Welcome to the blog of Rasam Productions and Full Throttle Distributions Sam Pollock (The Director) charting the evolution of the opening to the new feature film "Wrenched" jointly produced with Rob Shaw (The Producer) and Asa Newmarch (The Cinematographer). You'll be able to see the final cut on my YouTube channel as well as various short videos and vodcasts/podcasts right here on this blog! Enjoy and please feel free to comment/add suggestions!

Monday, 21 March 2011

Evaluation Q1

What Ways Does Your Media Product Use, Develop or Challenge Forms and Conventions of Real Media Products?   

Here is an example of some codes and conventions from a film opening I have deconstructed : (However this film is not from the genre I am working in)

Meet The Fockers (Jay Roach, 2004)
Budget : $80 000 000 
US Box Office : $280 000 000 
UK Box Office : £28 000 000
1. The Company Idents are the first to appear on screen and are played before the film. In this particular film they are Universal Pictures followed by DreamWorks SKG


2. Non-Diagetic sound plays throughout the company idents on screen and keeps playing through the first two shots and then the music stops.

3. There is an establishing shot which is common in most film openings but in this film the shot is of Chicago in America

4. The opening scene is featured around one male character and we find out alot about his life through exposition. For example in the first couple of shots we see him working in a hospital as a nurse and furthee on in the scene we find out about his family through him talking on the phone

5. The opening scene lasts for 3m 40s when the non-diegetic sound starts palying again over the shots where we see the film titles start coming up. We see text that says "Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Presents", another secondary company saying "A Tribeca / Everyman Pictures Production", "A John Roach Film" and then all the main actors. This is a common convention of film openings

Here is how our film meets/challenges these codes and conventions:

1. We also used Company Idents before the start of our film. We had a production and distribution company. We called our production company Rasam Productions because the people in our group were called Rob, Asa and Sam. Our distribution company was called Full Throttle Entertainment because our film was based around a car.

2. We used alot of non-diagetic sound throughout the whole of our two minute opening especially as we used a soundtrack which was palyed our most of the opening. We also used different sound affects at different points in our film but we tried our best to make them sound diagetic so that they added verisimilitude and didn't make them seem out of place.

3. We used three establishing shots in our opening. We used three because we wanted to show our audience the bigger picture and then narrow it down to where the opening will actually take place. The first shot is of a small village in the countryside, the second shot is of an estate in the small village and the third shot is of a house in the estate

4. Our opening is featured around one male character but also a female character. We did however try to focus on the man more than the girl because we thought we had to make the man look threatening and creepy but to make the girl look vunerable. This would also make the twist more of a shock at the end.

5. Another code and convention of film openings we met was having film titles. However unlike Meet The Fockers we had our film titles over the first couple of shots and not at the end of the opening sequence. In our film titles we included the directors name"A Sam Pollock Film", the main characters "Introducing Rob Shaw and "Starring Lucy Simpson" and finally "Cinematography By Asa  Newmarch".

Here is a podcast of me and the rest of my coursewrok group talking about some codes and conventions of film openings:

Here is a quick summary of key horror genre conventions: 

1. Masked Killers
2. Character Archetypes (e.g. scream queen, final girl etc)
3. False Scare
4. Knife is a common choice of weapon
5. Equilibrium, Disequilibrium, New Equilibrium
6. Isolated Location for the setting

Here is how our media product compares to these horror genre conventions:

1. We too have used a mask on our antagonist because it is a great way to hide the identity of the killer. In our case this is key because it is the girl who is the killer but we dont want the audience to know this an we wouldnt be able to do this without the use of a mask.
2. Again we have used different character archetypes such as we have a final girl in our film.
3. We have included several false scares in our 2 min film opening. You could argue the whole opening is a false scare because evryone thinks that the mechanic is going to be the killer when in fact it is the girl. The other false sacre we incorporated into our opening is when the girls is making the mechanic a drink and he comes behind her and touches her shoulder.
4. As knives are a common choice of weapon we decided not follow that trend. We thought it would be a better idea to use one of the mechanics tools as a weapon because then its more original.
5. In some ways we have used Todorovs theory of a film having an equilibrium then a disequilibrium and to finish a new equilibrium. This is because at the start of our opening there is an equilibrium that there is a mechanic working on a girls car. There is disequilibrium when the mechanic goes upstairs to wash his hands but goes into the girls bedroom and eventually gets killed by a masked figure. The new equilibrium is when the mechanic has been killed and there is just the girl left in the house.
6. We were unable to film at at rural setting for several different reasons but the village we filmed in was surrounded by countryside so we tried to edit it so it looked more isolated tan it actually is. However we were unable to meet this convention of the horror genre.

This is a reflection and summary  of how our media product uses, develops or challenges forms and conventions of real media products:

To summarise we have covered a whole range of forms and conventions from real media products. Just like in Meet The Fockers we have used Company Idents before our film starts to advertise the production and distribution companie behind the film. We have also used establishing shots to show the rural setting that our film opening is set it. In fact we have used three establishing shots and with each one we get closer to the house (eg The first establishing shot is of a rural village. The second establishing shot is of an estate in the village. The third establishing shot is of a house in that estate.) While these three establishing shots are on screen we have our film titles goin over the top of them. We see text that says "Rasam Productions Presents", "A Sam Pollock Film" and then all the main actors which will say "Starring Rob Shaw and Lucy Simpson" because it is their first time infront of the cameras.

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