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.

Evaluation Q7 Learnt since prelim

Schematic showing the axis between two characters and
 the 180 degree arc where camera's may be placed
Since the initial prelim task i've learnt a lot about the film making process, what it involves and how to make the best film possible. We learnt tricks to make the film as well shot and look as good as possible such as the 180 degree rule and shot reverse shot (although since there is only one character in our film these weren't used too often).

A screenshot of Christian Bale as
Patrick Bateman in American Psycho

Our original story board in the early
stages of production

One of the most important things I have learnt since the prelim is the importance of reasearch and planning when making a film, more specifically research on the genre of the film your making and films you plan to take influence from. An example of this would be our research into American Psycho. Planning plyed an important role in time management in our production which we could have done better in retrospect, for example the use of storyboards in helping us envision what our film would look like and how we wanted it to look.

We also learnt the importance of casting in our production, this isn't to say we had auditions for the role but we wanted to consider how the person cast as our main character would look for example someone with long blonde hair would not be able to convincingly portray a male in his early twenties than someone with shorter dark hair.  

Another aspect of filming we have learnt the importance of is mise en scene, for example a male in his twenties would not have pink bed sheets (something we failed to consider in our original cut). This also relates to the importance of doing a rough cut to location scout and make sure everything is in order, it also helps the fact that you can then edit and change the production to make it better. 

Audience feedback was also very helpful to get opinions on how to improve our producton and what we have done right.
A very important part of creating our own production was choosing the soundtrack and getting the right blend of diagetic and non diagetic sound, we tried various sound effects in each rough cut using iMovie HD such as in our first cut we used water drops to build up tension and in a later cut we changed to a slow piano melody to build up tension.


Friday, 18 February 2011

CC - The Plot

We have decided to do a blog about the plot of our film as people after seeing our rough cut seem to be confused about what is happening.

To start with this is done on purpose as the main character is supposed to be disorientated and in a dream world as he sees visions of what has happened to him or what he has done to someone else.

The plot is that the character has apparently killed someone or maybe more than one person and he doesn't know why, where, when etc he has killed this person and who this person is. This leads to the character going on a search for truth to find out what he has done or if he has even done it. 

We wanted our film to be confusing to add mystery to the circumstances that has led to the character seeing these horrific images of what has happened.

People seemed most confused about the end of the opening when the character wakes up in bed, this is supposed to be confusing and for the audience to determine what reason it holds themselves but the reason he does wake up is to show that he was dreaming. This further shows whether or not what the character has seen is even real.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

BH - Intertextuality in re-shoot

Another aspect concerning intertextuality in our re-shoot is that of the incorporation of the books American Psycho by Brett Easton-Ellis and Fight Club by Chuck Palahnuik. We chose to subtly include these books in the background of typical teenager because they have both had a strong influence on how we chose to film and what we chose to film about. The books, and indeed the film variants of them both include strong psychological aspects, but they also include elements of violence that we have tried to capture in our film.

CO - Photos from filming II

Here are some photos from the shoot we did yesterday, which took place mainly indoors.

Filming the wakeup scene

The filming position for the majority of the scene

Filming a close up
Filming in the dark and editing the viewfinder position for practically

CC - Use of Audio

In editing we have added sounds of a babies laughter in a very haunting way, the audio is supposed to further show the characters deteriorating mental state. 

This is cut with sounds of indoor drops which are supposed to echo around the characters vacant mind, the drops are the sound that the character hears as blood drips off his hand into the sink and adds to his dream sequence and furthers the idea of reality vs imagination.

All of the audio is there to add to the seemingly psychotic dementia of the character as he stumbles around his house wondering what is real and what isn't.

We are currently still deciding how to use the soundtrack that CO has made in the film, we want the music to add versimilitude to the character as he is a teenager, the music is heavy so that it adds gravity to the situation, currently we are most likely to use Laments of an Icarus which CO did a cover of.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

CC - Notes and Details aboot Final Shots

We finished shooting our final shots for our production. We have included more shots to tie our film together and make it more understandable to the audience. We have used more blood including a particularly gruesome scene where our main character bites into his arm and blood pours out, we are hoping that these more gory scenes will add effect to the film and not included just for shock value.

In addition to the bloody theme recurring throughout the cut, we have also used more supernatural and psychologically haunting aspects as well. This is mainly portrayed by the recurrence of eyes throughout the film. These are meant to be hidden in the background and are included for subtlety, they are used to make the viewer think and decipher the concealed meaning. To portray the eye theme, we used both homemade drawings that are posted up around the location, and we also set an image as the main character's wallpaper on his computer, which crops up at certain points. For the computer image, we used the cover for the Johnny Truant album, No Tears For the Creatures. The album cover is a painting of an eye, widened in panic and paranoia, and this is similar to the protagonist's mood throughout the film.

We also chose to add intertextuality in the form of a typical teenage boy and his setting which we failed to do as well as we could have done in the first rough cut. We have worked hard to ensure that the main character has the normal setting of a standard teenager, such as aspects like a guitar, a pc, books, cans, junk food, games and more. This adds versimilitude to the gravity of the situation.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

CC - Our film's BBFC rating

According to the BBFC we must follow these guidelines to create a 15 rated film

Suitable only for 15 years and over

No one younger than 15 may see a ‘15’ film in a cinema. No one younger than 15 may rent or buy a ‘15’ rated video work.


