Sunday, 28 February 2010

KG - Pitch SlideShow

Above is the slideshow we used for our pitch, as presented to the rest of the class.

Below is the pitch with the notes pages put in place of the appropriate slides so that the information might be seen.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

ERT- Research

  • We have looked at 6 films in detail: “The exorcism of Emily Rose”( Derrickson 2005), “Sixth Sense” ( Night 1999) , “Hide and seek“ (Polson 2005) , “Childs play“ (Holland 1988), “The ring” ( Verbinski 2002) and “ The hole” ( Hamm 2001).
  • All of these films are relevant for us because they all include children or girls and are horror films. The majority involve death, missing people or psychological problems.
  • We learnt from doing a technical analysis on the first 2 minutes of the films “Exorcism of Emily Rose“, “Sixth sense“ and “hide and seek“ that there are a lot of different shots used in such a short time, and that it works very effectively in the horror genre by hooking in the audience. A lot of close ups are used of both the characters and other objects, this increase concentration and mystery as the audience try and find the links and necessity of each item or expression of the character. They are all generally set in dark and isolated areas with old fashioned set . All 3 tend to have a soundtrack, which is of a low pitch and slow pace. In some shots there are noises added such as screaming or bird sounds or the wind, creating dramatic tension. Each of these films included little dialogue in the opening sequence which creates the mystery.
  • From analysing the other three films we could see that two of the films include the conventions of thriller films as well as horror, and the other just horror conventions. The locations created in one circumstance is a girls room, which is a location we ourselves would like to use. The film made it fit into the horror theme through mise-en-scene, lighting and sound. The room included simple objects nothing to distracting but still held all necessary items for example a bed, it was dark and had a big bare window which created a spooky and mysterious atmosphere.
  • In conclusion from this research we can see that using a lot of shots is effective, using dark lighting works very well to create a fearful atmosphere and a soundtrack should be used which has a slow, monotone and low pitch.

ERT - Possible Character

KG - Film from BBC Film Network on Horror

I was exploring the internet, and found this video which I thought was quite useful particularly the bit about Locations. So I thought I would put it on here so you can see it.
The other videos on the site to do with horror, were interesting to watch but involved tricks about blood and decapitation etc. which is not relevant for our particular idea, and the one about creating good horror characters wasn't particularly useful - I didn't think so anyway.

Monday, 22 February 2010

KG - Photos of doll

Here are some photos of the doll, I thought that when we film it, we could maybe focus on the eyes a little - we need to personify the doll somehow through our filming without it actually talking, and I thought particularly with this doll the most effective method may be with the eyes. We will have to see I suppose.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

LS - Possible Character photos

I took some photos of my sister, however I was unsure of what she was to wear and what position for her to stand or sit in. I chose to dress her in pajamas as this is quite child like and for her to sit down as this creates the sense of vulnerability. If you have any more ideas of how the photos should be, comment below and I can take some more.

LS - Reccie Photos (possible location)

Below are photos of my bedroom. When filming we can move furniture and remove photos and objects off of the walls and shelves.

Monday, 15 February 2010

KG - Outline of Opening Sequence

  • Sound bridge across a black title, fades into a CU of the music box, open with the music playing.

  • Pan slowly around the music box, mainting the same CU and framing.

  • As the shot comes back to it's starting point, a girl's mouth is visible in the mirror. This character then screams.

  • Cuts to a CU of the girl's face, she is pale with dark set eyes - she looks worn and vulnerable.

  • She continues to scream, and begins to shout wildly.

  • She abruptly turns her head, as she does so the camera cuts to the direction she has turned, to show what she is looking at.

  • This is a MCU of the doll sat on her bed.

  • Cuts back to a MS of the girl in her room becoming increasingly more distressed. She continues with her shouting [directed at the doll]. She can move around the room in her anger - it's not yet decided.

  • Tension rises and rises and she slips further and further into her own insanity. Shots can vary depending on her movements - it's not finalised yet, this just the basic structure, there also needs to be frequent reaction shots between her and the doll during her dialogue.

  • At breaking point, the girl screams, collapses into corner possibly, anything. Cuts to black.

  • At this point there can be a title explaining time, as this new section is previously... or else it can be left to audience interpretation.

