Monday, 21 March 2011

Evaluation Question - 1

1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
In a horror film , there are various forms and conventions which are applied in order to frighten the audience. In a horror film, you will most likely hear a soundtrack which plays with the audiences emotions. For example, the there will be a combination of non-diagetic low slow pace sounds which is physiologically used to lower the audiences heart rate. A series of fast pace high notes are used to then slowly build of the pace of the heart heart  and also to build up tension. One of the main conventions of a horror film, is the male killer. The male killer is used in order to signify power, masculinity and dominance. This could be shown by the mise-en-scene through masculine clothing choices, short hair, and also facial hair. However, in our film WAXED, we chose to provide a counter type and have a female killer. We specifically made this choice in order to put a feminist spin on the genre and create a character that would challenge the stereotypes of women and men today and how people see them or want to see them. We saw that in Judith Butler's theory she looks at how women and men choose to portray their gender through how the world sees then and how they should act, dress and talk. She comes to the conclusion that gender does not exist but it is something that we are taught as a child from a very young age and we grow up with these ideologies.

In the opening, we decided to use white text to signify to signify seriousness but then broke the original convention of using a Seriff font to show that altering a font choice does not affect or change the production. We also went against the idea of using Seriff font because we didn't want to give away the plot or what it was about. On the other hand, we also did not want to have oppositional reading from the viewers. In order to fix this problem we provide anchorage that it is a horror by using non-diagetic high string notes, like Psycho, which connote tension and violence. We also make use of these high string notes combined with low string notes at the beginning to signify the binary opposition between the customer and the woman. One thing that we would have changed in this though is to provide a shot reverse shot so the binary opposition would be made clearer. 

We used a slightly lowered angle shot of the countertype female killer to signify power, whereas in most horror films the woman is seen as a vulnerable and weak character. We see a feminist spin due to the anchorage which is provided by the dialogue of "Time's up b*tch" which shows a sense of power and dominance. 
We wanted to provide narrative enigma throughout because it is the usual convention of a horror. However, originally we wanted the audience not to know who the killer is,but due to the close up shots from George it was hard to preserve his identity. To fix this problem, we used high string notes when he approaches the salon to give a sense of mystery.

We decided to have a blonde scream queen and for her to be represented as dumb and ditzy. Due to the fact that she didn't have a large chest , her legs  were on screen a large majority of the time and when she removes the towel this is used to signify that she is sexually active and this is the reason why Katie (the killer) kills her. Also, having he legs on screen and the removal of the towel, we wanted to bring in the male gaze that would attract our audience of males and females between 15-24. We made this decision so that it would attract both females, due to the feminist spin, and also males due to the women being featured in it. With the female killer, we wanted to portray that she is aggressive and violent. In order to provide anchorage, we did a close up of her slamming scissors into a circular scissor pot on the desk. This is used as a symbolic form of rape and connotes violence. 

    Evaluation Question - 2

    How does your media project represent particular social groups?

    In a slasher genre there are stereotypes such as the Scream Queens (A woman which attracts the male gaze and is usually the one who is killed first) An example of a scream queen in other horror movies arr Demi Moore in Scream or Jamie Lee-Curtis in Haloween. In our film, we have included a scream queen in the sense that our female actress is blonde but she is not as done up as Katie, the killer. Due to this, we decided that the killing should be done not because she is sexually active, but because she isn't representing women in the way they ought to be portrayed because she is not glamorous and pampered as women should be and in the way she represents women by wearing a low cut beautician's outfit which reveals her large chest. This is used to also link to our  male audience between the ages of 15-24 and the male gaze.

    The Final girl portrayes as the opposite to the Scream Queen asThe Final Girl is a woman starring in a film that survives in the film and is most likely to be portrayed as the opposite of the Scream Queen as she is intelligent and geeky. We did not get to incorporate a Final girl in to our film but we would have liked to seeing as it would contribute to the horror conventions. If we would have had a Final Girl she would have been brunette, intelligent and sexually pure. However, in order to go along with our theme of counter typing , the Final Girl could have been a blonde busty female who survives and shocks the audience. This would shock the audience because it challenges the way that people see blonde women and how they are dumb and are used as objects for male gaze in the typical conventions of a horror.

