Thursday, 25 February 2010

Useful Resources-

The Horror Genre DRAFT

  • The basic structure of horror films is to show the reconstruction of an order in a portrayed society
  • The opening sets the scene for a community unaware of the impending danger- (a "normal town" was used in Halloween and Gremlins) whereas movies such as "Friday the 13th" uses an isolated group 
  • The second act sees the arrival of the monster, the breakdown of social order and change (Halloween, Jaws, Friday the 13th)
  • The final act resolves the issues, and restores order o the community, this could be different to the order that opened the picture
  • Most films follow this three act structure, although some notably during the sixties and seventies try to break free from this mould, and offer no solution to the breakdown (Night of the living dead, The birds)
  • The reconstruction of the order does not necessarily mean that the new world is any better than the original (Invasion of the body snatchers)
  •  In order to keep the audience interested from the word "go" some films often show a killing within the first few minutes (Friday the 13th, Bride of Chucky)
  •  There are stereotypical characters to horror films, there is the "scream queen" whom is often targetted, and in many cases, killed first. She is stereotypically blonde and busty.- Scream
  • There is often also a final girl, a binary opposition to the scream queen, she is often brunette, and intelligent, a virgin. - Halloween
  • There is often two strands of music, long notes and piano, to cause tension and irregular heartbeats (Halloween)
  • The colour blue can be connoted as super-natural, cold, tense (Bride of Chucky 1998) 
  • They typically use point of view shots, this is seen in Halloween, it sets the scene that a change is going to place, they are approaching their victims, however does not reveal too much to the audience
  • Mise-en-scene if often used to signify horror, for example, rain, thunder, graveyards, woods, night (Bride of Chucky)
  • Most killers are the same in horror films, they are mostly male, hide their identity, and aim for the "scream queen"
  • Many hide their identity, giving a narrative enigma (Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th)
  • Some killers wear masks to hide their identity (scream)
  • You often see the weapon before you see the killer, connoting they are going to attack, you see that the brake fluid is leaking out of the car before the characters realise in Family Plot (1976)
  • Many horrors use false impressions, when they build suspense, but really nothing is there, so the audience have gone calm again, but out of the blue something happens, making them more nervous (Bride of Chucky- when the radio goes off, when everything is silent) makes the audience jump
  • Serif font is often used for sub-titles, anchoring it is a thriller/horror film (Trick or treat, Memento)
  • Some include a voice over rather than dialogue- (Trick or Treat) 
  • There's always a lead character which usually results in being the survivor of the film
  • The killer/monster usually has a trademark in how/what he uses to kill people, In I know what you did last summer, the killer uses a hook (fish rod) Friday the 13th, Jason uses a kitchen knife all the way through, Nightmare on elm street the killer uses a razor sharp glove all the way through to kill the victims
  • When we are scared. we generally turn to three legitimate authority figures, Parents, The Police and God, In many horrors these are either prevented or each of these are presented and disposed of, leaving the victim unprotected. (Scream- Casey's parents do not see her being stabbed)
  • Scream represented alot of common conventions, you do not survive the movie if you are not a virgin, if you do drugs, and if you say "I will be right back"
  • Scream again used a lot of common conventions for the killer, you will most often not survive if you ask "who's there?" or if you investigate strange noises. 
  • There is the same voice used, even if the identity of the killer is hidden, to connote that it is the same killer (Scream)
  • The main actor/killer is usually killing/attacking for revenge, "the underdog gets his own back" (Last house on the left) (Trick or treat)
  • In many films you don't see the killer in the opening, but you see the weapon, which is connoted that it is going to be used to attack, for example in nightmare on elm street, you see an individual's hands and a strange weapon, a glove with sharp knives for fingers 
  • Many horrors have a twist in the opening, again in A nightmare on elm street, the girl, Tina, whom is thought to be attacked, is actually dreaming, however she does have a slash on her nightgown near her stomach, which would of been created had she been attacked by the man in her dreams 

        Wednesday, 24 February 2010


        Omniscient narrator: The omniscient narrator has a full knowledge of the story's events and of the motives and unspoken thoughts of the various characters. He or she will also be capable of describing events happening simultaneously in different places.

