ANALYSE ONE OF YOUR COURSEWORK PRODUCTION IN RELATION TO GENRE. (JUNE 2010)

Films that fall into the drama genre exhibit real life situations with settings that are familiar to the viewer. Our coursework production, Screen Three, is mostly set within a cinema and this could be argued to adhere to this convention of drama pieces.Most people have been to the cinema to watch a film, or at least are familiar with the setting. In this way, Screen Three appeals to audiences’ expectations of the drama genre and this is established immediately once the films starts due to the film projector sound effect being played, the close-up of our protagonist being illuminated by the projector’s light and also the establishing shot that comes after this that reveals the theatre’s seats.

Along with setting, realistic characters are often featured within drama productions to convey the idea of realism in the piece. Through our script and my directing of the actors, I wanted the characters to follow the stereotypes of today’s youth and elderly community in order to familiarise audiences with realistic characters. By their abusive behaviour, dark clothing, and sexual and violent conversation, audiences can recognise their characters through replicating the anti-social youth of today. The character of Peter, the film’s protagonist, dramatically contrasts with the youths through also being applied to stereotypes. Rather than being abusive, Peter is like a stereotypical old man by appearing vulnerable and reserved which is highlighted through close-ups of his face which showing his character’s emotions. Adhering to these stereotypes arguably creates more realistic characters and so suggests that the film is a drama piece.

The abusive relationship and hateful conversation between the elderly man and the youths in our film echoes the “intense social interaction” that drama films often expose to their audience. Binary opposition, a theory created by Ferdinand de Saussure, could be applied to our film through these characters which arguably intensifies this “interaction”. In order to contrast the youths and the old man, we set up more lighting upon the old man and left the youths in less light while having them in dark clothing and the man in white and light greys. This, visually, sets them apart which is also done by their behaviour. While the youths are seen in a establishing shot yelling and throwing popcorn, the old man appears quiet and reserved. Having them in the same wide shot establishes their conflicting representations.

Also, drama also features the portrayal of a journey or some kind of character development which I think lies within the story of Screen Three. At the beginning of the film, our protagonist, Peter, is calm, collected and relaxed in his environment. However, once exposed to the horrors of the youths’ abuse, the dis-equilibrium, he dramatically changes and becomes a nervous, angry and reckless man who is a danger to those around him. The purpose of a dramatic story line is to “move an audience emotionally” and this character development, which is arguably the focus of our production, is what achieves this effect upon viewers. “At the heart of drama is conflict” and with the youths’ abuse in mind, this is certainly within our film.

However, within drama films “a form of realisation or happy ending” is often featured. Our film does not conform to this convention with its dramatic, shocking ending but this “happily ever after” idea is conflicted in many dramas. James Cameron’s’ Titanic breaks all the conventions as all does not end happily for the protagonists but has rather a tragic ending. Within our film, the ending is ambiguous but the close-up of the protagonist’s face appearing terrorised and horrified suggests things won’t end well for him.

Russian theorist, Tzvetan Todorov, suggests that all narratives follow a three part structure. They begin with equilibrium, where everything is balanced, progress as something comes along to disrupt that equilibrium, and finally reach a resolution, when equilibrium is restored. With Screen Three, it could be argued this new equilibrium is not restored due to the ambiguity and the suggested downfall of the protagonist.

 

GENRE THOUGHTS

In film theory, genre refers to the method based on similarities in the “narrative elements from which films are constructed”. So let’s look at how this applies to my A2 film, Screen Three.

Films that fall into the drama genre exhibit real life situations with realistic characters, settings and stories and I think my film follows these conventions. Most people have been to the cinema to watch and film and many of those people have come across other members of the audience who have been a nuisance to them in their cinematic experience. In drama, “audience can often relate to the characters” and in this way, the setting and the situation of our short film is real and somewhat familiar to viewers which suggests that it belongs in the drama genre. Similarly, the abusive relationship and hateful conversation between the elderly man and the youths in our film echo the “intense social interaction” that drama films often expose to their audience.

Also, drama also features the portrayal of a journey or some kind of character development which I think lies within the story of Screen Three. At the beginning of the film, our protagonist, Peter, is calm, collected and relaxed in his environment. However, once exposed to the horrors of the youths’ abuse he dramatically changes and becomes a nervous, angry and reckless man who is a danger to those around him. The purpose of a dramatic story line is to “move an audience emotionally” and this character development, which is arguably the focus of the movie, is what achieves this effect upon viewers. “At the heart of drama is conflict” and with the youths’ abuse in mind, this is certainly within our film.

