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Text of Evaluation BY ELLICE MACRO

  • 1. My Evaluation By Ellice Macro

2. Introduction

  • For my AS Media coursework I chose to make an opening sequence to a film. We decided on the genre as being ahorror/thriller , after much debate.
  • I worked in a group of three with Jessica Hill and Mark OBrien. We all participated in the filming of the clip. I did the majority of the editing, though we all contributed to how we would edit it.

3. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms of conventions of real media products?

  • As we have chosen the horror genre for our film we decided it was vital to use typical elements and conventions to portray this genre instantly to our audience. We used black and white editing and music which created suspense, both of which are expected in a horror. Our setting is very typical of a teen horror movie. We also decided to have a typical story line where teens camp in the woods and killer comes along, with plenty of chase scenes. However, we also thought it important to have a twist at the end of the clip which raises many enigmas the killer is in fact the victims friend why does he want to kill her? Etc. These enigmas make the audience want to carry on watching. Our audience feedback supports this ( http://jessellicemark.blogspot.com/2009/05/audience-response.html )

We also decided to reveal connotations of WHO the murderer is in the opening sequence, which isnt always typical in a horror, so this is a development of typical real media products. We did this by zooming in on Mark and Jess at the end of the 3 Days Earlier footage, which drew attention to the pairs relationship. This was necessary footage so we could raise such enigmas to make the audience carry on watching the film to reveal the answers, and I think it worked well! 4. Does our film fulfil the requirements of an opening sequence?

  • Establishes time and place The opening sequence to our film begins with a panning shot of the woodland which establishes the setting of the film. It is turning dark and the sequence depicts this with natural low key lighting. The fact that it is just turning dark implies that Jess has been running away from something/someone for days.
  • Establishes conventions of genre to reassure the audience and fulfils expectations in terms of media language Conventions of the genre are quickly established by low key lighting and black and white editing. This creates a solemn mood and the audience is reassured that they are watching a horror! The opening shot is quite typical of the horror genre and this is reiterated by Jess bloodcurdling scream (diegetic) and non-diegetic sound.


  • Introduces main characters/protagonist The protagonist is introduced within seconds, shortly followed by the villain, through close ups and tracking shots the main characters are always in the centre of the shot. In the 3 Days Earlier scenes the other characters are introduced who will appear in the rest of the film.
  • Establishes an equilibrium to be disrupted The opening sequence begins with disruption rather than an equilibrium. However, an equilibrium is established 3 Days Earlier, where the group of teenagers are happily walking through the woods together before one of them turns on the rest in a mad killing frenzy.
  • Enigmas created to keep audience watching Why is Jess running? Who is she running from? Why has Mark turned on his friends? Have they all been killed? Will Jess be murdered or will she escape?

6. How does your film represent particular social groups?

  • Our film consists of one particular social group modern day teenagers, even the villain is one!
  • It was quite simple in arranging the costumes for the characters as we used our own clothes and concentrated on teen fashion, so simple jeans/t-shirt combo would suffice. The villain, Mark, has his hood up in the close ups which creates a natural fear response as his eyes and face are in shadow this was obviously important for his role. We could have done more with the costume for typical conventions of a killer - leather gloves, mask, etc - however this wouldnt be appropriate as the villain is a teenager on a camping trip with hisfriendsand this costume was necessary for the audience to understand the murderer IS Mark. The hooded figure is a typical teen stereotype, and we are cohering to these stereotypes by using the yob as violent and, ultimately a murderer.

The 3 Days Earlier scenes sets a contrast with the previous fast paced scenes. The group is filmed walking and talking and laughing, as a group of teenagers would. Our film portrays both of the stereotypes of teenagers the yob and the happy, carefree group of friends. 7. What kind of media institution might distribute your film and why?

  • DNA Films would be likely to invest in our film as they invest in British Independent films. They have also invested in other horrors such as 28 Weeks Later.
  • A British Distributor would be best for our film, however I think our film also has potential to be an Indiewood Film and have crossover appeal. Artisan Entertainment distributed the Blair Witch Project one and two, and so they would have also been suitable distributors. At this time they were a privately held independent American studio which would have been fine but since then they have been purchased by Lionsgate in 2003, so it may not have the same appeal.

8. Who would be the audience for your film?

  • Our audience would be mainly teenagers/late teens 15 to 25, as this is the age group our film represents and features. Theres no specific ethnicity or nationality it appeals to, just a general wide audience within the age-range. Although possibly appealing to no socio-economic status in particular, I think itd primarily range from C2 E, predominantly E as this is student based (target audience).
  • Our film may also appeal to an audience who have a particular interest in British horror films or thrillers and who have spare time to see the film at the cinema. Maybe a niche audience who enjoy watching indie films as apposed to the high budget films often shown in the cinemas.

CUTWOOD 9. How did you attract and address your audience?

  • Unlike youd expect, our opening sequence begins with disruption rather than an equilibrium. We decided to do this so the audience is instantly engaged. The suspense music during the titles and the panning shot of the spooky woods prepare the audience for horror genre and enigmas are instantly created as we see Jess running through the trees. Why is Jess running through the woods? Who or what is she running from? In the next shot Jess is shown tripping over a dead body on the floor, which raises more enigmas for the audience who is on the floor? How have they died? Have they been murdered?
  • We have created a sense of time through the mise en scene. Jess costume gives the audience an idea to how long she has been running through the woods for she has a ripped shirt on and is covered in mud and blood. We have used make up to make her look tired and her eye makeup has run because she has been crying etc. We chose to film just before it went dark so we had light but it also gave an eerie atmosphere like youd expect in a horror. The fact it was just before dark indicates how long Jess has been trying to escape for (3 days). The narrative we used also creates a sense of time. We used caption saying 3 Days Earlier, which tells the audience this has been going on for some time and answers why Jess is in the woods.


  • We have created binary opposition in our film to create conflict and a contrast between the situations and even the characters three days earlier and three days later. Firstly the contrast in the script itself is evident Jess is running from Mark the psycho killer, yet three days earlier they were best of friends and this is clearly displayed in the scene. During the 3 Days Earlier scenes Mark and Jess are shown happily wandering into the woods with as a group of friends, yet we have just seen him walking through the woods looking to murder Jess.The characters are all joyful and content during the 3 Days Earlier scenes, however in the previous scenes Jess is shown running terrified screaming and Mark is carrying a heavy log to try and kill her!
  • The lighting and time of day we filmed was essential. It is this that shows the audience the contrast of the scenes and situations immediately and makes the audience understand the twist (that Mark was her friend) and raise the important enigmas.

We can see from the film stills that there is a massive contrast between the before and after scenes. The black and white scenes are dark, low key lighting whereas the 3 Days Earlier scenes have very high key lighting. The music also created binary opposition, during the black and white scenes the music is very fast paced and loud, yet with the 3Days Earlier scenes there is just natural sound with some added bird noises. This creates contrast in the mood and atmosphere of the scenes also. 11. As I have discussed earlier, the enigmas we raised were key in making the audience want to carry on watching. Enigmas were instantly created when the sequence began why is she in the woods?, who or what is she running from?, is that person dead on the floor?, have they been murdered?, and so on. As our opening sequence continues, we are introduced to Mark (the killer). It is evident he is the murderer from the shots we took and the editing (discuss later). There is a massive contrast between the before and after scenes that helped raise the enigmas and made the plot more