    The male is normally the killer in a horror. We wanted the audience to  see George (the male client) as an eerie and mysterious character who is  secluded from society. We provide anchorage that he is this character when he does not communicate with Collette (the female patient) when he goes upstairs. We have dennoted that he is a dillusional character by using high note keys when he first is seen walking towards the salon. We did this in order for the audience to automatically have perceived views on him. 

    Evaluation Question - 3

    3. What kind of media institution might distibute your media product and why?

    Because we are a small based Indie film maker or Independent film makers, our film would not be able to be distributed by a well recognized film company as we have had no budget on our film. With our location, we did not have a budget to afford a high quality location but were given permission to do so in a salon. Also, since we have produced a slasher/horror film, most distributer do not want to promote or distribute violent and disturbing films. Also, we would never become a mass marketed film as we do not have the money to promote ourselves and the film. On the other hand, if we were to be associated with a distributer it would be Paramount or Lionsgate seeing as they have distributed horrors in the past. These horrors include, Halloween, and Psycho. Our film could be distributed by these companies because they create intertextual links as the soundtrack for our film was similar to the one in Psycho. These media institutions would also distribute our film because there main audiences range from our age range of 15-24 and it shows that there will be an audience for our film. Also, a Company such as New Line Cinema would be considered as they  they have distributed other horror films such as ‘Nightmare on Elms Street’ and and we have deliberately applied inter textual references. However, seeing as New Line only distribute within the Us region they have a subsidiary called Entertainment Film Distributors which distributes within the UK and they also release independent films especially in the horror genre for example, cherry falls.  Another company which we would highly consider is Warp X which is a subsidiary of Warp and works with the UK Film Council and Film 4 which distributes low budget indie films.

    Evaluation Question - 4

    Our production would be given a rating of 15+ in the BBFC. The target audience for our film is between the ages of 15-24. We have chosen this audience because we see in various films such as Halloween show that there is an audience for this ranging amongst teens mostly and also that most horror films are given this rating. On the other hand, even if we were to rise the rating to an 18, we know that there would still be an audience seeing as most teenagers under the age of 18 still watch and get a hold of these films. The same applies for people over 24 watching the film. The reason why we rated this film as a 15 is because if we had rated it as an 18 we would have lost some of our audience in the cinema because most horror's sometimes attract teenagers below 15. Also, we decided not to rate it a 12 because some of the language, such as "b*tch", is not appropriate for younger children, along with the violence and gore. 

    Our initial target audience for our film opening was between the ages of 15-24 and we aimed to attract both male and female within this age category. In order to do so, we put a feminist spin on the genre by having a female killer. A female being the killer portrays women as powerful and strong characters, rather than being seen as an 'object' or Scream Queen, for the male gaze. We wanted to gain male viewers because of the female killers features and they tend to be interested in the blood, gore and gazing upon a blonde busty female. Our primary audience is 15-24, but our secondary source could be ages below or above this age range. For example, people who are outside our target audience may want to see the film due to the inter textual links such as the soundtrack which links to Psycho, or when Katie files her nails having an intertextual link to Nightmare on Elm's Street. 

    Evaluation Question - 5

    We used narrative enigma to draw in and hook our audience by preserving the identity of the killer, Katie. However, one of our main goals was to keep the audience wondering and to decode who was out of Katie (the killer) and George (the male client). We tried to also preserve the identity of George but could not do so as we saw his face when he enters the salon. Seeing as this didn't work, instead we portrayed him as an eerie and delusional character by having non-diagetic high string notes playing when a long shot is used of him walking down to the salon. Throughout, there are various suggestions and 'give away's' to the audience on who is the killer. One of these is where Katie stabs the scissors in to a circular pot, and when George chooses to ignore and be bitter against the female client. 

    Also, we used a false scare in order to play with the audience's emotions and heart rates when Katie puts a wax strip on the leg of Collette and we then go back downstairs to George who hears a scream. The audience then becomes aware that it was just the wax strip being peeled off. 
    For the audience to realise how we challenged the general conventions of a media horror by using a female as the killer, we wanted to provide anchorage that she was a powerful and strong character through the derogatory term of "b*tch" being used. 

    We specifically chose our actors/actresses to appeal to our female and male viewers. We did this by having the Killer in a low cut top, heels and a beauticians outfit. This was used for the male gaze. Also, having the female killer brings a feminist spin which attracts the female audience as she is portrayed as strong and powerful whereas women are portrayed as "objects" and there bodies are merely put on screen for the male hetrosexual viewer.  

    In order to attract the audience to our film, the soundtrack plays a big part. In most horror's the soundtrack starts off slow and then starts to gradually become faster and more intense leading up to the killing. This therefore plays with the heart rates of the audience and contributes to the tension which is given in the scene, also playing with the heart rates of the audience. In order to achieve manipulating the audiences emotions and heart rates, we start off t\with a series of high non-diagetic string notes but then as the tension starts to build they are then mixed with low string notes providing an inter textual link with Psycho.  

    Evaluation Question - 6

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

    In order to create our film we used a wide range of facilities and technologies in order to make our film stand out. We used technologies such as Garage Band, Google, IMDB and YouTube, iMovie and LiveType. 
    From the beginning we had to adjust to the camera that we were using and have a feel of what it is like to be real film makers. We experienced this by using various equipment such a tripods, camera's and a voice recorder and seeing how they work. 

    on the Apple Mac computers, they were various choices of softwares that we could use and we picked and choose which ones were good for each specific element of our film from soundtrack, to editing, to creating the idents. We used LiveType to create our indent and we saw a range of fonts and effects which made our indent look more professional. For instance, our Bricolage indent was created by choosing the moving brick wall and for the Illusion Distribution we wanted to match the background effect to the title and therefore we picked the mist.  iMovie was the main software which we used as we used this to edit our film and this was the software that was mostly used. This application helped us insert soundtracks, edit clips, use transitions, add effects to the title's and others. At first it was hard to get used to all the various different functions of the application but after a while it became second nature. In iMovie we were able to cut fast shots and "splice" them together in order to increase the pace of the opening which therefore increased the tension. 
    In order to show our progress along the way, we used Blogger to talk about our struggles and success' along the way and also for our research and planning. On these blogs we also analysed different films based on our specific genre in order to get different ideas on the conventions of the horror genre. 

    Other sources we used to look at different horror films, distribution companies and producers, was IMDB, YouTube and Wikipedia. We found IMDB useful as we could compare our film to other Horror films which had succeeded in the market and were able to look at specific directors and there techniques. At the very start of putting our film together, IMDB was useful as we had to see if our name WAXED was already taken or if our ident names were taken by searching it on IMDB. We used YouTube to upload new rough cuts and our final cut to gain feedback from other users and also used it to create a group account. 

    With the soundtrack, we knew exactly what we wanted but we found it hard to create the soundtrack that we wanted. Our first try of making the soundtrack was not a success. I tried to use some eerie piano keys but the recorder picked up different sounds. To fix this problem, we used the software Garage Band which worked perfectly and we created the soundtrack we wanted. We were looking to create intertextual references to the Psycho film soundtrack by using high strung note contrasted with low notes. Using Garage Band also allowed us to create sound effects for our film. 

    If we were a professional production team we would aim to have more reliable and technological resources such as real musicians and a professional software and editing team. However, seeing as we are an independent production it was not possible or affordable to have these technologies. 

    Evaluation Question - 7

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

    When we finished completing our film and our preliminary task I have learnt all the hard work that needs to be put in and how deep analysis in the genre helps to create a certain atmosphere. It was hard creating a film with no budget and from having a small budget we were not able to stretch ourselves in to using a wide range of different shots and locations.

    From the preliminary task we have also learnt to apply shot reverse shot, which we incorporated into out film. By using a shot reverse shot it helps to reveal the characters more by them having a conversation and the binary opposition between them both are visible. However, we did not have time to change this and therefore this is something that I will definitely use in future reference.  

    Looking at the research of this media project, this has been vital in the fact that we have gathered different horror conventions and have analysed the genre by not only looking at the opening sequences of Horror films but also looking at distribution and production companies on IMDb and other different resources. The research has also helped us  gather all the different aspects of the horror genre by looking at mise-en-scene, sound, editing, and different camera shots that are used to make our film opening the best it can be. It has allowed us to gain a wider understanding of the genre and also has helped us to challenge the conventions of this genre also.

