Finished Film

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Costume, Mise en Scene, Planning and all that Jazz!


Draft Film Review

Well well well! Look, it’s my draft review at long last! In this post I shall just briefly document how it came into existence!

The general layout and idea for my review came from Empire magazine and is heavily based upon their articles. As well as taking some inspiration from my co workers ;D Notable features that I included to correctly illustrate how a film review should look. The quotation ‘a breath of fresh air’ was taken, and made bigger as it is eye catching and anyone just flicking through such a magazine would be drawn in by it as it is a bold statement. The verdict box is a quintessential feature of such films, and is where other reviewers like Empire sum up the review and as the name suggests, give their verdict on the film and then rate it out of 5 in stars, and because this is so commonly done I did it too!


HOW EFFECTIVE IS THE COMBINATION OF YOUR MAIN PRODUCT AND ANCILLARY TEXTS?

Upon the completion of my film poster, I trawled my contacts on Facebook, and asked a whole range of people what they thought of my poster. Some had seen our actual film, and some hadn’t, however, the general consensus is that it looks very professional, and was quite a powerful and striking image! I was very pleased with it, and think that it works well, however only in the sense of maintaining the pretense that the film is in fact a horror film, and once it’s true genre is realised the poster is in a way made redundant. Unlike the posters made by the rest of the group, theirs conveyed the humour of our film in some way or another, through the use of colour or quite a comical font. Mine on the other hand, is black and white, with high contrast, a deep depth of field, and an ornate and horror type font.

My film review was in my opinion not as effective as my poster had been, it was much harder to achieve an authentic layout, and the style of writing which was required was much harder to emulate! All in all though I have heard positive things from people who have looked at it, and so despite a few spelling errors which can be fixed, my draft will most likely end up changing very little when becoming my final product!


Short Post!

Just a short post for now, just though I’d mention that I found a Friday the 13th film poster which highlights the potential horror feel which can be conveyed by using a similar technique of shrounding most of the poster in some way:

Friday the 13th horror poster


FILM POSTER

My first attempt at creating a film poster was so horrific I cannot bring myself to put it on this blog to show my progression, and so it was back to the drawing board for me!

I had had a vision in my head of how I wanted the poster to look, I wanted to have the group in some shape or form, have them sat together, in black and white and to have all around them blurred, with the title Deadline above them. The inference you would get from this poster was that the film in the horror genre, and then once you began to watch the film, you would still be led to beleive this, until the pretence was dropped later on.

Unfortunately for me, I do not have to hand a picture of the group as I would have liked, and so I have stolen the picture Phoebe used on her poster, just until I cant get my own one!

I struggle to use Photoshop which the Macs at school run, and so I decided to work at home on Corel Paintshop Pro which to me feels far more intuative! Anyway! This is how I made my picture:

1. Imported the base picture into Corel

2. Adjusted the Hue and Saturation settings to acheive a black and white picture

3. Raised the contrast to give the washed out black and white photo a stylized feel

4. Went onto the depth of field setting and blurred around the group

5. Selected input text, picked Angelic Warfare as the font and wrote the title Deadline and then centered the title

6. I then set about doing the credits at the bottom of the screen, I selected input text, selected Steel Tongs as my font with a key from DaFont.com so I knew how to select all the directed by and starring credits

7. Finally I grouped my 3 lines of credits, centered them, and bob’s your uncle, my draft was complete, and here it is:

My completed film poster


IN WHAT WAYS DOES YOUR MEDIA PRODUCT USE, DEVELOP OR CHALLENGE FORMS AND CONVENTIONS OF REAL MEDIA PRODUCTS?

 

 In terms of short film, the films I’ve viewed range from 1 minute, to 5 minutes to over 40 minutes, so in this sense, our 5 minute film does nothing to develop or challenge the conventions of the short film genre and merely conforms and is within in the time constraints.


