Our finished film opening sequence.

Our finished film opening sequence.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Question 1: In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

Our Opening Sequence:
Our Film is Titled A Sight for Sore Eyes, and is a mockumentary focused on Toby, A boy who suffers from invisibility, and his first year away from home at university.

Our film mostly sticks to the conventional forms used in film openings in style, narrative struture, genre conventions, and general conventions of film openings:. I created a mind-map to show this:

Use Ctrl Mousewheel to zoom in and out, and drag to move.
Theorists we used when creating our sequence:

  • Todorov:
    • In terms of the classic narrative pattern the opening sequence of a film usually makes up the equilibrium at the beginning of the film, with everything relatively happy and stable before the disruption.
    • We can see this in What we do in the Shadows as the opening sequence shows the vampires living happily together before Nick comes in and disrupts their usual lives.
What we do in the Shadows Opening sequence
    • In terms of the classic narrative pattern our opening sequence represents the equilibrium at the beginning of the film. In this equilibrium Toby is happily living at home with his mum and brother.
  • Barthes:
    • Our film mostly uses enigma codes to create suspense and humor. For example The sequence starts with you knowing Toby has a genetic disease, but you don't find out hes actually invisible till a few shots later. This quick pay off creates humor as the audience expect it to be something really bad, but instead the outrageousness of it helps to create humor.

  • Propp:
    • In our film we didn't really apply Propp's character roles much, however our characters do slightly conform to the archetypes created in the character roles in some respects:
      • Toby, the Protagonist. Toby is the main character of the film, and although not particularly heroic or brave in any way throughout the film he goes on a mental journey, and learns to be more outgoing.
      • Joyce, the Helper/ Mentor. In our opening Joyce works as a mentor to her two sons, even though she doesn't focus on Kenny he still sees her as a role model.
      • Kenny, the Antagonist. Although he is not particularly a bad person Kenny's jealousy of his brother leads him to slightly bully Toby.
Joyce Lerone
Toby Lerone
Kenny Lerone

Question 2: How does your media product represent particular social groups?

Our sequence:
In our opening sequence we have represented a quite stereotypical white middle-class family in the form of a single mother, and two very contrasting teenage sons. Our opening sequence also positively represents disability.

Viago from What we do in the Shadows
Toby Lerone:
  • Toby is very socially awkward, and has been home schooled his whole life.
  • For him we tried to represent him as someone who hasn't had much communication with the outside world. For inspiration for his character we looked at Viago from What we do in the Shadows.
  • To emphasize Toby's awkwardness we tried to give him very awkward dialogue in the same style as Viago.
  • Toby represents a large group of teenagers who feel that they don't really fit in, and the invisibility emphasizes this, as it helps to connect with teenagers who feel like they are invisible, and don't really have a place to fit in in society. However through the film we see Toby finding a place that he fits in to.

Kenny Lerone:
  • We chose to have Kenny's character contrast greatly with Toby's character by being very outgoing and a more self-obsessed character.
  • For Toby we wanted to represent someone that hasn't really experienced much motherly love, and tries to cover up his insecurities by acting out, as he thinks it will get people to like him. We wanted Kenny to seem really self obsessed, as he is trying to be like how he believes his mother to be. An inspiration for Kenny's character in our sequence was J.P. from Fresh Meat.

Clip of J.P. from Fresh Meat (only the first half of the clip is relevant, and please excuse the rude language).
  • We tried to create this character for Kenny by making him turn every question around to himself, and through the inter-title to show that he hardly ever stops talking about himself.
  • Kenny very much represents the stereotypical rich teenager in our sequence.

Joyce Lerone:
  • We tried to make Joyce the "fitness mum" type of character who favourtises Toby.
  • Joyce very much embodies the single-mother character, as she is very much independent and hates her ex husband. To represent these characteristics we really emphasized the fact that she is single, by showing her on Tinder, and creating comedy through her hatred for Toby's father.
  • a big influence for her character is Aunty Angela from Outnumbered. We really liked the passive aggressive new age style of Angela's character, and felt that she really connected with the character of Joyce.
Aunty Angela from Outnumbered.

