Monday, 31 January 2011

Sound inspirations for my thriller!

Its a well known fact, sound sets mood and creates atmosphere. Half of the scary movies or tear filling dramas wouldn't be half as effective without.
The stepfather showed that a song or soundtrack doesn't necessarily have to be scary or dark to create a great atmosphere for a thriller film. This is because the stepfather had the song SILENT NIGHT....a christmas song, far from scary and used it to create a great eerie atmosphere in the film.

A song i really liked when watching trailers in class was one played during the viewing of 'PELHAM 123' a song called JAYZ 99 PROBLEMS

another song ME and shazray would be a nice touch to our clip would be... D.O.A Jayz

Creating our Animatic (Videos)

Here are two videos recorded fromm my phone (not so good quality).... Coulda been longers but i kept accidentally hitting stop.

One of them is of us planning the Animatic, the scenes and stuff and the other is while we were editing it on final cut pro.


Compared to our previous group activities this one went quiet well, we all managed to come to an agreement a lot quicker than usually and almost finish the work before time. Almost.

we created scenes with mostly paper and pens and one paper clip. With the use of jelly babies as characters we more or less story boarded and created a basic plan of how our film clip is going to be like.


Making a still shot animatic

In todays exercise we did a stil shot animatic. We replaced real people with jelly babies to plan out our sequence
we created the scene with mostly paper, pens and some creativity drawing the whole background and props.
we planed out every shot we were going to use and then took a picture of the jelly babies inside the scene which came out well.
then we put the pictures on final cut and made them into a short animation adding sound and some text and the end result was quiet good so when we come to shooting our sequence for real we will already have everything planned and prepared therefore much less time will be wasted.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Analysis of title sequences

In class we looked at many different title sequences. The film 'Seven' was one of the opening sequences we looked at. This is a very good opening to a thriller as the music is very good and suits the film. Also the font looks like it is hand written, which signifies that this film is trying to be as realistic as possible.

We also looked at the opening sequence of 'The taking of Phelam 123'. I found this one the best as it was appealing to me through the use of sound. The sound hits you straight away and gets into the film. Also the credits at the beginning relate to the film. The text come into the sequence like a train which relates to the film then goes off like a train.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Analysis Of Title Sequences

On Monday 17th of January, we spent the lesson analysing the opening title sequences to thrillers. And we highlighted that there were four ways in which a title sequence is organised.

  1. A narrative opening with the titles running throughout. The Step Father use this technic, where the film is running and the titles of the cast and crew and title of the film run by.


     2.  A discrete title sequence. The film Seven use this technic, where the the director has made a 
          sequence specifically for the titles to run through.  

    3.  Titles over a blank screen, followed by the narrative opening. The film Donnie Darko uses this technic, where the titles appear on a 
blank screen for the titles to appear, then the movies opening scene commences.

    4. A narrative opening with highly stylised editing, distinct from the rest of the film. The film Pelham 123 uses this technic. Where there titles sequence uses fast pase cuts, glamorised editing, and sound track that doesn't have much relevance to the film.    

Film and fonts

Memorable fonts are very important when it comes to marketing a film. Its crucial to have a unique font that separates your film or show from any others.

Sometimes the font of a title can tell you what you need to know about a film without any other information

The big red letters connote an unserious approach therefore this is either a children's movie or a comedy.
In our media lesson we learned about particular fonts movies used and why they use it. There are many fonts to choose from but some decide to use the same over and over again. A good example of this is the font 'Papyrus'. This font is not only used in movies but in many products around the world.
As you can see this font is used in many things. We also talked about the connotations of the font. The font represents many things. It tells us that as its used in avatar it represents a tribal vibe. Also its looks like its from some sort of treasure map, it shows that the whole film is an adventure.

Editing our film

We used Final Cut Pro to edit our film. On Final Cut Pro we decided on what shots we were going to use, and how long the sequence was going to be. We added special illusions on it to make it run smoothly.
After we exported our sequence to soundtrack pro to edit the sound on it. We added relevant sounds to make the film look natural.
Then we added titles to it to make it look more professional. We had a variety of choices to choose from and how it would come into our sequence.

