Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Audience feedback

I uploaded my film opening onto my profile of the well known social networking site "facebook". I made a post requesting comments and feedback to which i got some great replies..

Finacial Adviser 50yrs said "brilliant!"

Climbing Instructor 18yrs said "i think that was really good :)"

Student 17yrs, interested in its genre and narrative said "crime watch? what happen's to the girl?"

Uni student 18yrs said  "for a film opening its inviting and i want to know more about what happens to the little girl.... it becomes more of a film and less of a students media product with the external use of actors (elder people, not just students acting older) ...and setting (beach and not in school grounds and such). I felt more involved when i saw the police and became captured into the narrative of the film, like it was real life and it was actually happening. (good verisimilitude)"

My media product has also been on Youtube for about a week, and has had 136 views, with no dislikes.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Evaluation Question Four. Who would be the audience for your media product?

Beyond 'who' my audience are, why would they be attracted?

Absent focuses on a British middle-class social group and targets a middle-class audience. We have used costume and props to attract this audience by framing items of value that the audience could relate too. For example the expensive car would mean nothing to someone of lower status, as it would not ever enter or mix in their lifestyle. Whereas if it is placed within the middle class culture, the audience could relate to it, as they would understand its face value and street credit. Again with the sequences that capture the family home, it is easy for a middle class audience to quickly analyise it and familiarise with it, because they will be able to compare and contrast it against their own, creating the repeated feel of familiarity with the opening.

Other Pathe Thrillers
  • Lockout 2012 - A man is wrongly convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage against the U.S. He's offered his freedom if he can rescue the president's daughter from an outer space prison taken over by violent inmates. Budget $30,000,000 (estimated)
  • The Girl 2011- Story of a ten-year-old girl left alone in her house in the summer of 1981.
  • Adele 2011
  • Babycall 2011
Why invest in Absent?
Absent follows the conventions of some of Pathes' other thriller genre films, and is also a British production making it desireable to pathe, who say that they are Europe's leading cinema exhibitor ( they will want to ditribute Absent to continue their well rounded reputation supporting a variety of European film productions.

"Pathé UK has a major presence within the UK film industry, operating as a fully integrated studio. It is involved in all aspects of film-making, from production and development through to international sales and distribution"

  • Film4 develops and co-finances films and is known for working with the most innovative talent in the UK, whether new or establiahed.
  • Film4 showcase a wide range of titles, including the best of British film-making, US independent films, Hollywood blockbusters, mainstream drama and comedy, guilty pleasures, foreign films and cult cinema
Film4 Distributions

2010 Four Lions. budget = £608,608

1996 Trainspotting. budget = $3,500,000

Both these films are low-budget british movies like Absent, and Film4 have proudly distributed them. For this reason i believe they would be a good production company to distribute Absent as it is British, Low- budget and Independant.

Evaluation Question Two. How does your media product represent particular social groups?

Absent is a independant british film production, which strives to represent the disruption of a british middle class family. In more detail, we have looked at the UKs demographic classifications, and tried to follow the nrs social grades B (middle class- intermediate managerial, administrative or professional) and C1. ( lower middle class- supervisory or clerical, junior managerial, administrative or professional). In order to represent this particular social group correctly, we looked at Category 1 Group C, Types 9 to12, Which state that they are a family of well-off managerial or working status, with prosperous detached homes in rural or suburban areas.

From our research i would be happy to say that we have represented the middle class well, with the use of props and costume. In my opinion the audience would be able to cleary define the casts social status, judging on their well groomed costume, detached rural country home, and family vehicle.

Evaluation Question One. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

Conventions of a Thriller

 Thrillers use  suspense, tension, and excitement as the main elements, and common methods in crime thrillers are mainly ransoms, captivities, heists, revenge and kidnappings. Absent doesnt draw on any particular reason for the disapearance, but instead leaves it anonymous with the intention of building suspence for the rest of the film. This is a typical development of many thriller films, in which the opening is left slightly vague in order to capture the audiences attention and excitement.

Other films and the media dealing with disappearances
  • 2010 Thriller "The Scouting Book For Boys" produced by Celador Films distributed by Pathe, followed a similiar narrative to Absent, focusing on the reaction to the disappearance of a shop workers daughter. This co-insidently has a similar style of setting, being shot along the coastline.
  • 2008 Crime Drame "Taken" and was all about a former spy who has to rely on his old skills to save his estranged daughter, who has been forced into the slave trade

  • 2006 British Thriller " London to Brighton" featuring a young girl who runs away to the beaches of Brighton. Also a very low-budget film with total costs of only £500,000

  • 1973 British Mystery "Dont Look Now" - about a couple who's daughter drowns and local sisters claim to be in contact with her spirit. featuring a little girl in a red coat!
  • Disappearance of Madeleine Mcann- Little girl disappeared whilst on holiday in 2007 and was never found. Portuguese criminal investigation police launch a global search but she is never found. Years to follow, the media continue to publish the family's devistation
  • Beaumont children disappearance- The three siblings who disappeared off a beach in Australia in 1966. Their case resulted in one of the largest police investigations in Australian criminal history and remains one of Australia's most infamous cold cases.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Slight Problem!