  • Cuts in from the black to a mirror, this time in the bathroom. A face steps into the mirror, we can see that it is the same girl, this time looking fresh, rosey cheeked, very childlike. She starts to brush her teeth. This all filmed with a MCU.

  • Cuts to a LS of her in the bathroom on a little step to reach the sink - representing age/character.

  • Cuts to a MS of her walking through the door to her bedroom.

  • Cuts to a MS to see her walk infront of the camera and towards the music box, she uses the mirror to brush her hair.

  • Cuts to a CU of her face in the mirror, with the doll visible in the background [as with all the other points where she is getting ready. The doll needs to always be near, and frequently getting into shots, setting up the clues for the film].

  • Cuts to a MS from the right of the girl, showing her turning away from the mirror and going towards the doll.

  • MCU from behind the girl as she picks up the doll - she can talk to it or just pick it up, this can be tried with both and the most successful picked.

  • Cut to a MS of her putting her shoes on, tying up laces with the doll sat next to her.

  • Shot follows her as she gets up and walks to the door, POV from behind as doing so.

  • Cuts to a MS from outside the house, as the door opens and the girl walks outside, with the doll.

  • MLS/LS from side of girl moving with her as she walks/skips down the road, either cradling the doll, or holding its hand dangling next to her, or equivilent.

  • Titles either as she is walking down the road, or as she is getting ready in the mirror etc. Can try all of them and see which works best.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Group - Film Title

Any ideas for a film title?

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

KG - Pitch Planning

I don't know if either of you have read this, but here is the link so you can:

So who wants to do what etc.?

I don't mind making the powerpoint, and Lucy has already said she is doing the reccie, and photos of her sister before she goes to Germany, we just need to decide the rest so that we can get started.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

KG - Treatment

I have written a first draft treatment, I think it is what we want, but I'm not sure whether there needs to be more detail or not, I never know how much to put in, because we want it to be interesting without giving everything away. I also don't have a name for our character. But here it is let me know what you think.


It’s not uncommon for children to make friends with their dolls; it’s not even uncommon for them to talk to them. It only begins to become strange when the doll starts talking back.

Charlotte was like any other girl her age, her best friend was a doll, named Amelia, which had been her mother’s and had been passed on after her mother’s mysterious suicide some years before. Amelia was different from the other dolls; she wasn’t plastic like Barbie, but made of china and with a face that resembled the fragility of a disrupted childhood.

Charlotte and the doll were inseparable, so it wasn’t abnormal when they began talking. It started innocently, the demands weren’t difficult to obey, moving objects around and playing tricks on the other children; it was as the conversations became darker, the demands sinister that the situation began to reveal itself. Descending further and further into herself and the fragmented world created by Amelia, Charlotte begins to lose her sense of reality and believes her mother to be living in the doll. Amelia’s grip on Charlotte gets tighter as she declines further into her own insanity, until there is nothing but to continue with the threatening conversations and the consequences thereafter.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Group - Treatment Ideas

We need to have our treatment written by Monday, so what are everyone's ideas.
We pretty much have the opening sorted, and we are decided that if it were to be a full film that scene would be somewhere in the middle.
The rough guideline is that the child starts off as a normal child, there is the doll - either the doll us actually talking to her or she is just mad - the child slowly declines into insanity, somewhere around this point she reaches crisis point, which is where the opening scene comes into play, the next section in the film is the child after breaking point and the continuing spiral of insanity until there is nothing left, but we don't have any ideas of an ending or details yet.
So if you come up with anything, comment over the weekend and we can get to writing a treatment.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

