Tuesday, 12 January 2010



In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

Our media product draws on most conventions of a thriller opening; suspense, action, mixtures of fast and slow editing and other key aspects feature to ensure that the target audience is obtained.  Although our piece does not challenge all expectations of a thriller, it uses some to capture an audience that will enjoy the creative use of the motifs and conventions associated with this genre.

 like a typical thriller trailer, we used a soundtrack to enhance the themes of the clip. The music we used was music from an amateur musician from the video sharing site YouTube, in which we asked permission to use. In the editing process we manipulated and volume automated the tracks to fit the scenes in our piece like a typical opening sequence. We made sure that the music fit the genre because the original riff used in the track we asked to use is copied from a thriller/horror movie called SAW and contains the right energy to emphasise the chase scene.

How does your media product represent particular social groups?

Our media product represents mainly the young adult social group, as the actors featured are 18. Although this may appear to have its limitations in terms of connecting with a wide audience, it should incidentally create a new audience as the appeal of a younger cast may draw people of the same ages who wouldn't usually go to see a thriller. Although we often see slightly older cast members in thrillers; Bruce Willis in the Die Hard series for example, the idea of selecting a predominately younger cast seems to be increasingly popular; Shia LaBeouf and Sarah Roemur in 'Disturbia', for example. Both these actors are young and had little film acting experience before, yet Disturbia hit number one and made £23 million in its first week of release, from a small budget of just $20million; worldwide it made $117 million, proving that a young cast can appeal to people beyond its assumed audience.

What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?

A number of institutions may wish to take on a thriller with younger and older audience appeal; naturally, the more audiences targeted, the more of a financial success the film is able to be. For example, paramount pictures clearly foresaw the talent of Disturbia's young cast and the potential it had to attract a large audience; they decided to give the green light which was a wise move for Paramount, as it was a box office hit. Because our cast is also male and female, this broadens the demographic, making it more appealing to an institution.

Who would be the audience for your media product?

Thinking about the narrative style of our opening, I would expect the typical age and gender of our target audience would be mainly male of ages 13+. We feel that it would attract a male audience because other films such as 'die hard' and 'rush hour' follow the same concepts of chase scenes and dominant male protagonists. 

However, unlike these films, our male main characters are teenagers attracting a younger audience also.

How did you attract/address your audience?

The age range of the actors in our sequence i think attracts and reflects the target audience (Just like 'disturbia's young cast, this would appeal to others of the actors age.) Because we chose the thriller concept of an unusual occurrence happening in a normal situation, part of our mise en scene, our characters clothing portrayed a normal, typical teenagers fashion sense, which would appeal and relate to a teenage target audience. 

What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing the product?

During the planning, filming and editing phases we learnt how to combine various technologies, software and hardware to create the final product. As last year we had an issue with taking the colleges steady cams off site outside of college hours we used our own camera device. Although the quality of image was poorer, our plot and story line would have been weaker if our location was limited to the college grounds. We edited and manipulated sound and video in the Software final cut pro; the acquisition and implement of skills needed to use this programme were paramount to the successful editing of our piece.  Through the use of these various technologies and devices, we learnt that attention to detail and technological convergence are paramount to creating an opening sequence. 

Looking back to your preliminary task, what do you feel that you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?

From the very early stages to the final cut, we have learnt a number of valuable lessons when considering the technicalities and complications that we are faced with as creators of an opening sequence. We have collectively realised that continuity is an issue of great importance, as physical changes to actors and surroundings can set filming back, and look bad. In addition to the issue of continuity, the time frame and correct use of time allocated is also an issue we have learnt crucial lessons from. In order to use time as efficiently as possible, a time plan or time frame should be at least agreed upon, and preferably written down in order to complete filming with sufficient time to edit. That said, we are aware we have exceeded the time limit of our opening sequence but we found it difficult to set the soundtrack to the plot in our sequence without exceeding the limit slightly.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Preliminary Task

In our preliminary task we were asked to :
film and edit a sequence of shots in groups in which a character opens a door, crosses a room and sits down in a chair opposite another character, with whom she/he then exchanges a couple of lines of dialogue. It should also demonstrate match on action, shot/reverse shot and the 180-degree rule.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010


'Subversion' Opening Sequence

Wednesday, 16 December 2009


In order to avoid copyright infringement, we asked permission from the creator of the music we used in our thriller opening via YouTube messages. We are 100% sure that the song was originally created by this user.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic


We created a survey asking people of age ranges 16-18 what their view on the conventions of a thriller movie were:

Here is the question we asked

Thriller Opening Audience Feedback

From your knowledge of Thriller films, what do you think are the main stereotypical characteristics displayed?


