Thriller Genre Research
- What is a thriller film?
Thriller film is a genre that is based on the idea of “anticipation and suspense”. The films make sure that the audience is “alert”. The main protagonist in a thriller is normally presented with a problem such as an escape, which would put them in some sort of danger.
2. What are the key codes and conventions of a thriller?
- Props- Thrillers often have big and loud action scenes so props that are fast, loud or could create a commotion are used for example: guns, cars, motorbikes and explosives. Mirrors are also used for jump scares and to aid with the mystery of the films.
- Characters- There is always a protagonist/hero is often some form of brave underdog they often have a lot of “emotional baggage”. They may also not be as well-equipped as the villains that they are trying to overcome.
The antagonist/villain which is causes the problem that the protagonist is trying to overcome. Both the antagonist and protagonist will normally have some form o fight at some point in the film that is a major decider on the final outcome i.e. whether the protagonist succeeds or not.
Often the protagonist has a helper (for example Batman’s Butler – Alfred).
There is often a woman that is the “reward” for the hero. Women are normally used as they are perceived as being weak or less capable than the male hero. however in many films this is being to change as the view o society also changes, many female parts in films are now as “strong” or sometimes “stronger” than the male hero/protagonist.
The dispatcher which is the character that sends the hero on their way and may assist them in carrying out the different “tasks” required to succeed.
There is normally an innocent victim (could be the woman – see above) or innocent victims which can cause the audience to feel almost included in the film as “normal people” (which the audience will associate with) are involved. This adds to the fear that what is happening on the screen could become reality.
Some other characters include: convicts, criminals, police and fugitives.
- Messages- the stories behind thrillers are often created so that the audience are made to think that what is happening on the screen could happen to them.
- Setting- mostly set in urban environments with very plain and basic colours. However, they are sometime set in places with very few people, whether that be a small town/village or a place with not even any buildings this adds to the eyrie aspect of some thriller films. Claustrophobic/small spaces are often used to aid with jump scares and to make the action more intense, this also makes the audience feel more involved as they are close to the action.
- Narratives- normally along the lines of: the influence of good and evil being balanced, then evil becomes more powerful, once this is realised then the good makes the attempt to repair that loss of balance and finally a new balance is created. The story is also normally told from the protagonist’s point of view.
- Camera techniques- changes in the angles of shots, close ups and extreme close ups of the protagonist in order to portray their emotions in order to help the story to be understood and for it to flow well. Shots of the antagonist will often not show much of his/hers/their identity (can be done through silhouettes or shadows) in order to create suspense. High angle shots are also common along with: low angle shots and panning shots.
- Editing techniques- the editing of thrillers has to be very well done, with good timing to aid with the action scenes, mystery and possible jump scares. Editing techniques used include: a lot of “well timed” jump cuts – this aids with the mystery aspect of the films; cut away cuts and L cuts (where you hear the sound before the picture changes)are also used quite a lot.
3. Name 10 key thrillers made in the last 5 years.
- Eye in the Sky – budget $13 million – gross $18.7 million
- Silent House – budget $2 million – gross $13.1 million
- Blood Father – budget $15 million
- Now You See Me 2 – budget $90 million – gross $334.5 million
- The Shallows – budget $17 million – gross $118.3 million
- The Girl on the Train – budget $45 million – gross $41.2 million
- Red State – budget $4 million – gross $1.1 million
- Nerve – budget $20 million – gross $77.8 million
- Addicted – budget $5 million – gross 17.4 million
- The Secret in their Eyes – budget $19.5 million – gross $32.2 million
4. Name 3 iconic thriller actors.
Anthony Hopckins- stared in “Silence of the Lambs”. He has been an active thriller actor from 1960 until the present day. Is career began as a stage actor in the Palace Theatre in Swansea, with their production of “Have a Cigarette”. He made his screen acting debut in 1967 on a BBC broadcast of “A Flea in Her Ear”.
Jack Nicholson- stared in “The Shining”. He has been active from 1957 and is still acting today. He started his Hollywood career as an office worker at the MGM Cartoon Studio. Later he was offered an entry-level job as an animator however he wanted to become an actor meaning that he declined the offer. His film debut was in a low budget teen drama “The Cry Baby Killer”.
Kevin Spacey- starred in “The Usual Suspects”. He has been an active actor from 1981 to now. He began his acting career as a stage actor in 1986 when he was cast in “Long Day’s Journey into Night”. One of his early screen appearances was in the television miniseries “The Murder of Mary Phagan”.
5. Name 3 iconic thriller directors/producers.
- Alfred Hitchcock- Iconic because he as one of the first to create films that fit
into the thriller genre. he was nicknamed “The Master of Suspense” His most recognisable film is “Psycho” which he created in the 1960s. He began his film career working as a title card designer for the London branch of the American firm Famous Players-Lasky.
- Quentin Tarantino- His rise to fame was through the first film that he directed ‘Reservoir Dogs’. He has also won 2 Oscars, one of which was from his most recent film “Django Unchained”. He was labelled “the single most influential director of his generation” by the film maker ad historian Peter Bogdanovich.
- Christopher Nolan- He directed “Insomnia” which was nominated for a golden globe award. He also directed “Inception” which many people called the best film of 2010. This film won 4 academy awards. He has been an active director from 1989 and is still directing films to this day. He also directed “The Dark Night Trilogy”.
6. Why do thrillers seem to appeal to audiences? – 3 reasons
Suspense and tension- thrillers are made to keep the audience on the edge of their seats and keep them alert. Drawing out the anticipation of what is going to happen next and whether good is going to overcome evil.
Audiences enjoy experiencing things that they wouldn’t normally in their day to day lives such as the feeling of danger without actually experiencing it. This feeling of danger is brought to the audience through an emotion connection with the protagonist.
You often create a bond with the characters in the film you are watching especially the main protagonist, taking you on an “emotional rollercoaster” this means that the audience often feels that they have a part in the film as they may get genuinely sad or excited when something good or bad happens to one of the characters in the film.
Suitable for 15 yeas and over:
- Must not endorse discriminatory language or behaviour – may be racist, homophobic etc. themes and language.
- Drug taking can be shown – the work as a whole must not endorse/encourage drug misuse.
- Dangerous behaviour must not be shown in a way in which it could be copied.
- Strong language allowed. Very strong language can be used depending on the context.
- No restrictions on nudity in a non-sexual or educational context – may be nudity in a sexual context but not in detail.
- Sexual activity may be inferred but not shown in detail.
- There may be strong threat and horror.
- Severe violence is allowed but should not linger on the causing of pain or injury. Sexual violence must be subtle and justified by the context.
Suitable for 18 years and over:
- No material that breaks criminal law or that has been created by committing a crime.
- No material that may cause harm to someone or cause harm to society because of something that an individual did.
- Explicit sexual content is allowed as long as it is there to educate and inform the audience.
- Sexual material which could only be simulated are normally passed as 18 rated.
I have chosen to make my film suitable for the 15 certification because I feel that it would be unnecessary to include many of the components needed for a film to be regarded as an 18 considering the storyline.
I have chosen for my target audience to be 15 to 25 year olds. This is because my film discusses the relationships between siblings and the relationships within families e.g. the parents trying to protect their children from any harm, therefore this target audience would see the issues addressed by the film from son/daughter’s point of view. However, the film could also attract the attention of a slightly older audience who may see theses issues from the point of view of the parents.
