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Evaluation By Ishma Butt

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? Whilst doing the textual analysis for the research section, it was clear what the basic generic forms and conventions of crime and thriller genre films were and to make our product successful we had to work with them. The music used in crime and thriller genre films is usually tense, starting off slow and then getting faster to hit a big climax at the end of the scene. However, in our opening sequence we have no music at all, challenging the basic conventions. The reason this was done is as if there is silence, it makes the viewer focus more on what is actually going on in the scene. It isn’t as effective but it’s different and still adds the question of mystery and will then make you want to watch more of the film instead of turning it off. The pace of crime and thriller films is usually fast. We have challenged this as our pace is normal; it’s neither fast nor slow. However, I think this still works in a way but there are some scenes where I feel you’re waiting too long for the next clip such as the clips where you see the car driving off. We could have worked on this but as it says on our blog, the actors were not free on the same days we were as we have school etc and so this wasn’t possible. Crime films also have chase scenes which are usually in cars but we adapted this to a man running away and being followed as this put the viewer on edge as we used a point of view shot so you don’t actually know who is running and why but you assume it’s the man who has just shot someone. We also used the car to attract people in our target audience. Most films in the same genre as ours have male protagonists. We have used this form in our film as all our actors were male. The reason for this was because men are more intimidating and you wouldn’t find a female in this kind of situation. For mise-en-scene, most films from this genre are set in cities, however, we chose to go against this as the theme is about an exchange of what you would think is money and for this to happen, you realistically wouldn’t be in a crowed area and so this setting in the park was better suited even though it is not typical of these types of films. This was a problem to film as not only was it windy but people kept walking by. We have a change with costumes. In this genre film, you see the characters in smart clothes. However, we had our victim in smart clothes to make it look like the event was unexpected and the murderer in casual clothes to represent his easy going personality and showing he doesn’t really care. This is the complete opposite to what you would find in mafia or crime films as we wanted it to be unexpected and dramatic. We used themes of vulnerability, isolation, revenge, betrayal, and trouble. These are all themes you would find in similar films and so we kept these forms. We try to engage the viewer to show representation of the characters mind. This keeps the viewer interested and it a common form in films like ours. We do this by using point of view shots and representing feelings through emotions of the actor’s faces. The editing is usually done with many effects; however we kept our product simple so it got straight to the point. Our film is already quite confusing due to the flashbacks.

How does your media product represent particular social groups? I think our product represents a few social groups. We felt that have young adults in the film would represent vulnerability and the trouble you can get yourself into so easily. You can see the same age group in similar films of this genre such as unthinkable or collateral which have characters maybe slightly older but we couldn’t use people slightly older due to us having school and not being free at the same times. But our actors are 19 and 21 which is all we could really use because we don’t really know people much older than that. We have both males in our film as mentioned before as men are more intimidating and fit the role better than a woman would and wanted to stick to the stereotypical views of how man get themselves into these kind of sticky situations and so showing how realistic these situations can be. Again, this is what you see in similar films to ours and so we needed to represent the same social groups. With class, we have represented the lower class as people from high classes would not associate with things like this. The major social group to me is race. We used both characters with Asian backgrounds to represent ethnics in Britain today because this is reality and it is what happens. Films like Unthinkable are successful for this reason, focusing on young Muslim men to show how prejudice society is. With both characters, we have kept them the same age, gender, race and class so it is clear what social groups are represented.

What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why? Our film is clearly not a high budget box office film, it’s more a low budget independent production and so would be more likely to be distributed by a low budget independent distribution company such as Film Four as they produce their own films and are a smaller company and previous their films on channels that they own. Our film is also quite attractive as it is different to most films due to the flashbacks being in between the establishing scenes which in my view a unique selling point for a new film and big companies would not produce films that go against generic forms and conventions which we do a lot in our sequence. Another company that produces films similar to ours is Revolver Entertainment. They have produced many low budget films which have done well at box office such as Shank, Adulthood, Kidulthood, and the latest production ‘Anuvahood’. The company is independent and successful and claim to have ‘a unique, innovative approach to managing releases’ which is very different and I believe our film would well suit this company better than Film Four because Film Four produces typical romance and comedy films but Revolver Entertainment distributes films similar to ours and so it is better suited.

