Thursday, 15 December 2011


We'd like our titles to be creative and artistic so decided to have a look at some clips of just titles. The ones that really stood out were Juno and Napoleon Dynamite. We loved the catoonistic style of Juno and the catchy music that went with it....

However, we thought that the Napoleon Dynamite idea would work better for what we want to do. For each different pet hate we have about men, we would include a title. For example, one of our hates it going to be when a man finishes something (Ben and Jerry's!) and puts it back in the freezer instead of the bin. So for this clip we had the idea of a point of view shot showing a hand opening the lid of the Ben & Jerry's to reveal an empty tub and a title would appear in the bottom of it. 

The other ideas we have come up with for this use of titles are using potato alphabet letters to spell out a name and toilet paper being unravelled to reveal a name... So we need a few more ideas!!

More Ideas!

Last lesson we came up with an idea for our film opening! We'd like to keep with our idea of using non-diegetic narration from our female protagonist and have her speaking about things she hates about men, inspired by the film Amelie which shows the things she likes. We discussed it for a long time and eventually decided on it being the little things and pet hates that are commonly hated by most women that she rants about. After we produced some initial ideas of what these pet hates could be (leaving the toilet seat up, eating like a pig etc) we asked some female friends what there own hates are so that we could be sure these little things would be relatable to by the majority of women, therefore suitable for a wider audience than teenage girls. 

Monday, 5 December 2011


To help form a relationship between the protagonist and the audience, Zoe, Jess and I like the idea of using non-diegetic narration. I think it's a great way to introduce the protagonist and the thoughts they personally hold, this helps the audience to relate and engage with the characters. This is particularly important in rom coms as most women like to be able to relate to the protagonist as it helps them feel a sense of realism about the film. Therefore, they can believe that what happens to the characters could also happen to themselves. This method is used in films like...

                                                                                                                                                            The Holiday where we are instantly drawn to the disheartened, realistic character Iris, who narrates the opening 

and Bridget Jones, where we see Renee Zellweger playing the unfortunate, unlucky in love protagonist.

Narration is used in the beginning of both of these examples and is also used throughout both TV series and films of Sex and the City, which has Carrie Bradshaw narrating the story of herself and her friends.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Similar conventions for a more 'quirky' style

In the quirkier romcoms, the protagonist tends to be basic and unique and not necessarily someone you would notice when passing them in the street. They are usually played down a lot and lack in confidence, but there is still clear potential which is noticed by one person, the other protagonist. The other protagonist tends to be someone who is very out of their league and the basic but pretty person knows it. This is sometimes a reason for them not being together during the film.

For our opening, I like the idea of having one basic and one geeky looking protagonist. I like this idea because it makes the characters more relatable to the audience as opposed to the glitzy, hollywood, 'perfect' look. This idea is visible in Garden State: Natalie Portman is dressed in basic, neutral clothing with minimal make-up and Zach Braff plays the dorky charcter.

Notting Hill also links with the quirky rom com conventions as Julia Roberts plays a famous movie star who meets bookstore owner, Hugh Grant. Their relationship grows over months as they get to know each other, but they are presented with multiple challenges as they have to face their friends and the press, a typical rom com convention.

Other conventions: The 'meet cute'


  • Robert Ebert describes the concept of the "meet cute" as "when boy meets girl in a cute way".
  • He is a film critic who says it is the contrived encounter of two potential romantic partners in unusual or comic circumstances.
  • Scriptwriters often create a humorous sense of awkwardness between the potential partners
  • The contrived situation provides the opportunity for these people to meet.
Romantic comedies frequently include a meet cute as it sets up the audience for the main part of the film. It also causes an enigma (depending on the film of course) as to whether they will end up together or not. 

Film Opening!

This week we were given the briefs for our film openings and separated in to the groups we want to work in. I'm working with Jess and Zoe and we've decided on the brief of "a relationship comedy/drama made by an independent production company aimed at young adults". 
Before we went any further on developing our initial ideas for the opening, we researched the conventions of a relationship comedy. They usually tend to include: 
      • Light-hearted, humorous plot lines
  • Protagonists tend to be young, likeable and meant for each other
  • Usually kept apart by an interfering factor - eg. age, status, beliefs etc
  • Avoids serious satire
  • The potential couple comprises of polar opposites. Two people of different temperaments/situations/social status who would not meet or talk under normal circumstances
The proposal is one of my favourite Rom Coms, it also includes all of the conventions I mentioned above so seemed to be a perfect example! 

Friday, 25 November 2011

Filming Preliminary!

Being a late comer to the group, I had to learn how to use the camera very quickly, along with getting my storyboard and filming complete. Thankfully, most of the group were very supportive and happy to help me out and get me up to date, especially Joe who acted in my preliminary. All the shots I had planned in my storyboard I managed to do; with a few slight alterations. However, when it came to editing I realised I needed to take a bit more footage than I had done so I could be a lot more picky and produce a better outcome. This will be something I can improve on for my opening task.

Storyboard for preliminary!

Monday, 7 November 2011

The Holiday - Opening sequence analysis

The film opening I chose to analyse was The Holiday. After completing the 39 shots shot list I regretted this choice of film! I never realised how many different shots are used in a 3 minute sequence! 

1) CU of couple kissing and smiling - body language and expression immediately establishes the romance genre
2) Cuts to: MS of them kissing with river in background and high key lighting to add warmth, this connotes         happiness
3) Zooms out to: CU of hands playing piano - the sound is now diegetic as he is playing what we hear
4) Zooms out to: MS to show the man is writing music for the first 2 shots
5) Cuts to: CU of person. Non diegetic speech starts as person slowly looks up with a smile and look of inspiration in eyes (links with light heartedness of romcom genre)
6) Cuts to: CU of girl smiling while on phone
7) Cuts to: CU of original person still gazing at her (genre is clear as we see he lusts after her)
8) Cuts to: Wide POVS of girl walking towards camera (the camera is positioned where the man is sat)
9) Cuts to: MS of both people
10) Cuts to: CU POVS of woman's hand being kissed by man
11) Cuts to: CU of woman giggling
12) Cuts to: CU of man winking - his expression and body language show us already, without any speech, that he is interested in her. We also assume from her expressions that she likes him too. Therefore the conventions of the genre are still true to form
13) Cuts to: MS of woman laughing while walking away
14) Cuts to: MS of man smiling and watching her leave (the deep intake of breath and the sigh are more conventions of the genre)
15) Cuts to: LS of women walking upstairs
16) Cuts to: CU of man smiling and playing piano once more
17) Tracks to: The title of 'The Holiday' and continues tracking to CU of woman sat in car
18) Cuts to: CU of man sat on other side of car
19) Cuts to: OS of man - man and woman's faces are both still seen - facial expressions connote something emotional has just happened in the sense of a break up they both knew was coming?
20) Zooms out to HA ES of cars on road at night with Christmas lights on a tree (establishes time of year)
22) Cuts to CU of an old man's hand on photo frame with a picture of who we assume is his wife - the fact he is old and the bride in the picture is young connotes she is now dead and he hasn't stopped loving her as 'true love lasts forever' (links with genre)
23) Tracks to: MS of his face so we clearly see his age
24) Cuts to: MS of man at party, tracks him walking forwards towards and beyond camera , focus swaps to MS of woman gazing after him
25) Cuts to: OS of man - turns around and smiles at camera (woman)
26) Cuts to: MS of woman smiling
27) Cuts to: CU of man smiling
28) Cuts to: LS of woman sat in chair in an office with her back to the camera
29) Zooms in to: MS of her wrapping a present - the red wrapping paper, the party and the Christmas lights seen earlier make us assume it is a Christmas present for someone she cares for. The crowd of people is still visible through the office window
30) Cuts to: CU of present being concealed in top drawer - this seems strange as we assume the gift is for someone at the party - makes us assume she is nervous/ashamed/scared which implies the gift is for someone who she feels she shouldn't care for, maybe an ex. This fits with the heartbreak side of the romance genre
31) Cuts to: CU of woman
32) Cuts to: MS of back of woman's head and her opening the door and entering the party - given that she's walking straight from an office to a party, we convey this is an office Christmas do
33) Tracking MS of woman walking amongst party guests
34) Cuts to: MS of man talking and socialising with friends
35) Cuts to: Close up of woman staring into camera (looking at the man she is clearly interested in)
36) Zooms in then tracks her across room with OS camera angles which makes us feel amidst the action at the party as an audience and therefore engages us as viewers
37) Cuts to: MS of man socialising
38) Cuts to: CU of woman still staring
39) Cuts to: MS tracking woman walking

How are character types established? 