And here are our results

Working Script for 


Directed by Rachel Newbolt


Katy Clarkson as unnamed girl in check shirt


Grant Joseph as 'Dan'

Opening Shot

The opening shot is an establishing shot of a block of flats at night time with down-lighters illuminating the side of the building. The beginning of a piece of music can be heard, it is of medium volume.

Blur to:

The same shot again, only this time blurred. A piece of text of white text fades into the scene stating the production company 'G & R Productions Presents'

Fade to:

The same shot again, only this time during the day time. The block of flats is now fully visible, as is the surrounding area of trees. In the foreground, the roofs of two houses can be seen to each side of the screen. The music remains the same but now a continuous beat can be heard, and another piece of white text appears saying 'An Apollo Film' briefly before the shot change

Jump Cut to:

A high angle shot panning to the right, the white text remains for a moment then fades. As the camera tracks and the text disappears, a gun with the clip detached and a bullet laying next to it is revealed, swell as more white text saying 'An Apollow Film'. Music remains the same.

Fade to:

Same high angle shot but this time coming down the bed from the pillow end, this time closer to the bed which yet again reveals the gun, it's detached clip and a bullet. Some more white text appears saying 'Directed by Rachel Newbolt'. Music remains the same.

Fade to:

A mid shot of a girl in a checkered shirt sitting on the top deck of a bus, she has her head down reading a book. The bus is moving, and some more white text appears giving the name of the actress playing the girl 'Starring Katy Clarkson'. Music remain the same.

Cut to:

A mid shot of the view from the bus window as it moves. A man in a blue top and jeans is walking, as houses are passing by. Music remains the same.

Cut to:

Side head shot of the same girl on the bus, her eyes facing down towards the book she is still reading. The bus is still moving and the view is still visible in the background. More white text saying '& Grant Joseph' appears, telling us the name of a character we have yet to meet. Music remains the same. 

Cut to:

Another shot of the view from the same window of the bus, same angle as before. Music remains the same. 

Cut to:

A close up side view of the girl answering her mobile phone. As she answers it, the title of the piece 'Subversion' appears on the screen in the same colour, only this time in italics. This then fades as the girl ends the call. Music remains the same. 

Cut to:

Pan mid shot of the bus driving away. As the camera pans around, some cars go past and you see the girl from the bus walking with a blue bag away from the camera. Music remains the same. 

Cut to:

Long shot of the girl walking towards the camera at an angle, she appears to be walking amongst grey concrete buildings. As she walks closer to the camera, a boy in a school uniform of a jumper and trousers runs past. The girl then stops just near the camera in a side mid shot, and looks around her. She then walks forward slightly. Music remains the same, but we can also hear background noise such as a cars engine and children's voices shouting in the background. it is the end of the school day.

Cut to:

Over the shoulder shot of a dark figure, the girl is visible in the background of the shot walking towards and facing towards the camera. The music is now fading down, and the girl can be heard saying "dan, dan is that you". She then stops.

Cut to:

Over the shoulder shot this time from the girls point of view, with the dark figure now visible in the background. His face is covered and his head is down, and he stands in the shadows of a set of covered garages. The music has now completely faded, and the girl once again repeats his name.

Cut to:

Same over the shoulder shot from the point of view of the dark figure, the girl walks forward as she says "oh yeh sorry i didn't give you the money last week", simultaneously reaching for her pocket. 

Cut to:

Side mid shot of the figure grabbing the girl and slamming her against some rusty metal fencing. He is now facing her.

Cut to:

Closer side shot from the opposite side of the previous shot, the dark hooded figure grabs her by the shoulders and continues to violently push her against the rust metal fencing. Some dialogue is said but isn't audible, and then the dark figure throws the girl to the ground. As she is thrown, the editing goes into slow motion and the beginning of some different music can be solely heard. 

Cut to: 

Medium shot of girl getting up erratically and running off with 'Dan' in pursuit. The camera then pans sharply to the right as it follows the chase. The music is now fast paced with a heavy beat.

