Wednesday, 27 March 2013

1b) Apply theories of narrative to one of your coursework productions. (25 marks)

I shall be discussing narrative theories in relation to my foundation portfolio, 'Mind Games' which was a thriller opening with a psychological sub-genre.

My group and I clearly knew the importance of expressing certain concepts to the audience in existing media texts. 'Mind Games' shows the life of a wanted mass murderer, hiding from authority. We paid homage to the movies, 'Seven', 'The Shining', 'Scarface' and 'Host'. Scarface influenced us into making the decision of putting the drugs on the table at the start, shown in a close up pan of cocaine and tobacco. We thought that this could be influential in conveying the narrative of our thriller opening as that audience from the start would analyse the mise-en-scene and come to the conclusion that the opening would have negative connotations. Reality is a key theme as the characters often attempt to determine what is real and what is not in the narrative. Homage was paid to 'The Shining' in the close up of the antagonist up against the door with the knife. We thought we would play with the classic door scene in 'The Shining' to help contribute to the narrative and the psychological sub-genre. Identity is another key theme in psychological thrillers, as the characters are often confused about who they are and reach out to discover their true identity or more hidden facts about themselves.

We used the theory of Propp and the seven character types fairly, with a villain who is the murderer in the beginning, the donor which would seem to be the police, sending the officer to a block of flats where they suspect the criminal is residing. It is not made clear whether the hero is the officer at the beginning as there is a cliffhanger left at the end with the knock, the black screen and the laugh of the villain. This could indicate that the officer had knocked on the door and then been murdered by the villain or that he did not knock on the right flat number, it is not clear. Todorov's theory of equilibrium as we provided a distinct story line for the audience to communicate and connect with. We made it clear for the audience to distinguish between the antagonist and the protagonist. The connection with the audience was taken to a higher level with the introduction of enigma codes and a cliffhanger at the end of the opening which showed a side shot of the officer at the front door knocking at the end of the opening. The enigma code is either that the officer has been killed or did not even intend to find the villain and was merely making a visit, or even he knocked on the wrong door altogether. We used the sound of a heartbeat to create tension with the quick cut shots of black screen to the villain, to the officer rapidly creating unease with the audience. The editing insinuates narrative expectations from the script previously such as the officer to be murdered or a sense of uncertainty and not knowing what might happen. It is also evident that my opening has a chronological narrative and the editing is a key component of building the narrative. With an involvement of cross cutting adding to the concept of showing both the villains view and the officers view, the audience are clear about what is happening with both simultaneously. The pans of the villains room add fear and tension into the audience as there is a negative aura surrounding him, guided by the darkness and the claustrophobia of the room. This adds to the expression of narrative in my opening.

Our target audience was 18-30 after much research into the BBFC and with the help of surveys in our sixth form and teachers. The main reason for our selected target audience was the clear representation of cocaine and the knife and the broadcast on the radio of murder. It is then clear to the audience that the film would include graphic and violent content, not suitable for those under the age of 18 who may find it too gory and savage. In the past, violence was one of the most problematic aspects when passing a film with an 18 certificate, whether it is sexualised or fantasized violence. Horror films were often the culprits for depicting graphic violence and this often results in a lot of grief to the examiners. The group of selected students found it creative and gripping and also found the enigma codes connecting with themselves. They claimed that due to the tension created by the heartbeat and the uncertainty created by the cross cutting, it allowed their minds to create question and left them wanting to know more. There were a lot of the same reactions as most of the participants stated they used it as an escape and felt safe with friends around them, as tension started to build.


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