Primary Research

PLANNING


As we knew this was going to be a significantly big blog entry and thorough research was necessary to determine the structure and idea for our thriller opening. We sat down in class and first discussed ways in which we can attain primary research. After we had done that, we then came up with as many ways as we could to represent the data we collect. This included ways such as graphs.

TWITTER AND WORDPRESS
From the research, we found that the poll was a very useful for collecting the data we was looking for from the research. One of the advantages of using the poll was it was very easy to advertise. You could use many different methods such as embedding it in the wordpress poll, as shown below:

This is an example of just one of the twenty questionnaires handed out.

From the twenty questionnaires handed out we put the results into charts to make it easier to understand.

Embedding the poll in wordpress was good because it meant that people viewing the blog did not have to click onto a link and be redirected to another website, they could just choose the option they wished, press vote and it was done. However, the problem with embedding it into wordpress was that not many people check the wordpress on a regular basis, and not in a large enough volume, so it had to be advertised via other methods.One of the methods was through Twitter. From the poll there was a link for it be shared on Twitter, so we could just tweet the link asking people to vote by clicking on the link and voting their favourite. This appealed to a wider audience than wordpress did because there are more people checking Twitter on a regular basis than our wordpress blogs. The only problem was that you are unable to embed the poll into Twitter, therefore you had to post a link and viewers would have to be redirected to the website the poll was made from. Even more popular than twitter though would be Facebook. The reasoning for this is that at this moment in time, Facebook has a larger audience than it’s competitors in the social networking market, so it would have appealed to an even wider audience than Twitter as people in general tend to check Facebook a lot more often than they do Twitter, so if we did research again, we should advertise any polls on Facebook as well in order to obtain a larger database for us to make the right decision; in this case being to choose the most popular thriller sub-genre for our coursework.



QUESTIONAIRE:
As primary research I decided one of the best possible ways to found out if people enjoy thrillers and what it is about them that they like would be to make a questionnaire. The questionnaire was handed to twenty people and consisted of 7 brief questions to help us get an idea of what it is people want to see in our final coursework thriller opening. The very first question was ‘Do you watch thriller films?’ with 100% of people answering yes. The fact that the initial result was such a success made me confident that the people answering the questions would know more what they were talking about with the following questions. Another question that was put in the questionnaire was ‘When watching a thriller film what do you look for?’ The results that came from this question was as follows:
Suspense – 7
Scary – 5
Action – 3
Death/Violence – 3
Good Plot – 2

I felt this was probably the most rewarding question because it will give us the biggest insight into what we are going to do for our final coursework thriller.

However another vital question we felt needed to be in the questionnaire was, ‘What is your favourite thriller sub-genre?’ I picked four of what I felt were the most watched sub-genres, which were conspiracy thriller, crime thriller, disaster thriller and psychological thriller. I made sure I put a description of what each sub-genre meant so that people could understand it better and give it a more thought out answer. The results were as follows:
Psychological – 9
Conspiracy – 4
Crime – 4
Disaster – 3

These results will again hopefully widen our horizons when picking the genre of our final thriller coursework. We will have to take into account the overwhelming vote for psychological thriller and also have to think carefully before deciding if a disaster thriller would be the right road to go down because it had the worst votes overall.

Each result gained from the questionnaire was extremely beneficial and it really feels like it is easing us towards the type of idea we will use for our final coursework.



POLL

FACEBOOK
After we got the information of twitter, wordpress and the questionnaire we decided to ask which people preferred out of the highest voted Thriller Genres which were Crime and Psychological. Here are some screen shots from the question.


We put this information into a graph to make it easier to view the results:

Inception ( Psychological Thriller) – 12
Dark Knight ( Crime Thriller ) – 7

Evaluation:
From all of the research, we found that a clear favourite is a psychological thriller, much like the recent box office smash, ‘Inception’. This exercise has helped us a lot as we were originally thinking of doing a crime thriller, but research has shown that it would not appeal to the audience as much as a psychological thriller would. I think the best way to represent the data we collected was the pie chart, as it shows the clear proportion between the results.

