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AS Level Media Studies - CREATIVE CRITICAL REFLECTION (Film Opening Task)

  1. A Critical Reflection Theo Chandra - AS Level Media Studies
  2. Brief Here is the brief given to me by Cambridge: Option 1: Film opening task (video) Main task: the titles and opening of a new fiction film (to last a maximum of two minutes). Titles should follow the institutional conventions of commercial cinema. The task may be undertaken individually or as a group. There should be a maximum of four members to a group. The work may be undertaken individually or by a group (maximum group size is four candidates).
  3. Our Goal Our goal is to present the best visual experience to the audience which properly introducing our designated move genre of thriller/horror to audience, establishing the setting, indicating the mood tone and visual aspects, among other elements. Also we aimed at examining and willing to explore deeper on the film opening sequence. Our title is “The Guy Upstairs”. The opening sequence is about a girl having an ordinary university life until she started to find out something is odd started to come from the upstairs. The subgenre is crime because every single scene will be giving the clue of the crime
  4. 1.How does your product use or challenge conventions and how does it represent social groups or issues?
  5. Codes & Convention Overall our film follows the global convection of thriller movie such as using Binary opposites of Protagonist and Antagonist. In our film the binary opposites are the prey vs predator. female as Victim(prey) which are vulnerable and young and Male as Villain(predator) which are dominant and heartless.
  6. Themes of Safety In the first scene we used a long shot camera angle to display the female main character and her settings. The color tone of the movie that I choose is cold where I decided to follow the main repetition in thrillers movie in general. To show the message of safety our character was wearing her comfortable clothes and studying at ease as I show this further by using a medium shot. I wanted to show how she feels safe in her own space. I used a diegetic sound: notifications, writing sound effects, and flipping paper. I also used the clock ticking sound as the main sound background and I edited the clock ticking sound as the sound gets louder everytime the clock is ticking. This will give the idea for the audience that something is wrong and audience will start panicked and being empathy to the character’s safety. Alice was represented as the young, vulnerable, ambitious students where this was shown by the stuffed desk in her flat. Moreover the outfit she wore is just a white t shirt which connotes convenient and some room decoration such as flower to show that the room is alive. The main character is established at the very beginning of the movie with Long shot at the very beginning and lots of medium shot. This type of shots are frequently used by professional camera director for their movies in the beginning. Long shot really useful in introducing the characters and the settings to audience and easier for audience to be familiar with the movie. Medium shot is very important in showing the characters action. This type of shot will help audience engage to our media product as audience are able to get familiar with the setting and understand the characters action. Medium shot plays a big role in showing the 5 narrative codes: hermeneutic codes, proairetic codes, symbolic code, semiotic code and cultural codes; Binary opposites
  7. Theme - Below vs Above In other to show the contrast from the Below identity as in the previous scene we used high-key lighting during the entire scene to present the Upper identity I used a very minimum lighting in other to give the hermeneutic codes and keep the enigma element for drives the plot. The enigma was who is the psychopath/murderer. To show this I used an extreme close shot on his mouth where this makes audience are driven to figure out the real face of the murderer/psychopath. The Guy Upstairs one of the main convection of the film, which using predominantly as the least brightest lighting option from my lighting to show dark atmosphere, suspense, and thrilling experience for the audience. While in the victim(girl) scenes, the lighting was quite bright to show that she is just living a normal life unlike the villain(boy) he always being shown with low key lighting to show mysteryness. The reveal of the murderer without much mise en scene that helps to represents the character as the murderer was kept in a dark place as in other to keep audiences asking who is the murderer. The white bunny perfectly represents purity and helps to support the idea that the murderer was recalling a flashback his past when he was pure before he finds out the truth. The Bunny is used as the puppet theater for the murderer during the scene. I used a low angle shot on the room ceiling so audience will get the idea where the sound might come from and there is mystery there I used a high angle on her so audience already get the idea that she is represented as vulnerable