After all of this we published our video on to the blogger site. This was a great experience and was very good practice leading to making our real film sequence. 


Fonts come in all shapes and sizes all having different denotations and even more connotations. Even in today's high-tech-ish society fonts still play a major role in advertising a film.
This is because film posters although been just a poster is supposed to tell the person viewing it what the film supposedly is.....

Lost? Here is an example... A trait a lot of horrors have on there posters is...
 - A lot of horror films have fonts that have sharp points on most of there words... i.e the M in this poster. The sharp points in the lettering couple con-notate that there will be a lot of violence and use of weapons of some sort in the film.

- The words are usually colored in red or white (The white, not in this posters case, is often used to give off a ghostly/haunting) in this posters case the color chosen is red...which has common CONNOTATIONS   Blood, danger and death. Fitting well into the other conventions of a horror film.

- Also often the Thickness of the words or (how bold and big the lettering is) is often referred to how masculine the film is. An example would the poster for ROCKY which has very big and bold lettering, so big it barely fits on the page.

 In contrast to the prom night font which is relatively thin compared to the rocky one. Could reflect that although the film is violent it isn't very masculine, in conclusion it would imply that women would be the main target of the film, meaning that they are the more likely victims... Like in most horror films for example SCREAM.


For editing out film we used the ever so complicated Final Cut pro.
First thing was First we needed to open up all of the different clips we used in filimg.

Secondly we had to put them onto the time line, and this is where the beauty of editing comes in, things don't have to be in the right order for it to look good.  
Although the clips were shot in a specific order, shazray moved them around quite abit and found out that it would look better with certain scenes before others...(Y)


Card Game Sequence

After we got used to the cameras we were asked to film a suspenseful card game sequence. At first we planned on what our film was going to be about. We thought about many important things such as what was the main idea behind it, what was going to happen in it to make it suspenseful.

After all the planning we started to begin filming. At first we established our scenery. We tried our best to make it look as good as it could possible look.

At the beginning we started off with an extreme close up of the cards and the dealer. The dealer was acting suspicious so this built tension towards the audience as they are thinking what was going on. 

After we introduced the two players playing the game of cards. When the second player enters the room, him and the dealer glance at each other and the dealer makes a gesture towards the player. This suggest that they have planned to cheat in the game.

As the game goes on there is a montage of the game. The shots keep changing from each player to the cards. This builds suspense as the audience don't know what is going to happen and who is going to win the game.

The film ended with one of the players winning the game.

The Card Game Video

We were asked to make a short video, about a an event given to our group by our teacher. Our event was a card game. Our objective was to make this card game as dramatic and suspenseful as posible.

The Filming Of The Card Game

For the introduction of the film we filmed an extreme close up of a deck of cards being shuffled. To mark the significants of the cards, as they are the primary focus. 

During the card game, we decided to record the game from a mixture of angles, to keep the audience interested. Also from time to time we recorded the players faces to pick up the tension of the card game. So the audience can feel there tension, thus making them more engaged in the film. 

The Editing

For the editing of the film, we used final cut pro. upon editing we got rid of all the digetic sound the camera pick up when we recorded the film. To make way for a sound track for the film. However due to lack of time and technical difficulties we weren't able to put a sound track over the film.

We also made a title sequence for the beginning of the film using liveType. We decided a black background with organe swerving lines, to set a mysterious atmosphere. 


To summaries i believe that making this video has given me some experience in both shooting and editing a small clip. The proses of making a clip has made me appreciate the conventions of movies ( camera work, editing, sound and mis en scene) even more. And now when watching a movie or any thing on tv i take more care in noticing these factors, and in turn getting some ideas for when we shoot our actual movie. 



While watching a couple thriller title sequences on the monday media lesson, one particularly caught my interest.... PELHAM 123, had a very fast paced 'actiony' feel to it.
- I particularly liked the way the text came on the screen and left the screen, kind of like a train. Matching the busy city environment.
- The camera also slows down to focus on  a target for a few seconds and the speeds away onto another in a somewhat 'fast motion'.
- The editing was especially great and it was done to fit in very well with the song in the background. To create the feel of a Action/Crime Thriller.

Camera guide

learning the camera functions was only a small portion of what we learnt in the tutorial. Most of the emphasis was on taking care of these expensive pieces of equipment and how to handle hem with care so a reminder to my group DO NOT BREAK IT!  (because you will be on your own)

Getting used to the cameras

Before we started to film our mini sequence we had to get used to the cameras we were going to use to film it. We had to out the batter in, memory cards and set up the tripod stand. This was very important as if we encountered and problems then we would have had some knowledge of what we were meant to do.

Once we done all of those things we were free to start filming our card game sequence. The quality of the camera helped massively as they were easy to use and was good quality. 


A couple lessons ago (the same lesson we filmed the clips for the card game). We were introduced to the cameras we would be using to film our films, the .....jVC GY-HM100
 I could bore you and type out ll i know about the camera, but ill let my buddy here show ya ^^^.

Suspense definition

Suspension is used in many thriller/horror films. Suspense is used to build tension and make the audience want to find out what is going to happen. Suspension is apprehension of what is about to happen. 

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

FIRST PRODUCTION EXERCISE (what really happened).

Our first production exercise (filming + editing) was the first time we used the camera, but the second time we used the editing program FINAL CUT PRO.

The filming was very... whats the word strenuous. Mainly because there  were many and i say many conflicts in ideas and it took us a while to come up with a way to actually film the clip.
Although we showed barely any signs of team work and  took ages to agree on ideas.... I'm glad we had that episode before we actually go to doing our main piece, and the quality of the 'card game clip' served as a wake up call the other 3 so rightly needed :)

The  main problems other than the crappy team work was:

Poor lighting, the lighting wasn't at all to our advantage. After a good 10mins arguing about lighting we decided it would be best to put dim, darkish lighting for atmosphere, we realized we were in a bright classroom at 11am in the morning.

 Although we kinda brought it on ourselves when we decided to pick a classroom as a location, showing we didn't really think things through well enough.

LACK OF A STORYBOARD:  We weren't too bothered about the storyboard idea when it was first mentioned. We thought we'd make it up as we went along. Didn't go to well.

If we had planned and thought about our ideas maybe the would be less quarrel when the actual filimg process began :s

The editing wasn't any better either, although we did start to work a bit better together. The problems were really:
- We spent wayy to much time trying to find which clips go were and adding special effects that we ran outta time and we couldn't add sound.
- Also final cut pro is hella confusing, especially when it comes to edit, we accidently turned our film redish and spent a good 20mins trying to get it back to normal.

First filming excersize

Soon into our first attempt to make a short film sequence I realised it was going to be a lot harder than I thought. I was already prepared for conflict and battles for control but what I never took into consideration was everything else required to make film. while filming and editing we had to overcome the following obstacles


  • Divas (Adekunle) - didn't like the way they looked in some shots a solution would be to bring a mirror next time we film just to prevent time wasted on redoing shots
  • Lighting - It took us a while to find a location in the classroom that gave us a "good lighting" where it wasn't too dark or too bright or too much shadow or the camera wasn't accidentally reflected on the wall during some shots.
  • Location - because we  were supposed to be filming a card game it didn't make sense for a card game to be played in what was obviously a school classroom so again we had to film from angles that didn't show the interactive board or the bags and tables.
  • Wasting Time - we wasted too much time on special effects before we put the whole film together as a result of this the film was fine visually but there was no sound at all because we ran out of time. So we should do the basics before adding effects
  • Taking the viewer into consideration - because we as a group created the storyline for the film we already new what was happening but it wasn't until we showed others students that we realised the film didn't make any sense unless you already knew the plot. so now we have to remember to make the film more understandable.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011


I think the most interesting thing about Intertextuality is the way that the viewer responds to it

for example, if a killer is stabbed, (Scream 1996)

thrown off a roof, (The stepfather 2009)
set on fire, (Child's play 1988)
even killed!, (I know what you did last summer 1997)

it is a certainty that they will make another appearance later on in the movie, whether its a final attempt to kill someone or just a small cameo at the end revealing to the viewer that they are still alive and well. (I smell a sequel)

But this is not the interesting thing about intertextuality the strangest thing is the way that a person can already know what's going to happen. But still when the axeman who we thought fell of the cliff to his certain death grabs at the stars ankle we are still suprised and jump out seats. Dispite how obvious its made. WTF!