Analysis of Thriller Opening Scene
Enemy of the State – opening scene analysis
The orchestral music that consists mainly of string instruments begins when the white writing appears on the black screen gives the beginning of the scene a very solitary and sad persona. This, therefore, has connotations of the morning and sounds as if it could have been used at a funeral, this could foreshadow the death of someone later in the scene. This may cause the audience to become suspicious of the characters in the scene and they could also become more aware of any unusual activity amongst these characters. The use of colour in this part if the scene could also help to infer the scene of loneliness that surrounds the older man that is introduced in the following shots. This is significant because it shows how he is on his own and that if something bad were to happen to him then there would be nobody there to help him. In addition, the use of the colour white could infer some form of surrender therefore possibly foreshadowing some sort of conflict (either physical or of opinion) between two characters, in which one of them “surrenders”. Furthermore, in the background, there is the sound of a heartbeat possibly showing how important a certain character’s life might be to the film. Not long after the heartbeat begins, it stops abruptly possibly showing that someone dies very unexpectedly, therefore, foreshadowing the fact that someone of significance is going to die (possibly in the opening scene).
The first mid-shot/establishing shot of the film presents the location of this scene (a peaceful lake in a rural environment) which is not typical of the thriller genre and not somewhere that you would typically think a murder might take place. This may cause the audience to be lulled into a false sense of security as they may think that nothing bad is going to happen there, meaning that when the man is attacked it comes as more of a surprise to the audience. There is then a series of matched cuts between all of the men that are wearing black. This presents the connection between them and also highlights how the other older man is on his own and is outnumbered, significant because it highlights his vulnerability and the possible conflict between the two sides (the men wearing black and the older man).
The fact that the older man is wearing light clothes (badge) may cause the audience to think that he is innocent, has good morals and is the protagonist in the film, Whereas the men that are in the other cars are all in black. The colour black has connotations of mourning and death, which would infer that they may be the antagonists in the film. Black clothes (especially suits) also have connotations of professionalism, meaning that the audience would be lead to believe that the men in the black suits are professionals at what they do.
The fact that in the close up of the main antagonist the window partly covers his face, giving the impression that he is hiding from something (possibly the other older man). This could give the impression that he is intimidated by him and could be scared this is significant because it may affect the audience’s view of the characters on screen they may be influenced into changing their opinion on who has more power throughout the rest of the film. However, the window half covering his face could infer that he is trying to get to someone or something but is being held back. This could foreshadow the fact that the man wearing black wants to get to the older man for some reason or another, possibly foreshadowing some sort of confrontation between the two men. Then there is a motivated cut from the man hiding behind the window to the older man, this presents the negative relationship between the two characters.
The sound of the electronic typing as the words appear on screen has similar sounds to that of a computer game. This could be representative of the view that some or one of the characters has about life and the value of other people’s life. Due to the fact that in a game you can do almost anything with no real repercussions, this may infer that in the antagonist’s mind life is a computer game and there are no consequences for your actions this is significant because it could foreshadow that the antagonist may carry out some sort of terrible act. The electric typing could also have connotations of some sort of secret service such as the CIA, therefore inferring that the film may somewhat follow some sort of government secret service.
As the two men are walking next to the lake there is a two shot in which there is a tree that separates the two of them. This could infer that even though they are in the same place and possibly on the same side they have contrasting views which may cause them to be separated later on in the film. This is significant because it helps to set the tone for the following sequences in the film. In addition, the fact that the tree is in the centre of the frame could make the shot a POV shot from someone else who is spying on them. This means that the audience is put in a neutral position meaning that they are neither on the older man’s side or on the side of the man wearing black.
In the opening scene, there is a mid-shot of the two men. The older man is sat on the bench and the man wearing black is stood over him and is talking down to him. This infers that the man wearing black has more power than the older man, this could also infer that the older man feels vulnerable when the man in black confronts him. The fact that the older man is sat down and the man in black is stood up could also infer that the old man is tired and slow therefore giving the edge to the other man. This may also infer that the man in black could be ready to take over the older man’s position to boost his level of power. Eventually the man in black sits down meaning that the balance of power is perceived by the to be equal, it could also infer that the man in black has become desperate for the older man to side with him meaning that the older man has not given in even though the man in black looked to have a lot of power. This is significant because it shows that the older man is very strong willed and not as “weak” as the audience may have first thought. As the older man tries to stand up the man in black grabs his arm. The fact that there is a close up of this event shows how this is an unusual interaction between the two men which causes it to have an unnerving and threatening feel about it. This once again could show the desperation that the man in black feels. In addition, the music begins again when this happens which gives the feeling that everything is speeding up and that something of great importance of the story is about to happen as the volume of the music increases tension also builds this is the sound perspective of the older man which signifies that the older man can sense that something bad is about to happen therefore giving the audience the same feeling.
For a large amount of the opening scene the other two men that were presented to us who seemed to be on the side of the men in black are not in frame. This could create a sense of unease amongst the audience as the men could be planning/doing anything. This could make the audience nervous especially when the music begins again. This is significant because it raises the levels of anticipation which is a key convention of the thriller genre.
When the older man gets very passionate and angry at the man wearing black he is on his own in the frame. This gives the impression that he is the main focus during the situation. However, it also shows that he may be on his own regarding his views. This makes him seem very vulnerable, Which is significant because it shows that if something were to happen to him then it may be a long time before anyone noticed or any action was taken.
When the murder begins the music begins to climax, this shows how important the murder is to the rest of the story, the fact that the music is also relatively fast helps to highlight the speed at which events are taking place. This may create a feeling of panic amongst the audience which may also lead to a sense of helplessness when the man is killed. There is also a “ding ding” noise just before the man is attacked this could infer that just before the older man is attacked he realises what is about to happen however it is too late. During this sequence of events, there are also multiple reaction shots. This shows the fast pace of the scene and the level of panic, the fast editing could also relate to this and may cause the audience’s hearts to quicken and therefore may also cause a rise in tension and anticipation. The white latex gloves that are worn by the attacker has connotations or surgery which would possibly infer that the man was being helped. However, they are also often used when committing a crime and highlights the fact that they don’t want to be caught doing what they are doing. The colour of the gloves white) also has connotations of surrender and innocence which may infer that the audience is meant to see the man as innocent and that maybe he is only under instruction from someone of greater power. the drugs poured into the foot well of the car further highlights the fact that the men are trying to frame him for committing suicide and make sure that they are perceived as innocent.
Jack Reacher – Opening Scene Analysis
The first shot of the film is a close-up of some form of handle, which raises immediate questions amongst the audience as to what it is for and also who’s hand it is that pulls is down therefore what role they play in the rest of the film. The very mechanical action of pulling on the handle could be symbolic of the pulling of a trigger (which would make sense later in the film). In addition, the bruise of the thumb of the character could infer that he is some sort of “workman” or does some form of hands on, practical work. There is very little background noise at this point in the film, all that can be heard is a quiet whine. This could infer that the person who is pulling on the handle is concentrating hard and has to focus on what he/she is doing. Just before the hand pulls down on the handle there is one loud drum beat. This could signify a gunshot and also has a sense of finality about it, also drums are symbolic of battle which may infer that there is going to be some form of conflict later on in the film. Finally, the lighting in this shot is very dark, causing the scene do have a much more sinister and uneasy feel about it. This may cause the audience to think that whatever the person who belongs to the hand is doing is going to be associated with something bad. The fairly quick cut to the next shot of the van would create confusion amongst the audience as they would question the link between the two people, however, there are no obvious signs that they are the same person or that they are in any way linked.
The next shot is a tracking shot of the white van. This tells the audience that the person in the van is of importance to the story because the camera is keeping the van at the centre of the audience’s attention. As the shot is also a high angle shot the audience could be placed as someone or an organisation (possibly the police) that is following/spying on the person that is in the van. This, therefore, criminalises the driver, in turn, making the audience powerful over him which may foreshadow that at some point later on in the film the driver will be caught or stopped. A white van can be associated with two main things: one of those things being a van used for work, which would infer that the person in the van wants to blend into normal life in order to avoid being caught doing something that they shouldn’t. The other connotation of the white van is crime; this could mean that the director is trying to inform the audience that the person in the van is going to commit a crime. This may put the audience in a state of unease which is a key convention when it comes to the thriller genre. In addition, at the beginning of this shot the music begins, the music is quite quick and also loud, creating an intense and suspense filled atmosphere. The combination of this and the fact that the van has remained a key aspect of the scene could lead the audience to believe that the driver of the van is about to do something that will have a significant impact on the rest of the story. Furthermore, the large number of tracking shots of the van could imply that we are following/spying on the person in the van, significant because it could infer that throughout the film the main focus and/or goal will be finding out what he is doing which could position the audience as some sort of detective.
