Monday, 10 May 2010

Evaluation of two minute opening sequence to thriller.

As part of our AS media studies coursework, we were required to produce a two minute opening sequence to a thriller movie in our groups. We needed to plan, shoot and edit our thriller carefully and to good effect.

In order to make our thriller a success we were aware that we needed to include various generic conventions and enigmas in our thriller. We had previously, completed some research on Roland Barthes’ theory of enigma codes. We knew that enigma codes would be crucial to our thriller in order to grab the audience’s attention from beginning to end and to keep them in suspense and wanting to know what’s going to happen next. Enigma codes are caused by unanswered questions produced in the audience’s mind. We incorporated enigma codes in our narrative effectively. For instance, when the antagonist (Lucifer) is sitting in his office watching the protagonist, (Lily), walk past, the audience question why he is watching her so intently. Other enigmas created are; why is he stalking her home and what is going to happen to Lily when he reaches her? Our narrative structure would be that of an open narrative including a villain and victim. We chose the characters’ names through the technique of signifiers. A sense of meaning is conveyed through the characters as Lily, means innocence. We chose the name Lucifer for our antagonist, as it is one of the names in reference to the devil (fallen angel) which is obviously a symbol of evil. Both character’s natures are revealed through the meaning of the names.

Our thriller is a psychosomatic thriller, which is a sub type genre from Charles Derry’s list of six in his theory about classification division of suspense thrillers. It classifies in this sub type as it is about the antagonist and protagonist affected by a psychotic obsession and its effects.
We have partly applied Todorov’s theory of equilibrium to our thriller in the sense that there is equilibrium as it is set in an every day normal working environment. The fact that, the actions (stalking) carried out at the start by the antagonist are unusual and weird and show that the thriller does not portray the same order of sequence of events as shown in the theory.
The conventions of our thriller are built around the protagonist being obsessively stalked by the antagonist. We used gloomy settings (quiet roads and alleys) to set the scene and cause suspense as the protagonist makes her way home. When Lucifer is standing outside Lily’s house watching her, there is an ominous sense that a crime will be carried out by the antagonist to which the protagonist will fall victim to.

As well as research of important theorists and their theories, we completed research of other thrillers in preparation of making our thriller and to aid our planning. Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘North by Northwest’ revealed a scene to which the protagonist is in danger, and we wanted to replicate this idea in the last scene of our thriller too. Lucifer stalks Lily all the way home, and he watching her outside her house as she is home alone. The danger is created through the enigma code, of what is he going to do to her?
We were also very inspired by another famous Hitchcock film, ‘Vertigo’ where there is a theme of eyes in the opening sequence. Eyes are of huge significance to our film as Lucifer is constantly watching Lily, and we use close ups in the beginning of our sequence and at the very end as his eyes are faded over the top of the last scene, where he is outside her house, to show he is always watching her.

We planned our plot through the use of storyboards and we also wrote down a plot list, and shot list and locations where we would film and at what time of day. We filmed at about 4.30pm when it was relatively quiet with not many people around in the area and it was darker.

The social groups represented in our thriller are young, working males and females. In terms of race it targets a multi cultural social group as the characters in our thriller are of different races. This links to our target audience as we have targeted quite a wide audience of young men and women of approximately the age 15+ as we believe this audience is likely to go to the cinema most often.
Gender can be seen as quite stereotypical in our opening sequence because the male, Lucifer is most dominant. It is filmed often through his perspective as a stalker, and he has more control over what will happen later on in the thriller, hence as the antagonist has more control than the weaker female protagonist. It gives the impression that he will also be largely influential in Lily’s fate.

