As this is a resubmission, all posts dated before October 2010 refer to the original submission. Substantial additional research and re-filming has been done since then.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Cast (REVISED)

My cast is made up of three people, with the scream queen and the final girl being sisters, and most importantly the doll. 

The three character types are;

  • The Final Girl
  • The Scream Queen 
  • Boyfriend of the Scream Queen
  • The Doll [Antagonist] 
I need two adult extras to play the girls parents however both my parents are willing to participate. 
So far all my cast are made up of Caucasian heterosexual people. To include some different areas of representation i have chosen to make the final girl religious. This can be connoted by a cross around her neck or by a shot of her next to or holding The Bible. 

My cast is made up of;
Laura Birtwistle (Scream Queen)
I picked Laura as she fits into the stereotype of a Scream Queen in that she has long blonde hair, is attractive (male gaze) and also has a slim build. I chose Laura in particular as she has acting experience as well as having a boyfriend willing to participate. 

Patrick Eaton (Boyfriend of Scream Queen)
Patrick (Paddy) was Laura's boyfriend in reality so it made sense to use him as her boyfriend in my opening as well. His role didn't require any particular look, just stereotypical male teenager thus making him an easy choice.

Elizabeth McPhail (Final Girl)
Elizabeth fits into the stereotype of a Final Girl as she has very versatile looks. We experimented with different looks to make her look younger and also to appear to be very demure and virginal looking. She has to come across as being studious so her clothes aren't going to be revealing and will be plain and simple. 


REVISED

I am no longer using the above in the film. To find new people i've set up a group over Facebook asking who would be interested in acting. By doing this i will have a broader choice of people to choose from. 

Thursday, 13 May 2010

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



 If my media product was a full feature length film then a production company such as Warp X would be a good place to look for distributors.


Warp X was managed and produced for the low budget feature film scheme which was set up by the U.K film councils new cinema fund and film 4


Two of the key financial backers included were EM Media and Screen Yorkshire.
Any of these distributors would be ideal for my film product as they focus on low budget films as well as different regional identities.
Sean Meadows directs films such as This is England and Donkey Punch, both of which have Yorkshire actors and actresses as opposed to the usual American or London accents.  


[Vodcast to be uploaded]

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

My media products uses typical conventions of real products in that it has some of the character stereotypes featured in most horror/slasher films (Final Girl & Scream Queen as well as her 'Jock' boyfriend). Additionally the scream queen is killed right at the beginning leaving just the final girl which is a structure used in numerous films of this genre.

Originally i was going to challenge the forms and conventions of real media products by casting a brunette as the scream queen, however my actress wasn't able to film.

Recently numerous film companies have been using this countertype for example; 
Liv Tyler in The Strangers, Bryan Bertino (2008)
Kate Beckinsale in Vacancy, Nimr√≥d Antal (2007)
Odette Yustman in The Unborn, David S. Goyer (2009)
I have also used and developed the conventions by taking influence from films like Halloween and The Shining which both featured the murder taking place at the victims home. I was heavily influenced by both Halloween and all the films  featuring Chucky. 



Evaluation: What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product? [draft]

I have learnt a lot about the different technologies used to produce films, including software for editing.
Some of the main technologies i have learnt to use were IMovie and the video camera itself. 
I had used IMovie before to edit the preliminary task however that was fairly basic and didn't need half of the editing that my film opening needed. I used different editing techniques including one called 'mirroring' which flipped the shot. I also used IMovie to remove all previous sound and dialogue and to make my titles.
Editing my film opening made me realise how precise and time consuming editing a film can be, especially since i was only doing the opening first two minutes. 



As with IMovie, i had used it before however i hadn't experimented with the various colour settings and filters.

Evaluation: Who would be the audience for your media product? [draft]

I think the audience for my media product would be predominately teenage, British males as all the cast members are teenagers themselves and violence generally appeals more to males as opposed to females. I don't think this film would attract an audience any older than mid-twenties as they would find the plot too predictable and the gory violence wouldn't entice them. Psychological thrillers like The Secret Window, David Koepp, (2004) would be better suited as they have adult actors and the plot is significantly more complex. 
Films such as Shank, Mo Ali (2010) primarily have a cast of teenagers and thus attract a teenage audience. 


