Thursday, 20 October 2011

Praticing Shooting

In preparation for filming our horror trailer, we shot a sequence of me opening a door. Although it was only a short sequence, we needed to think about the angels, shot types, framing as well as the duration of our shots. We filmed the same sequence of me opening a door multiple times, in order to shoot it from various angles. Therefore we had to ensure that I did the exact same thing each time. We predominately used mid-shots, with one point of view shot, to build tension. In addition to this,we made the segment of me opening the door handle slow motion, to create an ominous atmosphere. Once we had finished filming, we added synchronous, tense music, to create a sense of anticipation

Monday, 17 October 2011

Inception and Post-modern Theory

Inception mainly falls under that Post-modern genre of Hyper Reality, as the characters are able to enter dream space, that gives them the ability to access somebody's unconscious mind. Many viewers may find this concept more attractive than the real world and by fascinated by the endless possibilities that this power offers. In addition to this Inception does not have the traditional linear narrative, as it moves backward and forwards in a dream state, and finishes with an open ended closure.   

Inception could also fall into the genre of Time Bending, due to its 'what if' nature. It questions what society would be like if we could alter each other's mental states as well as posing the abstract moral dilemma of whether it is right invade a persons thoughts. Inception, offers a different shape of reality, allowing the viewer to decide whether they like it more than their current situation. 

Inception also uses ther post-modern concept of stories within stories. This often confuses and intrigues the viewer as well as creating a multi-layered storyline. 

Postmodern Theory

Features of Postmodern Films:

  • Often post-modernist films do not pretend to be whole films, and accept the fact that they are fictitious.
  • Postmodern films borrow from many different types of media, such as music videos, TV animation, and other forms. 
  • They often use inter-textually, referring to other films
  • Postmodern films often re-arrange or disrupt script linear narratives, instead using circular narratives and open ended closures. 
  • They sometimes contain stories within stories or films within films. 
  • They often involves characters that feel disconnect or alienated from their environment and disrupt authorities.   

Genres of Post-modernism:

This type of film is self-referential, tongue 'n' cheek and uses rehashes of popular culture. Examples this genre of post-modernism are Kill Bill Vol 1, Scream, Scary Movie and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Flattering of Effect 
This style of post-modernism uses technology, violence, drugs and the media to lead to detached, emotionless, unauthentic lives. Examples of this film include Natural Born Killers, A Clockwork Orange, American Psycho, Fight Club and Apocalypse Now. 
Hyper Reality 
Technologically created realities are often more authentic or describes than the real world. Examples of this type of post-modernism includes Matrix Trilogy, Total Recall, The Truman Show and Inception. 
Time Bending 
Time travel provides another way to shape reality and play 'what if' games with society. Examples include Donnie Darko, 12 Monkeys, Primer Memento. 
Altered States
Drugs, mental illness and technology provide a dark, often psychedelic, gateway to new internal realities. Examples include Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Naked Lunch, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and A Beautiful Mind.
More Human than Human 
Artificial intelligence, robotics, and cybernetic seeks to enhance, or replace humanity. Examples of this include Blade Runner, Robocop, District 9, Terminator Salvation and Avatar. 

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Our Idea...

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Props Theory of Characters Types

After studying 100 fariytales, Vladimir Propp developed a character theory for studying media texts and productions. Prop discovered that all characters fall into 7 broard character types, all of which can be found in a variety of different media. 

The Seven Character Types of Vladimir Propp

  1. The villain: Locked in a constant struggle with the hero, often trying to harm princess. 
  2. The donor: Gives the hero an object or a piece of information that helps them prepare for what is to come. 
  3. The helper: Assists the hero with their quest, often referred to as their 'sidekick'.
  4. The princess: Needs assistance from the hero, usually because they are in some form of danger, typically the princess is the victim within the narrative. 
  5. The dispatcher: Is the character who sends that hero on their mission or quest.  
  6. Hero: Reacts to the donor and saves the princess, often resulting in them falling in love with the princess. 
  7. False hero: May appear good but has an ulterior motive, or attempts to take credit for the hero's actions. 

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Analysis of 'Jennifer's Body' using 'Male Gaze'

The trailer starts with the main protagonist swimming nude in a lake, from the onset this depicts her as a sexual object, gratifying men. Her movements are slow and seductive, sexulising the young female character. It also demonstrates her sexual freedom, and informs the audience that an erotic narrative should be expected.

Later on in the trailer the protagonist is shown to be wearing a cheer-leading outfit, her outfit is tight and has a short skirt, again portraying her as a sexual object. She is wearing red lipstick which connotes lust and infidelity. Moments later she is seen unzipping her shirt, with her breasts partly on-show, this is overtly sexual and objectifies her. The boys are in the background, and out of focus, re-enforcing the fact that the  protagonist's body is the cameras focal point.

Lighting is used to distinguish between her 'sexy' and 'evil' sides. High-key lighting is used. Clean bright lights are used in order to convey her femininity in contrast to the dark lighting used when she is attacking a victim. Bright lighting may have been used in order to ensure her body was fully visible to men, in accordance with Mulvey's theory.

An extreme close-up of the protagonist's lips are used when she is kissing another girl.  She is also heard saying 'I go both ways' suggesting she is bisexual, this will also attract the male audience. The song played in the background is 'I Know What Boys Like' this has a sexual connotation,   objectifying her.

Script - Possible Ideas

Leslie-Anne and I created the following script as the basis of our trailer:

It begins with an 'Audition Tape' - the filming should be edited to resemble a 'video-tape' effect - possibly with static (similar to grave encounters trailer?). Could break out in between scene to show beginning of disruption to equilibrium.
up to 10 seconds

Establishing shot of house - 2-3 secs

Scenes showing meet and greets - informs audience on characters:
-2/3/4 shots?
-Mix of shots to resemble conventional filming and also to resemble filming similar to 'big-brother'? fly on the wall style?
-around 10 secs, mixing shots/movement, etc.

Silhouette emerges from background - dramatic irony is built upon audience as well as creating enigma - an unknown character.
Wide Shot - zooms into that character?
2 secs

Pace of trailer becomes faster after this - montage of shots building the tension featuring:
night scenes? - 'night' effect - camera angle to represent fly on the wall idea
panic scenes - hand-held/tracking shots of characters - natural feel, realistic - running, locking of doors, trying to escape?
CU's - body - i.e. hands - blood on them?
- facial expressions of character - sc

Monday, 10 October 2011

Mulvey's Male Gaze - Audience Theory

  • Mulvey first used the term 'Male Gaze in her 1975 essay 'Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema'. 
  • Mulvey's essay described what she saw as the male point of view adopted by the camera to visually pleasure the male audience.
  • Mulvey also described how the camera forces on women's bodies, treating them as sexual objects in order to gratify men. 
  • She also argued that the central characters in films are male, meaning that the male audience can identify with them, sharing the view that women are passive and there to be looked at
  • Mulvey also denies the existence of the 'female gaze' in cinema claiming that women do not seek gratification from attractive men in cinema.
  • In addition, she argued that the camera's focus on women's bodies, and its need to gratify men detracts from the storyline of the film.

Adorno and the culture industry

Theodor Adorno

Adorno would see our film as a attempt to distract the public from the injustices of life, keeping them politically sedated and prevented them from rebelling. He argued that popular culture was an oppression to 'true art' which was sospsicated and helped people become able to become psychophysically capable of debating.

False Needs

Adorno believed that people in the media industry creates false needs for the consumers, which could be satisfied by the capitalist system. He believed that these needs replaced people's true needs, such as freedom and genuine happiness.