We think, instead of our thriller being distributed by a major Hollywood studio company, that it would be better suited to a small independent production company. Although our film targets a wide audience, we don’t think that it would be suited to a mass market as a low budget would not permit this. Instead it would be released by a small company such as Coffee Films, which is a small independent British film company, which produces thrillers and also a range of films from other different genres.
Distribution via the internet would also be quite feasible for our film as this is how lots of low budget films are released, which allows it to gain popularity or advertisement at a slightly staggered release to create awareness before being launched at cinemas. However, our thriller wouldn’t really offer opportunities for merchandise.
Our film doesn’t fulfil a need for expenses of big companies and studios in regards to the cost to creating mise en scene. We would not need a huge set to be built or fancy costumes to be made as costume and setting is normal and relevant to a working environment. Lighting can be controlled efficiently without huge effects and our film doesn’t require expensive props either. Make up would only possibly come in later at a minimal cost.

We decided that the demographic for our thriller would be aimed at young males and females as the characters in our film are male and female and are young too. The target audience is 15+ because we believe that viewers from the age of fifteen and above are mature enough to understand and relate to our film in terms of that it is set in a working environment, there is a complicated theme of love, there is an issue of relationships and overall because the plot would possibly confuse anyone below the age of fifteen, as well as the reason that it could be unsuitable as it may be too frightening for a younger audience. Our demographic was decided on due to the results of our questionnaire which was part of our audience research.

Addressing the audience was key in our thriller, we wanted to grab their attention from the start right through to the end, so we used an establishing shot of the office, so that people could relate to an office like, working environment. The close up of Lucifer’s eyes is a major shot in the film, as enigma codes are raised and we realise that he has an interest in Lily. Mise en scene is also vital in our film- costume plays an important part in our film to define the characters. The only props used was a handbag carried by Lily and, as mentioned before setting is also important and relevant, as it represents Lily’s journey home as she is stalked. Body movement is also a key part of mise en scene in our thriller as it shows Lucifer in pursuit of Lily running desperately trying to catch up with her.
Positioning with in the frame was also a key element in our film as we see Lily walking toward her house with Lucifer coming out of the alley behind her. It allows us to see the two characters and the setting. It is creepy because she is unaware and he has practically caught up with her.
The main point in our film which is focused on scaring the audience is when Lucifer is outside Lily’s house watching her through the window. An over the shoulder shot is used and the earlier close up image of his eyes fades over the scene, which is meant to be quite chilling.

Early on in our planning we had carefully considered the camerawork to be used. Close ups on the eyes were inspired and a key theme, and we also used close ups on both characters to reveal a bit more about their identity and character. With permission we used an office, with a window which looks onto the corridor which was perfect for the office seen when Lucifer watches Lily walk past. We tried to put the audience in the position of the stalker so that particular scenes were shown through his perception, such as when watching Lily walk past, a pan shot in the car park to show him looking for her. On her way home, we could only see the back of Lily as we would as a stalker following her. This has quite a creepy impact as we notice him closing the gap and catching up with her. Camera movement and angles were also vital in our thriller; we used shots from a variety of angles- high up looking down on Lily to make her appear more vulnerable, and mid shots of Lucifer to make him appear more in control.

The only problem was because we were using a hand held camera; many shots were shaky and out of focus which meant we had to re-shoot quite a few shots, but as a positive it meant we had plenty of variety in camera shots, movement and angles included in our film. Other problems faced when filming was weaknesses in the plot, which was realised during filming, which meant a lot of time had to be spent re-planning and shooting. This proved difficult as it was difficult for the whole group to be available at the same time so this proved to be quite a long process, but by making improvements in the plot and continuity it definitely improved our film overall. Jobs were delegated fairly so we managed to work as a group and get the work done.

I found the editing process rather interesting. We used final cut express, which was quite easy to use once you got the hang of it. We wanted to edit the film to good effect so we used techniques such as cross dissolve to show the passing of time. I was most proud of the foreshadowing eyes we placed in one scene, when editing which proved very effective. We decided to have subtle titles for our film with bold colours with the title of our film fading in at the beginning, however we used a very lively animated effect to introduce our production name, Fallen Angel Productions.

