Monday, 31 January 2011

STRUCTURE OF OPENINGS.

» There are four basic structures in thriller openings, below are some examples of each type of thriller opening:

1) A narrative opening with the titles running throughtout.

video

















2) A discrete title sequence.
video

















3) Titles over a blank screen, followed by the narrative opening.
video

















4) A narrative opening with highly stylised editing, distnct from the rest of the film.
video

PRELIM ANIMATIC Take 1

video
This was the story board we made in class with jelly babies. We used a wide range of shots like low angle over the shoulder high angle close up.

Intertextuality

Intertextuality

Intertextuality is the relationship that exists between different texts, especially literary texts, or the reference in one text to others

Thursday, 27 January 2011

The Documentary 'Watching' on Film Openings

Film Openings

Thomas Sutcliffe says "films need to seduce their audience into long term commitment. While there are many types of seduction, the temptation to go for instant arousal is almost irresistible."
What he means by this is that when making a film, directors need to think about how they will keep the  audience interested throughout the film. It must a lot of different plots, twists and unexpected events. the directer has to keep the audience's anxiety high so that they feel like they need to watch the whole film. Thomas Sutcliffe says that the best way is to use 'instand arousal'. This is when the audience get a shock/ or when a significant piece of information is revealed, or if there is something out of the ordinary e.g. a big explosion or fire at the beginning of the film, rather than the film building suspense throughout the film, then revealing the shock later in the film, Instant arousal makes the audience engaged from the moment the action starts. If the film started with a explosion or fire this is how i would react:  hehehe :D
                              

What are the risks of instant arousal??

According to director Jean Jacques Beineix the risks of instant arousal is that the directer has given most of the exciting bit of the film at the begging and have nothing that will compare to it, therefore the audience will not want to watch the rest of they film. They will get bored and switch off... looking like this:
                  

Jean Jacques Beineix's idea implies that we must make sure not to give too little information in the beginning, and not too much. If the audience knows too much then there is no suspension for the rest of the film which means they will not want to watch the film. If there is too little and they don't know what's going on, then they will lose interest and will not want to watch the film. That's why its important that "a good beginning must make the audience feel that they don't know enough yet, and at the same time make sure that they don't know too little."
                            <-- Jean Jacques Beineix


A Classic Opening :

Stanly Kaufman describes the classic opening to be some sort of establishing shot of the surroundings e.g. the city, the countryside etc. This the leads to the camera going slowly to the main characters/objects/place. he says that it will typically show landscape, then it will show the building it takes place in and then the window in the building, which leads to the action within the room;

 >>  >>  >> 
                        
I think that this style works because it's good for the audience to know where scene is happening and what environment its going to be in. i think the type of place or environment tells us a lot about how/ what the film is roughly about. However this opening is  not the right type of opening for me, I'd rather they cut to the chase and give me something that will appeal to me. An example of a classic opening would be the opening to the film 'The Shining'...
                                       

'The shining' is a very successful movie because it creates lots of suspense. The idea in the opening to use the helicopter is great because it creates the idea that something is following the small car from behind, it tells us that the car is heading ina bad direction, they also try to create this by the music. The music is very slow and the trumpet is played slowly in a low note, which leads to the idea that something bad is going to happen. in the documentary there was a quote that really stuck with me: "The camera is like the predator". I think that this is the perfect way to describe the how the opening was supposed to make you feel or think.


                

Kyle coopers title sequence of 'se7en' is so effective because of the way the letters move on the screen like they are trapped and are trying to escape, i think that because they used lots of close up it really made the film mysterious, leaving the audience wanting more, wanting to find out what happens next.  i think that the music is amazing because it really gives you the creeps, also it really co-operates amazingly with the opening. From the opening we might also guess that the character cutting faces from newspapers, crossing eyes and sawing the paper might be crazy, they might have some kind of mental disorder, maybe they are some kind of crazy serial killer.............
                                                 




'A Touch of Evil'
Orson Welles with his opening to the film 'A Touch of Evil',wanted to achieve suspense by puting in an explosion that the ausinece were not expecting, he was planning to do this by having people acting as they would on a normal day, and the suddenly have a car explode. However universal studios put title credits over the the opening which ruined the effect Welles wanted to have on the audience. He faught his case with the production company but in the end they won. universal studios only did this because they wanted to be known and recognised.
                                                  


