Does the name of the film influence you to go and watch it
6. What is your favourite sub-genre of thriller?
7. Can you usually predict the outcome of the film due to the stereotypical conventions
8. In your opinion, do you think thrillers end in tragedy
9. Have you heard of Film Noir?

Question One was basically to ask what range of people are participating in my survey. This shows that we arrange a similar amount of people from different age ranges to collect rich data of opinions on the questions we have selected.

Question Two was to find what type of advertising was most eye catching to promote a film. The pie chart shows the majority are influenced by trailers and I think this is because they can be visually brilliant. Trailers only show the exciting moment in the film advertised so they can attract their target audiences to consider watching it at their local cinema. One result which I found disappointing was the lack of promotion through Internet/social networking. Considering the numerous amount of people using websites such as and I would of thought most advertisement (and because it is cheaper) would of been done through this.

Question Three shows that mainstream films are more likely to all have similar conventions unlike niche films. This is something we have to take into consideration when deciding who should market our film opening.

*spelling mistake on graph: outcoe is suppose to say outcome.
Question Four tells us low budget films have different responses to those with large Hollywood budgets. This is because when working on a budget actors, setting and props have to be taken into consideration in pre-production due to money issues. Although it has been proven that even niche films can succeed across the globe such as Slumdog Millionaire winning 8 Oscars and another 100 wins elsewhere.

Question Five shows that before the film trailer is even seen by an audience the majority are influence just by the title. In order to be successful with this tactic my group must come up with a unique name to influence our target audience to consider watching this film. To do this we must brainstorm different ideas about how our film opening would be percieved.

Question Six shows the popularity of genres such as crime and action. Our genre thriller will be using a crime storyline however only little action is weaved into the opening. I think the crime genre is a good choice because it involves many twists in the plot which will make our opening more interesting to the target audience

Question Seven shows that even though stereotypical conventions are known internationally when involved in films that are unpredictable. It would be useful to change the convention and make them unique to what they have originally be branded as.

Question Eight implies that people will be surprised if thriller ends in tradegy therefore as part of our film opening we could show tradegy to make our audience want to find out how the storyline got to that point.
Question Nine shows that our participants haven't heard of Film Noir and this could still benefit our film opening if we included it. Using conventions of Film Noir would create an interesting reaction to our audience as they will experience something never seen to them before.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Audience Research- Interviews;

After research into film certification, we decided to focus our attention on possible target audiences. In order to do this we selected important questions and interviewed people from a range of ages:

  • Under 15
  • 16-25
  • 26+
Under 15

In the under 15 interview it was interesting to find that the person wasn't inparticularly interested in horror/thriller films and only had a brief knowledge of their conventions. This is a direct result of horror/thriller films usually being in the older film certification such as 12A, 15 and 18 due to the graphical violence and language.


In the interview with a male from the age range 16-25 I found that he had been more aware of thriller/horror film knowledge due to personal interests. They have been aware of horror film conventions and the stereotypes involved in the making.

26+ female + male interviews

These separate interviews with female and male participants show they are aware of thriller/horror films but not the stereotypes involved. All interviews show they don't favour the horror/thriller genre but are aware of films that are of the genre.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Film Noir;

The term Film Noir is French for "Black Film" and was highly popular in the 1940s and 1950s. Film Noir is a posh, cinematic term used for stylish Hollywood films which surrounded the crime genre. They often had sexual motivations and cynical attitudes which drew the audience into this film movement. The small black-and-white visual style which made films such as Double Indemnity (1944) successful because French critics admired the dark mise-en-scene, editing and sounds among them. The time of Film Noir was already a dark and sinister decade due to World War II which was then reflected among the films with loss of innocence, being under threat, fear, bleak outlooks and paranoia. These universal themes made the films popular because people could understand the characters and their emotions. There are rarely any optimistic endings in Film Noir because of the relations to reality.

Film Noir is not a genre, but a film movement which had been inspired by the most unusual and upsetting time of history, World War II. This classical period was often based around a hard-hearted and shallow male character such as Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca (1942) who encounter beautiful, seductive women across his path. The female character usually used her alluring looks to manipulate the male into become the guy to take the fall, this usually follows with a murder. The plot then comes across a betrayal or double-cross which frequently results in the female characters death as well as her hero's. During World War II women became more independent and earned a living because they took over the male dominated job as they fought in the war. In result to this, women within films suffered which made reality seem much happier with freedom even in the certain circumstances.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

The Usual Suspects- Defining Thriller;

Definition of Thriller Genre: Thrillers have the job of being able to thrill and confuse an audience, if this is unsuccessful then the film has not followed the characteristics of a Thriller and been ineffective. Thrillers often overlap and become part of sub-genres most likely mystery-thriller or horror-thriller. The genre also involves fast paced plots, frequent action, notable heroes and villains who are advantaging equipped with weaponry.

