Sunday, 20 March 2011


Welcome to my Blog!

Final Cut

This is the final cut of Suburban Zombie.

Evaluation - Question2

How does your media product represent particular social groups?

In representation there are 7 different areas which we can cover when it comes to representation, these 7 areas are: 

  • Social Class and Status
  • Gender
  • Sexuality
  • Regional Identity
  • Age
  • Ethnicity
  • Physical ability/disability
Binary oppositions are a key factor when it comes to representations, for example gender which is represented by mise-en-scene, manly un-revealing clothes for males, bright coloured revealing stylish clothes for females, we can pick out binary opposition for all of the above areas of representation.

In Suburban Zombie we tried to include verisimilartude in our text, to do this we followed the common fashion of "hoodies" in the youths of today. Media texts existing today which use this aspect of representation are films such as Harry Brown where this idea is taken into play all the way throughout the film. 

A scene from Harry Brown.

We made the blood out of Ketchup as we didn't have time to purchase anything else that was better. We asked our cast if it was ok to bring old clothes to the set so that we could make it more realistic with blood. 

Characters shown in our opening are:
  • Matt Johnson - Protagonist
  • Sam Boyes - Protagonist
  • Zombies
Factors which influenced our representations:
  • Current youth culture
  • Recent media texts
Matt Johnson: typical badass , smoking - rebellious, rough character.
Sam Boyes: badass, smart, serious facial expression and violent actions.
Zombies: typical Romero zombies, hoodie zombies (Shaun of the Dead)

Sam Boyes - Colin (Colin)

Matt Johnson - Ben (Night of the Living Dead)

Regional Identity is one of the important area's of representation in our media text, as both characters are rough, rebellious northerner's we can see this from the dialogue, when Matt Johnson uses the Yorkshire Slang, "Dinner Time" this immediately signifies that he is from a rural part of Britain. From the clothes that they wear we can see that they are youths (hoodies) yet we see that they counter type the stereotypical northern thick backwards image, and use teamwork to slay the zombies.

Overall we have mixed both the stereotypes and counter-types of the northern man. If i had chance to reshoot, and change the cast choice i probably would not, as there is not enough spotlight on the north of England as foreign countries do not see anything from Britain other than  middle-upper class white people from London.

Evaluation - Question1

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

The famous establishing shot from Halloween
Looking at real media products, we can see that there are common reoccurances in most if not all media texts. Starting from the beginning of a film,  we often see the company ident's which are in partnership with the film and the company who distributed it, usually the text moves onto a beginning to the film, we call this an introduction. Usually there will be a soundtrack, along with titles which sometimes are animated or sometimes not which explain who the cast are, who directed the film or many other roles in the production of the film, a common colour for a title is white, this varies depending on genre, in some cases such as Rom-Coms  where we see the titles in the mise-en-scene, where-as in horror it may be red to signify the idea of blood/danger. In most media texts they start with an establishing shot. A famous example of this is the Steadi-Cam shot in Halloween. Most media texts follow the 180 degree rule and shot/reverse shot. To make scenes more interesting there is often cross-cutting, which is when the film is edited so that we can see what is happening in two places at once as the camera is cutting between shots. Usually the protagonist/antagonist is the focus in a scene, we can see this as they take up most of the frame and are often tracked throughout a shot.
Famous Opening Credits from James Bond.

Clear examples of font types.
The sound in a text can either be diegetic or non-diegetic , in a reasonable amount of openings there is non-diegetic music playing, such as in James Bond with the classic opening credits being played with non-diegetic music over the top. Usually in the horror genre, fast paced editing is used to create tension and suspense, whereas in other genres, such as Rom-Com or Comedy, a variety of different styles are used, often longer takes as you are focused on the dialogue. There is a consistent style of narrative in recent movies, using Todorov's theory of equilibrium. This is where there is an equilibrium at the start, something happens which creates a problem, we call this a dis-equilibrium, the characters in the film try to fix the problem and when they do they create a restored equilibrium, we call this the new equilibrium. This theory is used in most films but not all. We see a clear representation in media texts, often the binary opposition between genders, races and different sexuality's  (explained in later questions). Another key part of media texts is to anchor what genre the audience is watching, this anchorage is provided via exposition from most of the things seen on screen such as dialogue, titles, mise-en-scene and more. From titles, we can see if a serif or sans-serif font that the genre is either a comedy/rom-com or horror/zombie etc. by the shape of the font, if we see rough sharp edges, it signifies that the genre is horror/zombie etc. as the sharpness of the font represents death, knives, weapons etc.