Cut to:

Establishing shot on street level of the area they are in, a local residential scene. Some by standers watch as the girl comes into view running down the street, followed swiftly by 'Dan'. Music remains the same. 

Cut to:

Low angle shot of the girl from the front, it appears as if the camera is strapped to her as the image is shaky as she runs. Behind her, the tops of the surrounding flats can be seen as she looks over her shoulder. 

Cut to:

Long shot of the two running down the same residential area, they are now in the distance. Music remains the same. 

Cut to:

Same low angle shot of the girl from the front, she is still running and the buildings can still be seen behind her. Music remains the same. 

Cut to:

Same long shot of the residential area with the two people in the chase no way into the distance, most of the bystanders are now gone but a girl in a school uniform pokes her head out of her door with her head facing away from us. Music remains the same. 

Cut to:

Shot of a walk way, with a tree and some leaves to the right of the screen The pair involved in the chase come from around the right hand corner facing the camera, they both run straight past the camera. Music remains the same. 

Cut to:

Mid shot of the pair running away from the camera, a different tree is close up in the left hand corner. The pair then both run around another corner visible on the mid right of the screen. Music remains the same. 

Cut to:

Low angle shot of some medium height flats, they are a dark brick colour and some have washing lines with clothes hanging and cable T.V. receivers. 'Dan' comes quickly into the same view, we see most of his face but his hood remains up. He looks from left to right. Music remains the same.

Cut to:

Point of view shot from 'Dan's' view, the camera repeats the looking of left to right that 'Dan' has just done, some flats of similar build to the ones in the previous shot can be see, only it is the front of the flats. Music remains the same. 

Cut to:

Shot of the same flats in the previous shot, 'Dan' the comes into view, rung away from the right hand side of the screen, turning right around a corner. Music remains the same. 

Cut to:

Mid shot of 'Dan' running through a short underpass with flats overhead. Music stops and 'Dan' appears to be shot from the right hand side, editing goes into slow motion as he hits the fence to the left of him. 

Cut to:

Low angle shot of 'Dan' sliding down the side of the fence in slow motion, he is faced towards the camera and has his hand clasped to his side, he then begins to fall away from the fence. The echo of the bullet can still be heard.

Cut to:

Flashback of the gun on the bed from a previous shot, tracking to the right. 

Jump cut to:

'Dan' falling to the ground in slow motion, as he is just about to fall the editing skips and then he continues to fall. The echo of the bullet is just audible and then fades out as he hits the floor.

Cut to:

Long shot looking through the small underpass, 'Dan' lies still on the floor in the background next to the fence. A figure with it's hood up then appears with it's side facing us from behind the wall of the underpass in the background near where 'Dan' lies. The figure nudges 'Dan's' body, and then turns to us. The music from when the girl was on the bus can be heard. 

Jump cut:

The same shot as before, only the figure from the previous shot is now walking towards us in slow motion. It is the girl from the bus with a hooded jacket on. It is unzipped so that we can see the checkered shirt, but her hood is up. She walks past the camera on the right of the screen, still in slow motion. Music remains the same. 

Cut to:

Black screen, the music fades out.





What is a Thriller?

The thriller genre has been explored by numerous directors, taking on different ideas and different concepts to make them constantly successful as crowd pullers in the film realm.

Thrillers are usually characterised by fast paced editing in action scenes, speedy camera action, adrenalin pumping 'life or death' situations, and characters following the heroes and villains theme; in this case, heroes mostly always defeat the villains.

In our Thriller opening we want to to convey the typical thriller scenario; a fast paced piece that contains a confrontation which leads to a chase and an attack. The ending of our piece references the title of the piece (Subversion), as the audience is led to believe that the hooded character has all the power whereas the power is held by the character holding the bag. This shows how we have subverted the expectations of the audience, as they presume that the female character is in distress whereas the male is infect going to be the victim.

Thriller opening sequence analysis for 'Seven'-Directed by Kyle Cooper


Camera Shots, Angles and Movements

Largely using a mix of close ups and extreme close ups, director Kyle Cooper sets the tone for this piece of cinema and sets out the themes for us as an audience. We see hands, most likely those of the killer obsessed with the seven deadly sins, tearing pages and highlighting sentences from documents and also writing and sticking things together that we later find out he leaves at the scenes of his victims death. This shows the audience that the killer is intelligent, well read and takes a meticulous approach to his work. This technique works well as it builds the profile of the character without actually revealing said characters identity; building mystery and intrigue is a key component to any thriller opening.