After that is a tilt shot up from the van into an extreme long shot/establishing shot of the city, to present the urban environment which is a typical convention of the thriller genre. This is also the first major sign that the film fits into the thriller genre. The sharp increase in the volume of the music is a way of magnifying the size of the city and also it could imply that something of major importance (possibly bad) is going to happen there. The use of the very metallic and block capital font fort the credits could represent the systematic nature of many of the characters’ personalities and the way in which many of the events in the film have to be approached by these characters.
Next is an over the shoulder shot taken over the driver’s right shoulder, the fact that it is over their right shoulder could infer that there is a passenger with the driver meaning that the shot could be a POV. Because of this the audience is placed in the position of his accomplice which is significant because earlier on in the scene the audience was placed as being against the driver however now they are positioned as being on the driver’s side, therefore, giving different points of view that could be held by different people later on in the film. However, this could also infer that someone is following him but does not want to be seen which is why the camera was placed slightly behind him (inferring that they are hiding in the back of the van) rather than it being a conventional POV shot. This once again reverses the perspective of the audience and puts them in the position of someone that is following/spying on the driver just like in the earlier tracking shot. In addition, the driver is completely out of focus, therefore, keeping his identity hidden from the audience, which may cause the audience to believe that the driver is a very sinister character and will play a major antagonistic role later on in the film.
The following POV shot from the driver in the tunnel could infer multiple things. Firstly, the tunnel could symbolise a gun barrel where the van (the driver of the van) is the bullet. This would mean that the driver was an antagonist and may kill someone/some people later on in the film. However, the tunnel could also symbolise positive things such as there being “light at the end of the tunnel”. This idea is made apparent by both the camera positioning and the lighting. This image could infer that either someone or a group of people will suddenly appear and stop whatever bad thing that the audience thought was going to happen from happening or something terrible will happen then slowly throughout the film whatever happened will be resolved and by the end of the film something very positive will happen and everything will be resolved. Finally, the tunnel links to the idea of “tunnel vision” meaning that the driver is getting close to the location at which they are going to carry out whatever he is planning.
The three quick cuts between the close ups of the making of the bullets could infer that the person making them is very efficient and well-practiced at doing so. This could infer that he is a trained professional and has been doing so for a long time.
The next key shot is a close up of the white latex gloves worn by the driver. The white latex gloves have multiple connotations. One connotation is that latex gloves are often used by someone when they are committing a crime as they don’t want to get caught, meaning that the gloves could infer that the driver is going to commit some sort of serious crime. ThHis would make the audience slightly more tense as they would be lead to believe that he is dangerous. Another connotation of latex gloves is surgery and hospitals. This would give the impression that the driver might be very careful and is very skilled at what he does. In addition, it takes a large amount of training to become a surgeon so could mean that he has spent a long-time training and rehearsing for what he is about to and that he is a professional at it. However, the colour of the gloves (white) has other connotations such as surrender, which could foreshadow that at some point in the film (probably the end) the driver will either turn himself in, be caught or get found guilty for whatever he is going to do.
As the van travels into the city the volume of the music increases giving the sense that the van and the audience are getting closer to a major location in the film. This could infer that something important to the film is going to happen in that location, also the fact that it is very loud could have links to the idea of there being some sort of battle soon in the film. This causes the feeling of anticipation to rise amongst the audience, which is a common theme when it comes to the thriller genre.
The next key shot is a close up of the CCTV camera, this could also be a POV shot from the driver. This could make the audience feel as if they are being watched because they have been made to seem as if they are the driver’s accomplice in the previous shots. This may make them think even more so that the driver plays an antagonistic role in the film. At the same time of this sh, t the music is reduced to a high pitched wine, indicating that the driver is becoming more alert and has realised that he is being watched. The whining noise could also infer that the driver is becoming more focused and he has blocked out all of the background noise so that he can concentrate on the job that he is about to carry out.
The repetition of the close up and the movement of the handle could represent that whatever is being made is being produced on mass which gives the scene a possibly more menacing feel once the audience finds out what is being made. It could also foreshadow the multiple murders that are later committed by the driver of the van.
The fact that most of the cuts between the recent shots could infer that the driver is beginning to rush things possibly because he knows he is being watched, he could be on a time limit or it could also signify that he is becoming nervous and therefore being more careless also the quick cuts could represent the rise in his heartbeat. However, it could also represent that whatever he is doing was well thought out and rehearsed in advance meaning that he is able to do things very quickly and efficiently.
Next there is a POV shot of the van from the CCTV camera, placing the audience as law enforcement and frame the person in the van as a criminal. This would infer that the audience should not side with the driver of the van as he may be dangerous and later on in the film he may do something that will harm people. The POV shot could also infer that the police have been keeping a careful eye on and have been tracking the driver closely for a long time and are finally getting to the stage where they can catch him/her.
Another key shot is a mid-shot of the car hitting the cones. This could be a subtle hint to the audience that the driver has a disregard for the damage that he can cause to things and that he considers most things that aren’t to do with him irrelevant. The knocking over and crushing of the cones is also symbolic of his disregard for human life which becomes very obvious shortly after this scene.
After that there is a close up of him paying for parking and of the time limit that he has. This could indicate that he is very efficient at what he is about to do and therefore does not need much time which would mean that he must have trained to do whatever he is about to do which would indicate that he is a professional at it. It could also indicate that he is aware that once he carries out his actions the police will be on to him very quickly meaning that he wants to make sure that he gets as far away from the scene as possible as quickly as possible.
The following shot is a tracking close up shot of the driver’s feet as he walks away from the van. This has strong connotations of the western genre which could infer that there is about to be some sort of conflict or shootout between him and someone else. This could also set up the film for the constant battle between the driver and the law enforcement. In addition, the use of the white sheet has connotations of a crime scene which would indicate to the audience that a crime is about to take place there. The sheets also have links to trying to keep things clean when doing work which would link to the choice of the white van, it may also indicate that the driver is try to make the murder that he is about to commit as clean and smooth as possible.
The following close up of the driver’s face is the first time that the audience sees his face. The first reaction from the audience could be surprise as he does not look like your “typical criminal”. In addition, his face is half in the light and half in the dark, this could infer that there is both a good and a bad side to him. This could make the audience think that there could be a deeper more meaningful reason for the multiple murders that he is about to commit, maybe he was motivated by some sort of trauma or wrongdoing in the past. Furthermore, the very simple clothing that he is wearing gives the impression that he is just a “normal member of society” which may cause the audience to believe that he is being controlled by a higher power, maybe he is just a hired gunman. In addition, the fact that the driver is not looking directly into the camera gives him a sense of angry, focused and possessed look about him.
Next is the close up of the rounds being loaded into the rifle. The sound that comes with this is a very sinister sound and one that comes with a sense of finality in this case the end to many peoples’ lives.
Finally, the notes in the music become very long and drawn out this is similar to when a sniper begins to slow down their breathing and heartrate in order to have a steady shot. It is also a very obvious contrast to the quick cuts earlier on in the film whereas now the driver is controlling himself as much as possible before taking the shot and murdering the multiple people on the streets below.
Jaws Opening Scene Analysis
The first two shots of the opening scene are purely a black screen with the name of the production company then three of the main actors in the film. The fact that a black background is used with white font could have connotations of loneliness and mourning, this would link to the deaths that happen in the film. In addition, the font that is used is similar to that which you might find on a gravestone which could foreshadow the deaths that happen later in the film.
