In the creation of our media product, our group had two main real media points of reference for the opening two minutes of films.
– Harry Brown by Daniel Barber.
– Hunger by Steve Mcqueen.
Both these films held the same kind of visual brutality we were aiming to create, and their title sequences were contrastingly simple and blunt compared to their actual footage. This was also what we intended to achieve because the calm of the credits emphasizes the distress in the actual footage.
Here is an opening clip from this movie:
Following the uproar and fast paced moving shots of the high-speed motorcycle sequence, the credits appear on screen very slowly in white writing over a black background, and in complete silence. The quietude of the credits emphasize the velocity of the action. Though our clip does not have fast pace footage to compare to the quiet credits, we have produced fast paced edit cuts like the hands-in-handcuffs shots at (1.15 – 1.18) and the eye shots at (1.19 – 1.26), and our credits are all stills with a slight flickering in the letters; we have emphasized the strength and pace of the action in the footage by being simplistic and visually quiet in the credits like in Harry Brown. Also the colour scheme we have used in our clip is very similar to the one being used here. So, visually, our credits conform to a real media product’s title sequence.
Here is an image from the movie which was very important to us in terms of a visual starting point:
As one can see here imagery is dark and stagnant. Nothing appears bright or clean. The man is stubbled, his hair tousled, and he is semi nude. He sits on a dilapidated mattress in a dingy room. Cast about the room are various bits of paper. In our footage, imagery is dark and nothing is shown to be very clean. We also use run-down mattresses and have paper strewn across the room. Visually, the scene of our holding cell conforms to Mcqueen’s depiction of a cell in Hunger.
The visual brutality in Hunger is on par to match what we intend to show if we were to make the whole film, and the title sequence is very similar. The title sequence here is also very simple like in Harry Brown, and the music is…. MUSIC
The treatment to our movie bears a likeness, in some ways, to the real movie Eastern Promises by David Cronenberg.
Eastern Promises is a London-set, Russian gangster movie and its plot, like Honey’s, heavily involves themes such as organised crime; human trafficking (more specifically sex trafficking and prostitution in this film); drugs; and graphic scenes of violence. The same setting and the same themes in Honey and Eastern Promises leads to the clarification that Honey has a storyline similar to a real, successful media product.
Our feed-back questionnaire on this question
Our questionnaire was designed to give us other people’s answers on our evaluation questions. The questions concerning Evaluative Question 1 are as follows:
What genre would you label our film as?
From a technical and stylistic view-point does our film portray itself as more of the beginning of a feature length film, or the beginning to a television programme?
In my post named “Planning” I state that we are attempting to anchor our 2 minute footage to the Thriller genre. The statistics pertaining to the first questions are as follows: Out of the people we asked 0% said they thought our film was a Comedy; 54% said they thought our film was a Horror; 46% said they thought our film was a Thriller; 0% said they thought it was an Action/Adventure; and 0% said they thought it was another category. We asked 24 people.
So almost half the people we asked agreed that the genre was clearly established in this 2 minute piece. This shows that we have effectively created a mood which is obviously serious. There is no Comedy or Action/Adventure evident in our footage. It is easy for one to see why people chose the Horror rather than the desired Thriller option considering we deliberately engineered the clip to scare the audience. The imagery was dark and disturbing, and the music married into this theme well. But although it was scary it was still supposed to be a Thriller. This only shows an audience reaction to a two minute opening which was supposed to be scary though. So we achieved scaring the audience but in doing this sacrificed the distinguishing of the exact genre.
Obviously we aimed for our footage to represent the beginning of a film rather than a TV series. The statistics pertaining to Question 2 were as follows: 0% of the people we asked said our footage looked like the opening of a TV programme, and 100% said it looked like a movie. We also asked 24 people here.
Obviously we have completely succeeded in establishing the notion of film in our footage rather than the notion of television. The statistics show that we have successfully conformed to a real media product.
We summarised the comments people wrote on the back of our questionnaires in this paragraph below. I wrote this to be a fair, objective, and impartial summary of comments, making sure to include every negative and positive point which was made.
“Through the collation of comments left on our survey for Honey, the positive feedback we received summarised to say: the effects that we used to optimise the efficiency of colours, sound and imagery built tension and were mostly visually and aurally coherent (however, one individual thought it was perhaps over-edited, and another thought the coloured shots of the hands and the eyes detracted from the overall desired dull aesthetic); 100% of people asked stated that the order of the shots, actual footage and pace of the two minutes portrayed a definitive film genre; 100% of people also stated that Honey‘s representation of a particular social group – abused minors with ambiguous nationality – was completely evident; our created set was commented to be “authentic”; suggestions were made to condense the ident to a few seconds rather than ten seconds (but, our research showed that generally idents are around 10-13 seconds in duration); and although the emotive response was definite – unhinging and disoriented – the distinction between Horror genre and Thriller genre was not, perhaps due to a complete lack of plot. We had many comments saying tension was very well built throughout the piece and no majorly negative comment was made.”
From our comments then one can see that it was ambiguous as to being a Horror or a Thriller but the notion of a film was definitely created and a mood was also definitely created.