The use of a completely non-diegetic soundtrack for this opening sequence is typical of the conventions of thriller openings. The music builds and gains pace as the sequence progresses, and there is some match-on-action in terms of the movements of the hands shown as he touches books and grasps objects. The music is eerie, contains heavy beats and a lot of synthesised sound, some of which sounds like screaming, again matching the torture suggested by the needles and other objects that are shown. At the end of the sequence, a voice recorded through a voice decoder says 'you bring me closer to God' which emphasises the films themes which link to God and the seven deadly sins.


The editing is dense and, in parts, fast paced. This pace comes from the jump cuts we see between the hands moving and images of text/scripture. This conforms to the conventions of thriller opening sequences, which are often not particularly lengthy and feature action that is directly linked to events in the film.

Mise en scene

Mise en Scene is key to this thriller in particular, as it connotes the dark and suspicious tones of the film overall. The hands of the killer are dirty, chaffed and chapped suggesting that he works for long periods of time, and that he doesn't have an issue with becoming dirty or unclean whilst doing his murderous work because his victims, to him, are just as dirty and unholy. We also see him developing photos, connoting that he has the skills to do numerous things with his hands and again suggests that he is intelligent and learned.


The opening sequence only features one character, the antagonist, instantly making this character the most important. His hands are the main focus, which could be a reference to godliness or god like activity and the creation story in the book of genesis, as God made the world with his own hands in seven days; linking to the title of the film, and the general spiritual connections of the number seven.


There is only one location appearing in this sequence, a shady and dank looking room with no natural light where the antagonist does his work. This is typical of a thriller, as it connotes the idea of an outsider doing his work in a place far from the rest of society.


It is instantly obvious that the film is going to involve some kind of physical pain and torture from the kind of work the hands are doing. Although it is not immediately obvious that the physical torture relates to deadly sins, the fact that the hands highlight words and sentences, and the meticulousness of his preparations suggest that he has a structure to his work.


The themes of suffering and torture are recognisable from the start, as the hands prepare messages to leave at murder scenes. As well as torture and suffering, the importance of literary texts and scripture also come out in the opening sequence. We see the hands grasp a book from a box that appears to have other quite large books within it, which we could assume to be biblical or philosophical texts.

Visual Style

The visual style is unique to films of it's nature, and can be compared the SAW films. Although SAW is not actually a thriller, some of it's themes and conventions are typical of the thriller genre e.g. a chase to catch the killer, peril, and violence.


The music and Mise en Scene of the opening sequence clearly define this as a thriller. Fast and erratic editing and music that builds as the sequence develops are all typical thriller conventions. As well as this, camera angles that reveal action but conceal the identity of the person doing the action builds suspense and interest, this is essential to provoking the audiences mind, making them want to continue to watch the film.

Thriller opening sequence analysis for 'Panic Room'-Directed by David Fincher


Camera shots, Angles and Movements

The camera shots we see are mostly high angle or establishing shots. They are typical of films like 'Die Hard' or 'Mission Impossible', previewing to the audience where the action will take place. As they pan, they reveal the names of the actors in a unique style of credit typography. They appear 3D, and when 'An Indelible Picture' is shown, you can also see 'Jodie Foster' in the background. This could possibly be a mistake, or it could be to emphasis how important she is as a cast member.


The sequence features both Diegetic and Non Diegetic sound. The Diegetic soundtrack is typical of the pace the sequence is located, featuring sirens and general traffic noise you'd expect to hear over New York City. The Non Diegetic soundtrack is from an orchestra, and the use of big brass instruments sets the tone for the film as action based, as these kinds of arrangements of orchestras are often heard in big budget thriller films.


The editing, although featuring a lot of camera angle changes, is fairly slow in pace and uses simple clean cuts and pans. This suggests we are not going to enter immediately into the action, providing the time to give background to the characters and provide the audience with the context of the action before it begins.

Mise en Scene

Predominantly featuring shots of tall buildings and apartment blocks, the Mise en Scene gives the impression that all the action is going to take place within Manhattan New York City in general. Again, this is typical of Thriller convention, as it shows us where the action will be. As well as this, the inclusion of images of happy families is later on proven to be ironic because two of the main characters are from broken homes.


