Monday, 13 December 2010

GM - My coursework pitch

For my two minute opening coursework task I have chosen the slasher genre. The inspiration for my idea was the film Psycho, directed by Alfred Hitchcock and released in 1960.

There has also been a remake which was release more recently in 1998.

The shower scene is very common with the slasher genre and have been adapted in other movies. A more low budget approach to this scene is Succubus by some pupils at Hurtwood House.

Here is me pitching my ideas to the class. Everything I mention is below with a few extra details.

  • The establishing shot is of the outside of a big, white house where we can see the bedroom light on. This shot will use a blue tint, a convention used in movies such as Halloween. This first shot will be taken with some branches obstructing the lense to connote that the girl is being watched. Some dutch angles may also be included.
  • The camera zooms in on the bedroom and we can see a stereotypically blond, skinny, pretty girl in her room, getting ready for a bath, taking her earrings out, brushing her hair.
  • We watch her walk out of the room whilst putting her dressing gown on and once again observe the outside of the house as the bedroom light goes out and the bathroom (next door to the bedroom) is switched on. This will be hand held filming.
  • In the bathroom we see her running the bath, with close ups of her hands on the taps and the water filling the bath.
  • The mirror begins to steam up and she draws a heart in the bottom right hand corner. She then pouts/smiles at her reflection.
  • There is then a medium close up of her legs walking over to the bubble bath and she hangs her gown up on the radiator before stepping in.
  • Using a high angle we see her shutting her eyes and plugging her music in.
  • Extreme close up of the murderers hand on the door handle turning it.
  • The murderer is never revealed we only ever see his hands as he pulls out the cord from the dressing gown.
  • The lights go out and we can hear the girls scream fade as she is strangled.
  • The lights are then turned on.
  • We can just see her body floating in the water with hair over her face and the cord draping over the side of the bath, whilst still wrapped around her neck.
  • It will be edited quite slowly at first, but the pace increases as it gets more tense.
  • There will be no dialogue but we will be able to hear the music playing though her headphones.
  • On top of this there will be one long drawn out note with the pitch and tempo varying throughout.

Friday, 10 December 2010

All - The Prelim Task

Preliminary exercise: Continuity task involving filming and editing a character opening a door, crossing a room and sitting down in a chair opposite another character, with whom she/he then exchanges a couple of lines of dialogue. This task should demonstrate match on action, shot/reverse shot and the 180-degree rule.

match on action - A match on action, a technique used in film editing, is a cut that connects two different views of the same action at the same moment in the movement. By carefully matching the movement across the two shots, filmmakers make it seem that the motion continues uninterrupted.

shot/reverse shot - Shot reverse shot is a film technique where one character is shown looking at another character (often off-screen), and then the other character is shown looking back at the first character. Since the characters are shown facing in opposite directions, the viewer assumes that they are looking at each other.

180-degree rule - The 180° rule is a basic guideline in film making that states that two characters (or other elements) in the same scene should always have the same left/right relationship to each other. If the camera passes over the imaginary axis connecting the two subjects, it is called crossing the line

What problems occured and how we solved this problem
  • The camera we got jumped as we loaded it into imovie, so some of our clips eg, Jem coming through the door, jumped. To solve this problem we had to refilm it and upload onto a different computer

What we would alter/do differently
  • We would spend more time on costume ie, get less noisier shoes (flipflops)
  • Better location because it was set in a corridor with steps going down towards the door, so the run would be a lot smoother if there wasn't any steps there

What we learnt from constructing this
  • We learnt that you have to get the 180 degrees shot perfect otherwise it wouldn't look right
  • Also Jem coming through the door was hard to show because of our camera
What inspired us
  • What inspired us was the T.V program, Baywatch, so we decided to do the very famous "Run down the beach, swishing the hair" and put the theme tune on to give it the overall Baywatch effect. 

GM - Deconstruction of 'The Shortcut'

This task was to try to convey the genre of horror mainly through mise-en-scene which meant that we had a limitation of only being able to use 17 words of dialogue throughout the opening to the film. I won my pitch for this task so I was directing. I drew up these storyboards before filming to try and save us some time and also planned out the dialogue that would be included.

The Shortcut Storyboard Page 1

The Shortcut Storyboard Page 2

  • It is set in the dark
  • There are shadows everywhere from the tree branches which start to scare the girl
  • The girls are dressed in revealing clothes; short skirts, tight low cut tops, and high heels showing their more sexual side, signifying that they have just come back after a night out partying and we can see that alcohol has been involved from the bottle that the girls are swigging from
  • One of the girls is blond which fits in with the conventions of slasher as it is generally the blond, pretty, popular girl that gets killed
  • The blond girl leaves the others to go on the 'shortcut' home which happens to be through the dark wood late at night. The others leave her on her own (another convention of slasher) and by doing this the audience can tell that something bad is going to happen to her
  • It gets darker the further into the woods she goes but some shots of her phone and the moon illuminate the path and her face
  • We used a range of angles some to she she is being watched, others to reiterate that fact that she is in a very vulnerable position
  • POV shots were used to again connote that the girl is being followed or watched
  • Close ups of the girls face show us really how scared she is and we can see the emotion she is feeling
  • When the phone rings the screen of the phone lists 'unknown caller' which further anchors that fact that the girl is being followed and that something is going to happen
  • Diagetic sound throughout - the main sound is the dialogue, along with the scream at the end and the sound of footsteps in certain places of the film. There was also some laughter at the beginning.
  • We were only allowed to use 17 words so there is very little dialogue. My group used less then 17 words but the ones that we included assisted the audience to understand and engage with what was going on
  • The footsteps crunching on the leaves adds to the mise-en-scene and helped to create the idea that the girl is being followed as these footsteps were heavier than her own would be in her high heeled shoes
Opening Credits
  • Has the characters names and the director's name appear on the screen
  • They fade in and out on a black screen which adds to the mystery of the plot
  • They are written in a sans-serif red font (another aspect that is frequently used in the slasher genre)
  • The film name then follows in bold, sans-serif red font again for continuity
What we have learnt
  • To complete the overall planning stages to a higher level before going out to film as a lot of time can be wasted on set trying to sort this out
  • Use a call sheet in addition to the storyboards so that we know which shots are in the same place
  • When shooting a scene set at night or in the dark start filming at dusk rather than when it is pitch black
  • Between shots make sure that the actors/esses stay warm if the weather is cold
Challenges we faced
  • We slightly misjudged the timings as getting ready and set up took longer than anticipated so it had gotten very dark by the time we started filming. This meant that we had to use alternative lighting like torches and phone lights.
  • It was underestimated how much planning needed to be done to try and be more organised on set
  • It was quite muddy so the shoes of the girls were hard to walk around in rather than sinking into the ground