TITANIC-poster-movie

However, within drama films “a form of realisation or happy ending” is often featured. Our film does not conform to this convention with its dramatic, shocking ending but this “happily ever after” idea is conflicted in many dramas. James Cameron’s’ Titanic breaks all the conventions as all does not end happily for the protagonists but has rather a tragic ending.

TARGET AUDIENCES

target audience

When money is put into a film and money is intended to come out of a film, it is very much a business venture. Within business ventures one must understand what they’re getting themselves into and a big part of this is evaluating who is going to consume what you want to make and why? For example, if you spend £1,000,000 in creating a film about model trains it’s unlikely to gain a high amount of revenue due to the niche audience it exclusively appeals to. Cindy Kennaugh, President of ‘On The Mark’, explains target audience profiles (TAP) and makes it clear why they are important in business.

She writes that  TAPs are a written and “very detailed appraisal” of your customers’ characteristics, attitudes, and behaviors. TAP information typically falls into two categories: demographics and psychographics.

  • Demographics –  describe who your customers are. The most frequently used demographic variables include age, gender, occupation, location, marital status, income, education level, and nationality.
  • Psychographics – describe why your customers act as they do. For example, you might determine that you have price-sensitive customers who choose the least expensive option, or trend-conscious customers who prefer the newest, most fashionable option, or early adopters who are open to choosing new, unproven options.

Thoroughly addressing and analyzing your film’s target audience helps you and the rest of your fellow filmmakers make better, more consistent customer decisions about how to best market and sell your piece. It also reduces confusion among functional areas through a common business foundation for decision-making. Improve overall marketing focus and communication effectiveness by appealing to the customers directly and understanding what they seek in a film production.

It’s important to figure out why audiences should watch your movie.

In addition to getting inside the head of your audience, your next task is to figure out why these people enjoy your genre. Why would they want to watch your movie? What makes your movie unique from the other, competing movies in existence? How will your movie to appeal to viewing needs of your audience?

So lets think about my A2 film, Screen Three.

peter

Peter Glanfield in SCREEN THREE.

Our film is a drama which is thoroughly explained in my blog concerning genre. Before seeing a drama piece, most audience members are expecting a character, probably a protagonist, with whom they can empathise with and follow throughout the story such as Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) in The Shawshank Redemption. I recognised this and wanted to achieve this audience gratification within Screen Three. I did so by creating the old man character and directing the audience’s attention upon him. I planned to do this through the cinematography in order to focus much of the film upon him. Conflict is the core of most films, which is an element audiences expect within their viewing experience, particularly in drama. The conflict in Screen Three works to capture audiences and make them more easily empathise with the old man character.

The old man character is interesting since he appeals to a huge range of people. Whilst appealing to the older community who can more easily familiarise with him and his situation, young people can see his vulnerability and the pain he is experiencing throughout the film which may draw them towards this character. In this way our film appeals to a mass audience who can ride with my film’s protagonist as the film unravels. The usual age group for dramas is 15 – 45 this tells me there is a big demographic audience that can be targeted, and this works with this character.

Conventional dramas feature realistic characters in “realistic, familiar” settings. With this in mind, not only does our film appeal to fans of drama, it also appeals to more members of society since the movie theatre is a piece that can empathise with. Many audiences members may find this comforting and something they like about the film which draws them in.

Jason Brubaker is a Hollywood based Independent Motion Picture Producer and an expert in selling a film and therefore has a wealth of knowledge in regards to target audiences. He asks, “why should your audience spend two hours watching your movie?” Answering this question is important in regards to making your movie; what will the audience get from our film and how will the film be crafted to appeal to an audience with this in mind? Well I believe audience members will sit through the piece for the ride. Due to the empathy created for the protagonist through the drama in the piece, they’ll want to know what happens to him. The film is under five minutes long which appeals to young people who’ll flick through the internet looking for short films to watch and also grabs their attention for long enough without them becoming bored, which appeals to many audience members.

SIMILAR MEDIA PRODUCTS CONCERNING SCREEN THREE

No film is made without inspiration, including that from other films. This video details the research process I undertook to make my film and how similar media products such as films, novels and music videos influenced my work .

The video delves into the likes of The Butterfly Effect, A Clockwork Orange, Scream 2 and ‘Movies’ by Alien Ant Farm.