Friday, 29 November 2013

Pre-Production Roles

In pre-production, every step of actually creating the film is carefully designed and planned. The production company is created and a production office established. The film is pre-visualized by the director, and may be story boarded with the help of illustrators and concept artists. A production budget is drawn up to plan expenditures for the film. 

Storyboard: is a visualizing method that creates a blueprint of what the shot sequence should be.

The director: is primarily responsible for the storytelling, creative decisions and acting of the film.

The casting director: finds actors to fill the parts in the script. This normally requires that actors audition.

The director of photography: is the cinematographer who supervises the photography of the entire film.

The director of audiography:  is the audiographer who supervises the audiography of the entire film.

The production sound mixer: is the head of the sound department during the production stage of filmmaking. They record and mix the audio on set - dialogue, presence and sound effects in mono and ambience in stereo.

The composer: creates new music for the film. 

The production designer: creates the visual conception of the film, working with the art director.

The art director: manages the art department, which makes production sets.

The costume designer: creates the clothing for the characters in the film working closely with the actors, as well as other departments.

The make up and hair designer: works closely with the costume designer in addition to create a certain look for a character.

The storyboard artist :creates visual images to help the director and production designer communicate their ideas to the production team.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

British Horror/Thriller/Action films

From the results of the survey I have gathered that the top three film choices boiled down to horror, action, and thriller. As british students and only having the ability to film in locations in the UK taking a look at British films that fit these genres and perhaps what can be taken form them.

So, lets start with a horror: The Descent, with a budget of £3,500,000 and grossing £2,698,863 in the UK. The Descent is a dark and gory horror. The main feature I took from the film was the lighting that was used. The colour red is used heavily throughout the film and creates an incredibly horrific effect, suggesting that the cave is almost like hell. The colours green and red are also used prominently within the film adding a refreshing tone to the film and giving it a really special visual quality.

Hush, £1,000,000 budget horror/thriller has an interesting story, and is not a bad attempt at a horror with the focus on realsim. whilst the ending is a classic shouting at the TV saying "what are you doing?!". It has a nice setting, utilising locations such as the motorway and Britain's rural countryside. I like this film for the realism it has, making it distinctly British but also how it is a horror/thriller were you never actually know who your enemy is.

Last but not least, an example of a British action film is The Sweeney. With a budget of £3,000,000 this is a story of a tough British police force that have been granted the ability do what most cops can't. Its a great show of British action with an awesome shootout in the landmark of Trafalgar Square. What I like the most about The Sweeney is its grit. Due to its lead actors, it would be surprising if it was anything but gritty but that is what I like about this film. Also the actions pretty good too.

CGI in Film

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Survey Monkey Results and Analysis

So from these results, it is easy to see that the most popular genres of film are Action/adventure and Horror. When asked about what was the most important aspect of a film the top answer was the plot (story) and the cast. This is a great way of gearing our project toward a Action/Horror hybrid and utilising an interesting story and cast. However the survey was answered wholly by a male audience who stereotypical would be more attracted by action and gore.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Fox Searchlight Pictures, established in 1994, is an American film distribution company within the Fox Entertainment Group, a sister company of the larger Fox studio 20th Century Fox. It specializes in US distribution of independent and British films, alongside dramedy and horror as well as non-English-language films, and is sometimes also involved in the financing of these films.

Some of their most recognizable films include: 127 hours, Black Swan, Martha Marcy May Marlene, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Juno and 28 Days Later.

Fox Searchlight's Slumdog Millionaire won the Academy Award for Best Picture at the 81st Academy Awards as well as a further 7 Academy Awards. Other Fox Searchlight films receiving Best Picture nominations include The Full MontySidewaysLittle Miss SunshineJunoBlack Swan127 HoursThe Tree of LifeThe Descendants and Beasts of the Southern WildSlumdog Millionaire is also Searchlight's largest commercial success, with over $377 million (US) of box office receipts, against a production budget of only $15 million.