We used Garageband to produce quite a high pitched soundtrack which was effective. We originally used classical music but decided to change it to a more electric sound to make it more thrilling and creepy, the sounds were non-digetic. Creating the soundtrack was the most enjoyable part of the editing process for me.

Looking back, to when we first began filming with our preliminary task, I think we have shown a vast improvement in our media skills, through a more varied exciting range of shots, creating mise en scene and also through more creative and effective editing. Individually and as a group confidence has grown with using the equipment, allowing us to be more creative with our ideas and meaning we can develop new advanced skills.
I think our thriller suspense-wise ticks the right boxes and I am pleased with the end result.

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Friday, 12 March 2010

Influences for our thriller

The image of the eyes as a central theme on the dvd cover of silence of the lambs, inspired the theme of eyes in our thriller because, as shown here, it appears very starey and is quite creepy and unsettling for the audience.

The look for our stalker (Lucifer) was inspired by the neat and tidy look as shown on the DVD cover for The Godfather.

This effective image on the dvd cover of Seven, was also very inspirational as, you can see the characters' eyes and faces over the top of what is going on in the background. It inspired our last scene where Lucifer is watching Lily, where we see his eyes over the top of the scene of her in her house, to show that he is always watching her.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

British film research (independant production companies)

Coffee Films
Started up in 1996, Coffee Films have since completed a wide range of films over the years, experimenting with technique, style, genre and the medium of moving images generally. The films vary from the classic 5 minute black and white short to hour long wildlife documentary, we like to try and be diverse.

“Our early experimental works (1996-2003); entirely unbudgeted, shot on S-VHS and Hi-8 and edited using everyday VCR's, were created with the intention of making films outside of any of the normal structures, inspired by the "guerilla" filmmakers of the mid to late 90's. Though it ultimately proved impossible to complete our aim of shooting an entire feature without a budget these films established the company, educated us all in the filmmaking art, and gave us a very different perspective on the way that films can be put together.
Our new work, from 2004 onwards, shows just how we have chosen to utilise that knowledge and apply it to more traditional independent filmmaking structures; producing award winning and critically acclaimed short films and documentaries from even the tiniest budget, and winning us recognition as one of Europe's best young film production companies.”

Red Films
Red Film strives to create fresh and original films which are both artistic and commercial.
“Red Film is a truly unique, Brighton based collective, dedicated to the production of quality and innovative short and feature films and the promotion of new talent within the industry. We are committed to an ethos of partnership which is based on our shared values and passion for exciting and inspiring cinematic experiences.”

Friday, 26 February 2010

A record of thriller screenings

  • North by Northwest
  • Jaws
  • Jarassic Park
  • Scilence of the lambs
  • Paranormal Activity
  • Avatar

Monday, 11 January 2010

Steven Spielberg

Date of birth: 18th December 1946, in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Awards: 3 Oscars, another 112 wins and 78 nominations.

His films:

  • Early on in his career he used to work with sci-fi and adventure genres in film.

  • A common theme in his films is the ordinary discovering something extraordinary.

  • The most persistent theme through his films is tension within the parent-child relationship. He uses the feelings he had as a child when his parents divorced in his films, e.g in E.T the parents of the protagonist are divorced.

His top films include: Jaws, Jarassic Park, E.T, Indianna Jones, War of the Worlds, Saving Private Ryan and A Timeless Call.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Audience research including questionnarie

1) What is your favourite thriller movie and what was it that you liked about it?The most popular choice to emerge from these results was The Godfather. Many people seemed to like it as it crossed audiences, for example the romance aspect in the film made it more appealing to women. Another popular film to come out of the results was pulp fiction. This was a popular choice because it used humour, whilst still being a thriller and it was also a very unique plot that is so unlike other thrillers. Silence of the Lambs was also a popular choice, mainly because they found the main character so scary.

