Monday, 20 December 2010

Film Opening - The Briefs

We have now been given a choice of briefs for our next task; a two minute opening to our own film. Once we have been put into our groups we need to choose one of them to focus on, following the codes and conventions of each genre. This is the choice:

Film Brief 1
A mainstream action film that will appeal to 15-25yr old males. Your film should appear to be based on a "fictional" comic book(Opening to Dark Knight, Kick Ass, Sin City etc)

Film Brief 2
A supernatural thriller that will appeal to female audiences. Your film should appear to be an international co-production
(Opening to The Others, Gothika, Shelter etc)

Film Brief 3
An independent movie featuring a young protagonist. Your film should appear to be financed through regional funding
(Opening to Fish Tank, This Is England etc)

Film Brief 4
art house feature to appeal to adult audiences. Your film should appear to be based on an actual event in the last 2 years.
(Opening to Elephant, Milk, Che etc)

When I first read all of the briefs, the first one that caught my eye was brief 2; the supernatural thriller. This is because I love watching films that fit that description. I then realised that most people often go for the thriller genre, so looked back over the other briefs. 

The next I looked into was brief 1, surprisingly it really appealed to me! I really liked the idea of bringing a graphic novel character to life, although it did sound really challenging.

The only one that didn't appeal to me was brief 3, although I'm not sure why. I think it's because it didn't seem like much of a challenge because it was such a broad area.

Finally, I looked at brief 4. I must admit that I had to do a lot of research into the genre because I wasn't at all familiar with it. I managed to watch 'Elephant', the film that is based on the 1999 Columbine High School massacre. I especially looked at the editing and types of shots they used.

So overall, my favourite films briefs are brief 1 and brief 2. Although, this may change when we have all been put into our groups.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Analysis of a Film Opening - Atonement

After looking at various film openings and learning how to analyse them, we were asked to choose our own to analyse. I found it really hard to choose which film I wanted to analyse, but I finally decided to analyse the first few minutes of the film "Atonement". I wanted to choose something a bit different; other than a horror, which a lot of people decided to look at.

I watched the opening of the film a few times before taking screen shots and looking more closely at the mise-en-scene. This is the analysis I came up with.....

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Research Task – The Life of a Film

The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones is a 2009 thriller/fantasy/drama film which is based on a novel of the same name by Alice Sebold.

The story centers around the short life of 14-year-old Susie Salmon, who is brutally raped and murdered by a seemingly harmless neighbour. When the police confirm her death, Susie’s family struggle to come to terms with the loss of their daughter and the mystery behind it.  Whilst her mother isn’t coping well, Susie’s father has a photographic films developed and begins the task of trying to piece together her disappearance. He finally narrows it down and is convinced that Susie’s killer was someone she knew. Just as he begins to piece together Susie's final few hours, the family's life falls apart even more. Susie's sister begins to carry on their father's investigations, but it isn't without danger.
Meanwhile, Susie is watching over her family from somewhere between Heaven and Earth called “The In-Between”. Here, she meets others who share her past. Susie realises that she must decide whether to help her family take vengeance on her killer or whether to leave them to heal on their own........

Theatrical Poster & Teaser Poster

Trailer & Interview with Saoirse Ronan (Susie)

The budget for the film was estimated to be $65, 000, 000. The production companies Film4, DreamWorks, WingNut films and Key Creatives financed it.

The film was released in cinemas on 19 February 2010. It was also shown in 46 different countries at cinemas around the world. Premieres took place in the UK, USA and New Zealand. It was also shown at Santa Barbara Film Festival in the US. In most countires it was distributed by the large Hollywood company, Paramount Pictures – the parent company of DreamWorks. It was also distributed by United International Pictures in Argentina and Singapore; Universal Pictures International in Belgium and Netherlands; Zon Lusomundo Audiovisuais in Portugal and Finnkino in Finland.

