Friday, 29 November 2013

Horror Genre

Early Horror History:
  • Since the 1980s the horror genre has grown, from its slow beginning, to the expanding nature which is now probably one of the most popular genres within film today
  • The main aim of horror was to scare the audience and make them fear supernatural elements such as ghosts, vampires, zombies etc. which portrays a real life scenario in the given situation; through startling the viewer and making them feel uncomfortable, unnerved and terrified
  • One of the first films to have been produced was called La Carvene Maudite (known as The Accursed Cave) by Georges Melies
  • In 1910 the film Frankenstein was made by Edison studios, soon to be following their future success of films such as Quasimodo and The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • Later in the 1920s the first vampire based film to be made was an alternative of Bram Stoker's Dracula, called Nosferatu
  • Hollywood also used horror conventions in their films during this era, which films such as Phantom of the Opera and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde used

Most Popular Horror Films of all time:

Dracula - 1931                                          The Evil Dead - 1981                
The Bride of Frankenstein - 1935             The Thing - 1982
Psycho - 1960                                            A Nightmare on Elm Street
The Curse of the Werewolf - 1961            It - 1990
Night of the Living Dead - 1968               Candyman - 1992
The Exorcist - 1973                                   Scream - 1996
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - 1974      The Blair Witch Project - 1999
Carrie - 1976                                              28 Days Later - 2002
Halloween - 1978                                       Saw - 2004
Friday the 13th - 1980                                Paranormal Activity - 2007

Highest Grossing Horror TV programmes:
The following are some of the most popular horror TV programmes, beginning from the 80's -
  • The Walking Dead: From 2010 - Present
  • True Blood: 2008 - Present
  • Supernatural: 2005 - Present 
  • The Twilight Zone: From 1959 - 1964
  • Tales from the Darkside: From 1984 - 1988
  • Tales from the Crypt: 1989 - 1996

Future for Horror:

Recently there has been a common element in remakes and reboots of classic horror films, including the likes of Evil Dead, Carrie, Maniac and many more from the 2000s. However this is not just the future for horror because there are still a good selection of films we are yet to see that are coming out in 2014, such as Paranormal Activity: The Chosen Ones and Resident Evil 6; mainly the sequels to some of the popular franchises.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Inspirations for my Film Introduction


The opening sequence of World War Z is very useful when wanting to recreate a 2 minute introduction, within a similar genre, because its helps establish key conventions and components of the film, which not only develop the story, but are also enticing the audience to watch. Through high pitched disorientated sounds, and some uncomfortable images (similar to the one shown of the dead Dolphins) these help to depict the illustration of an inevitable bad event (almost the beginning of a climax), whereby it seems to get progressively worse from everyday natural pictures of people, to a more unsettling interpretation of death and unhappiness. However, it is not only the narrative that is structured and well presented, but also the segments of editing that help to draw in a viewer. I find that the effects used of the gradual reveal of letters help to almost split up parts of the introduction, as if like a story and eventually by the end, bring it together into one, which helps present an idea of disequilibrium (unbalance, where an issue is raised) from the start of the film, eventually leading back into equilibrium and restoring or resolving the problem by the final scene. In my perception, this will help towards the production of my intro because of the similarity in genres, which both have many conventions but at the same time aim to retain an audience, thus proving that the quality of the film must be equal/related to that of World War Z in order to provide a certain attraction and also emphasises the need/use of certain editing and cinematography techniques.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Production of a Film (Expanded)

Pre Production:
  • Pre production of a film focuses on the start of developing a film, step by step whereby a production office is established, the storyboard is created and a planned budget is drafted
  • Storyboards help to visualize the creative side of developing a film, through the use of programs such as photoshop
  • The producer will hire a crew, determined by the budget, which in turn will establish the size of the crew; most Hollywood films hire around 200-300 people, whereas a low budget, independent  will be made by less than 10 people
  • The Crew mainly consists of: The Director, Production Manager (manages the budget and schedule,) Assistant Director, Location Manager, Director of Photography, Sound Designer, Costume designer, Storyboard Artist and Choreographer (coordinates the movement of dance, mainly in musicals)
  • The first stage is video production, where crew will be put on stage such as the Script Supervisor and Assistant Director
  • The Actors will arrive on set through their specific "Call Time"and start to shoot; since the construction of the costumes, props and lighting can sometimes take hours, or even days to design, they are created in advance
  • Whilst everything is set up by the Crew, the actors are prepared whilst learning their script and enrolment within the scene; during filming there are as many takes as the Director thinks is necessary
  • During the process of filming, the Assistant Director may call out and give specific orders as to the timings of the shots and when to start or stop; whilst he/she calls out a clapper is used to synchronise the sound thus enabling them to start shooting
  • At the end of the shooting in that given day, the Director returns to the office and analyses the results
Post Production:
  • This is the process whereby the video is gathered and collected by the Film Editor and adapted to suit the needs given by the Director
  • Everything from the music to dialogue and sound effects are edited at this point making sure there are no faults or issues with the film
  • After any computer graphic effects are put in digitally, the sound components are established into "Stems" before the film is finally finished

Monday, 25 November 2013

TV in Film

  • BBC films is a film making sidearm to the main corporation, which has produced/co produced a range of successful British hits including Jane Eyre, Billy Elliot and Nativity
  • It has co produced approximately 8 films a year, working with a variety of UK distributers
  • Since 2007, it has become a main department of the BBC, rather than an independent 
  • The company itself has been going pre 1990s
  • BBC vision is now know as "Television" from the beginning of 2013

Sky - 
  • Sky Movies is a prescription channel opened by Sky Television in 1989, which currently has around 5 million subscribers through cable, internet and satellite TV
  • In 2005 it launched a mobile service through Vodaphone and is said to be one of the world's largest movie services
  • In the late 1980s, Sky Movies released it's first film: Dirty Dancing and had signed deals with the likes of Warner Bros. 20th Century Fox and Columbia Pictures
  • From 1991, it started to broadcast 24 hours a day
  • When Sky Movies collaborated with British Satellite Broadcasting (BSB), it's first film to be shown was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  • The launch of Sky Digital in the late 1990s saw the new release of Sky Premiere and Sky Movies Gold
  • More recently, in early 2013, Sky Movies Disney was released, which replaced the former Disney Cinemagic 
  • It's original production set up was similar to BBC's and Film 4's via film funding

Friday, 22 November 2013

Film 4 Research

  • Film Four is a British television channel, promoted by Channel 4 which was originally launched in 1998, available currently on Virgin Media, BT and Sky
  • Channel 4's budget was cut from £30 million to £10 due to losses in profit, however it restored Film Four as a subsidiary to Channel 4 in order to invest in more films
  • When the channel became free to watch in 2006, its availability rose from 300,000 up to around 18 million households in the UK, which for the first time, included advert breaks; presently it remains as the only free of charge film television program 
  • It does not only focus on blockbusters, but also Hollywood films; Film Four also premiere a variety of genre specific sets of films, centred around the same director 
  • Under UK broadcasting, Film Four was able to screen the most unedited set of films when it was a subscription channel, loosing the majority of these features when it became free, and now allows adult material after 9pm (watershed)  
  • In 2013, Film Four backed films received 35 nominations at the British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs) including the best British Independent film and best director
  • Alternatives such as Film Four World, Film Four +1 and Film Four Extreme were cancelled and instead replaced with Film Four Weekly in 2003
  • Films co-produced with Film Four include titles such as This is England, Four Lions, Kill List and Slumdog Millionaire
  • They have worked with actors such as Steve Coogan (The Look of Love), Olivia Colman (Tyrannosaur) and Martin McDonagh (Seven Psychopaths)
  • They have also produced a large number of short films including Believe, Jonah and the most recent, Flytopia


Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Studio Canal (Optimum Releasing)

  • Studio Canal (previously known as Optimum Releasing/Home Entertainment) is a British film distributer known to have released a variety of genres ranging from Anime to Foreign Language Films
  • The company was originally founded in 1999, their name changing in 2011 to the now known Studio Canal UK
  • Formerly known as Optimum, the company aimed to produce modern independent films
  • They were named under four companies: Optimum Releasing, Optimum Home Entertainment, Optimum Classic and Optimum World
  • They have released over 200 films a year and are one of the most famous distributers in the UK independent market and co production companies
  • Their last films under the name Optimum was Kill List, The Guard and Whiskey Galore
  • At the moment they have released titles such as In Fear, Rush and The Broken Circle Breakdown; currently distributing in 2014 with films such as Robocop and Non-Stop
  • They own one of the most popular libraries in the world, and have a range of titles from over 5,000
  • Films under the new title include The Awakening, Don't be Afraid of the Dark and Tinker Tailor, Soldier Spy
  • Some classic Optimum films like The Third Man, The Planist and The Lady Killers were made during the early industry

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Survey Results

The images below, show the results of my film audience analysis, which I have used in order to find out information around movies and how their qualities enable a larger viewing. As a result, this is very helpful when wanting to get an idea as to the type of elements within a film that people find attractive and can therefore be used towards my plan in the 2 minute intro.


Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Audience Survey Analysis

The Survey below has been carried out in Survey Monkey, and is a copy of the types of questions that I will ask upon a range of people. In order for me to get an idea as to the concepts of film I can include within my 2 minute introduction, I have used this as a form of data as to the preferences and elements within film.

