Saturday, 29 January 2011

Thriller Sub - Genres

  • Conspiracy thriller: this is when the hero/heroine in the movie confronts a large, powerful group of enemies whose true extent only he/she recognizes.
  • Crime thriller:  Crime thrillers usually emphasise action over psychological aspects. Central topics of these films include serial killers/murders, robberies, chases and shootouts. Some examples of crime thrillers a good example of a crime thriller would be : Seven.
  • Disaster thriller: Is when a natural disaster occurs, it may be an earthquake or a flood. Something that could potentially harm the characters within the movie. 
  • Legal thriller: In which the lawyer-heroes/heroines confront enemies outside, as well as inside, the courtroom and are in danger of losing not only their cases but their lives. The Runaway Jury by John Grisham 
  • Medical thriller: In which the hero/heroine are medical doctors/personnel working to solve an expanding medical problem. A lot of soap operas use this sub - genre, i.e Casualty 
  • Mystery thriller: Suspense films where characters attempt solving, or involved in, a mystery. 
  • Psychological thriller: In which (until the often violent resolution) the conflict between the main characters is mental and emotional, rather than physical. Psycho is an amazing example of this. 
  • Supernatural thriller: In which the film brings in an otherworldly element mixed with tension, suspense and plot twists. Sometimes the hero and/or villain has some psychic ability. A good example is,;Lady in the Water
I think that the sub-genre that inspires me the most at the moment is Crime thriller just because it takes the viewer on an emotional ride by making them feel scared and anxious at the same time.

Title Sequences that inspire me ! ; Saul Bass

Saul Bass was an American graphic designer, he was born in 1920 and after studying in Manhattan and Brooklyn he became the pioneer for graphic design and motion picture title sequences. Bass created title sequences with narratives behind them; this was very different to how title sequences were made at the time being that they only involved text. Bass’s style of work is very simplistic, abstract, figurative, modernistic and symbolic.

When I initially saw Bass’s work I thought it was striking, eye-catching and entertaining. My eyes never left the screen and I was left with the desire of wanting more, that’s probably what makes his title sequences effective and unique. I found the bold, flamboyant colours to be interesting and different. After researching his work I was inspired. I definitely want to make a title sequence that reflects the story that we are trying to tell.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

" Watching" Documentray Research

" Watching" Documentary on Film Openings.

Whilst watching the documentary on film openings, we were given questions about the documentary which we had to answer. The following questions were:

Q1-What does Thomas Sutcliffe mean when he says " Films need to seduce their audience into long term commitment. while there are many types of seduction, the temptation to go for instant arousal is almost irresistible"?

A1: Thomas Sutcliffe thinks that film makers try and grab the audiences attention from the first 5 minutes of the film which is a technique shownn through movies today.

Q2- According to Director Jean Jacques Beineix, what are the risks of " instant arousal"?

Q3- Explain why " a good beginning must make the audience feel that it doesn't know nearly enough yet , and at the same time make sure that it doesn't know too little"?

Q4- What does critic Stanley Kauffman describe as the classic opening?

Q5- What is Kyle Cooper's title sequence to the film Seven sp effective?

Q6- What did Orson Welles want to achieve with his opening to the film A Touch of Evil? What did Universal Studios do to it? Why?

Monday, 24 January 2011



When looking at film openings, you will find that every film use different font types to show the title of the film.

There are basically two types of fonts:

1. SERIF FONTS- such as Times and Courier
Serif fonts are generally more traditional and often slightly more formal than sans serif fonts.

2. SANS SERIF FONTS- such as arial and Comic Sans
Sans Serif fonts are generally more informal, more modern and more " friendly".

Rocky used the font FRANKLIN GOTHIC HEAVY. Through the use of this font we can see that it is Big, bold and heavy which suggests that it wants to grab the audiences attention. Through the use of Capital letters,it makes the title stand out making it more eye catching then other film titles. Also,  the use of Capital letters makes the title more memorable to the audience. You could also say that the title is simple. This shows that as it is  a 1 word title it enables the audience to remember the name of the film. The use of the font also links in with the character of Rocky. As the character Rocky is simple, the title also reflects his character.

Harry Potter

Harry Potter used the font HARRY P for their title , which was designed using the programme Photoshop. Through the use of this font it shows uniqueness as it is different from any other film titile, it is a good sized font, bold and not so heavy as it uses a lighter colour ( silver) to make the title pop out in contrast with the dark background. In comparison to Rocky, Harry Potter uses both Capital and lower case letters for the title which doesn't make it so much in the audiences face. The use of the font also links in with the character Harry as the font informs the audience that Harry is a wizard.The lightning bolt used for the letter "P" is both creative and effective as the lightning bolt corresponds and links in with the birth mark on Harrys' forehead. Already through the creative use of this font, the audience already gets an idea of what the film is about.