  8. Representation and Issue Alice was represented as the ordinary young urban asian girl in middle class level in society. The movie talks about the issue on University students life is quite stressful. On the second scene we represents the imaginary puppet theater play by the murderer to represents that the murderer is psychopath where generally psychopath are represented as childish, aggressive and short-minded as in Asian thriller movies such as Mouse(Korean drama Tv series), Vincenzo(korean drama TV series). By the murderer playing along with the dolls this reveal his childish and adolescent side. The idea of using a doll is because I wanted to show the idea of dolls can be creepy, because we expect them just to be our playmates, bodyguards, and best friends when we were young and vulnerable. But in horror movies the filmmakers twist the concept of doll where the doll can be shocking. I took a reference from Annabelle, The Conjuring 2, and Jigsaw. The Guy upstairs also talks about how dark skin asian can be a potential psychopath as In Asia's movie industry traditionally the dark skin indigenous asian according to Stuart Hall on Representation Theory they are represented as weak, lowly, powerless and despicable but in this movie we decided to slightly subverbs to the stereotype, In this movie we wanted to show how the black asia indegenous group can also act out or stand for themself if the black asia is being keep humiliated and being looked down upon where in this case the villain turns out to be the victim in his past but now he is the murderer or the villain. Others dark skin asian stereotype of where they are mostly represented as dangerous, scary, and and awful and we decided to make our villain conforms to the stereotypes
  9. 2. How does your product engage with audiences and how would it be distributed as a real media text?
  10. The targeted Demographic The target demographic for "The Guy Upstairs" is mainly urban high school teenager audience ranged from 13 to 24 years old, both male and female because of the main characters is still young and the typical situation display can allows the male audience to relate. The genre would attract young audiences. The secondary Audiences will be older adults ranged from 25 to 35 years old who is interesting in discovering and watching thriller movies. However our film would be appealing to all ages groups as our movie mostly inspired by the global stereotypes and thriller storylines. Secondly since this is a english speaking movies the global audience can sure be the potential target audience
  11. How the audience will be engage To keep audience engaged there this scene where the protagonist hears something from upstairs and an odd sound like an object being dragged or a foot stamping builds the audience's attention and makes them wonder what sound it is and where it is coming from. This movie opener, which my team and I developed, contains hermeneutic code from Roland Barthes. A thriller movies’s opening with a hermeneutic code adds interest and generates a feeling of mystery for the audience, playing with their curiosity about what will happen next and getting them ready for the unexpected. The binary opposite of below vs. upstairs is present in the movie's introduction because both characters are showing a different scenario levels, with this binary opposite of downstairs vs upstairs will give the audience a general idea or a big idea of what is going in this movie. For instance, in our movie we set the below floor as our main character who lives a normal and chill everyday life and has a positive vibes on her with a nice and positive surroundings, while the upper floor has a more sinister and dark ambience. The film story will involve in lots of universities life so audience will see themself in or their friends in the character movies. The title “The Guy Upstairs” will have audience wondering who is the guy upstairs and what are we going to talk about the guy upstairs throughout the movie. According to Barthes’ 5 narrative codes, this enigma will keep the audience engaged.
  12. Genre Since our genre is Thriller/Horror with a subgenre of Crime the similarity that we have with others thriller movies are we decided to used the main repetition as female mostly are represented as the victim and the male are represented as the villain/predator. This is also a main representation where female are viewed as submissive and male as dominant. I used several ways to put suspense gratification into our movie such as the clock ticking gets louder everytime it ticks, the echo effect on conversation with a non diegetic sound effect of built up. Thriller movies in general will use a technique called cliffhanger where audience will see an unexpected twists in the story to create mystery and keep their audience engaged with the plotline where in this case the twist was from peaceful life turns into disruption. I reference this to Todorov’s narrative theory on equilibrium and disruption. According to Steve Neale on genre theory audience will have an assumption about the similarity of our movie to others thriller/horror movies. What makes our media text is different from our competitors is we used Asian cast instead of the traditional convection of western white cast in other for our specific target audience of Asian people would be appealing for them.
