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

28 Feb

The article “Characteristics of a great short film” ,taken from the Yahoo site pictured above, states five specific conventions that a real short film should include. I have compared our short film Deadline in relation to conforming or going against these general characteristics.

“Simplicity: A short film does not have the same length and funding that a feature film would have, so it is best to keep the film simple, but meaningful. A complex and detailed storyline can always be implied through simple gestures and great screenwriting without the unnecessary overkill of dialogue and back story. A poignant and moving short film can best be achieved with an unpredictable ending, a quirky conflict, a decent score, and a reasonable time frame.”

In terms of simplicity our production may seem unclear and confusing with the use of different metanarrative constructs and quicky switches in genre and narrative subplots, however the general concept of the film is simple; A group of students making a film about making a film.

“Interesting Characters: The importance of dialogue is crucial to a short film because the dynamics and sustainability of a character/actor will be very apparent within the first few minutes of the film. These characters do not have the time to be surrounded by a great deal of depth about their life. Instead, paint pictures about their life using lighting, music, and selective dialogue. Do not waste a word on unimportant interaction. The character should pop off the screen from the moment the lines are delivered.”

The characters themselves do not give any details away about their charcaters however there is extensive dialogue about their situation and task which is in school. Therefore mise-en-scene and costume tend to give aspects which are important to the narrative away although the dialogue is very self explanitory. Despite this I don’t think our characters are uninteresting although unusually we do play ourselves.

“Conflicts: Screenwriters and directors are always seeking ways of reinventing storylines. However, for short films, it is perfectly normal to take a basic conflict and add your own creative twist to it. Research award winning short films and look at examples of what those basic conflicts may be. Many short films revolve around self discovery of adolescents, divorces, suicide, or any other generic topics that make for a good drama. Whatever the conflict may be, keep it simple and make the resolution a creative and unique one. The resolution is — in many cases — almost more important and significant than the conflict, especially with short films.”

The only conflict really present in the film is that the characters are trying to create a A-level media studies project and are limited to the generic mark scheme. However, this is resolved as the production turns out to be a film about a film.

“Emotion: Short films are less focused on entertainment and more focused on the emotion that it evokes from the audiences. For this reason, most short films are not comedic or satirical, but dramatic and moving. Seek out the dramatic emotion of the film, whether it be romantic, somber, or ambiguous, and mold your characters around the colors of emotions that the film is implying. A defined mood for the film will set a strong preface for a theme and emotion.”

In terms of emotion our film is not particularly dramatic or moving apart from the subplot ‘Ed Dies’ which was conveyed with emotional music and extreme close ups portraying character emotion. However, even this part of the film was dealt with in a comedic way. The film is largely a comedy with little or no emotive focus. Insead we set out to engage the audience with the complex nature of the film and the continuous changes in narrative leaving it nearly impossible to portray an emotion that runs throughout the entire sequence but I still think that we we’re very successful in engaging the audience as our feedback told us that people largely enjoyed what it had to offer.

“Originality: Short films are the one type of film category that does not require a set standard or formula in order to be successful. Short films can take all different types of directions; the director and screenwriter’s vision of the film will determine how original and unique it is. Maintaining originality is hugely important for a successful short film, so it is crucial to dig deep into the caverns of creativity and seek out the unique elements of the film and make it stand out.”

I think that our film is a very original cencept that makes it stand out from most standard linear narrative short films. We we’re very experimental with self-reflexivity, genres, special effects and the outcome was very effective.

Special Effects
Self Reflexivity. What is Reality?

Generally, our film goes against codes and conventions of real media products. However in deliberately doing this is it conforms to the movement or form of postmodernism.

Postmodernism is the movement in any media where the boundary between reality and representational media construct becomes hard to distinguish. Postmodernism is where artist of the media experiments with the idea of reality and representation through pastiche, parody and intertextual references. When media texts of products deliberately set out to explore and play with the state of hyperreality, they are defined as intertextual or self-referential whereby they break the rules of realism to explore the nature of their own status as constructed texts.


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