The next shot of the opening scene is a POV shot from the shark swimming. The fact that the shark is positioned at the bottom of the sea could have connotations of the criminal underworld which would put the shark and the audience (because it is a POV shot) in the position of a criminal, therefore implying that the shark is going to do something of an antagonistic nature that will have some sort of negative effect on the other characters in the film. This has an interesting effect on the audience, the fact that it is a point of view shot means that the audience are placed on the shark’s side however they may not support what the shark is going to do. Furthermore, the fact that the shark is moving through the seaweed could infer that it is trying to hide and it seems as if the shark is almost practiced in attacking humans through stealth. Due to the slow build-up of pace and volume of the music creates a sense of anticipation. The increasing pace could infer that the shark is getting closer to someone that he might attack. The quickening music could also have connotations of somebody’s heart rate quickening maybe because they know that there is some sort of danger approaching them therefore it could also represent the adrenaline beginning to kick in meaning that their senses will be heightened and they will react to everything a lot quicker. The music is from the sound perspective of the audience as they are the only people that are aware of the dangers at this stage in the film, and therefore they are the only people who might become scared when someone enters the water. This means that the audience are filled with suspense and anticipation which are both typical conventions of the thriller genre. The gloomy lighting in this first shot could foreshadow that something bad is going to happen, the lighting could be similar to a night time in a city where the audience might think someone might attack someone therefore this could lead the audience to think that the shark is doing to attack someone. The more sudden build-up of sound and therefore tension at the end of this first shot would lead the audience to believe that they are going to see some sort of action take place (possibly the shark attack).
The quick cut from the POV shot from the shark to the mid shot/close up of the people sat around the fire could infer that these people are the targets of the shark and that they are vulnerable to the dangers of the ocean near them as they are unaware of what is happening under the sea as they are enjoying their evening. It also might cause the audience to think about who exactly the shark is targeting and will eventually attack. Furthermore, the fact that the shot is panning enables the audience to register each of the characters and their relationship with one another it could also be similar to an animal stalking and choosing its prey. Due to this shot mostly being lit by the fire in the middle of all the people, the scene is very dark and therefore the sea is completely blacked out. This lighting along with the panning shot could give the impression that something could be watching them from the dark areas giving it a more sinister feel (the shark) this is significant because later on in the scene the shark attacks one of that group of people. In addition, the fact that the music stops as soon as the shot cuts away from the sharks POV to the people on the beach is another way of representing just how oblivious they are to the danger that is so close to them. Furthermore, the fact that they are drinking could make them seem more vulnerable as they will react slower in response to any dangers, also they might make decisions that they wouldn’t if they were sober like going to swim in the ocean. As the shot pans along it eventually gets to a close-up of one of the men that is slightly separate from the group and therefore is closest to the camera giving the audience the sense that he is a very important character to the film, this close-up could infer to the audience that the shark has chosen his target (however it is not him). This false clue is given inorder to make the audience concentrate more on the man and see him as the vulnerable person rather than the girl, this therefore makes the attack on the girl more of a shock to the audience which is significant because it highlights the fact that none of the people that go in the water are totallysafe. The close-up could also infer that he is an important character later on in the film. All of the diegetic sound in this scene from different people makes for a very busy shot therefore creating a more confused and uneasy atmosphere. This is significant because it could represent that each one of them is disposable and could disappear without anyone including the audience noticing much of change.
There is then a matched cut in order to present that there is some sort of relationship between the two characters from this man to a woman that is sat completely separately to the rest of the group. The fact that she is separate from the rest of the group gives the sense that she would be easy to target by some sort or predator like the shark. In addition during the shot of the girl there is smoke rising in front of her from a fire, this could symbolise the fact that later on in the scene the man’s view of whatever happens to the girl will be completely distorted and he will not be able to help her in a time of danger. Furthermore, the fact that the camera stays on the two individuals for longer than the others could infer that either this who the shark has chosen to attack or it could represent the fact that they are two more important characters that have much more relevance to the story of the film.
The next shot is a high angle mid shot from the point of view of the predator (the shark) at the top of a sand dune. The fact that it is a high angle shot means that the people that are in the shot a lot less power therefore making them more vulnerable to an attack from something (the shark). In addition, the fact that the two people run up the dune towards the camera (shark) could infer that the shark is lureing them into some sort of a trap therefore giving the shark a scarily clever persona. Furthermore, the fact that the sea is now looks incredibly close to them means that the danger of the shark could be a lot closer than they think. This is significant because it could infer that anyone of them could be attacked at any one time without them knowing who or when. In addition, the fact that all the people in the group are lit by the fire and the sea being in darkness could infer that they think that they are in some sort of safe haven however very close to them there is a danger that they are completely unaware of. The only person that is not lit by the main fire is the woman (that is later attacked) this could infer that she is either more aware of the dangers than the other members of the group or she has already been picked by whatever lurks in the dark to be the next victim. During this shot both the man and the woman leave the group, as they do this the music stops, this highlights the fact that they are on their own and if something were to go wrong then no one would notice and there would be no one to protect/save them. This therefore makes them more vulnerable to any dangers that have been inferred earlier on in the scene.
The shot of the two running along the sand dunes is significant because of the fact that they are behind a fence. This could symbolise the fact that if something bad was to happen to one or both of them then the audience may feel as if they are stopped from helping them in any way by the barrier. This could also symbolise the fact that if something happens to the woman then the man may not be able to do anything to help her no matter how much he may have wanted to if he was sober. This could therefore help to represent the relationship between the two characters. In addition, the fact that the camera is tracking them could infer that the shark is following them and is waiting for the perfect time to attack possibly putting the audience one the sharks side again.
Another significant shot is a long shot/POV shot from the man’s view of the woman. This could infer his desire to be there with her however he physically can’t be there however she is too far. This is significant because he could have been the person that would save her if something was to go wrong. It also presents how small and vulnerable she is compare to the vast dark ocean that surrounds her. Furthermore, the fact that the ocean is a very dark colour could suggest that anything could be hiding there which creates a sense of fear amongst the audience. Furthermore, in this shot the woman sinks (on purpose) this could have connotations of her putting herself in danger, this could be seen by most of the audience as stupidity which may cause them to empathise less with her when she gets attacked. In addition, her sinking could have connotations of her descending into the underworld which is obviously thought of as being dangerous. In addition, the fact that she goes completely under the water could infer that she could be getting buried (which happens when you die) therefore foreshadowing her death.
The cut from the man falling over to the POV shot from the shark looking up at the girl could infer that now that the man has fallen and is incapable of helping the girl the shark has chosen to attack meaning that the girl has no chance of survival. The low angle shot would normally infer that the woman has the power in the shot however this is not the case in this shot, because of the low angle shot it highlights the fat the shark is only focused on her however the woman is completely oblivious to the danger that is below her making her very vulnerable. The low angle POV shot could also infer that the shark is coming up from the underworld/hell this gives the shark a much more threatening persona and makes the audience feel as if it is very unpredictable and therefore scarier. In this scene, the music also begins again because the shark is involved, this is significant because it creates a greater sense of anticipation and fear amongst the audience.
Right before the shark attacks there is a close up of the woman’s face. In the shot she is smiling, the smile has connotations of enjoyment and could represent that she has no fear at all of being that far out in the sea on her own at night. This therefore emphasises how oblivious she is to the dangers (shark) below. This may initially cause the audience to think that the shark will not attack her and all will be fine.
The next shot is a POV shot from the shark getting closer to the woman to increase the fear amongst the audience as they know what is about to happen but the girl does not therefore the audience can’t do anything to help. This could infer that the shark has finally chosen its moment to attack the girl and this shot along with the music creates a final peak in anticipation and fear for the girl amongst the audience before the shark attacks.