        Linear narrative: Linear narrative is a story line, which is shown in chronological order.

        Non-linear narrative: When events are portrayed out of chronological order. It is often used to mimic the structure and recall of human memory but has been applied for other reasons as well.

        Tuesday, 23 February 2010

        Initial Ideas-

        • To connote danger and the male gaze, I could have my actress wearing red lipstick and nail polish, red is stereotypically known as danger, and often "sexy" 

        •  For mise-en-scene and representation of the girls bedroom, I could include a lot of things that are expected to be seen in a teenage girls bedroom, such as makeup, jewelry, hair accessories, this anchors whom the film is going to be about and targeted at 
        •  To connote that the girl is being stalked, the man could have her bracelet or something belonging to her in his room, and her empty box, not knowing where the bracelet is
        • To emphasise someone is there, there will be rustles of a bush, and a twig could break
        • Also to create the illusion that the girl is being stalked she could keep getting calls from unknown callers

          Assessment Criteria

          The assessment criteria for my AS media is as follows, with being marked in the sections either Minimal, Basic, Proficient or Excellent.

          Research and Planning
          Research into similar products and a potential target audience
          Organisation of actors, locations, costumes or props
          Work on shotlists, layouts, drafting, scripting, storyboarding.
          Care in presentation of research and planning
          Time management
          Contribution (where relevant)

          Understanding of issues around audience, institution, technology, representation, forms and conventions in relation to production
          Ability to refer to choices made and outcomes
          Understanding of development from preliminary to full task
          Ability to communicate
          Skill in use of digital technology/ICT in evaluation
          Contribution (where relevant)
          Construction - (Creative use of technical skills)

          Holding shot steady
          Framing shot appropriately
          Variety of shot distances
          Appropriate material for task
          Selecting mise-en-scene
          Editing for meaning to viewer
          Varied shot transitions, captions and other effects
          Use of sound with images/editing
          Using title appropriately
          Contribution (where relevant)

          The 7 evaluation questions...

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

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

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

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

          5)How did you attract/address your audience?

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

          7)Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel your have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?

          Monday, 22 February 2010

          Alex Burkes presentation of the opening two minutes of a film-

          The Matrix (1999)

          Directed by:
          Andy Wachowski
          Lana Wachowski

          Distributors: Warner Brothers, Roadshow Entertainment
          Production companies: Silver pictures, Warner brother pictures,

          The opening is see as action packed, but throughout becomes sci-fi, science fiction

          The directors had no experience, and were advised to not proceed with the film,however they got huge praise when the film was released

          The film has counter-types- the woman you see in the first two minutes- "Trinity" is strong and the male police officers seem weak in comparison

          However the picture of Trinity on the front of the DVD could be seen as promoting the male gaze

          Targeted at 16-25 year old
          Most a white cast, one main character is Afro-American- widens the audience

          The budget was 63 million dollars

          Sunday, 21 February 2010

          Amy Blyszko's opening two minutes of a film-

          Amy Blyszko- Fool's gold

          Directed by Andy Tennant, 2008, distributed by Warner Brothers
          70 million dollar budget
          Production companies: Warner Brothers pictures and De line pictures

          Similar films: Sahara (2005) Hidalgo (2004)

          Opening weekend in England: 398 screens, $975,498
          Opening weekend in America: 3,125 screens, $21, 589, 295
          Chick flick
          Oppositional reading at the beginning- connoted to be an adventure film when it's more of a romantic
          Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson are both famous actor's, they starred in the hit film how to loose a guy in 10 days

          Kate Hudson is a very attractive, famous figure, who can be used for the male gaze, but also Matthew McConaughey is known for being a hit with the ladies, widening the target audience

          Thursday, 11 February 2010

          Coursework Tasks

          Preliminary exercise: Continuity task involving filming and editing acharacter opening a door, crossing a room and sitting down in a chair opposite another character, with whom she/he then exchanges a couple of lines of dialogue. This task should demonstrate match on action, shot/reverse shot and the 180 degree rule.