Once we had captured our film and put it onto the computer for editing, it became apparent that i had absolutely  no sound what so ever... this was a big problem for us, as the use of sound was worth alot of marks and it was needed to complete the convention of any film!.. let alone a Thriller.

So to fix the problem i head back out the next week to re-visit the family to record sounds...
 My mum drove me down there one night after school and it only took about 1h30m, and as i had a schedule i new exactly what i had to do. But i didnt write down any of the sound durations so i was treding a fine line when i had to ask my actors to repeat what they remembered saying the week before.

Lucky when i downoaded the sound to our movie the next day everything was fine-They had repeated sounds in the same way as i had asked them the first time, because that was their normal way :)

phew, panic over!
Now we just needed to add in the extra sounds of the sea and sea-guls which we had taken from Freesound, and FreeSFX.

Filming Day

Unfortunatly Lauren was unable to make the filming date after it had been set, so i had to go solo! However the weather was a perfect sunday, and i had great cooperation from my family. My uncle had some walkie-talkies too, so that really helped in terms of communication when he was half way down the road!

We did the first bit of filming at the house and Philip contributed some good idea's about possible shots and angles that we could try. It was great weather and we had all day so there was no rush at this point, making filming really good fun.

This is the start of filming on the journey, and it was probably the most scairy. I asked Philip to drive close as he went past, but i didnt account for any other moving vehicles. Luckily the guy who's drive i was in front of, was soon made aware of my presence!

Most importantly was the beach scene where charlie went missing, and it was about 2:30pm when we started filming down there.

This is when i got some good mid close-ups of Philip and Becky walking along, and also some esablishing shots of where we were.

I realised that there was a continuity issue as the sequence of shots didnt run from the country to the town, it jumped. So we had to go back on the road to film a long shot of the car driving towards the beach. the walkie-talkies came in handy here as Philip radio'd me on his approach so i could capture it perfectly.

The gap between the two beach huts is the space in which charlie runs down and disappears. Filming this shot sequence, i wanted to include an over -the-shoulder shot, and a mid-close up of charlie, to show showing her fashial expression and movements.

So thats the end of filming day!

The Cast

For filming we are going to use my family as our cast, as they fit the conventions of a typical faimly- mum, dad, and a little boy and girl. They all want to be a part of our film and charlie will be playing the little girl that goes missing.

Charlie is actually 11 or 12 but in the film we want her looking around 9 or 10, which we hope we can create using costume. She said she was quite happy to be filmed down the beach dressed like this which was lucky considering it was going to be busy!

We borrowed a red coat that was aged 8-9 but fortunatly Charlie was petite enough to squeeze into it. Also we tied red bowes in her hair to increase her innocent persona which was quite effective.

Giving charlie a dress and white socks also contributed to her innocent character, and her overall costume was effective.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Film Preperation

In order for our filming day to run smoothly we created a schedule. There are Three main scenes in our film opening: The Journey, The arrival, and The disturbance in the equilibriam. And all three required a variety of capture angles.

The Journey
This needed to establish who the family were, and the general genre of the film. It captures the stereotypical middle-class happy family, leaving for a day out, and shows the setting of the film. Camera angles are mainly wide-shots to establish the film, and there are not too many close-ups or variations, to ensure there is no awareness of any disturbance. We wanted the "opening of the opening" to be relativly calm and un-asuuming.

-wide-shot of family leaving the house following dad
- getting into the car
- various worms-eye and high-angle shots supplimented by long shots and wide shots of the journey from outside the car
- high angle long shot of car pulling into the car park

The Arrival
This scene begins to build more on the characteristics of the family, and the camera angles become more varied as the opening begins to build pace. During this scene the stereotypical conventions of the family's happiness are continued further as they all walk along the beach, whilst the music plays a role in building suspence and tention.

- establishing wide and long shot of family walking toward the beach
- low-angle of family approaching
-worms-eye close up of children running past
- wide shot of childen chasing eachother along the sand dune
- mid shot of family walking along the beach
- long shot of family approaching beach huts

The Disturbance In The Equilibriam
This is the point in our opening where music dies out and the anxiety sets in. The pace of this scene is disturbing, and there are more high-angled shots of the family to imply the characters helplessness. Also the shot sequence becomes more rapid to aid the "Thriller" convention.