Then there is another cut to a close-up of the woman’s face in order to show how she is still completely oblivious to what is about to happen to her and just before the shark attacks there is a pause where nothing happens creating an uneasily peace full atmosphere both in the scene and amongst the audience. This creates a moment where internally the audience begs her to notice what is about to happen even though it is too late, therefore creating a greater sense of sadness when she gets attacked, because she failed to realise what was going to happen.
The fact that the camera stays static during the shark attack could infer that no matter how hard anyone tries, they will not be able to get to her to help her. It could also infer that she has no chance of escaping and is frozen by fear.
The pace of the music increases which has connotations of her heart beat as adrenaline kicks in whilst she is being attacked meaning that the audience’s heart rate does the same as they sympathise with her fear for her.
The quick cuts during the attack create confusion amongst the audience as they have no time to register each individual shot. This means that the audience empathises because they feel a similar confusion and helplessness as the woman being attacked.
The next shot is a mid-shot of the man lying on the beach. This shows that he is completely oblivious the what is going on and is incapable of helping in any way, even though he may have made the attempt help had he been sober. This creates a sense of resentment towards him as the woman has suffered partly because he wanted to enjoy himself. The whining noise in this shot has connotations of an alarm which would represent that danger was nearby.
At the beginning of the shark attack, the camera is well above the water almost looking down on the attack, whereas towards the end the camera drifts between being fully submerged and out of the water. This gives the audience a similar perspective as the woman being attacked as she is doing similar movements, the effect of this is that it creates a very confused and panicked atmosphere amongst the audience and causes them to empathise with her as they are being thrown around on camera as much as the girl is. When she grabs the buoy the camera rises again out of the water therefore giving the audience a ‘breather’, just the same as she has before the shark attacks again. The fast ringing of the bell on the buoy could have connotations of her fast heart rate this shows the audience that she is in a very panicked state and could also cause the audiences heartrates to quicken as they feel scared for the girl and are panicking for her.
The following close up of the woman’s face before she is dragged under the water allows the audience to understand her pain and empathise with her. This magnifies the feeling of sadness amongst the audience when she dies and the sense of frustration that they could not help in any way.
The fact that the camera does not move straight after the woman is dragged under the water and the water calms straight away shows the audience how seamlessly this sort of event can happen and that a lot of the film cold be based on finding out what happened to her as virtually no trace is left.
Another mid shot of the man lying on the beach completely clueless as to the events that have taken place magnifies the fact that he wouldn’t be able to recall anything that happened. In addition, the wave coming around him could infer that he is entering the sea and maybe the next victim of the shark.
Finally, the bell on the buoy ringing creates a sense of finality to the scene after the attack has taken place and has connotations of death. In addition, the bell magnifies the silence as you couldn’t hear it before the attack took place, this is significant because it gives the scene a much more menacing and ghostly feel also possibly scaring the audience.
Ronin Opening Scene Analysis
The opening scene of Ronin consists of many different camera angles and movements. Right at the beginning of the scene there is an establishing shot, this presents the scene to the audience meaning (a city which is typical of thriller films). At the same time the word “Paris” appears on screen: “Paris” has connotations of love and romance which may cause the audience to think that the story line is going to somewhat follow these subjects. Then shortly after the camera pans across the city as if the person behind the camera is looking for someone, as there is no obvious character behind the camera the audience could be put in the position of someone that was following De Niro possibly a spy or an enemy of him. The fact that the panning shot is at a high angle shot makes De Niro (the main actor) seem small, more insignificant and less powerful. Therefore, possibly confusing the audience as to whether he has a major role in the film. The next shot is a mid-shot at a low angle, this makes him seem more powerful than we initially would have interpreted from the high angle shot this may mean that he has a more important role in the film. In the next shot the fact that De Niro is not in the centre of the frame could make it seem as if he is hiding himself this could be because he feels threatened by something or because he doesn’t want to be seen by a certain person or group of people. It also could be seen as him being excluded from society either by himself or by others, this gives him an unnerving persona that may cause the audience to think that he is the antagonist in the film. After that the next shot is over his shoulder looking down onto the street below, this could make the audience feel as if they are watching the street with him this means that the audience feel as if they are on his side and should support him in what he does throughout the film. In addition, this could indicate that he has some form of accomplice(s) that helps him with what he might do later in the film. Furthermore because of how fixated he is on the street below it makes the street have more of a suspicious feel about it which means that it could be an important setting later on in the film. The following shot is a mid-shot which gives De Niro neutral power, it is therefore hard to tell what his role in the film would be (protagonist, victim, antagonist or just and innocent bystander?). The shots now are down on street level having previously been on stairs and the area at the top of the stairs. The next significant shot is one through a narrow window looking at a girl behind a bar, this gives the impression that the character that the camera has followed previously is trying to get to her but he can’t. This raises questions in the audience: who is she? Why is he looking at her? Will he get to her? What will happen if he does? This in turn raises a suspicious feeling about him. One of the following shots shows the girl off centre frame, this creates uncertainty about her role in the film. The following POV shot places the audience at the bar in the pub, the fact that it is a POV shot is significant because the audience are placed as one of the men as one of the antagonists that De Niro is going to meet. As the next few shots are of the other antagonists it gives the impression that the antagonist that the audience is placed as is looking around and “assessing” each of the other people in the pub. The effect of this is that the audience becomes suspicious of the other characters increasing the tension as they may think that something significant could happen at anytime. This also positions them as one of the antagonists. In the fore-ground there is one of the antagonists who has a slightly “dodgy” look about him. In the background is the girl that we have seen previously which creates a link between the two of them which is significant because it could infer that later on in the film the two characters may have some sort of positive or negative confrontation. The next shot is a close up of a guy smoking (who is one of the antagonists) in the corner then after that a shot of the girl’s reaction to him as it is illegal to smoke in public places such as bars, this gives him a rebellious persona. The next shot is one of De Niro again, this may come as a slight surprise to the audience as they have not seen him in a while and may have forgotten him, this is significant because it could infer that he can seamlessly disappear which can be quite unnerving as he could have done anything while he was out of sight. Now that the audience as seen the other characters the shot of De Niro now ties him to them (either he is a part of the group of antagonists or he is “against” them). Furthermore, the fact that this shot is a low angle shot presents him with power which may cause the audience to believe he is more important/has more power than the other antagonists in the pub. In addition, De Niro walking down the steps into the dark streets could represent him descending into the criminal underworld or maybe into hell/death.
The following shot is a mid-shot at eye level of the man in the pub, this may cause confusion amongst the audience as they would be made unsure as to what part he plays in the film (whether he is a protagonist or an antagonist). Also in this shot is the smoking man, even though he is in the background of the shot your eye is still eventually drawn to him because he is in focus and moving therefore giving him a sense of importance as even though he is in the background he is still manages to draw the attention of the audience this is significant because it shows that he is going to be a significant character later on in the film. Soon after there is a POV/tracking shot of De Niro from behind a barrier, this may make it seem as if he is either hiding from someone or he is trying to get to someone but can’t. In addition, it could infer how separate he is from society. The next shot is a mid-shot/master shot of him going down some steps, suggesting isolation and him getting lower in the hierarchy of society. The camera then zooms in possibly representing that he is becoming more focused, alert and paranoid this makes the audience do the same thing as they may think that something of importance is about to happen. Another important shot is a tracking shot of the gun that De Niro pulls out, once the gun is drawn it becomes the new main focus of the shot this is significant because it shows the importance of the weapon and also infers that some sort of conflict would take place later in the film, it is also the first major sign of danger in the film, it could come as quite a shock and raise a feeling of anticipation about what might happen next in the film. The camera then moves over De Niro’s shoulder to watch him put the gun behind the boxes (the gun remaining the main focus because the camera tracks it all the way down to ground level to show that it is still the most important part of the shot), this makes the audience feel as if they are with De Niro and are on his side. The camera remains level with the gun on the floor for the rest of the shot, this means that even though the gun is now hidden it is still the most important part of the shot as the camera is still at the same height as the gun which keeps the audience aware of it and the dangers that it presents. Next is a POV shot of from inside the pub of De Niro arriving, this shot places the audience as part of the “team” that has been presented in the shots earlier on in the scene. The fact that the De Niro is in the centre of the frame symbolises how as soon as he walks in he is immediately recognised by all the characters that are in the pub this also presents how important he is in the story of the film. The following shot is taken in a mirror this could infer that the person/people in the shot are reflecting on their sin which indicates that they are antagonists, the mirror also presents a “back to front” version of the people in the frame this is significant because it could infer that even though they seem as if they are “normal people” they actually have an antagonistic nature to them. Finally, the girl pulling out the gun creates an antagonistic link between her and De Niro, this eliminates many suspicions that she would be an innocent bystander or an innocent victim.