2) From 1-6 (1being the highest and 6 being the lowest) which thriller sub-genre do you prefer?1. Psychological thriller2. Thriller of acquired identity.3. The thriller of murderous passion.4. The political thriller.5. Morale confrontation.6. Innocent-on-the-run

3) Do you prefer the plot to keep to a liner or non-liner narrative?Non-Liner: 18 Liner: 12

4) Do you think that the plot should mean the hero wins at the end of the film?Yes- 28 No- 2

5) Do you think that the plot is more effective when set in an everyday location?Yes- 17 No-13

6) What role do you think costume plays in a movie?Very important -4 Important- 11 Unimportant - 9 Very unimportant-6

7) Do you think that props play an important role?Yes-20 No- 10

8) Do you like twists in the story?Yes-24 No- 6

9) Do you think sound effects add to the tension in a movie?Yes-19 No-11

10) What actors do you associate with thrillers?Al Picino, Antony Hopkins, Tom Cruise, Shia LaBouf.

We presented our results on the group blog, and through the data produced from this questionnaire, we were able to produce a pitch in powerpoint involving our ideas and our selected audience for our thriller film. From our audience research we could work out the demographics for our thriller.

Short thriller sequence analysis of Paranormal Activity

Director: Oren Peli
Writer: Oren Peli (screenplay)
Release Date:25th November 2009 (UK)
Genre: Horror Mystery Thriller
Rated: 15
Plot: After moving into a suburban home, a couple becomes increasingly disturbed by a nightly demonic presence.

The theory of equilibrium is applied through a normal environment and just a normal routine of a couple trying to go to sleep at night, however they are frequently desturbed by a demonic presence. A demon is something unusual so this is applied to the theory of equilibrium as its presence destroys the normal sate of equiibrium and turns it into the unormal and paranromal.
Like all thrillers, suspense is created. This is done effectively because each time the demon comes, something more creepy happens. For example early on it begins with the door creeking, breeze occuring from no where. However it gets progressively worse as doors slam, the demon slides into bed next to the girl, drags her out of bed, makes the house shake and the lights flash. Even footprints are left by the demon when the girl's boyfriend purposely leaves talcum powder on the floor. The camerawork is effective as it is filmed through a handheld jerky, shakey camera because the couple try to catch the demon on camera and we see it and everything that happens through the poised hand-held camera. The camera itself is an important prop in the film and is an important tool in the film for us, so we can see the paranormal. Particularly at the footprints scene, it enables the audience to question what the demon thing is and why is it haunting this girl?

After watching and analysing this movie, it has enabled me to link some of the thriller motifs as ideas into our own planning of our thriller film. We will be applying the state of equilibrium through a normal envionment, but will apply suspense, mystery and abnormality through the use of props (collage of photos) and an unusual character (obsessive stalker with OCD), although our unusual character is not mythical, so that the audience can relate our film to reality, and we hope that it will make it more creepy and believable.

Analysis of practical pre-lim tasks.

Our first pre-lim task was named 'The Dream' the aim of the practical task was to represent continuity through filming, hence using doors to open and close in the footage. It begins with the actor trying to work but he cannot concentrate and falls into a dream-like state. The film shows him walking until he pushes someone and finds and unexpected visitor.
Continuity of our task is presented as the camera movement flows consistently as the actor walks out of his study, down the corridoor and through the door into a darkened room smoothly. The camera work was not jerky or shaky so we did a good job there. However, we did have a problem with lighting for the final shot in the dark room with the unexpected visitor, so we had to film from a different angle, so we could open a door to allow there to be more light in the scene so that the actors were visibale, and this made the footage shot more effective.

