Friday, 28 January 2011

CO - Photos from production

These are pictures taken while we were shooting, and show examples of prop and lighting techniques. 

 Fake blood, used at the end of the film.

 Artificial lighting used in the waking scene, to shade some parts of the room, whilst maintaining focus on the main character.

The main character applying the fake blood to himself.

The main character holding the blood in his hands, ready to wake up and see it.

CO - The Orphanage deconstruction

Release Date: 2007
Director: Juan Antonio Bayera
Budget: €3,000,000
Opening Weekend:  $338,024 (USA)

  • After a long sequence of silent credits, the film begins with a panoramic shot of a picturesque sky that fades in from the blackness. It uses diagetic sound of a natural environment, and we hear birds chirping and the wind rustling through the trees, to help capture an ideal world.
  • The camera pans down from the sky, and we see the titular orphanage in the background of a serene, picturesque view. There are innocent children playing in the foreground, and bold colours, mainly consisting of green and gold, creating a beautiful backdrop.
  • The camera then zooms in to the main girl playing a game against a tree, and the shadows of the tree darken the mood slightly, hinting at the theme of mystery and fear. Then, as the children play, hands start to approach one of the girls, in a fairly creepy and intimidating way, signifying that it's a horror/thriller film.
  • Throughout the introductory scenes, calm, soothing and tranquil piano plays throughout, adding a sense of peacefulness to the scene, which may or may not add to a false sense of happiness before the horror starts to kick in. However, it does add to the serene beauty of the location in the introduction.
  • As the children play in the picturesque setting, the camera flies upwards diagonally to reveal a scarecrow at the end of the field. This scarecrow is particularly crucial to be included as soon as this because not only is it an omen of horror and the supernatural, but it's face is mirrored later on by the main antagonist of the film, who wears a sack over his head due to horrific deformities.
  • After this brief introduction, the title scene appears. This is done phenomenally well, and is portrayed by a child (namely the antagonist)'s hand ripping wallpaper away to reveal the stylised, serif-font title. 

CO - Ident updates

We have successfully completed working on our first out of the two idents for our production. For the completed one, for Experimental Studios, features a technical transition background, behind some attractive, green glowing text. It also features some extraterrestrial and science-fiction style sound clips, used on iMovie.  As for the second ident, Weathered Productions, the writing is in front of mysterious grey smoke, with opaque white text. Both will be finished by tomorrow, and uploaded to YouTube.

CO - Updates to our project

This afternoon, we resumed filming for our production, Dreamfall. After producing a rough cut of our collection of shots taken at Ben's house, we started filming the rest of the shots at school, primarily in the E - D floors, and parts of the 6th form centre. This certain location was chosen by everyone in the group because it would be an ideal destination for recording the rest, as it is used when the main character wakes up, in a dream. The school setting provides massive open spaces and long corridors ideal for use within a psychological thriller genre, and will add to the element of the character slowly slipping into insanity.

We utilised the use of fake blood, as we did in the scenes shot in the house. However, we did run into a slight problem with how we made it this time, and we used too much corn syrup, which resulted in the blood looking too opaque and thick, and too purple (thanks to too much blue food colouring being added). However, we are editing it to be in black and white rather than colour to signify a detachment from reality. This means the colour of the blood won't be as clear.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Feedback on rough cut

From the target audience:

-Good use of lighting although too dark in some places i.e the shot before the stairs.

-Good use of symbolism with the screensaver.

-great use of sound so far, but the screaming at the end couse use work.

As media coursework Treatment


To create the opening two mins of a feature film, including soundtrack and company identities.

A cross between Donnie Darko, Vanilla Sky and Inception with a strong focus on the nature of dreams and ideas, questioning the cross between reality and the sub-conscious.

Target Audience:
The general audience for the genre tend to be skewed towards the older age group, mostly twenties to middle ages, this means that there are very few films under the rating of BBFC 15, because most of them do tend to be aimed at the older audience, who wait for the film to reveal its plot with less focus on action than that of a traditional horror film or action film which often feature big showcase sets and lots of different locations, whereas Psychological Thrillers tend to focus less of external physical violence and more on the internal mental struggle, as such the audience is almost always older than average. However with Donnie Darko, it tried to reach out towards a slightly younger audience, however it didn’t do all too well in the box office, however I think that this film opening would focus on mainly on the late teenage audience.

