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Dear moderator,

Here are the blogs from our AS students (resubmission). The two candidates worked as a pair at every stage of planning, production and post-production. They have produced their own blogs.

We hope you enjoy their work.

Candidate 1053 - Simran Deol: Simran's blog
Candidate 1038 - Nesreen Bin Ishaq: Nesreen's blog


Dear moderator,

Here are the blogs from our AS students. They have all worked individually to create a thriller opening.
We hope you enjoy their work.

Candidate 1263 - Trisha Vekaria: Trisha's blog
Candidate 1275 - Sumeera Wijesekara: Sumeera's blog
Candidate 1094 - Amira Johnson: Amira's blog




  1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
  2. How does your media product represent particular social groups?
  3. What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?
  4. Who would be the audience for your media product?
  5. How did you attract/address your audience?
  6. What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?
  7. Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the
    full product? 

Look at Steven's evaluation tasks from last year:

Question 7 by Romina:

This is a great response to Question 1 by Kamini from the year before:

These are interesting ones from Yasmin whose evaluation also made it into Level 4 (though it's not perfect!)

This is more of a level 3 but shows you how you can annotate your film opening in YouTube for Question 5:

This is an example of a director's commentary over the students' film opening (warning: it's not particularly high quality)
This is a better one:

Example from other centre (note - your evalution must feature on your individual blog)

Also take inspiration from A2 Evaluations - Look at Hasina's tasks and Chloe's voice over for instance.

Also look at the examples linked on the left hand-side under Essential Links (towards the bottom of the list on this page)

Just to remind you again, here are the criteria for a level 4:
16–20 marks
- Excellent understanding of issues around audience, institution, technology, representation, forms and conventions in relation to production.
- Excellent ability to refer to the choices made and outcomes.
- Excellent understanding of their development from preliminary to full task.
- Excellent ability to communicate.
- Excellent skill in the use of digital technology or ICT in the evaluation

Suggested tasks:

Here is an example of one student's research into the question.


Private Study for next week (starting 19th January)

1. Levi-Strauss' Binary Opposites - Fill in the sheet

2. Complete the work started in class on The Bourne Ultimatum and The Usual Suspects.
6 frames from each comparing and contrasting the camerawork, editing, style etc.

3. Complete 2 full film opening analyses from the selection in the post below. Please aim to do The Usual Suspects. Use the guidance questions and the model provided in the previous post.


4. Watch past students' work and start learning from them. You could start embedding some in your own blog and draw a few bullet points on their respective strengths and weaknesses.

Trisha, I left a pack of sheets for you in the media pod with a post-it on it.


Analysing Film Opening Sequences

Lesson starter: opening scene of What Lies Beneath:

Complete the analysis of two thriller openings.
You will consider and explore:
• How does the opening engage/create interest for the audience?
• Does it establish characters? How?
• Does the opening introduce themes, mood or story/narrative? How?
• How are the opening titles displayed?
• How is enigma established?

What you will need to analyse:
• Mise-en-scene;
• Use of soundtrack;
• Use of diegetic sound;
• Editing;
• Camera shot, movement and position;
• Use of special effects.

Need help with analysis? Read the example below on "The Shining" to see a model of a good analysis.
Here is an interesting analysis of the opening sequence for The Shining which appears on the Long Road Media Blog (thank you, Long Road). Read it carefully to learn some tips.
You might want to watch the sequence first!

The film opens with a series of shots of panoramic landscape vistas showcasing the bleak desolation of the snowy mountainous surroundings, which will provide the backdrop for the film’s subsequent narrative developments. Various bird's eye view shots intermittently cross dissolve into one another, and depict an expansive clear blue lake, a snow-capped mountain range, and a densely populated forest of evergreen trees. The camera moves swiftly through its surroundings in each shot, sweeping past the breadth of the natural environs below it, and thus conveys to the audience a sense of the massive scale and large land span of the location depicted.

During the camera’s continual movement, it occasionally captures its views from distorted angles, which undermines the idea otherwise created by this series of shots of the benevolent purity of natural beauty and the wintry American landscape. It thus uses spatial manipulation to contradict the principal connotations of the images of nature captured in these shots, and hence foreshadows the heavy deployment of themes and imagery centred upon the supernatural that will follow.

Also indicative of this theme is the use of slow, sombre, unnerving and deliberate electronic music, which in conjunction with the seemingly oppositional images suggest a malevolence to the surroundings shown and imply an unknown danger amongst them.

Eventually the camera finds a road snaking through an aerial shot of a thickly forested area then picks out and follows a lone car in extreme high angle long shot, making its way along the road. The camera gradually moves increasingly closer maintaining its birds’ eye view position, but also gradually rotates to distort the angle and create a sense of unsettling foreboding in the manner described above. A series of shot changes track the car’s journey and depict a range of different natural backdrops indicating the traversal of time and space. As the camera finally tracks speedily in to a mid shot of the car from behind, revealing it to be a yellow Volkswagen Beetle, credits rise up through the frame from below in blue typeface, and each gives way to the next, departing the frame by rising out of it.