The opening scene of Ronin also consists of a number of different editing techniques. Firstly, the screen fades too black before words begin to appear, this could link to the idea of isolation which is very relevant to the title of the film. The cut to the low angle mid shot of De Niro immediately presents him with a certain degree of power over any other people in the film. Then a cut to the close up could raise suspicion amongst the audience as the close up makes the audience really focus on him and his actions, they could be led to believe that he is the/one of the antagonists in the film. There is a motivated cut from the shot over the shoulder of De Niro down to the van that arrived on the street in the previous shot this cut is used because it shows the audience what De Niro is observing in the street below, this also creates a link whether it be good or bad between De Niro and the van/whoever is in the van. Next there is a sound bridge between the girl and De Niro. The sound is of metal colliding, this could be swords which would link to the idea of Ronin and could mean that later in the film they could come into some sort of conflict. Cut to close up of the man in the beany, the fact that there are no subtitles when he speaks French could mean that he fits the French character (he is French) this is significant because it shows that he is a part of normal society unlike De Niro’s character, this may infer that De Niro is “invading” their territory and therefore there may be conflict. There is then a sequence of matched cuts between the man wearing the beany to the person that is smoking then to the girl, this series of cuts links all of them together which would lead the audience to believe that they are in some sort of team and therefore will have to work together or they could be “against” each other and there may be some sort of conflict. At this point the editing begins to speed up this makes it seem as if events are going at a much faster pace therefore the audience could be lead to believe that something of importance is going to happen. There is quite a quick motivated cut to a close up of the gun that De Niro hides, the fact that there is a motivated cut highlights the importance and the danger of the gun. Finally, there is a motivated cut of De Niro arriving in the bar, this highlights the importance of him arriving in the same place as the other characters that have been presented to us previously because it shows that these characters are acknowledging the fact that he has arrived, meaning that he is of significant importance to them.
Sound plays a major part in any film. A wide variety of different sounds and sound techniques are used throughout the opening scene of Ronin. During the beginning title scene there is the sound of reverberating metal this could link to two major ideas to do with the film. One is that the metallic sound sounds like two swords colliding which then has links to battle which may foreshadow some sort of conflict later in the film. However, the metallic sound sounds like a gong which is a traditionally Asian sound, this has links to the title “Ronin” as Ronin are samurai that have no lord or master and the gong could represent the end of something like the end of a samurai’s career. In addition, the gong was traditionally used as a call to prayer which may foreshadow a group of people being called together by some sort of leader. The next sound is the sound of drums this has connotations of anger and battle. There is a loud climax of music as more and more instruments are involved at the same time as when both the girl and De Niro are on screen this may have a link to the two characters, this could also indicate that something dramatic or of great importance is going to happen soon involving the two characters. When the word “shame” appears on screen there is the sound of a loud gong, this could link to the idea of death or loss because the sound of the gong is often used to mark the end of something. Furthermore, Ronin links to failure as when the samurai failed to protect their master they became “Ronin” and were never hired again meaning that the gong could foreshadow that someone will fail in their task/challenge later in the film. After that there is one metal sound that sounds very similar to two samurai swords (at the same time as “hired swords” appears on screen) the sound in some sense takes over the film at that point possibly indicating that bad has become more dominant over good. The next shot is with the girl in frame but the same music is playing as when De Niro was the main focus, this creates an equal tie between the two characters indicating that they possibly have a similar role in the film. Inside the bar there is a lot of diegetic sound which makes the scene feel very claustrophobic and there is a lot of distraction, for some this could be a pretty un-nerving situation. Drums start as De Niro walks closer to the bar this could represent that there will be some sort of conflict. It also has a similar sound to a heartbeat, this could represent that the people involved are nervous about something. Sword sounds as the man wearing the beany, the gun and the girl are shown, this could indicate that there is going to be some sort of battle between the two people where the gun is involved. The fact that this sound is used when the gun is shown to the audience links to the idea of the samurai as the gun could represent the standard weapon used (the samurai sword) however in a more modern and updated era also when the gun is drawn there is one drum beat, this creates a feeling of finality about that action or it could also represent the beginning of some sort of a conflict as drums are often used at the beginning of battles. The very solitary violin music in the bar represent that even though all the antagonists are in a group together they don’t actually know each other they were placed together by a common “leader” therefore a sense of isolation is created. It makes for a pretty tense atmosphere with a sense of mistrust amongst the people at the bar. The phone then rings, this is significant because it briefly breaks the tension within the room as it breaks the lack of diegetic sound and could break the audience’s concentration away from each of the characters. After that there is a deep mumbling causing the girl to turn away and as this happens a deep rumbling sound begins this creates a rising sense of danger and unease as the rumbling sounds as if there is a build-up to something dramatic such as some form of conflict. Finally, there is the sound of a fast drum which has a similar sound to a raised pulse which could give the impression to the audience that someone or everybody involved in the scene is nervous and therefore creates yet more anticipation amongst the audience.
Lastly mise-en-scene plays a major role in conveying different points of view and ideas. Firstly, the font used for the title of the film looks like it was done with a paintbrush, this indicates skill and talent which also links to the idea of the very skilful samurai. The use of white writing on a black background indicates sadness. The lit-up churches in the first establishing shot is a major contrast to the characters that are shown later in the opening scene as the characters are in no way presented as holy and don’t seem to be doing anything holy. When we first see De Niro he is wearing a big beige coat, a hat and a tie. The colour of the coat is very neutral which could be an indicator of neutral power but it could also show that he is trying not to draw any attention to himself (as he is possibly trying to do something that he does not want to be seen doing). The fact that he is wearing a hat also links to the idea of him trying to hid himself. Finally, the tie presents him as a man which is at work which would indicate that he is a professional at what he does. The fact that the main light source is behind him, indicating that he is walking into dark could indicate that he is heading towards danger and possibly death. The graffiti on the walls has similarities to the title scene however it is seen as more criminal and scruffy rather than skilful, this could mean that De Niro does not have the skill of a samurai and is rather a “standard” criminal. When he is looking down onto the street there is a barrier in front of him this links to the idea of protection either he is being protected or whoever is on the street is being protected. The sword sound bridge between De Niro and the girl could indicate some sort of battle or possibly murder. The man in the pub that is wearing a beany is dressed in very dark clothes this could come across as quite threatening this is significant because it instantly presents him to the audience as an antagonist. The next shot is of the man smoking in the corner, above him is a no smoking sign this gives him a rebellious and antagonising persona this makes the audience feel as if they and the characters in the film need to be careful of him as he seems as if he is dangerous. In one of the following shots the fact that De Niro is looking through a small gap in the curtains means that he is only focused on her however he is separated by the window, this again has links to protection. The light going out could symbolise the death of someone which creates quite a sinister atmosphere. Finally, we travel further into the shadows as the gun is presented to us this means that the audience become more suspicious of De Niro’s character and his possibly troubled past this is done at this point in the scene as it keeps the audience uncertain about De Niro’s character for as long as possible and uncertain and anticipation are key concepts of the thriller genre.