Font is the style and size of text. The font of text varies all the time, and there is not a fixed font. Different fonts have several effects. For example some fonts are more formal then others and may be used in letters. There are two main types of font.
·         Serif fonts (times and courier)
·         Sans Serif (Ariel and Comic Sans)
It is generally perceived that Serif fonts are more formal than Sans Serif. In films there is a range on films using different fonts. These fonts can tell the audience more about the film and they usually relate or match the theme often film too.
The following are examples showing the different font styles.

Rocky is a film about a boxer who strives to reach the highest level and to be champion. Rocky has a strong, muscle based body and is bulky. His body type matches the font of text. The font type is ‘Franklin Gothic Medium’ this font type is also bulky, bold and large. Its bulky and this matches Rocky’s muscle based body; the bold appearance of the font could be used to highlight Rocky’s out going charismatic attitude. Additionally the text is positioned at the top, and this could be signifying Rocky’s rise to the top of Boxing. Lastly the font is casual and informal (sans serif) and this could be done to convey his normal, casual life. Furthermore the font gives us an insight into what the film will be about and conveys the personality of the characters. For example the the bold, block capitals outline Rocky's strength.

Pearl Harbour:
Pearl Harbour on the other hand adopts a more serif font which is more formal. The film is about the war between America and Japan. The text is in grey capitals, it looks quite historic and dull, as it reflects the war in the 1940’s. Moreover they show Ben Afflecks name at the top. This may be a promotional strategy as he is a well know Hollywood star and respected actor. Moreover the name is just above the credits which are in smaller font showing their lower importance. The cover of the film shows the aduience the historic nature of the film and the time period of the setting.

Lastly another unique film style of font is Jurassic Park. In this film the font matches the theme of the film, it’s a sans serif font and the text has scratch lines matching the scratches dinosaurs make.  Moreover the picture in the background of the dinosaur with its claws reinforces this.
Jurassic Park Logo

I think I would prefer a Sans Serif font as they appear more relaxed and smooth compared to serif fonts which are really formal. I am inspired by the film ‘ROCKY’ in terms of the use of font. I think the font is effective as it reflects the characters personality and gives an insight into the theme or genre of the film.

Structure Openings

In class today, we watched a variety of film openings in order to get our group inspired! 

There are three different types of film openings : A narrative opening with the titles running throughout, A discrete title sequence, titles over a blank screen followed by the narrative opening and 'stylized editing'.

A good example of a film with a narrative opening is :  'The Panic Room' 

The opening sequence for the movie 'Panic Room' shows a collection of urban videotography ; buildings , city life and cars, A conventional scene of a city. Throughout the opening of the movie big, bold, gradient, silver text is show (the titles) and there are various tracking shots of buildings. Immediantely  we are introduced to the narrative, the locations, settings and characters within the movie. The sound within this opening sequence is of a ticking sound, this refers to the fast paced aspect of the city life where everything runs quickly, it also gives us an insight into the movies narrative.

A good example of a film with a discrete title sequence is : 'Seven'

A discrete title sequence is something without a narrative, mostly images and video clips of things that may relate to the film but it is not made as obvious as a narrative opening. The typography used is modern, stylized and it has a 'Tomato' typographic feel to it, which gives the viewer a sense of the environment within the movie (urban, city). They're a variety of quick edits and colours that connote death and negativity (red and black).

A good example of a film with a title over a black screen , followed by a narrative is:  ' 
Mesrine; Killer instinct'

The movie 'Mesrine' opens with white credits on a black screen which then follows onto a short narrative. There's a use of story line editing and a wide variety of different camera angles to enable us to see many different point of views, it gives the scene a unsafe, mystery feel to it being that we are able to see everything. Within the opening of the movie there's a music build up, the volume starts off really low and slowly rises (crescendo). There is also a use of stylized editing which include 1970's imagery and film techniques.

The structure of a thriller opening: Every thriller opens a different way there are three main structures they use. Each structure has an affect in showing the audience about the film and can show things like the films sub genre.

·      Narrative opening with the titles running throughout.             This type of opening structure is usually quick and involves a fast showing of the titles. An example of this type of opening structure is 'The Stepfather'.

