Monday, 31 January 2011


The audience at a general point are the main thing within the media industry. What is looked at specifically about the audience is the product or film being aimed at a specific group.

There were 31 suspense movies released in the year 2009, and altogether throughout the whole of the year 527 films were released! Action, animation and comedy are really popular genres, the UK Box office accounted for 52% of these genres in 2009. These genres are targeting both female and male audiences. people even at an older age like to go and watch animation, or they go along with younger siblings.

Thriller movies accounted for only 4% of the UK Box office, i think this is because its certified for a specific age group. Not female audience's prefer them, and not everyone is so fond of them!

Looking at this diagram of what genre goes out to what type of audience , you can see that:
- women mostly prefer romance, drama and comedy.
- male prefer sci-fi, action, crime and horror.

But both like comedy. Looking at suspense; its kind of in the middle, but not in the middle. Its not really a favorite!

The making and editing of 'Jelly babies'

In today's lesson we had to plan a practice scene that we will be filming next lesson. But today planning was a little bit different! Instead of us acting the scenes out; we had jelly babies doing it 4 us! Yes... the actual sweets that you eat!!                                                       

This is when one of the group members were taking different angled shots of the jelly babies. We were basically setting one of the shots that might be in the actual film.

We kind of set a story line, its basically a gang that has a fight with one of the jelly babies!

Then we got to the editing! we had just enough time to put all the shots taken in the order we wanted, we were told if we had enough time that we could put in a piece of music, but unfortunately we didn't.

Jelly babies

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Suspense created in The Stepfather.

The movie The Stepfather was a thriller, and tension and suspense was created throughout, using a number of techniques. At the start of the film, digetic sound was used. The song silent night played on the radio, and the use of this light-hearted song creates an air of mystery and eeriness, which suggests to the audience that all is not as it should be. Camera angles were also used to create suspense- a slow pan was used to show the living room and kitchen, and then a lopsided tilt showed the son lying dead.

Thriller Sub-Genres

'Thriller' is a broad genre, which uses suspense, excitement tension to create a fast paced atmosphere. There are many smaller sub-genres of thriller, that incorporate other genres. This means that there can be a large number of different types of thrillers. Sub-genres of thrillers can include; crime, psychological, supernatural and romance.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

The structure of Thriller openings

I looked at a few clips and analysed the three basic structure. These 3 basic structures are part and is what makes the opening of a film. These are :

- Narrative opening with the titles running throughout
- A discrete tite sequence
- Titles over a blank screen, followed by the narrative opening

I analysed the opening of  'The taking of Pelham 123'

 Narrative opening
- Its got the title sequence runing thourgh the narrative opening
- Establishing shots with the production companies name

Discrete title sequence
- It doesnt really have a seperate title sequence, however its title sequence is roling during the opening scene. 

 Titles over blank screen
- Its got a black background 
- Title with the fonts, Sans Serif fonts

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Introduction to Sound + Editing (+livetype)

Editing and adding sound to our piece was crutail. Editing is my weakest area, I must say. When doing quick cuts I get confused very easily, so editing's not my best thing to do. Even though we had a variaty of shots to choose from, we worked our way and tried to make our piece as best as we could. I think that once it was done, it didn't look as bad as we expected it to. We thought it may look silly because of the change in lighting, but it could be used as showing the "bad characters". We used many different shots and camera works such as: CU, ECU, POV, over the shoulder and tracking. Therefore we had plenty to choose from and make our piece more interesting.

I learned that Final Cut Pro has milions of sound tracks, and we can find anything we want. Due to short amount of time we were given to play with the sounds and apply it to our own ones, we only used two sound effects:
  • heart beat where players pick up their cards, this we thought can increase the tension
  • non-digetic music (bass playing) to make the clip more interesting throught watching, it also sets the thrilling atmosphere.
We're also able to mix sound together, and add them on the timeline, where we can see the film (so secs match).

We also tried to mute the orginal sound that has been recorded through camera, but it seemed not to work. We can hear us speaking in some of the clips, it's not too loud, but annoying and unprofessional. We'll do it next time!

editing screen
Live Type
This allows us to apply writing into our film. There are thousands of font types we can choose from. We can animate them, make them move, fly around, jump, bounde in and out... anything!!

