Archive for Coursework: 321: Thriller Opening Sequence

Final Cut

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Rough Cut Feedback

Please complete the following questionnaire about our final rough cut:
rough-cut-feedback

Rough Cut Feedback
The following video shows footage of our rough cut and our peers opinion on it:

Interview 1:
Better variety of camera angles and maybe a more relevant backing track. However, I felt the titles fitted in nicely with the thriller genre and were used at appropriate times.

Interview 2:
To start with it thought the story line was unclear and not helped by some of the shots they used. That aside, I did think overall it was good to watch and they framed the shots nicely.

Interview 3:
I thought the idea for the thriller film was really good and it was filmed well and portrayed the story nicely. I did think that some of the sound affects could have been used better.

Thriller Rough Cut And Shooting Experience

Rough Cut

Shooting Experience
The thriller shooting experience was a very new and exciting concept for me and my group. Although we had made short videos before, none of them were as in-depth as what we had been asked to shoot. We had done lots of primary and secondary research and had an animatic storyboard as a guideline. It was now merely down to making sure everyone was available to shoot and we had a proper location and equipment with which to do so.

Borrowing the equipment form the media department was relatively easy, we simply booked in a time we could use the cameras and tripods. We did however have to make sure we booked the apparatus at a time we were all able to film at the location. When writing our transcript we had a few setting in mind, however they would all be tricky to get permission because we needed to film the actor falling into a swimming pool. Thankfully we had a friend who conveniently had a swimming pool in his house and he was more than willing to let us film there. We scheduled in a time that was appropriate for him and made sure we would have enough time at the location to get all of our footage complete.

When filming we faced minor problems that we had anticipated might happen, for example the camera we borrowed stopped working when we reached the location, however we were equipped with two cameras and used the reserve camera instead. Also, half way through our filming experience we suffered from low battery in one of the cameras but once again we were prepared for such an event and had a camera charger. We took a break and let the camera charge until we were able to shoot again.

While filming we were relatively slow to start with but with help from our animatic storyboard we soon sped up the process and starting to get some good shots. We also ended up taking many more shots of what we felt would fit in nicely to our piece. We had minor disagreements over certain shots but because we were in a group of three, someone always had a deciding vote. In some cases if someone felt strongly about a certain shot and the other two disagreed we still captured the footage to see how it would look.

We had foreseen that it may be likely that we would have to shoot more than once at the location after looking over our footage and there were definitely places where we felt lacked adequate recording. But again there were no real problems while shooting and everything went to plan. We were now happy with the footage we had and felt that it was enough to embed into our video for our final thriller opening.

Overall, it was a satisfying shooting experience and we learnt a lot for future videos. Our main problem came from our animatic storyboard. We slightly overcomplicated it and some of the shots we found too challenging for the equipment we had. That aside, much of what we aimed to achieve was successful and we were all very happy with the outcome.

Animatic Storyboard Feedback

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Animatic Storyboard

Costume, Props, Setting, Mes en scene Blog

Sound Track Research

This is the first of the two soundtracks I am going to research. This soundtrack is from the psychological thriller, “Phone Booth”, and is called, “Center of Attention”. The soundtrack as a whole never really kicks into a rhythmic beat, with irregular patterns which ultimately reflects the mindset of the character throughout the whole of the ordeal in Phone Booth. This is beacuse throughout the ordeal, the character does not know what decisions to make and what to do as he is under intense pressure that he struggles to handle. This stress is intensified in the soundtrack through the use of an irregular sounding synthesizer which is used to represent the characte’s battle against the stress he is under. In addition, apart from the synthesizer, there isn’t one instrument that is the same throughout. This could be interpreted that the synthesizer symbolises the charcater’s mind, and all the other instruments represent the problems that he faces, with the louder instruments symbolising a bigger threat.
This soundtrack is really helpful for the development of a soundtrack for our piece as they are both psychological thrillers. The eerie sense created is something that we definitely want to implement into our soundtrack to reflect the unstable state of the boy’s mind, and the perculiarity of the objects he packs into his schoolbag.

