In what ways does my media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
- In my pre-production process, I had aimed to get a certain set of typical conventions seen in the genre of my film, copper drama. Those included the use of guns, a femme fatale, a "Trio" and elements of crime. In my film, and script, I had included all of those elements.
- I introduced each of my characters in a Medium length shot, this is so the audience can get a "Full pictures" of what the characters look like, and to tie any representation connections between the characters and the audience from the start of the film.
- The use of guns was included in the intro sequence in which Dan the Rookie saves Tally the kidnapped child from the hands of the evil crime-lord Tom.
- The femme fatale in my film was Violet who was a part of the triad. In terms of Proppean narrative, Violet played the role of the dispatcher, as well as the aider, as she provides The Rookie with the gun which he uses to save Tally.
- The Crime was framed within Charlie, the drug lord, who leads The Rookie to the crack den in which Tally was kept hostage. Further details about the crime element can be found in my Pre Production section where I was planning the profiles for Tom and Charlie's characters.
- Aside from Characters and Props, my camera work involved that "God point of view" look where the camera is static, and only shifts from one room to another, to highlight the speed of the chase scene, which is also in itself a generic convention.
- All of the aforementioned conventions can be found in most action films.
- Other generic conventions that I should've included but couldn't due to feasibility were High Speed Pursuits, An Industrial Arena (The good guys meet the bad guys and have a mortal fight in an industrial setting such as a port or a factory can be seen in most action films such as Beverly Hills Cop as well as Starskey&Hutch.
- Because the Industrial Arena setting was infeasible, I had chosen to go for the second best thing, which is choosing a secluded location. This was suitable because it'd make the filming process easier due to the lack of possible interruptions such as people walking by. The location was also not a private land, which meant we didn't have to allocate a budget for renting premises et cetera.
|Maple Walk allowed us to get filming with some ease.|
- In terms of my film title, I chose "The Ugly" as a spin-off from "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" to imply that the content of the film is quite extreme and dense in material. This was suitable since the film is already 18 Rated. The title also implies no sympathy in the way the trio work. It sets the mode of address towards the audience via the characters. The font itself is quite rigid, and the title is fully delivered in caps. The title also "Lands" on the screen with blows of dust, which is quite a dry material, this all ties in nicely with the image I'm trying to inflict on the audience about the dense characters and the unsympathetic narrative. I also chose to deliver the title with a very orange-like hue to imitate a dry desert look, for the same reasons.
|The title is "Planted" onto the screen with two consecutive blows of orange-ish dust.|
- In terms of costume, we had found that it was a little bit difficult and therefore costly to make costumes that will look suitable and from that era, so we decided to wear clean semi-pro clothing. The clothing theme was inspired, like most things in this sequence, from Pulp Fiction.
|Courtesy of Miramax films|
- The Rookie wore a plain black jacket, jeans, a green polo top and converse.
- Smooth wore a white shirt with a skinny tie along with a pullover jumper, formal straight-cut trousers and black shoes.
- Violet wore a white shirt, with a denim jacket.
- All wore plain black aviator glasses. These helped take the focus of the audience away from our eye contact, which was good seeing as we had no acting experience.
- Charlie wore a bandanna around his head, as well as plain black glasses to emphasise his "criminal" look. As it turns out from research that the bandanna used to be a generic convention of crime in the 70s.
How does my media product represent particular social groups?
- Since my sequence is very out-dated in terms of era of setting, I don't think I'm representing a broad segment of my target audience in it. Instead, I feel that my sequence focuses on the appeal in the cop-drama generic conventions in order to attract my audience.
- I believe that my film is a lot more applicable to social theories than it is to character theories, for example, there's a clear highlight of Laura Mulvey's Male Gaze theory, but little or no applicability to Maslow's hierarchy of needs. This is probably due to the fact that my segment is not dated in the present, so my audience may not be able to feel a representation within it.
|Laura Mulvey vs Male Gaze|
Picture courtesy of Viacom Incorporated
- However, it's very fair to say that those who had lived the era in real-time, may find themselves either very attracted to the film, or very repulsed by it. Either ways, the segment becomes a centre of their concern. They may be attracted by it because they're represented in the sequence, however, they may be repulsed by it due to exaggerative content and suggestivity that the 70s were purely loaded with cop-action, drug wars and gun fights et cetera. An example of this annotation is the film "American Gangster" which portrays that 70s era with drugs, mass crime and organised crime.
|The 70s are presented with a pinch of Disco, a bunch of drugs and a spoonful of awkward relationships.|
Image Courtesy of "JollyPeople". Seriously.
- The character of The Rookie may not be applicable to this, since he is very aspirational, in the way that he isn't starting from the top in terms of popularity. The idea behind the Rookie character is that he's recently joined the trio, and he is yet to claim his fame. This type of aspiration is at the top of Maslow's hierarchy of needs' pyramid, and can characteristically appeal to males of most demographics. The character of the Rookie corresponds to Vincent Vega of Pulp fiction, starred by John Travolta.
|Image Courtesy of Miramax|
- Similarities between the Rookie and Vega include, but are not limited to, a lack of sense of belonging due to inferiority to a protagonist character (In this case Jules, and Smooth), as well as the mode of dress, as it can clearly be seen that both characters wear a formal jacket over casual clothing, as to say that beneath the shell, they despise their line of work. On the other hand, the characters are not similar in the way that Vega has a lot more focus on female elements, while the Rookie had shown focus on his career.
- The character of Violet may be found to be appealing to both genders. To the males due to the Femme Fatale mode, and to the females due to the anti-male-gaze and rather feminist stance. I suspect this character's representative appeal may be applicable to females over 20 years of age, of middle and lower working class, in the nouveau riche and lower social classes.
- Violet is parallel to Uma Thurman as Mia Wallace also in Pulp fiction. Both characters are in control of the males that surround them, and do not show heavy weaponry use. This is a very feminist element in relativity to Laura Mulvey and Stuart Hall's ideas. The two characters are similar in their clothing and attitude, but are different in the way that Violet is a protagonist police officer, while Mia is neither an antagonist nor a protagonist, but is a heavy drug misuser.
|Note the tiny guns.|
- As for the character of Smooth, it plays very little role in terms of representation, this due to the introverted type of the character. The only aspiratory elements that may come along with this characters is a sense of professionality, whereas those who may aspire to become police officers of the same style, may feel they're represented in Smooth's character. These are going to be mostly males of the 20 > age group > 45.
- Smooth's character is parallel to "Jules", Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction in the mode of clothing, and attitude. Jules is very indifferent to his surroundings, and only ever aims to get the job that was set to him done. On the other hand, the two characters are different in the way that Smooth is very introverted, while Jules is rather the conversationalist. Note how that Jules always keeps eye contact, while Smooth has his eyes covered with glasses even on a dim day.
- In summary, my film doesn't count on representation of characters in order to appeal to the audience, however, unintentionally some characters may appeal to corresponding audience in the given example that the character of Violet may appeal to a feminist female audience. et cetera.
- I believe Miramax films would be the most suitable distributor for my segment. This is mainly because Miramax are known to having taken interest in the past in films of the same genre, such as Pulp Fiction, From Dusk till Dawn, Swingers, Albino Alligator, Cop Land. All of these films revolve around the same theme of coppers, shootouts and drugs. Et cetera.
- It's worth mentioning that Miramax distributed "Pokemon 4Ever" and therefore they have my undivided love and attention.
- The other reason I'd like Miramax to host my segment is because they're known to accept new producers. Taking the film "Cop Land" for example, it's absolutely rubbish, and definitely something I can compete with.
- Considering that our film budget was just below a hundred pounds, I don't see any of this happening. Miramax will be very critical to the low standard of work we produced, and this is why I suggest that the segment should be distributed on non-profit basis, on social networks and pure per-say/word of mouth advertising, and to be accounted as a practice or a mock segment, that we produced in order to grow our film-making skills.
- Youtube is known to be a great platform for this type of thing.
- Taking the series SAW for example, it all started as a 10 minute short film on Youtube:
- As none of us are known actors or anything of the sort, I decided it'd be better to have only the title of the segment in the intro, bearing in mind that the credits should only appear in the end. This saves intro time in the segment, and would be pointless to implement.
- My research has showed me that:
- My film is aimed at a male audience because females didn't show any interest in my chosen genre.
- My audience are represented in my protagonist in terms of aspiration.
- My audience are social leaders in their circles.
- My audience are not interested in Romance.
- This is a sketch I produced of what I thought what my target audience would stereotypically look like.
- This gentleman must be over 18 years of age, but I wouldn't say he exceeded the 45. So he can handle all the gruel material, sexism, swearing and all that malarkey in my segment.
- He's a big fan of action films, particularly noire, suspense and crime.
- He listens to old fashioned Rock, but definitely nothing "Hip" or "new".
- He's probably tied to a career, a wife and possibly a family, so he's very eager to re-witness his young days.
- I bet anything he knows the Pulp Fiction script off by heart! And he probably used to watch "Magnum PI".
- He secretly likes long walks on the beach and fresh flowers.
- This guy here is almost at the top of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. He's got money, safety, family, a deep sense of belonging but he's probably washed up and tired of perusing his dreams. He sits at home and shouts at his TV, and misses the days that when he was young, all he believed in was coasters for beer and clean surfaces for drugs*.
*(Yes, I am listening to Frank Turner as I'm typing this)
How did I attract/address my audience?
- Most of my audience are attracted from pure interest in the action genre.
- Some of my audience are attracted via representation.
- Here's an annotated version of my segment, explaining in each cut how my audience would be addressed:
What have I learnt about technologies from the process of creating this product?
Most importantly, I learnt that when it comes to cameras, you get what you pay for.
I was unfortunate enough to purchase the deemed humility of the media world. Having a rubbish camera caused a serious dent in the quality of my film. I'm shocked and appalled.
Putting quality aside, using the camera, I learnt how to use manual focus, which is very handy in attracting the audience's attention onto something via shifting the depth of field.
By the same token, I found that the tripod is one of the most amazing, beautiful and prefect-making things in the world. Having a tripod seriously reduced the shake in the camera, which in turn helped keep my focus applicable, especially in manual mode, not to mention that it was very very very useful when I was trying to pull off the "God View" thing, where the camera is static.
|CamLink TP2100 <3 Isn't it beautiful.|
SD cards were ever so useful. I faced the immortal issue of "FULL MEMORY" quite a few times, and having a replaceable SD memory card was ever so handy. I got myself a handful of 2GB SDs that tuck in nicely into my camera.
|Lots and Lots and Lots of these.|
AWAAAAAY From hardware,
We were recommended to use GarageBand in order to create the backing tracks to our films.
GarageBand is probably the only admittedly good thing that came out of Apple.
What I liked most about GarageBand is the very wide range of samples, as well as the whole TimeLine functionality.
The very most vital element in the making of my segment was...
Adobe After Effects!
It. Is. Amazing.
Adobe After Effects is probably the most beautiful and sophisticated video editing suite I've ever came across. It's simple, yet sufficient, and efficient in every way possible.
The catch: Adobe After Effects is sadly not optimised for 64 bit computing, so I had to run it in a compatibility mode, which made me crash quite a few times and caused me emotional breakdown every now and then. Not to mention the pricetag of about £800. Seriously.
As for publishing my stuff,
Youtube, and BlogSpot came in very handy for the obvious reasons.
What I liked most about Blogspot is the chronological order of things.
What I liked most about Youtube is the annotation thingy, the optionality of adverts and the capability of posting in high definition.
What I dislike most about BlogSpot is the stupid content editor.
What I dislike most about Youtube is that they took off the counter of viewed videos on my profile, because I was quite proud that I had watched over 4000 videos, averaging 4 minutes each, meaning I spend 11 full days and 3 hours on Youtube. How sad.
Looking back at my prelim task what do I feel I have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?
I really do have a better understanding of the importance of filming techniques now~ I mean, Yes, the quality of my production wasn't so great, but I was fully capable of delivering certain filming techniques that made my texts more effective. Those techniques include, but are not limited to, panning shots, 180 degree rule, on action shots, shot reverse shots... et cetera. I also understand where using each one of those techniques is suitable.
I also gained a better aptitude of writing scripts, since now I'm more realistic about what I can and can't film. There were a lot of things in my scripts than I couldn't film due to feasibility and now if I was to write a script, that wouldn't happen because I'd bear in mind what I can and can't do.
On a slightly irrelevant note, I've further developed my capabilities of using online portals and technical devices and accessories such as tripods, Youtube annotations, Blogspot HTML syntax.