Commodity fetishism 

Adorno argued that 'social relations and cultural experiences are objectified in terms of money'. Meaning that on object is able to make us happy because of its value, rather than the cultural or social benefits that it brings to our lives. 

Adorno suggested that media products go through a process of standardisation, which involves applying formulaic characteristics to a product.  His view was that although creations from the mass media may seem different, they are actually extremely similar. 

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Analysis of 'Don't be Afraid of the Dark' trailer


The trailer opens with an establishing shot of the exterior of a building, which would have been shot on location. There is a twisted tree in the shot which is iconic of horror films, and foreshadows the terrifying events to come. This opening sets the scene for a horror film and give the audience a clear idea of what to expect. The house used in the trailer, made up of on-location and studio shots, is of a Gothic style and suggests that the film has a dark, gloomy narrative.

The next location featured in the trailer is a dark, dusty basement. A high angle shot is used to inform the audience that this is an fact a basement, however this would most likely be in a studio.  The cobwebs tell the audience that no one has been in the basement for a long time, this also sets the scene for a horror film. 

Dark vents are used throughout the trailer to suggest that something could be hiding inside, this creates a sense of fear and mystery. 


Back lighting is used throughout the trailer to cast shadows, this means that there are areas of the set that the audience are unable to see, leaving them feeling uneasy. At some points in the trailer the shadows appear to move around the room, hinting that a supernatural entity may be present. The darkness in the trailer works in conjunction with the name of the film, 'Don't be Afraid of the Dark' to gives the audience clues regarding the narrative. 


'Don't Be Afraid of the Dark' Trailer Audio

The trailer uses the digetic sound of creaking doors, this is synchronous to the spooky on-screen images, as well as the horror genre itself. At the start of the trailer the non-digetic music is soft and builds anticipation for what is to come. There is a voice-over, which we can also assume comes from some kind of creature or character within the film, says 'come and join us'. This leaves the audience fearing for the main protagonist, a little girl. People may go and see the film to discover whether the little girl makes it to the end alive. At various points throughout the trailer, the music stops, allowing the whispering voice-over to be heard. The music also starts to intensify as the trailer goes on, hinting to the audience that something bad may be about to happen. A character is also heard saying 'this house is unsafe for a child' making the audience worry about the young protagonist. 

Camera Angles

High angle shots are used to infer that some kind of creature is lurking beneath the house. This builds a narrative and installs a feeling of enigma. Extreme close up shots are used on certain objects, for example a man looking through a key hole. This could be a point-of-view shot, suggesting that a creature is looking back at him. The shot is symmetrically framed, giving it prominence and meaning. 


At the start of the trailer the pace of editing is slow inferring that there is a state of equilibrium in accordance with Todorov's theory of narrative. The slow pace of editing at the start of the trailer matches the slow pianistic music. As the trailer becomes more chilling, both the speed of the music and the pace of the editing increase. Towards the end of the trailer jump cuts are used to build tension, they also create a sense of mystery by only giving the audience glimpses of the action. 


The style of font used in the trailer is bold Sans Serif, its white colour stands out on the black background. It appears that shadows have been cast on the text, this works with the tittle of the film and re-enforces that narrative. 

Watch the trailer here:

Analysis of 'Filth to Ashes' Trailer


From the location, set design and props used in this trailer, the audience assumes that this film is from the sub-genre of low-budget slashers. The mis-en-scene of the trailer is grime and dirty, this sets the scene for a horror film. Blood spatters on the wall hint to the audience that someone has or will be killed during the course of the film. These scenes appear to be shot in some type of warehouse or barn. The audience now assumes that the killer has enough space to harm or kill his victims, without being disturbed, building a sense of anxiety. These scenes would have been shot within a studio. Other shots which would have been shot on-location, in open spaces, informing the audience that the characters have 'nowhere to hide'.

The props used in the trailer also set the scene for a horror film, a bloody knife is seen being wiped clean, inferring that a character has just been stabbed to death. A female character is also seen loading a shotgun.This helps the audience gain a better understanding of the narrative, suggesting that at some point in the film the victims begin to fight back.