With Bevan and myself being avid fans of the works of the great actor Leslie Nielsen who starred in many parody films including Airplane! and The Naked Gun Trilogy, it was only natural for our film to be greatly influenced by these sorts of films and would include some of the genres conventions. Parody films, as the name suggests mock popular culture or other well-known films, however even when the humour isn’t mocking another media product it still has a general stupidity or bafoonery about it! Our film includes both types of humour. In terms of parody, we begin our film with a direct parody of ‘The Blair Witch Project’ whose infamous ‘found footage’ idea paved the way for many other horror films.

Our parody of the Blair Witch Project The real opening from The Blair Witch Project

That is the only parody we have in our film however we use much of the aforementioned silly humour. For example in the scene where the group are discussing whether the music should be diagetic or non diagetic, they decide that it would be too much hassle to organise a jazz band, and the camera then quickly pans across to a jazz band which was previously unseen or unacknowledged by the group who look incredibly disappointed, this suprise along with the peculiar nature of the joke is what makes our film conform to the conventions of the parody genre.
 

Before the Jazz band are revealed

Oh, and there they are!

At the moments where we have cut scenes which go off on a tangent, we sometimes delve into different styles which means to make these transitions clear we would need to stick to conventions used in these other styles.

 

In this documentary scene, we see and old man, who we then perceive to be a future Bevan thanks to the caption. The caption then fades away and we can now clearly see a microphone and assume that this is Bevan being interviewed about his film making success.

As Bevan goes on to reminisce about the past pictures of the group appear on screen, and to stay true to the documentary cliches, the pictures slowly zoom forward nostalgically as depicted in the pictures above with future Bevan’s voice continuing in the background, although the difference is only slight, it still is effective on screen!

From what we’ve seen so far our film does little to challenge any conventions and despite being an obscure work, it is rather conformist. Another example of conformity can be found in the mise en scene used in the gun scene where Bevan shoots Ed. If you look below at the poster for public enemies you can see we tried to dress Bevan in dark colours, and in a lot of leather to make him look gangster.

 

We tried to keep in with the gangster genre as much as possible, however when finding a gun was quite a chore. All toy guns by law need to have a fluorescent orange bit on the end of them, and cannot be black so they don’t look like real guns. This made finding a decent toy gun a great hardship, and we spent much time going round our local town trying to locate one! However, to no avail, we came away fruitless. Although, upon reaching Phoebes house, disheartened it became apparent that her mothers boyfriend had a real shotgun which he said he would be happy to let us use! With his supervision of course!

A sawn off shotgun is a typical gangster weapon, and this is what we would have ideally tried to acquire, although beggars can’t be choosers, and so as you can see in the screen shot above Bevan made do and used the un-sawn off shot gun.

Something we do in our film which is something that I personally haven’t seen before, which might be seen as challenging or developing conventions is that we directly pay a homage to a computer game, although it may not be blatantly obvious at first, once you’re enlightened you would realise. In the scene where we design our main character we have them in front of a blank background, courtesy of Lincoln University’s Infinity Curve, and as we talk about what they should wear, their clothes change appropriately! The game in question here is the sims, this screen shot may help peopl see:

Our making a character The sims making a character

On a separate note, our film also could be classed as a postmodernist piece, despite there being no strict definition as to what postmodernism is there are general trends that works in the genre all have in common. These conventions include:

Parody

Many post modernist works use parody, they emulate distinct characteristics of another work, but use them in a way which mocks or ridicules the original work. Many examples of this can be found in the popular American TV series Family Guy, the Family Guy special ‘Blue Harvest’ is an hour or so special which is a more concise version of the hit star wars film ‘A new hope’ and is great example of parody.

Pastiche

Pastiche is emulating the style of another work however in a more genuine way and acts as a homage to a director or creator. As discussed on my good friend Bevan Johns blog, a fine example of pastiche is Sin City, directed by Frank Miller, pays a direct homage to old comics and film noir, by using washed out grays and contrasting them with very bright colours giving a comic book like effect which does not reflect real life, and using the black and white of film noir.