ERT- Analysing opening sequence

The film 'the ring' belongs to the horror genre. The film opens with two teenage girls talking about a killer video tape, which is the general story line through out the film. It starts with no fearful atmosphere being created but as it gets closer towards 3 minutes the fear increases through dialogue and expression. It doesn' t conform to typically conventions, such as haunted houses, however the opening scene is late a night and builds up to a typically horror story line.
Film language-
The mise-en-scene creates a young vunerable girls room, you can see it raining outside and that it is night time. No background sound is used and it is only the noise of the TV and the girls dialogue that we hear. The camera shot we first see is from the TV looking towards them and then i cuts to a matched cut between the girls and their dialogue. From this we we learn that one of the girls is scared and one of them doesnt believe in the story.
Tension is created through the use of sound effects and dialogue. At the beginning no horror storyline is created and as it starts to be introduced it creates tension as the audience try to work out what has happened.
Representation and ideology-
The only characters we meet in this opening of "the ring" is two teenage girls. We can see this through the use of costume and dialogue, as they are dressed in school uniform and talk about boys and television. The film does not open with typical horror film conventions however it is set in a dark room and has a build up to a frightful storyline. The sequence present them as vunerable and scared at around 2 minutes in.
Media Audiences-
I think the target audience for this film is late teenagers and young adults as it is not a believeable story line but still has a scary side.
Instituational context-
Naomi Watts stared in the film, however no major bankable stars were , and it was distributed by Dreamworks making it an industrial film. As the film was a remake any major horror fans would have known the original, therefore already having a buzz factor.

KG - Mood Board

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

KG - Analysing an Opening Sequence: Child's Play

Analysing an opening sequence: Child’s Play (Holland, 1988)


  1. Horror
  2. The audience’s expectations are challenged as the opening to this film has one that is more conventional to a thriller, by use of the chase sequence and men firing guns at each other, than one of a horror.
  3. The opening conforms to characteristics of horror by use of the atmospheric music throughout the opening, by the technique of enhancing the breathing of characters, by use of lighting – as everything is partially hidden in darkness throughout, but ultimately the first 2 minutes of this film fit more comfortably with the conventions of a thriller rather than a horror, because of the guns, the chase scenes and the dialogue used.

Film Language

  1. The mise-en-scene in this opening conveys meaning of initially antagonists and protagonists by the characters and their costumes, one is an police officer whilst the other is a convict. The city it is located in creates a sense of verisimilitude and urbanisation suggesting rules and regulations, along with civilization. The fact that the convict seeks refuge in a toy shop, not only connects the title and establishes the film, but also creates a sense of fun and childishness about this film that perhaps results in it not being taken seriously as a horror in its own right.
  2. Camera movement is very slow, but the cut rate is fast and jumpy, creating a sense of unease in the audience. Many of the camera shots are obscured by something, whether it be lighting, windows, or other props, all magnifying the unease in the audience as well as using conventions of the genre creatively.
  3. The music layered over the top of the images is very atmospheric and unnerving, it adds to the sense of unease in the audience as well as anchoring the images as something that is, if not yet, in the genre of horror and will haunting.
  4. Through dialogue we learn that the character being chased is an escaped criminal, the man chasing him is clearly a police officer, and the man in the car is an accomplice of the criminal who drives away to save himself. The non-verbal language tells us that both men are trying to outsmart the other, with the criminal wanting to get away and the officer wanting to catch him, we can also see their reactions to sound, lighting and each other.
  5. The director cuts to a police car starting up with the sirens on, establishing that the man who was calling for backup is a police officer. Shot of the window being broken by the gun shot shows the severity of the weapons and the risk to both men whilst heightening action. The use of neon signs creates a sense of realism and is a suggestion as to which area of town they are located in. LS of toy shop as the criminal hobbles towards it, establishing shot of where everything begins. P-O-V shot is used when the officer enters the toy shop to position the audience with him as he searches the area and to add suspense and horror.


  1. There is very little narrative in this opening, enough to establish the criminal and the officer, and the dysfunctional relationship between the criminal running and the one sitting in the car. The narrative is structured more like that of a thriller with cliché lines such as: ‘give it up’ and ‘don’t leave me’.
  2. The audience is positioned as a third party, as if this is a chase scene they may be watching on the news, because of society’s values the audience automatically positions themselves with the officer unless the narrative is clearly stating otherwise, in this case it is ambiguous as the audience seems to be just an onlooker, once the officer enters the toy shop is clear that the audience is positioned with him by use of the P-O-V shot.
  3. A technique of alienation is that the criminal is wearing a large over-coat and is hidden for the most part which makes the audience hostile towards him, whereas the officer discards his large coat in the first few seconds and is clearly seen for the rest of the opening making him more identifiable to the audience.
  4. The major theme in the narrative are that of a criminal trying to escape from an officer by any means necessary, and then seeking refuge in a toy shop after being shot. The other theme is the criminal’s accomplice leaves him after the police cars begin to chase them, resulting in him being found dead in the toy shop which sparks the whole basic narrative for the film, that of revenge.
  5. Tension is created and maintained by use of the music, it is ominous and dramatic, and by the constant gun fire which makes audiences feel on edge, as well as the obscured shots meaning that there is tension purely because it is not clear what is happening.

