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UNNERVED Media Evaluation Question 1: In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

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

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Part 1 of my media evaluation for my A2 Horror Project.

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

  • 1. Media EvaluationQuestion 1: In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

2. Before creating the final product of the film trailer, I conducted a wide range of research to help choose the type of horror film me and my partner Anila wanted to create a trailer for. We watched a wide range of horror films and analysed them in order to inspire us with ideas for our own films and how we could turn these into a real media product. Three of the films we watched which most inspired us were Psycho, The Shining and Donnie Darko. 3. Psycho Psycho (1960) directed by Alfred Hitchcock really inspired us to create a psychological horror. Although Psycho is a slasher film, we were intrigued at how much Alfred Hitchcock was able to create tension and fear using the mind in this film. One of the ideas in this film, which really caught our attention was how the film made us feel scared to walk into our own (or any) bathroom. We were both intrigued at the idea of the social psyche and how we could make an audience feel scared and anxious in their own home. This is why we chose to create a psychological film, as it is a more interesting and intriguing way of scaring an audience. Psycho also gave us the idea to set the film mainly inside the couples house, as this was a setting that is supposed to make people feel safe, secure and comfortable and we wanted our film and our trailer to make people feel uncomfortable and unsettled which we felt the house was a perfect setting to do this in order to disturb and scare. 4. Donnie Darko We were also inspired by the film Donnie Darko released in 2001, directed by Richard Kelly. This is personally one of my favorite films and it really interested us in creating a psychological horror. Donnie Darko is a strange and uncanny film that focuses on one man who keeps seeing an imaginary figure. This helped us to create the idea of the imaginary stalker in our trailer who turns out to be a fragment of our protagonists imagination due to his schizophrenia. Jake Gyllenhaal, the main actor in the film, said that the director used the mainstream style of film making against itself, to be subversive. This reflects the style of the film, as it was very disjointed, weird and mysterious and nothing like any other films I have seen. This type of style was very influential for us as it made us think of scenes that we could use in our trailer that were different and unique. 5. The Shining The final film that inspired us was, The Shining (1980) directed by Stanley Kubrick. This classic horror movie gave us the inspiration to create a trailer for a film linked with mental illness. The Shining showed how one person can decay through being mentally ill and this we believed was powerful and scary, again linking with our thoughts on having a psychological horror. We also felt like doing a trailer on a film with a man with a mental illness of schizophrenia as we thought this was an interesting theme and it was one that both myself and partner really enjoyed doing and creating ideas to portray this theme within the trailer. Although we enjoyed creating a trailer out of the theme of mental illness, we questioned why mental illness induces horror in some films, even though it is a serious medical illness which people cannot help. I looked at a couple articles online and found different answers. The most common was the fact that there is a stereotype on people with mental illness for being violent thus being scary. Also, the thought that many of us could develop a mental illness may be scary in itself causing us to subconsciously separate ourselves from them. On Halloween, many people dress up as psycho patients or a deranged ax murderer. This shows how mental illness today has been stereotyped into a negative context. Films have used this as an advantage to play with peoples minds and reconfirm these negative stereotypes by creating scary films based around mental illness. For example, Michael Myers in the slasher classic Halloween (2007) directed by Rob Zombie who is a homicidal escaped psychiatric patient or even psychiatric hospitals used as a backdrop for a horror film or programs like American Horror Story. 6. To help our trailer look real and believable we searched on YouTube to find other trailers of horror films to get ideas on what needs to be included to make a good trailer. We looked at trailers for The Descent (2005), Orphan (2009) and the Saw series. In these existing trailers, the first thing we noticed was that they all had a production title sequence. The most common production company seen was Lionsgate featured in both the Saw series and The Descent and many other horror movie trailers. For our own trailer, we felt like Lionsgate was such a huge company that it would not suit our trailer. That is when we came across smaller production companies such as Twisted Pictures and also Dark Castle Entertainment. We picked Dark Castle Entertainment as we felt it was much better suited and even has a theme of horror to the production title sequence, which was well matched to our trailer. 