In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
The main product that I made this year was with Arika Dodani and Afia Lateef. We named our group 'Shut Up! Productions'. Our product was a trailer of a thriller/suspense film. In the real media world a trailer is released after the premier of the film. After extensive research from September, 2011 to February 2012 we made our trailer, following most of the conventions of real media products but we also managed to challenge a few.
The plot of the the movie is that a young girl goes for clubbing and unknowingly drinks a drugged drink and goes through memory loss and when she is followed by someone she is claimed to be paranoid. I'm posting the trailer below:
We made the trailer after analyzing our Institution that was Hollywood, Media house - Screen Gems and then the genre - thriller/suspense. After this we analyzed trailers in Hollywood and under the media house of Screen Gems so that we could follow the conventions of the media house and so that we were working with.
Most of the suspense/thriller trailers that we analyzed had 3 common things, slow, happy beginning, abrupt 'something goes wrong' and then it ends before the climatic scene leaving the audience filled with puzzled and curious mind.
In technical terms first its the exposition (background of the story), rising action and just before the climax, the trailer ends.
Trailers of any sort are solely depended on editing. It can be visual editing, sound editing and effects editing. I will be comparing my trailer to the real media products' trailers now in terms of editing.
A usual trailer is of 2 minutes and our trailer is of 2 minutes 10 seconds following the convention of Hollywood. In the trailers of Screen Gems I have noticed that the first 8 seconds are for the rating card, then 2 seconds for the screen gems logo and the production house's logo and usually the voice over begins before we can see anyone on the screen.
2 examples of this are the trailers of 'Step Father' and 'Prom Night'
In our trailer we have followed the convention and used first 6 seconds for the rating card and the logo of 'Shut Up! Productions' and started the voice over before the characters appear on the screen. But here we used a convention of other trailers where the trailer begins but the logo of screen gems comes after the introduction of the characters. Its a convention of Summit Entertainment an example is the trailer of the movie 'Gone'
The pace of the trailers of thriller/suspense movies is slow in the beginning and it gets fast as the rising action begins and it speeds up as the trailer reaches its climax and it ends up abruptly.
Our trailer is built up in the same way, slow beginning and speeds up as it reaches its rising action and ends at the climax.
A trailer is incomplete without its captions and punch lines. These are, what provoke the audience to see what happens next, and they add to the visuals of the trailer. E.g. in our trailer captions come in this way >> "Have you had the night", Visuals, "That you can easily forget", Visuals, "but the night may return", Visuals, "to haunt you". The captions add further story to the trailer, likewise in ours the captions tell that something went wrong at a particular night and that night was forgotten but then it haunted the protagonist. How it haunted that can be seen in the trailer.
All the trailers use captions e.g. prom night.
|My film's end credits|
|Gone's end credits|
|'Prom Night's captions|
|My film's captions|
Facial expressions in a trailer are very important to give the feel to the audience what the film is going to be like, e.g. in the film prom night if camera shots were not the close ups of the actors we would not have been able to experience the extend of fright on their faces.
We have broken a convention when it comes to sound. All the trailers of our media house always have impacting dialogues but our trailer has very few. we did this because of the less resources for voice-over and the difference of English accent. That is the reason why kept subtitles whereas in trailers there are usually no subtitles.
The choice of music was fast beat, dramatic and there were sounds of heavy drum on impacting scenes (e.g. where the powder is being added in the drink). It is a convention of Thriller/suspense trailers to add such music as we did because music changes the mood of the audience. If you play flute like music the mood of the audience automatically switches to sadness or romance and if you play fast drums it may change into anger. Thus our music according to our audience has been very successful in creating the mood there should have been for the trailer. We have also ended our trailer on a cliffhanger as the audience wanted according to our questionnaire, we managed to maintain this cliffhanger because of the sound to an extent our trailer ends a man grabs the girl and tries to slit her throat but we have not shown if it happens or not, and the screen goes blank on a screeching scream. The trailer ends at a very crucial point and one of the reasons that it seems so crucial is the sound of the loud scream.
Our trailer follows the narrative of the universal trailers of thriller/suspense genre. We can see the story or the flow of the mood in all the trailers of this kind. The examples that I have been using above "stepfather", "Prom night", "gone" and "roommate".
Our trailer's story especially matches Stepfather and roommate.
Protagonist meets a person, likes them but they turnout to be someone different than they thought and then they start running, fighting, depending on the plot of the film. Our trailer follows this convention and somehow this narrative does attract and is very appealing to the audience of the thriller/suspense genre.