Friday, February 25, 2011

Evaluation Question 1: How we used, developed and challenged forms and conventions of real media products in our media product

There are several ways in which we tried to use the forms and conventions of real trailers while constructing our own trailer. Since our genre was children/family films, we looked at many trailers of this genre.

1. Firstly, we used a narrative structure in our trailer, showing first the setup (how the girls lived when they were rich), the conflict (they lose their money and face problems) and then some of the resolution (they adjust to the new way of life). Trailers of films such as Big Fat Liar (below) and Home Alone also use a linear narrative structure, and we wanted to follow that convention. In Big Fat Liar, they also show the setup first, then the conflict and then a little bit of resolution.

2. We debated about whether or not we should show some of the resolution, because it seemed to us that showing resolution would remove the "tease" factor from the trailer, and would discourage the audience to want to watch the film. However, when we studied the trailers closely, we realized that they tend to show just a little bit of resolution, enough so that the audience knows what to expect, but leaves them wanting to find out more. Look at the trailer of Nim's Island (below) as an example of how resolution is shown:

 3. Another way in which we used the forms and conventions of trailers was how we used closeup shots of our characters' faces in the resolution part of the trailer in order to convey emotion, and shots of them hugging or showing affection. Below are some examples from the trailer of Ramona And Beezus on the left and examples from our trailer on the right:

4. In the beginning of trailers, there is usually fast cut editing, short shots and upbeat music to build up the pace. We did that by putting up short shots of the girls getting ready and then shopping at an expensive mall and doing a fast cut editing in the beginning. We also used upbeat, fast music to create the appropriate mood.

5. Also, we used inter-titles to break up scenes, to give an idea of what the story is like, and when it is going to be released. This is a convention often used in trailers and we used it as well. The inter-titles are usually short and catchy, and they invite the audience to join the characters in the fun and adventure. 

6. One way in which we broke the conventions of trailers was that we used a female narrator as a voice-over towards the end of the trailer. In almost all the trailers we saw, the voice-over had been done by a male narrator. We wanted to try something different, which is why we used a female narrator.

7. Children's film trailers have a bright and colorful mis en scene to create a light, upbeat and cheerful mood for the film. We tried to do this as well by using bright lighting and colorful clothes:

8. We have followed the gender stereotype which portrays girls as being fond of shopping and being very fashionable and stylish. This is done so that the audience can immediately get an idea of what the characters are like in the first few moments of the trailer. 

9. Another convention is that there is usually an adult character who acts as a source of inspiration and motivates the main characters (for example, in Home Alone 2, the adult character is the "pigeon lady" - see below). We have used this convention, but have changed it a little as we have made the role model a young adult/teenager. This was because in our focus group study, we found that children look up to the teenage siblings or friends.

 10. We do not have a villain or an evil character in our story, which breaks the convention as most children's films do have an evil character. However, we felt that our story was about the journey the main characters go through and their own self-growth, and a villain wasn't necessary for that. Also, in some films there isn't an evil character, such as in Ramona and Beezus and Kiki's Delivery Service.

Thus, in conclusion, we think we have used sufficient conventions and have even gone against a few conventions by doing something different.

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