Thursday, 12 May 2011

Final Cut

Monday, 21 March 2011

Evaluation Question 1: Use of Conventions

When thinking about our film and how we wanted it to look, what we wanted it to be similar to and how we wanted it to be unique we started by watching various films from the genre and deconstructing the ones we felt held most significance, the films included in this are Donnie Darko (2001) Richard Kelly, American Psycho (2000) Mary Harron and Lost Highway (1997) David Lynch.

For example from lost highway we found that there were a lot of shots in hallways, these work because it emphasises being alone and the idea of there being no escape so we wanted to take influence from this and included some hallway shots in our own production. This is a style of shooting also used in The Shining (1980) Stanley Kubrick, in particular the scene with the twins. 

Another convention of Psychological thrillers is reality vs the dream world, this is most obvious in American Psycho where the audience is constantly guessing whether what is happening is in the main characters, Patrick Bateman's head or if it is real. Although not technically a psychological thriller we took a lot of influence from Fight Club (1999) David Fincher. We wanted to replicate this appearance of a struggle in the main characters own mind not just the audience as to whether or not what he is seeing/experiencing is real or not.

We also frequently used binary opposites most evident in the colour choices where we used black and white to show past events which opposed to the present which is in full colour and also to signify the fight between good and evil.

A common convention of not just psychological thrillers but a lot of movies in general is that the introduction is actually quite normal and average such as in American Psycho where the main and various characters are just talking in a restaurant and The Shining which simply is a birds eye view for the most part of the car traveling to the house where the family is staying. We wanted to challenge this by taking the audience straight into the story in the first minutes with only a short amount of time between the establishing shot and the first shots without revealing the story line. 

Evaluation Q5 Mode of address

When talking about how we could address our audience we considered the target audience (which relates heavily to the previous question 4) we wanted to include factors that fans of the genre would find interesting and would draw them in.

We thought that the audience would split into to types where they come to see a female star and they come to see a male star. Films like Chloe and Black Swan after watching them would probably draw in a male and female audience due to the romantic aspects of the films whereas Fight Club or Shutter Island would have a mainly male audience due to the action side of the films.

We adressed this when we decided that we would probably attract a mainly male audience which was our thinking from the start of production, it is for this reason we also never really considered having a female lead due to most of the films we are taking influence from have male leads.

We wanted to also create narrative enigma when making the lead character for our production, this is why we intentionally made him quite interpretive and didn't reveal much about him. We did this by for example giving him no dialogue. The reason for this is to draw in an audience who would be attracted to the mystery of who this character is.

Evaluation Q3 Distribution

A number of recent psychological thrillers include

Shutter Island
Dir. Martin Scorsese
Imdb rating: 8.0/10
Budget: $80,000,000 (estimated)


Distribution Company: Paramount Pictures

Black Swan
Dir: Darren Aronofsky
Imdb rating: 8.5/10


 $13,000,000 (estimated)



Distribution Company: 20th century fox

Dir: Christopher Nolan
Imdb rating: 8.9/10


 $160,000,000 (estimated)



Distribution Company: Warner Bros. Pictures

The reason i note them is because it is good to see which companies take an interest in our genre.

Our production is in the psychological thriller genre, a sub genre of the thriller genre. During the research and planning stage of our production we came by different film companies that commonly distribute films from this genre such as 20th century fox which distributed films like Black Swan and Fight Club. When considering these distribution companies though we don't see them as a viable option due to the expense of our film being that it is an indie film also we would need a far more high profile cast and crew for them to take interest.

When considering a distribution company, we thought that companies that where for one thing local, so a UK company would make more sense, companies such as Working title and Warp X/warp films are examples of this, the other thing we considered was if they would distribute an indie film which from research, we found that they do for example Bunny and the Bull.

Evaluation Q2 Representations

Our production does not generally represent many social groups necessarily, we do have a supposedly alpha male lead who doesn't really represent a misogynist but does represent alpha males in how they think they are dominant over women, this is shown in how he treats the un seen female in our production.
We also wanted to represent some of the aspects of steroetypical masculinity such as our main character in one of our cuts wearing a open shirt and his quite 'slobbish' bedroom for example the pot noodle on top of the computer, this slobbishness also signifies how his mind is cluttered.

