AS THIS IS A RESUBMISSION, ALL POSTS DATED BEFORE OCTOBER 2010 REFER TO THE ORIGINAL VERSION.
ADDITIONAL RESEARCH AND RE-FILMING HAS BEEN DONE SINCE THEN!!!!1!!!!!112!!!?

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Evaluation

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?



One thing we forgot to mention on the video was the intertextual references and how they are a common feature of films of this genre, such as the recurring "Loomis" name in Psycho, Halloween and Scream. As previously mentioned our film has plenty of references to classics such as "Grace" (a tribute to star Grace Kelly), the name Paul Bateson (formed by mixing Paul Allen, Patrick Bateman, and Norman Bates), the line "Hey Paul..." (from American Psycho), and the Silence Of The Lambs book on the table.

How does you media product represent particular social groups?



What media institution might distribute your media product and why?


Psychological thrillers (in general) do not perform hugely well at cinema level these days. The most recent successful Psycho-Thriller was Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island which made £2,250,178 on it's opening weekend and £10,599,763 overall in the UK. In comparison similar release date Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland made £10,555,220 in it's opening weekend and £42,169,542 overall.
  So whilst bearing this in mind and added to the fact that the cast and crew are unknown, our film lacks wide audience appeal. This means that distribution would have to come from a company more interested in the art of film than making money. Warp X (a small UK production company) use Optimum Releasing for their distribution, and as they make slightly more controversial films, this would be considered if we had created this text in the real world. As Warp have tie-ins with  Film 4, this does mean that a possible straight-to-tv film is also something to be considered. The actual cost of distribution is huge compared to the box office takings for small independent films so many, such as Bunny And The Bull, only have one tape which must travel from cinema to cinema.  Most low budget films are actually released straight onto DVD, but again this will need a distributor to get it into the shops, and also some level of promotion, as again demand is low.
 In terms of our actual text, we are obviously using Youtube to exhibit our film opening. This is probably the best way for young film makers to get their film seen, but again for success a reputation needs to be built up around the film.
 We have submitted our film to be entered into the Co-op Young People's Film Festival. We have had to make changes for this, such as editing out the swearing to make it more suitable for any younger audiences at the screening. This is similar to how sometimes TV programmes, for example Friends, are edited by Ofcom so they are eligible to be shown before the watershed.

So by choosing to make a film in the Psychological-Thriller genre we have effectively largely narrowed down our audience, and by doing so our chances of securing a distributor for cinematic release. Again, this is due to wanting to make a film with deep meaning and artistic style, rather than just making money.

Who would be the audience for your media product and why?

Our target audience for our media product would be aged 18 - 35 years. Any younger age would be technically excluded due to a notional BBFC rating, though with the use of downloads, pirate copies and owning DVDs at home, some younger ages may well be able to see an 18 rated film. Our film includes alot of serious themes; religion, violence, the mind, so again this narrows the audience down to those interested in really deeply watching a film rather than simply watching a Rom-Com for relaxation. It does not appeal to a huge audience, it's not intended, it like many films in the genre attempts to engage a sophisticated audience.
 Like discussed in the previous question, Psychological thrillers do not have a history of huge commercial success. That being said Hitchcock classic Psycho originally has a budget of £300,000 and has now recouped a huge £30million. In a Daily Express article from earlier this year entitled "The moment the world went PSYCHO", Neil Norman writes how Psycho shocked but engaged audiences upto 40 years of age, "the enlightening cynicism of the younger generation". When done properly the psychological thriller genre can be a powerful device.
   In terms of social class this artistic genre mainly appeals to the ABC1 grouping, with more sophisticated viewers the main target. The characters portrayed on screen do not have a lower class background although they are trying to climb the social  ladder, so it does appeal more to a higher class than lower working class.
 Both of our main two characters are caucasian actors, possibly meaning that it does not widely appeal to all audience as much as intended. But we found from our research that in general, most films of this style and genre did star caucasian actors, with any others forming lesser parts, which had we gone on to do a whole film may well have used. The lack of non-caucasian characters does not exclude different audiences though as many box office hits use a mainly white cast.
   Our film is aimed at fans of the works of auteurs such as Stanley Kubrick, Darren Aronofsky, Alfred Hitchcock, David Fincher etc. Our audience will have an intelligence and creative side to them, taking links to the Literature side of film. The weird has a strange underlying tone to it, which will engange a more sophisiticated audience rather than alienate them. We have appealed to this audience with a common trait of the genre of using many intertextual references as previously stated. We have also instantly signified our target audience by the sophisticated name "A Bat In The Belfry", which only an intelligent audience would understand the meaning.