          Main task: The titles and opening of a new fiction film, to last a maximum of two minutes

          All video and audio material must be original, produced by the candidate(s), with the exception of music or audio effects from a copyright-free source.

          The Idea that I have chosen:

          I have chosen my third idea. Which is the stalker film.

          I plan to have the first scene with the camera starting on a diary, with a bracelet on the diary, or some hands playing with the bracelet in his hands, and then panning of all the photos around his room, zoomed in of one of her with her friends, leaving the audience in a state of confusion. I then will zoom into another picture to set the next scene, however I have to make sure this does not like it's going back in time.

          I am then going to have a scene of the girl in her room with her boyfriend, either just putting her top on, and her boyfriend in bed, with clothes all over the floor and sheets pulled over, he then grabs her wrist and says where is your bracelet, the girl says it is in the box, but she goes to look in the box, and it is not there, the audience know something the characters don't. The girl will then re-touch her makeup, with a red lipstick, connoting danger, and the boy and girl leave the house, go there seperate ways, there is emphasis on a twig clicking connoting someone is there, someone rings the girls mobile but no one speaks.

          The next scene would be the kidnapper grabbing the girl, I am going to only make it so you can see his hands, leaving a narrative enigma, engaging the audience, I may also have him shutting the door after the panning of pictures, with a rope or something in his hand, so the audience see the weapon way before it is actually used. I think I would do this maybe down a snicket, or somewhere where the girl can be trapped. The girl could gradually start walking faster down the snicket, as she hears the bushes move, and a twig etc

          I could also maybe have a zoom in on the window, to connote he is watching the girl and her boyfriend. With a bush just before the window, connoting that the stalker is behind the bush.

          I am considering doing a voice over at the beginning of the clip, like a narrator, to give ex-position, then one at the end when he has grabbed the girl, at the beginning he could say "sometimes we just can't help ourselves" and then at the end of the two minutes he could say something like "sometimes our desires take over" this leaves a cliff-hanger, so if we were to create the rest of the film it would have a plot, something to lead onto.

          I am going to try use two strands of music, long notes and piano, can cause tension, and make the person whom is viewing the film have irregular heartbeats, this causes them to feel something is going to happen that will scare of shock them, such as in John Carpentar's Halloween

          I am going to use a blonde, busty actress, who is portrayed as sexually active and available, which can be seen as the "scream queen" which you will find in many horror films such as Scream.

          I may, if I think it is a good idea to draw in an extra character in the opening two minutes, have a friend of the blonde girl, who would be the "final girl" they are more intelligent, and usually brunette, for example in Halloween

          Wednesday, 10 February 2010

          A general over-view of ideas for my opening two minutes of a film:

          A first idea was to do a horror film, Skins meets Fatal Attraction: I was planning on starting the film at a party, with the camera scanning everyone, but mainly showing this one girl, who seems very drunk- I was then going to have a guy in the background just watching her, maybe a voice over, saying how he feels about her, she then drunkenly leaves and is stumbling, her follows her and kidnaps her, or hits her over the head to knock her unconscious

          A second idea was again horror, using a boy that has been suffering from bullying for a long time, it would use a voice over of him saying stuff such as "it's hard being the one who stands out from a crowd" It then shows his obsession with a girl, as he is talking there is various shots of her with her friends laughing, smiling, but from a long distance, almost as if she is being watched. He then states in the voice over something like "sometimes I just can't help myself, our desires just take over" and then a shot of him grabbing the girl, or running her over etc.