The best method of gaining responses we found was Facebook. The reason why this shone above other methods such as Twitter and surveys was mainly down to the access to the audience. On Facebook we had a lot more contacts, therefore meaning it was brought to the attention of a lot more people. Using questionnaires as research was very time consuming, so getting responses was limited as it took an extended time for both us and the respondents. Twitter is fairly new, so we have very few contacts on there.

How Will It Affect Our Treatment?:
Seeing as the clear favourite thriller genre was psychological thriller, we will now be making a psychological thriller. We already have a rough idea that it will contain a suicide of a teenager as his state of mind is very unstable. Ideally we want to use water in our piece so we will include this in our treatment. Furthermore, from the graphs you can see that the audience are looking mainly for suspense in a thriller, so will construct our treatment packed with moments creating suspense.

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Thriller Research

Die Hard

Die Hard is a thriller movie released in 1988 starring Bruce Willis as a detective, called John McClane, who takes on a group of terrorists who hold people hostage in the Nakatomi Plaza, on Christmas Eve. This thriller follows many common thriller conventions, however none of these become known in the opening sequence to the movie. But, throughout the movie, some of the thriller conventions that occur are: A crime at the core of the narrative due to the hostage situation, A narrative pattern of establishing enigmas which the viewer expects to be resolved such as McClane having to find a way to defuse the explosives on the roof, and protagonist with a flaw which is exploited by the antagonist whereby Gruber realises John’s wife is in the building and kidnaps her. The other conventions are: Extraordinary events happening in ordinary situations, Themes of identity, Themes of voyeurism and A scene near the end of the film in which the protagonist is in peril. Die Hard is a blend of both a Conspiracy and Crime thriller, as McClane is the only one who knows what the terrorists are doing as he is the only one inside the tower block, and the terrorists holding people hostage are committing a crime. There are various mise-en-scene techniques from the opening sequence that could be used in our coursework. My favourite technique they used was the outfit that John was wearing in the beginning reflected his unconventionality as a detective, and a tough guy through the smoking of the cigarette and the clothes he is wearing. The technique I dislike the most is the opening of the plane landing, only for the reason it will be very hard for our AS group to film such material. On the whole, the editing in the opening sequence seems fairly basic. This could be due to the recent technological advances meaning editing has advanced in the 12 years since the movie. The editing technique I like the least is the titles. The titles throughout are very basic, not being placed very well and the colour and effect on the main “DIE HARD” title is quite poor. I feel instead of blue & white, they should have used red & black to reflect the gloominess of the situation that occurs. Furthermore, all the titles are placed poorly, with the most notable when Holly allows Jessie to go to the work party and then the titles come in and you cannot see Jessie behind them. The sound in the opening sequence is excellent, as it is all in-sync with what is happening on-screen, and reflects the mise-en-scene well. Our group could use sound in the same way through using pre-recorded sound effects, or recording sounds similar to the real thing. Finally, the camerawork in the opening sequence is fairly good as well. There aren’t as many shots as I expected there to be, as there are many long-takes during the opening. It uses many of the camera techniques such as shot-reverse-shot and close-ups.

The Dark Night

The dark night is a Psychological Thriller as it shows conflict between the main characters, Batman and The Joker. It also show Bruce Wayne’s (Batman) emotional side towards the love of his life. Although the film could also be classed as a Crime Thriller because there are many murders and shootouts as well as both successful and failed crimes such as the bank robbery which we see in the opening scene. A Thriller Convention that I thought the dark night used effectively was Enigmas, we slowly realise that there is an establishing pattern, as one robber completes his job e.g. cutting off the phone lines, opening the bank, then are killed until we are left with just the Joker with the rest of the robbers dead meaning that he keeps all the money and the problem is solved.

