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22/01/2014

Thriller openings - Analysis


1. Complete the analysis 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.

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 2 extracts from below.
Again 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 first 2-3 minutes of Memento:

The first 4 minutes of Enemey of State (though a look at the credits that kick off then wouldn't hurt!)


First 5 minutes of What Lies Beneath(embedding disabled so link provided instead) http://youtu.be/3WrycZRmIcs

21/01/2014

Investigating genre and generic conventions (lesson: 22.1.14)

You will be completing NICCS grids on Blade Runner, The Bourne Identity and one other trailer from the list below.
Generic Conventions AS task
Secondly, you should post your class notes on Genre. Why did you learn? What are the debates around genre? What is the importance of star association with a genre? What can we look for to identify a genre?
What about the triangular relationship?


You could write some bullet points to sum up your responses.

15/01/2014

Analysis of Thriller Opening - Silence of the Lambs

Complete the analysis of a thriller opening.


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.

Silence Of The Lambs
The first is the opening of "The Silence of the Lambs" directed by Jonathan Demme (focus on the first 6 min).
Watch carefully and write a detailed analysis of this opening sequence.
Create a 12-frame board of the key shots to accompany your analysis and number the frames for cross-reference.
video

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.
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.

Learning about the Thriller Genre (independent study)

You will conduct research into the Thriller genre and give a presentation in class about it. Start with this:

 
Genre theorists from reigatemedia

Now investigate the conventions of thrillers - with examples / clips / screengrabs.

Explore the different types (sub-genres) of thrillers, identifying their specific conventions (characters, settings, typical narrative and iconography) and giving examples. (Don't just copy the same old PPT that does the rounds every year)


YOU CAN WORK IN A PAIR BUT BOTH OF YOU NEED TO FEATURE THE WORK ON YOUR BLOG. YOU CAN ALSO PRESENT IN CLASS TOGETHER.

MARK SCHEME

Marking Criteria for Research and Planning (level 4):
20 marks available


 Marking Criteria for production:
60 marks available
Production FOUNDATION PORTFOLIo Assessment

Marking Criteria for Evaluation and EVALUATION QUESTIONS:
(20 marks available)


08/01/2014

Work to be completed on Wednesday 8th January

Dear all, I am sorry I cannot be with you this morning but my youngest is unwell and needs his mummy today. Below is the list of tasks to be completed during the triple. Issa will register you and be on hand to support you, and I'll also be checking / supporting from home.

1. You should have started your Thriller Opening blog over the holidays. I only have Rhianna's URL to add to the list at present so make sure you email me straight away. I should see your initial research on there (see Rhianna's).

2. Spend some time going through last year's blogs (this will give you an idea of the kind of research, planning and evaluation you'll need to do) and film openings (and the year before that!) Choose a couple of the students' film openings, embed into your blogs and write a few bullet points about the strengths and weaknesses you can see.
If you visit the OCR Media Studies weebly here http://ocrmediastudies.weebly.com/coursework-with-levels.html and here http://examplesofwork13.weebly.com/as.html you will find other film openings with their given marks out of 60. (for the 2nd one, scroll down past the magazine work to find the film openings)
Again, you can select one of the best ones (in terms of marks received) and take a few screengrabs. Annotate what you think the strengths are in terms of camerawork, mise-en-scene, editing and lighting.

3. Visit THE ART OF THE TITLE WEBSITE


 
 
Your coursework brief is to create the opening 2 minutes of a film and that includes professional looking titles/credits. Spend some time exploring the wonderful examples from this site (you'll come back to it again and again).
 
Make sure you spend a portion of your time looking at thriller openings.
 
Then choose a film opening (from the website or otherwise) and embed it into your blog. Your task is to design a timeline of the credits. You can use the presentation below to help you (ignore slide 11). Slide 10 shows the model I usually show students.
 


Credits and timelines from hasnmedia


Work well and publish as you go. I'll be keeping an eye. Email questions.