This is what LiveType looks like

Film openings

The opening of a film is the major part of the movie, setting the story, establishing the characters and a hint to whats going to be coming up! According to Director Jean Jacques Beineix starting with an 'instant arousal' is taking a huge risk. This is when the movie itself starts in a really exciting way. The director takes the risk of not being able to arouse the audience during the film, also the fact that the film has started in such a big way there will obviously be questions arised by the audience, the risk there is the director not being able to answer those questions.

A good beginning will let the audience onto a few things but not enough so they can stay engaged with the film. They will want to know more, and what makes it even better, is that once the movie starts; the film itself instructs the audience to watch (if its a really good opening). Critic stanley Kauffmann describes the classic opening, consisting of establishing shot of new your city, then a fast pan going up a taal buiding, which then stops at a window, and then zoomz into the the office, and goes past the reception area and into the private of office of the main character. This process of shooting, has stated where the setting is, where the location of the story and who it involves.

Kyle Coopers title Sequence is very impressive and really effective. It tunes the audience in, gets the audience prepared of what they should be expecting from the film itself.

Director Orsen wales wanted to acheive alot through his opening sequence. He wanted to plundge the audience right into the movie, making them want to carry on watching.

"A favourite trick of Film noir" is when a film starts with the ending and works through to show the begining.

In the film 'The Shining' suspense is created by the use of the camera works. its a panning of the car from a birds eye view. It seems like something is following them, and the audience may get the sence that the car is heading the wrong direction. Also the music tends to create even more suspensse!

Documentary "Watching" on film openings

We had to watch a documentary on thriller opening and their impact on the emotion and suspense of the audience  the documentary was half hour long and explains older films how older films show suspense. The documentary also includes Alfred Hitchcock film psycho and his views on making a enjoyable thriller.
Thomas Sutcliffe said that "Films need to seduce their audience into long term commitment. While there are many different type of seduction, the temptation to go for instant arousal is almost irresistible". By this he means that the film has to have constant of action or suspense to keep the audience attention, what he means by "instant arousal  is almost irresistible" that to go straight into the suspense would drag the audience attention.

However, Jean Jacques Beineix says that their risk into "instant arousal" that after grabbing the audience attention and maintain arousal if not your film becomes a big disaster.

'Watching' Documentary on Film Openings

"Films need to seduce their audience into long term commitments. While there are many types of seduction, the temptation to go for instant arousal is almost irresistible" - T. Sutcliffe.
In other words, the opening should suck audience into the movie rapidly, as soon as they start to watch the movie. Sometimes, the idea of something BIG is used, to create a spactecular opening for example in Cassino- the character gets into his car, then the car explodes.

Robert De Rino walks toward the car and gets into it....

....and then the car explodes...
However, the risk of 'instant arousal' is that the movie MUST keep the audience interested, and the level must not go down, which is very easy with big opening. Where we have something big straight at the begining, audiences expectactions become very high. Therefore many films could get boring.

While watching the opening, audience starts to make immidiate adjustents about what might happen next. I think that good opening should set the tone of the movie, and get audience ready for what's coming, set them in the right feeling. Hitchcock 's words: "We should give some informaton to the audience, so they know something but not everything". And I agree, and this this is part of what makes a good movie opening.

A classic opening, is where a movie starts with an establishing shot and they gets into the movie. Stanley Kuffman gave a good example: establishing shot of New York, then close up of a window, receptionist/office and then actor and that's when the movie starts.

Title sequence to SEVEN is really effective in many ways, first of all it 'sucks audience in' straight away. We don't fully know what's the movie about, however we might gets something from what we see. SO: we are being set in a right tone, mood/feeling to wake us up and get ready for the movie and for what's coming. All that we see links to the movie, to wee get like a good introduction, a welcoming to the movie and this is what makes us want to continue to watch the movie.

About 60 years ago, Orson Wellers wanted to go straight into the movie in his A Touch of Evil, instead of having titles and big openings, however Universal Studios said this is a bad idea because it may not attract audience and keep them interested, so they didn't want to make a change.