This is the Opening to 'Touch of Evil':



'A Favourite Trick of Nior'

'Film Noir'/The Trick of Film Noir means when the opening of the film starts with the ending. the rest of the film shows the sequence to how they ended up in that position at the beginning. i think that this is effective because it will leave the audience asking 'why did it happen?' 'who caused this to happen?', this will make them in curious and therefore lead them to watch the rest of the film to find out answers to their questions... It is very effective, however keeping the suspense is very difficult as the action happened at the beginning and we know already know the ending. this is the opening to casino, this is a really good example of Film Noir;

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

List of Thriller sub genres

Psychological thriller- where the conflict between the main characters is mental and emotional rather then physical.


      Taxi Driver













Conspiracy Thriller- Where the hero confronts a large powerful group of enemies and only the hero knows their true intentions.


   The day of the Jackal















Crime Thrillers- This is filled with suspense of unsolved or failed crimes



   Lonely Hearts














Political Thrillers- The hero must ensure the stability of the government         
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

The Ghost Writer


Medical Thriller- Where the hero is a medical person and is trying to  solve an expanding medical problem


Eyes Without A Face

















Religious Thrillers- Where the plot is closely connected to religious objects instituions and questions

The Da Vinci Code















Erotic Thriller- Where the plot involves erotica and thriller

 Dressed to kill


Techno Thriller- Where technology is the base of the movie


Terminator 2














 Mystery Thriller- Where the character attempt solving or are involved in a mystery.

The Covenant















The subgenre in thriller that inspires me is Psychological Thriller because its really suspenseful and interesting. I think a Psychological thriller needs to be long because it can sometimes be confusing so it needs to take time to develop but when i watch a PT movie at the end of the movie the plot is supposedly solved but it still leaves me feeling as though the story has not completely finished yet like something more needs to happen so it leaves me thinking about it. I think that is what makes a good Psychological Thriller making the audience still think about it.

'Watching' Documentry on Film Openings...

In today's lesson with Bernard we watched a documentary called 'Watching'. It was talking about the openings of thrillers, how directors try to use techniques to capture the audiences interest throughout the whole film and so on.. It was quite interesting as we got to find out how opening sequences are planned out. It was almost like a 'behind the scenes of thriller films' documentary.

The narrator of the documentary said something that stuck in my head "Films need to seduce their audience into long term commitment. While there are many type of seduction, the temptation to go for instant arousal is almost irresistable." By saying this, he simply means that when making a film directors need to think about the best possible ways to create the film in a way that will keep the interest of the audience up throughout. There must be many plots, twists and turns and you have to try and keep the audience's anxiety high all the time so that they always feel the need to watch the whole of the film to feel complete. However, the easiest way out is to use the 'instand arousal' method which means that the audience get the shock at the beginning of the film, rather than the film building up suspense and then revealing the shock at a later moment in the film. Instant arousal, usually gets the audience looking like this.................


As you can see the audience looks shocked.. they were obviously not expecting whatever it was that they were seeing. This may mean that they want to watch the whole film to find out what other shocking things will happen...

However, Director Jean Jacques Beineix thinks it can be risky when it comes to using 'instant arousal'...


He thinks that when you use instant arousal, it means that you have to work extra hard to make the rest of the film interesting so that the audeince don't get bored. He feels that building up suspence is a better away as it will engage the audience more as they want to find out what is going to happen.. In one of his detective thriller films, in the first scene he used a women singing an Opera and this lasted for 3 minutes into the film. Other directors said that this was a bad idea as audience would lose interest and doing that is like 'commtting suicide!' But he argued back saying it builds up tension and that audiences need to learn to 'accept and wait for their desire... wait until their satisfaction comes to them...'



Another director in the documentary said "A good beginning must make the audience feel that they don't know nearly enough yet, and at the same time make sure that they don't know too little" This simply means that the beginning of a film should always give the audience a little hint as to what may happen later on. The hint should be suspenseful and really interest the audience so that it will engage them and make them feel that they don't know enough information yet, and so they want to watch more and more of the film.