- Would you rather watch a…
This shows that most of the people that filled out the questionnaire would prefer to watch a crime thriller (66.67%) rather than a psychological thriller (33.33%) or a political thriller (0.00%) which is what I expected. This means that I will make a crime based thriller. The fact that the majority of people chose “crime thriller” fits the genre as many thriller films are based around some sort of criminal act.
- What location do you think best suits a thriller?
This shows that the spread of opinion surrounding the best location for a thriller to be shot is evenly split. 33.33% of people said the best location would be a big city, 33.33% of people thought a small town would suit the genre best and 33.33% of people thought that the countryside would be the best place to film a thriller movie this is slightly different to what I expected as I thought that the majority of people would choose “a big city” and I thought that very few people would have picked “countryside/little villages”. From these results I’ve concluded that I am going to use a small/medium town to film my thriller as it is easily accessible making it easier to find actors etc. and it’s also the best compromise when it comes to the numbers of people that would prefer the different locations. The fact that the choice of location is evenly spread out could either fit or subvert the genre, many thrillers are set in city environments not the countryside.
- Which of these events would you prefer to watch in a film?
The responses to this question were more varied. 0.00% of people said that they wanted to watch a terrorist attack as part of the film, just 11.11% of people said that they would want a kidnapping to be one of the major events, 22.22% of people said that they wold like for the film to be based on a revenge story, then the majority said that they would prefer to watch a crime that kick-started the film’s story (66.67%). These results were partly what I expected and also had parts that I didn’t expect; I thought that most people would want to see a crime based thriller however I expected more people to want to watch a thriller that contained some sort of terrorist threat. This means that I have decided to use both the criminal aspect of the question and the revenge aspect of the question when creating my film. The answer to this question fits the genre as in many thrillers the main event that creates a reaction from the protagonist is some from of crime.
- Do you think that having a child as the victim in a thriller has more of an emotional impact than using an adult would?
The responses to this question show that 100.00% of people thought that using a child as the victim would have a greater emotional impact than using an adult. The results of this question were exactly as I expected. Due to this very conclusive result I have decided to use a child as the victim when I create my thriller film. This answer also fits the thriller genre as in many thrillers the victim is a child (or a woman).
- What gender would you rather the main protagonist be in the film?
The response to this question shows that the majority of people who answered the questionnaire said that they would prefer for a male to be the main protagonist (55.56%) rather than a woman (44.44%) in a film that they were watching. These results were as I expected as I thought that there would be a fairly close call between the two categories. Due to this majority response, I have decided for the main protagonist in my film to be male. This answer fits the thriller genre as generally the protagonist in a thriller is male, however the answers are very close to subverting the genre.
- Which do you think would have a greater impact?
This question is another question that was pretty unanimous. The question dictated that the majority of people (77.78%) thought that the main even in the film having a major impact on one person would have a greater impact than the main event having a lesser impact on many people (22.22%). The response to this question was not what I expected as I thought that far more people would choose the former category. I have decided for the main event in the film to be discovered by one person meaning that this event would have a major impact on this individual. This answer fits the genre of the thriller because in multiple thriller films there is some sort of event that effects an individual or a small number of people, however there are some thrillers that have a huge event that has an impact on many different people.
7. Do you think that a thriller being shot in black and white has a greater effect?
These results show that most people (77.78%) believe that a film being shot in black and white doesn’t have a greater effect, only 22.22% of people do believe this. I predicted that less people would say that they thought filming in black and white would have a greater effect meaning that the results were not quite as I thought. This therefore has influenced me into filming my film in colour as I think that it will appeal to a wider audience. This follows most films of the thriller and also most films in all other genres.
- What type of solution to a problem would you rather follow in a film?
This question proved the fact that most people (55.56%) would like to watch a problem being solved in a mentally challenging way, 11.11% of people would prefer for a problem to be solved through conflict and 33.33% of people would enjoy a mixture of the above. These results were not quite the same as I predicted, I thought that the majority of people would say that they would prefer for a mixture of both conflict and mentally challenging solutions. Due to this I have decided for my story to use a mixture of the two as I believe that this provides the most entertaining film for the audience. This answer to this question subverts the genre, many solutions in thrillers involve a mixture of brute force and clever thinking.
- Is the thriller genre one that you watch often?
From this data, I have concluded that I would have a relatively large audience for my film as 55.56% of people said that they watch the thriller genre often.
- Do you think that a story that follows a family has a greater emotional effect?
Due to 88.98% of people believing that if a story follows a family then it has a greater effect and only 11.11% of people thinking otherwise I will create my film so that it follows some form of family relationship. These results were almost exactly as I expected. This fits the genre as often in a thriller there is some sort of connection to family.
Ideas drawn from the analysis of other opening scenes:
- Filming the scene as if you are someone that is following the main actor in the scene (Jack Reacher).
- Keeping the identity of any antagonists hidden to increase anticipation – could use POV shots (Jack Reacher).
- Using natural barriers to create the feeling of restriction and prevention (such as tables and railings) and pre-existing frames (such as windows) to create a sense of focus and want (Enemy of The State and Ronin).
How my opening will fit the genre:
My opening will fit genre because throughout the seen through the use of: different camera angles, lighting and sound. In addition as the opening screen will end with the victim’s brother looking for the person that killed him, this therefore creates suspense as the audience will want to see what happens later on in the film (whether he catches him? What happens if he does?)
How I will meet my target audience and certification:
I will meet my target audience as the film will be based on ideas of family and the relationships within family – this means that the audience will be able to relate well to the story that the film would be based on.
How my opening is going to establish narrative, ideologies and mise-en-scene:
The opening scene will establish narrative as at the end of the scene the victim’s brother will run after who he thinks killed his sibling but the attacker will be gone – this sets the story for the rest of the film because it shows that it will be based on the brother trying to find who the murderer was and get revenge on them. It will instantly present the ideologies of family life and the close relationships within that but also the conflicts that can occur when difficult times arise.
Working Title Choice
The working title that I have chosen is “In At The Deep End” I have chosen this because it has links to multiple aspects of the film. one of which is that during the opening scene there is a dead body found in a swimming pool which has a close link to the idea of the “Deep End”. It also links to the story that the film follows the protagonist in the film finds himself in many difficult situations that are way out of hi comfort zone as he tries to find whoever killed his brother and get revenge on them, therefore liking to the metaphor of “being thrown in at the deep end”.
Corrections are written in blue.
Revised Storyboards 1
Revised Storyboards 2
I put the name of the victim on the 5th scene (he is in the shot)- the name is in a fairly large font size – I positioned it in the top left corner of the shot, this is because that was a space in which nothing important to the shot was positioned.
I placed the name of the main protagonist on the 13th scene (he is in the shot) – I placed the name at the bottom of the screen in the middle and in a large font – these all play a part in showing the audience that he is the most important character in the film.
The name of the director was placed during a shot where nothing of large importance was taking place (shot 14) this meant that the name of the director would be the main focus of this scene – the name is not in a particularly large font therefore still giving the actors a sense of great importance to the film and the story.
The name of the main antagonist in the film was placed in the bottom right corner of the screen where nothing significant was taking place in the 18th scene – I chose this scene as it is taken from the point of view of the antagonist but his identity is not displayed – the name is in a larger font size to the victim but smaller than the main protagonist.
Coursework Opening Scene Script
- Alex (protagonist)
- Ben (protagonist’s brother & the victim)
Coach: (text received by the protagonist) Extra training session tonight at the pool 20:00, let your brother know as well C
Alex: (lets out groan of disappointment then texts back) Ok, sure (Texts brother) Hi, coach just messaged me and says we’ve got an extra training session tonight at 8:00, do you need a lift?