Representation and Ideology

  1. Social groups: criminals and police officers; those who break the rules and those who enforce them. This is represented by the narrative and mise-en-scene.
  2. The values and beliefs are that the law will be enforced hence the officer chasing the criminal; and that the ‘good’ people can work as a team, like the police, and that the ‘bad’ people can’t. There is also the underlying idea of vengeance, and whether or not it will be enforced.
  3. The semiotics construct these ideas as the criminal is shot by the police connoting good over bad, law over unlawful etc. and the whole basis of the film is in itself a framework of vengeance being taken.

Media Audiences

  1. I think the target audience is a younger audience around student age, 15-29 the core target audience perhaps.
  2. The probable reading is that this is a sort of comical horror film, which is more playful and less serious than others, but that the concept was an innovative one. The possible reading is that this film will make people scared of toys, particularly dolls and may make them believe that a sort of magic is possible [as unlikely as this is], if young children were to see this film their reading would be like that of Toy Story: how amazing it would be if toys came to life, but negatively inclined as this toy goes on a rampage unlike the ones in Toy Story.
  3. Personally, I enjoy this film but I don’t see it as a horror, I find it difficult to take this film seriously as a genuine horror; I see it as more of a playful experimenting with horror conventions and styles that is fun and interesting to watch. I don’t think my reading is influenced by age/gender, perhaps my background, but ultimately what I think about this film is different to every other person in the world, it is impossible to represent everybody when talking about audiences.

Institutional Context

  1. Bankable stars used: Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon and Brad Dourif. Bankable stars are important for marketing and advertising the film, and for filling up cinemas.
  2. Production company: United Artists. It was an industrial film.
  3. I don’t know about the marketing: it had posters and trailers as usual, but I don’t know anything more. I know that is had a production budget of $9 million and was initially released into 1,377 theaters, having an opening weekend of $6,583,963. The domestic gross was $33,244,684 with it making $10,952,000 overseas. Worldwide, the film made $44,196,684 and was #1 at the box office. When it was released there was a lot of controversy as people believed it would encourage violence in children.
  4. Not really no.

LS - Analysing an opening sequence: 'The Hole' (Hamm, 2001)

To which extent does the film belong?
To a large extent the film belongs in the horror genre but the film is also seen as from the thriller genre. The establishing shot of the trees and then a ped down to a POV shot fo someone walking down a country lane strewn with paper creates the feeling of tension and this is a feeling is an iconography of the horror genre.

To what extent are the audience's generic expectatons of the text fulfilled or challenged by the opening sequence?
The audience's generic expectations of the text are fulfilled in the opening sequence as an iconography of the horor genre is the sense of mystery which is evident from the establishing shot of 'The Hole' as the audience do not know why there are papers strewn all over the road.

Does the text conform to the characteristics of the genre, or does it tream them playfully or ironically?
The text conforms to the characteristics of the genre. It does this by using ominous music to creates tension. This sense of mystery and tension is also heightened because the lighting does not allow the audience to see the features of the character. The use of camera angles and techniques are also those used in the horror genre.

Film Language
How does mise-en-scene convey meaning in this sequence?

The mise-en-scene in the film creates a sense of confusion. This confusion is empahised by the props as the use of the long-shot of the character walking down the lane does not allow the audience to see the detail of the pieces of paper attached to the hedges so therefore leaves them questionning what the papers are doing there. The use of the phone heightens the confusion as the audience do not know why the character is screaming down the phone.

How does camera shot size, movement and angle also convey meaning?
The use of long shots does not allow the audience to see the detail of the character and as a result tension is created. The use of long shots also shows the papers strewn across the street but does not allow the audience to see the detail of these papers, therefore creating mystery. The high shot of the character walking along the road creates the feeling that the character is going to have a big significance in the film.

