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Q1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

April 25, 2012

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

I’m going to be talking about question number 1: In what ways did your media product develop, challenge and use conventions of real products?

My trailer was designed to attract an audience with an interest in the ‘art-house’ film industry, meaning I had to aim it at a niche market.

I began by reviewing my research into codes and conventions of a teaser trailer. I narrowed the conventions down to five points. These being:

–      A short sequence of clips or just one clip from the film

–      Usually lasts to a minute or a minute and half

–      The pace usually starts slow and picks up

–      Gives the audience a brief insight into what the film is about but leaves them hungry for more, containing minimal footage from the film so that is just teases the audience.

–      Released a long time before the film is released.

Although these conventions are key, they’re very broad and I felt I had to narrow my conventions down to specific genre. To suit my audience, I felt I needed to

–      Firstly, have an interesting soundtrack or music in my trailer.

–      Secondly I had to portray my film as award winning but specifically a smaller, indie film festival, this is why I chose Sundance.

–      Lastly I felt cinematography was vital, if I were to attract a particular market I must used interesting sets of clips and create subtle beauty in my trailer.

As a whole I feel as though my trailer actually fulfilled most of these conventions.

It is as I said a short sequence of clips, it’s lasts 1:17seconds, you’re watching a one third of the size right now. It gives the audience a brief insight into what happens but leaves them questions what happens next? As it doesn’t not imply a fairytale ending. And it would have been released way before the film.

The one element that is does not conform with is that the pace usually starts slow and picks up,  I decided against this as the event that begins the story and film is at the beginning, it would have been confusing if I had put this half way through the trailer as this is not where it is in the film.

Although I felt that the first set of conventions were important, I particularly focused on the second set. As stated the first was to have an interesting soundtrack, one that would appeal to my target audience. I picked two songs for my trailer, the first being Montana by Youth Lagoon, this built the atmosphere well before the death and cut out just as the audience discovers the fall. The second track was Wherever you will go by Charlene soraia, this song is frankly depressing and created the perfect atmosphere. Evoking responses from audience’s say that it fitted the mood perfectly, creating a mournful atmosphere. Both tracks were near to unknown and would have appealed to my target audience.

My Second Point was to attract through use of awards received from film festivals. I picked the Sundance film festival award, as this is prestigious and would attract the correct audience, who are more likely to watch films because of good reviews and awards than just because it looks interesting.

My final point was that cinematography had to play a key part in my trailer; I feel I did that successfully because I drew influence from other trailers such as The Exploding Girl and Another Earth I effectively created an interesting trailer.

Looking into The Exploding Girl, the first shot really caught my eye and I wanted to incorporate the ambiguous nature into my trailer. I thought this would be effective as it introduces the key character but also sets the scene, with the nature.

Another Earth’s narrative voice over spurred me on to create something similar, as I like the voice over of the protagonist explaining her life in 3rd person. I then did this with my character, admittedly my protagonist wasn’t an award winning actor so didn’t display the same emotion as I hoped but I was still pleased with the outcome!

I researched some theorists to find out what the typical narrative structure is and came across Todorov. He suggests that conventional narratives are structured in five stages.

  1. A state of equilibrium at the outset
  2. A disruption of equilibrium by some action
  3. A recognition that there has been a disruption
  4. An attempt to repair the disruption
  5. A reinstatement of the equilibrium

My film actually follows this narrative but does not reveal this in the trailer; it hardly shows the state of equilibrium at the outset and doesn’t show an attempt to repair the disruption or a reinstatement of the equilibrium.

 Claude Levi-Strauss’s approach to narrative stemmed from his study of myths and legends. He believes that we make sense of the world, people and events by seeing and using binary opposites. My narrative structure supports Strauss’ theory, as the key opposition in my film and trailer is life and death. 

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