Who would be the audience for your media product? I think the target audience for our product would be an age group of around over 15’s to late 20’s because they can relate to it and find it more appealing. They would also be male more than female because they would again find it more appealing. Personally I would class our product genre as a crime or actions and this usually appeals to the male gender. It would also appeal to ethnic minorities as they can relate to it the most. The certificate to this film would probably be a 15 as it contains scenes of murder and violence which younger viewers would not be suitable to watch and so our target audience seems fair. This would also mean our target audience would be large and would appeal to more people and therefore be more profitable.

How did you attract/address your audience? In order to attract the target audience we have chosen, we had to make sure the viewers were kept engaged and not getting bored. The way to do this was to stick to the main generic forms and conventions because this is what attracts the viewer to watch the film. We included scenes with cars, violence, murder, a running scene, a fast pace, and a scene which shows an exchange of what the viewer may think is either drugs or money which would appeal to the target audience suggested. After showing this to a few people and seeing that they found it interesting, I think we done this well. We also used a range of shits such as point of view shots which really allow the audience to feel engaged and to understand the position the characters are in. We used flashbacks which help set the story so you know what has happened. We placed these shots in between the present time shots which makes you understand both aspects of the story at the same time. This is a bit confusing but we clearly know what is going on. Obviously, for the viewer to be attracted you would have to view the opening sequence, however, our aim in the project was not to get as many views as possible but to start off we have put our video on youtube and will be uploading it to our a blog and some other blogs as well as social networking sites such as Facebook and using worth of mouth to promote it. After a while, we will see how popular and successful this has been and maybe ask for feedback from viewers.

What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product? Abdur and Ramish were not involved in the filming process or editing and so all the filming was done by Shazmaa and I and so I learnt a lot from technology and equipment I had never seen or used before. The camera was fairly easy to use; however we came across problems with the tripod which is quite ironic as it should be easy to use. However, in two of the scenes we had the tripod too tight as so you can hear a slipping sound of the tripod in the background but we managed to cover this up with some diegetic sounds of the TV and of birds outside. However, because I filmed the scenes were you can hear this, I went and confronted a teacher who told me what I had done wrong and so I learnt about how to correctly use it even though it was too late to film again but I realised what I had done wrong so next time round it will be easier to use. With the camera, the only problem we had was that you could hear too much wind outside. We used Shazmaa’s camera because all the cameras were fully booked and we could not find a tape to put in the schools camera at short notice. The camera was easy to use but because it was small, the mic picked up sounds of wind more easily than a bigger camera would and so in the scenes where the two men are exchanging the envelope, you can hear too much wind and not enough dialogue. Because it was a small camera this also meant that it was hard to hold still. But the more we practiced, the easier it was. And because we had done the preliminary task, we had some practice. The biggest problem was with using the iMac. To start with, I had never used a Mac before and so editing was a completely new experience and no one else seemed to want to do it so this was mainly my job. After the preliminary task, I had got the hang of it and so editing was not so hard. For example, when uploading pictures they automatically have the Ken Burns effect which is when the picture slowly gets zoomed into and this had to be removed. I learnt how to cut and edit and add effects. However, somehow, whilst double-saving our work onto a USB, both files got corrupted so all the editing had to be done all over again by mainly myself, but Shazmaa helped and gave her opinion on things. I can say that I’ll have learnt so much about technologies whilst researching, planning, filming and editing our product and not only has it been a good experience, but I’m sure I can use these new gained skills in the future.

Looking back at your preliminary task what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product? Feed the fish was our preliminary task which in my opinion was not as good as we wanted it to be. However, the purpose of it was to learn from our mistakes to make our full product to the best it could be. It was boring as there was no sound other than the dialogue and a lot of the scenes were too long and it felt like it was dragging on for too long and therefore the viewer would lose interest whilst watching it. When doing our full product we spent so much longer looking through, and re filming each shot, filming more than we needed to ensure that we had a mixture of shots to prevent this from happening. In our preliminary task, we had a shot which was filmed at an angle which looked really good when we looked over it when editing, it looked strange and so we had to reshoot this. We tried to avoid this with our full product. However, because Ramish and Abdur did not come any of the days for filming, Shazmaa and I had only two days to film and so when we looked over what we had, the exchange scene had broken the 180 degree rule. We wanted to re-film this but our actors were not available which was a shame. In our preliminary task, we all worked as a team and it was productive. However, in the full product, it was more about not relying on others. We tried to work as a team but in the end, work was just split up between us and different jobs were allocated equally between us. But it is true that without correct teamwork and brainstorming ideas and deciding on an aim, you will not get high performance from the team. Clearly, we have all progressed, individually and as a team and our end product is so much better than our preliminary task.

Ishma Evaluation  

Media Studies