Ben: Nah I’ll make my own way 😦
(No dialogue for a while as protagonist makes his way to the pool)
Alex: (sees his brother face down in the pool still, look of fear and sadness on his face) JACK! (runs over to poolside then looks up as if searching for help, then sees the coach who is unrecognisable looking through the open door) HEY! (the coach runs off and the door slams)
Filming Location (Swimming Pool) Risk Assessment
Slippery floor on poolside – need to take care when walking around need to take care when walking around
- Slippery floor in the changing rooms – need to take care when walking around
- Ingestion of dirty water – making sure that the water has been tested properly and making sure that the actor that is going to be in the water knows not try not to drink large amounts of the water in the pool.
- Electrocution – need to make sure that hands are dry before using the light switches or any sort of electrical appliance.
- Being on an RAF base – need to make sure that everyone involved when on site has the appropriate passes etc. to avoid issues with access to the pool.
- Ladders into the pool – they are a trip hazard on poolside so need to make sure not to trip over them when walking around the pool as you could fall over and hit your head or injure yourself in some other way.
Corrections are written in blue
Revised Storyboards 1
Revised Shooting Scripts 2
Art of the Title Sequence
- 01:50 “Clint Eastwood” fades onto the screen – bottom, in the middle, large font size, bold capitals – most important character – using star appeal.
- 01:15 the name of the production institution “in A Malpaso Company production” fades onto the screen in centre frame, all the text is in a slightly smaller font than the previous name however the actual name of the production company is slightly larger than the other words – showing that they are not playing on the ability of the actors but more the reputation of the company and the type of genre.
- 01:24 – “Dirty Harry” the word “Harry” is in a slightly larger font to “Dirty – the film is more about him as a character rather than the labels that are attached to him – “Dirty” is in red which could symbolise some sort of warning to the other people in the film of the character’s personality and presents to the audience the bad reputation that he might – red also links to the genres of action and thriller – danger.
- At 01:33 the names of the co-stars appear on screen – two names on screen shows that they are not as important – 02:34 another two co-stars fade onto the opposite side of the screen, this could infer that these two pairs are against each other.
- 01:57 – names of the featuring actors fade onto the screen – 5 names font size is quite small – some of the least important characters and that the people creating the film are not relying on these names to help them to sell the film. At 03:05 6 more names of the featured actors appear on screen, they appear at a time when Clint Eastwood’s character is in the frame which could lead the audience to believe that they are on his side and work with him in the remainder of the film.
- At 02:28 the final actor’s name appears on screen along with the character that he plays. The fact that the actor’s name is in a bigger font size than the name of his character shows that the production company has some reliance on this actor’s popularity meaning that more people would go and see the film as they might like the other films that the actor is in.
- At 02:44 the director of photography’s name fades onto the screen. His name is in relatively large font size, this would infer that the camera work in the film plays a major part in telling the story and is one of the “better done” aspects of the film.
- At 02:53 the names of the art director, film editor, set director and the person who did the sound fade onto the shot. The fact that there are more of them on the screen could infer that each of their jobs was not as important as the director of photography and that the parts of the film that they oversaw were not some of the major selling points of the film.
- When the film gets to 03:06 the names of the: assistant to the producer, unit production manager, dialogue supervisor, makeup supervisor and the supervising hair stylist all fade onto the screen. The fact that there are 5 of these names on screen at once and that they are all in relatively small fonts could infer that they are another step-down in terms of significance to the creation of the film.
- At 03:19 the name of the assistant director, and the person who did the wardrobe fade onto the shot including the fictional events disclaimer. Due to the fact that the disclaimer covers up most of the screen, it might show that this is a very important noticed that should be taken seriously.
- At 03:37 the words “filmed in Panavision technology” fade onto the screen this would infer that this is new technology (at the time) and could have been one of the major selling points of the film.
- Lastly at 03:51, 04:02 and 04:10 the name of the creator of the music, the associate producer, and the executive producer each fade onto the screen individually. The fact that each of these people are listed on their own shows that they are very important roles to the making of the film.
- At 04:34 the people associated with the screen play and with the creation of the story fade onto the screen. The fact that the font is relatively large where their names are shown could tell the audience that they have a good reputation and are good at what they do.
- The last credit to appear is the director and the producer at 04:45. The fact that this is the last person to be shown shows that they are the most important person in the creation of the film and that they oversee the work that all of the other people are doing. Furthermore, the large font size where the name is written would suggest that the production company is also relying on his name being recognised as a talent that will attract more people to buy and watch the film.
- The idea of grouping actors and putting them on separate sides of the screen to show that they are against each other could be one that I would use when creating the title sequence of my film.
- Another idea that I might use would be the varying sizes of fonts to show the importance of different people that are associated with creating the film.
- The first part of the title sequence fades onto the screen at 00:05 – “Paramount Pictures presents”the name of the production company – larger font and centre of the shot indicates the importance of this and may infer to an audience that it should be a well-made production as it is a large well-known company.
- At 00:10 – names of the producers – large font and centre frame – infers their importance – also could be the production company using their names as a marketing tool.
- 00:16 – directors name – same location and size as the producers – for the same reasons.
- 00:23 – name of the main actor – same location and same font size – could show that the production company is trying to use the actor’s fame to market their film and make it sound more appealing.
- 00:27 – name of the film – same font size and position – very subtle font – infers the film is not very manic and action filled.
- Between 00:30 and 00:49 the names of 4 other actors appear on screen – everything so far has been same font size and type and position on screen – could infer that the producers aren’t relying on individual people’s stardom to market the film.
- 00:52 the name of the person in charge of casing appears on screen – after the important actors are shown.
- From 00:51 to 01:47 the: co-producer, executive music producer, visual effects supervisor, costume designer, who the music is by, the editor, production designer, director of photography, the author of the book the film is based on, who the screen play is by and the producers all fade on separately, this shows that each individual role was just as important as the other when creating the film.
- The final credit to appear is the director at 01:59 – it has a longer pause after the credit before – could infer that he had the most important role when creating the film.
- One idea that I might use when creating my opening scene is the use of a very subtle font type.
- One technique that I won’t use when editing in the titles of the film is putting all of them in the centre of the screen, as this may disrupt the images shown on screen that could be important to the film later.
- 00:08 the name of the production company fades onto the screen in the centre in a relatively large font – this is so that the people watching the film know who produced the film – meaning that they have their name attached to a successful film.
- 00:18 – the name of the main actor in the film appears on its own as the shot changes from a shot of the actor’s face – this presents to the audience who the actor is so that he can be easily recognised in the film – the name being on its own – infers that the producers are partly relying on star appeal to market the film.
- 00:24 – tells the audience who the main actor is starring as and who created his character.
- 00:29 – the name of the film fades in through fire giving it a more important feel to it.
- The fact that even though these first few credit scenes are in individual shots, they are written as if they are in a sentence this makes these opening credits flow more easily.
- 00:43 to 01:13 – the names of the people the star in the films fade onto the screen individually – never in the centre, smaller font – shows that the producer and production company aren’t relying on these people’s star appeal, however they still play a significant part in the film.
- 01:16 – the names of the producers fade into the top right corner – not using the names as a way of advertising their film – however they still play an important role in creating the film.
- 01:23 to 01:55 – multiple assistants, people doing makeup etc. names appear on screen – bottom corners – small font – the audience focus more on the images on the screen of the antagonists and the protagonists in the film rather than the writing.
- 02:08 – person who did the casting and person who designed the main titles fade on – higher up on the screen, only the two of them on the screen– infers greater importance.
- 02:31 to 03:08 – editors name, director of photography, production designer, music, performer of the song, executive producer – on their own – larger font – more important, gives him more credit.
- 03:16 – screen play and story – above and under protagonists face – doesn’t interrupt the image – protagonist is the most important part.
- 03:28 – producers – on their own, top and centre – more credit for more important job.
- 03:37 – director – as music climaxes and ends – centre of the screen – very important person in creating the film.
- I could use the idea of the of the credits flowing as if they are a sentence for the most important people.
Music and Sound Effects