The moving camera overtakes the car and veers away to the left, aerially crossing country before again finding the car and tracking its journey, once again with another series of extreme high angle long shots, while the eeriness of the electronic score continues to aurally unsettle the viewer.

The camera’s point of view eventually shifts to depict an extreme long shot of a remotely located building amongst the mountains, trees and lakes. It slowly circles the building, getting gradually closer. This building is the Overlook Hotel, and will be the yellow car’s final destination, and the principal location for almost all of the film’s subsequent action.

Overall, the opening sequence has been gradually building up to this elaborate establishing shot of the hotel, and has served to highlight its isolation and remoteness and communicate an implication of danger, that the audience should by now have associated with this idyllic yet spectral location and its backdrop.

Remember that to achieve higher grades, you need to be ANALYTICAL rather than just descriptive. Don't simply tell me that there is a close up at this point or a tracking movement at that point. Explain how it helps the narrative and how it is supposed to affect the reader.

Choose two openings from the choices below. Write an analysis for each one.
 Create a 9 or 12-frame board to illustrate your comments.

Opening scene of The Usual Suspects (couldn't find it with the opening credits)

The opening of SALT - start from 1:40 and stop after the film title (or better, keep watching and use the helpful notes for your own understanding):

Opening scene of The Bourne Ultimatum

Why not check out this playlist too?


Genre - What is it? Why does it exist?

Using the class discussion and the pack provided as starting points, write a post addressing some of the issues around genre.

You could produce a documentary to engage with the ideas in a lively way.

Here are some of the slides from a series of lessons (we will look at opening sequences next week).

Starting your research! Initial Thriller Research

Time to get more familiar with the Thriler genre.

Find out about the generic conventions of Thrillers, the different ways in which the sub-genres are categorised, including a look at Charles Derry's classification. Look at how well thrillers do at the box office, which are the most successful of recent times, which are the classics of the genre.

Start watching too! Embed extracts, opening sequences, screen grabs. Look at gender representation and typical narratives in Thrillers.

In other words, familiarise yourself with the genre!


Some recommended thrillers

Wecome to the Thriller Project blog!

To get you started, here is a list of recommended films you really ought to see in order to get a firmer grasp of the Thriller genre.
Of course you cannot see them all but you'll be expected to have seen at least 8 by the end of the first half-term, then keep watching throughout the coursework unit.
Arrange viewings between yourselves and keep a record of you what you've seen. Discuss what makes these films good thrillers or at least iconic ones. You should develop a better understanding of thriller conventions and sub-genres, and of course get much inspiration for your own project.
Some of these films can be borrowed from the Department. Some of the films from the list are 18-certificates so you will need to have that discussion with your parents / guardians; you also need to consider your own feelings.
1. Heat
2. Se7en
3. The Silence of the Lambs
4. LA Confidential
5. The Departed
6. Reservoir Dogs
7. Chinatown
8. North by Northwest
9. The Conversation
10. The 39 steps
11. Psycho
12. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
13. Charade
14. Strangers on a Train
15. The Third Man
16. Memento
17. Enemy of the State
18. The Servant
19. The Night of the Hunter
20. Rear Window
21. Rosemary’s Baby
22. The Others
23. Blue Velvet
24. The Ipcress File / Get Carter
25. The Fugitive
26. The Shining
27. The Killing
28. Blood Simple
29. The Usual Suspects
30. Cape Fear
31. No Country for Old Men
32. Double Indemnity
33. The Manchurian Candidate
34. Les Diaboliques (Clouzot)
35. The French Connection
36. Rebecca
37. Le Samourai (Melville)
38. City Of God
39. Delicatessen
40. Three Days of the Condor
41. After hours
42. Rebecca
43. Minority Report
44. What Lies Beneath
45. Copycat
46. The Bourne Identity
47. The Machinist
48. Fatal Attraction
49. Fargo
50. Schindler’s List (not a thriller but a masterclass in directing)


David Fincher's style - WATCH THIS!

You will learn so much about the choices that this director makes in his films, particularly the way he marries camerawork and editing.


The Preliminary Task

On Thursday you will be doing the first part of your Coursework Production.

This is the actual work to be produced:

Preliminary exercise: Continuity task involving filming and editing a character opening a door, crossing a room and sitting down in a chair opposite another character, with whom she/he then exchanges a couple of lines of dialogue.
This task should demonstrate match on action, shot/reverse shot and the 180-degree rule.

Look at this example to prepare yourself!


Opening scene: The Ninth Gate

Here's is an amazing opening scene with amazing camerawork and mise-en-scene which build the narrative.
Watch it and deconstruct it!

Welcome new AS Students! Some amazing resources to get you started (Composition and Editing)

Watch this on Composition:

What Is Composition from Press Play Video Blog on Vimeo.

And this on editing:

Finally, this UNMISSABLE, ABSOLUTELY CLASSIC documentary on Editing, The Cutting Edge: