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The class watched our short film and we created some feedback sheets so an audience could comment on things they enjoyed and things that could be improved, allowing us to change our short film slightly to match the audience feedback and improve it. When looking at the things written about our short film, it was evident that the main thing that was appealing to the audience was the storyline of having a young character bring two families from different backgrounds together using a teddy.
The idea was simple but entertaining and fit well with the message we wanted to convey and the genre of drama. It contained a form of Tzvetan Todorov’s narrative theory which suggests that all narratives follow a three part structure where they begin with equilibrium, where everything is balanced, progress as something comes along to disrupt that equilibrium, and finally reach a resolution, when equilibrium is restored.
These are the steps for all traditional stories:
1. Equilibrium (everything is as it should be)
2. Disruption (by an event)
3. Recognition of disruption
4. Attempts to repair disruption
5. Return to equilibrium
Some of the camera angles we used were also appealing to the audience. Seeing the comments made on the film my group saw that the audience felt the story was shown well throughout the production. The target audience for our short film is teenage and young adults both males and females, so the feedback we received was a realistic and reliable view of how the audience would find the film because it was shown to a group of people in this category. As well as seeing the parts of the short film that were liked, getting feedback also allowed my group to see what needed to be improved and what the weaker aspects of our short film were. Lighting and sound were two main issues that we noticed were brought up a lot on the feedback sheets. many of the indoor scenes were filmed with poor lighting due to the filming schedule and times that the actors used were able to be around, and the artificial lighting is what made the scenes appear quite orange. We were advised to use the editing software to balance out the colour in some scenes.
When filming the outdoor scenes, we used a boom mic for the first time which was difficult to work with to begin with. The result was that sometimes the sound was slightly quiet when Jack’s character was speaking. Furthermore, through our audience feedback we were able to see that our film could be improved with more variety in the music over some of the scenes and that the volume of the music could be adjusted slightly. From the audience feedback, I have learned that the storyline we wanted to show in the film was clear and the target audience found it appealing, however there were also aspects of the film that were not as strong such as the lighting in some scenes and the sound.
Our final day of filming consisted of shooting the outdoor scenes using the boom mic. We filmed the scenes where the two families finally come together, along with the scenes where they walk past eachother and the protagonist character, being Jack, leaves the teddy for the crying baby and struggling mother he sees during his trip to the park. Using the boom mic was difficult at first becasuse it was our first time using it, but it allowed us to get clearer audio in these scenes. We waited unti a day the whole group could be together during the day to get the outdoor scenes completed so that we had the daylight and we used an area of the park that not many people would be around so our filming wasnt interupted.
When I was editing the short film with Ella, we noticed a few scenes that we needed to either reshoot or add in to make the story flow more. in order to remember what there was to do, we have written everything down in a table. We have included the outfits needed for each day so we don’t accidentally film the outifts on the wrong days, and we have included what we will need to do and which actors will need to be there. This will be helpful in remembering the particular scenes we need and can easily look back to make sure everything is correct.
Research into the drama genre
Our short film
Our short film doesn’t really belong to one genre but it is similar to the drama films in many ways.It shows a real life situation of a struggling family and the compassion that children can have. It also portrays a journey of the boy leaving the teddy for the little girl to find, and it keeps the audience emotionally attached.
We looked at a range of sites and tracks to find the music we thought would add the emotion we needed to our film. We filmed our clips before choosing music so we had an idea of what styles of music we wanted. When filming we decided that we wanted the majority of our short film to have more music in the background than dialogue as this would be easier for the childen in the film as well as helping show the simple and bubbly storyline idea we had. Using the internet, my group and I were able to find sites with music that we could be able to use, and sounds that fit well with each scene. Below are the links to the sites we checked out and picked music from.
And the following sections:
Roberts park in Saltaire is the park we decided to have as a filming location for the outdoor scenes in our short film for a numner of reasons, one being the fact it is easy to get to and will make traveling with the younger children who are acting in the film much easier. The park is close to Ella’s house meaning we have a place to easily go to for the outift changes and snack breaks for the children. Also, the park contains a path that we can use for the scenes when the two families cross each other, and the tree area can be used for leaving the teddy in.
One of our filming shoots was taken in the nursery of Ella’s younger cousin. We used this room in particular for the room of Shannon and Layla because it included a crib for a baby and a bed for the mother which was right beside the crib. we felt this showed the strong bond the character of the struggling mother would have with her child and we used this locatrion for a few scenes of shannon, including the scene when she is on the phone with her mother, and when she changes her baby. The lighting in this room again shows a cold atmosphere which links to the storyline and is a way of showing the difficult time the family is going through.
For both my foundation and advanced portfolio’s, looking at a wide range of existing media helped me create my own products; for example, being able to see current magazines in the pop genre allowed me to find out what the codes and conventions are and influenced the way I designed my final magazine. Similarly, through watching a number of already existing short films and researching about theories such as Hall’s Reception theory, my group and I were influenced and given ideas on how we could create our production work for the advanced portfolio.
I had a look at many pop magazines, ‘I heart Pop’ being one, and noticed correlations between each magazine. The main conventions were the way the text was laid out, they type of text used, the colour and photographs on the pages and the fonts. The front cover of this particular magazine, as well as the majority of other pop magazines, contained a large masthead with a short snappy title, primarily in a bold font. I was influenced by this and carried it through in my own work where I implemented a similar heading in a bold font and a short title which would attract the target audience of pop magazines, teenage girls from the ages of 13-18.
The other conventions of a pop magazine that I had an understanding of were the colour and the photographs used in the front cover, contents page and double page spread. Pop magazines generally contain a wide range of bold and bright colours, mainly pinks, purples and orange because this fits in with the fun and bubbly aspect of pop which is what attracts the target audience. Having a well-known celebrity among teenagers on the cover of the magazine to draw in the audience, making them interested at first glance is also something I was influenced by. I used a model dressed up in an outfit similar to the ones shown on pop magazines to create a product similar to the existing magazines.
When researching for the advanced portfolio, I came across different films that had been produced and it had an influence on how I decided to film. From the types of angles to the narrative, watching a number of productions had an impact on how I created my own media product. The director Wes Anderson sparked my interest with his simplistic filming style and seeing as though the initial idea was to have a simple film, his style was an influence on the way it as created.
As well as the filming style, I was influenced by existing films to use different camera angles and shots. The film ‘Me Earl and the Dying Girl’ contained one scene that caught my attention. It included a montage of the main character showing up to the girls’ house each day, and the camera panning up to the bedroom window three times where she is, showing her in a different outfit to distinguish the separate days. This scene intrigued me and it gave me the idea to include it in my own short film, having the protagonist boy open his bedroom door and walk out for each morning in the film. Furthermore, the storyline of a Listerine advertisement also influenced the way the short film was created. The idea was a day in the life of a mouthwash, which was simple and quirky and would fit well with the narrative of the short film. Before coming across this advertisement, the short film had a completely different storyline and was not as simple as we wanted it to be, I implemented this idea of a day in the life of an object which was later decided to be a teddy, and it moved the storyline to the simple idea of having two families from different background be brought together through this teddy. Another short film I watched which showed a two families crossing paths on a train track also helped with the creation of my production, giving the idea of having the two families become friends at the end for the equilibrium.
With having younger siblings, I was able to bring together a range of teddies that we could choose from to be in our short film. I sent a picture on our media groupchat so we could come to a decision as a group, and we chose the smaller teddy with a blue bandana. The main reason for this choice was because we thought it fit best with the character of Jack, and the blue colour was a good link to the outfits we picked out for Jack.
o One of the BBFC’s driving principles is “to protect children and vulnerable adults from potentially harmful or otherwise unsuitable media content”
o If that isn’t being achieved, then regulation needs to become stricter in order to do so.