The Psychological Thriller genre has been pioneered by directors such as David Lynch (Lost Highway, Mulholland drive) but has been strongly used by directors such as Alfred Hitchcock (Vertigo). David Lynch films often make the viewer question the aspects of the main character such as credibility, more often than not they are proved to be showing a distorted version of events- different from what really happens, this creates the element of the unreliable narrator, This is often part of the twist elements in the genre, like Shutter island, it’s revealed in the end to be all the main characters delusions and really he is in a role play designed to show him just how crazy he is. Also in Mulholland Drive we’re shown a very different sequence of events from the characters perspective, which is key- to understand the plight of the main character we are very rarely taken away for the perspective of the main character- we, as the audience experience everything that the main character experiences throughout the film for the unreliable narrator aspect to work properly. Cinematography wise the films feature strong elements of light and dark mixing together, close-ups of the main character to capture the emotion and use dutch angle to imply the unreal aspects of the film and to create tension- which is what every aspect of the film should strive to create, a consistent and sustained atmosphere- often achieved through sound, jarring notes on piano, a distant scream, the sound of dripping, lighting that creates a strong sense of contrast and dread.

Films such as Vanilla Sky rely strongly upon the dreams of the character as they begin to hinder his reality, Shutter Island is about a man trapped within his delusions and unable to even accept reality. In American Psycho we’re given the twist at the end suggesting that the entire film is a construct of the main characters imagination despite the vivid killings that take place the films begins to get more and more surreal as the film progresses.

Location & Props:
We want to film in a suburban area, a fairly middle class area, in a typical street, we want everything to appear normal and mundane which is why we chose this initial location, because it conveys and shows this aspect of normality. We want to show a fairly average teenage boy so in the initial shots we show him on a computer play some game or listening to music fairly loud- we try to show this so that as the opening continues we are able to contrast this with the mundane and normal shots, showing how fast everything deteriorates. To dress the character we would simply use jeans and a jacket or hoodie- casual wear, nothing to indicate that the character is anywhere else than home, we want to show this home and then turn it into a nightmarish place unlike what it is initially shown to be. Like Donnie Darko we want a teenager who might be troubled in some way but we don’t want the audience to immediately guess as to what is going on. But Like Vanilla Sky’s introduction dream we want a distinct feeling of isolation, which we want to achieve with an entire empty city.

Cast & Crew:

Main Character: Ben H
Camera crew: Conor O & Connor C
Editing: Conor O, Connor C & Ben H
Add-ins: Conor O & Connor C

The Shining Intro Deconstruction CC

The Shining 
IMDB rating 8.5/10
Dir Stanley Kubrick
Budget 22,000,000  
Gross 44,000,000
  • The camera starts panning on a large panoramic shot 
  • Island in the middle of lake shows isolation
  • Light on the right side and darkness on the left shows good vs bad 
  • Music starts immediately, eerie and suspenseful. The music is low and has a lot of bass.
  • Dutch angle covering landscape 
  • Aerial view of car travelling through long deserted roads, very rural and isolated, emphasises how far away from civilisation they are
  • Plain credits in light blue
  • Music becomes creepy and gets higher in pitch
  • Light and dark contrast again
  • Broken down cars could signify fate and death
  • Tunnel heads into darkness signifies a decent into madness
  • Same shot shown over and over
  • Credits in sans serif font 
  • Slight change in setting, they are travelling to snow
  • Hotel again shows isolation as it is in the middle of no where

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

American Psycho Introduction Deconstruction (rhyming) :D

  • The opening credits are set in simple and black text, on a clean white background.
  • There is stylised blood dripping on-screen, to denote the violence that impacts the film later.
  • There is a somewhat eerie and suspenseful music, whenever blood drips down from the top of the screen, a staccato of music pronounced.
  • The writing of the credits fates subtly in and out.
  • Classical music starts playing louder and less subtly. This adds a more elegant theme to the opening credits.
  • The blood becomes even more apparent, striking and bold, and begins splattering on the base of the screen as the title of the film begins to fade in.
  • The blood fades away from the screen and a plate of meat appears, and is promptly chopped by a knife. This hints at the idea of murder and killing which is the main theme of American Psycho. 
  • There is food being served, and it becomes obvious that the setting is that of a restaurant. 
  • Waiters are presented, and talk to unidentifiable people about what the restaurant has to offer.
  • The camera cuts to three characters talking, one of which is Patrick Bateman, the main antagonist and main character of the film. 