    In the prelim, we made up the story spontaneously and had no planning or rough outlines, camera shots, or dialogue. With our piece, creating a storyboard shows how much it can make a difference to the film. Throughout filming, we kept referring back to the story board to see which shot came next which provided a much smoother process rather than spontaneously coming up with new scenes or camera shots which weren't as effective. Also, we also changed the story board a number of times which helped us to adapt and improve the story and we were able to look back at the number of shots/scene's we changed which led up to the finished product.

    Pitching aloud me to create a persuasive storyline of my original idea which helped me to understand just how nerve wracking the real film world is. It showed me that in order to make it as a film distributor you have to provide new ideas and fresh outlooks in order to gain the support of fellow colleges.

    When we had to cast our actors/actresses we knew specifically what we wanted. A busty blonde to represent the Scream Queen, a female killer who was tall with short brown hair, and a male who was tall and muscular. However, I have learnt that you will not always fill the specific category. It was hard for us to find the Killer as firstly we were going to have a 3o year old woman play the killer but she was too busy to film. Also we had to alternate actresses as Collette was not free when we had to do re-shoots so Sophie had to take her place instead but her face was not aloud to be shown. In the end we picked Katie to be the killer as she was the closest fit to our perfect killer. 

    In our film, we had to consider the mise-en-scene much more than we did in our prelim. This was because we were trying to connote different stereotypes of the male and female gender to costume was vital. Also, with our prelim location, it was easier because we filmed it in school whereas it was hard to find a location (beauty salon)  to shoot in. This also made it hard for us to do sample shoots and therefore we never provided any. At first it took us a while to finally get our location and we narrowed it down to two beauty parlors in Ilkley. When neither of them replied we were strongly considering shooting in a house. The Ilkley beauty parlor, Angels Retreat, finally got back to us and the woman said we could shoot. On the other hand she also said we could only shoot on Tuesday which restricted us a great deal seeing as we had to do re-shoots. 

    We provided a number of rough cuts in which we received audience feedback from. This was different seeing as in the Prelim we made one copy and did not get any audience feedback. Having audience feedback on the rough cuts helped a great deal as we saw the parts in which they were confused, different shots that could be used and which parts of the story board to alter. 

    With the soundtrack of the prelim, we used a site to download sound and insert it into the prelim, whereas in creating our film we had to compose our own soundtracks. This was because we could not commit fraud, but I also am glad we had the chance to create our own because we knew exactly what we wanted and  Garage Band helped us obtain the sound we wanted to fit the genre. 

    Creating our company idents was a new experience seeing as we did not have to create any for our prelim. We were given the chance do do something fresh and creative which was a good representative of our production and distribution company. It took a while to get the idents finished as we were mainly focusing on editing the actual film but after they were both finally finished I was pleased with the outcome. Using the Live Type software was hard to use at first but it helped to make a great finishing product.

    In our film, we tried to use a wide range of shots which in some cases were symbolic. We had to think carefully which shot needed to go where and whether we were using fast paced editing or slow paced editing considering which parts were the tensest or which parts calmed the audience. One of our main problems considering shots, was keeping the camera steady. We tried to use a tripod in as many ways possible but when it came to point of view or low angle shots we had to keep our hands as steady as possible. 

    Working in a group was challenging as we all had to contribute and had to make commitment to be there for re-shoots as we were assigned three different roles. Mel was the Cinematographer, Sophie was the Director and I was the Producer. It was hard at times to schedule a day when we were all free but it ended up working well. Working in a group really challenged and stretched me as I had to not only take responsibility for myself but also responsibility for the others in my group and we all had to respect one another and others inputs. 

    Final cut

    SD- In our final cut we have used fast paced editing to fit with out target audience(being 15-24 and above) for eaxmple we have done fast paced editing when there is the false scare of Colettes scream to go with the mood and how we want the audience to feel aswell as George (customer 2) because of target audience we had to used faced paced editing but found from audience feedback that when we used it for most of the opening that they didnt understand what was going on also Dave said that in parts (such as when George was in the draw in the opening) that because it was good fast paced editing we should of made it longer but we didnt have time to go back to the location to get more coverage because from what we did take the shots didnt fit together properly and we need verisimilitude for our opening to be sucessful.

