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