Welcome to our AS media coursework blog

In our group there is Becky Wholley (featured left) and me, Hannah Ferreira. We are producing a 2 minute film opening of the horror genre. The Film title is Sleep Tight.
My YouTube account is:
Becky's YouTube account is: http://www.youtube.com/user/88Beckyjo

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

BW-Behind the scene's shots

The bathroom shots of the babysitter dead -- Hannah applying fake blood to Emily.

A landing shot of Emily -- Babysitter opening a door to lead to a false scare. We wanted a high angle of Emily to make her look more vulnerable. But due to tripod restrictions we ended up using a step ladder to raise the camera more.

BW - Opening Credits

In most films, horror, slasher, ron-com you will find they open the film with credits. Some are short some can last up to 5 minutes.
In some cases they play the credits whilst playing footage from the film or in others they might use a blank screen and have the credits visible while maybe using an image.
Some examples are,

Jennifer's Body, 

  1. Establishing shot of location; big house surrounded by countryside. Tyre swing anchors it as a family home.
  2. POV shot zooming in to the house. Sans serif, child-like font titles in a light green colour, as if it was written with wax crayons. It is at night and lights are on inside signifying people/someone is home.
This is an example of moving images whilst showing the credits another example of this is,

The Silence of the Lambs 1991,

In the opening we watch a young woman running through the woods. 'Woods, near Quantino, VA' appears on screen, which anchors the setting of the begining of the film. Non diegetic classical music is played this is a more sublte horror music chosen. Meanwhile we also hear diegetic nature noises such as birds. The titles appear, san serif, capitals, bold and black this creates a serious sinister look.

The Shinning 1980,

Still following the car the titles begin to run over the shots, the titles are in capitals, sans serif and in a powder blue colour. This colour could connote several things, the colour itself doesn't really fit in with the context of the genre, powder blue is normally associated with oceans and calm and relaxed. However the powder blue could be used to emphasize something out of the normal, which could relate to the plot of the film. 

Whereas in some other film openings, they choose to emphasize the credits more and make them the only visible thing to be seen by the audience, for example,

Halloween 1978,

The film begins with the credits. To fit in with the context of the films title the only visible object you see whilst the titles roll is a pumpkin which connotes a halloween theme to the film.
The pumpkin progressively increases in size as the credits roll, the light inside the pumpkin also creates an eary effect. The tense music played increases in tempo and volume as the credits continue, the music creats more suspense as it changes the audience heart beat with the rhythm.
The titles themself change in colour from a yellow to a red. These colours can be symbolic for evil and hell.
The credits end 1min 59 secs, the pumpkin has now zoomed in so that all is visible is the the eye and nose of the object, which also emphasizes the presence of the flickering candle overall creates an evil image through the use of the pumpkin. This is quite a low budget opening and appears so to the audience however the preferred reading has been created and the audience are aware of what film it is.

The first option can be seen as more appealing to the audience as it instantly draws them in with action whereas the latter option can sometimes be quite tedius to an audience participant who is more interested in what happens in the film than who directed it.

For our coursework as we only have the limit of 2 minutes, we didn't want to waste precious time on something similar to Halloween, we felt we would go for something more along the lines of Jennifers Body. 
This would include an establishing shot of the house, giving a sense of a point of view shot. The shot would include the parents leaving the house and getting in their car, and a light being turned on upstairs, which would then lead onto the next shot of the babysitter and child in the bedroom.
So in the establishing shot we hoped to include the necessary credits to appear on the screen whilst the action takes place in the background. We feel this idea will work best under our time limitations and can be quite effective in drawing the audience into the film.

ALL- Audience Feedback

George Hayden:
age 19
  • Camera Angles shot well.
  • Nice variation of shots.
  • Lighting was impressive based on low budget.
  • Outside low light conditions were poor.
Overall very impressed for an A-level low budget production. 

Trish Nursiah
age 17
"It's really good so far, like the editing and stuff...I don't get what the last like 2 seconds are about. Let the story line be known more? 
It's good given it's just a rough cut :) "
Olivia Wilford
age 17
"This is so good!
I love the camera angles.
The only thing i would say is that its a little slow...
like I know you're trying to build suspense obviously, but some bits are a little dragged on...
thats all I can say :)"

Nathan Ferreira
age 19
"There is a really good sense of realism and being able to relate to the fear of someone being in your house without your knowledge.
The angles used are effective in creating suspense and allows the audience to relate to the main character and the environment, rather than it simply being a set, we can now relate to our own homes.
I think in possibly an attempt to make it too real the lighting fights against the feeling of what the video is trying to portray, Im not suggesting I would like to see stereotypical lighting sequences from other studied films but rather be more aware of its effect on the audience.
The sound is very good, despite there being no apparent soundtrack the silence of the average home really created a suspense for me."

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Dead Babysitter images

We took these pictures and edited them in the style of the images at the beginning of Eden Lake. These will appear as flashes to show the fate of the babysitter without filming the attack. They appear towards the end of the opening just before the flash forward to Rachel grown up.

Behind the scene shots

The bathroom shots of the babysitter dead -- Hannah applying fake blood to Emily.

A landing shot of Emily -- Babysitter opening a door to lead to a false scare. We wanted a high angle of Emily to make her look more vulnerable. But due to tripod restrictions we ended up using a step ladder to raise the camera more.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Using LiveType

To produce our company idents, we have been taught how to use an application called LiveType. This was the first time we've used it.

For our Distributor 'Tribal Entertainment' we created the entire ident using LiveType.
We chose the background from a vast choice of moving images. We chose a rusty brown colour with different shades of brown and red resembling the ground in a jungle lit by a fire.
For the font we used bold red, serif and capital letters. We adjusted the tracking to make the words fit closely together and  we included shadows onto the background from the font. The overall effect we wanted was dark but the effect that it was lit by a fire, reference to 'Tribal'.

For our Producer ident 'Banana Drama', we took video footage of a banana with a drawn on face being peeled or 'killed'. As it was peeled, ketchup representing blood was shown oozing from inside the skin.  To finish it off, the banana was karate chopped.
First we edited the clip on imovie and used an old film effect which created a grainy antique effect. We uploaded this and placed it as a movie background on LiveType and adjusted the timing to speed it up. We edited the name 'Banana Drama' in capital letters onto it using a live font called 'string' which the letters looked as if they were made of string and individually wobbled.

'Banana', as we posted before, came from both of our names joined together. We opted for Drama and the gore related aspect with the banana due to our film being in the slasher genre. We wanted a balance of comical value and also a horror twist.

We are still in the process of finalizing our company idents as we are still to upload a sountrack to it. For 'Banana Drama' we will record the sound of someone screaming and to make it sound more animated and comical, we will speed it up so the sound resembles a chipmunk.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Rough cut of 'Sleep Tight'

This is the rough cut of our film opening. It does not include soundtrack, transitions or company idents. It is still a work in progress.

Audience Research

The target audience for our coursework is teenagers as it will fit into the teen horror genre. All films in that specific genre contain teenage actors or actresses as does ours. Our film has a similar theme/story line to that of Prom Night and therefore we have teenage actors in ours. Our film opening to 'Sleep Tight' is set in the 1990's and the present day. This appeals to the younger audience more than period films do.

The main target audience for horror is teenagers and 'twenty somethings'. Age 15-24. We would give 'Sleep Tight' a BBFC rating of 15. The BBFC guidelines for a 15 rated movie are as followed,

Films under this category can contain adult themes, hard drugs, strong words, moderate-strong violence/sex references, and mild non-detailed sex activity.

We chose '15' as a rating as there are flashing graphic images of an attacked girl. Her face looks bruised and there is much blood coming from her stomach and chest area. It is typical representation of a 'wet death'. The girl is in a bath with a white vest top and jeans whereas before she was wearing a blue turtle neck jumper and and a denim shirt. The change of clothing is ambiguous. A possible interpretation is that the killer stripped her of some layers in attempted sexual assault. This is another reason for why we chose 15 as a suitable rating. 