On it’s opening weekend the film made £1,637,579 in the UK (shown on 420 screens) and $116, 616 in the USA (shown on 3 screens). The gross taking for the film was $43, 818, 839. The film was shown almost all large cinema’s in the UK as the film was a massive box office hit and very popular. Although the subject of the film was quite dark the motion picture rating was PG-13, therefore the film had a large audience.
The Lovely Bones was released on DVD later in the year and then on Blu-ray format. The DVD is available on both Region 1 and Region 2 platforms with a selection of different languages and subtitles.

The film is horizontally integrated because one of it’s producers, Film4, is a subsidiary of Channel 4. In other words, Channel 4 is it’s ‘parent’ company.
It is also vertically integrated, as another of it’s producers, Dreamworks, is linked to it’s distributer, Paramount Pictures. So the film is both horizontally and vertically integrated.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010


Once we had finished all of our filming we captured all of our footage onto the computer. We then began using Adobe Premier Pro to edit our footage. As our group was quite large we decided to take it in turns to edit the footage whilst the other members gave advice and opinions.

One of the most difficult parts we found to edit was the match on action sequence as we had to edit the two clips and exactly the right points before joining them together. We also had a few technical difficulties with the software and computer playing up. Each time we inserted a new clip or edited an existing one, another would delete itself. So each time we edited something we spent time trying to recover the other clip. This proved incredibly time consuming and very stressful. Eventually we had to work around this by re-editing our clips and putting them back into the sequence.

Although I had never used Premier Pro before, I found it quite simple to use. I learnt different editing techniques and how to insert titles and transitions into the clips. We were pleased with our final product considering how much time we had to film and edit it with all of the changes that we had to make. I think that it would have been a lot more interesting with our final plot incorporated and with more time the editing could have been smoother, but overall I am happy with the result.

Here it is!


We began filming each shot of our story board. To begin we needed to film in various corridors in the school. This posed a problem as - even though we were filming during lessons - there was still a large number of people walking through the halls coming into shot and making a lot of noise. This problem was unavoidable, so it just meant that we had to take a few shots and just hope that no one would need to walk through!

Most of the shots were filmed using a tripod. This eliminated the classic shakes of a hand-held camera. It also allowed us to tilt the camera and turn it smoothly and at a constant speed. This was great for our tracking shots.

To film the conversation shots we needed to find a room which wasn't in use. We eventually found an empty class room - though as we began filming the bell rang and outside the window it all became very busy with younger pupils. We had to wait for a few minutes for it to quieten down outside in order to film the conversation.

We constantly referred to our storyboards to make sure our shots were correct and that we were using the right camera movements. Of course the storyboards were not 100% accurate as they were not drawn from actual sets so we had to change each set slightly from the storyboard depiction.

I think we did really well to shoot what we needed to in such a short amount of time. We tried to film at least two different takes of each shots so that when it came to editing we could choose the better of the two depending on not only the visual but also the audio of the clip. As we filmed the whole thing in one session we didn't have many problems with clothing continuity but we had to make sure that our hair was in the same position in each shot etc.

We worked well as a team, although we all found it quite confusing as we were not as well prepared as we could have been because of the changes we had to make to our plot and storyboards. This meant that we were not as efficient about the shooting of the film as we were in a rush.

Thursday, 14 October 2010


Alex walks to locker, opens it, then receiving a text message, he takes the phone out of his pocket, read the message and puts it back into his pocket. He then walks through a door and down a corridor to meet Alice.
Arrives at door, looks through then opens it and walks into the room, where Alice is waiting.
Alex: …you wanted to talk?

Alice: Well…It’s just that

Alex: Well…

Alice: Shall we see 'Back to the Future' or 'Buried' tonight?

Alex: I don’t care… 'Back to the Future'?

Alice: 'Buried' it is!