In my opinion Playtime would appeal more to the male gender as it is in the slasher genre, and males are stereotypically more interested in blood, gore and graphic violence than females are. 
Additionally the scream queen is a attractive, young, blonde teenager and appeals to the male gaze. 

Evaluation: How does your media product represent particular social groups? [draft]

I have used an all white cast however this was only due to the fact that the people who offered to act in my film were all Caucasian. As this is only the opening there would have been many opportunities to have non-Caucasian actors/actresses later on in the film. 


Laura played a stereotypical scream queen in that she had blonde hair and was portrayed as being promiscuous. A scream queen is generally classed as a 'attractive, young damsel in distress'. 
We played up to this stereotype using simple details such as her wearing and applying red lipstick and as well as her bra being red. The colour red is normally associated with sex and so ideally she would have been wearing a red dress, however this was not possible at the time of filming and so I had to improvise. 


<< Fay Wray is known for being one of the first scream queens.


All my actors and actresses are from West Yorkshire and so all have Yorkshire accents. This would appeal to a Yorkshire audience, however would not be ideal for an audience from London or even overseas, like America. 
I don't feel that they can be connoted as being in a particular class, however i would say that as they don't have a strong, common accent they could be seen as being middle-class. 

All the members of my cast were teenagers between the ages of 16 and 17, as this would appeal more to a teenage social group. 

Evaluation: Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?

When we were doing our preliminary tasks, we worked in groups and so each member of the group had a certain role. For my film opening  i worked on my own thus leaving me to fill every role. 


By working by myself i have had to improve my camera skills and the way i edit, as well as having to become a 'director' and write my own script. 

During the preliminary task i didn't have a large role within the filming aspect so i had to experiment with the different types of shots and angles. I was able to try out different shots as when i was researching film openings within media lessons we focused on the numerous types of camera shots and angles and what they connoted. 
I used a dutch angle in my opening to signify that something bad was about to happen, and used a variety of high and low angled shots to connote to the audience that the female protagonist was weak and to give a sense of power and control to the doll. 

As well as experimenting with the camera, i have had to learn how to use programs other than IMovie. I used Scribd to upload documents onto my blog, GarageBand to record my soundtrack and IDVD to burn it onto a disk and make a menu.  


If i were to do this task again i would definitely have started planning earlier so i would have had time for re-shoots and any character adjustments or replacements. I managed to produce one rough cut but due to the fact that i had to change my idea several times because of unforeseeable circumstances, it was hard to re shoot certain scenes and get audience feedback. 


I think the preliminary task differed quite significantly from the film opening task as the pre-lim was not meant to be serious. As the preliminary task was a swede and therefore was meant to come across as humorous and quite obviously low budget, i had to make sure that when i was doing my film opening, the murder looked real and not comical and fake. 
Despite keeping this in mind and trying to make sure my film opening didn't appear spoof like, it received a large amount of laughs from the audience. 
In my opinion the stabbing looked extremely fake and the doll didn't come across as being menacing. 

Evaluation: How did you attract/address your audience?


  • We decided to use a young pretty blonde girl to attract the male audience (male gaze). We also decided we were going to try to dress her in a provocative outfit which not only ties in with the male gaze aspect but also helps to connote the fact she is a stereotypical scream queen.  
  • To appeal to the female audience, we needed to have an attractive male actor. Nearly all films have at least one attractive male character and one female, for example; Sorority Row, Stewart Hendler (2009) features numerous beautiful young females. Another film would be Prom Night, Nelson McCormick (2008) which has attractive male and female characters. 

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Budget [draft]

My originally was going to be around £5-£10 maximum however after researching props i realised that a more realistic budget would be £20.
The following is what i needed for the production of my film;

  • 2ft doll - This cost £20 from Argos
  • Kitchen knife - Free from my friends kitchen
  • Hair/clothes/makeup - All were actors and actresses own and were therefore free
  • Camera Tapes - £4 from school
  • Blank C.D's to burn my film onto - (4x30p) £1.20
  • Red food colouring - £1.15 from Tesco






Low budget slasher films still normally have a significantly higher budget than mine; Donkey Punch, Oliver Blackburn (2008) was filmed in just three weeks and had a budget of £500,000.
Other low budget slasher films include;
My Bloody Valentine, George Mihalka (1981) which had a budget of £1.5 million.
Black Christmas, Bob Clark (1974) whose budget was just £420,000.




Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Titles for my Film [draft]

Opening credits are an important aspect of a film therefore i need to consider the film name carefully. I decided that the best way to choose names from the following list would be to get audience feedback. 


Distribution Company Names;


  1. .
  2. .


Production Company Names;


  1. .
  2. .
Screen Title;


  1. The Revenge of Gertrude
  2. The Revenge of Josephine
  3. Blanky
  4. Play Time
Audience Feedback:
The titles 'The return of...' would not be suitable because they would signify that the film was a sequel. 

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Soundtrack [draft]

As i had never used Garage-band before my attempts to build a soundtrack were quite feeble and no where near the standard I would have hoped for my film.
Instead John Cockshaw created my soundtrack for me as he has experience in producing them and also in music and instruments in general. 

Additionally John showed me how to use Garage-band step by step so i will be able to produce my own for future projects.


All the dialogue recorded during filming was not usable unfortunately as background noise was too loud and distracted attention away from the cast's lines. 
This meant that I had to over-dub all the dialogue and make sure the timing was correct. This posed another problem as the actor and actresses i had used were not available to record their lines. However i was able to overcome this by using some of my other friends instead.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Distributor/Exhibition

Childs Play (1988) or the 'Chucky' films are the most similar films to mine, mostly due to the fact that i based my film opening on them. 
None of these are indie film companies and therefore would not be suitable for my film. I am working on a significantly low budget (around £20) whereas these companies have budgets of millions of pounds. For example Universal Pictures's film Drag Me to Hell, Sam Raimi (2009) had a budget of $30,000,000. United Artist's film Jeepers Creepers, Victor Salva (2001) had a budget of $2,110,000 and Rogue Picture's film Seed of Chucky, Don Mancini (20 has a $12 million dollar budget. 

United Artists:


  1. Owners include; MGM - part of subsidiaries, Providence Equity Partners (29%), TPG Capital (21%), Sony (20%), Comcast (20%), DLJ Merchant Banking Partners (7%) and Quadrangle Group (3%)
Universal Pictures: 
  1. Owned by General Electric (80%) and Vivendi (20%). 
  2. Universal Pictures is one of The Big Six.
  3. Universal Pictures became a part of NBC Universal as a result of the 2004 merger
Rogue Pictures: 
  1. division of Relativity Media 
  2. It was originally launched by Focus Features under Universal Pictures.

Companies better suited to my film would be these indie horror production companies that specialise in short films rather than feature length films. 

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Gender [draft]

Films normally target either a mainly male audience or a mainly female audience, however they do not want to focus completely on one gender as they would be excluding half of their potential audience. 


Chick-flicks are stereotypically targeted at females however using attractive female actresses can appeal to the male gaze. Additionally turning into a hybrid genre like a rom-com would also attract a male audience. E.G. Cameron Diaz in What Happens in Vegas, Tom Vaughan (2008)
The same applies to horror/slasher and action films. This genre is mainly targeting a male audience however make the film appealing to women by using physically attractive actors. For example using Shia La Beouf in Disturbia, D.J. Caruso (2007) made the filming more appealing to the female youth audience. 

Ethnicity

The amount of people willing to participate in my film was fairly low, either due to the fact that they were already taking part in someone else's film or that they lacked the confidence to act in front of the camera. My opening does not feature any non-Caucasian characters however this is only the beginning of a film and other ethnic groups could be featured later on to attract a wider audience. 

Tim Burton  has been criticised for only using Caucasian actors/actresses for main parts. For example in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), all the golden ticket winners were white. Other films by Tim Burton with an all white cast include Beetlejuice (1988), Edward Scissorhands (1990) and Ed Wood (1994).

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Moral Panic

There has been a significant amount of controversy concerning the James Bulger killing and the link to the film Childs Play 3, Jack Bender (1991)


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child's_Play_3#James_Bulger_Controversy


However the James Bulger killing was not the only murder case that has been linked to Child's Play 3. In December 1992 four people who tortured and killed a sixteen year old girl called Suzanne Capper, were said to be influenced by one of the Child's Play movies. Additionally during the torturing of Suzanne Capper, the killers were said to have taunted her with quotes from the movies. 
This is a quote from The Independent, that the killer, Bernadette McNeilly had said; 
'I'm Chucky, Chucky wants to play' as she injected Miss Capper with amphetamine.'