I chose to look at Fox searchlight for a few reasons. Firstly some of the films they have distributed have been great with my personal favourites being Black Swan, Another Earth and Night Watch. Secondly they focus on distributing independent films in the USA and the UK.  It is nice to see a huge american company have a subsidiary or sister company to promote independent films and to promote British films too.

Survey Monkey Questions

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

A History of Music in Film

The Thriller genre and its audiences

Definition: Thriller uses suspense, tension and excitement as its main elements. Thrillers heavily stimulate the viewer's moods, giving them a high level of anticipation, ultra-heightened expectation, uncertainty,surprise, anxiety and/or terror. Films of this genre tend to be adrenaline-rushing, gritty,rousing and fast-paced.

Examples:Seven, No Country for Old Men, Silence of the Lambs, Untraceable, Mindhunters, Kiss the Girls,Along Came a Spider", Collateral and Copycat. Examples of crime thrillers involving heists or robberies includes The Asphalt Jungle, The Score, Rififi, Entrapment, and The Killing.

The Alfred Hitchcock films SuspicionShadow of a Doubt, and Strangers on a Train and David Lynch's influential Blue Velvet are notable examples of the type, as are The Talented Mr. RipleyThe MachinistDon't Say A WordTrappedFlightplanShutter IslandSecret Window,IdentityRed EyePhone BoothPsychoThe River WildNick of TimeP2BreakdownPanic RoomMiseryCape FearThe CollectorFrailty,The Good Son and Funny Games.

From research I have discovered that there is a distinguishable difference between the audiences that go to see a thriller film. The differences in audiences usually are defined by the sub genre of the thriller film for example, psychological, horror, political, crime etc. Older audiences will be more interested in psychological/crime/political thrillers and the age range is usually between people aged 25-40. This is because mature audiences can better understand a complex story line with strong elements of drama. 

On the other hand an action/horror/thriller will be more popular with a 15-25 audience age as they are more excited by special effects and action sequences, and the tension created by a horror.     

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Another Earth: sci- fi influences

Another Earth is an independent science fiction/drama. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival where it won an award and has gone on to win two more awards since. It was recognised as one of the top ten independent films of 2011 by the National Board of Review Awards.

I watched the film due to the fusion of its selected genres and because i would not expect one of those genres to work in an independent film. That particular genre, which is science-fiction was integrated neatly within in the film. Whilst the film is set on Earth and there is an absence of its main convention which is space (although space is heavily referenced and is the main passion of our protagonist), it still manages to get the audience to think about the possibilities of outer space and asks the relevant question; Are we alone in the universe? 

Personally I love the way that science-fiction was incorporated into the film without using alien races, laser guns or a vast array of CGI. The science-fiction aspect was mainly told through the drama and the general narrative of the film and is made very powerful by the superb leads who play the main roles.

So why have I chosen to look at this film? Well firstly it is an independent film, so the cinematography will be achievable for when we begin to produce our own film opening. Secondly I love the way that the genres are infused and it makes me think if it would be a possible feat to achieve. Granted, Another Earth had a $200,000 budget to achieve the elements of the film that were needed, and whilst we wont be able to do that there is an emergence and growth of 'Hybrid' genre films. Thirdly I felt that this film firmly established its character within the opening two minutes. This could also be applied and will be necessary to establishing a setting or a plot as well as a character.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Analysis of Oblivion and Avengers dvd covers

In my previous post I published a collection of old and more recent film posters. When looking at those posters I noticed a recurring aspect about some of them. Most of the posters with the exception of two or three only show the main character or star of the film, with the exception of the others which show 2-4 characters. The reason for this is perhaps to clearly represent the main focus for the film and or advertise its star. So for example the Skyfall poster, (pictured right) shows James Bond or Daniel Craig staring off into the distance armed with a flashy sidearm and a touch of swag.
What this poster tells me is that the main focus for the film will be about this character and that he is the most important aspect of the film. Firstly he is central to the picture and secondly he towers above the main title of the film itself. Other examples of film posters that solely present its main protagonist include Iron Man 2 and Halloween Uncut ( which is pictured in the previous post). Looking at the movie posters in this way reminded me of a lesson at school when we looked at the differences between DVD covers and in what ways they advertise the film.