Saw

Saw one is a Mystery Thriller as there is suspense throughout, most especially when Jigsaws victims are playing his “games” as we do not know weather they will survive the challenge he is making them encounter. Throughout the film characters repeatedly attempt to find out the identity and whereabouts of Jigsaws location and that of where his next victim will be held. In the clip we see one of Jigsaws victims in a “game”, there are many non digetic sounds such as the crackling of the television, the ticking of the timer connected to the “reverse bear trap”, the squirting of the blood when she is stabbing the man to try and find the key that will release her and the ripping of her restraints, all the sounds helped ensure continuity through the film this is something we will need to achieve in our Thriller Opening.

Black Hawk Down

Black Hawk Down is a war film released in 2001, whereby a group of Delta Force soldiers are on a mission to capture two of warlord Mohamed Farah Aidid’s senior subordinates. This thriller movies subverts from many of the common thriller conventions, however it does follow a crime at the core of the narrative as they are trying to bring down the Aidid empire, and extraordinary events happening in ordinary situations, such as at the red cross aid where the militia shoot all those trying to get aid. Black Hawk Down is solely a crime thriller, due to what Aidid is doing to the country. The mise-en-scene in the opening sequence is fairly good. I dislike the bodies in the beginning as some of them look too fake, and don’t give a good representation, however I don’t feel it is a technique we could use anyway as we do not have the materials available to make fake starved bodies. However what the militia is wearing is good as you can tell they are earning a lot of money from the crimes they commit and look a lot more wealthy compared to those desperate for aid. I think the editing in the opening sequence is excellent. The fades between the shots at the beginning reflect how the starved people act, as the fades symbolise an exhausted blink of the eyes in my opinion. In the opening sequence, I think the sound is again very good as the non-diegetic sound reflects what is going on on-screen. I particularly like the music as during the scenes showing the starvation, it is very slow tempo music from the local area, and then in the militia scenes, the music is of a much faster tempo, yet still from the local area, reflecting the increase of tension in the area. The camerawork is fairly good, however I feel they could have maybe substituted less panning shots for more shots with more varied shot types. In our thriller coursework, we could transfer the technique of the panning shot to our piece as it done to a high standard in this film.

Jaws

The movie Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a story of a murderer slaughtering people living in town in Texas. The film would be conceived to be a disaster and crime thriller because there is mindless violence throughout with a man murdering people in horrific circumstances. A thriller convention used in the clip above is identity, which is a technique used to hide a persons appearance to create tension. Towards the end when the man is chasing the woman with a chainsaw he looks to be disguised in face paint which arouses suspicion amongst the people watching because they want to no who the face behind the paint is. Although in this example identity is used well I would be less inclined to use it in my thriller opening because it is low budget and if identity is not executed correctly it looks extremely unprofessional. A technique I really liked in the clip is at the very start when they are creating a feel for the mise-en-scene and there is a voice over used with a suspicious sounding old woman singing a nursery rhyme. The clip then goes on to show the woman singing it while washing a very confused and scared woman. This voice over was used extremely well and immediately creates tension amongst the people watching it because they want to find out who is singing it and why they are singing it. The thriller movie Jaws is a story of a shark causing havoc amongst a quiet town trying to enjoy the sea water during the summer season. Jaws would be considered a disaster thriller because is contains elements of tragedy when the shark starts attack the people at the beach. The movie Jaws uses the enigma of a shark attacking the beach attendees which results in less people wanted to use the beach because they are too scared. Most enigmas are usually solved, for example in Jaws, the savage beast in finally defeated and people can get on with their lives. This particular thriller convention I would like to use in my final coursework thriller because it creates a sense of tension and wanting to know if the enigma will be solved. This will evidently keep the audience’s concentration on the footage so they are not uninterested. There is also a sense of voyeurism used in the film when the shark is approaching the unaware swimmers and surfers. In some cases this can prove affective however I would not particularly desire using this thriller convention in my final piece because in previous example I have seen it is used many times and it is rather cliché.