The second of the soundtracks I am going to research is from arguably one of the best thriller movies of this decade, “Batman: The Dark Knight”. Throughout the soundtrack, there is a orchestra creating a sort of train-like effect, representing the flow of destruction The Joker was leaving in his wake as he ripped through the city. Furthermore, the pace of the train-like effect seemed to increase as the soundtrack went on. The trumpets symbolise the Batman trying to prevent and stop The Joker, and the recurrance of the trumpets represents how the Batman keeps attmepting to stop The Joker, and the trumpets stop after the train-like effect, representing the Batman winning his battle to stop The Joker.
This soundtrack isn’t as helpful for us as that of Phone Booth, as The Dark Knight isn’t a psychological thriller, which makes it less relevant to our piece. However, there are many techniques that we should consider in our soundtrack that are shown in the soundtrack for The Dark Knight. The best technique I think is used and we should try to implement into our soundtrack is the layering effect. We could use this to intensify the boys feelings leading up to the suicide.

Risk assessment and Logistics

This is a risk assesment of what issues we could occur during the process of making our film, they are each rated out of 10 for there risk level with 10 being the highest and 1 being the lowest. I also made a point on how to avoid each risk for every issue.

Logistics
Here is a list of who’s doing what, the locations we will be filming in and a list of props and equipment.
Camera Operator – Sam Lane
Cinematographer – Sam Lane, Joe Jordan, Josh Bastin
Assistant Camera Operator – Joe Jordan
Actor – Josh Bastin
Editor – Sam Lane, Joe Jordan, Josh Bastin
Director of Sound – Sam Lane, Joe Jordan, Josh Bastin

Locations
Sandeep Chaggars swimming Pool

Sam Lanes house

Props
Note

Family photograph

Backpack

School books

Watch

Equipment
Camera

Tripod

Battery

Titles

Se7en:

The film, Se7en, is a thriller film about two police detectives working in a crime-filled city, who become deeply absorbed in a case involving a series of sadistic murders. Each murder corresponds to one of the seven deadly sins: Gluttony, Envy, Lust, Pride, Sloth, Greed and Wrath.

Something I initially spotted from the credits of Se7en is the size of them. The credits do not take up a lot of the screen and are not big and bold like most credits. They are more reserved which may link to the serial killer and how in a lot of films the audience already know who the killer is, but in this particular film his identity is kept hidden and reserved. The small font of the titles may also relate to what a small chance it is for the detectives to find the murderer.

Another striking feature to the credits is the colour of them. They are not in the clichéd colour red representing danger and death which would fit in with the genre of the film. However, instead they are coloured white which usually represents peace and new life. Therefore the colour of the titles is juxtaposed with the style of the film, which creates confusion amongst viewers.

Some of the titles that appear are backwards which may be linked to the backwards nature of the crimes the serial murder is committing. Many of the titles that appear are also blurred. This affect may have been used to create confusion and suspicion amongst the audience. The blurred credits also fit in with the psychotic nature of the film and may be used to represent the killers mind and how its is clouded and he is clearly not sane. Soon after the credits appear blurred they become clear to see. This may be associated with the storyline of the film and how at first the reason for these murders is unclear but towards the end it all becomes evident.

The credits to Se7en have many impressive editing skills that grip the audience from the very start. There are various features to the way the titles have been done that I feel would be appropriate to duplicate for my opening to a thriller coursework. Firstly I would like to make the titles appear in a similar way to how they do in Se7en because in Se7en they do not just appear on the screen but they flash onto the screen which creates a sense of mystery. This would work well in my opening to a thriller because our aim is to create a sense of mystery and keep the audience in suspense. Each technique used in Se7en is applicable to the film and I hope to keep this same relevance when creating the credits to my own thriller.

Flightplan:

The title sequence order is as you’d expect from this film. It begins with the publishers, “Touchstone Pictures” as they are the biggest company there. Next is then the production company, “Imagine Entertainment”, then onto the director, “Brian Grazer”, and then the main actress, “Jodie Foster”. This is the normal order for most films in order of importance. They are set out like this as for the film to be a success it needed those names in it’s order to obtain it.