Text Box:
A discrete title sequence is a type of thriller structure opening. This type of title sequence involves keeping the audience in suspense and focused at the start of the film. In the sense that we are immediately shown part of the film, the effect this has is that the audience are kept interested by the clip but the titles are shown at the same time.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Introduction to Cameras

Introduction to Cameras
Before filming it is necessary to know how to handle the equipment and understand the different rules and techniques used. The Camera techniques needed are essential to filming and there are vital skills needed which can make sure you capture quality footage.  
The main Practical issues were:
·         Don’t allow the camera or lighting equipment to become wet. You can use an umbrella which can be collected with the other equipment. This will prevent the equipment becoming damaged and also allow you to get improved quality images.
·         The cameras and tripod especially need to be held carefully. When holding the tripod, you must get a firm grip of all three legs and ensure all locks are in place; this will prevent the legs randomly springing out.  Additionally the tripod needs to place in an upright position with all the legs set equally apart and the lock in place. In terms of using the camera it needs to me handled with two hands and placed on the tripod carefully. This is done by sliding it onto the base of the tripod the turning the lock the camera will click and therefore in place. When removing it un-turn the lock, click the red button on the slide, the camera will eject backwards then slide it out. During this process hold the camera at all times.

·         The battery is placed at the back of the camera. You need to slide it in then eject it when removing it and slide it to the right. On the left side of the camera there are two card slots where the camera cards are inserted.  We must save our work on to the Camera cards as when stored onto the camera, data might be lost so we have our cards which all our work will be placed on.

·         Lastly, the camera and the other equipment must be placed back into case (bag) given as then this will prevent damage.

    Technical issues:
·         When using the tripod the camera is more stable and focused. The view of the camera can be altered using the tripod. You can make it lower to gain higher angle shot or lower to get low angle shots. Also you can use the tripod to get pan and tracking shots as there is a stick which allows it to take these shots.

·         The camera has two different focuses Auto and Manuel. The camera has two different focuses Auto and Manuel. They both affect the way the camera operates. The camera should be shoot footage in manual focus and not automatic as when I manual the picture is more clear.

·         We shouldn’t zoom as when editing it proves difficult to make the clip smooth when playing as the zoom doesn’t look as perfect.

·         The ‘gain’ button is also a lighting technique we can use. If in a dark area, we can intensify the light contact, and if in a sunny area, you can make less light be captured in the camera.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Thriller Sub-Genres

The Stepfather

The Stepfather

The stepfather is a mystery thriller film based on the storyline of a mothers son returning home from military school to find his mother happily in love and living with her new boyfriend. As the two men get to know each other, he becomes more and more suspicious of the man who is always there with a helpful hand.
The film begins with us witnessing the father changing his appearance by dying his hair darker, shaving and changing his brown eyes to blue by using contacts.As the audience we question why the father is changing his appearance. This causes suspense as we are wanting to find out what are the reasons for him changing his appearance. The use off tracking is used to track the stepfathers movements. As we see him comning down the stairs with his belongings, we come across a number of dead bodies of a family lying throughout the household. As the stepfather enters the kitchen to make eat his breakfast, A close up is used to show the audience tools covered with blood in the kitchen sink.This builds up tension and suspense as the audience begin to get a clear understanding that he has killed the members of the family. All through his obserd behaviour and body language we can see that he is acting quite suspicious and he is leaving the household to go elsewhere.

we next come across the stepfather in a supermarket

Newspaper Task ( Practicing using Camera)

The aim of this excercise was to film somone reading a newspaper in a thrilling and exciting way by creating an atmosphere of suspense and mystery in a minimum of 12 shots.We had to use a variety of camera shots and film the footage through the choice of shot distance, choice of camera angle and movement of the character.

We first had to make a plan and decide what each shot would show and what type of shot would be used.
The plan for our film was about :
- A man Running to find a Newspaper. This would be shown using a tracking shot of the man running & also a low angle shot to his feet.
-The man Turning straight to the back of the newspaper to play Sudoku.This would be shown using both a mid shot and an over the shoulder shot.
-The man would come across a murder headline story. This would be shown using both an over the shoulder shot and a close up.
-Close up of the man's eyes. Shown using a close up.
-The man would then circle the Headline of the Murder story. This would be shown through a point of view shot and a close up and the film would conclude with a close up of the title of the newspaper.

The roles with our group was:
Adam- The person Filming.
John- The Man that reads the newspaper.
Michaela- The Director.
Millan- Acting

When we all came to an agreement on the context of the footage and the type of shots that would be used we then began filming. Unfortunately as we did not have enough time and half way threw filming changed our idea we were unable to complete filming this footage.
The next lesson , we were given the opportunity to film the remaining of the previous footage. Unfortunately a member of our group , who was one of the main characters within the footage was absent so we then had to plan a new idea and replace the main character from the previous footage.