A "favourite trick of Film Noir" is where the begining of the movie is the end really, so the movie starts with the actual ending. Many movies use film noir and break the rules of simple narrative, such as Memento and State of Enemy. This technique may be usually used in psychological thrillers, I think it works best then.

The opening to the movie The Shining creates suspense, the use of helicopter view shots makes it look like the preditor, we can see a lot of land but the focus is on one object- the car. This tells us that these people are travelling in a wrong direction and are being watched.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

All films have a title sequence, in the start of the movie or at the end, either way there is always a title sequence! We were given the task of watching an opening scene and noting down what were included within a title sequence. A title sequence just basically consists of all the peoples names that have helped build the film.

A title sequence has:
- The actors names
- Directors
- Distributors
etc.  For example the move spider man starts off with a title sequence :

We were looking at the opening of the film 'Momento'. This movie has a typical way of introducing the title sequence in the beginning of the film.
This consists of: 
 - Distributor
- Production company
- Director
- Stars
- Title of film
- Less famous characters
- Casting director
- Music
- Costume
- Editor
- Production designer
- Director of photography
- Co-producer
- Co-executive producer
- Production
- screen play
- Director ( directors name is viewed twice)

Title sequence analysis

All films have a title sequence, in the start of the movie or at the end, either way there is always a title sequence! We were given the task of watching an opening scene and noting down what were included within a title sequence. A title sequence just basicalyl consists of all the peoples names that have helped build the film.

A title seqeunce has:
- The actors names
- Directors
- Distrbutors
etc.  For example teh move spider man starts off with a title sequence :  
We were looking at the opening of the film 'Momento'. This movie has a typical way of introducing the title sequence in the begining of the film.
This consists of: 
- Distributor
- Production company
- Director
- Title of the movie
- Less famous characters
- Casting director
- Music
- Editor
- Production Designer
- Director of photography
- Co-producers
- Co-executive producers
- Production
- Screen play
-Director (directors name is viewed twice)

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

StepFather review

In my opinion i thought step father was an interesting film with a lot of intense and excitement. The film has created a lot of suspense and tension. However, watching this film i liked multiple scenes.
  1. The pan on the shaving equipment shows a lot of attention. When he was shaving at first it looked normal but when he cut himself shaving and the cameras focused on that i thought otherwise. When he moved to the kitchen and turned the stereo on and Joly music started playing we thought it was a normal Christmas. Then a tilt on a table shows a young boy dead.
  2. The scene when they are at the old ladys house was shocking in way. When the door bell rang and the old lady opened the door there was no one there it shocked us all as the audience knows that it was him that rang the bell. Also, the action with cat jumping across the living room created a shock.
  3. When the son was in the basement fixing his phone while looking through the freezer his girlfriend ran to help and called his name. In the mean time the step father was in the kitchen however when the girlfriend looked up and saw him it was shocking. 

watching a bit of a classic

I've recently watched Lady Vanishes by Alfred Hitchcock. And I must admit- HITCHCOCK IS A GENIUS !!!

He creates suspence from the begining to the end !
I always thought suspense can be created because of what we've learned so far: lighting, music, costume.

I always thought old movies are a bit boring, becuase they don't have any special effects, aren't in coloour and simply aren't attention grabbing. But not the one I've watched!

I've tried to pick out some techniques that can create suspense, it tured out that it has completly different scheme than other thriller movies I've seen so far.

Hitchcock doesn't use any non-digetic music to create tension, he does not use low tone lighting, dark costumes and so on.
Instead he:
  • uses humor- there were some funny elements in the film within what character said to each other. This made to movie more preasuable to watch.
  • Camera work to create suspense: he gives audience information. this creates suspense because we see/know something that the character does not. For example a writing on a train window, which the characters didn't seem to notice.
  • the plot itself is mysterious: train, old lady missing, no one seems to see her, main characters are looking for her.
I loved this movie!! I highly, highly recommend it! Suspense masterpiece :)
here's a trailer, enjoy!