          A third idea, again with horror, is a stalker film, the film opens with a panning of a bedroom, the mise-en scene would indicate it is a males bedroom, but quite plain, then it has zoom ins on some of the pictures, of a girl with friends, so the audience does not know whom it is about, then a zoom in on pictures such as the girl walking into her house, so it looks like she hasn't taken the picture herself, there is then a zoom in on a diary- with times and exact dates, times etc of what the girl is doing, and the stalker could be toying around with the girls bracelet, it then cuts to the girls bedroom, and she is with her boyfriend, I will connote they have just had sex, and she is getting ready to go out, when she goes her seperate way from her boyfriend, you hear a twig click, as if she is being followed, and then the stalker grabs her.

          These are just rough ideas, I personally prefer my third idea, as I have been interested in the start to do a film about a stalker, this also leaves a cliff-hanger, and if we were to do the whole film, something to lead onto. I would have to think of these in much more detail when deciding on which to do.

          Wednesday, 3 February 2010

          Todorov's 5 part narrative formula-

          Todorov's theory is that every narrative can be broken down into three basic stages: equilibrium, dis-equilibrium and new equilibrium

          1) A state of equilibrium at the outside
          2) A disruption of the equilibrium by some action
          3) A recognition that there has been a disruption
          4) An attempt to repair the disruption
          5) A reinstatement of the equilibrium

          An example of a film which reflects this structure is Bridget Jones
          The equilibrium is Bridget in single and lonely, she is unlucky in love
          The action that disrupts the equilibrium is Bridget then dates her boss
          The recognition that there has been a disruption is that she then has to decide between two men- as her boss cheats on her
          An attempt to repair the disruption is the two men have a fight and then she dates the other man that is not her boss
          The reinstatement of the equilibrium is Bridget then dates the male

          Propp's character types-

          Vladimir Propp studied fairytales, which continues to influence literary ad media studies today, he said there are seven basic character types:

          1) The villain- whom struggles against the hero
          2) The donor- whom prepares the hero or gives the hero some magical object
          3) The magical helper- whom helps the hero in the quest
          4) The princess and her father- whom gives the task to the her, identifies the false hero, marries the hero, often sought for during the narrative. Propp noted that functionally, the princess and the father can not be clearly distinguished
          5) The dispatcher- the character who makes the lack known and sends the hero off.
          ) The hero/victim- who reacts to the donor, and weds the princess
          7) False hero- takes credit for the hero's actions or tries to marry the princess

          Daybreakers Swede

          Sweding- The process of "sweding" is making a film from scratch, and making it your own, usually at the expense of other movies, it is "making" fun and turning the movie into a more jokey context. They are of very low budget, amateur actors and uses alot of creativity.

          "In the most potentially funny film of 2008 ‘Be Kind, Rewind‘, Jack Black and Mos Def must re-record classic movies to replace broken VHS tapes. The process is described in the film as sweding, or “re-making something from scratch using whatever you can get your hands on.” -

          1) The costume for the swede does not have to be anything apart from everyday clothes, clothing is not essential for a swede as you are basically just "making fun" of the movie.

          2) The location is also not a major part, it just needs to be indoors by a desk, then an open background.

          3) We added the song "Running up that hill" by placebo which is the song played in the trailer of the movie.

          4) A prop needed is when the man holds out the bottle asking for more blood.

          The plot of our swede- By George Scaife, Megan Claydon, Robbie Miller and Amy Blyszko

          Our swede starts with a girl sitting at a desk looking the suicide note she has just written, she does not want to carry on being a vampire and never growing old so she decides to expose herself to the sunlight to kill herself. We follow her as she goes outside with a few shots flashing back to words on the note to gradually tell the story as she walks down the stairs. She stands outside and looks up to the sun and lets out a giant scream, we then go straight into the title sequence saying "Daybreakers".
          We then do a few sweded scenes from the film, where the characters say why they like being vampires and that they are going to run out of blood as humans are dying out. We then have a sweded scene where a hungry vampire is standing holding up a sign saying "Starving Need Blood" and then he growls at a passer-by. Then we have two characters talking about the bonuses about being vampires, and then we go into the next scene where they are discussing a cure to being a vampire. Then we have a quick scene where a vampire bites a human being and infects her.
          The final scene is where a vampire is asking for more blood in his drink and the woman refuses so he hits her and she falls to the ground. Then we go to the end credits.


