Thursday, 7 April 2011

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Research

The Orphanage Research

The Shining Research

The Ring Research

Title ideas

Our initial title of our opening sequence was 'bedevilment' which defines as the act of harassing someone.
Idea 1:

Idea 2:

However two of our group member did not like 'bedevilment' as the title to our horror extract, therefore we agreed with the new title 'Blood Farmers'.
Idea 3:

Idea 4:

A reflective summary of problems faced in our group work

The major problem our group faced during the production of our opening sequence was the illness of one of our group members. Ruba Khan had suffered from Glandular Fever and had to take 2 weeks off to school to be able to recover. Beforehand she was the protagonist and we had spent a few hours filming, however we had to dismiss the previous extract, as she could not carry on filming as she was not present at school. This put our group behind schedule and the only alternative was to find another actor. We were able to use Maham Iftikhar as our protagonist, however during our Media lessons, she had Maths, therefore we could not film during lesson time. We decided to do most of our filming in our time during fifth period. Eventually we were able to catch up and wad able to complete the opening sequence within the deadline.

Inspiration behind our opening sequence

Before we set out to film, we researched on previous successful blockbusters such as The Ring, The Shining, The Orphanage and The Chainsaw Massacre. This enabled our group to embed the conventions viewed into our own extract. The group was creative and we began enhancing a basic idea, girl lost in forest, into a sophisticated narrative. Each group member put an input into our ideas, until we were able to create an imaginative story line that fit into our theme of horror. The group decided the best approach was to use a simple narrative, however embellish this with the se of dramatic music, and diverse camera angles and shots. This technique allowed us to explore with the concept of media and show our practical side.

Organisation Activities

To ensure that our opening sequence was done promptly and we certified that we had all the costumes, props, equipment and the actors we needed. In order to do this, we made a prop list and ticked off everything that we had completed or got.
The prop list consisted of all the names of the people in our group, the costumes we needed (fake blood, knife, mask, bag, farmer costume, school uniform) and the equipment we needed (camera, tripod, storyboard, battery, cassette).
We evaluated how we will manage to complete the opening within the time period we had left. We done a certain amount each day accordingly and we managed to achieve our aim.
When we done it after school timings we made sure that it was at a time and date that everyone could make it, even if that person may not have been needed. This was so everyone equally took part in the making of it. Most of our filming was produced in Repton Park, thus, either we all made a meeting point or we went there together to stop wasting time.
We were rushed for time consistently throughout the production, therefore, we all had to work together as a group to make it to the best of our ability.

Treatment Form

The concept of our opening sequence involves a teenage girl taking a shortcut through a secluded forest to be able to shorten her route. However she gets lost and approaches a man for guidance. As the man reveals himself, he is dressed in a white mask, covered in blood, and shown holding a weapon.

Our opening sequence only involves two characters. One is the protagonist, which is the school girl that gets lost in the secluded forest. She is dressed in smart clothes and is holding school bag to signify that she is a student. The other character in our horror extract is the killer. We wanted him to appear menacing, therefore we decided to dress him in a jumpsuit, with a mask to hide his identity, and also covered in fake blood.

The extract commences normally however it progresses into a horror when we are introduced to the murderer.

The tone is frightening as we attempted to create a tense atmosphere filled with sheer suspense. We also tried to emphasise on the element of horror and intended to evoke the audience into a fearful state.

The protagonist is walking with her friend along the pavement; until she reaches a gate to a forest which is a short cut therefore they part ways. The girl enters the forest however she unfortunately takes the wrong route. This leads her to an unknown location therefore she rings her friend for guidance. As they are on the phone, the schoolgirl sees a man in the distance, and approaches him to ask for directions. As he turns around, she is confronted by a killer in a white mask holding a destructive weapon.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Conventions of Opening sequences

-Opening sequences are a vital element in film marketing as the first minutes will captivate the audiences’ attention; viewer decided to watch the rest or not
- Creates immediate interest in the film from the start
-Does not give away crucial elements; some opening sequences are criticised for giving away too much detail
-Opening credits placed at the beginning of film. The purpose of this is to inform viewers what is expected in the film; audience often decide to watch a film based on the actors in it.
-Title and release date placed at end of film
-Names of directors and/or producers are embedded; phrases such as ‘from the creator of...’. The main intention of this is for spectators to make connections between the film about to be viewed and previous successful and recognised films by the same director/producer.
-Powerful voiceover may be present to captivate attention of viewers; pungent voice emphasises key elements of the film.
-Music is essential as it portrays genre, style and plot of film. Music is used in a clever manner to bring the opening sequence together.