The two modern DVD covers I have chosen to analyse are Oblivion (a personal favourite), and The Avengers. I chose these two film covers due to the fact that they are distinctly different and are very recent.
Starting with the Avengers film cover we can see straight away that there is a lot more going on compared to Oblivion. Firstly instead of on person we have a whole squad of superheroes, some more dominant than others but there none the less. I understand that the reason for the cover showing all of its main heroes together is because there is no distinguishable main role. They all play an equal part within the movie and are no less or more important than others. The reason is probably a more political reason, placing Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) at the front and centre due to the fact he is the highest paid actor and the most popular and successful of all the heroes. Explosions are present in the background and the characters all look as if they are prepared to fight imminently  showing the film is definitely an action.
Oblivion's cover is calmer than Avengers. The colours look more monotone but create a lighter and softer feel for the film in comparison to the dark blues and the dotted oranges of explosions on Avengers. Only once character is present in this picture, giving the impression he is the main character and the most important role within the film. The cover gives away that its a sci-fi due to the future looking weapon and suit the protagonist is wearing, but is not as obvious as a film such as Star Trek. The is due to the fact that we can see modern human structures in the background. Similarly our main hero looks prepared to fight but looks more in thought, adding a twist/mystery to the film alternative to the 'bring it on' attitude the superheroes have on their faces.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

In-Depth Analysis of American Psycho opening titles

The opening titles of American Psycho start off almost identical to those of Insomnia. A white background is present with the first set of titles appearing in black to stand out against it. The white background and the black titles recur mostly throughout the sequence however there are two important aspects that come into play to make the titles very interesting for the audience.

Again similarly to Insomnia, blood (or what is made out to be blood) is used to foreshadow gruesome murders and death. This solidifies its genre as being a crime/drama and the audience can expect sinister events to happen later on. However these opening titles trick the audience into thinking that immediately, something bad is going to occur through its use of music.

The liquid that appears to be blood actually turns out to be some kind of sauce for a very expensive, high end dish at a posh restaurant. When we first see the 'blood' it comes down in a droplet and a strings from the musical score create a sudden sound thats on edge and mysterious. The strings are also in sync with the falling of the 'blood' droplet, perhaps to draw attention to its appearance and or give it more importance. Additionally, there is a low, resonating sound that slowly builds up like a crescendo. Two more 'blood' droplets fall each with an accompaniment of a note from the strings. The fact that two fall shows an increase in pace. 

As the directors name appears we get a steady trickle of more droplets and the musical score moves into a more rhythmic piece but still maintains its mysterious and ominous characteristics. The music is dance like and is if it is something heard in a stage performance; it almost makes the audience want to dance with it. Then it beautifully transitions into a soft and happy sound with the introduction of higher pitched sound instruments which greatly changes the entire mood of the film and relieves the audience. 

Video for American Psycho opening titles (Sorry its in Spanish)

Friday, 1 November 2013

In-Depth Analysis of Insomnia Titles

The Insomnia titles utilise the colours black and white for the colour of the text and the background, and they are prominent colours throughout the sequence. The colour of the background and the text alternate between black and white, so that the titles can stand out clearly. So for example, the opening has a white background with black titles that are slowly fading into view.

The titles introduce the three main stars of the film before changing to a unclear picture of what appears to be a bleeding carpet. This is quite significant and gives a greater effect to the main title when it appears. 'Insomnia' (which is in white) fades in, being much bolder to enhance its meaning and importance. It also stands out against the seeping blood in the background, giving an element of mystery to the film and confirming its genre as a thriller.

The blood is very important, as it foreshadows the possible events of death and murder for the rest of the film. It is also the only other colour that is used in the title sequence, making it more significant and aiding in not making the titles look so bland and boring.

Additionally in the title sequence, some of the titles appear over a constantly travelling aerial view of an icy, mountainous wasteland. The area being somewhere in the arctic means that the overwhelming colour in the background is white. The titles appear over this shot in white, perhaps to signify the theme of isolation and echo the idea of being lost in such a cold and lonely place like some of the characters may be in the film.