Although we see no characters, we are given the names of the actors and actresses featuring in the movie. This tells the audience what kind of performances they can expect, as both Jodie Foster and Forest Whitaker have both featured in other thrillers before.


The location pictured is instantly recognisable as New York City, with it's trademark sky scrapers and endless apartment blocks. Towards the end of the sequence we see leaves falling from trees, telling us it's Autumn, a time when nature generally dies and prepares for winter, part of a prophetic fallacy.


Although what the films is precisely about is ambiguous at this stage, we can grasp that the plot is set in New York City, possibly in a characters house. Additional clues include a billboard which says 'face your fears', which is ironic because in America a panic room is where people hide, usually from burglars or unwanted guests.


Although the theme of panic is obvious from the title, any other themes are at this moment hidden from us until we carry on with the film. The location, it could be then argued, is the most important theme of the film as we find out later in the plot development but also because the title sequence spends over a minute establishing where the film takes place.

Visual Style

The visual style is very simplistic, however the typography is unique and could be interpreted as doing more than just showing us the names of those featured. The typical style in which the titles are show is 2D, whereas it could be argued the 3D names make it seem that they are placed on walls or create walls, connoting a room effect.


It is clear from the style of the opening sequence that this is a Thriller, featuring high angle shots and establishing shots typical of other movies in this genre.

Thriller opening sequence analysis for 'Children of Men'-Directed by Alfonso Cuaron


Camera Shot/Angle/Movement

Using mainly a tracking shot, we meet a sense of voyeurism as soon as the film begins. As well as this tracking shot, we see a long shot focused on a television which documents the death of the youngest person in the world, which is crucial to the plot. The long tracking shot has become legend amongst film fanatics, as it is one of the longest and was one of the hardest shots to get in cinema due to the amount of action taking place.


The sound is wholly diegetic in the opening sequence, with the sounds of the city dominant over than when the t.v. is in focus. When the screen is in focus, we here the peril filled news stories featured on that particular mornings news. This creates a sense of realism, as the film is meant to document London in the year 2027, a time where no-one can procreate.


The editing is slow and tracks the Protagonist through the crowd of people in the cafe, again emphasising the idea of voyeurism and placing importance on the male character being tracked. However, the steady cam style becomes shaky and unsteady after the explosion happens, and then the screen cuts to black with the title of the film in white bold writing.

Mise en Scene

The Mise en Scene is that of a grim, busy City of London. As well as this, we see the hustle and hysteria of the boy featured in the news item who was the youngest person alive and had been killed. The Mise en Scene also captures the mood of the tie through the people in the shop, who appear down trodden and depressed as they watch more horrific news. This peril is typical of the conventions of a thriller.


The Protagonist is the main focus for the opening sequence. He is solely tracked for the majority of the piece, and he's dressed in attire typical of those who work in the city. He stands solemnly stirring a hot beverage, again setting the pessimistic tone of the film.


We are told the City the film is set in is London 2027 by a sub title, but it is clear from the stereotypical black taxis and the inclusion of St Paul's cathedral amidst a polluted sky that this is London. The big, busy City is a typical setting for a thriller movie, therefore meeting the conventions of it's genre.


Unlike 'Panic Room', we receive plot related references and information in the opening sequence of 'Children of Men'. The item being read by the news readers voices tells us of the state in which society exists, a key part of the plot of the film. We also hear of a man who has died after being mobbed because of his celebrity status as youngest person on earth, emphasising the lack of reproduction amongst humans.


The themes of social peril comes through instantly through the use of the news update at the very beginning of the sequence. As well as this, the explosion the very end of the sequence emphasises the theme of terrorism throughout the film.

Visual Style

The visual style is voyeuristic and almost documentary like due to the use of the hand held camera effect, continuously tracking the male protagonist. in addition to this, the realism of the piece is highlighted through the inclusion of well known landmarks such as St Paul's Cathedral.


The opening sequence clearly defines this piece of cinema as a thriller, meeting most of the conventions of a thriller in the first minute. Using a voyeuristic filming style, the thriller theme is explored through a realistic documentary style title sequence that draws in an audience that in todays society is obsessed with our future plight.