Lighting and colour

A Blue filter is used frequently in the trailer to create a cold and chilling atmosphere. The colour blue connotes death and lifelessness, which helps to inform the audience of the films narrative, while at the same time complementing the films genre.

Low-key lighting is used to create shodows on the faces of some of the victims within the trailer, this hints at their lack of importance to the plot due to an inpending death. It also creates a sense of enigma for the audience as they are unclear as to who the main protagonists are, as well as who will make it through to the end of the film.


Constant  diegetic screaming is juxtaposed with short intivals of silence during the course of the trailer. The screaming establishes a scense of horror and fear. The sound of a heatbeat is also used to build the level of tension and convey the characters fear to the audience.

A voice-over is used, which takes the form of a character talking over the on-screen images. The male voice-over defines the word purge and cleanse, which foreshadows what is to come later in the film, while at the same time giving the audience a better idea of the narrative.

Filth To Ashes Flesh To Dust Trailer Audio

Camera angles/shot types/framing/movement 

Close-up shots of the victims faces are used in order to humanise them, this builds a relationship between the character and the viewer and provokes a stronger emotional reaction from the audience when they are killed or harmed. This may make the audience want to go and see the film to discover whether or not the characters survive. Some shots used in the trailer seem out of focus, this could suggest that the characters within the film have been drugged. Again, this informs the audience of the narrative within the film. Handheld tracking shots are used in order convey a feeling of frantic panic to the audience.


Like most trailers, the Filth to Ashes trailer is made up of a montage of clips. As the speed of the music gets faster, so does the pace of the editing, building tension and creating a sense of anticipation. Fades are also used, which could symbolise death or the impending doom of the protagonists.


The first set of titles read 'the elimination process has begun', this tells the audience that the protagonists are going to start being killed during the course of the film, informing the audience of the narrative. The font used is a blue tint, again suggesting death, it is also a harsh, angular Serif font which is typical to the horror genre.

View Trailer Here:

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Genres, Sub-genres and Hybrid Genres

Genres are the most basic form of film classification. The standard genres consist of Horror, Thriller, Romance, Comedy, etc. As the film industry has developed, genres have become more complicated. There are now genres within genres called Sub-Genres, such as slashers, which is an offspring of horror. Alternatively, there is Teen Comedy, an offspring of Comedy, or Zombie, which descends from Horror. Sub-genre allows a film to be specifically categorised and gain a more dedicated fan base. Finally, there are hybrid genres, these are mixtures of two different genres, for example Rom-Com, a mixture of Romance and Comedy. This broadens the target audience and allows the producers to borrow aspects from both genres.

Multimodal Analysis of Dream House Trailer

At the start of the Dream House trailer the Universal logo is used. This consists of onscreen text and an animated moving image. The logo suggests to the viewer that it is a big budget film, raising their expectations.
The logo for the film's production company Morgan Creek Productions is also used, it consists of a still image and moving text. This only appears onscreen for a short amount of time, perhaps this is because this is not a well-known production company, and therefor its logo cannot be used to draw in an audience.

Titles, a form of written text are also used, to help the audience make sense of the narrative. It also helps to create a sense of anticipation surrounding the films storyline.  

Audio from 'Dream House' Trailer: The music is soft and played on a piano, this creates an eerie atmosphere, and sets the scene for a horror film. The voiceover gives the audience background information about the film, helping them to understand the narrative.

Features of a Multimodal Text

Written Text on ScreenThis could consist of credits or distributor/producer information.
Spoken Language This includes the words spoken by the voice over or the characters within the film.
Moving Image This is anything that can be seen within the video in the trailer.
Sound Effects This is the added sounds of things like cars and guns to set the tone of the film.
MusicThis is the non-diegetic also helps to set the tone or atmosphere of the film.