Friday, 26 March 2010

Evaluation of G321 Foundation Portfolio Project- The opening two minutes of a new film.

In our film near the beginning, though not directly at the start, we employ a shot type that is commonly used in horror movies, such as The Blair Witch Project (1999), where a character is being filmed by a shaky hand held camera from behind as they are chased. In our film it is from the point of view of the thing that is chasing the camera, which we cannot see. This shot type creates a heightened sense of tension for the viewer as it is difficult to see exactly what is going on and the lack of knowledge leads to the audience wanting to know more.

We also use a bridging sound of a scream which is commonly used in many horror movies to show that although the viewer does not see what happens to the character it suggests something very bad. We also used a lot more shot types that are not only used in horror, but many film genres. The types we used were longs shots, close-up, extreme close-ups, zooms and match on action.

At the start our film seems to follow a similar storyline to most ‘slasher’/ horror movies. It starts with a typical teenage girl being chased by something terrible and unseen being however, due to our films psychological nature, if the movie was to be made it would attempt to go beyond the more common typical murderer or evil creature killing for fun and into the deeper, darker side to the human mind, exploring what pushes people to the edge and what happens to people once they die.

Technically we represented youth as uncaring and stupid, not affected by peoples death unless it directly affects them i.e. they knew the person who died. The uncaring and ‘common’ side is shown by Toni’s character, Mildred, who has a colloquial dialect that represents the area she is from and also hints towards a lack of education. She is made to seem unaffected and even a little attention seeking through her interview with the radio presenter, hinting that youth only care about what they can get out of any situation and will jump at the chance for five minutes in the limelight. However we changed our characters from being the typical sexy, skimpily dressed, brainless bimbos that usually appear in horror movies. We decided to make our characters look more realistic and therefore more human, making it easier for the audience to relate to them.

Youth as a whole is represented as typically jean as trainer wearing, with not a great deal of fashion sense, only wearing what’s comfortable. In the first two minutes we include a stereotype of the typical ‘chav’, which is commonly used in English media nowadays. The ‘chav’, Mildred, is shown through the mise-en-scene of the big, puffed out ‘hoodie’ style coat and trainers. The attitude, of being a bit slow and uncaring, is also typical of the ‘chav’ stereo type.

Possible production companies for the movie could be the obvious such as Universal, Paramount and Fox. Fox has previously produced movies of a psychological nature, such as The Silence of the Lambs (1991) and Fight Club(1999) so it would be a good company to chose. Also Spyglass Entertainment has produced The Sixth Sense(1999), a movie that has a similar style to ours, and so it would make sense to chose them, however because the movies are so similar it might put the production company off.

The movie industry has often follows patterns in the genre’s of movies they produce, for the last few years it has followed the supernatural trend of Vampires but that has recently changed and now Hollywood is following the trend of Angels, however this should not affect production of a different style of movie much. Often there is only so much of one style of movie an audience can watch and for a long time horror movies have been popular, whether they are in style or not, because the accommodate the need for violence and fear that an individual might not get from their everyday lives.

Our target audience will be that of the adults/ older teenagers, as the movie will be rather graphically violent it will not be viewable below the age of 18 any way but its psychological nature will make it harder for younger audiences to understand anyway.

The movie will also be geared towards a more unisex audience, without tipping the balance towards females by putting lots of handsome men in, or tipping the balance towards the male audience by putting lots of good looking women in. Although our movie appears to be mainly female dominant because the first few minutes contains only females, it will not be like that throughout the movie and more males would be introduced to the cast later on,, the female ratio would also become less especially since the character of Tammy dies straight away and the character of Mildred would not be included in the rest of the film as she would be superfluous and was only needed for the beginning to create a sense of realism in our film.

With our movie’s promotion we would take a page out of the book of movies such as Transformers (2007) and Cloverfield (2008) and release a short clip of one of the most surprising scenes. This is a great way to hook the audience’s attention and get them anticipating our movie. We would also look into the idea of an Internet campaign, because the audience we are targeting are very familiar with technology and are a large part of the technological age.

From Cloverfield of the statue of liberty's head.

From making our short film opening I have learnt a lot about media technologies at are employed in the film industries. I have learnt that in order to track movement without making the camera shake film makers often use a harness attached to a camera man that prevents shaking or they use a dolly, a camera attached to a set of tracks, to move the camera long distances and/ or frame a shot. We have learnt a lot about camera’s and I now know that although a movie can be filmed on a camcorder the quality would be terrible and make the movie hard to watch, so although a small, cheap camcorder was fine for our coursework if we wanted to make a movie that was visually pleasing and perhaps Hollywood standard we’d have to invest in some high quality cameras and microphones, because the sound is also not of a terribly high standard, however that is not so say that it is entirely impossible as The Blair Witch Project was filmed with camcorder style cameras and that made profits of millions which is highly surprising considering it only cost less than a million to make.

Our group also used an editing software package by Adobe, which was a little simple but for a movie not requiring much effects, like ours, it was perfect and allowed us to work with a new type of software we had never used before, providing us with a wider range of knowledge and experience of editing. For our title sequence we used a font style taken from the Internet, so not found as a default on the computer which could perhaps be a problem and we would have to contact the creator and probably pay royalties if we were to publish our movie.

We then edited it by adding the blood like red colour seeping down on the editing package Sony Vegas 7, which is slightly more advanced than Adobe. From the filming process we learnt the importance of a tripod to create still frames, but we learnt also that without them, if you add a rough walking movement to track action, it creates a visually interesting shot that instills a sense of confusion in the audience.

Our project change often throughout the editing and filming process, our growing familiarity with the camera allowed decisions such as the shaky camera shot to happen. At first it was rather difficult to have someone tracking the action in that way while actually keeping the camera steady enough to follow the character through the woods, but as we became more familiar we learnt that smaller movements could create a similar effect that was concentrated on the character. Growing familiarity with the editing software also allowed for us to add overlays and fades in multiple places as well as adding sound and controlling if a clip was slow, normal or fast motion. At the beginning this would all have been impossible as we were completely new to the editing package, but we stuck with it and played around until we could find exactly what we wanted for the scene, even though it might not have always been what we had planned, but in the end it usually worked out better for it.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Shooting Schedule

Click to enlarge.

This shooting schedual was made a lot earliear on, before we decided to change the male character of Eddy Butterworth to that of a female character, Mildred Butterworth

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Synoptic treatment for Judgement

Horror has dramatically changed over the years, going from classic films that have deep meanings that the audience can connect with, to gruesome ‘slasher’ films that now dominate the market. One of the things our movie will aim to do is bridge the gap between the old and new style, creating a gruesomely violent movie with a meaningful storyline which will inspire the audience and stay with them for long after they have watched it, making them want to watch it again.

Alex Winchester was a normal teen age girl with good friends and a great life, until the sudden and mysterious death of her best friend changed everything. Following Barthes' enigma code theory we will see Alex desperately try to find answers for her friend’s death but it becomes obvious that no-one will talk to her about it; in fact to her it appears that they are too caught up in their grief to even acknowledge her existence, but she refuses to give up. In the night time Alex will be plagued with terrible dreams of a car crash which she can’t ever remember happening and at the very end she will see the face of an old woman. More and more of her friends will start dying around her and she will be witness to one of these deaths where she will see a mysterious evil figure that she cannot make out completely. She then will realise that the car crash from her dream is real and everyone who was in the car is being killed off. She starts to believe it is the ghost of the old woman, who we find out died, and realises she’s next. She will get chased into a grave yard by the evil creature and trip over a grave but when she turns round to look at the tomb stone she will see that it is her own. She realises that she also died in the car crash and is killing off her friends because she blames them for her death. She will turn round and see herself and they will get into a conversation before she finally accepts that she can’t change what she’s done and, following Todorov's theory of equlibrium being restored after a moment of harmony, both versions of her find peace.

This movie will be a horror/ psychological thriller taking inspiration from two different styles of film. The idea that the main character is dead but does not realise it will be taken from classic movies like The Sixth Sense (1999) and The Others (2001) where both the main characters have dealings with the supernatural but do not realise that they are dead themselves. The idea that the main character will have multiple personalities and not realise it is actually them committing the crimes is like that of Fight Club (1999), an old movie, and The Uninvited (2009), a reasonably new movie based on an older Japanese film. In these movies both characters have split personalities, however what will be different in this movie is that the main character never interacts with their split personality as a friend, they will only have one encounter and that will be at the very end of the movie. The movie will take a few different aspects from a few well loved films but it will put its own unique spin on things so that it will remembered in its own right as movie unlike others out there.

Two directors that could be used are Charles and Thomas Guard. They are brothers who direct movies together and all though they are fairly new to the movie business they have directed some good movies. They actually directed The uninvited so they would not be strangers to this type of movie genre/ style. Another good director would be M. Night Shyamalan as he is good at creating a sense of tension and terror in all his horror movies; he has directed movies like The Village (2004), The Happening (2008) and The Sixth Sense. Both these directors would be good for creating the type of dark, depressing and creepy undertone appropriate for this movie.