Fight club

Fight Club is a Psychological Thriller as there is conflict between the main characters but we find out at the end that the conflict is actually between him self as the other person is his imagination which I thought was a very clever twist, this uses the Thriller Convention Mirroring as the actor (Brad Pitt) is actually his imagination so he is mirroring himself. The Mes-en-scene in the film is very dark and gloomy throughout as they are in the basement of a bar fighting, so sets the mood well. We also see a complete Juxtaposition in Mes-en-scene when the main character is in an ice cavern, but as the film caries on it is reviled that this isnt actually reality but infact his imagination.

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes is a thriller movie released in 2009 about Holmes & Watson solving a series of murders all connected to Lord Blackwood, a villain who seems to resurrect after capital punishment and plans to take over the British Empire using dark arts and new technology. Sherlock Holmes follows many of the thriller conventions, but again none occur during this scene near the start. Some of the thriller conventions throughout the film are: A crime at the core of the narrative due to the series of murders, Themes of identity when Sherlock follows Irene with a fake nose and such, and A scene near the end of the film in which the protagonist is in peril where Sherlock and Lord Blackwood fight on the bridge building construction where Irene is pushed off of the construction, but lands on a floor just below. Other conventions that occur are: A complex narrative structure, with false paths, clues and resolutions, A narrative pattern of establishing enigmas which the viewer expects to be resolved and Themes of mirroring. The mise-en-scene is great in the scene as all of the outfits the crowd are wearing reflect the time period in which the film is set. In our thriller, we need to make sure that our clothes match the time period in which our opening sequence is set. The editing in this scene I think is fantastic. The shots flow together and show clear continuity, and the best editing technique in this scene for me personally is the slow motion after Sherlock’s opponent spits on him. It shows in depth the impact his strikes do upon the opponent clearly. I like this technique, and if there is a fight scene in our opening sequence, we can use the slow motion technique ourselves due to the tool being available on the editing software we use. During this scene, the sound is good. The punches are in-sync with the action and such, and the Irish melody gives the fight an almost playful feel to it until when he is spat on, the melody fades out and all sound fades out whilst the slow-motion part goes on. I think that technique is great, and we can use it in our piece. The camerawork is to a very high standard as well. There are many shots of many different variations that are all framed very well. Each shot looks as though it has been shot as it is for a significant reason and I think the lengths of each shot is done to almost perfection.

Kill Bill

The film Kill Bill is a story of a women waking up from a coma and looking to seek revenge after being betrayed by a team that she was once part of. Kill Bill would be acknowledged as a crime thriller because there is violence and murder throughout the film. The thriller Kill bill is presented in a nonlinear narrative style, meaning that the events are not all conceived in chronological order. This is a technique I would be interested in using in my thriller coursework because it means the audience have to think about what has gone on throughout film to reveal the scenes in order. This would have the audience more engaged in the film rather than just aimlessly watching the footage. From the clip presented above it uses the thriller convention, crime at the core of the narrative, meaning either death or extreme violence at the beginning of the story. In the clip there is a severely beaten woman who is approached by a man with a gun who briefly says something before shooting her in the head. This a technique I would be reluctant to use because I feel it gives away too much early on and it is better to build up suspense and then have a violent ending rather than the opposite way around.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

The movie Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a story of a murderer slaughtering people living in town in Texas. The film would be conceived to be a disaster and crime thriller because there is mindless violence throughout with a man murdering people in horrific circumstances. A thriller convention used in the clip above is identity, which is a technique used to hide a persons appearance to create tension. Towards the end when the man is chasing the woman with a chainsaw he looks to be disguised in face paint which arouses suspicion amongst the people watching because they want to no who the face behind the paint is. Although in this example identity is used well I would be less inclined to use it in my thriller opening because it is low budget and if identity is not executed correctly it looks extremely unprofessional. A technique I really liked in the clip is at the very start when they are creating a feel for the mise-en-scene and there is a voice over used with a suspicious sounding old woman singing a nursery rhyme. The clip then goes on to show the woman singing it while washing a very confused and scared woman. This voice over was used extremely well and immediately creates tension amongst the people watching it because they want to find out who is singing it and why they are singing it.

Casino Royale

Casino Royale is an Psychological thriller as there is conflict between the main characters throughout as we see James Bond encounter conflict with not only his enemies but the people his trusts aswell, but although there is lots of conflict we also see his emotional side come out when he is with women which gives us a better view of him. Furthermore the film could be classed as a Crime Thriller as there is suspense throughout, there are times where we think he might die, when he is gambling huge amounts of money, when he is with women and in the chases in which he trys to capture or even kill his enemies. When we went to the BFI we met the person that created these opening scene, it was very interesting finding out how he achieved certain aspects of the sequence and how he came up with the ideas for some of the elaborate editing involved in making the scene. I particularly like the way that the character 007 ( James Bond ) is introduced as we do not see his face right up until the last 10seconds yet when it is finally showed we know exactly who it is. The Mes-en-scene is also used very affectively with the guns firing the different playing suits from a deck of cards which is associated with gambling and Casinos hence “Casino Royale” also when the man who has been shot falls into circles which start to spin into roulette wheels which also associates to gambling.

Project Roles and Planning/Preparation Importance

In our most recent lesson we were assigned the task of re-creating the opening titles to the thriller film, ‘se7en’.

First of all, we split the titles into ten second sections and each person was given ten seconds to storyboard. We made sure while annotating our own section we went into great detail to make it easier when filming the remake. When everyone was finished storyboarding it allowed us to proceed in giving members of the class roles when re-filming.

Deciding who had what roles and responsibilities was not just something we did randomly. We went into great detail and it was discussed as a class who we felt appropriate for each job. Assigning roles was done in thoroughly so that when we began filming we were well prepared and did not need to waste anytime. Each job given was just as important as the other in the filming stage and no-one was left feeling useless. The fact that each job was so important in the process meant that failure to prepare would lead to the whole groups downfall.

This is how the roles were divided:

Director – Josh Bastin
Production Manager – Joe Jordan
Props Manager – Max Clarke
Camera Operator – Joe Bilton
Cinematographer – Amy Lester
Actor – Andy Dennis
Production Designer – Kariena Tubbs
Location Manager – Sammy Lane
Main Editor – James Perkins

Coursework Criteria – Self Evaluation, Peer Evaluation

When looking at the coursework marking criteria I learnt the specific things I will need to improve when making videos if I am to achieve a level 4. I realized that I need to established a Mise-en-scene as to reach the level 4 grade the Mise-en-scene must be created. I also need to improve my titles as I haven’t spent a great deal of time on them and they hold a considerable amount of marks.
To achieve a level 4 Thriller opening sequence you need show evidence of excellence in the creative use of most of the following technical skills:

1-Holding a shot steady, where appropriate.
2-Framing a shot, including and excluding elements as appropriate.
3-Using a variety of shot distances as appropriate.
4-Shooting material appropriate to the task set.
5-Selecting mise-en-scene including colour, figure, lighting, objects and setting.
6-Editing so that meaning is apparent to the viewer.
7-Using varied shot transitions and other effects selectively and appropriately for the task set.
8- Using sound with images and editing appropriately for the task set.
9-Using titles appropriately.

To achieve this band you need to be given between 48-60 marks.

Self assessment

1-Holding a shot steady, where appropriate.
Excellent
2-Framing a shot, including and excluding elements as appropriate.
Excellent
3-Using a variety of shot distances as appropriate.
Efficient
4-Shooting material appropriate to the task set.
Basic
5-Selecting mise-en-scene including colour, figure, lighting, objects and setting.
Incomplete
6-Editing so that meaning is apparent to the viewer.
Efficient
7-Using varied shot transitions and other effects selectively and appropriately for the task set.
Basic
8- Using sound with images and editing appropriately for the task set.
Excellent
9-Using titles appropriately.
Basic

Peer assessment

1-Holding a shot steady, where appropriate.
Basic
2-Framing a shot, including and excluding elements as appropriate.
Efficient
3-Using a variety of shot distances as appropriate.
Basic
4-Shooting material appropriate to the task set.
Excellent
5-Selecting mise-en-scene including colour, figure, lighting, objects and setting.
Incomplete
6-Editing so that meaning is apparent to the viewer.
Efficient
7-Using varied shot transitions and other effects selectively and appropriately for the task set.
Basic
8- Using sound with images and editing appropriately for the task set.
Efficient
9-Using titles appropriately.
Basic

Thriller conventions on “The Dark Night”

Thriller Opening “revenge”

Thriller Shots Walk Through

How is gender represented in my Test Anxiety Film

Gender is noticably represented throughout my test anxiety film through actions, body language, facial expressions, camera shots and a variety of other techniques.
The test anxiety film opens with a worms eye shot which shows the mes-en-scene of the school, because its a worms eye shot it makes the school look big and daunting, therefore making the masculinity of the actor (Josh Bastin) questioned as he appears small and weak.
We then see josh open the door to the office with a match on action shot, following with josh walking into the office with a birds eye view shot, the camera is looking down on Josh making him look small again, but this shot is a juxtapostion as it is trying to make josh look small but we then see a group of young school children (noticably smaller than Josh) which makes josh look big in comparison but then they push past him which once again makes him seem inferior to his surroundings and makes the viewer think of the character as weak and feebel. The camera then jumps to a close up of Josh tapping his foot on the floor showing that he is nervous and unconfident about what he is about to do. After this we see a long shot of him looking at his watch, once again making him seem nervous as he repetedly looking at the time showing that his worried and consious of how long he has left untill the events that lie ahead.
Getting out of the chair we see josh walk down a coridor and then open a door to the toilet with his hand on his forehead, but we find out that he has not gone into the toilet for the usual purposes he has gone in there to escape reality as he cannot deal with what he is about to face which once again shows the viewers how he is made to look week and all his masculinity fade away as we see him become more nervous as the time gets closer and close to the events he will have to face alone. Josh walks in and immidately bends over with his head in on the sink basin and we see him breathing extremely heavily almost asif he is about to cry which again makes him look scared to the point he is about to brake down. We then see a fade in of Josh sitting on the floor looking at his watch showing that he is still consious of time even though he has taken himself away from the daunting situation that he inevitably will have to face. The camera then jumps into a birds eye view of josh splashing water over his face from the sink showing us that the situation has got so bad for him that he is having to cool himself with water to try and physically cool himself down as well as trying to put his mind and ease. Taking his tie off and chucking it into the sink we see Josh storm out and turn the lights off and the film comes to an end.
In conclusion Josh gender is represented throughout the film and mostly makes the viewer question his gender as Josh is percieved as weak, febel and unable to deal with the issues that society expects males to deal with on a day to day basis.

Test Anxiety

Macro Structure Of T.V Drama

Opening- The film starts with a group of friends all chatting and laughing at school, one of them mentions a ouija board and then the conversation esculates. They all start teasing eachother saying that one another is to scared to do it and eventually they all give into peer pressure and all decide to do it on the next friday 13th which was next month.

Complication- (Friday 13th 9:00pm) they all met back at school and snuck into the theatre, watching the janitor sweeping from above the stage. The janitor leaves and they get the ouija board out. Everything starts to get eerie, strange things start happening, Lighting is dim as they only have a candle because the lights in the school are alarmed at night. They hear a loud crash of noise the candle blows out and everything goes silent and the screen goes black.

Crisis- (Monday the 15th) The same group of friends are at school again but everything seems strange and arkward. The people around them also seem different and everything seems more dull and slow. Nobody talks much just the odd word.

Climax- Zoom in on police sirens and then at the front of the school three police cars pull up and officers run out in a paniced state. We then see one of the group of friends hanging dead in the toilet. Music is now playing instead of sound so you can just see the expressions and actions of people. The police officer dials a number into the phone and then you see a woman (mum) answer the phone and see her crying and screaming.

Resolution- (five years later) Another young group of friends are in the same school and someone mentions an ouija board …….

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