7. We also found that the trailers had preview cards, the title of the film itself and a coming soon. These are features we see in nearly all trailers, not just for horror movies and without these our trailer would not look real. 8. Todorov Theory Todorovs theory was produced in 1969. He believed that all films followed the same narrative pattern going through stages of the equilibrium, disequilibrium, acknowledgment, solving and making a full circle back to equilibrium again. I believe that our horror film idea does conform to this theory, and some of these stages are shown in our trailer itself. The stage of equilibrium is the beginning of our film and also the beginning of the trailer. This is where everything is as it seems, and the couple, the two main characters in our film are happy and in love. The disequilibrium is the disruption of that happiness by an event, in this case a horror event, which in our trailer is when Steve believes someone who is going to harm him and his wife is following him. The acknowledgement stage is when Steve starts to become paranoid and disturbed by his stalker. The solving stage is when Steve believes he is seeing his stalker attacking his wife and Steve kills the stalker, which is Steves way of trying to solve the situation. However, the equilibrium stage is when the audience sees that Steve was only imagining this stalker and he was the one attacking his wife who he had now killed. 9. Although I believe the film idea conformed to Todorovs theory, our trailer challenged this idea. The trailer takes his theory of structure and makes something that is not structured, that is confusing and disjointed, to make sure that not too much of the plot is given away to the audience before they have already seen the film. The Idea: To get to our idea for our horror film, we used all the resources we could. We created mind maps of types of horrors we could do including zombie films, mental illness, possession, religion and more. We then looked at these themes in more detail, discussing ideas for each theme to see which ones would be easy, effective and achievable for us. We first thought of doing a slasher film, or a possession film. But we then came across the idea of using mental health as a theme. We knew this wouldnt be easy to convey in a trailer but it was different and an interesting theme to use for our horror trailer. When we decided on the theme of mental illness, we started thinking of ideas for an actual film and how we can make it into a trailer. We looked at existing trailers on YouTube, we Googled ideas, we asked family and friends for ideas and after sitting and discussing with my partner we came up with the idea of Steve's character with schizophrenia. 10. In order to challenge media conventions, we looked at the most common ways in which mental illness is already portrayed. When researching films like Maniac (2012) (about one man who obsesses, stalks and kills women) and Halloween (2007), we noticed that most characters with a mental illness become serial killers who go around killing a large number of people usually with no remorse. In order to challenge this idea, we wanted our character, Steve, to come across as normal someone who is recently engaged, has a job and goes about his life. We wanted our audience to believe that the threat is the stalker and feel sympathy for both Steve and Katie, especially Steve who keeps seeing strange things which his fianc wont believe. At the end, if our film was real, when the audience realise that the real threat is Steve, it is shocking and almost unbelievable. This challenges the idea of having a serial killer with a mental illness killing lots of people, as our film idea looks deeper into the the mind of a person with schizophrenia and the things they can create out of their imagination. 11. When conducting research from friends and families, we asked them how they would react to an ending like this. Some people say that they would still feel sympathy for Steve's character as he cannot control his actions and although he kills his fianc, the film shows how much he cares about her and would do anything for her. We wanted this kind of reaction, as this is how we felt we could challenge existing media products based on mental illness. Our character Steve, is not a serial killer with a mental illness who has escaped from a mental asylum. Instead, he is a normal person, which could be anyone we know such as a friend, family member or neighbor who has a illness that can lead to paranoia and death of either themselves or others in this case, Katie. Our trailer however, could not show this directly as this is the main twist of the film and if we were to show this, it would give away the whole film and no one would go and watch a film they already know the whole plot line for. This is why we made a trailer that shows some aspects of this idea such as Steve grapping pills in the bathroom while looking disorientated and shaky. This suggests that Steve has some sort of illness in order to have the need to take pills. We also show scenes where Katie is being dragged in the house and her bloody hand in the bathroom being dragged down a wall. However, we never see Steve in physical pain or bleeding which makes some suggestions that it could be him that is hurting Katie. 12. We also used real media products with our use of music. When researching existing trailers, we watched them on mute and found that when watching these trailers with no sound, they were not as scary to watch as when the sound was on. This showed us how important music and sound effects are. For us, this took the most time as we wanted our music and sound effects to fit our trailer perfectly and make the trailer feel eerie, mysterious and above all- scary as this was very important in making our trailer look real. Overall, our trailer was able to use, develop and challenge the forms and conventions of real media products. We used ideas and influences from exiting trailers, music and information but we developed these ideas into our own and changed them so that we could challenge the stereotypes and ideas of existing media products.By Selina Argyrou