For our second prelim task we decided to add more mise-en-scene to the task, throught the use of props. The props we used was- masks, a plastic gun, chairs and for costume one actor wore a cloak. This added more mystery and detail to our practical task. Again the task was focusing on continuity. This time we had to actors involved and the opening scene starts with a cloaked, masked, mysterious looking character walking down a corridoor at pace. The camera follows smoothly as the cloaked man gets to a door, opens it and enters the room. Inside the room he meets another masked character at the desk. The room was set up messy and chairs were turned over, to convey an idea that something dangerous has happened and to convey an idea of equilibrium, that a normal environment has changed due to different and unusual events.
The two masked characters go into conflict arguing and then both fighting over a gun. The cloaked character shoots the other masked character and the film ends.
Again the camera work was good and consistent, apart from in one scene one of the actors tripped over a chair and so that had to be edited out, leaving a bit of a gap in that scene of the cloaked man walking towards the other masked character. That was the only fault for continuity.

Overall, we have learnt that using more mise-en-scene will make your film more interesting and effective. We also learnt the importance of continuity, and lighting and we will refer to this and be aware of this and more in the future when completing practical tasks.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Analysis of shots used in 'The Birds'

1) The first shot we see is a long shot of the house and the woman walking to the house. This shot is used to get an idea of the setting. It remains a long shot while the camera tracks the female character, as she walks to and through the house.
2) As she looks around the room for her dad, the camera zooms from a long shot to a mid shot so we can see a facial expression which reveals she is uncertain, curious and unaware.
3)Tracking shots are used continuously as she walks around the house looking for her dad. A long shot is used to show the corridor, and is still used to show her walking down the corridoor. The camera remains still using a long shot.
4) The camera then jumps to inside a room, focusing on the door as she walks through, and a midshot is used to focus on the character's body language and facial expression at the same time.
5) From then on the camera jumps from midshots of the character to longshots of the room. This is because we see her reaction to what she's seen before we've seen what she's seen. Her reaction to what she see's is shown through her face expression. We see her look worried and shocked, and then we see her view of a dead bird on the window. The same happens as we see her similar expression before we see that the room has been trashed.
6) In the build up, her eyes are constantly looking around the room. A midshot of her is used and her facial expression tells us that there is visually something terrible and a worse sight than what she's already seen. It then jumps to a close up of bloody feet which shocks the audience.
7) The camera jumps back to her face and then to a shot which shows a man's dead body. This shocks the audience more.
8) The zoom is used cleverly to shock the audience further and show the severity of the attack on the man as the camera zooms a close up of the man's face and then again to a close up of the man's bloodied eyesocket. His eyes are missing and this gory close up provokes a sense of horror and fear and shock from the audience. This reaction is replicated in the woman's facial expression as the camera jumps back to a midshot of her as she closes the door.
9) A longshot is then used to show her running down the corridoor. She is clearly panicked and disturbed by what she has seen.
10)A long shot is used aswell as she runs out the house towards the man. Then, the final shot used is a close up of her face, which shows she is sickened and scared by the sight of her father's body.

These shots are put together to shock us, as the camera seems to jump a lot. It builds up in an unpredictable way.

Sunday, 1 November 2009


Analysis of DVD cover 3

There seems to be quite a lot going on image-wise. The main character is obvious and we know that it is Bruce Willis because of the huge white font placed at the centre. This is a technique used to sell the film, as Bruce Willis would be recognised as a well known actor.

The background reveals a lot of diversity as both rain and fire is used, this shows that it is an action packed thriller. The phrase 'Every second counts' reveals that it is quite action packed aswell.

The two pictures of the protagonist show two sides to the character. One portrays violence because of the gun, and the other, caring and loving, as he hugs a child.

The title is big, bold, centeral and red and signifies a theme of danger.
Diagraphically i think it would appeal to an older, mature adult audience.

Analysis of DVD cover 2

This image immeadiately signifies danger, murder, horror and blood. The colour red is used a lot to connotate these themes and it stands out against the black background. The image also represents the main scene in the film of a murder behind the shower curtain. The shower curtain also adds to suspense and mystery as we can't actually see the character, but mainly just a monster-like hand of a murderer.

Black is used as the background colour to represent darkness and mystery and it emphasizes the genre.
The white text stands out against the dark background, so that the font is clear. Again the colour red is used to emphasise the title and the title is in a huge font too.