Fake Blood Props

For our film we decided to use fake blood to add some slight gore and a sense of discomfort to make this we decided to use 2 part red food colouring to 1 part blue food colouring and then mix with 100ml of water, it gave a strong dark red colour similar to blood. To thicken the blood we used one spoonful of golden syrup to really try to achieve the texture of blood aswell as the colour. 

Updates to production schedule

Filming was unable to take place on the 16th of January. Because of this we have now decided on the date of  19th January. We are planning to shoot the whole thing in one day- probably after dark because the film takes place at night. We can do any extra shoots in the following months.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Company Ident

For our WEATHERED STUDIOS ident we would like to film some bad weather like heavy rain and dark clouds, then if needed add in sound effects like lighting, and have our company title Weathered Studios appear in sans serif or lightning style font.

We looked at Jerremy Bruckheimer's ident for the films he produces as inspiration.



The film date 15th January, this is to ensure that we have enough time to edit the project to a high standard.

Edit: As of Monday 10th January, we have moved the date to 16th January, because of other members of the group having other commitments.

Location and Setting

The setting for Psychological thrillers tend to be wide ranging and encompass a large range of settings, such as suburbia, like Donnie Darko, the rich upper class penthouses of the city, like American Psycho. To cheap and decaying house city of Fight Club. The environments often reflect the characters, for example Teddy Daniels isolation in his fantasies are shown in the location of the island itself.
The locations n psychological thrillers generally reflect the characters themselves, to reveal another side of them a reflection of how the character sees the world in general. The ending to Vertigo, features a man climbing a spiral set of stairs confronting his fear of height's in the finale of the film, the character is always key to the film, and the environment has to reflect the character.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Updates to the project

We have strongly considered the removing of the whole drug use part of the opening, due to the lack of possibility of connecting it with past movies and themes, and we want to tie it more strongly to the human psychological aspect of the film, and to leave a greater narrative enigma as to why the main character suddenly experiences what he's feeling. In addition, we DID consider a party scene, but we realized that it need a lot of extras and props, which would be hard to achieve and would therefore consume a lot of time.

Company Title

We have chosen our company title that will echo throughout each of our productions; Icarus Studios. We will begin creating title sequences for the chosen name, using programs such as Flash, Fireworks and PhotoShop.

Inception Notes

The film gets straight into the action and storyline, in this instance, a dream. The opening shots will not make any sense to a new viewer, e.g why he is washed up on a beach and why other characters are there. There is both diegetic and non-diegetic sound used here to create an important establishing scene and a surreal atmosphere. The opening scene is seen at the end however, with a defining twist.
Another point is that the viewer is made to think about what's happening immediately after the film starts. There isn't much explanation to the plot until after the opening scenes, so it is the viewer who has to work out what's going on initially.
The plot of the story develops as it progresses, and it is made clearer what is happening. However, it is still ambiguous and somewhat confusing to an extent, such as the concept of inception itself, or a dream within a dream within a dream.
As for the look of the film, the special effects used and computer graphics involved are absolutely stunning and incredibly well done, with the best examples below. These enhance the film's aesthetics and make the viewer want to see more. These shots are taken from when Cobb is explaining to Ariadne the concept of extraction, whilst in a dream.

There is a strong mathematical element in the film too, for example where the team are about to enter a dream within a dream within a dream and they describe the way way it goes from a week to three months to 10 years at different stages in the dream sequence.
A strong theme of love also plays a part in the film, mainly portrayed through the main character and his deceased wife. Cobb accesses memories rather than dream sequences, which is dangerous. Arthur and Ariadne also have a small part to play that contributes to the romantic theme.
Because of the links between dream sequences, memories and reality, there are constant jumps and cuts where the location and time period changes rapidly. The viewer has to keep with what's going on if they're to understand the fascinating storyline.
Inception on IMDb

Podcast 1

Monday, 10 January 2011

Psychological Thrillers Audience and Budget

The audience for a thriller generally seems much more skewed towards an older audience with many of the characters being in their twenties onwards, the characters themselves often going through some very adult trauma, for example shutter island, the main characters wife drowned their three children and he killed her but felt to blame so he retreated into psychological delusions, where he is the hero.
They often let the audience put together what they think happened throughout the film, or to interpret the ending how they see fit. 
Most often they feature twist endings, built to shock the viewer allow repeat viewings of the film to better understand its meaning or what it is trying to put across to the audience. Quite often these 'twists' feature extensive foreshadowing throughout the film, requiring the audience to pay attention to not just the character but the things happening around them to ensure maximum understanding of the events that take place throughout the film.