How did you attract/address your audience?






What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product? 



We have developed many different skills over the course of the project, engaging in the main three stages of pre-production, production and post-production.
 In terms of problems, our main two we could not fix were both in filming. We originally planned for once the production logos were onscreen to then have an eye opening effect into the blurred white room. Unfortunately we found this troublesome, with the intended effect not coming across. We tried to originally use card to essentially act as eyelids opening and closing, but in the end this look more like just cardboard. We then tried to use iMovie when editing for the effect but again, this looked unproffesional so we left it.
  We also wanted to attempt the Hitchcock zoom first seen in Vertigo, but without the use of a camera dolly this made moving the tripod and camera smoothly very difficult.Unforunately we could not include this shot.

Looking back at yout preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?

 Our preliminary task was very amateur, whereas now we would like to feel that our finalised product is a lot more professional and meaningful. The preliminary task was simply using match-on-action and shot-reverse-shot whilst applying the 180 degree rule. We have now managed to incorporate these skills into something meaningful. In "Narrative and Stylistic Patterns In The Films Of Stanley Kubrick" Luis M. Garcia Mainar, discusses Kubrick's ability to tell the audience something through dialogue, but how he also can hint at and suggest different things through the use of action, cutaways, and body language. It says of Jack Nicholson; "his extreme acting distorts the subjectivity in many sequences", and this eccentric style of acting was what we used to portray Paul Bateson's madness.


 The prelim task was roughly editing, as we had little previous experience with the programme, whereas now we spent more time editing our footage smoothly and realistically. Also with our film opening, we used different camera angles within the shot/reverse shot sequences to signify different feelings and meanings. For example the Dutch angle at the end connotes our central protagonist's madness, and that something is strange. We through in  cutaway shots of the kettle to anchor emotions on screen and create tension with our audience. We were also not afraid to make use of the lack of dialogue in shot/reverse shot sequences, for example the awkward silence, which adds a sense of drama to our scene. This all came from trial and error with reshoots until we were happy with the finalised effect of each shot in the sequence. We were able to now convey many different feelings not only with dialogue, but the use of the visual art of film.

A BAT IN THE BELFRY [FINAL CUT]

Official Websites (Blogs)


Again to try and add a sense of realism to our project and also take advantage of Blogger's free exhibition we created two websites (blogs); firstly for our production company "Vertigo Cinema" and secondly for our actual film "A Bat In The Belfry".
 We based our company blog on "Warp Films" official website. We wanted our blogs to be as useful and realistic as possible so looking at existing websites and blogs was clearly essential in setting up our own.
Our blog was set up with sections such as "News", "Who Are We?", "Featured", "Releases", and "Links". We planned to do more sections but clearly with time retraints and blogger itselfs restraints, this wasn't possible. Like with Warp's website, we created a banner for our blog to instantly grab the viewer's attention.
 We also looked at the official blog of GK films, the company behind both "The Tourist" starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, and Colin Farrell's latest film "London Boulevard". In comparison to their blog, our blog is actually very realistic for a smaller production company. The sections included on their blog, were virtually the same as what we included ourselves.

The inspiration for "A Bat In The Belfry" was the website for Warp's "Four Lions" and also Hammer Horror's "Let Me In". These websites all offer information on the film but importantly, they offer something extra for fans. Including a trailer is essential, and often top of the page, so that's the way we did our blog. We included sections on "News", "Synopsis", "Links", "Production company" as well as extras "Gallery", "Cast and Crew", and "Bonus Footage (outtakes)". These all realistic inclusions and were on both websites mentioned above. Again we wanted to look at smaller existing film's rather than blockbusters, as this was more realistic for our target market. The Making of Memento book told me how often websites included some sort of strange game to engage viewers such as on Memento's website, an idea also seen on The Blair Witch Project's website, to create a hype and sense of realism about the film. Unfortunately we are not skilled enough to do this, but if it had been possible, it would have been ideal for our film. Considering the restraints of Blogger and our own skills though, we are happy with our production blog and think it has been successful in terms of our intentions for it. We now have over 100 views of our trailer, and we feel part of this is down to our production company and film blogs.

You can click here for Vertigo Cinema's blog or click here for A Bat In The Belfry's blog. The blog's can also be reached underneath this blog's title (UP THERE ^^^^^)

PROMOTIONAL POSTER

A Bat In The Belfry - Teaser Trailer

As we are trying to make this film as if we are real film producers, we created a teaser trailer to try and gain some audience attention before it was released. We used a combination of our old film opening and new film opening to create our trailer in Sony Vegas. We then put it to the extended version of film's soundtrack. Clearly most film's do not just use clips from the opening in their trailer, but as we have not filmed a complete feature length this was not possible for us . So we have tried to use different clips, out of any sort of order so that it becomes ambigious as to where these clips would be from in the film. Basically if you have not seen the film opening, you wouldn't think all these clips are from it.

As this is just a teaser trailer, we wanted to keep it fairly simple, but at the same time grab the audience's attention. Our inspiration for this was the teaser trailer for Christopher Nolan's Inception. That meant we had to use clips we not would get the viewer intrigued such as the multiple Graces, or the blood on the hands, and the iconic white room. In teaser trailer's you have to get the key symbols of you film across to the viewer, but at the same time still grab their attention. It is finding this balance that helps make a teaser trailer successful.
Like in Inception's trailer, they used the phrase "Your Mind Is The Scene Of The Crime". We wanted to use a similar style phrase to get the viewer interested, so we decided upon "How Can You Escape If It's All In Your Head?". This phrase is slightly enigmatic and open to interpretation but also the psychological thriller genre. As this was our first time seriously producing a film trailer, we are happy with the outcome of our trailer, and with over 100 views (the most on our any of our videos) we were suprised but again happy that it had done it's job as a marketing tool. Ideally we would have included a few different shots, but they hadn't all been filmed at the time.

EQUIPMENT

Because we are producing our film opening low-budget, the software and filming equipment we have used may differ to that of the actual film film industry in some ways.

Cameras:
-Canon MV920 Digital camcorder

We found the cameras very easy to use and because of some of our more sophisiticated shots we chose to use manual settings rather than simply autoeffect ones.
For our vision sequence we raised theexposure to create an extrememly bright effect, almost surreal. We also used varying manual focus to create the disorientated feel.
And for the kitchen scene we used a "daylight" white balance giving an almost red tintm that signified a warm atmosphere but could also signify blood/danger etc.

DV Tapes
By using DV tapes rather cameras which take SD/XD memory cards, we avoided all the problems of .mp4 compatablility. They also upload very quickly so it was just an all round better option.





Tripods

The use of tripods give it that proffessional look we are going for. Unless it is intended in for example documentaries, or our walking POV shotin the vision, the frame should be still at all times with smoot movements.
The use of tripods is essential to this, and for our walking scene we used one with a handle, to make it easier.









Special Effects:
- Blood

 

The blood was made using a common recipe found online. All it contained was red & blue food colouring, water and glucose syrup. It was cheap to make and in the very quick cuts will look successful.


Editing:
-iMovie 06
iMovie is a fairly simple programme to use. Once gotten the hang over, it can also do some complex things. We intend to use it for mainly basic things such as editing the clips and sound together.











-Sony Vegas 9

Our "Vertigo Cinemas" and "SIMPLAZ" logos were made on this programme. It can do incredibly complex things but again once messed around with, isn't overly complicated to use.
This is our first time using this programme.








Exposition:

-Blogger
This website keeps everyone up to date with everything. It's very simple to use, but very helpful and essentially acts as our individual production websites.



-Youtube
Our Youtube channel display all our video updates. It's very useful for getting your films scene and noticed. It potentially has a worldwide audience so is ideal for young film makers.



-Scribd
Scribd is a document uploader, that agian is easy to use whilst recieving a lot of reads. We used it to upload our initial screenplay.




-Divshare
This website hosts our podcast uploads. Using the embed code allows it to then use the sound recordings on our blogs so again is very useful for exposition.



New Rough Cut 2 [With Audience Feedback]

New Rough Cut

Here's our first rough cut of our newly written opening for "A Bat In The Belfry".



At this stage the rough cut doesn't have any sound. This is partly because I forgot to export it with sound (!) but also we need to re-record the voiceover at the beginning and all the sound for the new section.

Reshooting - New Proposal

We have decided to reshoot our film opening, completely changing the second half of it. For our new film opening we are going to go from the first dream sequence into another dream sequence before the character wakes up at the end. This dream within a dream idea was influenced by Christopher Nolan's sci-fi/action/thriller Inception.

Our basic idea for our film opening now is:
-"Vertigo Cinema" title card
- "Simplaz" title card
- Same opening as before, the long POV shot across the white room, intercut with images of Grace dying
- "A BAT IN THE BELFRY" title card.
- Out of focus shot of spilled wine glass (though not recognisable at first, mainly would show red which signifies the blood of previous scene) slowly focuses in.
- Shot of Paul waking up in dark room. The room is cluttered and strange in appearance, with objects positioned very strangely - most prominently a sofa on it's side.
- Paul walks across to the mirror. Quick flicker of Grace looking back at him. He notices Grace laying/standing on the sofa behind him.
- He walks over grabs her hand, and kneels down. Almost proposal type of position.
- Another Grace walks through the door. Paul is confused by what he sees - he tries to shake it all off as if it is a bad memory.
- He looks at the window wishing for escape. Again a quick flicker of Grace in his reflection.
- Other Grace walks across the room towards him.
- He turns around and a shot reverse shot sequence begins. The two have a conversation with echo effects, though their mouths never move.
- This is intercut with all the sections above playing in reverse back to when his lying down.
- It is also intercut with slow motion shots of the aforementioned wine glass falling down to the floor.
- Final shots are the wine glass smashing, and returning to the shot mentioned earlier. And finally extreme close up of Paul's eye opening.

The overall plot of the film is the same as the previous version, though we decided to completely change the second section as it looked the interest and creativity shown by the first one. The impossibilties for creativity when working around dreams is endless, so we felt another dream sequence that contrasted the first one would be very interesting. It meant we could work in the same artistic manner as we did on the first dream sequence, and help further create confusion in amongst the viewers.

As the film is the same genre as previously, the films watched as research is the same. But we also want to take influence from French New Wave films and Surrealist films such as Un Chien Andalou (An Andalucian Dog) by Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel. French New Wave also influenced the quick montages in Darren Aronofsky's Requiem For A Dream, so it should go hand in hand with our film.

For the revised storyboard click here.

Final Old Version of " A BAT IN THE BELFRY"

Second Rough Cut



After cutting this edition of the opening now with the second scene we noted down all the changes we intend to make for the next cut. We know:
- We want to fade the soundtrack in on the distribution logo so it's not so abrupt coming in
- Cut the plain text credits out, and put the titles over the opening scene
- Cut down the bedroom scene as we are struggling to fit the 2minute 30 mark.
-  Speed up match on action of picking up dressing gown as it looks strange at the moment
-  Include a clip of george in awkward silence to prolong it
-  Maybe change the editing?
-  Re-record voiceover, as this version was simply for the original rough cut.

We discussed these ideas with the audience, and they mostly agreed as well as adding:

- Considering lighting over Grace's (Laura's) shots - This was intentional though, signifies she is in the dark over Paul (George)'s life.
- When Paul wakes up, his hair style is still perfectly done. This created a slight lack of verisimilitude, but as we hadn't picked up on this until this late, reshooting wasn't really a possible option unfortuanately.

And we also recieved our first comment on Youtube...

FIRST ROUGH CUT AND AUDIENCE FEEDBACK





As this cut was by no means close to what our final edition will look like, we were aware that a lot was still to be editied and altered. We did however want audience feedback on this opening scene. From the session we found:
- The main thing for the opening was really anchoring this hallucination state of mind. Consider even more strange colour effects.
-Remove plain text titles as they take up needless time.
-Re-record voiceover
-Add second scene after "Paul" has woken from vision.

PRODUCTION SCHEDULE


This was our original production schedule with myself and Joel planning to take on most of the cinematography as Laura was actually acting in the film, but in the end especially in the bedroom scene for example she did do the filming, before we all assisted in creating the setup in the kitchen. As you can see our plan was very detailed and this made the filming process a lot easier.

Intertextual References

Our film makes use of a large amount of references to previous, same genre films. This is something we have found this genre, as well as the horror genre does repeatedly.

Character Names
Paul Bateson - The name Paul derives from victim, Paul Allen in the film American Psycho. "Bateson" comes as a combination of the American Psycho central character Patrick Bateman as well as the iconic villain from Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho";  Norman Bates. Bateson is just a variation on both names. Strangely when we googled the name Paul Bateson we found that the first search result was for a homosexual serial killer of the same name.

 
Grace - As well as having it's religious connotations, Grace Kelly played the central woman role in three of Hitchcock's films ("To Catch A Thief", "Dial M For Murder" and "Rear Window").
As our character took influence from his films conventions, we felt this would be a perfect name for our character.








Mise en Scene
White clothes - This influence came from Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange".







Books - In the kitchen and bedroom scenes, books of same genre feature films "The Shining" and "Silence of the Lambs" can be seen.

Script
"Hey Paul..." is a direct reference to the moment just before Paul Allen's death in American Psycho.
Narrative
The writer that flips - Is a narrative seen in both "The Shining" and "The Secret Window".


 Two identical girls - Less of a direct reference but we have a scene with two identical girls in the shot, something also seen in The Shining, although they are used slightly differently.

Soundtrack
The soundtrack for the second section features two notes first when there are two identical women, and secondly when she walks across the room. These two soundclips are taken from iMovie, but we also found they are used in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining.

Editing
The very quick intercutting from a shot of someone alive, to seeing them dead on the floor is a technique again seen in The Shining. We felt this idea really suited our style of film, and helps add to the confusion of the piece. So this iconic piece of editing was incorporated throughout our work, most prominently at the very start.

Audience and BBFC Rating

The BBFC is an independent, non-governmental body set up in 1912 to moderate the films we watch. It is a non-profit organisation, and the fees charged simply cover the cost of doing each job. As well as classifying the films we see in the cinemas, in 1984 the Video Recordings Act meant that they each film had to be seperately reviewed again before going on general release on DVD/Video etc. Local councils still hold some power over the BBFC, choosing to reject or amend their decisions if they want.
The guidelines in which they classify films are constantly being updated to represent society's views. "In the most recent consultation over 8700 members of the public were asked for their views on classification – including consideration of issues such as language, discrimination, violence, sex and drugs in films, DVDs and video games, parental concerns about younger viewers and recent BBFC decisions." (from BBFC website).

BBFC Classification Guidelines 2009                                                            

EXISTING FILMS -

Black Swan [Darren Aronofsky][2011]

BBFC say "15. Contains strong sex, language and bloody images"
This is the most relevent of the classifications we looked at the BBFC as it is the most recently rated, not actually being released until January 2011.
Having not seen the film yet obviously, I can only go by what I have read about the film and it's trailer. The trailer itself was very dark and gruesome, and people are classing the film as psychological-horror.
 With Aronofosky's relentless past efforts all including alot of adult content such as in Requiem For A Dream and The Wrestler, and this one apparently being no different with a violent sex scene between two women, it is suprisinging that this film only recieves a 15 rating. This shows just how quickly society's views change on what is acceptable in a film.

The Shining [Stanley Kubrick][1980]

BBFC say : "15. Contains strong violence and language"

However the DVD version is given a rating of 18 with the BBFC still saying:
"Contains strong language and violence". This shows how the BBFC must adjust their classifications for what is acceptable to be shown on a cinema screen in comparison to in your own home. The DVD version is one minute longer which could suggest additional footage which gives it the 18 rating.



American Psycho [Mary Harron][2000]

BBFC say: "Passed '18' for strong sex, violence, language and some drug-taking"

Based on a book that is still banned in some places, many people said American Psycho could never be adapted to a film as it was just too explicit. The film was created though, and only just managed to scrape into the 18 rating. Still, 18 seconds of the film had to be removed, featuring central protagonist Patrick Bateman with two prostitutes and also oral sex. Some scenes from the book were missed out, only mentioned through dialogue in the film. This shows how a film must give in a little bit in order to be screened, however good that film may be.


Memento [Christopher Nolan][2000]

BBFC say: " 15. Contains strong language, once very strong, violence, sex & drug references".

 As far as I can remember this film only signifies sex, and does not show actually show it and the same with the drugs. This shows how even the mention of the two will raise the film's classification. The thing which I believe is the main cause of the 15 rating, is the "once very strong" language. Our views on language are constantly changing too, so it would be interesting if in a few years down the line, this film would still have a 15 rating.
OUR FILM -
After much debate and researching, we opted for our film to receive an 18 certificate. We considered the 15 rating given to similar films such as Memento and The Shining (re-rated in 2007), but after following the BBFC's guidelines, we felt our film would be only suitable for those over 18.We mainly felt this as the guidelines read on the subject of violence: "Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury. The strongest gory images are unlikely to be acceptable". Our film does feature gore, certainly in the opening vision and conversation, and more would be more expected in a feature length film. As our film takes influence from films such as American Psycho and Fight Club, we feel that similar uses of repetitive swearing, horror and gore would probably feature in a full length edition, though not evident perhaps in the opening scene.


TARGET AUDIENCE

Age

Because of the 18 certificate given to our film, the viewers should technically be above that age although clearly people do see films with certificates higher than their actual age. Our target audience is the age group of 18 - 35, as it features adult themes and content, that many people above that age may find unacceptable. That being said though they are still our secondary audience, as clearly not everyone has the same interests and views.
We have included a young cast with adult themes to try and broaden the spectrum of people that would be interested in our film.

Ethnicity
In general this genre is very causausion dominated, with the occasional different ethnicity characters appearing in lesser roles as in The Shining, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (both played by Scatman Crothers) and Requiem For A Dream. Our film opening featues two caucasian actors. We probably incorporate the multi-ethnic cast idea in to ours if it was a full-length feature film, as again would help widen our market appeal.

Nationality/Regional Identity

 In our original version of the film opening, our central protagonist had an Australian accent. This was mainly his decision, but it was also useful for wider international appeal to the piece. That being said we have decided to get rid of it for the re-shoot, as people here in the UK were confused as to why he had it. As the UK is is our primary target audience (well along with the US) we decided the film was confusing enough already with it's plot line, without a character having a different accent for no reason.
  Both our two main characters are from Yorkshire, but in the opening you only hear our central protagonist speak and the Yorkshire accent isn't clearly signified. This was to gain the piece wider appeal throughout the UK and with international viewers in mind too. We found that with strong regional UK accents films did not do as well commercially in the USA, with Working Title's Mickybo and Me being a prime example.
 In general psycholgical thrillers are more of an American genre, with little British examples coming to mind (although Cuckoo by Richard Bracewell is a recent one). This means there is a gap in the market at the moment which our film would slot perfectly into, as well as still appealing to America.

Gender

Hitchcock introduced the idea of having a blonde woman central to the plotline (as seen in Vertigo, Psycho and The Birds and the majority of his later works). This idea still remains in most psychological thriller films today, so we were always insistent on it being that way in our film. Our two central characters are male and female meaning that we can target both genders.                                               
However we are aware that our genre generally has a large majority of male viewers. That is also why the inclusion of our female lead character will appeal to them as well, because of the male gaze theory. Because of the violence and sexuality of this genre it is hard for us to truly target a female audience (although there will always be exceptions), but we have done everything possible to try interest them in the film. The genre is more psychological than simply horror, thus it's plot, violence and the way it portrays women in general is more appealing to women than if it was a horror film.

Socio/Economic Group

The central characters in our film are a young couple of struggling lifestyles, meaning they have little social status. This is an almost socio-realist view, so we don't give a falsified view of our country like that shown in many Richard Curtis films such as Bridget Jones' Diary. His representation of Britain gives it wide international appeal to an American audience, but we are more concerned with creating a true, honest film. 
  Our social group shown is much more similar to that portrayed in Requiem For A Dream and The Shining. This means it will appeal more to a wider audience in the UK creating empathy towards the central characters. We didn't really want our film on class and economic groupings, we would much rather it focused on the characters. That being said, there will always be a level of argument about class, and would be open to interpretations. When originally thinking about our plot, we did suggest that our central protagonist was constrained by the society around him.

Sexuality

Our characters are in a hetrosexual relationship. This genre struggles to target a homosexual audience, as there are very little signs of homosexuality throughout. Darren Aronofsky's latest film Black Swan though does feature a scenes of lesbianism, which shows it can be done. Our film though probably wouldn't, although again it something which could be looked further into. But importantly Aronofosky's use isn't to create a wider appeal for his film, it is done as a puroposeful part of the plot.

Fans of...

Great directors such as Hitchcock, Kubrick, Aronofsky and Christopher Nolan. All these directors deal with great detail into the imagery shown on screen. It's more than having just a good plot, it's about how it looks, sounds and the impact it has on it's audience. In general people that like these films, have a much wider knowledge of films and are avid fans of cinema. These directors don't have to work with big-budgets (though they can) to put across a great film. Clearly not working with a big budget is something that is central to this project. 
  Many of the films in this genre create a lot controversy but also more important to their audience, they are open to interpretation. This means that psychology becomes a part of these films. In subjects like Psychology and Sociology people actually study films like A Clockwork Orange, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and Memento. Because of their great cinematography they are also looked at in Art, and because of their deep plotlines they are analysed in English. This means people who like these subjects may very well like these films, as they work on so many levels.

Summary

Our target audience is for those aged 18 - 35 years, with perhaps a more serious interest in film. It would appeal more to the older audiences because of the complex narrative, adult themes and more sophisticated violence. We expect the majority of our audience to be males, but have tried to appeal to women too. They would appreciate films by the likes of Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock and Darren Aronofsky. 

Voiceover




Here's our original recording of the voiceover, done using the camera's built in microphone. The
second version was us beginning to test how it would sound with the soundtrack in the background,
as this features in the opening vision.




This final version is our newly amended voiceover. We re-recorded it without an Australian accent or
any put-on accent as we got feedback saying to do so. We agree that this version feels more natural,
which of course adds to the verisimilitude. Not all of the lines were used, as we had to stick to not only
our overall time limit, but also the length of the long POV shot at the start.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Soundtracking

Soundtracks can be vital in terms of creating or anchoring the preferred reading of your film. We wanted our soundtrack to be in a similar style to the Lux Aeterna (the Requiem For A Dream soundtrack) composed by Clint Mansell, or similar to the theme for Sam Mendes' American Beauty. With both films, the soundtrack has become as iconic as the films themselves. Again, this was our intention.
  We brought in our friend Seb Gatti to compose our film's soundtrack, mostly using scoring programme Sibelius 5. As I have worked with him in the past and we both have experience of the programme as well as sharing musical understanding, it was very useful sitting down with him to discuss ideas. This is very much the way soundtracking works in the real film industry too, so again it was very useful.

Below is the first version of our soundtrack composed especially for our film opening.


As with most films, our composer also produced an extended version of the soundtrack.



We were very happy with the soundtrack created for the film. We feel as if it really anchors the drama and tension well for our film opening. The descending low notes in the background again help anchor the darker mood to the our production.

For the rest of our opening (the second dream sequence) we used samples from iMovie, then transferred them across into Audacity and eventually Sony Vegas. We didn't want a song as such for this section, more of just an ambient sort of style, to allow the viewer to concentrate on the what was happening on screen.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Initial Screenplay

A BAT IN THE BELFRY  
We wanted our screenplay to convey alot of charcterisation and plotlines but at the same time we were
aware of the contrainsts time held. We also set out to have a strong script with good dialogue to show a
sense of maturity for the audience. We feel that this script after slight adaptions was successful in both
respects and with strong actors featuring, there is freedom for some improvistation to add verisimiltude
and emotion to the scene.

Storyboarding [DRAFT]


Here is a scan of our initial storyboard before we begin shooting our film opening. We feel that our opening offers a wide range of different shot angles and a variety of shot lengths to help draw the audience in and make it interesting to watch. We have tried to use creative shot types where possible to make the film artistic and something different, as well as helping convey meaning to each shot.

UPDATE:
For our reshoot, we redrafted our storyboard for the new dream sequence. As many shots repeat etc. they were not drawn more than once. Our new storyboard was essential in helping us set up for shooting, as with ideas for multilayering it became complicated.

Revised storyboard:

Our Company Logos

 VERTIGO FILMS (Production Company)
 


SIMPLAZ (Distribution Company)



Both title sequences were made using Sony Vegas 9.
The sound effects come copyright free from http://amazingsounds.iespana.es/asehg.htm.

Updated version



Feedback for both film production company logos has been positive so we are happy to take forward these logos into our film. Sound may be an issue to consider once more as our opening features non diagetic music, so it could be that one or both of the logos are muted or the sound from them is quieter than on these versions.

Podcast 3



In this podcast we talked about our further planning of our film before filming begins. This week has been our busiest yet ahead of actually starting the production stage. We recapped our creation of our film, company and character names that we have chosen. We also discussed our possible shooting locations, cast and techniques we will be using in the shooting of the film.
We then talked about our further plans, currently consisting of a screenplay and a storyboard. Again, all this work will help us when it comes to next weeks filming.

Mise en Scene

Mise en scene is key to creating the right sort of atmosphere to a film, and films of our genre particurlarly by Aflred Hitchcock all use a large amount to help signify various things. This means we have carefully planned exactly how we want each location to be set up.


Location #1 - The White Room
The most important thing we want to be clear about this room is that it is empty, to create an isolated area for our central protagonist. We want it to be lit very brightly, emphasising the contrast and to also help achieve this we plan on using a high exposure level whilst filming. For the overlayed images of the dead character, we require blood capsules which we will purchase before hand.


Location #2 - The Bedroom
We want to instantly signify this character's position as a writer so plan to sprawl post-it notes, torn up paper and possibly a typewriter in the room. We want the room to be unorganised to show that perhaps all is not right with our protagonist. We have discussed possibly placing an art poster such as Rene Magritte's "The Lovers" on the wall, to signify his strange, artistic nature.
 When the character awakens onto the double bed, we want him to lay on one side of it with the other half folded open. This begins to signify he has a partner who has already woken up and left. By doing so it also begins to show perhaps a divide between them, but also that our central protagonist is waking up late.

Location #3 - The Kitchen
Again we want the kitchen to express our character's disorganised nature, with more notes scribbled everywhere, and perhaps a laptop on the worktop. We want to really emphasise his devotion to his work, and his struggle for ideas.
 The character enters the kitchen to find his partner already up with breakfast for him. We also want the newspaper to at first be blocking our view of her face, to momentarily conceal her identity. We feel that a kettle boiling, could act as a nice cutaway shot before it stops in an awkward silence.
 We have decided that using the daylight filter on the camera to create a reddish tint to the filming could work well in creating a warmer atmostphere, whilst at the same time signifying the red of blood.

UPDATE:
For our newly re-shot film opening we will not be using locations 2 and 3 and instead using:

Location #4: The Living Room
With the original version of our film opening, we felt that the second half lacked the quality and overall creativity of the first half. So instead of having the waking up and kitchen scene, we have decided to do another dream sequence.
  The mise en scene for the second dream sequence will contrast to that of the first. Whereas the first dream sequence (which will still be used) created an overall feeling of emptiness and therefore isolation, we very much want the second to create an almost claustrophobic vibe. Therefore we intend to tightly pack the furniture into the room, and have it all arranged in a strange manner. For example, we will turn one of the sofas on it's side, coffee tables upside down, shelves and cupboards open etc. This is intended to signify how these strange events are taking over his life and surrounding him, but it also still connotes his generally disorganised nature.
  Again contrasting the first dream, we want the colour to be much bleaker so we intend to use extreme lighting to darken the room.To lighten certain areas, for example the faces of characters, we are going to use a table lamp and reflector off screen.Also as part of our mise en scene is the use of candles (to signify a mourning and sense of loss), this will help provide flickers of light in certain areas.




CLOTHING

Paul Bateson
In The White Room
We are going to try to seperate takes of this section, one with our protagonist wearing his general everyday scruffy clothes or dressing gown, and another more creative one in which he is wearing all white clothes (a shirt, trousers, shoes.
In The Bedroom
He wakes up on top of the covers rather than under them, showing his strange sleeping patterns. He can wear simply boxer shorts and a t-shirt, again connoting he does not prepare himself for bed in any planned way. Just before he leaves the room, he picks up his dressing gown on the way out. His hair is also scruffy to show his interrupted sleep.
In The Kitchen
He is now wearing the dressing gown he picked up over the top of his earlier clothes. He may have glasses  on, but also deep shadows under his eyes, creating the tired atmosphere. We are going for a similar looking to that of Jack Nicholson in "The Shining" or Johnny Depp in "Secret Window".

Grace -
In The White Room
Again we will have two takes of this sequence, one in normal clothes and the other white, so we can see which works best for our final cut.We will also have the use of blood capsules, which will work very well when contrasting with all the white.
In The Kitchen
We debated whether she should be all dressed and ready for the day, implying he is up late, or perhaps she is wearing his clothes signifying their relationship and lifestyle. We felt wearing his clothes would be best as it really anchored their struggling lives, and their relationship as a couple.
UPDATE
For the new dream sequence
In The Living Room
For this dream sequence we intend to have Grace wearing the same white clothing as in the white room. This will help to add a continuity between the dreams, and therefore linking all of the dreams together. Again the use of blood capsules will be needed, and we are currently looking into using the chroma key effect to really highlight the red of blood. But more on that later...

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Casting


When deciding upon our actor for the role of central protagonist we largely debated the age of this character. Some felt, and this was shown through a research, that an older character was often the lead in psychological thriller films such as American Psycho, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, and the Shining. But other films such as A Clockwork Orange, Donnie Darko and Requiem For A Dream, feature a young central protagonist. All other casting of subsequent roles would depend on our central protagonist's age.
 We narrowed it down to two final actors we felt suitable for the role, one older, one younger. We concluded that a younger central character could emphasise the fragility of a young, creative mind when dealing with social pressures. Also we felt the younger actor was more suitable for this specific role as he had the characteristics we felt were relevent to our central protagonist.


After deciding upon our central character, we then debated about the secondary role to be played by a female actor. We were not sure whether to opt to use the Hitchcock stereotype of a blonde lead or perhaps to be slightly different and use a brunette instead, in a similar way to Marrion's supporting role in Requiem For A Dream. We have decided on using the blonde as it does take influence from Hitchcock and American Psycho, and helps to highlight the fragility of her character.