          Hannah: Kiera Benson
          Shirley Shop Assistant: Megan Claydon
          Audrey: Jess Owen
          Vampire Tramp: Alex Jowett
          Charles Bromley: Hamish Yewdall
          Frankie Dalton: Peter Clark
          Edward Dalton: George Scaife
          Dracula: Ashley Caton
          Alison Bromley: Lucy Smith

          Soundtrack- Running Up That Hill- Placebo (However in our actual short movie you would not be allowed to use copyright music, you have to create your own)

          Scene 1: [Hannah's Death]
          (Sitting at desk crying, reading suicide note. Walks down stairs when she comes outside screams)
          [Note reads: I can't stand this any longer... Living but never growing old!!! What are we blessed for...? I'm already dead!]

          Scene 2: [Board Room]
          Shirley: I like being a vampire
          Jack: Immortality is the key
          Audrey: Are you talking about the extinction of the human race?

          Scene 3: [Alley way] (Tramp lunges and growls at Audrey as she walks past)
          Vampire Tramp: *Growl*
          Audrey: Oh my god!

          Scene 4: [Bromley's office] (Bromley standing over Dalton)
          Charles Bromley: So do you like being a vampire?
          Frankie Dalton: I'm good at this, I was never very good at being human.

          (Edward Dalton walks in)

          Edward Dalton: I have a cure!
          Charles Bromley: What's to cure?

          Scene 5: [Allison's Cell]
          Dracula: Join us or die...
          Allison Bromley: Oh please...
          (Screams as bitten and taken down the ground)

          Scene 6: [Blood Cafe]
          Dracula: Please may I have a little bit of blood in my sprite?
          Shirley: No Sir you cannot.
          Dracula: I really want some more blood woman!
          Shirley: No!
          Dracula: Well that really burns my cannoli!
          (Hits her with bottle, she falls and yelps.)
          Dracula: Very exciting day it was lovely.

          In order to improve our swede, had we have more time, we could of used props such as vampire teeth, blood, pale makeup.

          No background noise would of made the swede more realistic, however it is just a jokey movie

          We would of created our own music as copyright music is not allowed in our films

          We would of also filmed it in a forrest or office, instead of the school, making it more like the film Daybreakers

          Pre-lim task

          Preliminary exercise: Continuity task involving filming and editing a character opening a door, crossing a room and sitting down in a chair opposite another character, with whom she/he then exchanges a couple of lines of dialogue. This task should demonstrate match on action, shot/reverse shot and the 180 degree rule.

          Tuesday, 2 February 2010

          Presentation on the opening two minutes of love actually

          Too look at different film openings and what they portray, I studied the first two minutes of Love actually:

          Love Actually1

          Monday, 1 February 2010

          Stalker films

          As an idea for the first two minutes of an opening of a film I would like to do one about a stalker

          I have researched the top ten stalker fillms to date and these are as followed:

          1. Fatal Attraction (1987)

          2. Scream (1996)

          3. Taxi Driver (1976)

          4. Cape Fear (1991)

          5. The Fan (1996)

          6. Fear (1996)

          7. One Hour Photo (2002)

          8. The Hand That Rocks The Cradle (1992)

          9. Single White Female (1992)

          10. Sleeping With The Enemy (1991)

          Some initial ideas to create the sense of a stalker I got from the films are:

          • A clip of the stalkers rooms- photos around the room of the person they are stalking (in my case I have chosen a male stalker)

          • Pictures that she does not know have been taken i.e of her entering her house, walking along the road

          • Something like a bracelet in the mans room, that the girl doesn't know where she has lost it, but the audience know- creates suspense, and dramatic irony- makes the audience belive they are sharing something personal with the actor