o Hate Crime
“to issue a classification to this work, even if confined to adults, would be inconsistent with the Board’s Guidelines, [and] would risk potential harm”
Phil Wheat of Nerdly.com calls the BBFC a “outdated, outmoded, antiquity”
“you can stream the film legally from the likes of Amazon”
Hate Crime (James Cullen Bressack, 2012) is, at the time of writing, the most recent work that has been refused a rating and rejected by the BBFC. The BBFC said that “to issue a classification to this work, even if confined to adults, would be inconsistent with the Board’s Guidelines, [and] would risk potential harm”. This relates directly back to the driving principle of protecting viewers from harmful content, and since the BBFC decided that “unacceptable content runs throughout the work”, the film must be rejected in order to meet their principle. In response to the rejection of Hate Crime, Phil Wheat of Nerdly.com calls the BBFC a “outdated, outmoded, antiquity”, suggesting that he, along with many others who share his opinion, believes that the BBFC is being too strict in their regulation of film. He also says that the film can be obtained by UK citizens “from the likes of Amazon” even after he complained that the BBFC’s rejection was effectively banning the film from Britain. This suggests that although the regulation of the film is strict enough, if the BBFC want to truly protect viewers from harmful content then it is the enforcement of regulation that needs to become stricter.
o Woman in Black
“Following its release, the BBFC received 134 letters of complaint from cinema-goers, who felt the film was too dark and unsettling for 12A”
“[Further] research showed 89% of the public supported the 12A rating, with only 11% thinking it should have received a higher category.”
In the case of The Woman in Black (James Watkins, 2012), many views thought the rating was not strict enough, with the BBFC receiving 134 letters of complaint from people who believed the film was too “dark and unsettling” for the 12A rating that it was given. This could indicate that the BBFC ought to be stricter in its regulation of films like The Woman in Black, although further research suggested otherwise. As it turns out, out of a surveyed group, only 11% thought the film needed a higher rating, with 89% thinking a 12A was perfectly acceptable, so although there are conflicting views, the BBFC rating fit the opinion of the majority.
o The Hunger Games
“Critics have pointed out that Lionsgate chose to ignore the fight scenes in trailers for the film, focusing instead on heroine Katniss Everdeen’s pre-Hunger Games preparation in the Capitol… That, coupled with the film’s rating, gave filmgoers little warning of the intense nature of the movie,”
The Hunger Games (Gary Ross, 2012) was another film that attracted complaints (43 in totals) about its 12A rating, even after approximately 20 seconds of cuts and alterations. Some complained that there was too much violence for a 12A rating, but there were also quite a lot of young fans of the book who thought that cutting the film was the wrong thing to do, and the film should have been left as it was originally. This shows one of the key issues with contemporary media regulation, which is that the public have very varied opinions about what is acceptable and what is not, and so how strict regulation should be.
“I think this game is great for a very mature ten year old, and okay for 11 !” – A parent
“I think it’s for [ages] 10 and up.” – A 13 year old
There are over 250 reviews on Common Sense Media from people under the age of 18 who have played the game
14 year old boy from Idaho shot and killed his abusive father and disabled brother, citing the character Trevor from GTA V as an inspiration
One of the most controversial games of recent years is Grand Theft Auto V (Rockstar Games, 2013), which is the latest release in a series that has been controversial since its very first release. One of the main issues with the game in terms of regulation is that although it has an 18 ratings, many children much younger than this play it anyway. Most of this is resulting from the fact that although you cannot buy a game rated 18 if you are under 18; there is no regulation in place to stop parents from buying the game for their children. In a review of the game, a parent said that the game “is great for a very mature ten year old, and okay for 11 “, and many other reviews from parents and children alike said similar. This could suggest that the rating of 18 is far too strict, but it isn’t just the players’ opinions that should be taken into consideration when rating a game. In 2014, 14 year-old boy from Idaho shot and killed his abusive father and disabled brother, citing the character Trevor from Grand Theft Auto V as an inspiration. Using Hypodermic Needle Theory, which suggests that the values of a game are ‘injected’ into a passive audience, you could blame Grand Theft Auto V for these murders. However Hypodermic Needle Theory is widely regarded to be outdated and inaccurate.