This film would appear to those who like horror-thrillers. It would not be suitable for younger viewers but mainly teenagers and adults because of the obvious gore and horror.

Analysis of DVD cover 1

Immeadiately, the title stands out as it is eyecatching because of the big bold font used. The colour red may have been used as a signifyer as the colour red is often a connotation of danger.

You can tell that there is an element of danger because of the motion of the picture- the protagonist is being chased by a low flying plane.
The protagonist's facial expression seems worried so you can relate his attempt to escape to a thriller.

A bold font is used to stand out against the pale background to show the actor's names. This is a good idea as films normally attract people because of the actors in the film. The more famous and well known the actors are, the more the appeal and the more films are sold.

I think that this film would appeal to a wide audience, but a particular demographic could be adult and young- adult males.

Short analysis of film opening- Vertigo

A woman's face is the background at the start but it then zooms to her facial features. It zooms to her lips, which twitch and this adds a sense of suspense and conveys anxiety. It then zooms to her eyes which appear worried, fearful and anxious and from there the special illusional effects occur to give a sense of confusion and mystery and uncertainty, for the viewers. Again a bold white font is used for the text to stand out aginst a dark background.
Comes across as eerie, low and creepy in the opening titles. It appears mysterious and adds suspense because soft instruments are used (harps and flutes) but short, sharp bursts of instrumental music are used to make it jumpy and frantic and hurried.

  • close up of hands in first shot shock us.
  • contrast in costumes are used so we can identify the characters.
  • continuity.
  • enigma- why are the two men chasing the man?
  • antagonist and protagonist.

Summary of the opening chase scene

It is set in a very built up area of Sanfransisco. The main characters are the cop, the man running away and the other man chasing with the cop on a rooftop.

The two men were chasing a man, the guy falls and is hanging off the edge of a building. The cop stops the chase and tries to help save the man and in doing so falls off the roof himself. The main character's flaw is that he is scared of heights.

Film clip analysis- North bt Northwest

Colours and design (background)
Very bold distinct colours are used, the white text stands out against the green patterned background. The main actors name Carey Grant is in a big font, to automatically get the spectator's attention. (films with a famous and well known actors sell well).
The sound track for the opening of the film was produced by Bernard Herrmann. It is very instrumental, as you can hear a very high pitched, squeaky and jumpy sound produced by violins. There is a build up because the music gets quicker and louder and this kind of emphasizes the theme of the story and the suspense of it all, as the narrative theme is 'innocent on the run' This theme is replicated in the music.
Brief summary
Roger Thornhill is the protagonist and VanDam and his gang are the antagonists. Thornhill is a victim of a mistake in identity which causes disruption and leads to a series of events, causing our protagonist to be on the run from the police and VanDam and his men.

Sir Alfred Hitchcock

Name: Alfred Joseph Hitchcock
Occupation: Director, screen writer and producer.
Date of Birth: 13/08/1899
Died: 12/04/1980

He was nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 29 wins and 17 nominations.
Hitchcock the director
He directed 67 films, produced 27, wrote 20, acted in 35 and edited 3. Strong characterization, symbolism, suprise endings and extended chase scenes were a few of Hitchcock's trademarks.
20 of his most memorable and effective films:
1) Rebecca 2)Mr and Mrs Smith, 3) Saboteur, 4) Shadow of doubt, 5) Lifeboat, 6) Rope, 7)Dial 'M' for murder, 8) Rear window, 9) To catch a thief, 10)The trouble with Harry, 11) The man who knew too much, 12) Vertigo, 13) North by northwest, 14) Psycho, 15) The Birds, 16) Marnie, 17) Torn curtain, 18) Topaz, 19) Frenzy, 20) Family plot.
Hitchcock was knighted commander of the British empire by queen elizabeth II in 1980 New year's honours. Although he adopted american citizenship in 1956, he was entitled to use the title 'Sir' because he had remained a british subject. He recieved the AFI life achievement award in 1979.