          • The camera will roam around the room looking for something suspicious once the girl notices her bracelet is missing- makes the audience feel they are involved in uncovering the story

          • Close up shots of objects and the photographs of the girl explain the plot elements

          • The camera can be moved around as if it is someones eyes- creates suspense- confusion

          • Eyes can reveal an actors/actresses true thoughts- scared, worried, panicked, angry

          • The stalker could have a conversation with another person but be distracted without the other person noticing- showing he is engaged and constantly thinking about something else- that being the woman he is stalking

          • Point of view shots- the man looking at the picture of the woman, then the close up of the photo, then a close up of the man smiling- shot reverse shot- builds tension

          • The actor could walk towards the subject- building the tension- tracking shot- changing his views as he is walking towards the picture

          • Hide parts of the events-keeping the audience engaged- i.e showing hands- legs before the face

          • Ironic characters- not a blonde, busty woman- makes them more realistic- ones you'd never expect

          • If something is going to be used to harm the actress- show it at beginning of the scene- let the scene carry on as normal- creates tension- reflect back to it- foreshadowing

          In Family Plot (1976) Hitchcock shows the audience that brake fluid is leaking out of a car well before the characters find out about it.

          • Someone ringing the actress and then hanging up- her saying that it keeps happening

          • A zoom in on the stalkers laptop- shows her and her boyfriend in his room
          • The actress should be very jumpy

          • Then the camera goes to her and her boyfriend-

          • Anchors he has placed a camera in her room and is watching her every moves

          • When the girl goes out (to where ever she is going to be when the stalker finds her) a point of view shot could be to the stalks bedroom door- it was once closed- now open connoting he has gone where she is- suspense-

          • Point of view shot ( only a short one!!) of her walking-where you can't actually see the actress but just the snicket or where-ever she is walking down- sound effects and her turning over her shoulder anchoring some-one is there - rustles in the bushes, and shadows, when she turns her shoulder no-one is there

          • Her walking over a bridge and the stalker grabbing her leg- and it ends there- gives a storyline to what would happen in the rest of the film if you were to create it

          Initial Ideas

          • To portray someone has just had sex without actually showing them having sex, you can use things like, clothes all over the bedroom floor, someone putting their clothes on, zipping up a zip, sheets all messed up,
          • Things need to synk together, for example opening a door you may have a "creeking" sound, lights turning on can synk with the sound (Halloween 1978)
          • Point of view shots can signify someone walking, and where the camera is placed is where they are walking too- one long continuous shot (Halloween 1978)
          • Dialogue, Mise-en-scene, voice over and titles on screen can give exposition
          • Use of character names can also give expostion- Jamie Lee Curtis who stars in Halloween is daughter of Janet who starred in Psycho (1960)
          • Two strands of music, long notes and piano, can cause tension, and make the person whom is viewing the film have irregular heartbeats, this causes them to feel something is going to happen that will scare of shock them (Halloween 1978)
          • The colour blue can be signified as chilling, super-natural, cold, something un-expected, for instance around the house it has a glow of blue in Halloween (1978) (Bride of Chucky 1998) (Halloween 1978)
          • The american flag in Bride of Chucky (1998) anchors it is set in America
          • Rain and thunder can signify something bad is going to happen, make the scene more "spooky" (Bride of Chucky 1998)
          • Having one thing stand out and the rest of the screen can connote it is a horror film for instance the pumpkin in Halloween 1978
          • Slow zooms can cause tension, zooming in on the pumpkin in Halloween 1978 and of the house
          • Halloween 1978 uses a steadicam for angles, this makes the shot smooth and connotes in-human almost like someone is floating, this we would not be able to do in our opening two minutes as we are limited to equipment, therefore we would not be able to signify this effect
          • Sound bridge can link different shots, titles and audio can be used and gaps between dialogue this is to anchor suspense and tension