Intertextuality is quite simply... When one film borrows an idea from another film (Simplest way to put it)
The long wayyy on the other hand is......'Intertextuality is a term to describe the visual referencing between films. Quite literally, films 'borrow' from each other, and you may recognise certain camera angles, aspects of mise en scene, snippets of sound or methods of editing in some films that you have seen in others.'

Intertextuality happens almost all the time in films, and we may not notice it because the ideas are borrowed from films that were out over 30 years ago, kinda films my grandparents watched.



Monday, 17 January 2011


In lesson we had to watch the first 5mins of a thriller.... An ACTION/THRILLER :D. And erm the thriller we watched was Deja Vu (2006), the whole point of it was to watch the opening film credit (roughly first 5mins) and see who and what was listed generally, for example name of production and distribution firms, directors, actors, editors, writers and blah blah.


The first few seconds (first 43 seconds) were used to list the firms responsible for the production and distribution of the films.
In most film title sequences the production and distribution firms are the first thing shown... i.e a paramount films will have its logo and its name on before anything else same with Warner Bros and almost every other Film company. Giving the film corporate backing, status and all that good stuff.

2:09 - 2:33 featured other supporting actors. The not so important people.

2:34 - 4:33 Was given to listing the non acting roles, in other words the behind the scenes guys, WRITERS, EDITORS, TECHNICIANS AND OTHER SUPPORTING ROLES.


The credits were fairly spaced out no name had an incredibly long stay on the screen unlike some other title sequences, and it was fairly decent pace, the sequence that is... not to fast, not too slow :)

Thursday, 13 January 2011

List of Thrillers Sub-Genres and what i like in em


The aim of all thrillers is usually to use tension, excitement and suspense to engage and entertain the audience. Although they have more or less the same goal, Thrillers end up coming in all kinds of different shapes and sizes or in other words different Sub-Genres.

Possible Sub-Genres of Thrillers:
Conspiracy Thriller: Thrillers which often involve the hero/heroine going up against a large group of enemies and quite often the protagonist is someone that just so happens to find himself in a very dangerous situation and has to unravel the conspiracy that goes all the way to the top (which usually involves politics, gangs, cults and other organizations)
A good example of a conspiracy Thriller is Marathon man by John Schlesinger

Crime Thriller: Crime Thrillers are suspenseful stories of a crime (obviously) although they can take place in the POV of police and investigators, they more than likley take place in the POV of the criminal... These are often action packed, contain alot of murders, killers and shootings.
A good example of a crime Thriller is Copy Cat by John Amiel 


Disaster Thriller: Thrillers than really build on the whole 'end of the world' theme, where man is put up against nature. This often consist of...well, natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and all that good stuff. A good example of a Disaster Thriller is 2012 by Roland Emmerich

Mystery Thriller: Where a character is basiclly solving or involved in a mystery, suspense is built through the slow unraveling of the mystery and often films like these contatin a large amount of twists in plot to keep the audience at the edge of their seats.
A good example of a Mystery Thriller is Momento by Christopher Nolan

Religious Thrillers: A film where the story or plot is closely connected to religion, either on a quest, unraveling a religoous mystery (making it similar to mystery thrillers). Although im not a fan of religious thrillers, i did pick this one mainly because of the film AND BOOK 'The davinchi code'. Dan browns best selling 'The Davinchi code' lead to a boom in interest in religious thrillers making the film 'The Davinchi code' very very popular. Although i personally haven't seen the film, i have read the book and i really liked it so, i might be incented to watch the film.

Supernatural Thrillers: Thrillers with characters is have other worldy abilities. This films have many twists in plots and the hero/villain usually has some kind of special power or ability. These films often consit of Ghosts and stuff and can easily be Horror/Thrillers as well. A good example of this could be What Lies Beneath by Robert Zemeckis.

These are just some of the different types of Thrillers (the ones that stand out too me, the ones i watch alot, apart from Religious Thrillers, only put that there because i like the davinchi code).

The Suspense In StepFather!