What could be seen as a stereotypical male, Steve Stifler

 We also represented age in our production with our character being a young male in his twenties, we show this by the state of his appearance which is of a slightly messy just out of bed un-shaven look how he doesn't seem to have his life completely together just yet which would be seen as typical of a man who has only recently been living on his own, we didn't want him to look like he had his whole life together because it wouldn't reflect the tone of the film.
In our research of the psychological thriller genre we found that most of the main characters are between most likely 18 to 30's and have experienced a trauma for example in Shutter Island where the main character in his 30's, Teddy Daniels has experienced a death in his family and it has caused his break from reality, in this respect our character could be seen as a male archetype in conventional cinema.
We wanted to make the character quite in depth for the audience which for psychological thrillers is usually adults who form their own opinions on the character instead of being show the "cool one" "the geek" "the bimbo" etc so we didn't make him to stereotypical of a male.

Evaluation Q4 Target Audience

In general our production is not aimed at anyone in particular we hope it would be enjoyed by all age, gender ,ethnic and social groups but we did try and tailor the producton towards an middle aged audience due to the genre being usually quite interprative and teenagers might not appreciate that as much as someone in the 25 to 44 age range.

From the research we did on the audience of psychological thrillers we found that the audience for psychological thrillers are usually in their twenties onwards, this could be due to the more complicated plot lines and seriousness of the story where the main characters are no longer concentrating on physical strength but their own mental prowess, whether this is fighting against a smarter apponent or fighting against the character's own mind, an example of this is Fight Club.

"This movie is dark and disturbing, however, it is equally smart and stylistic." (a user review on the imdb website for Fight Club) of the many reviews we have looked at when researching psychological thrillers they allways seem to centre around the plot being smart yet disturbing. We wanted to capture this commonality of pschological thrillers to bring in the audience, so we made the film as we wanted it but remembered what we had researched at all times.

When considering the age of our audience we made our main character an adult so that adults would see him as an equal instead of seeing a film with a teenage male which they might not respect as much.

When researching thriller films and the sub genre psychological thrillers we noticed that the majority gender of the audience was male. When we thought of how to attract a male audience we first just dismissed using techniques which could be seen as a stereotypically feminine so we avoided essences of romanticism and instead focused what would appeal more to males such as the use of blood in our film.

Maslow's theory of motivation chart
The basis of Maslow's theory of motivation is that human beings are motivated by unsatisfied needs, and that certain lower needs need to be satisfied before higher needs can be addressed. These needs have to be fufilled before a person is able to act unselfishly. Although unrelated to the target audience it could explain why people could be drawn to see our film or another film in it's genre due to it's effect as a guilty pleasure, it is the reason why we wanted to film to be more intense and complicated than a normal thriller, to appeal to a primal need that most men seek to see something that speaks to them in a different way and we wanted to adress that when making.

Evaluation Q6 Learning on technologies

In the editing, filming and researching process of making our production we used a variety of technology to help us create the film we wanted to have.
Using the sony handy cam

An example of a close up shot showing emotion
 The most obvious use of technology is the camera. We learnt how to pan shots, zoom in, angle the camera and a variety of other techniques to help our production. The camera we used was a sony handy cam as well as a tripod used to hold the camera steady whilst filming. The tripod proved very helpful in filming, as when we did testing in the place of filming we found it was very difficult to get steady camera shots which would have drastically effected how the film looked on camera especially in the tension we tried to create in editing would have looked like it was lacking a good steady shot. It was quite suprising how much we could do with the camera as well, we were able to get a variety of shots like mid shots, long shots and dutch angles, it was also helpful that the camera was easy to use and control when we were filming, although we should have included more extreme close ups as they are good for showing emotion which would have been useful for our production and they are common in psychological thrillers.
We also used applications like iMovie HD in the editing process,  LiveType for creating the idents and Audacity when creating the soundtrack. In iMovie HD we were able to use a variety of editing tools to make the production the way we thought it would look best such as making the flashbacks/dream sequences black and white to emphasize that they were in the past and make it easier for the audience to understand what they were seeing as in some of our feedback they said it was unclear which shots were in the dream and which were real.

We also used video sharing sites like Youtube to upload rough cuts, pre lim tasks and our vodcasts. As well as Youtube we also used social networking sites like Facebook where we uploaded our footage and we were able to get audience feedback which proved very helpful in the editing process.