I tried to follow the conventions of existing media
products to ensure a professional look. My understanding of the codes and conventions came from watching a numerous of real life media texts. It was from this that I was able to make conscious choices about how I would use my findings in my media product. Since many of my influences were from existing media products, it has reflected the way in which I have created my own products. My media products show conventions seen in many other horror/thrillers and pays homage to them. By using colour, music, narrative, characters and mise-enscene to create suspense.
Many short films have simple and easy to follow storylines. Although I
have a variety of shots and cuts the slow pace of the film makes it easy for the audience to stay engaged throughout my film. A common convention of short films is to add a twist, I decided to include this in my film at the very end where the girl is not actually dead and gets up and walks away. However I did not explain the twist, leaving room for personal interpretation from this audience and this challenges normal codes and conventions of a short. I have also challenged Todorov’s equilibrium theory as my film does not resolve the twist. I have used the typical choice of male and female as binary oppositions. The male is the antagonist and the female the protagonist. This is evident in many horrors e.g. Scream Short films allow for much more creativity and abstraction. They will often be made up of a number of creative shots and soundtrack making up an artistic and sometimes quirky piece. The film maker are able to use more creative flair placing their own signature look on the piece as there is less pressure to make a profitable film for a large audience. I wanted my piece to have an art house style to it and followed this convention, although my influences were from mainstream films (The Dark Knight)
ď‚— Due to the length and simplicity in storyline, a short film will usually
introduce between 1 and 3 main characters. Short films will usually last only long enough to connect the audience to few characters and will not have a developed enough storyline to hold a large cast. I have used this convention in my film to not overcomplicate or bombard the audience with too much detail and keep it simple. The fewer characters used also reflects the low budget of short films, as costs need to be kept low.
ď‚— I have not used dialogue in my film as I wanted the
music to create the tension and the use of diegetic sound may have broken the suspense. The use of music adds suspense and amplifies the eerie atmosphere, again a common convention of the horror genre. ď‚— However I have challenged and developed the use of music as normally in a horror the music would speed up as things became more tense. Instead mine stays at the same pace, this is to confuse the audience as they will not know when the twist is going to happen.
Another convention I decided to use was the use of close ups and mid
shots. This technique allows the audience to engage with the character create an understanding of the protagonists personality and form a relationship between audience and the character. This is evident in my film at 00.46. Many horrors use dark lighting and night-time to film, although I have used dark tones to make the red colours stand out, I challenged this convention as I shot mine in the day. This was mainly for health and safety reasons, but it also means that the audience is less like to anticipate what’s going to happen. All the equipment used is conventional, e.g. Canon 5D Mark 2 camera. The only unconventional aspect of filming was that I only had 1 camera. This meant that I had to film all the angles one at a time, which was very time consuming, whilst ensuring continuity, I had to mark where each character should be standing every shot. However this meant that operations were more simple and there was less room for mistakes.
Many films use colour to signify something e.g. Schindlers list is in
black and white but the girl has a red dress to connote the blood of all those that have died. Red is often used as a connotation of danger, warning, blood. The use of colour will foreshadow what is yet to happen. Black is associated with death, evil and sadness, these are the key aspects that I want for the clown. In order to give me film a cold eerie feel, I shifted the dark values This means that everything except the girls dress, the balloons and the jack-in-the-box will look bleak. I haven’t really challenged this convention as I think it was a key aspect to create the eerie feel. To really reinforce the colour I could have made everything black and white except the dress, balloons and jack-in-abox, however I don’t think it would have shown of the rusted colours of the derelict buildings, so I decided against it. In the opening credits often film titles will use colour to present genre ‘Shutter Island’ uses red to show horror. However I challenged this and just did white text on a black background, this was to give little away about the film.
ď‚— The mise-en-scene conforms to typical codes and
conventions as it is an abandoned and deserted area. This is a typical choice for a horror as no one is around to save the girl from the nightmare she's entered. Many horrors are filmed in woods e.g. Blair Witch Project. I have used little in the way of props e.g. balloons, gun, jack-in-a-box, this was to emphasise the simplicity of the film and reinforce the derelict area.
Media Studies Evaluation Question 1