One of the protagonists from Shaun of the Dead.
In media texts we have a stereo type of characters, such as, a blonde busty female who is represented as a helpless, dumb prostitute who needs to be punished for her sins. We also have the stereotypical "Final Girl" who usually ends up being the obvious, final girl. She is usually brunette , smart, a virgin and wears not so "revealing" clothing. Sometimes we have a "counter-type" which completely tricks the reading portrayed by the audience, where the blonde is the one that survives, and the typical final girl is killed.

The weapon used by one of the Protagonists in
Suburban Zombie.

Suburban Zombie follows the basic conventions of a zombie text, as it has fast paced cross-cutting, non-diegetic sound, diegetic sound. It has the idea of surviving in it, as the protagonists are in a derelict house at the start, they use weapons which are seen in the famous Shaun of the Dead. Later on in Suburban Zombie we have a final girl who is the last surviving person in the film. One thing that we dont have a clear view of is Todorov's equilibrium as we do not see the normal state before the infection takes place. We have 2 company idents, which real media texts have too, along with serif titles.

Feedback from our ident.
Key Conventions of the Zombie Genre:
Conventions of the zombie genre are such things as the undead braindead bloodthirsty infected ghoul-like creatures which were first created by George A. Romero, this concept was first seen in  Night of the Living Dead, this really did spark off the start of the Zombie Genre. The Zombie Genre is a form of horror, so mixed in with conventions of it, are conventions from horror, such as the very effective Dutch angled shot and the idea of surviving. Fast paced editing and one of the most common, key features of the genre is gore, lots and lots of gore. This anchors the fact that it is a zombie film as it is what most people who watch the genre watch it for. Overall the key convention is flesh eating undead creatures, and gore!

Suburban Zombie(SZ) meets up to most of these convention as it uses everything from the typical Romero Zombie to the use of fast paced editing. We see the characters in SZ hiding in a huge derelict house, this is common in most zombie films as they have to get rest and keep quiet to make sure they are not found by the zombies.

Audience Feedback in from Suburban Zombie mainly made us rethink the plot as in the first rough cut we got alot of feedback about the narrative as lots of people did not "get it" it was quite confusing, we then moved on after the plot being changed  onto our 2nd rough cut we once again got feedback of the film being too confusing. On the 3rd time lucky we eventually got a good plot, so we continued and got good feedback from roughcut 3, and now we have a final cut which is better after the audience feedback.

We also asked for audience feedback on our ident, we were once again guided into making it better, from the image below you can see the before and after product.

here is the first rough ident we did:

here is the final ident after audience feedback:

Overall I think that we did well to come out with the final cut that we came out with. I think we we'rent as organised as we wished we could have been and we were let down by a lot of people not appearing when they said they would , but despite this we still managed to be successful. If i was to do the same task again I would be a lot more organised and would try to manage our time better.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

SB - The Zombie Genre and Video Games

A Recent sequel for Resident Evil.
Zombies have always been a part of  the contemporary western culture, so understandably they would be introduced into games.  Resident Evil was the first stand alone zombie game that made a deep impact on society. The game was regarded as a huge success all over the world and is still the biggest franchise in the sub genre of horror survival games.

Frank West trapped under the tunnels of the mall.

Another game that has made a huge impact was the game Dead Rising, this game set the standards for zombie games after it. It required the character to play as the protagonist Frank West, a freelance journalist trying to get a good story who breaks into a quarantined town on a helicopter, he heads to the mall and finds the remaining inhabitants of the town barricaded in with the baying undead bashing the malls doors in. The game has references to famous zombie films as well as slasher films. The whole idea fir the game is based of 'Dawn of the Dead'.