    Final cut with everything- WAXED. from sophie dixon on Vimeo.



    Idents completed :)

    SD-We have completed orur idents for Bricolage productions and Illusion distribtion company which we have now changed from Boredshore. We went for an urban ident for the Bricolage production one with a wall in the background we tried to go for a street ident with the modern soundtrack from Garage band. The illusion distribution ident is also quite new with a lava style background and simple white text over the top the sound track we added to this we went for a bubble noise to make the orange background to look more like lava which we thought was quite cool. We are really happy with both of the idents and was easier for us to make them because they didn't have to be linked to our film opening giving us a wider range of options to work with.

    Narrative in opening

    SD- We have decided we needed more narrative of The killer Katie in the opening shots so we have now got a shot of her looking down at a knife while she uses it to open a letter but you cant see much of her face anymore so we think it provides a better narrative and gives more anchorage to the idea of her being not innocence in the film. Also there is thick red text on the front of the letter that signifies blood 

    We have also got rid of the zooming in when the establishing shot is on screen to make it more like Halloween and we will be adding a blue tint to these shots although we are keeping the sunbed shots the same.
    Thinking about it as we have binary opposites with Colette and George the customers, we should of had shot reverse shot in the sequence to show this more clearly which if we had time now to re-shoot we definatly would. Although we are glad with Katie's character as her beauticians outfit provides verisimilitude. 
    We still havnt done our sound track although we know we want something like in Psycho. High pitched strings on the establishing shot  would add intertexuality to our film making it like Halloween.

    Editing Update

    SD- We have recently changed our opening and from our audience feedback we received, we have decided to take out the shot of Katie (the killer) walking up the stairs our audience thought it would be more mysterious and that the shot was unnecessary just taking up time in the opening.

    They also said that they thought we should try and fit the kettle part back in because it built up tension nicelyso we have recorded Katie telling her customer she's 'just going to put the kettle on' we have now re added the kettle shots and shown the new cut to some people and they agree it fits and has worked out nicely.

    We still need to add the idents to our opening and tittles as well as the sound track we've been working on recently which ishigh pitched notes similar to Psycho and increasing depth in parts to add tension we have also been thinking about the sound when Katie axes Colette in the tanning booth because we need to make it sound realistic to achieve verisimilitude.

    Ideas for soundtrack throughout

    SD - There are a number of places in the opening that we have identified when we definatly want sound these include the following.

    • Establishing shotsof the salon should be quite high pitched like in Psycho.
    • Low strings when George is approaching the salon.
    • Creepy music before Katie slams the scissors into the pot on the desk in the downstairs of the salon.
    • No sound when Katie is looking at the mirror seeing Colette and George.
    • A revelation in sound when George finds the book in the draw quoting 'The good and the bad' to show its relevance and intertexuality to the text.
    • Lots of scary and creepy music every time George is on screen to suggest he's no innocent in it either to make the audience think who is the killer waiting for anchorage to be applied later in the text.
    • Something again like Psycho when Katie's hand is approaching the handle of the sun bed.
    • Sound that will jolt the audience when the title WAXED appears on screen.
    • The sound of Katie axing Colette in the sunbed needs to big and a flesh cutting sound.

    Changes to the opening - Editing.

    SD- We have made a number of changes to our opening:

    1. We have decided to have Colettes scream repeating to when George slams the draw to make it look like he does it for a reason showing he could also be suspicous.
    2. We have had to take the kettle bit out although it built up the tension at no point did katie mention the kettle so it was unsignificant to the text unless we can record katie asking her for a coffee or tea and we are able to put the diolgue over the top.
    3. We moved the shot of Georges 'confused face' to when he hears the scream to make it more relevant.
    4. We are currently working on a Psycho like soundtrack for parts of the opening when there is no dialogue.
    5. We have scrapped the idea of using the final shot of the leg and blood sticking out of the sunbed because the blood looked unrealistic and we couldn't decide on an appropriate transition that would look good replacing it with a simple black screen and the title WAXED in red bold letters signifying blood.