  13. Distribution Since the targeted demographics can be into global audiences we think about using a technology convergence for distributing our movie in an online VOD (Video On Demand) online platform such as Netflix, Disney + and HBO. But from all these Netflix would be the most suitable platform for our movie as Netflix is famous their thriller movies such as Stranger Things, The Call, Birdbox, ETC. Using a Disney+ may not be suitable for our target market as Disney is famous for their toddlers movies. To promote the movie further we would request a special event for Netflix to interview the actors about the movie and what was it like in behind the scene and some special games for the actors to play where audiences can see the actors real personality since Netflix usually interview the actors of the movies or TV shows that is distributed in Netflix streaming services. Another synergy for distribution will be our actors to engage with magazine(ELLE) for the girl actor and I personally choose ELLE magazine because ELLE with the brand identity of firm expression from the model. For the male actor I would choose VOGUE as VOGUE is famous for their male celebrity magazine. The publication of trailers on new media platform like YouTube would enable viewers to share and discuss the movie, which would increase anticipation for our movie debut. While the majority of YouTube users are teenagers and young adults, this is ideal for our target demographic once more because we will be able to reach as many viewers as possible. Furthermore to keep the audience captivated promotion of the film would include a large media social campaign on Twitter, Instagram and Tiktok.
  14. 3.How did your production skill develop throughout this project
  15. This is my first time making my own short film where surely my production skill have develop so much so everything that I learned about making the project was as a result of this project. Script Writing - in this project I have to learn new skills such as script writing for the film. Since I was one of the main screen writer I have to read more books and spent my free time to learn how does the professional film writer writes their script or story in order to improve my writing in order for my piece to be looking more professional and sophisticated. I Understand now how to put the technical elements such as location and transition during my script writing Storyboarding - I learnt this soft skills as it was quite essential for me to express how I want the movie would go like so my partner would be able to understand my point of view and have the visual imagination and also to be outside of the box in releasing idea. I find storyboard is efficient and time saving in brainstorming. Moreover I created the rough draft with a very basic style of storyboard then I asked my partner to created the detail and proper digital version.
  16. Cinematography - I researched about the technique about moving the camera so the scenes will go smoothly and I also find out that the rule of thirds play a big role in capturing the scenes. I was struggling in mastering the exposure triangle where in the first screen test that result appeared doesn't match my preference or the scenes that I imagine in my head. In the field I do more practical on the camera angle until exceeding the shot list from the storyboard. Editing - Finally I learnt using the Adobe Premiere Pro CC by exploring all the features and the special effects the software had. Speaking on editing I learnt how to do sound layering as my genre rely heavily on sound manipulation, visual layering, color grading and balancing and some appropriate effects.
  17. Transferable Skills Team Work Time Management Directing
  18. Team Work During the entire project teamwork is very crucial as people have different strength and weaknesses and people have their unique and different set of skills. By teamwork we can cover each others weaknesses and successfully finished the project. Teamwork also improved our communication skills where the key of successful teamwork is how fluent the flow of the communication of each member to other team members. I believe that this skill is also important in real life where we are social individuals and sometimes we got to be drown into a teamwork projects and assignments. Teamwork also practices me in lowering my ego. Time Management Time management is the critical transferable skills if we want the project to turns out well as we all have different activities and our own responsibility. In other to finish all the assignments especially the film opening I decided to make a priority list and goals of what should we done in each weeks and we were trying to commit to not to procrastinate and finish all the essential things to do for our project. I found that time management is very influential in finishing the project and I believe that people who have good time management will be able to finish all the tasks on time. This project helps me to practice my time management skills. Sometimes there were some overdue tasks such as editing and this really affect the project where for me I have more pressure in editing as the time is limited and I regret on being procrastinate. This skills is really applicable to real life Directing Since I was chosen for being the leader of this project I have to learn on how to give orders as I never been a leader in project so definitely I learnt a lot such as how to give orders efficiently and how to encourage your team members to be more motivated and also know when to act rough on your team member in other to submit everything on time. Directing wa really hard since my inner soft heart conflicted with the reality of your team members performance. This skill is very important if you are selected to be team leader and being leader is hard but thanks to this project I believe I have become better leader especially in directing each members for desired goals.