My own research

I've seen a few thriller movies, and really enjoyed Speed. Its like a typical action thriller, its exciting, and gives that heart thumping feeling. It has aspects of it that are typical of its genre.
It was directed by Jan De Bont in 1994.

Lighting- has shade on the characters when it comes to a moment when somethings going to happen
Props- guns, dangerous, explosive equipment
Costume- uniform, as it is them acting as part of a military thing

Non - diagetic : fast pace beats
Diagetic:  explosive sounds, gun shots, people screaming.

It has mid shots, close ups - shows the expressions of the characters
within the editing theres slow motion to create suspense, gets the audience to create their own conclusion, and then see the actual outcome.

check out the trailer!!!!!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Introduction to camera

Last lesson we got to see what we would be working with to be developing our films. We finally got see the camera and its capability and its functions. In Bernard's lesson we were introduced on how to be familiar on the basics of using a camera. Also, we were shown other features:

  1. How to place the battery and removing it safely.
  2. How to insert the memory cards.
  3. How to use the tripod and placing the camera on it.
  4. How to record and other features that we need to inquire.
  5. The right way to film with different techniques.
During the lesson we were given our memory cards to were we would be storing our films and shots, the memory cards had each group the numbers ours been 33. We were given a scenario we received 'THE CARD GAME' which we had to make interesting. At first I thought it would be difficult but remembering other films to do with poker i insisted we would use special lighting and use ECU on the eyes to give more emotion. However, i had to first acknowledge what my group came up with first.

These picture resemble what I thought of first.
By the next lesson we had planned out exactly what shots to take and we camera techniques to use. 
However, it didn't go as planned as we spent shooting 3 scenes in 1hr 30min. At first we haven't realized  the limit. The reason we took long was to prefect every detail. This is good as we will learn from our mistake in our practice and to be sure we don't fall in the same path when we start shooting our project. Also, worst to come when we returned from our break we found that someone turned all our special lighting off we didn't thought it will affect our filming until we had to edit in final cut pro. We came to see that the shots we took after the break were to dark and were devastated to see this.

During editing we used different shots to fill one scene. We used editing to make certain scenes slow motion. However we didn't have time to finish our practice film. From this we learned to manage time more efficient.

introduction to camera

Last lesson we finally got to use the cameras. I did some filming in my GCSE class but the camera was very small and quality of the filming was bad. I remember something, but this was like a new and fresh start. And I was excited to use the cameras. I learned how to:
·         put the battery in and out
·         put in and out the memory card
·         Place the camera on a tripod
·         Film
·         Upload the clips on Mac’s.
I also know how to take care of the camera, how to hold it safely. I liked using tripod, through this camera stays stable and we can pan it and tit it.
We were given a story- CARD GAME and we had to make it thrilling. I already had some ideas in my head, and with my group we came up with best plot, ideas and shots we could do. Through this we also learned how to work with each other and got to know each other a little bit better. 
This is the camera we use
Next lesson, we got to film! We had our story board, the names of shots and everything bit by bit, so once we got to making, we didn’t get stuck and wondered “what should be do next”. Instead, we exactly knew what we wanted, therefore we spend time on in and if we didn’t like the outcome, we filmed it again. It ended up with 1000 versions of one scene because we wanted to get the best shots and we exactly knew how we wanted it. As a result at the end, we weren’t finished with our film so we had to rush to get everything done in time. I think that if we could spend more time filming it our outcome could be even better.
We filmed in the classroom. We used special lighting to set the thrilling atmosphere (part of Mise en Scene), camera and tripod. We only used tripod when we wanted to get simple shots only, so the camera would be steady.  When the camera was tracking we held it in our hands, so it was easier to move. However these clips may be a little bit shaky, so next time we may think of a trolley to put the camera and tripod on it. This will allow is to get more stable, tracking shots.