'Left 4 Dead' is a new first person shooter based in a post apocalyptic world, The game was a huge success due to the fact it had 4 different campaigns that involved trying to get to a boat and escape, fight off hordes of the undead in a house while waiting for a military evacuation, getting away in a helicopter
An example of the atmospheric lighting.
on top of a hospital in the centre of a city, and getting to an airplane at an airport. The game used one of the most advanced AI systems "The Director" his made it s every time you played the game, the game would be different the infected would never spawn or suddenly burst out in a huge horde out of no where twice. The use of a program called"cinema effects" gave the game it's eerie atmosphere.

The survivors attempting to pass some of the undead.
The game was well received and was so successful that it spawned a sequel 'Left 4 Dead 2' This game ironed out the flaws from the first game and added more, Left 4 Dead 2 used a more advanced version of The Director that drives gameplay by procedurally spawning enemies, weapons and items based on the players' performance. In Left 4 Dead 2, the Director has been improved to encourage more participation by players, forcing players through difficult gauntlets to reach the extraction point. It also has the ability to alter elements of the level such as placement of walls, level layout, lighting, and weather conditions, making each play session unique.

Another unique feature of the game was the Zombie classes, The Boomer, The Hunter, The Tank, The Witch and The Smoker. They all have unique characteristics that make the game harder and force players to be tactical and follow certain strategies when wandering through buildings and streets.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

KM - Film titles

For the opening titles of "Suburban Zombie" we are going to use large, white, serif font. The reason for this is because this style of font and colour is used frequently for the opening titles, as the serif font signifies the serious nature of the film, and the white colouring signifies decay and it reinforces the seriousness.

Here are a couple of examples of zombie films that have used this style and colour of font:

Day of the Dead (George A Romero, 1985)

Night of the Living Dead (remake- Tom Savini, 1990)

Monday, 7 February 2011

Sunday, 6 February 2011

AM - Shaun of the Dead

Director + Year: Edgar Wright (2004)
IMdb rating: 8.0/10
IMdb link:
Budget: £4,000,000
Gross: $13,464,388 (USA) £6,463,463 (UK)

Shaun doesn't have a very good day, so he decides to turn his life around by getting his ex to take him back, but he times it for right in the middle of what may be a zombie apocalypse... But for him, it's an opportunity to show everyone he knows how useful he is by saving them all. All he has to do is survive... And get his ex back.


This is one of the sorts of clips we may use and we have been influenced by this style.

IMDB Review 
"Shaun of the Dead is one of the best comedy of 2004 and a must-see for all rom zom com (romantic comedy with zombies) afficionados. "
SOURCE(Colette Corr - Imdb user) -

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

ALL - Podcast 2

Our 2nd podcast , we talked about make up, locations and inspiration from a deconstruction

Podcast 2 from Alex McCluskey on Vimeo.

KM - 2nd day of filming!

Conor O'loughlin (Zombie)
Yesterday (1st February) was our media group's second day of filming for our feature film opening "Suburban Zombie". We were filming the zombie scenes, as we had already shot the solo scenes of the protagonist (previous blogged). One of the things we found when filming was that sinse it was at night, the camera was skipping frames when trying to get a light focus. We have decided to try shooting again in the day time, and compare the footage. Here are some pictures of the shooting:

Sam testing out different angles with the boom mike

KM & AM - Podcast 1

a podcast about filming times and locations, cast and scenes

Monday, 31 January 2011

ALL - Meet the Group!

Group photo

Kyle Meeson- Producer

Nickname- Royal Kyle
Favourite sayings- "Hello!" "Caam Darn"
Favourite film- Fight Club
Favourite TV show- Lost


Sam Boyes- Director

 Nickname- Boy-Z, Boyzey
Favourite sayings- "hrmmmmmm"
Favourite film- American History X
Favourite TV show- Being Human

Alex McCluskey- Cinematographer

Nickname- Cluskey
Favourite sayings- "Buttered toast"
Favourite film- The Hangover
Favourite TV show- Loose Women

KM - Night of the living dead (remake) - (Tom Savini, 1990)

Budget- $4.2m
Box Office Gross (USA)- $5.8m
IMDB Rating- 6.6/10

Synopsis- Seven people are trapped in an isolated farmhouse and living an unspeakable nightmare. Cannibalistic zombies have been awakened from the dead and are on a relentless killing and eating binge. Re-make of the 1968 George Romero classic.