The film isn't much of a surprise, and won't really be the type of film that'll stay in the back of my head for a long time because it has that 'been there watched that' feel due to so much intertextuality and incorporation from many Thrillers before it . Nevertheless, it done VERY well to keep the interest of the audience, giving us an omniscient position where we are the only ones who know, and the suspense is created through dramatic irony where we are aware of the dangers and the characters are not.

Most Interesting Parts

1st had to be the first 2-5mins of the film, where he looked as if he was just shaving -something casual arousing no suspicion- 
Well that is until we started seeing the bloody axes, knives in the sink. Along with the dead bodies and flashbacks, creating a sense that something is very very wrong.
This scene was more mysterious rather than suspenseful although the mystery soon turned into suspense when we found out he is a serial killer that has done it before and now hes out on the road looking for a new family.

The 2nd most interesting moments (or period really) would be when Michael took the role of the 'stalker' when he started suspecting and watching Dave more and more carefully especially after his dad had been killed. Creates the situation where Michael has to find out the truth before hes killed and Dave has to kill him before hes caught!...Very suspenseful! It engages the reader even more because it puts into practice the idea of good vs evil, in this case Michael vs Dave. Also there is a contrast in the pictures of them looking out of the blinds, Dave is shrouded in the dark,
while the lighting around Michael (Although still dark) is relatively a lot lighter in contrast.

The 3rd most interesting and possibly the most suspenseful moment was near the end was at the end where
Dave tries to kill the family. Especially when he had been stabbed in the neck (it looked like he was dead) but any thriller film fan would know he wasn't the fact the film is so unoriginal kept the suspense going because we knew he'd be back...BUT WE DID KNOW WHEN, so we kept waiting and waiting.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The Stepfather Review

The Stepfather a horror thriller about a man who changes his identity and meets a women at a super market, who is a single parent. The woman Susan Harding falls for the man, named David Harris's charm. After six months gone by and Susan's oldest son is released from Military school and reunited with his family. David and Susan much to every bodies shock announce their engagement. Though she has only known him for six months Susan knows surprisingly little about David's past. And when any character would snoop around and try and find out about David's past would end up being murdered by David.

I found the storyline very original and very powerful. However unlike your typical horror thrillers were the audience constantly feel shots of adrenalin run through their bodies and are constantly terrified. The Stepfather cleverly developed its story slower, slowly bringing the audience to the edge of there seats. Then once the story has reached it boiling point, and David's dark nature revealed. An very energetic and action packed scene where Susan and oldest son Michael are trying to defend them selves from David. Guaranteed to keep any one on the edge of there seats, keeping them in suspense and excited. But it was the ending of the film which was in my opinion was one of the best endings to a film ever. Though David and Michael both fall off the roof fighting Michael was in a coma for a month and Davids body was never recovered. Then when the audience  think the film is over David  once again changes his looks and name and finds another single mother,  and the story ends with masses of unanswered questions.

I thought the cast was spot on. They each played there characters flawlessly, which helped me connect with the characters and engage in the storyline. Dylan Walsh did a fantastic job of portraying a psychotic killer. The way he silently sweeps into rooms and startles all the other characters really gives the sense that all of them are trapped, and that David is the predator and the rest are just prey. Finally, Sela Ward also done a fantastic job portraying the stupid woman who is blind sighted by love. I found my self being very frustrated towards her character acting so rashly as to marrying a man she only knew for six months.

To conclude my review, I found The Stepfather to be a very original yet enjoyable film. I found myself sink so deep into the storyline I would often ask my self what will happen next.

Step Father Review

I thought that film 'Step Father' was a good film in a sense that it lived up to expections and at somepoints exceeded them. The film created a lot of suspense and tension.
There was 3 main parts which stood out to me in creating suspence :
1. At the begining where the killer is shaving, he looks like an ordinary person in everyday life and then when the scene changes to the kitchen we suddenly see a dead person on the table and this makes the audience think what has gone on.
2. Furthermore, in the middle of the film theres a scene where the old lady next door hears a ring at the door and she goes to check who was there. It turns out that no one is there and this creates suspense as we know that someone/somethink is in her room.
3. At the end where he goes to visit his feyonce's sister and the light near the swimming pool is turned on, she goes outside and no one seems to be there, then the killed turns up behind her and kills her.