Research into Horror Films

Horror films are designed to:
v  Frighten and panic
v  Cause dread and alarm
v  Invoke our hidden worst fear
v  Captivate and entertain us in a cathartic experience
v  May conclude in a terrifying finale which shocks the audience
Fears created by horrors:
v  Nightmares
v  Our vulnerability
v  Alienation
v  Revulsions
v  Terror of the unknown
v  Fear of death
v  Loss of identity
v  Fear of sexuality

Convention of characters:
v  Lead character becomes the survivor of the film
v  Killer monster often has a trademark of the people he kills or the weapon used
v  2 characters are in a conflict – good vs evil
v  Good person survives and defeats the ‘baddie’

General conventions:
v  Isolated location
v  Female victim
v  Disruption of normality
v  Sub plot of male/female relationship
v  Defeat of monster

Extracts found from the ‘Hammer and Beyond – British Horror’ written by Peter Hutchings.

Horror tends to be identified as a means by which an audience comes to terms with certain unpleasant aspects of reality. Horror film teaches an acceptance of natural order of things and an affirmation of mans’ ability to cope with an ever prevail over the evil of life which he can never understand.’
‘Horror sequences are really formulaic rituals coded with precise social information needed by adolescent audience.’
‘The psychopath tends to be a masculine as this is stereotyped as being the more dominant gender.’
‘Horror tends to include visible stress, acts of violence, predominantly adolescence audience and morbid themes.’
Our group acknowledged this statement by Peter Hutchings and tried to embed it into our extract. The psychopath in our extract is Arron Mallory. We decided to use him as he is masculine character, and this follows the general codes and conventions of horror as the character is the more dominant gender.
We have also portrayed visible stress from the protagonist in the extract, by screaming and distressed facial expression.

Audience Pleasure of Horror films

After watching various horror films (The Shining, The Orphan, The Strangers and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Our group studied the films, and below is the key conventions we found:
v  Moon
v  Black Background title
v  Mirror
v  Drugs
v  Physiatrists
v  Looking from a point of view out of a window
v  Forest
v  Creaking Doors
v  Swings
v  Fireplace
v  Fire
v  Mobile phone
v  Torchlight
v  Silhouette
v  Knife
v  Stranger in mask

Friday, 1 April 2011

Introduction to Group N

We are group N. We are a group of four, Arron Mallory, Samuel Baksh, Sepideh Safaei-Keshtgar and lastly Ruba Khan. Our aim is to produce a horror opening sequence which appeals to young adults as our target audience. We believe we are a talented group that is dedicated to this project. Each individual expertise’s in a particular skill.
Arron is an extremely creative student that is always full of ideas. He has an inventive mind and portrays his vision to us as a group. Many of his ideas have been embedded in our extract to be able to create a masterpiece.  He also has the seamless persona of the typical stalker by the way he walks and carries himself.  
Sam has a natural talent for filming. He is able to shoot at different camera angles and has an advanced perceptive for filming. He is a hardworking student and is committed at all times. He understands how to use any camera recorder and masters all the different modes and techniques.
Sepideh is the personal assistant in the group. She obtains a passion for designing the layout of the group blog; intending to add both graphic and moving images to the blog. She regularly updates the blog with recent information and also analyses the audience feedback to be able to improve our extract. Sepideh is also an extra in the opening of the extract.

Ruba Khan has a passion for designing the opening credits of the opening sequence. She also enjoys using the programme Garage Band and explores with different sounds to create a suitable piece to enhance our film. Ruba has a innovative personality and is a credit to the group.

Constructive Criticism from Class

We presented our opening sequence to the class to allow us to obtain constructive criticism from a different perspective. We handed out an audience feedback sheet and asked them to fill them out as they were viewing the extract. We gathered the results which is presented below:

What was especially good about the film: 
- Good camerawork from different perspectives
- Understood the plot well through the character / plot development
- Protagonist acts well and genuinely looks lost 

Who do you think the target audience is?
- Aimed at fans of horror
- Some people believed it was aimed at teenagers, whereas some thought the target audience was adults
- Obvious that the genre was horror / thriller

Did you notice any serious issues such as continuity errors, strange edits - Did anything not make sense to you?
- Various continuity errors towards the end of extract; shaky at parts
- Needs a lot of editing and re-ordering of shots
- Should embed more shots of girls reaction 
- At beginning, as the girl is walking into the forest, there is a shot of her walking in a deep forest, however next shot it involves her walking on a pathway; does not make sense
- No suspense built; sound needed to enhance opening sequence 
- Predictable 

From this we deciphered the key elements that need to be enhanced is sound and editing. 