Deconstruction- The film opens with a shot of a rising moon, while the titles appear on the screen in a rough white font, which is typical for zombie films, as it is the same font that is used in the "Day of the dead" titles, so this signifies the genre of the film. The shot then transitions to black before fading into an extreme long shot of a white car driving through a countryside road, non diagetic is played over the scene. You don't see the characters until later on in the scene, but you hear their conversation 

while various shots of the car are shown, and the white titles continue to appear on screen. The male character seems to be teasing the female, saying things like "they're coming to get you Barbara" and "they don't like to be awakened this way". This gives anchorage to the film genre, and foreshadows what is going to happen later in the scene. The characters finally appear on screen as the car stops in a graveyard, the man continues to tease the female character, and does a stereotypical "zombie walk", which is yet more foreshadowing and anchorage of the film genre. A fight scene then occurs, featuring lots of close-up shots of the characters.

Features of this opening that we are also going to be encorporating are; rough white font for the film titles, and lots of close-up shots in the fight scene. 

AM - Rough Ident Draft 2

Yet again the new updated Salex productions company ident.

KM - Ident Feedback

To get some feedback on the second ident that Alex (cinematographer) has been working on, I put a link to the ident on youtube through facebook and recieved some great feedback and suggestions:

Screenshot of feedback

AM - The Evil Dead

Director + Year: Sam Raimi (1981)
IMdb rating: 7.6/10
IMdb link
Budget: $375,000
Gross: $29.4m(Worldwide)

Introduction = 5 minutes
Five friends go up to a cabin in the woods where they find unspeakable evil lurking in the forest. They find the Necronomicon and the taped translation of the text. Once the tape is played, the evil is released. One by one, the teens are possessed. With only one remaining, it is up to him to survive the night and battle the evil dead.


At first we see a shot of the sky and red sans serif font which signifies danger and horror, this is the establishing shot, which then pans down to a lake and moves across the lake slowly while the camera work is shaky , this signifies realism, and as if its from someone's perspective. Throughout this period we hear non diegetic low key notes, and strange squeaking noises, which adds to the strangeness in the setting already. 

After this shot we see a long shot , of a car and diegetic sound coming from the car of people singing, we then see a series of mid shots inside the car as the cast engage in conversation, there is use of cross cutting which we would want to use in our film, which flicks between the moving person who is assumed to be a zombie, this continues for a few more fast takes, the low notes are now introduced once again, building up suspense, a red truck is added into the cross cutting, then with one final cut to a dutch angled shot of the truck driving, they almost collide.

This is the 30 second shot, in which we would not use in
our film.
Last of all we see a shot of the back of the car driving into the drive of the house they are staying, this a 30 second tracking shot, which is exactly what we do not want to use, as it is boring and loses interest in the audience 

User Review:

In my opinion, this is by far the best of the trilogy, and although there could have been more of the chainsaw, this is the definitive zombie film and probably always will be. I feel it succeeds over it's sequels due to it's increased violence and lack of humor in comparison. It's blood, gore, camera work, and shock factor are still formidable even today and are what make this such a cult classic. If you've ever liked any horror film, this is an absolute must-see.

SOURCE:(Manthorpe - imdb user)

KM - First day of Filming

Wednesday (26th January) was the first day of filming for the opening two minutes of our feature film "Suburban Zombie". We filmed the scenes with Jack Hanson (our protagonist) yesterday, and will be filming the scenes with the zombies later in the week. The filming went well, and we used a lot of coverage so we could see what lighting etc. would fit the best in certain scenes when editing. Here are some images and a clip of the filming:

Alex and Sam discussing different camera angles

Jack Hanson (our protagonist)

Using different levels of lighting for coverage, which will help when editing