Friday, 8 October 2010

Changes to Preliminary Task

We began to film the first few shots for our preliminary task and we were were all happy with our roles within the group and comfortable using the equipment. The next time we came to film one of our group (the main character) was away. We were stuck becuase we needed two males as the main parts and we only had one. We also couldn't use someone from outside our group as they were all otherwise engaged.

Eventually - as we were on a tight schedule - as a group we decided to change our Preliminary Task to something we could film more easily and with the actors we had. This meant that our new plot was a lot more basic. This was a shame as we were all happy with our plot and shots.

We put together a storyboard and a basic script, but a lot was improvised during the actual filming.

We also decided that the new characters would be played by Alex, as the boyfriend and myself as the girlfriend. 

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Preliminary Task Pre-Production

For our Preliminary Excercise we were asked to film and edit a short film showing examples of shot types and techniques. These were:
  • Shot/reverse shot
  • 180˚
  • Match on action
The first thing we had to do was come up with a basic story line. In a group we put forward ideas for a short story before writing a script and drawing up a storyboard.

We came up with the idea that a character gets a text from his 'lady friend' asking him to meet her for the first time. He excitedly goes to find her, is pointed in the right direction by a few people and looks throught the door of a room. She is looking out of the window and has her back to him. He enters and she begins to turn around but the camera cuts to a close-up of his face before we can see 'her'. We see his reaction as they exchange a few lines but then she introduces herself as "Sammy" the woman he has been texting. He runs out of the room. Then a pan shot from "Sammy's" feet to her face shows that she is, in fact, a he! We see her drop a rose she was holding and match on action shows it dropping to the floor.

We thought this story line was really original and interesting - as it a had a comedy twist on it.

We came up with a simple script and I was given the task of drawing the storyboard, which I was confident with becasue I have done a lot of art in the past.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Media Consumption in 24-Hours

As an introductory task, we were asked to write down all the different types of media we had been exposed to in a 24-hour period. I wrote it in a kind of diary….
Media Exposure in 24-Hours
6.45am Woke up and checked phone.
7.00am Turned on laptop to check updates on ‘Facebook’ and ‘Twitter’.
7.10am Put last night’s “Waterloo Road” on, on BBC iPlayer to play whilst getting dressed.
7.30am Went downstairs. BBC 1 News was on whilst I ate breakfast.
7.50am Had a look at the newspaper and some magazines whilst waiting for my lift to school.
8.00-8.30am Got into car with the radio playing. Saw numerous adverts of the way to school; especially posters on bus stop shelters and on the sides of buses themselves.
8.30am-3.20pm Logged onto school computers throughout the day to use the internet for research and to check my e-mails. Also checked my mobile phone for messages and the time and saw posters on notice boards advertising activities etc.
3.30pm Listened to my iPod in the car on the way home and noticed yet more advertisements on transport and in shop windows.
4.00pm Got home and checked ‘Facebook’ and ‘Twitter’. Looked at a few other websites, including my favourite celebrity gossip blog ‘Perez Hilton’.
5.30pm Watched part of the film “Adventureland” for half an hour.
6.00pm Used the computer and internet for home learning. Visited websites such as ‘Wikipedia’.
7.00pm Watched the news and “The One Show” whilst eating dinner.
7.45pm Spoke on the phone to a friend for an hour with “Eastenders” on in the background.
8.00pm Finished home learning on the computer then updated ‘Facebook’ and ‘Twitter’ statuses. Chatted to a few friends via instant messaging.
9.00pm Watched the rest of “Adventureland” then went on the internet.
10.00pm Read  book for half an hour and checked phone before going to bed.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010


Hi, I’m Alice and I am taking Media Studies this year at AS Level. I chose to do media as I have always been really interested in all aspects of it – especially film making. It will also tie-in nicely with my other subject choices of psychology, photography and drama & theatre studies. I would love to work in the media industry in the future too!
I will be posting my work on this blog; from pre-production to post-production and also my thoughts and feelings on it all. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it!

“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” ~ Malcom X