Film Theories

Todorov's Narrative Theory:Believed all stories start with an equilibrium, disruption and a resolution. Theory of Equilibrium:
1. A state of equilibrium- all is as it should be.
2. A disruption of that order by an event.
3. A recognition that the disorder has occured.
4. An attempt to repair the damage of the disruption.
6. A return or restoration of a NEW equilibrium.

Vladimir Propp's Folk Tales/ Character Types: Each character has a signified role:
1) Villian, 2) Hero, 3) Donor, 4)Helper, 5)Princess reward for the hero, 6)Father, 7)Dispatcher, 8) False hero.
Claude Levi: Staruss's Oppositions.
Roland Barthes: Action and Enigma codes
Charles Derry:Classified suspense thrillers into 6 sub types, each with a specific plot orientation:
1) The thriller of murderous passion- organised around the love triangle of husband/wife/lover. Centeral scene is generally where one is killed.
2) The political thriller- Organised around a plot to assassinate a political figure or revolution of the essential conspirational nature of governments and the oppositional acts.
3) The thriller of acquired identity- key character steals someone's identity and the consequences which follow. Usually murder.
4) The psychosomatic thriller- psychotic effect of a trauma on a protagonist's current involvement in a love affair, and a crime or intrigue. Protagonist is always the victim, generally post trauma and often of real villians who take advantage of his or her masochistic guilt.
5) Moral Confrontation- good Vs evil organised around an overt artherical between good and bad usually constructed in terms of elaborate dualties.
6)The innocent on the run- innocent victims.

Linear narrative- when the story has a start, middle and end.
Non linear narrative- when the story line is not in a particular order.
Protagonist- the main character.
Antagonist- the villian.
Open narrative- no resolution we don't know what the outcome will be.
Closed narrative- there is a resolution, we have an expected outcome.
Restricted narration- we only see it from one point of view. Limited acess to the story.

