Question: In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
Enigmas – Enigmas are questions that are set up by leaving information unclear. They commonly used in Thrillers to make the audience feel confused and uneasy, possibly to help the viewer identify and empathise with the character on screen. They are also used as a device to keep the viewer thinking so as not to lose their attention. As you see in our opening sequence, we never fully show our characters full face; it is always obscured.
Title screen – Thrillers usually have very plain title sequences, more often than not just simple white text over a black background. We decided that this was very effective as it doesn’t distract from the actual footage, as well as being suitable to the sombre genre – bright colours and cartoon-y graphics would be completely out of place here. We also decided it was suitable as it looks quite sophisticated and professional. Another type/colour of text could easily have looked amateur and tacky.
Extreme Close Ups – These shots focus very closely on one part of an object. Often it will be used to obscure what the object is. Similar to enigmas, these shots are used to make the viewer feel uneasy – it is unusual for a person to see an object from that perspective. When preparing to create our Thriller, we watched the opening credits to Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Vertigo’, which solely uses extreme close ups of a woman’s face. We thought that in conjunction with the music used, this created an incredibly eerie effect, which we wanted to recreate.
The very beginning of our opening scene starts with extreme close up shots of a young woman putting on make up. We liked the effect this gave as it helped to create the enigma of the girl’s identity. We found that it also helped to form confusing, contradictive shots; the girl is doing something incredibly everyday and normal, yet we have used these uncomfortable close ups to show it.
Question: How does your media product represent particular social groups?
Although not technically a social group, we have tried to represent the mentally ill. We wish to put audience in our character’s shoes we want them not just to understand, but to feel, how lost and confused she is. We wanted to show that she has no control over what is happening to her; it is involuntary.
In films, the mentally ill are almost always presented as the antagonist. We wanted to make an impact and to change people’s opinions – they are not ‘freaks’ or ‘psychos’, but people who are ill. Just because a person is ill does not mean that they deserve less respect than anyone else.
An example of a film that has a main character with a mental illness is ‘Black Swan’. She is not presented as a bad person, but she is still presented as violent and crazy. What we wished to do was go deeper and educate our audience. We wanted to represent our character with honesty, not with the usual image of a crazed psychopath but not a romanticised idea of a girl who is completely frail and helpless either.
The other group we represent in our Thriller is the ‘lost youth’, badly behaved and misunderstood teenagers. All over the media teenagers are presented as villainous, truth being the majority are not. They are not violent, they do not take drugs and they don’t run around having unprotected sex. However a number of teenagers are like this and we wanted to show why. We wanted to explain why and show the reasons behind crime/ drink/drug abuse – these are the result of other social and political problems.