I think the effects on the titles are fairly basic, and haven’t had much thought put into them. The reason for this is, the only effects they have on the titles really are at the beginning, whereby there is a wipe from the train for them to come on, and the reflection of the titles on the train later on. The most disappointing part of the titles was the effect on the actual name of the film itself. It just popped up on screen, and was in the bottom-right corner of the screen, giving it no significance at all.

I also think the font of the titles was poor. It looks to be the standard “Arial” font, which is quite boring. However, I think white was the right colour to use for the titles as white has an element of mystery about it, and symbolises innocence, which reflects Jodie Foster’s character in this film as they keep blaming her and complaining about her actions on the plane. Again though, I feel some of the titles should have been bigger in the circumstances they have the titles appear. At the beginning with the main titles, when they appear on screen, the background is just black, so had plenty more room to make the titles bigger.

If I were to make the titles for this film, to go with the theme of the plane, and to make them more interesting, I’d have the titles look like they do on departure lists, much like the comedy series “Come Fly With Me”:

And as these titles would not fit into the shots in the opening sequence, I’d change them so she is in the airport with her daughter, and the scenes that are in the actual title sequence we see as flashbacks.

Overall, I think the tiles for Flightplan are of poor quality.

Final Destination:

Final destination 3 is a thriller film about a group of teenagers that go to an amusement park, they all get onto the “Devils Flight” rollercoaster but then Wendy, a girl from the group has a premonition and for various reasons 8 of the group gets off the rollercoaster. Wendy’s premonition becomes a reality killing everyone that stayed on the rollercoaster.

All the titles are in the same font which could link to the fact that everyone that got off the rollercoaster is in the same position because they all seem to be having freak accidents or extremely unlikely occurrences surrounding there lives which will eventually lead to the death of all eight people that got off the rollercoaster. Furthermore all the titles are in certain objects which seem fairly normal like a rollercoaster, a sun bed, a drill etc. but this is foreshadowing the future events as each one of the normal objects results in a freak accident later on in the film, for example one of the eight that survived the “Devils Flight” decided to get a sunbed, but whilst in the sunbed a shelf falls onto the sunbed trapping her inside and burning her alive.

At the very begin we see the Theme Park which relates to the theme park the teenagers are in at the very beginning but this is a juxtaposition as in the theme park a whole rollercoaster carriage full of people die yet they look happy in the titles, this could be to show the confusion that the eight survivors must go through knowing that they too could have not made the decision to get off the “devils flight” rollercoaster which could’ve lead to all their deaths.

The Titles to Final Destination are not the most technical but sometimes the more basic ideas can actually result in better work, I personally think that they work really well because the ideas behind them are very clever for example the “death objects” being around the titles themselves and the juxtaposition that the theme park at the start looks extremely happy yet the whole film is about death. All the effects that the editor has used are very relevant to the film and hopefully I can achieve the same goal in my Thriller Opening.

Ideas for Thriller Opening

Original Transcript
The establishing shot is at night of a teenage boy standing with his back facing a swimming pool. He is all on his own wearing school clothes but looks depressed. The next thing we realise is he has a bag on his back, which we later find out is full of bricks. We then see him falling back into the pool in slow-motion, and then jump cut into the next scene to the morning in which he immediately arises out of the bathwater, gasping for air. We then see him getting dryed of in the bath room and gradually getting ready for school. He packs the usual things for school, however he does it slowly and suspiciously. However, he then starts to pack some unusual objects, for example bricks, and maybe objects close to him. He picks up a family photo which is framed in the shot. This arouses more suspicion about his state of mind. We then see the boy writing a note that he leaves around the house, (maybe on his bed, or in the kitchen).

The next scene begins with the teen in his early childhood, with both parents outside in the garden with the father teaching the boy how to play football, whilst the mother is sunbathing. It shows the boy as very happy, and having a strong relationship with his father.