Film Genres

Action Films
Are expected to have tremendous impact, continuous high energy, lots of physical stunts and activity, possibly extended chase scenes, races, rescues, battles, martial arts, mountains & mountaineering, destructive disasters (floods, explosions, natural disasters etc), fights, escapes, non-stop motion, spectacular rhym and pacing, adventurous heroes, villians- all designed for audience escapism.
Examples of action films include: James Bond, Transformers, Batman, Spiderman etc.
Adventure Films
Are expected to have exciting stories, with new experiences or exotic locals. Similar to the action genre in that they are designed to prvide an action filled, energetic experience for the film viewer. Film Examples include: Zorro, Robin Hood, Pirates of the Caribbean.
Commedy Films
Are films designed to make the audience laugh. Commedies are light hearteddramas, crafted to amuse, entertain and provoke enjoyment. This genre hugely exaggerates a situation, the language, action and characters. They usually have happy endings, although the humour may have a serious pessimistic side. Film examples: White Chicks, Meet the Fockers and Mean Girls.
Crime and Gangster Films
Are developed around the sinister actions of criminals or gangsters, particularly bank robbers, underworld figures or ruthless hudlums who operate outside the law, stealing and violently murdering their way through life. Film examples: Scarface, The Godfather.
Drama Films
Are serious presentations or stories with settings or life situations that portray realistic characters in conflict with either themselves, others or forces of nature. A dramatic film shows us humans at their best, worst and everything in between. Each of the types of subject matter- themes have various kinds of dramatic plots.
Epic Films
Often take a historical or imagined event, mythic, legendary, or heroic figure and add an extravagant setting and lavish costumes, accompanied by grandeur aand spectacle and a sweeping musical score. Epics are historical films that recreate past events. Film examples: Titanic, Troy, Julias Caesar.
Horror Films
Are unsettling films designed to frighten and panic, cause dread and alarm, and to invoke our hidden worse fears, often in a terrifying, shocking finale, while captivating and entertaining us at the same time. They deal with our most primal nature and its fears; our nightmares, vulnerability, alienation, revulsions, terror of the unknown, fear of death, dismemberment or loss of identity. Film examples: Dracular, Saw, Scream, Jeepers Creepers, Freddie Krouger, IT, Halloween etc.
Musicals (Dance Films)
Are cinematic forms that emphasize and showcase full-scale song and dance routines in a significant way. Or they are films centered on combinations of music, dance, song or choreography. In traditional musicals, cast members sing. Musicals highlight various musical artists or dancing stars, with lyrics that support the story line often with an alternative, escapist version of reality- a search for love, success, wealth and popularity. Film examples: Step Up, Mama Mia, Hairspray, Oliver, High School Musical.
Science Fiction
Usually scientific, visionary, comic-strip-like, imaginative, and usually visualizedthrough fanciful, imagineative settings, expert film production design, advanced technology gadgets (robots & spaceships), scientific developments or by fantastic special effects. They are complete with heroes, distant planets, impossible quests, improbable settings, fantastic places, great dark shadowy villians, futuristic technology and gizmos and unknown inexplicable forces. Film examples: Starwars, Terminator, X-men, E.T, Planet of the Apes.
War and anti-war films
Often achknowledged the horror and heartbreak of war, letting the actual combat fighting or conflict provide the primary plot or background for the action film. Plots include; camp experiences and escapes, submarine welfare, espionage, personal heroism, brutalities, air fights, tough trench/infantary experiences, or male bonding buddy adventures during war-time. Film examples: Forest Gump, Stalag 17, Goodnight Mr Tom.
Are the major defining genre of the american film industry. Westerns are often set on the american frontier. There is a theme of indians vs cowboys. Film examples: The Gunfighter, Zorro, High Noon.
Film sub-genres include.......
Biographical films, 'chick' flicks, detctive and mystery films, disadter films, fantasy films, film noir, melodramas, road films, romance films, sports films, supernatural films and thriller- suspense films.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Narrative theories

Different Narrative theories

Lev Kuleshov
Lev Kuleshov discovered in the 1920s that meaning in film is determined more by the order of the shots than by what the shots contain. This realization is the requirement for montage effects. Kuleshov discovered the "Kuleshov Effect," or the manipulation of meaning through editing. The audience was manipulated into believing in the greatness of the performance by the creativity of the editing.
Film example; One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest This sequence shows how the editor can slowly and subtly move the viewer into the scene. Camera is cropped closer and closer to the characters between each take. The editor also knows exactly who to cut to at any time, choosing to cut to McMurphy only to allow the viewers to ‘breathe’ during the intense argument.

Vsevolod I. Pudovkin
Another filmmaker interested in montage, Pudovkin saw shots as building blocks in which narrative and meaning were built bit by bit. It is probably easiest to think of Pudovkin as closer in style to Hollywood filmmaking than Eisenstein in these respects: While Eisenstein strived most after an intellectual effect; Pudovkin was most interested in capturing an audience emotionally. Pudovkin's films had heroes, while the people were Eisenstein's main protagonist. Pudovkin's greatest film, Mother, contains characters who represent particular social positions: a son who favours the striking workers, a father on the opposite side. But the appeal of the film also resides in the very real and personal agonies of the title character.

Sergei Eisenstein

In opposition to Pudovkin, Eisenstein did not think of individual shots as building blocks, but rather as related through antagonism and difference (despite his calling their relation one of "attractions"). He saw the editing process as dialectical, like the logic underlying Marxism itself. Like other Russian formalist directors, he referred to this special attention to editing as "montage." Several of the best examples of Eisensteinian montage at work occur in Battleship Potemkin.
When sound came to film, Eisenstein theorized that the relationship between sound and image should also be dialectical. Sound was not simply a commentary on the images, like background music in American films, but brought its own set of meanings to the table.