- Over the shoulder shot of charlie hiding inbetween the beach huts spying on her family
- mid close-up of her giggling and slipping inbetween the huts
- slow motion close up of her sliding round the back of the beach huts
- establishing shot of family realising charlies disapperance
- cut to a high angle from on top of the beach huts
- High angle of shouting and searching
- Cut to a mid close-up of philip making an emergency call
- Cut to wide-shot of police radioing in and pulling away
- Cut back to a 180 degree pan of the beach huts showing charlies red coat on the floor


This is the moodbaord Lauren created for our film, and it uses possitive and neggative imagery to inspire our unexpected disturbance.
The colour scheme of this moodboard is also relative as it interprates the vivid red connoting warning and danger, contrasted against the wide shot of the beach in pastil blue, that opposes the initial neggativity.


Inspiration has come from various other movies, not mainly the narrative, but more the Mis-en- scene of costume and also sound and the mood it creates. We didnt want an inspirational narrative as we felt it would be more creative for us, if we developed our own, hence why we chose an indipendant film.

however inspiration in the form of music has progressed and Lauren and i have concluded upon a solo piece of either piano or guitar. origionaly we thought about orchestral music but after further film reseach, the genre of our film was more suited to a solo of some sort, or possibly a mix of the two.

Thomas Newman was our main inspiration, as his music has been used in two very strong emotive thriller films i have watched, where music is used to build suspence and tention. The first film looked at was Road To Perdition (the music is piano/orchestral which we hope to include in our film) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aM0Iu7Mdw4A 

and the second called Brothers which is more guitar http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFs7Rv7J3To
But both create a similar effect which we hope to interpret into our film; its that deep emotive feel that Thrillers often create, making the audience empathetic.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Development of Idea's

As we look further into actually producing our film, we have started to wonder how its all going to come together. Opening up the scene will be the various shots of the family leaving the house and getting into the car...we want it to appear as if the film has started without an intro. We want to attempt some high angle shots of the family vehicle leaving the drive, and have thought about shooting out of the top window of their house or even on the roof of the garage. We want these angles to create a sence of distance between audience and the characters, to challenge the conventions of family drama which often try to create empathy between audience and viewer.

Also we want to mute normal digetic sounds during the car journey and during the taking down the beach, again to create distance and fustration between both, the characters and the audience, but also between the audience and the film narrative. - To inhance film intensity and audiene focus

The mood of the opening scene is intended to broadern with its progression, and the realisation of a disturbance in the equilibriam should only become apparent as the opening scene ends; thus setting up the story for the rest of the film. To help this we are increasing music volume and muting the digetic background sounds to iscolate and highlight the problem, before rapidly cutting to the intro credits projected onto the side of the beach huts where the little girl goes missing.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Film Opening Brief

Out of the Four briefs, Lauren and I have chosen to follow the convention of...
Film Brief 3An independent movie featuring a young protagonist Your film should appear to be financed through regional funding
(Opening to Fish Tank, This Is England etc)
and also some of...

Film Brief 4
An art house feature to appeal to adult audiences Your film should appear to be based on an actual event in the last 2 years.
(Opening to Elephant, Milk, Che etc) 

Our independent/art house movie opening conveys the Kidnapping for ransom, of a rich families youngest child, during an evening walk down the beach. The idea is to capture the disruption of equilibrium in our opening, by using a variety of shots and effects, uncluding:

-The use of digetic sounds and non-digetic music to contrast tranquility with tragedy
- Prolonged shots of the colour red, paired with dissimilar pastil colours to provoke the presence of danger
- And also the use of bluring to connote disturbance, accompanied by extreme close-ups to inhance the severity of the situation. - Facial expressions will express tone and mood.

Influences that have helped me plan my opening include the 2010 film Inception.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VXkUzf1et4   - In this opening the digetic sound of childrens laughter at the beach contradicts the dark opening graphology. Also the fading of heavy music into the peacful crashing of waves, is an effective way of diverging the audience, keeping the sence of the unexpected.

A heavy influence was the film Road to Perdition. The soundtrack has inspired me to include somthing similar in my opening. I have thought about using a choir recording suplimented by piano, played over the top of the opening scene, fading in at the start and getting louder, as a way of creating depth and meaning.

My final film influence came from Schindler's List. The black and white images are heavily contrasting the little girl in the red coat. The red strikes danger, even though she is unaware. In my film opening i intend for it to connote a 'Red Light' - a turning point or a distict change that occures and sets the path for the rest of the film.

-extreme close-ups of foot prints in the wet sand, and then credits edited in over the top
- pan round the beach huts using p.o.v to create panic and confusion
- close-ups and eye line match used in the rear-view mirror on the way to the beach
- bridge shot of the car going down the motorway
- track and zoom along the beach, spotting the beach huts