How does sound anchor the images?
The use of sound helps to anchor the images. The use of ominous music anchors the image of the missing posters strewn across the road as it creates the atmosphere that something bad is going on. The amplification of the breathing which is an inconography of the horror genre anchors the image that something bad is going to happen.

What do we learn about the characters through dialogue and non-verbal language?
There is no dialogue between any characters in the opening of the film, however through the use of non-verbal language we can see that the character has some kind of mental problem as she walks with a stagger as if she is drunk.

What other visual techniques does the director use and why?
The director uses posters of missing children strewn across the street to create mystery. The long shot at the beginning does not allow the audience to see the detail of the papers and therefore they do not know much detail about the situation.

How is the narrative organised and structured?
There is not enough narrative in the opening to establish what type of character the girl is. The narrative is structed like a horror film as it creates tension and mystery.

How is the audience positioned in relation to the narrative?
In the opening sequence the audience are positioned with the character. The audience are positioned with this character through the use of CUs and POV shots.

What Techniques of identification and alienation are employed?
In the opening sequence the audience are alienated and can also identify with the character. The use of long shots and dim lighting means the audience cannot tell whether the character is an atagonist or a protagonist as they cannot see the detail needed to tell this. However, as the opening sequence progresses the audience begin to identify with the character through the use of MCUs and CUs.

What are the major themes in the narrative?
It is hard to tell the major themes in the narrative as there is no dialogue and there is only one character. However, we can see that people missing is going to be a major theme in the narrative due to the missing posters strewn across the road.

How is tension created and maintained?
Tension is created through the use of long shots. This camera technique does not allow the audiene to see the detail of the character and as a result this creates a mystery surrounding her. The use of ominous music also creates tension as it is an iconography of the horror genre as the audience link this to the feeling something bad is going to happen.

Representation and Ideology
What social groups are represented in this sequence and how?
In this opening sequence there does not seem to be any social groups represented as we do not get much detail or information surrounding the character. However, some audiences may believe that the character is from the lower class due to her old, ripped clothes.

What values and beliefs/ideological disourse is evident?
There does not seem to be any ideological discrouse evident due to the lack of narrative.

The characteristics of the genre, or does it treat them playfully or ironically?
The film treats the characteristics of the horror genre ironically. The use of ominous music is a characteristic used in many films from the horror genre, including 'The Hole' where they use the music like many horror films to create tension.

How does semiotics as a framework see how the representation is constructed?
The use of old, tattered clothes creates the reprentation of the lower class as the audience perceive this costume as one of someone who does not have money to repair or buy new clothes. Apart from this there do not appear to be any other semiotics that construct a representation.

Media Audiences
Who is the target audience?
The core target audience of the film is people from the age of 15 - 25.

What are the probably and possible audience readings of the text?
- The probable reading of the text is that the character first seen walking along the road, is a person with mental problems. It seems that she is homeless or is one of the missing children seen on the posters as she is wearing old, tattered clothes.
- The possible audience of the text is that the character is a school student and is possesed. For this reason she goes into the school in order to get some kind of revenge.

How do you, as a British teenager, read and evaluate the text? To what extent is your reading and evaluation influenced by your age, gender, background?
As a British teenager I interpet the opening sequence of this text as the probable reading. I believe my background has an influence on this as the way I've grown up has meant that I have the perception that people with old, tattered clothes are in some kind of trouble - whether it be money problems or mental problems. However, I do not think my age and gender has an influence on my reading.

Institutional Context
Has a star been used in this film? Why is this important?

Yes, Keira Knightley and Thora Birch. This is important because it 'guarantees' a large audience as people will go to see the film because these stars are in it. In addition, a film with big stars in it is more likely to get funding from hard money because the investor will see that the film will probably make a large profit at box office because of the bankable stars.

Which studio produced this film? Is it an 'industrial' film or 'independent' film?
Pathe produced the film and for this reason the film is an 'independent' film.

What strategies were used to market the film?
The film was marketed through trailers, billboards and posters. In addtition, the stars of the film were interviewed in magazines and on television in order to create a buzz factor and therefore increase box office figures.

Is the institutional context evident in the production values of the opening?
The institutional context is not evident in the production values of the opening.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010