Final Cut Pro logo

Once we finished,  we then unloaded the clips into Mac’s and used Final Cut Pro for editing. I liked the quality of some clips, it was really clear and looked professional. BUT some of the images were too dark. This did make a nice, mysterious climate however we now have a mixture of two different types of lighting. I guess this was when we rushed and tried to get our shots done. If we could spend more time on it, the lighting would be the same in all scenes.
We used some editing techniques such as SLOW MOTION, we had a play with it. I learned that I can change how fast/slow I want the scene to go (I used different programme to edit before). I really enjoyed filming. It gave me space to think and be creative. 
What we did well:
ü  Had everything planned (story board), ideas in out head about the outcome
ü  Used variety of shots, tried panning and tilting techniques
ü  Thought of Mise en Scene and the atmosphere we want to create through this.

What we can improve:
· Manage our time better 
· Pay attention to change in lighting
· Use more close ups

A game of cards

In one of my lessons i was introduced to the actual camera that i will be using while making my own thriller. To get used to this EXPENSIVE piece of equipment me and my group were given a short task of creating a small scene that has the genre; thriller included. We were chosen to do a short clip of a card game in a thrilling way.

I have to say me and my group didn't really do so well. We were given one and half hours to create this small scene, but we didn't manage to finish because we ended up trying to be 'perfectionists'. We spent too long and trying to make two scenes look really good and didn't realise we only had that short amount of time.  One thing i defiantly learnt in that lesson was to keep an eye on the time, and also not too spend too long on just one shot. Another problem we had was the lighting. After shooting our scenes we then uploaded it onto the Mac's and we ended up having too many scenes shot in shadow. So that wasn't helpful at all.

Also another problem was, that the acting wasn't serious enough, i myself and my peer kept on bursting out laughing in the middle of shooting, so we have to take the filming bit a bit more seriously.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Title sequence

Evey film in opening scene that has a title sequence but not all the title sequence are similar nevertheless the same order or length. there are title sequence that only include the distributor and the production. these films like to get straight to the point for the likes of certain audience. the films with short title sequence like Momento get straight into the movie.

However, some films include a lot of information on their title sequence from distributor to costume design.
Here's a list of the information that is included in the title sequence:
  • Distributor
  • Production
  • The Title of the film
  • Main actors
  • Name of stars + actors
  • Casting director
  • Music
  • Editor
  • Production design
  • D.O.P- Director Of Photography
  • Executive producer
  • Costume design
  • etc...
Most inspiring would have to be the longer title sequence because it gives respect to all the people struggled to make this film happen and to make it big. Also, it would make them fill that they were the reason this film is successfully even if they are the costume design. however, the shorter title sequence like Momento would be good if like your movie to get straight to the point but i would of picked the longer title sequence for the reason mentioned.

Thriller sub-genres

Thriller has several sub-genres, each thriller film  has distinctive feature that will b e categorized into different sub-genres. The most inspiring sub-genre so far has to be action thriller.

For example i chose this opening scene of DEJA VU (2006)

is a good example of being an action thriller. the reason i would like to use this sub genre as it's in my opinion more interesting and more easier to pull off also it would need most concentration on camera work as sound and editing.
the other sub-genres are:
  • Action
  • Psychological
  • Romance
  • Supernatural
  • Political
Here are some titles recommended:

Tuesday, 18 January 2011


Intertexuality just basically means that there are visual referencing between two films. There are aspects of one film scene in another film. This could be things like the Mis-en-scene, the props or the actual setting of the scene maybe similar.
In one of my lessons i had to watch the famous scene from the film 'pycho', the shower scene and see in other films what aspects of that scene they consisted of.

Ok! So looking at the film 'What lies beneath', I watched the clip where the male character carries the female main character into the bathroom and places her in the bath, and she is unable to move; she's paralysed. The bathroom is white and its got a shower and tub, we can see there that the Mis-en-scene the actual setting which is the bathroom is the same as the scene from psycho. There is what we would call Intertexuality, due to the similar setting of the scene. 

Another film is 'Fatal Attraction' . So i checked out the clip where the main male character rings at a door and a female character opens it, but she wont let him in and so breaks down the door and gets and starts chasing after her. Through the bathroom and kitchen and hall way. Ssimilar aspects here are again through the Mis-en-scene. they run into the bathroom, again which is all white, however they end up in the kitchen and what is the same thing here is the props. The big knife that is used to try and kill the male character by the female. A big knife is used to kill the woman in the shower scene in the 'psycho'. Again you can see the visual referencing there.