Often films in the genre are limited on budget for example Donnie Darko, and yet other films such as Shutter island and Vanilla sky have much larger budgets and yet Vanilla sky as a film didn't preform as well as Shutter Island in the box office, despite having several big name stars involved. Most films in the genre tend to show patterns of being received better by the public than by critics. This could be because of fans of the genre being more interested in the genre as a whole than the critics, however some films are ( add films+ IMDB info) positively received by critics and yet preform poorly in the box office and don't really become all too popular until the have finished their initial box office run, for example Fight club.
The BBFC rating for psychological thriller tend to follow the trend that the viewers are more mature, with very few being under the 15 certificate.

American Psycho Notes

American Psycho Poster

American Psycho
Dir. Mary Hannon
Based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis
Rating on Imdb 7.5/10


 $8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

 $4,961,015 (USA) (16 April 2000) (1236 Screens)


 $15,070,285 (USA) (30 July 2000)

Patrick Bateman, a young, well to do man working on wall street at his father's company kills for no reason at all. As his life progresses his hatred for the world becomes more and more intense.

The pace of the film follows the main character Patrick Bateman's decent into madness. The was the film starts involves him narrating his own life in disturbing and illuminating detail. The pace of the film increases as we see his murders ranging from the simple stabbing of a homeless man to chasing a woman through his hotel with a chainsaw. A shootout at a later point in the film highlights his bloodlust and the surreal elements in the film, is it real or imaginary? The film can also be considered a dark comedy because however gruesome and brutal the visuals are they still aren't real and is just the characters way of coping with life which the narration in the first few minutes of the film explains and further shows elements of this imaginary world he lives in "And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable..I simply am not there."

This film is relevant because it highlights the narrative aspects of a psychological thriller, Patrick Bateman is clearly an unreliable narrator but throughout we only see from his viewpoint- never from any of the other characters so the fact that Patrick is mentally unstable, isn't revealed until the end.

Important themes in Donnie Darko

  • There is a strong theme of paranoia and schizophrenia throughput the film, especially characterized by a central character called Frank, a figment of Donnie's imagination (although this point is debatable, as there are often scenes were Frank materialises in the real world. It conveys the point that the main character is troubled. Another point about Frank is that he only appears in the darkness, adding to the elements of fear and the supernatural and increasing the enigmatic storyline.
  • The main character has a very jovial and casual way of speaking, especially as he describes what he's done, eg in therapy; "I flooded the school, and I burned down that pervert's house" and then smiles and laughs. This means that Donnie has serious mental issues, yet he isn't particularly shaken or worried, even by Frank. However, there are scenes where Donnie's mood changes and he becomes extremely upset and distraught with the situation he's in.
  • There is a strong chronological theme that ties the plot together. It is set into motion at the beginning when Donnie is told by Frank that the world will end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds. At frequent points there is a countdown on the screen, giving the viewer a sense that time has passed in the film, and that the end is coming.  
  • A strong supernatural theme runs throughout the film, such as the theory of time travel being constantly talked about and related to on many occasions, mainly when Donnie is introduced to it by his teacher at school. Another instance on the supernatural and science-fiction is the way of locating vectors along which people will travel, in essence seeing the future, which is utilised by Donnie near the end of the film. 

Shutter Island Notes

Shutter Island (2010), Martin Scorsese, IMDB rating: 8.0/10

Shutter Island (2010)
Dir.: Matrin Scorsese
IMDB rating: 8.0/10
Budget: $80 millionGross Revenue: $294,803,014Set in the 1950's, it features a federal Marshal ( Teddy Daniels) who's been called in to search for a missing patient at the mental facilities on the island. Throughout the film it's shown that he is still mourning the loss of his wife two years ago in a fire, caused by someone who may or may not be on the island. Teddy sees visions and hallucinations of his dead wife as the film goes on and she urges him on through the film, but Teddy soon decides that there is something else afoot on the island and decides to search for what he believes are  disturbing experiments taking place on the island.

The film is a typical psychological Thriller; it features a strong contrast between the light and the dark, often teddy finds himself walking in the darkness of the islands facilities, and his dreams are often done with slight continuity errors in the edits done to intentionally make the viewers think that there is something wrong with the scene and its contents. For example when one character is smoking in the dreams, the smoke flows backwards and in another scene his wife is holding a bottle of whisky which disappears in the next shot. Edits and errors like this take place throughout the film and often to make the viewer feel that there is something wrong. Also the sounds in the film are often pronounced like the dripping of water in the darkness and the screams of the patients in the hospital. The music in the film often takes the form of piano notes, often long and drawn out-  quite jarring and isolated at points for example:

Also the lighting plays a key role in the film for example:

 Teddy is in a dark corridor  that is scarcely lit- he is using matches to navigate his way through the darkness.