Look how excited these kids look! They definately seem like they want to watch the whole film...

What is a Classic Opening?

One other things that critic Stanley Kauffmann talked about is the 'Classic opening'. A classic opening usually used in films sets the setting of it.. it consisits of "establishing shots of,  for example... New York city, tilting shots of tall buildings, close ups of windows.. then maybe inside the window.. past the reciptionist desk, then into the private office.. and so on". The aim is tell the audience where the film is taking place, tell the occupation of maybe one or some of the main character(s) and so on...


Look how beautiful these buidings look... the tilting angle shot make help make the buildings look very tall

New York City....

What is it meant by 'Film Noir'?...

'Film Noir' ('or the trick of film noir') seems to have two meaning. In one sense it can mean when the film starts with the ending. The ending of the film shows at the beginning, and then the rest of the film shows how the event that was first shown occured. This can be effective as it will leave the audience asking questions like 'how did that happen?' 'why did it happen?' 'who caused this to happen?', and this will engage them in curiosity and will encourage them to watch the whole film to find answers to their questions...

There is also a sceond meaning. Below is a video...


Premiers, Reviews And Trailers:
Film Noir - Explained

There was a shot clip of the opening sequence to the film called 'The shining' (which I have actually watched before when I had to analyse the order of the subtitles in a previous lesson). The documentary talked about how the opening sequence built up suspence...



In the sequence, they used a 'helicopter shot' to follow the vehicle that was on the road, leading to somewhere in which we as an audience did not know of. The camera follows the car like a predator, high up and from behind, so it makes it look as though the perosn driving the vehicle is unaware that they are being followed.. we as an audience get the idea that the vehicle is travelling in the wrong direction... all this creates suspense and we get the hint that it may be a thrilling film...

The structure of Thriller openings...

In our lesson with Phil we looked at different types of thriller openings. Not all opening sequences are the same and we learned that there are four different basic structures in the following opening sequences that we watched...

. The opening sequence of the film 'The Shining', is an example of a narrative opening with the titles running throughout....


I think the title sequence was quite boring and dull. I don't like the way it just rolled in and out one after the other because it seems quite an old fashioned way of making a title sequence and it does not really build any suspense or hint that it is a thriller film...


. The film 'Seven' is an example of a discrete title sequence. This means that the titles are separate from the filming....


I was quite impressed by the opening sequence of this film. Some of the titles were running through the opening but at other times they were also separate which built more suspense and made it more interesting. The opening sequence to The Shining was quite boring as the titles just rolled in and out of the film which did not help to build any tension or create any tone. I think I will consider using a discrete title sequence when it comes to making our own opening sequence in my group. I personally think its more effective and good for building up suspense.... it says it all in the word 'discrete'....



. The film 'Dannie Darko' is an example of an opening where the titles are over a blank screen followed by a narrative opening...




The opening sequence to this film is also good, but I personally think its a waste of filming space as the time it takes to show the titles (before the film actually starts), that time could of been used to show the opening of the film... baring in mind that our opening sequences are only going to be 2 minutes long!


. The opening of the film 'The Taking of Pelham' is an example of a narrative opening with highly stylised editing, distinct from the rest of the film...



The opening sequence to this was quite interesting too, and I specifically liked the choice of music they used to build up the tone of the film...





List of Thriller sub genres

Psychological thriller- where the conflict between the main characters is mental and emotional rather then physical.



Conspiracy Thriller- Where the hero confronts a large powerful group of enemies and only the hero knows their true intentions.

Crime Thrillers- This is filled with suspense of unsolved or failed crimes

Political Thrillers- The hero must ensure the stability of the government

Medical Thriller- Where the hero is a medical person and is trying to  solve an expanding medical problem

Religious Thrillers- Where the plot is closely connected to religious objects instituions and questions 

Erotic Thriller- Where the plot involves erotica and thriller

Techno Thriller- Where technology is the base of the movie

Mystery Thriller- Where the character attempt solving or are involved in a mystery.

The subgenre in thriller that inspires me is Psychological Thriller because its really suspenseful and interesting. I think a Psychological thriller needs to be long because it can sometimes be confusing so it needs to take time to develop but when i watch a PT movie at the end of the movie the plot is supposedly solved but it still leaves me feeling as though the story has not completely finished yet like something more needs to happen so it leaves me thinking about it. I think that is what makes a good Psychological Thriller making the audience still think about it.

Structure of Thriller Openings

When you look at film openings there are 3 main basic structures that are followed:

1. A Narrative opening with the titles running throughout;
This is when titles appear while the story is being revealed, the titles are surrounding the film. Some examples of narrative openings are The Shining, The Stepfather and De ja vu.
This is the opening to DE ja vu:
video

2. A Discrete title sequence;
This is when the title sequence is separated from the film, its on its own. It is by itself on a background e.g. it'll show some film and then show a title and then show some more film. Examples of discrete title sequences are Arligtion road, James bond and seven etc.
I think that seven is a really good opening sequence, it grabs the attention of the reader straight away with the scary & chilling start. The opening of seven uses a lot of close up, i think that this is good because it creates suspense because the audience don't kw what is actually happening. All they can see is what the director wants them to see. The implications for this is that the audience will want to watch the rest of the film to figure out what all these little snippets of film reveal after. 
This is the title sequence to seven:  

video

3. Titles over a black screen, followed by the narrative opening;
This is when  all of the titles are played before the narrative opening starts, the black screen usually has sound and the black screen lasts for about 30seconds max. this type of narrative takes a while to happen, the camera slowly crawls in and keeps the audience waiting or keeps them in the dark about whats happening. Some directors will love to use this type of narrative because it builds up suspense, however other directors will disagree and say that the audience will be bored and switch it of in the first 5-10 seconds. 2 examples of a titles over black screen opening are dead calm and Donnie Darko.
Here is the Donnie Darko title sequence: 
video
4.There is one last type of title opening that directors use and this is 'a narrative opening with highly styled editing, distinct from the rest of the film. this type of opening is like a music video in a sense because the the clips are edited to the beat of the music. The normal sub-genre that uses this type of opening are 'action thrillers'. The Taking of Pelham 123 is a really good example of this type of title sequence.
This is the opening for The Taking of Pelham 123: 
video


Here are some other title sequences, see if you can remember what type of title sequence they are:

1.
video
2.
  video
3.
video



FONT ANALYSIS.

» In todays lesson we looked at the denotations and connotations of fonts.

-Denotation;
(first level of signification)
what an image actually shows and what is immediately apparent.

-Connotation;
(second level of signification)
linking the object with other sings and looking at it in full detail.

-The image below shows/denotates a phone, but looking at connotation, it shows that that it might belong to a teenager, most probably a girl as it has a pink case on it.






































-Following on from this, we looked at a film poster, for Avatar and analysed it, looking at the denotations and connotations.
-We found out the name of the font used in the Avatar poster, which was 'Papyrus'. We then came up with the connotations for the font:
-egyptian 
-rusty
-culture
-trees
-scratchy
-chipped 
-lack of technology
-tribal
-man-made
-alien-like
-the desert
-nature















-We then looked at other examples where the font is used..


 -on food packaging.






























-in films.




























» When designing our title sequence, we need to think about what type of font we want to use. There are two types of font:

-Serif; the extra little detail at the end of each stroke of every letter, such as 'Times' and 'Courier.'

-Sans Serif; modern, more friendly and informal fonts, such as 'Arial' and 'Comic Sans.'




» After learning about denotaion and connotaion as well as serif and sans serif, we then got put into groups and was given a thriller poster to analyse. We done 'Prom Night.'

-we came up with a few ideas about the denotations and connotations when looking at the poster:
-The colour red gives the connotaion of; evil, blood, horror, violence, danger, which gives the audience a feel that the film much be a thriller/horror film.
-The font is a serif font, 'Tragen'. The sharp edges of each letter connotates sharp objects such as knives. This could represent the violence and possibly murder that may happen in the film.
-The title of the film is all in capitals. Capitals are often used in text to represent someone shouting/screaming, this matches with the image of the woman in the background screaming or shouting.
-The font has a sort of glowing effect and looks like it was smudged, we suggested that this may represent smudged blood, this also helps to show that it is a thriller/horror film.