Example of colour used in Sin City

Self Rflexivity

Self reflexivity is very simply when a text references itself, and is aware of the medium that it is in. An example of this could be the opening to The Mighty Boosh where the 2 main characters stand in front of a curtain clearly aware of the fact that they are introducing their own TV show. This is probably the most widely used aspect of post modernism throughout popular culture with shows such as Family Guy, The Simpson’s and Scrubs all breaking the fourth wall from time to time and acknowledging their existence as a show.

Exploration of narrativeIn post modern film and TV, one aspect that is generally played with is narrative structure, with post modern works changing the conventional narrative structure to bemuse the the audience and play upon their expectations and preconceptions. A film that I was introduced to by friends was the film Memento which tells the story of a man who after an accident has lost the ability to remember things which have happened to him, even in the recent past. So to put it plainly he has short term memory loss.  

The films narrative and scenes are shown in reverse order, regularly being inturrupted by a segment from some other scene, these segments from the other scene are played in chronological order and the two seperate timelines meet up at the end. To help illustrate the point more clearly, here is a diagram which plots the chronology of the film:

Memento timeline

Our short film in terms of Post Modernism:

Parody

As mentioned above in the blog, we parody the blair witch project, by adapting the opening to fit our film, emulating the whole ‘found footage’ idea.

   
Can you tell which is which?
What would have been a major source of parody was the musical. Providing we had the time, in a course of a minute we would have seen the cast reinact a scene from Grease, dance around in a sports hall as they do in High School Musical, and have a showdown as they do in ‘A Westside Story’ all while singing and dancing and having changed the lyrics from these films most popular songs to make our own original self reflexive material. However time constraints meant this would not be a possibility so we had to find a way so we could still encorperate some of the recording we did and not let it go to waste.
As Bevan Morris said ‘For most Musicals to function properly, it is important that this suspension of realism isn’t openly acknowledged, as this would detroy the verisimiltude/suspension of disbelief that the pictures rely upon.’ And because of this, we decided to have a character start singing, and by having another character sharply announce ‘No! We’re not doing a musical’ we would highlight how ridiculous the premise of musicals are.  

Self Reflexivity

Self reflexivity is an area of Post Modernism which our film most frequently indulges in, the majority of the scenes are self reflexive in some way. Here is a breakdown of which scenes are, and how they are reflexive(the secenes listed below do not match up with the ones in the film, as the order has been changed, and some scenes have been cut, but these are the scene numbers as they appeared in a post earlier in the blog):

Scene 1:

The first scene leads our viewers to beleive that there is someone, maybe a killer or suspect character, approaching the media room with bad intentions, we are led to beleive this from the shaky hand held camera footage, ominous horror esque music, and general darkness. However, as the killer comes to the door of the classroom, someone shuts it, and then the perspective changes to inside the classroom where Bevan, who has just closes the door anounces ‘Nah, I don’t really think horror is our thing’ He is clearly is aware of what the viewer has just seen, and is referenceing the media product he is appearing in, however, the clever part is that what he says also works in context of the narrative of debating what genre their film should be, as well as referencing the product he’s in.

Later in the first scene Ed announces that what ever the groups film is he doesn’t want to ‘play himself’ and at this moment there is a puff of smoke and the actor for Ed changes, looks at himself and announces ‘Ahh, perfect!’ The people within the story are not atall phased by this and so are clearly aware that they are in a film and that they are all actors.

Scene 4:

In scene 4, the group are sat around discussing whether the music should be diagetic and in the scene or non diagetic and out of the scene. Bevan says he would like the music to be within the scene and would also like the sound track to be Jazzy, at this point we can hear a Jazz track and assume it to be the one he was imagining. The music wasn’t live and was diagetic, so we presume the cast are aware that it is non diagetic, yet can still hear it, and so are aware of the media construct they are in.

Scene 5:

Scene 5 was sadly cut, and is a scene where Mrs Hughes tells the group they need a subplot, although this does not make this scene self reflexive it is what happens in subsequent scenes which helps make it self reflexive, or at least set up other scenes for being self reflexive.