Here we have the use of a blue filter, to make the world seem colder that it is to our character, the entire film is from the view of Teddy, so the audience only know what he knows through the film. That is typical of the genre, we only see what the main character sees and this plays into the aspeact of the unreliable narrator.

Also note the use of editing, the jump cuts made during the following dream sequence- to make it appear jarring to the viewer, also watch the qhisky bottle that Teddys wife is holding.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

INspirations for our film

AS Media Film Pitch

The basic idea is that the home is being possessed by some force unseen- much like Amnityville Horror (1979)
Dir: Stuart Rosenberg
We have a quiet suburban house with no one home, everything quiet apart from someone upstairs, the viewer can tell because of some diagetic music heard from upstairs- but apart from that it appears the house is empty and fairly void of life. The camera then goes through several empty hallways to once again establish that no one else is home part from this one person and then finally we have a low angle shot of someone ( a teenage male) on the computer doing drugs and we then hear something falling downstairs such as a pan- the boy turns around and it is the first time we see his face. As he turns his computer screen flickers to show an eye blinking and looking at him and when he turns back around it's gone. He goes to investiage this unusual sound but begins to hear voices in his head saying various things- very quiet and the viewer wondering whether or not it is in his head or not. We have several POV shots from behind the teenager but nothing is ever confirmed to be following him and as he makes his way downstairs a shadow on the wall that looks like a hand seems to be reaching for him. However as he gets into the kitchen things get louder and louder and doors slam shut and it sounds like someone is trashing the house. He enters the kitchen and everything seems perfectly fine but as he turns off the light we hear a lound noise; as he wakes up.

I enjoyed the suburban setting- the feeling that the house is condemned; despite the seeming pleasant exterior. For example the shot above- a seemingly normal house with something dark hidden away inside. 
It makes a good loction for filming because it conveys that normality of a typical suburban middle class housing estate. For this reason it would make a great estblishing shot

I'd use a camera shot much like this because it conveys the aspect of binary opposition- a sense that there might be something else in the shot that the viewer cannot see.

An introduction to the Psychological Thrillers

A psychological thriller generally tends to use very snappy cuts, as to keep the viewer in suspense- often leaving the action very unclear as to what happened to create a strong sense of narrative enigma, leaving the audience unclear as to what happened until it is revealed later in the film, another tactic that helps the film maintain its suspense is the use of sound, such as music to create a sense of atmosphere and pro-longed sense of dread that can last for scenes on end but it can be quite passive too. 

Lighting also plays a key role in the way that there is a strong use of shadow and the contrast with light, often masking things. The use of location often ties in strongly with a character and there is a repeated use of stairs and mirrors with the concept of illusion.
 The narrative often places an equal focus on character and on the plot of the film, however quite often the main character is found to be an unreliable narrator. Often the character has a back story that unravels as the film progresses and as such we gain a deeper understanding of the character as the film progresses. Often the character will have a conflict of identity- unsure about who they are or what their purpose is and as the film progresses the film explores the characters mind.

Notable Directors within the Psychological Thriller genre include:

Darren AronofskyWho directed Pi (1998) and Requiem for a Dream (2000).

Park ChanwookThe Korean director of the 'Vengance' Trilogy starting with Sympathy for Mr Vengeance (2002) about a man who is deaf and seeks a way to find his ill sister a new kidney.

Brian De Palma- The Director of Dressed to Kill (1980), notable for its strong use of dreams and mirrors and with strong aspects of a characters sexuality.

David Fincher- The Director of Fight Club (1999) a film about a man who is deeply unhappy with life and seeks a way to change everything around him. 

Mary Harron- She directed the film American Psycho (2000) about a wealthy young businessman, it includes several narrative aspects of the genre such as a first person narrator who is shown to be unreliable as the plot pans out.

Richard Kelly- Donnie Darko (2001), follows all of the conventions and leaves the audience guessing and lets the viewer interprit the ending. 

Stanley Kubrick- Films such as A Clockwork Orange (1971), focus on the characters mentality or in this case...lack of it.

David Lynch- Very surrealistic style of film, often the characters and the audience are left to decide what happened, for example Lost Highway (1997).

Martin Scorsese- Directed Shutter Island (2010).