Despite being around since the 1930s television has been very slow to develop. Despite the invention of HD and 100s of channels being added since its conception the main function of TV has not changed.
We are still forced to watch programmes at a given time on a schedule and this is a huge issue for both the viewer and the broadcasting companies. Every channel minus the BBC exist because of their advertising slots and this requires viewership in order to make the maximum amount of revenue. If a channel schedules a popular programme for 8pm and a million potential viewers are not in at that time and cannot view it, yet they want to, then they will miss that program. There are no two ways about it, and this is bad for the consumer as they miss the show if they are unable to watch it at the given time. And it is also bad for the companies as they are missing out on lots of potential revenue as their viewership could be so much bigger if every possible consumer who wanted to watch it, could watch it.
Another problem with the TV is that constraints that have impaired its advancements for instance High Definition. The fact that TV is sent through waves means there is only certain amount of frequencies and space that the channels can broadcast through. Due to all of the channels and especially since the advent of ‘plus one’ channels this space is very tiny now and there simply isn’t the room to broadcast every channel in HD. This blatant lack of advancement means viewers are not getting the best quality they could and it is made especially worse by how widely HD is available on other viewing devices. Another problem with this signal method is that not everyone can get the signals to some or even all of the channels meaning more potential viewers cannot consume it even if they wanted to.
Furthermore the advertising used on the channels is both an annoyance and a deterrent to viewers. A pay per view or just a direct pay system would potentially be more successful and welcomed than the ’round the house’ method of advertising revenue. Advertising simply degrades the quality of the programs as well, as it stops the channels from taking risks and making the best programs they can as they would rather make shows that reliably pull in the maximum viewership.
Overall television is increasing getting more and more outdated with practically prehistoric technology still being used today in a an age when everything is rapidly advancing can only spell disaster for TV as we know it. Nothing shy of a revolution can save television from its impending doom. The move to watching online, advert, signal and schedule free is a much more attract option to many. Changing these set backs are the only way broadcasting and television’s bones can be healed.
So today Courtney & I drew some mind maps to help us figure out what direction we were going to take the film, we combined what films & genres we liked. We thought doing this would kickstart the creative process and help us develop what our film was going to be.
To start us off we looked at what Genres of film we liked as we felt it was important to make a short film about something we’d actually like to see. We found that we both liked the Drama/physiological genres and that I liked war films so we felt maybe we could do something including all these elements. Our next step was to find films that fitted to the genre and that we enjoyed so we could get inspired by them.
We came up with this list;
We can now use this list of films to try and find our path with developing a story and concepts for our work by using devices & techniques used in them. For example we really like the style and cinematography of The Machinist so we may try and replicate that in our film as it is very effective. Also the camerawork and movement in Saving Private Ryan appeals to us as it puts you right into the action with the handheld camera so we may try and use that technique in the piece.
Despite blue sky thinking sometimes being great and allowing you to come up with ideas, I felt we should think inside our means in this one due to it being a big and important task, so we wrote down locations available to us so we could create within our means. We also need to think our a potential audience to target our film at as what is the point in making a film if no one will want to watch it, but we are still looking into that one so stay posted!
So today we pitched our film to the class and our teachers, we outlined the story, genre and themes within our movie and received feedback on these ideas. The idea of these pitches was to be short and concise and yet get the feel of the film across like we were pitching to a real production company or producers. Personally I feel our pitch went over very well and I think everyone understood and liked our idea. This was definitely down to Courtney and I knowing our film back to front and not requiring a script. Although people thought the concept may be a tad ambitious and hard to fit into a 5 minute short but from my point of view I feel once we start the scripting process we can reduce it down and make it fit and flow in the timeframe. What I can take away from the feedback is that we will need to work on showing and not telling the story but this also will have to be figured out in the scripting and storyboard process. But overall I think this a cemented our idea and I cant wait to develop it further.
So after much deliberation Courtney and I decided that a short film would be the better option. We both wanted a definite story line and felt that it would be easier to script a short film rather than a feature length and trying to break that down into a trailer. We feel that constructing a short film would be much more satisfying as it allows to demonstrate more of our abilities, our project while ambitious should be much more fulfilling than doing a vague outline of a plot that a trailer would be.
Courtney and I both enjoy dramas and we feel that the medium of a short film would be best for us to replicate the drama. The suspense we can create in five minute would be far superior to a trailer and we are really interested in developing a character on screen. We are really excited to start the scripting process as our rough idea that you will have seen in the pitch is certainly promising. We are now working on developing it and making it a mature and structure piece and trying to think of many elements that come together to make a climatic and satisfying ending.
So after looking at some trailers I thought in the interest of equitableness I should look a couple short films so I can weigh up the pros and cons of doing one or the other. I have done short films in the past and have viewed a number in my time so I feel at the moment they are what I’m leaning towards.
The first short film I viewed was SIGNS a 12 minutes speechless film about a lonely office worker who start communicating with a cute girl in next building using written signs.
The second film I watched was Top Floor which tells the story of a high powered hedge fund manager, who finds out that his biggest investor may be pulling out of the fund and his world begins to collapse on him, as he juggles fatherhood, his ex-wife, and one very big secret.
This film really shows that cinematography and set design is key for telling a successful short film. The short film platform is plagued by low budget attempts so to really stand out you must be able to successfully dress the set and position and move the camera in a way the fits the genre and story you are telling. This may sound very tricky but by watching lots of short films and feature length films, I feel by replicating what they do I to can achieve the same level of success. Obviously this short is 12 minutes long which does demonstrate to me that telling a story in 5 minutes and pacing it effectively could be a tricky task.