The film 'The Step Father' again has similarities through the Mis-en-scene. The main character runs up the stairs chasing the female character so he can kill her. She runs into the bathroom. Again the bathroom and its all white, same as the film 'Psycho'. Another things is that when the killer gets stabbed in the neck by the female character is that he falls into the bath and while falling grabs onto the shower curtain and there is a close up of the shower curtain clips breaking off one by one. This also happens in 'Psycho', she grabs onto the shower curtain and the clips one by one break off.

In a student thriller called 'Succubus' they also have similar aspects from the film 'Psycho'. The female character goes into the shower room while the male character is showering however he does not know that the other character is there. Again through the Mis-en-scene you can see similar aspects of the film 'Psycho'. Looking at the props she has a big knife, same as 'Psycho', and then stabbing the male character in the shower, same as 'psycho' , and the violence of the stabbing is also kind if similar to 'psycho'.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

title sequence

Every movie has title sequence at the begining. However in some movies the order or the information given can change, for example: That Lies Beneath only shows us: distributor, production company and the title of the movie. This is example of how some movies can go straight to the film, without giving a whole lot of information.

Memento uses classic way of giving audience the information. This includes:
  • Distributor. (This appears two times, one after the another. 2nd one says: "NewMarket Presents..")
  • Production Company
  • Director
  • Stars
  • Title of the movie
  • Less famous actors
  • Casting Director
  • Music
  • Costume
  • Editor
  • Production Designer
  • Director of Photography
  • Co-Producer
  • Co-Executive Producers
  • Execautive Producers
  • Production
  • Screen Plan + "Based on novel..."
  • Director (Appears Twice)
Each appears on screen for 4 seconds (title-6sec) . While the titles appear, there's slow, soft and dramatic non-digetic sound of music. We see someone holding a photograph, the picture is slowly fading away leaving us with blank photo. During this all the tiles appear (Starts from the title, which was on black background and then faded into the photograph. Ends with the director name-mentioned twice).

Distribution Company are placed at the very begining. Distributor appears twice; first time with logo, then "NewMakret Presents..." This makes the feeling on the audience of feeling welcomed to the movie, also it shows that companies are introducing themselves.

When finally the photo fades away, we see director's name for the 2nd time. After this music stops, we hear digetic sounds and the action takes place.
The title apears on screen longer than any other sequances. Before the background is black, and names of distributors, producers, director and stars appear (on black background). When the title appears in then fades in to the movie. I believe this made the connection with the movie. Black background made the titles serious because people did not get distracted by what's going on in the screen.

Time line:

(click on the image to enlarge)

Tips for my own: use black background to make the names and companies stand out, make it more serious! Title on black background+the movie links these two, brings us into the movie! (I'll use this, I think it's a powerful method).

Saturday, 15 January 2011

How is suspense created?

 The Step Father was released in 2009. Its a thriller. Within this film there are many different techniques used to create the sense of suspense. first of all the major thing that creates the suspense for the audience is the non-diagetic sounds, the music! Its slow and has high pitched notes from the piano with an echo to it. Creates a  creepy tone, also the carol silent night being played in an awakward tone is another thing that creates the suspense. Allows the audience to get themselves prepared for a thrilling time. Looking at the camera work; when the film is starting there is a slow panning shot of all the killers toiletries all lined up, and these are sharp and dangerous objects. so the slow pan of this creates suspense because its allowing the audience to take in what they are seeing clearly and take note that something isn't right here. Through the Mis-en-scene is the props, the sharp and dangerous tools create a sense of suspense. At one point when the killer is down stairs and has finished with his coffee the audience gets a view of the sink, one side with plates and mugs and then slowly moving to the other side theres knifes hammers and daggers covered in blood. A sense of normality and murder being contrasted there. Again this scene shows suspense. Also within the Mis-en-scene is the character himself, him changing his hair colour and contacts and shaving gets the audience suspicious. That's another thing that helps create the suspense.