    Soundtrack issues.

    We have had the idea to put the high notes on the piano over the top of the scenes to make George seem more erey when he is approaching the salon also we are going to copy Colette's scream earlier and put it in when George is rooting around in the draws in the upstairs of the salon to show he's getting nervous and looking for a weapon to use on The killer later on.

    2nd Story Board - part 1


    2nd Story Board - part 2

    2nd storyboard part 2

    2nd Story Board - part 3

    2nd Storyboard part 3

    2nd Story Board - part 4

    2nd storyboard part 4

    2nd Story Board - part 4

    2nd storyboard part 5

    2nd Story Board - part 5

    2nd storyboard part 5

    Final shooting

    Lastnight we reshot our film opening for the last time, it went really well and we got plenty of coverage so we should be able to edit it to a really high standard. Unfortunatly, Colette or victim could not be filmed so i had to fill in for her which wasnt a problem in the end because we only needed a point of view shot and some shots of her legs. The weather wasn't great but we managed to keep the camera dry by putting it under an umberella. We got around 80 shots so we have so much to edit and decide on what we want to do with it.

    Editing decissions

    - We wanted a very high angle shot to make the male customer look vulnerable and make the audience think that he's the victim.
    - When we re-shoot we will get all the church bells to give anchorage of the time and edit it into the first shots
    - We have made a variation of shots in the opening without it looking too much although variation shots is good for our target audience (15-20) that get bored easily.
    - We had to think about re-shooting in the day due to blurriness.

    - We need to think about what sound affects we want throughout because we realized when editing we need to record screams and other sound to make it more action packed.

    Re- shoot Colette getting into the sunbed.
    - Speak to Colette about the outfit for the sun bed because it doesnt work filming her legs getting into the sunbed.
    - Re-shoot outside shot George going into the salon.
    - Psycho did extreme long shot shoot one of these as our establishing shot.
    - Take as little tracking/ panning shots as possible we have cut down our tracking shots so our target audience dont get bored.
    - Psycho Norman Bates/ Katie playing this role is sat behind the desk which we have edited so her face isnt seen (narrative enigma) to hide the killer (more narrative shots needed)
    - Re shoot george speaking to katie to make it flow more easily
    - Get a magazine or newspaper with some sort of murder story or weapon been found to mirror what will later happen.
    - We could get a shot of katie filing her nails or using scissors to signify that shes the killer 
    - Edited a few shots to cutaway shots to vary the variety of shots.
    - The shot of the candle flickering edited to quite short and then theres a shot of a single candle after.
    - We will need to re shoot our film more to vary shots and make the transitions from shot to shot smoother.

    BBFC Information


    Suitable only for 15 years and over

    No one younger than 15 may see a ‘15’ film in a cinema. No one younger than 15 may rent or buy a ‘15’ rated video work.


    The work as a whole must not endorse discriminatory language or behaviour.


    Drug taking may be shown but the film as a whole must not promote or encourage drug misuse. The misuse of easily accessible and highly dangerous substances (for example, aerosols or solvents) is unlikely to be acceptable.


    Strong threat and menace are permitted unless sadistic or sexualised.

    Imitable behaviour

    Dangerous behaviour (for example, hanging, suicide and self-harming) should not dwell on detail which could be copied. Easily accessible weapons should not be glamorised.


    There may be frequent use of strong language (for example, ‘fuck’). The strongest  terms (for example, ‘cunt’) may be acceptable if justified by the context. Aggressive or repeated use of the strongest language is unlikely to be acceptable.


    Nudity may be allowed in a sexual context but without strong detail. There are no constraints on nudity in a non-sexual or educational context.


    Sexual activity may be portrayed without strong detail. There may be strong verbal references to sexual behaviour, but the strongest references are unlikely  to be acceptable unless justified by context. Works whose primary purpose is sexual arousal or stimulation are unlikely to be acceptable.


    No theme is prohibited, provided the treatment is appropriate for 15 year olds.


    Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury. The strongest gory images are unlikely to be acceptable. Strong sadistic or sexualised violence is also unlikely to be acceptable. There may be detailed verbal references to sexual violence but any portrayal of sexual violence must be discreet and have a strong contextual justification.