Dialogue is only used through the non-diegetic speech of the character named Iris (Kate Winslet) in the opening sequence. For the whole speech she speaks of love and mentions Shakespeare - whose famous plays include love story's - which establishes not only the genre of romance, but also that her character is a bit of a bookworm! Jack Black's costume shows he plays a cool, laid back character.

How is location established?

We can see it's cold and therefore the Winter season is established as the characters are all wrapped up in warm clothing. We also see it's Christmas time from the decorations and warm lighting. 

How is narrative constructed?

We can see the romance from the repetition of characters gazing at their love interest then cut shots to the person they're watching. An enigma is created from these shots, making us question: will the characters end up with their interests? Will they live happily ever after?

How does the opening reflect genre of film?

It is clearly a romance from the conventional Christmasy setting; the uplifting romantic music; the non diegetic speech of Kate Winslet talking about love and also the multiple couples seen. The smiling facial expressions reflect happiness and the high key lighting looks natural and realistic to our eyes, the warmth this effect creates conveys the romance genre. 

Is this opening appropriate for a film of this genre?

Yes because romance is very clearly established and sets up the audience for the rest of the film. This means they are assured that they have selected the genre they hoped to see and therefore won't be disappointed if it turns out to be something they had no interest in. 

How have titles been used?

Titles have been used sparingly and don't distract from the scene yet all the relevant and expected information is still there.

In your view is this an effective opening?

I think it is very effective as lots of information is given. Heartbreak and happiness are portrayed which are the key aspects of a romance genre so it is necessary that they are seen from the very beginning in order for the audience to see they are watching a film of the genre they enjoy. 

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Time to blog!

My name is Effie and I am a new AS media student at Ringwood School. I only recently dropped AS history and swapped to media so I have a lot of catching up to do! I chose to swap to media because I am a very creative learner and media allowed me to progress with my creativity whilst still including challenging theory aspects. I am also interested in performance - what with being a drama student - and I have a keen interest in photo-journalism and advertising. I find the directing and producing side to films very interesting and would like to learn more about the film and media industry as a whole.

What other subjects are you studying?
  • Theatre studies
  • English Language
  • Photography
Who is your favourite band/artist and why?

I find when it comes to music I am very indecisive! I can like almost anything... as long as it doesn't hurt my ears! (Like the dreaded owl city!) Nevertheless, as most girls would agree, Beyonce is a very inspiring women along with good old Rihanna; they both not only try to create great music that will 'speak' to people and entertain, but they produce interesting and creative music videos, make a real effort on tours and self-publicity and can actually do more than just sing... they can dance! 

Other than the obvious choices I have just mentioned, I am a fan of Biffy Clyro as their music isn't too 'record studio'. It is great because it actually means something to them as a group, it's not just a way of becoming famous and earning lots of money.

I also love musical theatre, my favourite musical right now is probably The Last Five Years by Jason Robert Brown, it is very new and was premièred in Chicago in 2001 before going on Broadway in 2002.

What are your favourite TV programmes?

Right now I am utterly hooked on the latest series of one tree hill! What I like most about the new series is the fact it doesn't leave me in tears at the end of each episode like the first few series' did, yet it still contains a weekly cliff-hanger to keep me hooked. I also love Britain's next top model but as the series finished a few weeks ago I've been watching the American version instead. 

What is your favourite film? Who is your favourite director?

My all time favourite films have to be Taken (starring Liam Neeson) and Gladiator (Russel Crowe). I love the action and suspense that is involved in Taken and I think that everything about Gladiator is incredible! The film work, the storyline, the direction, the acting... the list goes on! I highly doubt that Taken 2 (to be released this time next year) will be anywhere near as good as the original. Even though the main cast members will be the same; the director is different and this can often effect sequels. However, I am excited to see it and will watch it with an open mind! 

My favourite director is Ridley Scott. I love how he often gives background information at the beginning of his films via text to engage the audience, for example, in Gladiator, Alien and Blade Runner. Also, being that Russel Crowe is one of my favourite actors; I love that Scott frequently casts him in his films!

What websites do you use? 

Usually when I'm on the internet, at least one of the tabs open will be facebook! I find it a great way to stay in the loop with friends and communicate... for free! Also, when I have a spare half an hour or so and need a good giggle, I immediately go to YouTube as you can always find whatever kind of thing you're looking for. Like any other teenage girl, I spend the odd evening 'watching' telly whilst clothes shopping on-line as well and not really paying any attention to the TV whatsoever!