What lies beneath is a super natural thriller. It also has many aspects of the genre being conveyed to create suspense. Looking at the camera work it has a slow panning of the character at a medium shot, the steady pace of the camera movements creates suspense, its slow and gets the audience automatically ready for something to happen. The non-diagetic sounds, the music, it has a violin and piano constantly playing at a low tone, gives a sense of creepiness. The Mis-en-scene, looking at what the character is doing after her bath, shes using the hair dryer, when it switches off and she tries to out it back on she gets an electric shock, that startles the audience, another way of creating suspense. Also in the beginning of the clip theres a face that pops up, again that gets the audience freaked out, gets them to think more things will pop out from the blue.

Momento is a psychological thriller. things that make suspenseful; one of them is the camera work. The close ups of the blood, bullet and the charatcers face with blood on it. This makes it suspenseful, it gets the audience thinking that's something is defiantly not right here. When it comes to the Mis-en-scene, the blood on the wall also creaes suspence. The fact that everything goes backwards it allows the audience to see what has happened and expect more things like this to happen during the film.

Thursday, 13 January 2011


"Thriller" itself, is a specific film genre, which some people like or dislike. However, thriller as many other things have sub-genres, which helps people to choose in movie they might watch (or not!).

Alfred Hitchock, director of the Psycho.

Primary ones are:
-science fiction

In my 2 min film I am planning to choose either mystery, crime or psychological, such as The Stepfather. I believe that in these sub-genres suspense NEEDS to be created and it need to be good to make to movie interesing and worth to watch and recommend. At the moment I'm inspired by movies such as Momento (psychological), The Stepfather and Psycho (crime/mystery), where suspense is created really well, this is what makes the movie gripping.

my research.

I've watched thriller movies recently, I really enjoyed Seven (1995), directed by David Fincher. there were several techniques used to create suspense and simply make the movie more gripping and interesting to watch.

  • Pathetic Fallacy; used to create thrilling atmosphere. In most 'scary' scenes it was raining.
  • Mise en Scene: -lighting: usually dark, -costume: I've noticed characters usually wear dark clothes.
  • Sound: lound, digetic sound of rain, alarms, phone. Non-digetic, slow but dramatic music creates intrigue and tension. Accent: a lot of silence.
  • Camera: mid shots+ long shots, not many close-ups. Probably to show audience what's around the characters.
Here's the trailer, enjoy! :

Suspense in The Stepfather

In this movie suspense is created by using specific techniques such as motif, as a part of sound. Every time David appears on screen in the scene where something bad might happen, very deep and slow music plays. This gives audience some information about the character and shows his as ‘bad’, creating tension and suspense at the same time.

In the opening where David is having breakfast, Mise en Scene is used to build up tension. He uses every day props such as coffee mug and toaster, camera work is significant because shots are normal and straight, camera in panning and titling slowly until Dave walks and we see dead body, that’s where camera tilts to the side and we see altered reality and that something is nor right. This is a big contrast to what we’ve seen few seconds ago. In the scene where Dave and Michael first go to the basement, as a par of Mise en Scene we see tools that David could use before. The light is very low and it sets the tone. In Hitchcock’s idea that audience should be given certain information. And in this case audience know much more than the character, therefore we feel more involved in the movie, this creates suspense. There’s a fake plateau in the scene as well, because we’re expecting something to happen, when nothing bad happens.

In the scene where dad is being murdered we see that no one is in the room, and non-digetic music plays, which is really deep and serious. Camera work is very important, because it’s tracking, usually behind the character. This means we get Dave’s point of view shot. This again creates suspense as we know something that the character doesn’t. Also, there’s few over the shoulder shots which again suggest that we see the victim in David’s eyes. Through this we know that something’s about to happen. 

In the final scenes where a lot of action takes place there’s a loud digetic sound of rain and thunders, this creates tension and builds up suspense as we know something bad will happen, via use of pathetic fallacy and loud sounds. The music plays very important role in the action scenes. It is very tense and low, speeds up when something is about to happen. As a part of Mise en Scene, the lighting is very low therefore creates more tension.

Tips for my own: remember to use a lot of camera work, not simple shots but camera should track, move and pan.
+choose shots visely. (OVS + POV worked really well in the Stepfather in creating suspense) !!!