  • We really wanted to show Joyce as someone who has just left a long term relationship, and is enjoying her new single life.
The Family Unit:

Our film opening contains representations of the family unit. Here is a diagram I created of common representations of the family unit in the media:
Representations of the family unit in the media.
In our sequence the representations of our family are slightly different to these as the family has a slightly different make up. In our family Joyce plays the role of the Mother and Father from classic representations by being the main "breadwinner" and being distant to one son, whilst being close with the other. Toby takes on some aspects of the role of the son by not being comfortable in social situations, however he is more awkward and nervous than standoffish. Kenny takes on aspects of the daughter and son representations as he is extremely conscious of how he looks, but also suppresses his emotions and doesn't particularly like other people much.

Another key area of representation for our sequence is disability as Toby is invisible. We hoped to positively portray disability in our sequence by showing that even tough Toby has a genetic condition that affects his life, he is still able to live a full and happy life, and is even going to university.We wanted to show that Toby's disability does affect his life, but he is able to deal with it and not feel like he is missing out much.

Toby talking about how his disability affects his family

Question 3:What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?

Our Film's Model of Ownership:

  • For our film we chose to follow the independent model of film ownership. We chose to do this purely as we wouldn't be able to realistically create the film opening of a large budget, Hollywood film due to our budget and time restrictions.
  •  To this end we chose to have one distribution company, but a group of different production houses working together to create our film.
Our Distributor:
To present information about our distributor I created a Prezi:

We chose focus features as they are successful in marketing and distributing British Independent films. Their marketing techniques have also worked really well on other films similar to ours. For example American Honey:

How Focus Features marketed American Honey and how this connects with our film.

Our Production Companies:
To illustrate our production companies and information about the I created this Prezi:

Question 4: Who would be the audience for your media product

Our Audience:
The primary audience for our film is fans of the genre with secondary audience groups of fans of indie films in the 15-25 age group with a worldwide spread. To further illustrate this information I have created a Prezi:

By going for a more niche audience group of younger fans of indie films who enjoy this style of humour we have to be very specific with how we attract them.

What our audience want in a film like ours:
A side-by-side comparison of our film with another film our audience demographic like, and what they enjoy about it:

Question 5: How did you attract/address your audience

Attracting our Audience:
We used specific techniques to attract our Target demographic:
  • To attract fans of the genre we used many conventions of Mockumentary films, for instance the intertitles, or the hand held camera. This helps to make the film seem recognisable to them.
Examples of intertitles from our sequence.

  • We also used lots of awkward comedy very common to mockumentaries. This also helps to attract 15-25 year old in general.
  • By using comedy in our film in place of large spectacle we are gratifying the audience's need for entertainment.
  • By focusing the films story on an invisible boy, but also setting it in a contemporary setting with many recognizable themes and Toby acting how you would expect an invisible boy to realistically act we are allowing the audience to suspend their disbelief. This allows them to better get caught up in the filmic diagesis that we have created gratifying their need for escapism.
  • Another upside to setting our film in a contemporary society, and focusing on realistic (if slightly exaggerated characters) is that the audience can better connect with the characters and their themes. This allows for the gratification of them to get a better sense of their personal identity by watching and identifying with the characters in our film.
  • To make the film appeal to a worldwide audience we made our film focus on universal themes, of coming of age/leaving home for the first time. 
  • As well as helping to attract a global audience using this also will connect specifically with the age group[ of 15-25 year olds, as they are either on their way to leaving home for the first time soon, or have already left home for the first time quite recently.
Throughout our project we made sure to get feedback from our target audience on how they thought the film went. We also got qualitative feedback from our target demographic about the final product of our film:

Analyzing our Feedback:
Our final feedback was very good, as it shows that we had succeeded in creating the type of humour enjoyed by this audience group. Our feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
  • It demonstrated that we accomplished the main function of an opening sequence, as the audience were able to absorb the information we presented them with in the opening, for example the title, and the main characters' names as all but one were able to recall their names and the title of the film.
  • The fact that Lilly couldn't recall Toby's name without prompting shows that there may still be a balancing issue in the sequence with the amount of time and effort put in to make Toby's character memorable, as he is the main character of the film, and the least time is spent on him. This problem also pops up later as no one picked him as their favourite character, with Kenny being the overall favourite.
  • Our feedback also showed that we accomplished our goal of creating the humour that our TA would enjoy, and would gratify their need for entertainment, as they all seemed to be entertained, and there was a lot of laughter throughout, especially in Joyce and Kenny's scenes. These scenes were also memorable, as the group were able to easily pick their favourite scenes, for example"Joyce drinking on the Wii board" as picked out by Sian.
  • One critique we received was about the "I'm excited but nervous, still excited, but still nervous." line. This is a line in the trailer both me and Noa felt skeptical about as we did consider changing this line during Production, however we couldn't think of a better line for this scene.
  • It also demonstrated that we were extremely successful at creating an opening sequence that was recognizable as a mockumentary, and was even very much recognizable as in the style of one of our greatest influences What we do in the Shadows (2014) as Sian and Meera even said it was very reminiscent of "that mockumentary about the vampires" which is reffering to What we do in the Shadows.

Question 6: What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this project

Our Kit:
I was very happy with the kit we used. It was provided by the school and each group got the same kit, but could ask for additional items if needed. To demonstrate the Kit we used in our project and their pros and cons I created this table:
The Kit we used and the Pros and Cons of it
What I have learnt Throughout this project:
Whilst constructing this project I have learnt and honed lots of new skills, and improved upon skills I already had from the Prelim and GCSE media studies.


  • Blogger:
    • Blogger was a completely new tool for me when we started planning this project. It was a useful tool when setting out my planning and research and allowed me to easily present my ideas, whilst still being able to go back and look at my previous posts for inspiration and information I may have forgotten.
My Blog
  • Framing:
    • Framing is somewhere I have really improved throughout this project.
    • At the beginning of this project I could frame a camera, however I would leave way too much empty space around the character than there needed to be. For instance in the shot below.
My Framing at the time of the Test Shoot.
My Framing by the end of the Project

    • By the end of this project I have greatly improved in my framing skills as can be seen in this shot. The camera is much more level, Joyce is right in the middle of the frame, and the surrounding area is minimal for thetype of shot we wanted.
  • Lighting:
    • At the beginning of this project I had never really thought about the lighting of the shots, as we didn't use the lighting rigs in the Prelim or before that.
    • For the test shoot we used the lighting rigs, but only as props in the background. However whilst editing we could see the problems that not lighting the shots caused, for instance characters' faces being in too much shadow to make out their expressions.
My Lighting at the time if the Test Shoot.

My Lighting at the end of the Project            

    • As you can see in the main shoot Joyce's face is still in some shadow, but you can much better make out her smile, whereas in the test shoot you couldn't make out any facial expressions at all.
  • Grading:
    • At the beginning of this project I had never graded before, and doing it for our sequence was a real learning curve for me.
Grading one of our shots on Adobe Premier Pro
    • I found it very enjoyable to grade, however it is not one of my strong points, so Noa graded quite a lot of our sequence with my input as she worked.
  • Sound Mixing:
    • Something I found myself excelling at in post-production was sound mixing. I found this part of the editing process really enjoyable, and am very happy with the way the song fitted together in our final sequence.
Me Sound Editing
    • One part of our opening I was particularly proud of is the end sequence, and how all the cuts in the video match with the chords of the music.
Improvements I would make:
Overall I am very happy with the way our sequence turned out, but if I could do it again there are a few changes I would make:
  • Try and fix the sound issue in Toby's interview. This was something I really struggled with when sound editing. Because of the way our sequence fitted together there is a slight jump in the music. It is almost inaudible, and only noticeable if you really listen out for it. However if doing this project again I would try and fix it, if not just for my peace of mind
  • Toby's skin. In the interview shots you can see some of Ray's chest. It blends in quite well with the bandages, however he is meant to be invisible and, even though small, it makes it harder for the audiences to suspend their disbelief.
Ray's visible skin
  • Toby's Dialogue. I was very happy with the dialogue overall, however during our feedback we were criticised for the line "I'm excited but nervous, still excited, but still nervous." We did consider changing this line during Production, however we couldn't think of a better line for this scene.
  • Kenny's Grading was another thing I would definitely spend more time on if we could repeat the project as it just doesn't work with the rest of the sequence as it is too blue and unsaturated, and feels quite jarring when watching the opening.
Kenny's Grading Issue