What is the guardian?- The Guardian is a British daily newspaper, known from 1821 until 1959 as the Manchester Guardian.
Who owns the guardian?- Guardian Media Group plc (GMG) is a British mass media company owning various media operations including The Guardian and The Observer. The group is wholly owned by Scott Trust Limited. The Trust was created in 1936 “to secure the financial and editorial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity and to safeguard the journalistic freedom and liberal values of the Guardian free from commercial or political interference.” The Scott Trust became a limited company in 2008, with a constitution to maintain the same protections for the Guardian. Profits are reinvested in journalism rather than to benefit an owner or shareholders.
Target audience?- The Guardian targets an educated, middle-class, left-leaning, 18+ audience. Fifty-two percent of Guardian readers are male, and the average reader age is 44.
Because the three of us together don’t have much experience when it comes to using the filming camera and equipment and shooting scenes, Ella and I set up a day where we could just get together, and figure out the basic instructions on how to use the camera, and everything else that would come with future filming. This gave me an opportunity to also meet with Jack, who is playing the protagonist character of the young boy, and ensure that he could get to know me and be comfortable being himself around me before we directed him to do any acting.
We did a number of things, practiced working with the camera and directing during the few hours we spent at Ella’s house which would be useful and allow us to create a good product at the end because we took the time to understand how filming and ‘life on a set’ would be before we actually start any work for the real stuff. I had written down the scenes we have to do prior to meeting with Ella, and instead of shooting random scenes, we decided we would practice by filming a couple of the ones I had written down.
Once it was over, Ella gave the idea of editing the main errors into one short clip, so we used the editing suite to do that. This was helpful because it highlighted the main things that went wrong and the issues we also faced during this first attempt at filming. Firstly, when we met up we realised that we borrowed the wrong type of camera, and we had already got everything together and got Jack too, so to overcome this obstacle and make sure the day didn’t go to waste, Ella called her pop who was able to bring us his camera for us to use. However, there were some problems with it. The focus and zoom controls were jammed, and the camera wouldn’t fit on the tripod, so a lot of the scenes I filmed were either out of focus, or shaky. Also, by the time he was able to get to Ella’s house, it had gotten dark so the lighting also made the filming challenging, for example the clip where Ella’s character leaves with Jack to go to the park, but it is clearly evident that its dark outside when it’s supposed to be morning. The lighting in the house was also too orange. Filming at earlier times, editing, and also not including the door actually opening, or using a light to create the illusion of daytime outside are the ideas we came up with the help overcome this problem.
As well as problems with the actual camera and filming, it also proved to be difficult to get a child to act the way we wanted. In some of the clips, Jack would look directly at the camera, or not understand the directions properly. For example, he ran back to Ella instead of waiting at the door. Because of this, we came to the conclusion that to ensure we can get better acting from him, we would need to give specific and detailed directions. We also realised that because the teddy is essentially the main focus of the short film, it would need to be more visible in certain scenes, for example when Jack is walking towards the door he could hold the teddy in the hand where it would be seen more. We also allowed him to have many breaks to make sure he wouldn’t be bored, or tired of the acting, but at the end he let Ella know that he enjoyed the day and was enthusiastic about coming to film next time.
Overall, despite the clips not being a good quality, it was a good idea to organise this tester day because it allowed us to get into grips with the way the camera works, and the things we would need to do to ensure our short film is of a good standard. Getting Jack comfortable with people he has not previously met was also a good idea because it means he will be more comfortable to act in front of us in the future.
Below is the video me and Ella edited that she named and uploaded onto her youtube channel so we could get it on our blogs.
The short film we are creating takes place over the course of 3 days. To make this look realistic, we decided to have three different outfits for the character of Paige, indicating the three days. Ella sent photographs of potential outfits and we decided that these ones fit the character description best.
Here we have shown the ideas we have for when the two families cross paths in the park to show the parallels between them and build the story more.
Here are photographs showing the simple storyboard we have started to create to show our short film ideas shot by shot. this is helpful because we are able to see everyones ideas and figure out how they will fit together into the short film.