1. What genre of film do you prefer


 2. In your opinion, what makes a good film (e.g. special effects, visuals etc.) and why?


3. What conventions would you expect to see in a horror film (e.g. Blood, gore, isolation etc.) and how would it be effective towards the audience?


4. Would the budget of a film effect its success and popularity, why?


5. Why is story line and plot within film so important when developing the characters



6. What makes a good introduction to a film


Monday, 11 November 2013

Conventions of a Horror film

The main idea for my 2 minute introduction of a film is based around the horror genre. Researching stereotypes and conventions used in these types of film can help me establish elements that I can also use. Within horror films there seem to be a variety of the conventions, which are typically used to thrill and set atmosphere. The following are similalry used, commonly:

Dramatic high pitched music - Usually associated with making the audience feel un-nerved and frightened, but at the same time, sets the atmsophere, enabling the tone to seem more climatic, as the film reaches the end. Violins are the common instrument used to create a disorientated feel and can help relate to the story in some films, however it is mainly used as a way to scare.

Blood and gore - Especially used within the Saw series, this convention is more likely used as a form of realism after a fatal injury, thus making the viewer feel sick and unhinged by some of the fatalties that the horror films have. However, this convention is not really original because it is only recently that this has been popular; since the horror films began, blood was used less frequently.

Location - This is also used as a factor in order to scare the audience and once again set the atmosphere in which most locations seem to be isolated. Darkness is also used towards a fear of the unknown and unexpected as to what may happen next. It makes the audience feel like they are the character within the film and feel emmersed within the fake reality therefore causing a similar feeling of fear and desperation.

Teenagers and Sexual content - Only recently introduced into the horror genre, this convention is sometimes used to shock the characters into a realtiy of the situation and add to the sense of isolation and desertion. Characters that are not aware in films seem to be the first to get killed and therefore could be considered the starting point of a series of murders, in order to get their fellow friends to work together and establish a survival plan. Commonly used in films like Wrong Turn and The Cabin in the Woods, this convention is not major when wanting to scare the audience.

Props - Usually associated with knives, weapons and generally anything that can be used to harm someone, are the props used in a series of horror films; the murderer/"Villain" usually wield something more powerful to overwhelm the characters and make their death seem inevitable.

Characters/Plot - Normally in paranormal films, there most commonly seems to be a child who is the prey to the ghosts and therefore could make the audience feel more concerned. The characters usually scream and make their presence heard by a bloodcurdling cry, and raises the question at the start of the film on whether or not the chracters will overcome the villain, or if they will succomb to it.


Sunday, 3 November 2013

Narrative in film

Narration and storyline are keys components in a film which make up the baseline of a movie. Usually the audience are expected to watch due to a good narrative; almost like conventions whereby the important factors within that genre should be incorporated into a film e.g. in action films explosions, guns and violence is the main theme. However, it is know in some films that the storyline is too confusing or doesn't make sense (take Inception for example) which is also why it is important to explain clearly what the aim of the topic is in the film, so the audience don't get bored.

Some film's storyline seem a bit monotonous, as if it had been done before; sometimes it is just a variation on a theme. The problem here could be that big blockbuster movies mean cheap budget films don't have new ideas, because they are made up from elements the "bigger" film already has. In addition, if a plot is to be made into a film, the rise in action should take place relatively near to the beginning, so that the atmosphere/tension is created instantly, thus allowing it to slowly evolve, otherwise eventually the viewer will become inattentive.

A storyline usually starts at equilibrium where everything Is normal, before chaos happens and creates a state of unbalance. At the middle/centre of the film, there is disequbilirum, before there is a resolution or answer to the problem. Before ending a state of new equilibrium is created. This is Tvetan Todorav's theory of narrative within a film, and is associated to a majority of movies, however more recently there is a factor effecting this, which is ending on a cliff-hanger; some horror films (paranormal) are related to this, typically done to create an opening for a sequel.

Finally, it is also the characters in a film, which develop the storyline; their actions may lead to consequences and create the start of narrative expansion. People in films are usually the reason for the outbreak of a tragedy, for example in the majority of zombie films, the infection usually spreads due to a lack of security or clumsiness  within a facility or key setting. The base of a story is commonly created via Binary oppositions (good vs. evil, man vs. alien etc.) therefore without this, there is no plot, and thus no progression in the film; it is  rather pointless and leads to a non conclusive end.

Narrative Theorists:
Levi Strauss - Binary Oppositions (Good vs. Evil)
Vladmir Prop - 7 Spheres of Action (structural features to a character e.g. a hero restores equilibrium, whilst a villain disrupts it
Tvetan Todorav - 3 stages of narrative (equilibrium, state of disequilibrium, state of new equilibrium)
Barthes - Narrative Codes (Visual codes, similar to an enigma's)