The next scene we see the father ill and in hospital. The doctor comes in and reveals his dad is suffering from lung cancer as he was a heavy smoker. This is the turning point for the child and it is from this point that his happiness takes a turn for the worse. In the next scene we see the boy at about the age of 13, and by his father’s bedside as he dies. This is the point where he starts to spiral into depression, as his father’s death hits him hard.

The final scene shows the day of where he decides to commit suicide, beginning with scenes from the flashbacks at the beginning. The scene opens with him packing the unusual objects and leaving the note behind. He has a bad day at school, with teachers constantly barking at him. It ends with the scene the film started with, with the boy jumping into the pool and his tombstone comes up and the credits scroll along the tombstone.

Reasons For Our Chosen Storyline
We decided to use a psychological thriller because our research showed that 9 out of 20 people preferred that type of thriller with crime thrillers being second with 4 out of 20. Although 20 people is only a small sample we also interviewed an extra 19 people asking which thriller film they prefer out of Inception and The Dark Knight. Out of the 19 people, 12 people said they preferred Inception which is a psychological thriller. It also helped that each member of our group was a big fan of psychological thrillers and were enthusiastic about making one. One of our main inspirations was the thriller Inception that was hugely popular when released in cinemas.

Transcript Feedback
For feedback we asked four girls and four boys how they thought we could improve our transcript. We chose a mixture of girls an boys so we had views from both genders.

Louise – The death of his Dad should be more spontaneous so it is sadder when we find out he dies.

Jamie – If the Dad dies from smoking there should be a scene of him smoking to create a scene of foreboding.

Nick – There should be more focus on why the boy is depressed so you can relate more to him.

Max – It Jumps too quickly from age to age which can be confusing. There should also be more focus on the father and sons relationship.

Tommy – There should be a scene of his mum not coping so you can see he has no one to turn to.

Emma – Go more into depth with how bad his day at school was, e.g, what went wrong and what people said to him.

Jess – Too much is revealed at the beginning so there is no sense of mystery to the story.

Ellie – There should be a better ending than just showing his tombstone.

Focus Group

The focus group was far more helpful than we had originally imagined. It really helped us to scrutinise our transcript further and people also came up with some good ideas that we had not originally thought of. It was also useful because we got an unbiased view.

Final Transcript
The establishing shot is of teenage boys arm turning on the taps to run a bath. He goes on to do everyday morning things, for example, brush his teeth. You then see a leg slowly entering the bath. The next shot will be of the boy gradually sinking his head under the water of the bath. It then fades quickly to a shot of the same boy writing a suicide not to his mother, (this note will be expressed through a voice over). As the voice over is being spoken, there will be shots of him slowly getting dressed into his school uniform. Once he is dressed he picks up a photo of him and his father. In this shot you will only be able to see the photo and no background. In the next shot the boy is holding the same photo, but in different surroundings. He is in a room with a swimming pool with a school bag on his back. The next shots show the swimming pool cover slowly opening and the teenage boy walking around the pool with the photo still in his hand. When the boy reaches the other side of the pool he puts the heels of his shoes over the edge. There are then flashbacks of him and his father, the suicide note he wrote and him packing his school bag with bricks, (that will weigh him down in the swimming pool). He falls backwards into the swimming pool and then quickly emerges from the bath he had previously sunk into.

The next scene begins with the teen in his early childhood, with both parents outside in the garden with the father teaching the boy how to play football, whilst the mother is sunbathing. It shows the boy as very happy, and having a strong relationship with his father.

The next scene we see the father ill and in hospital. The doctor comes in and reveals his dad is suffering from lung cancer as he was a heavy smoker. This is the turning point for the child and it is from this point that his happiness takes a turn for the worse. In the next scene we see the boy at about the age of 13, and by his father’s bedside as he dies. This is the point where he starts to spiral into depression, as his father’s death hits him hard.

The final scene shows the day of where he decides to commit suicide, beginning with scenes from the flashbacks at the beginning. The scene opens with him packing the unusual objects and leaving the note behind. He has a bad day at school, with teachers constantly barking at him. It ends with the scene the film started with, with the boy jumping into the pool and his tombstone comes up and the credits scroll along the tombstone.

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