There will be a few underlying themes in this movie. One will be social alienation, trying to find out if humans need friends and physical contact, after all the main character will feel alienated from her friends and need them in her time of grief, or are human beings better off alone; are we smarter, stronger and better at surviving without attachments and things to drag us down. Another theme will be is there life after death? This theme will be explored by Alex before she finds out about her own death, whether or not it is a ghost killing her friends or if it is just some deranged killer, and if things that are dead are defiantly evil or just misunderstood.

The title Judgement is a working title however it fits the movie well, Alex will be effectively be the judge, juror and executioner to all the people she believes killed her. It could also apply to her misjudgement of whom/ what is killing her friends and the reason behind it, or even the misjudgement of herself and what she is truly capable of.

This movie will be released on October 13th 2011 as it gives plenty of time to shoot and edit but. The time of its release is close to Halloween but far enough away from the day so that it will not be a typical Halloween style movie that is only good for cheap thrills one night a year. Because this movie does not centre around Halloween it should be watchable all year round but Halloween is a good time to release it as it is peak time for horror movies. The movie will have a certificate of eighteen to account for the gore, violence and terrifying psychological elements in the film.

Sounds and Effects of horror films

Information researched by Toni Simmons:

For the sounds and effects of horror films, the music is sometimes used to create a particular atmosphere or even some forms of tension, such as someone murdering someone, making someone happy, watching someone cry and more, for the audience to witness. Some horror films may not need to actually use music, but to use special effects to also create tension or to get a reaction from someone or something, in a particular scene, like using lighting in a certain way, certain noises to show the particular person off of how they need to be portrayed as well.

The first film that was made.

Information researched by Toni simmons:

The first movie made was called The Great Train Robbery, as this was the first made with a story- line in it. The first feature length film was called The story of the Kelly Gang, the actors who starred in the film, were Godrey Cass, Nicholas Brierley, Elizabeth Tait and John Tait.

Secondly, the first colour movie was The World the Flesh and the Devil, in which it made its debut in 1914, and the actor was called H. Argar Lyons, who played the devil.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Horror Films From The 1990's-2000's

Scream (1996)
Budget: $14,000,000
Gross revenue: $173,046,567
Release Date: 2 May 1997 (UK)
Genre: Crime, Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Staring: David Arquette, Neve Campbell and Courteney Cox
Production Company: Dimension Films
Plot:A psychopathic serial killer is stalking a group of teens just like in the movies (from IMDB)
Tagline: Don't Answer The Phone. Don't Open The Door. Don't Try To Escape.

The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Budget: $500,000-$750,000
Gross revenue: $248,639,099
Release Date: 22 October 1999 (UK)
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Staring: Heather Donahue and Joshua Leonard
Production Company: Haxan Films

Final Destination (2000)
Budget: $23 million
Gross revenue: $112,880,294
Release Date: 19 May 2000 (UK)
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Staring: Devon Sawa, Ali Larter and Kerr Smith
Company: New Line Cinema

The Others (2001)
Gross revenue: $209,947,037
Release Date: 2 November 2001 (UK)
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Staring: Nicole Kidman, Fionnula Flanagan and Christopher Eccleston
Production Company: Cruise/Wagner Productions

The Ring (2002)
Budget: $48 million
Gross revenue: $249,348,933
Release Date:21 February 2003 (UK)
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Staring: Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson and David Dorfman
Production Company: DreamWorks SKG

28 Days Later (2002)
Budget: £5,000,000
Gross revenue: $82,719,885
Release Date: 1 November 2002 (UK)
Genre: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Staring: Cillian Murphy and Naomie Harris
Production Company: DNA Films

The Grudge (2004)
Budget: $10 Million
Gross revenue: $187,281,115
Release Date: 5 November 2004 (UK)
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Staring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jason Behr and William Mapother
Production Company: Senator International
Plot: An American nurse living and working in Tokyo is exposed to a mysterious supernatural curse, one that locks a person in a powerful rage before claiming their life and spreading to another victim (from IMDB)

The Uninvited (2009)
Gross revenue: $40,563,148
Release Date: 24 April 2009 (UK)
Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Staring: Emily Browning, Arielle Kebbel, and Elizabeth Banks
Production Company: DreamWorks SKG
Plot: Anna Rydell returns home to her sister (and best friend) Alex after a stint in a mental hospital, though her recovery is jeopardized thanks to her cruel stepmother, aloof father, and the presence of a ghost in their home (from IMDB)