Drug taking may be shown but the film as a whole must not promote or encourage drug misuse. 


Strong threat and menace are permitted unless sadistic or sexualised.

Imitable behaviour

Dangerous behaviour (for example suicide and self-harming) should not dwell on detail which could be copied. Easily accessible weapons should not be glamorised.


There may be frequent use of strong language.


Sexual activity may be portrayed without strong detail. There may be strong verbal references to sexual behaviour, but the strongest references are unlikely  to be acceptable unless justified by context. 


No theme is prohibited, provided the treatment is appropriate for 15 year olds.


Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury. Strong sadistic or sexualised violence is also unlikely to be acceptable. There may be detailed verbal references to sexual violence but any portrayal of sexual violence must be discreet and have a strong contextual justification.

Our film follows the guidelines of the BBFC rating system for a 15. Use of blood in our film is strong but we never show any acts of violence as the film is more about the psychological health of our main character rather than showing violence. There is no imitable behaviour in our film due to its surreal nature and there is no language barriers as we don't ever swear in the film.

Monday, 14 February 2011

CO - Compositions

I have finished recording and editing two separate songs for use in our production. I have covered Laments of an Icarus by Dutch metal band Textures, mainly because it is extremely fast paced, atmospheric and will fit in well with pivotal points in our film, and I also remixed Icarus Lives! by Periphery, for the sheer brutality of it, which will have a similar effect when applied to certain scenes. In addition, it also includes simpler, gentler and more ambient parts, which is important in our use of dream patterns. We will probably break up the second song into a light side and a heavy side.

I was originally going to use a dynamic microphone to record the audio with, but whenever I tried to do so, the audio levels kept fluctuating wildly, and it didn't sound good at all, so in the end I just used a LifeCam VX-3000, which recorded audio well to an extent.

I used:

  • Drums
  • Bass
  • Guitar (3)
  • Audacity Audio Engine
  • Kristal Audio Engine
  • LifeCam VX-3000

Here are the original songs for reference:

Textures - Laments Of An Icarus

From the album "Silhouettes"

Periphery - Icarus Lives!

From the album "Periphery"

Here are the finished covers:


Pictures from recording

Editing recordings


Recording drums for Textures

Friday, 11 February 2011

CC - Updates to filming

We plan on filming on sunday in the late afternoon/evening.
The reasons for filming is we want to add more shots to make the opening make more sense, to give it more context , we also thought we could touch up what we have filmed already to be sure that we don't have any unstable shots.
We want to make the shots more abstract as at the moment the shots they are quite mundane. We also will film a larger variety of shots such as including more dutch angles to signify the dream world that the character is in.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

CC, CO - Vodcast 2

We are going to be recording our second vodcast, which is primarily about audience feedback from our rough cut.

CC, CO - Podcast 3

Our third podcast, detailing detailing progress so far within our production.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

CC - Third Podcast Complete

We have just finished recording our third podcast and we are in the process of uploading it now.
We talk about showing our rough cut to the class and their feedback, we also mention updates to the filming schedule and music additions to our film. Keep up with our progress and listen to the podcast.

Monday, 7 February 2011

CC - Updates to filming

We have decided to film some more shots for our opening so that we can hopefully give our film more content, add surrealism and to make some shots look cleaner. We are also filming any shots we see as unsteady. The reason for this reshooting is in our audience feedback of our rough cut we were told that the flashback/dream sequence didn't make sense so we are going to try to make sense of it to the audience.

BH - Poster/Titles first attempt

Thinking ahead to target audience and marketing, I've spent afew hours desiging and creating posters of diffrent design, exploring the use of fonts to create a relevant poster, I wanted something simplistic that really gave a clear message to the audience, something that would attract viewers, so to start with I played around with some fonts in Microsoft Paint, downloading them from

So heres what I came up with at first:

  • However I thought that the 'Torment' font looked too horror esq and maybe too gothic for a psychological thriller. So I worked again on the fonts, searching and in the end I chose to use the font I used for the 'Dreamscape' for the 'Torment' aswell, a serif font gives the implication of horror quite strongly as a title font.
  • So with my fonts sorted and decided upon I scoured google with something I could use as a place-holder image, something I could use just to check how it looked in reality on diffrent backgrounds.
here's my first attempt:

  • It's simple and the knife gives a slight hint at the plot, the text is easy to read with a nice clear white background, however my initial thoughts where it seemed horror esq, however initial feedback given via Facebook seemed to be posative, aside from the fact it appears the knife is lodged in bread. Here is some initial feedback...from the poster the genre was correctly guessed.

  • So for my next attempt I decided to try something more complex and psychological in focus rather than physical.

So using some art from the band TOOL I  produced this:

  • However I was unhappy with the level of detail in this image so I got hold of a higher resolution version, once again to test how it might look, checking diffrent image types to see how we might compare and emulate them in the final finished poster.

My next attempt:

  • I did like the image, but I felt that it was too dark and it lacked the appear and 'look at me' nature of the initial blood splatter and knife poster so I managed to make one final attempt on the poster design.

 Here it is:

I personally liked this poster design however initial feedback from the target audience on it was slightly less warm: