Archive for the ‘ Evaluating ’ Category

Film Magazine Commentary

This is the first half of my film commentary. I have not been able to record it all due to technical difficulties so the rest is written below.

I have tried to record this and make a video but it has not worked.
I will try again, but if not here it is in writing.
I attempted to make my comedy trailer as conventional as possible.
To do this, I included the green preview slide in order to give it an authentic look.
At the start of the trailer I have two seconds of “dramatic music” in order to set the scene.
The aim of this was to make the audience think that they were watching a thriller or an action movie so when the sudden change came it would be surprising and funny.
I pushed the illusion further with zooming in shots of my main character and a dramatic voice over.
This is a typical convention of action films but is also commonly used in comedy films to great effect in films like Mike Myers the “Love Guru” for example.
Fourteen seconds in, the genre of the trailer changes.
I used the sound of an alarm for several reasons.
Firstly to show that my main character has been asleep and he is now waking up,
secondly to alert the audience that something is about to change in their viewing and thirdly as a way to seamlessly stop the dramatic music and pave the way for a different slant.
There is then a shot of Andrew just waking up from a sleep.
The sun is shining in on is bed to show the audience that the time of day is morning if the alarm did not necessarily make sense.
The audience by now from the comic yawning and waking up from my actor should be able to tellthat the dramatic start will not really be followed up on.
If people were still not sure of this then hopefully the next shot will do the trick.
I was eager for Andrew waking up to be nice and quiet, almost relaxing, to totally contrast with the anarchy which will ensue.
I used a jump shot to show Chris lying in the bed next to Andrew and was keen for the differences in the shot to become apparent.
If you freeze the shot then you can see Chris on the left with a face of total contentment and Andrew with a face of horror and I feel this illustrates well, even in the first shot, what the story of the trailer will be.
I spent ages attempting to eradicate any continuity errors from my work.
This meant a lot of time was dedicated to creating a smooth transition from single shot to two shot.

It was important that Andrews head continued on the same line between shots and I think this has been done pretty effectively.

The shot then moves to a blank screen with the words “he gets a visit” over the top. After this there is dialogue between the two characters where the plot of the movie is revealed.

This was intended to signal the end of the first section of my trailer which was the slow paced start and the set up.

Then there is a mixture of voiceover and titles giving information about the makers of the film.
In most of the trailers I watched in my research there was some mention of who was behind the scenes, which was intended to impress people and prompt them into going to view the film.
I have done this with mine.
I have also included a rating from the appreciated film critic Jonothan Ross.
The quote was meant to add humour which I feel it did but also if someone was to see a glowing report from Jonothan Ross then they would be more inclined to go and see the film.
Throughout the trailer from now on there is the snooker music over the top.
This will hopefully strike a chord with a generation of people watching the trailer and what’s more perhaps make them more inclined to go and see the film as that is the main aim.
Following the first section of my trailer there is now a series of clips aimed at making the audience laugh.
The first shot is of Andrew looking in a mirror convincing himself that everything will be alright.
I wanted the shot to be in a mirror because I felt that character should be trying to look at himself and almost get things into perspective.
It is an attempt by the character to see things clearer.
I used an over the shoulder shot to make it look to the audience like they were listening to someone else.
The next shot is of Andrew being struck in the crotch by a football.
It is a brief reason as to why he is lying on the floor at the end.
It is an attempted motif simply trying to illustrate the pain caused to him character by Chris’.
I used audacity to record the grunt over the top.
Initially Andrew’s grunt, although real sounded very grainy and so I replaced it with my voice.
The next shot is once more a mixture of titles and voiceover.
This was done simply to show that I could use both techniques but I attempted to elaborate more on the voiceover just to add some variation.
The next shot is my second sound drop.
After Chris has followed Andrew into the toilet there is a brief pause followed by Andrew exclaiming.
In my research I found that there are around two to three sound drops in a film trailer.
After the first one which was much less abrupt (the cutting of the dramatic music) this one is more obvious.
Although the next shot could be used to show what happened the fact that I don’t zoom in for example allows the audience so think about what could have happened.
It allows their minds to roam and offers a lot of options.
The music then comes back in after a brief pause with some more titles and voiceover.
Between the “To cope” and the “they have to get on titles” is a scene which I just put there to get a cheap laugh.
The scenario is simply bizarre and the goal was to get a reaction of amused confusion and I feel it has worked well.
I then show the actors.
I use the same font throughout for consistency and it is also the font I have used in my magazine and poster.
The shot of Andrew is very simple but the shot of Chris is once more strange and is an attempt for a cheap laugh.
After the “In a hilarious classic” slide there are two scenes showing Andrew attempting to get out of the shower but being interrupted by Chris on the loo.
These scenes are intended to highlight the relationship between the two characters being difficult to say the least.
There is then the second part of the hit in the crotch Andrew received earlier in the trailer.
Andrew lies helplessly while Chris, totally oblivious collects the ball and moves on.
This is once more an illustration of their relationship.
The final scene before the title of the film shows a link back to the start.
Andrew and Chris are lying together in the bed with Andrew attempting to scream an expletive but being cut off short.
This I feel is a good ending.
The idea was to leave the audience laughing and I think I have done this.
The end joke is one that never fails to get a laugh.
Overall I am very happy with what I have created and have received very positive response.

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Frames and Shots Needing Improving

I haven’t been able to improve my shots due to the weather recently so I will look at the ones that I have already and decide what is that needs changing?

This is the first one that needs changing in a number of many ways. I have chosen this specific still as it epitomizes my lack of skill when it comes to the lighting and the framing decent shots need.
The main issue that is apparent here is that the camera is not totally in focus. This is a problem I will seriously need to eradicate from my work as I risk getting very low marks in the construction side of things.
The second problem is the lighting. As you can see there are shadows on the walls. This is in desperate need of improvement. The issue with this is that this picture was shot in a room where outside it was dark therefore needing a light on in the house. Next time hope to do it with natural light so the shot looks less tacky and I wont have to use artificial light.
The framing is also very poor. As you can see one side of the frame is a wall and there is a dark gap the other side filled with shadow. When I next shoot I will make sure that the framing is much better, even if it just the edge of the bed on
both sides.
The final issue regarding this shot is the way I moved from shooting Andrews face on his own the two of them. On my trailer at the moment i zoom out and move my hand to accommodate the two characters. This like many of the other factors in this shot look tacky and I am eager to change it. I have decided I will probably use two shots one with just Andrew and another one with both of them to avoid any tacky zooming out.

This is the next shot I need to change.

One again the framing is awful. There is no need for all the bushes around Andrew to be in shot. It would be much more effective if I had a close up on his face talking, then on his crotch being hit and then him on the floor. This would be much better than the arrangement I have at the moment where he very unsteadily falls down using two or three shots.
This will solve lots of problems. I also need to make it clear he is on the phone as the feedback I have received has suggested that it is not obvious what he has in his hand and the way it falls to the ground suggests it’s to be important later in the shot.

Similar issues are arising in this shot. The framing, once more is poor. I have shot in front a curtain which looks as if it will be included int he shot. As it is not it seems bizarre. To solve this I will use a more neutral background or a more appropriate one. In front of an ironic picture portraying peace etc would be nice. (The camera also needs to be in focus.)

This is similar to my first shot. The light and the framing is poor and there is too much going on.

I have a strange white bar on the right hand side of the shot and there is a chair there also which is clearly not meant to be there. I don’t think I should have the light coming in from the back and once more I need to get the camera into focus. It is my living room and it is very untidy (not usually!) I need to take care the next time I film that there is less happening in the room. I just need a shot of Andrew sitting at the couch with Chris walking behind him.

This shot is pointless. It is not clear why this is here and to be honest it is just a filler. I needed one more shot before the titles came up. If iw as to use a shot similar to this then I would have to take care to not to film it in front of curtains as once more they seem important but this doesn’t materialise.
This shot is likely to be scraped totally but it important I understand how bad it is anyway.

Overall I aim to improve drastically with my filming. I understand this will come with time and I plan to work very hard on this. I hope to do some filming over the Christmas break.

Title Ideas

I have been researching existing titles and designs.

Here are a few I have picked out:

The clear pattern in these titles is that the design of them relates to the content of the film. “The Hangover” clearly is linked to clubs and pubs, “Sean of the Dead” liked to death and zombies obviously and “Life of Brian” has religious connotations.

Obviously I have to decide the name of my film first. With help from others the most popular so father seems to be “Oh..Brother!” I do like this however I fear it is too close to the film “Oh Brother where art thou?” If I can’t find anything else then this will be a good title I am sure however I will continue to think of ideas.

Film Title

Title discussions have dominated recent Media Lessons.

I have had it proposed to me that perhaps “The Adoption” is not the best name for a comedy film. It perhaps sounds more like a horror film than a movie intending to make people laugh.

I chose “The Adoption” after researching popular films like “The Proposal” , “The Hangover” and “The Ladykillers.” I think perhaps that final title is more sinister than the one i chose however I do agree with the feedback I have been given so am thinking about changing my title.

In my research I came across “The Comedy 25” as chosen by the Guardian newspaper.

Here is what they decided with help from reader’s votes:

  •    7.3% Annie Hall  
  •   2.7% Borat   
  •  7.6% Some Like it Hot   
  • 4.1% Team America: World Police   
  • 1% The Ladykillers   
  •  5.3% Dr Strangelove   
  • 2.9% Duck Soup   
  •  2.1% Rushmore   
  • 1.3% Kind Hearts and Coronets   
  • 17.4% Life of Brian   
  •  8.7% Airplane!
  •  14.2% The Big Lebowski   
  •  0.8% His Girl Friday   
  • 0.4% Election   
  • 6.9% This is Spinal Tap   
  • 1% Bringing Up Baby   
  • 1.5% There’s Something About Mary   
  • 1% M*A*S*H   
  • 0.5% Dazed and Confused   
  • 5% Groundhog Day   
  • 0.6% Clueless   
  • 1% The Great Dictator   
  • 1.3% Clerks   
  • 0.9% The Jerk   
  • 4.3% Shaun of the Dead

This is an interesting list and I have italicized and made bold “Life of Brian” by Monty Python which was voted the funniest film of all time.

When looking at these successful comedy films and the titles of them it is clear that there is no real rile that these films.

  • Seven of the above are one word titles.
  • Eleven of them are a name or about a person e.g. The Big Lebowski, There’s Something About Mary.
  • Six are statements or sentences explaining what the films are essentially about.

It seems clear that the most popular comedy titles are a name of someone or something. This has given me something to think about and I will spend time deciding whether I am sure to change my title and if so what to.

Distribution

What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?

After researching into the different ways of distributing magazines I believe the best place to send my magazine would be newsagents. I think this because, as my magazine is a completely new genre, to start with a decent amount of people would hopefully purchase it. After the (hopeful) rush I would then expand the distribution to music shops and fairs. This is because the people who will visit music shops and music fairs will be more educated about music and more into it. It is because of this that they would hopefully be more likely to purchase my magazine.

In my research I found that specifically genred music magazines are mainly distributed out at festivals. I mainly know this because is the summer at a festival called “Greenbelt” I was up to my knees in the amount of free leaflets and magazines being given out. I would also aim for the bigger festivals such as “Glastonbury” because of the wider range of people who attend. There will definatley be some Glastonbury goers interested in my magazine. More locally and downscale, events like the “Upton Jazz Festival” who attract staunch Jazz fans and even the “Cheltenham Jazz Festival” which is growing annually would be a great place to distribute my magazine as the people who attend are people who  appreciate good music and the genre of funk is ultimately just a branch off the bigger genre of jazz. 

This would work well for me as the people visiting festivals are very open minded about the kind of music they listen so would happily  look at my magazaine and maybye in the long run purchase it.

Taken from WorldWide Magazine Distibution Limited and post 04/08:

The major magazine distibutor in England is WorldWide Magazine Distribution Limited. The headquarters is located to major Airports and Railway stations making it easier and more efficienct when it comes to delivering the magazines. They make sure they deliver pallets and parcels nationally on a next day service. They have a fully computerised label database system which means they can deliver the parcels safely and and without delay.

That post also talks about the advantages and disadvantages of free handouts, subscription magazines and newspaper magazines.

I think, due to my earlier reserach in 04/08 post on the Haymarket Media Group, my magazine couls comfortably fit into their range of magazines. They have produced mature, musical magazines such as “Calssic Fm” and “Gramaphone” aswell as sporting ones and motor ones. I think “Hot Funk” could easily fit into this publishing group as it is aimed for a mature audience who know the genre, funk. While this has been said there are certain aspecs to my magazine aimed for a slighly younger audience such as the bright colours but this is hopefully not enough to mean that my magazine would not be totally in place surrounded by other serious products.

Social Groups

How does your media product represent particular social groups?

My magazine, I believe shows very musical, cool people. The aim was for anyone who didnt know anything about the genre of music to get to know it a bit a realise that perhaps the assumtions they made were not correct. Maybe they thought that music was not for “cool” people but I feel that the relaxed, layed back poses of the people on my double page spread go against this image.

They are also all smiling which shows how much fun music can be. The main aim was for people to realise that music is a great thing and it’s embraced by so many people and the main of the magazine is to encourage more and more people to get to know the genre of funk and appreciate it as much as i and other people I know do.

While the people in the pictures look “cool” I wanted it to seem as if they were not attatched to any specific social group. I wanted this to encourage people that funk or music in general could be for them you dont have to be a certain type of person to enjoy it.

In terms of representation. The people in my magazine definitely, I feel, conform to the typical stereotype of musicians. They look at ease with the instruments they are playing (front cover), and are on the whole smiling and enjoying themselves (contents page and double page spread). The issue was, because my magazine would be something different to anything else there has been should I make my pictures and the characters in them different. I decided that this could be too much of a risk and as the stereotypical pictures of musicians have worked well on other, previous magazines I decided to play safe and hopefully it paid off. The only form of challenging representation is that the people pictured are much younger than the normal characters in magazines. This is because the main article is what young people we can look forward to seeing in the next year. Aoart from this there is no difference in the representation of the people in my images from the norm.

I am pleased with the way the people in my magazines have come across as “cool” , nice people who love what they do.

Conventions

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

In my research i came acriss certain sites which helped me when talking about conventions. Th ebest one I found was a blog itself by a girl called Katrina, here is the link: http://katrinajarvis.blogspot.com/2009/02/codes-and-conventions-of-music.html

I am here comparing my magazine with an “NME” magazine that came out in March. In terms of the general conventions the magazine are relatively similiar. Most magazines follow a simple pattern which I have tried to continue. This is when there is a main picture with the headline and this is clearly the main story included in the magazine. With the “NME” front cover the picture is The Gossip and the headline reads “The Gossip…etc”. Similarly my magazine has two main pictures with their musical instruments so it is clear that they are the main feature. This is then confirmed with the big headline reading “Top Players of 2010”. On the professional magazine there is a lot of informataion down by the side which works well. I have chosen not to cram too much information into my front cover as when i have tried that in the past it has ended looking really overcrowded and not great. Instead I chosen to keep a simple design. I think it works well and is somewhat reminiscent of this front cover of “VIBE” magazine:

This works well (like my magazine I hope) as there is  not that much information and there is space but it is eye catching a proffesionally done. A good job.

LIke most magazine I also tried to keep similar colours and fonts through and I believe I have done this well or at least better than some of my previous projects. As well as that and the pictures I have the things that come with magazines as a given. For example a tag line; in my case “Putting the sax into saxapphone” and competions, “Win a trip to New Orleans”. There are also freebeies which are very common, “Ten Funky Pics Inside”. I feel these are all well done and are like anything you would see on a normal magazine. Finally the price, issue number and barcode are all there as you would see on any magazines in the shops.

With my double page spread and my contents page I have follwed the same patterns and made sure I keep to the general conventions. What I was most conscious of was not attempting to cram too much in as it would look uneat. With my contents page I used blocks for my texts and one big picture. As with the double page spread I had the website at the bottom. On my double page spread I used text boxes with quotes which I fitted in at angles as that is what I noticed magazines seem to go for.

Overall I am pleased with the way my front cover turned out and in turn my double page spread and contents page. I would like to think that it could be seen on the shelfs in shops.