Many people who spend money on films are young and so many genres with this target audience are very successful. An example of teen horror success is:

Scream (1996)
Directed by Wes Craven. The gross takings from the film was $103,001,286 (USA).

A new wave of low budget Brit Horror was pioneered by Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later. Shaun of the Dead, Dog Soldiers, Wilderness and Creep followed the lead.  However, These were not as successful as the Hollywood films of the genre. This may be an argument against our film being successful as it would be classed as a low budget Brit horror film. Nevertheless, I feel it would be a popular film with teenagers as there are many teen horror films such as Jennifer's Body (2009), Prom Night (2008), All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006) and Sorority Row (2009).
These have been successful as Jennifer's Body had had a gross of (USA): $16,195,523, (UK): £1,196,718.

Ethnicity: Our film only contains caucasian actors and actresses. In our film we challenged the codes and conventions of horror and had our stereotypical final girl killed. We wanted her to look like the typical final girl which is white and dark haired. The young girl that we had available to play Rachel was also white and therefore we needed a caucasian teenage girl to play the older version of Rachel. 
We were also restricted to the actors available to us and due to the surrounding school area being predominantly caucasian we did not have a multi-ethnic cast. 
Jennifer's Body is an all white cast apart from one actor, Sal Cortez, who has Spanish ethnic roots. 

Gender: The target gender audience for our film is female. The main characters are female. If we were to create the entire film, the story would continue to show the little girl grow up and be followed by her stalker who is trying to kill her. She would fulfill the role of the Final Girl and not be killed. This would draw in a female audience as there is a girl portrayed as tough, strong and resourceful. There are attractive young women in our film which would appeal to the male audience. It could be argued that the bath photos of the attacked babysitter could provide material for the voyeuristic male gaze (Laura Mulvey's feminist theory). 
We have not included any Scream Queen archetypes such as flaunting flesh and exaggerating beauty by making them wear lots of make-up. This is because the Scream Queen is portrayed as the Final Girl.

Nationality/Region: In 'Sleep tight' there are nationally diverse actors and actresses. The main actress in our film opening has a naturally North American accent due to her having migrated to Britain. This contrasts to the accents of the child 'Rachel' and the teenage actors as they have standard English accents which could be interpreted as southern English. Their dialect is similar to those typically portrayed in Hollywood films with an English accent, rather than a strong, localized accent. The easily recognizable English accents and the North American accent would help not only tap into a UK-wide audience but a nation-wide audience.

Fans of... Prom Night (2008) and When a Stranger Calls (2006) would appreciate our film opening as there are similarities within the plot line. It may also appeal to fans of other teenage girl slasher movies such as sorority house massacre as there are similar themes of horror conventions.

Sexuality: In our film we do portray the default hetrosexual relationship; however this is not dwelt on as there is only a small snipet of the teenage actors holding hands.

Socio-economic Groupings: Our film does not contain a complexed plot and there is little dialogue therefore it would appeal to more to a C1/C2DE audience which includes middle and lower class. Also, because the film is centered on teenagers, the ABC1 audience, upper and upper middle class, may not be drawn in as it could be argued that it is not intellectually stimulating.

ALL- Vodcast no. 2- codes and conventions of horror.

This is the same one but edited slightly with picture inserts. It is uploaded from YouTube instead of DivShare so it is easily accessible.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Audience Feedback

This is feedback from our media teacher Mr Burrows after we showed him our first rough cut.

  • There was motion on the establishing shot
  • There should be a shot of the parents leaving the house an driving off
  • Little girl should be scared to signify the genre early on. (We were not able to re-film the little girl)
  • Final girl should be shown having school books or studying
  • Babysitter should be more frantic/rush up the stairs
  • More reaction from the babysitter at the false scare
  • Babysitter should look more scared than weary.
  • Calling girls name out more franticly 
  • There should be a pendant or something like that which the older and younger version of Rachel wears to anchor the character
  • Older Rachel could be shot as an outsider
  • There should be more movement around the house
  • Open window in the kitchen