This was the end result:

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Thriller Sub-Cultures

A thriller uses everyday characters to create suspense and the suspense is used to create a trill.
A hybrid is when two genres are joint together, a sub genre is when a film falls into a main genre category but has recognisable features that allow it to be classified a sub genre. There are sub genres within a thriller, these include the following.
  • Action Thriller- For example 'Unstoppable' (2010) an unmanned train heads towards a city, an engineer has to race against time to prevent the catastrophe.
  • Romance Thriller- For example, 'The Tourist' (2010) an American tourist visits Italy to mend his broken heart, and then a woman deliberately crosses his path.
  • Supernatural Thriller- For example, ‘Skyline’ (2010) Strange lights descend on a city and people are attracted to it like moths,
  • Psychological Thriller- ‘Devil’ (2010) a group of people trapped in an elevator realise that the devil is amongst them.
  • Acquired Identity- For example, ‘13’ (2010) a naive young man assumes a dead man’s identity and finds himself embroiled in an underground world of violence and power.
  • Political Thriller- For example, ‘Legacy’ (2010) a virtual-world worker looks to take down the master Control Program.
Codes and Conventions: Things we expect to see in film depending on its genre. For example in a Romance thriller we usually expect a rivalry between two love rivals and maybe a woman being centre in the rivalry. Moreover in Action thrillers we expect to see explosions, chase scenes and maybe Good vs. Bad scenario.

Monday, 10 January 2011


Intertextuality is a term to describe the visual reference between films. Quite literally, films 'borrow' from each other, and you may recognise certain camera angles, aspects of mise en scene, snippets of sound or methods of editing in some films that you have seen in others.

The movie 'Psycho' a classic thriller which has the famous shower scene has inspired other thriller movies to have some ideas and techniques of the film. Famous films like 'What Lies Beneath', 'Fatal Attracton' and 'The Stepfather' has used ideas from the film Psycho which makes the scene more traumatised to the audiences. The movie Psycho is about a woman in the shower when suddenly a man approaches the shower curtain with a knife and draws the curtain, stabbing her constantly.

Intertextuality Research

Different thriller movies are inspired by each other. There are a variety of film makers that have used different elements from the movie 'Psycho' in an attempt to make their movie successful, we call this method intertextuality. Intertextuality is a term used to describe films with visual similarities and similar narrative conventions. Film makers take different elements from different movies and place it within theirs. This could be camera angles, sound, mise en scene and characters .

The 'Fatal attraction' is a film about a woman who is mentally unstable, un-stability is a personality trait used in many thriller films, this was taken from the movie 'Psycho'. We normally associate the word 'Psycho' with person who is mentally unstable.  During the scene that i watched in class i noticed that the leading lady Alexandra Forest (Glenn Close) is dressed in a white gown, white connotes purity and truth. This element of mis en scene is very similar to 'Psycho', being that the leading lady was wearing a white robe in the shower scene.

The 'Fatal attraction'  uses similar sound clips to 'Psycho', when Alexandra is struggling to breathe she runs to the kitchen sink and turns on the tap. Non - digetic sound clips are used to add emphasis within the clip, this has been taken from the famous shower scene in 'Psycho'. A narrative convention for thriller movies is that male characters are usually the attackers, in The 'Fatal attraction' this gender role stays the same (stereotype). 

Other intertextuality elements are the shiny knife, white lighting, close ups to see facial expressions and fast film score music. 


Intertextuality is a term used to describe the visual references between different thriller film.Films often borrow elements from other films that have been seen , to be used in their own film. These elements include aspects of Mise en- scene,Editing, Characters and Sound. 

A variety of films have borrowed aspects from the film " Psycho" in an attempt to keep the thriller genre within their own film and also to include their own spin on what happens throughout the film. I have looked at clips from different thriller movies that borrow aspects on the film " Psycho". 

Psycho is an American psychological thriller film. Like Psycho, "What lies Beneath" is another thriller film about the wife of a university research scientist, who believes that her lakeside Vermont home is haunted by a ghost ,or that she's losing her mind. In this clip, I watched the husband drugging his wife which makes her paralysis and carries her up to the bathroom upstairs. This is an aspect of Mise-en-scene that is borrowed from Psycho, as it borrows the same location. The use of the location follows the genre of thriller as this is where we normally see tension between the vicitim and the killer.

A narrative convention for thriller movies sterotypically protray woman as victims and men as killers/ attackers. This is another element borrowed from Psycho.In many Thriller films woman are protrayed as a defenseless victim, whereas men are protrayed as being vindictive and manipulative characters who at end upas killers. 

The stringy music is an aspect of sound borrowed from Psycho as it builds up the suspence for the audience ,leaving them wondering whats going to happen next.The sound of the water being turned on is an aspect of sound borrowed from " Psycho". The sound of water is a built up sound used to create suspense. It also creates tension as an action is being demostrated in the film. The colour "white" is another aspect borrowed from Psycho.The colour "white is used to suggest purity/innocance which could be linked to the vicitim,as they are un-aware of whats around the corner or what is going to end up happening to them.

A preview of the Film " What Lies Beneath"

Other Intertextually aspects consist of camera angles, A shiny knife, White shower curtain being pulled, Dramatic change of sound, Point of view and close up shots.