The Usual Suspects was directed by Bryan Singer in 1995 and written by Christopher McQuarrie. The plot involves a twist which engages the audience in working out or solving an enigma but the audience finds the final moments of the film more clear when the story unravels. As The Usual Suspects is a crime mystery thriller the police where majority involved in the storyline and became the centre focus of the film. Thriller often over cross other genres most likely mysteries, crime and action to wider the audiences interests and expand their marketable strategy. The identity of the villain is usually known from the beginning of the film but only revealed and made clear at the end. The villain in The Usual Suspects is played by Kevin Spacey who takes on duo characters Roger Kint and Keyser Soze. The two separate characters are played off each other and even have different effect on people such as Roger Kint who is a disabled character and seen as the weaker member of the usual suspects. On the other hand, Keyser Soze is compared to the devil, an evil mastermind who remains a mystery to those who continue his legendary story.
Death is most likely to be written into the plot of most film genres because it creates an emotional atmosphere for the film to have universal meanings which can relate to the audiences real life. In thrillers there is always death but the plot doesn't identify the killer at the time and the deaths are mostly always cold blooded. There is a considerable difference between the deaths in horror and thriller films because horror is an extension onto thrillers because they are more graphical and there main motif is death. However, the killings in thrillers are distance and less graphic usually in result of a large scale criminal activity taking place. All in all thrillers maintain the mystery of the killer right up till the very end and in majority of the films the police find the killer is right under their noses.
The use of stereotypes in thrillers connotes the villain as they come out of their shells and hold an unreliable first hand account of the plot and lie to cover their tracks. The easy route of playing with stereotypes means anyone can create an new identity and villains do this to stay clear of any conviction. The Usual Suspects deals with time-shifts to keep the audience on the edge of their seats so they must pay attention in order to figure out who the killer is. The story is told in flashbacks which has a great effect on confusing the audience on who the killer is because each flashback changes the point of view. The post-modern films plays around with conventions and usually have a big impact on the way thrillers are written. Villains suggest their tactic in little hints across the film but always remain a coldness and lack of humanity surrounding the killer. This explains why the main motif in The Usual Suspects is to fool other characters and the audience with clever planning.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Production Rules;

  1. Avoid illegal substances such as cigarettes, alcohol and drugs.
  2. Avoid use of self transport (e.g. cars, mopeds) as you may cause distractions affecting health and safety.
  3. Foul language is inappropiate for your AS production.
  4. Nudity is also inappropiate for your AS production.
  5. Your media production doesn't exempt the law therefore if abused the police will be involved.
  6. Don't misuse the equipment. Breakages will be paid for by the student responsible.
  7. When filming in outdoor spaces be aware that the public must be asked to be filmed. Only include them in your production if consent has been given.
  8. In specific public places permission must be acquired off your local council.
  9. Copyrighted sounds/products must not be used in your production due to copyright theft.
  10. As long as you follow the rules, production will be fun :)

Monday, 1 February 2010

Film Certification;

Film certifcation is used to restrict certain age groups from being exposed and harmed by some scenes shown in films and television shows. The British Broadcast of Film Classifaction are an independent company who advise and keep the public informed about what is contained within films. The website keeps up-to-date informations about the guidelines of films and how they make decisions about classification. The BBFC not only rate films, but also work with television shows, music videos and video games.


Universal films also known as U are reccommended as suitable for all ages (mainly four years and over) because sometimes its unable to determine what may upset a child therefore they restrict any violence, substance abuse, language and threat which could offend any child. U films also follow positive moral values such as education is important and being polite is a must etc.
Most disney films are U & PG because they provide moral values of helping others and making the right decisions. Disney focuses on children because their company surrounds children's happiness.


PG stands for Parental Guidance which allows general viewing however some scene may be unsuitable for young children who are sensitive. Parents are advised to view the film before allowing their children to watch it and if they have any concerns PG should not harm children aged 8 and over.


12A is short for 12 years and over, usually known as general viewing however maybe unsuitable for children under this age. 12A/12 work in the exactly same manner where children 12 and over can watch the film unaccompanied. However, if children under 12 want to view the film they will need an adult to supervise and decide whether the explicit detail will cause harm from the material contained.
  • 12: only used on Video/DVD releases due to the renting and buying guidelines
  • 12A: only used on cinema releases


15 is the classification used to explain no one under the age of 15 may buy, view or rent this film due to the content.


18 is the age of adulthood, so its only correct when it's only suitable for adults. 18 is the legal age for alcohol, marriage and sex shops therefore it can be used in these films without cause any harm to the viewers.


R rated films are most likely found in sex shops or in specially licensed cinema BUT must only be brought, rented or viewed by a person over the age of 18. These are thoroughly monitored due to the explicit detail . R-18 films are not supplied by mail order. A majority of R18 films are pornography.