  19. 4. How did you integrate technologies – software, hardware and online – in this project?
  20. Software Hardware Online Resource
  21. Software Google Docs - Google docs has been very helping throughout the entire project where we used it for collect our raw ideas and our own brainstorming result. Then we arranged the idea properly Google Drives - Google drives is one of the very essential software where this allow us to share our video and voice recordings. Specifically I used this software to transfer it back to my pc and my laptop where when there were times that I need to revised the editing for our movie project and I need to do it quickly in my Laptop and it will be time consuming if I do it at home with my PC. Moreover I can download the upload raw footages in this software and used it in both my devices Premiere Pro - Premiere pro plays a big role in our project where this software allows me to compile all the footages and basically this software allows me to manipulate the footages into our desires imagination on what will the movie opening will look like Google Slides - Google slides really helps me to arrange my critical creative self reflection properly. Photoshop - My partner used photoshop to digitalize my rough sketch of the storyboard and in photoshop my partner can add the essential information such as the number of the scenes, duration, action, and sound.
  22. Hardware Sony AX7 - I choose this camera because Sony AX7 has the special feature of auto focus where I don’t need to hold the focus or readjusts while filming and this feature is really useful in scenes that requires movement or pan. The camera also has a technology of internal stabilizer where this will help us in achieving still footage. Saramonic 500 Blink Pro B2 - The wireless microphone really help us especially we need the microphone to be hidden and we wanted to maximise the audio quality thus no outside noise were recorded and the Saramonic 500 Blink Pro B2 allows us to achieve the goal. Specifically the receivers will be connected to the camera and the recorders will be pin in the set(hidden from camera). Lighting GVM 800D-RGB - Since natural lighting are not used during the entire of our scenes since our scenes are located inside building using the Lighting helps us to create some shade and to highlighting certain mise en scene in the scenes Tripod - An additional stabilizer for the camera where most of our scenes used a fixed camera position and holding the camera by hands may not creating the best still look video and we decided to used the tripod to help us in holding the camera
  23. Online Resource Blogger - Blogger helps me by uploading my progress (Brief, Team, Diary, Research, Development, Storyboard, Screenplay, Self Reflection, Finished Project (youtube/flipbook). Youtube - I used this for doing some research on film opening, watching some tutorials on the art of opening of movies, the elements of thriller movies, and how to make a good script Whatsapp - We used this for performing all kinds of communication, determining the schedule for our shooting, and for discussion on our movie opening. Netflix - I used this netflix streaming platform to watch the recent release movies/tv shows also to research on the recent codes and convection so that we are updated to the trend. Slideshare - I used slideshares for upload my critical self reflection
  24. This project has involved the composite of hardwares, softwares, and online technologies - I’ve used Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2022 for editing and it has been the essential component for combining all the footage together and make it into 2 minute film opening - I used google docs to create and discuss the concept and for writing the script - The actual filming I used Sony AX7 with the FE 1.8/35 lens along with the tripod. I also add some artificial lighting from my Godox Lighting - My online blog platform to keep all my progress and through the entire classes that I had. - I’ve used the internet resource to get my copyright music background and sound effects for the whole entire movie - I used youtube for checking the copyright and also to upload for people to be able to watch our movie opening Therefore it is proof that during each of stage production, hardware, software, and online resources play a crucial role in each scenes. For example if I was shooting the The Guy Upstairs with the script and storyboard, and I filmed to scenes with the camera and lighting. After that I compile all the footage in Premiere Pro CC 2022 and check the finalise film opening in youtube to prevent copyrights issue.
  25. It has been the most interesting Journey that i have been while being AS level Media Studies Students as well as a great experience in learning new things. And hopefully anyone who is considering in look through our movie “The Guy Upstairs finds it interesting and entertaining. I’ve come to realise that how wonderfully interesting and nerve-wrecking the journey while making the film where I have been feeling very satisfied with everything in this project
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