I feel some stories shine more when in a succinct fashion, I feel Top Floor could work as a feature but SIGNS definitely couldn’t so it will be about finding a mixture if I do a short film so I can bring out the best in this story telling medium. Short films while challenging to accomplish may be more fulfilling and easier to make my own than a trailer as it feels more of a in depth project. I shall be having a conversation with my partner in crime Courtney tomorrow and we shall come to a decision!
So before I make a decision I must consider my options so I’ve taken a look at what it will take to make a successful trailer if I were to choose to do one.
While googling for trailers I found this trailer for Insidious: Chapter 2 it was a good trailer for a number of reasons.
The trailer cleverly shows the film from beginning to end revealing the basic plot however it balances it enough so it does not spoil the story and yet still gives the audience enough to leave them wanting more. Through the use of fades it suggests the passing of time over the course of a trailer giving them an idea of where each snippet is coming from in the film and also presenting that the film is filled with scary and climatic moments all throughout its running time. By only including the most thrilling and important moments in the trailer it keeps the audience interested and sells the film more as it is only the most entertaining parts of the film being shown to them. This may be hard to replicate if I were to make a trailer as big climatic moments often require big budgets which I simply wont have. On the other hand the dialogue used is just as powerful as visually thrilling moments so it may be an idea to focus on that if I were to undertake the challenge of making a trailer. Also noticeable is the fact that the trailer builds up from the innocent start with the security of a casual family life which then transpires into the eerie atmosphere of the haunted house and then in the final few seconds a taste of the all out scare fright that this film is trying to live up to and while you are full engrossed in the ending of the trailer they are sure to flash up the name of the film, the date it comes out and where you can see it. This is of course all aided by a strong soundtrack which accompanies the visuals all the way through the trailer and accents every twist and turn in the piece.
However all of these features, as good as they are, are undercut by this for importance; the trailer very clearly from the start shows what genre the film is (horror). This is done through a number of key pointer such as the music, the mise-en-scene and the scares which all add up to informing every audience member what to expect if they see this film.
The second trailer I watched was for Robocop (2014)
This trailer despite showing that it will never live up to the original at least has some good talking points. The trailer uses a establishing shot to quickly show to the audience the sci-fi genre and setting of the film putting the rest of trailer into perspective. The trailer also uses something that I wouldn’t be able to benefit from… STAR POWER. The trailer gives a large amount of screen time to the big name actors they have in the film for example Samuel L Jackson who seems to be playing a minor role in the film yet still manages to get shown for a large proportion of the film. This indicates to the viewer the class of talent the film contains and possible helps sell them on going to see the film. Also the pacing of the trailer is much more important compared to Insidious, the fast pacing and lack of fades really gives you a feel of how the film will feel. There is also a memorable tag line included near the start which also helps set the scene for both the trailer and the film, this could be a useful and easy device to use if I did a trailer. The music again is key here as the load, fast and punchy music again underpins the intended message that this film is action packed and exciting. The trailer again highlights key aspects of the plot with a emphasis on the emotion the audience will feel when they see the film by including a variety of different scenes from love to action. Differing in this trailer was the couple of seconds of idents at the start which provided a mark of quality as they were well known studios. If I were to do a trailer it may be an idea to include idents simply to show the mark of quality however as I wouldn’t be a ‘well known studio’ it may not have the same effect.
Overall the use of an establishing shot & tag line were certainly attractive to me as they really made it clear to the audience what the trailer was for. So if I were to attempt crafting a trailer it may be an idea to include these features in my piece.
The third and finally trailer I viewed was for a interesting film that goes by the name Ass Backwards
The trailer leapt out with neon pink & blue titles which certainly was an attempt to target its female audience. This is something I will have to do with either my trailer or my short film as that is a key factor in making a successful piece is having a clear target audience. Another thing I noticed was the huge amount of dialogue contained in the trailer with nearly full scenes being included I presume this is because the film is a comedy. It shows that different genres follow different conventions and styles even in the trailer therefore I should be sure to pay close attention as to what are the key aspects needed to make my trailer work, thats if I do one. This trailer also tried to make the viewer invested in the main characters by giving them plenty of screen time and repeating their names throughout. This use of the characters is also key in comedies as you need to be able to find the protagonists funny in order to enjoy the film.
Overall I have learnt that pacing, establishing the story, music and target audience are all vastly important when composing a trailer and every apsect must be given equal importances for the trailer to work and flow. I feel that after looking at trailers I’m not convinced on attempting one and a short film may be the route for me, however I still need to view more short films to see if that is something I can produce better. We shall see, so keep posted!
It is time to debate the two choices we have been given for our media coursework this year.
- Option 1 a trailer
- Option 2 a short film
The idea of doing a trailer is appealing as it would be a shorter piece of work, however to make it seem like it is taken from segments of a 2 hour feature may be challenging due to the range of costumes, locations and actors needed. But I would be less reliant on the talent of actors as they would not have to speak to much dialogue or have large amounts of screen time. So that could be beneficial if I was struggling to find gifted actors but I do not feel that would not be a problem as I have contacts with a local theatre group and students who do drama at college.
A short film is definitely a huge undertaking as it will require you to maintain an audiences attention over an extended time frame additionally unlike a trailer it would need to actors to have much more talent as they would have to be able to carry the story both convincingly and entertainingly while also allowing the viewers to empathise with them over the course of the story. The short film may also take a lot longer to film and edit as it will require linking extended sequences and scenes together depending on how complex the plot is. It may also take a lot more planning and research as it is a more constructed piece of work and needs to be paced and laid out effectively to work in the short film format. However a short film may be more rewarding as it has a definite end and can be viewed and enjoyed rather than making a trailer which just shows information for a films release.