Constructive Criticism from Mrs Thrasher

Our teacher watched our extract, and evaluated the opening sequence to ensure our group was able to improve. She liked the variety of shots embedded in our film extract; such as the over the shoulder shot and close ups, which emphasized key elements. Another shot Mrs Thrasher took pleasure in viewing was the shot of the killer creeping behind the tree; stalking the protagonist. She also enjoyed the heavy breathing as it was a diegetic sound which related to the action occurring in the film.

The criticisms she issued was that there were a few odd cuts present throughout the extract. This enables us to improve our editing technique and hopefully improve our continuity. She also believes that music is essential as we have not perfected the sound element of the extract yet. Our teacher questioned if the point of view shot of killer from the tree works, therefore we will review this and decide as a group. 

Disruption in Filming

On Friday 4th March, our group found out that our protagonist (a member of our group) was ill. She did not attend school on the following week and eventually we were told that she was suffering from glandular fever; could not attend school as it was highly contagious. This put our group at a disadvantage, as the only alternative was to begin filming with a new character. This had also jeopardized our timing and meant we had to start our filming from scratch, since she as not well enough to come to film. On Wednesday 9th March our group selected a new protagonist and began filming our extract. Our next day of filming was on Tuesday 15th March. We started filming at a secluded gated area near West Hatch High School, and then moved to another destination to film the rest of the scene; Repton Park. Our group finds it difficult to arrange a time due to regular disruptions and clashes in individuals schedule. The next date for our filming is on Thursday 17th March.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Day 1 of Filming

Our group met up after school on 1st March 2011. We walked down to our setting; Repton Park equipped. We found a secluded forest area, which was ideal for our extract. It consisted of a variety of trees and the floor was covered in autumnal leaves. There was also a dense amount of damp mud; this added to the element of horror. The sky was grey and the atmosphere was cold, which helped create a miserable aura for our film. The protagonist was dressed in school uniform as this signifies her role in the film as a student. She was dressed in smart black trousers, a school blouse and a cardigan. She also held a school bag as a prop; showing she was on her journey back home from school. We shot her walking from various angles such as over the shoulder, mid shot and tracking.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Film Shooting

Yesterday, we went as a group to a local forest area in which we had chosen to film the opening of a film. When we got there it was slightly different than what we thought it was like, this caused us to go off track of our storyboards as some camera angles and shots that we wanted to shoot were a bit difficult such as our birds eye view shot. As we found it difficult to shoot a Birds Eye View shot we chose to do the same scene from a different angle as a backup shot and we will decide which fits in and looks best when we come to edit the footage.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Preliminary Sequence

This is our preliminary sequence which was created as a group by Samuel Baksh (Camera Man), Ruba Khan (Actress), Arron Mallory (Director) and Sepideh Safaei-Keshtgar (Director's Assistant). Our preliminary sequence is a short clip of a conversation held in a school using our actress Ruba Khan and an actor who helped us to complete our preliminary sequence. Myself Samuel Baksh edited the sequence but found that when filming I had made a mistake but filming and pausing the camera to quickly missing out some audio in which was needed. Therefore it appears as if the editing was too tight missing some shots.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Group brainstorm

Hillbilly Outfits
Protagonist girl in West Hatch school uniform to show conventions of High school teenagers - this will show her innocence and make the audience feel more emotionally attached to her
Sack on killers head to create sense of mystery

2 minutes 30 seconds for the entire length of clip

Girl gets harassed by a Hillbilly at Repton Park

Diegetic: screams by girl to create atmosphere of terror
Non-diegetic: dramatic music to enhance tension and suspense

At dawn in secluded forested area in Repton Park

Extreme close up: Hillbilly
Over the shoulder: Hillbilly creating mystery 
Hand Held: Protagonist so audience is able to sympathise
Tracking: Of girls movements
Blank shots: Urge for audience to see what is actually happening

Natural lighting at evening time: enhance atmosphere of mystery and horror
Brightly lit room in school: safe atmosphere of school environment