Police have denied the links between the James Bulger case and Child's Play 3 however there are numerous other murders that have been thought to have been linked with films from the slasher genre.


The controversy behind all this has had an impact in the way i planned my film. I knew that due to my insignificant budget my film would not have the sort of SFX and violence featured in Child's Play however i could have emphasised the violence or incorporated torture into it, bringing the rating to an 18. 

Cast

My cast is made up of three people, with the scream queen and the final girl being sisters, and most importantly the doll. 

The three character types are;

  • The Final Girl
  • The Scream Queen 
  • Boyfriend of the Scream Queen
  • The Doll [Antagonist] 
I need two adult extras to play the girls parents however both my parents are willing to participate. 
So far all my cast are made up of Caucasian heterosexual people. To include some different areas of representation i have chosen to make the final girl religious. This can be connoted by a cross around her neck or by a shot of her next to or holding The Bible. 


My cast is made up of;

Laura Birtwistle (Scream Queen)

I picked Laura as she fits into the stereotype of a Scream Queen in that she has long blonde hair, is attractive (male gaze) and also has a slim build. I chose Laura in particular as she has acting experience as well as having a boyfriend willing to participate. 



Patrick Eaton (Boyfriend of Scream Queen)
Patrick (Paddy) was Laura's boyfriend in reality so it made sense to use him as her boyfriend in my opening as well. His role didn't require any particular look, just stereotypical male teenager thus making him an easy choice.



Elizabeth McPhail (Final Girl)
Elizabeth fits into the stereotype of a Final Girl as she has very versatile looks. We experimented with different looks to make her look younger and also to appear to be very demure and virginal looking. She has to come across as being studious so her clothes aren't going to be revealing and will be plain and simple. 



Friday, 26 March 2010

Analysis of 'Killer Dolls' episodes on TV

After researching films featuring possessed or killer dolls/puppets, i have decided to look into the different types of TV programmes that also feature them. The first three are episodes from well known series, the last 'The Triloquist, Mark Jones (2008)', is a film that has recently been released. It had a budget of $1 million and was released straight to DVD. 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Puppet Show (1997) 
This was episode 9 in series 1.
Brief SynopsisEpisode nine is a standout for its comic twist on the familiar "evil puppet" story line. Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) takes on the task of coordinating the annual talent show at Sunnydale High. The sadistic Principal Snyder (Armin Shimerman) forces Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Willow (Alyson Hannigan), and Xander (Nicholas Brendon) to also participate in the program. It doesn't take long for one of the talent show performers to be found dead with her heart cut out. In researching the possible culprits, Giles uncovers a text about a clan of organ-stealing demons known as the Brotherhood of Seven. 
They need the organs of a young human every seven years to remain in the visage of human teenagers. Morgan (Richard Werner), a ventriloquist a little too attached to his dummy, Sid, falls under Buffy's suspicion. 
Her instincts are correct, but not precisely: Sid the dummy is alive, but he is not the demon. He's a demon hunter who was imprisoned in a dummy's body by the Brotherhood of Seven during the 1930s. Buffy and Sid team up to find the demon after realizing that Morgan, now murdered, had brain cancer and was useless to the demon.


This was episode 14 from series 5
Brief SynopsisAngel and the gang set out to foil an evil puppet show that is sucking the brain power of all the children who watch. During their fight, Angel is turned into a puppet himself and must rely upon his friends in order to reverse the spell which holds him at one foot tall.


This was Season 5 episode 10
Brief SynopsisScully takes a much needed vacation in New England. When she arrives at a grocery store, Scully encounters several people who have clawed their own eyes. Scully assists the local police department in discovering the cause of this unusual occurrence. Scully's investigations lead her to a single mother with a disturbed little girl and her even more disturbing doll.

This episode was co-written by renowned American author Stephen King, who is best known for his extremely popular horror novels.




Brief Synopsis; Two teenage orphans and their living killer dummy make a path of death and blood on their way to Las Vegas to make it big. All the while, the sister Angelina proves to be much more harm than the dummy. The three of them kidnap a girl named Robin so that the brother Norbert can rape her and continue the family bloodline. Norbert fails to do this, but instead takes part in incest with Angelina. The movie ends with Robin escaping and Angelina killing Norbert. After this, Angelina goes into a depressed state until realizing that she is pregnant with Norbert's child. She has the baby in a motel room, where the final moments reveal that Angelina had given birth to Dummy's child.