Sunday, 31 January 2010


  • Hoodies representation today in the eyes of a young londoners eyes.
  • Interview montage style short film with conclusion at the end.
  • Cross cuts between action and interviews.
  • Stereotypes.
  • Opening chase scene.
An apparent protagonist in a hoodie is chasing after a formally dressed student in a frantic chase scene through a street. The film then cuts to interview of a teenagers around the age of the apparent antagonist talking about their negative thoughts on hoodies in society. The story will flashback to the formal teenager about 10 minutes before the chase, showing him taking out gloves from his pocket and dropping his wallet. The story then goes back to interview of a boy who actually wears hoodies, speaking in interviews about his experiences of being judged negatively for wearing a hoodie. The film then goes back to the chase scene from the begining, but now the apparent protagonist has almost caught up to the apparent antagonist, about to corner him then it cuts to black and the 'hoodie' goes into his pocket, to give back the lost wallet and before the other character can say thanks he runs away.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Short films use titles and texts in similar ways to how other film productions use titles and text. Titles in short films are used to introduce the sequence and can also give the audience insight into the film while the text at the end of the film closes off the sequence in a professional manor. Different styles of texts are used to emulate different effects and titles appear at different times and places on screen again to promote different audience reaction. In the short film 'Veronique', the title is written in the bottom corner in a typewriter, military style font. This makes the audience infer that the film may be based on a war or conflict of some sort when it is in fact based on a romantic encounter. This is an example of how titles in short films can be used to influence the thought of the audience and the significance they an have on ones perception of a sequence. In contrast to the more traditional use of titles portrayed in 'Veronique', the title in the short film 'Sold', appears at the end of the sequence. This works effectively with the plot as it ends the film with the title implying the character had quite literally been sold and is a witty and fresh use of the titling to great effect.
  • EDITING: As in most other film productions, short films use editing in conjunction with the genre and the theme of the sequence to create and maintain a suitable pace and rhythm to the film while also adding purpose to it. In the short films we have studied the most popular form of editing used is continuity editing whereby the work of the editor appears invisible to the audience as the sequence is pieced together through the use of cuts rather than obvious transitions and wipe effects. An example of the use of continuity editing is in the short film 'Double Take', where the editor uses cross cutting to link the different scenes together along with the flashbacks giving the story a more effective, rounded feel to it. This form of editing is also used to dictate the pacing of the film, which is shown by how these quick cuts successfully keep up the tempo of the scenes while adding to the suspense and tension. However in the short film Veronique, there is the use of more obvious styles of editing such as slow motion and effects by which character images are seen fading across backgrounds. This style of editing is just as effective as the continuity editing due to the more relaxed, romantic nature of the sequence.
  • SOUND: Dialogue is a big part in short films. While many neglect to use actual speech others use narration and voice-overs to good effect. 'For the love of...'is a key example of the way voice-overs can be successfully utilised to both tell a story and to draw empathy from an audience. Dialogue between characters, meanwhile, is equally common amongst short films. Furthermore 'Gravity', shows us that the dialogue in short films can give the audience indications on the regional identity and social class backgrounds of characters, which is key in short films because unlike short films they haven't got the time to describe each character individually. Non-diegetic scores are also commonplace across short films, as they can be used to generate different effects and reactions amongst the audience. In 'Veronique', a low key, typically French score is almost constant throughout short film and gives the sequence a romantic feel to it. In contrast to this, the fast-paced dramatic score used in 'Double-Take', gives the sequence a completely different feel to it and complements the tense, upbeat nature of the short film. Furthermore many short films neglect non-diegetic scores altogether in preference of using simply diegetic sounds. This is a technique used in 'Gravity', where the lack of score adds to the gritty realistic feel which the film attempts to emulate.
  • CINEMATOGRAPHY & MISE-EN-SCENE: Cinematography also plays a significant role in the production of short films. Camera angles and camera movements are manipulated and used in similar ways to that of movie productions and drama series' in that they are used to generate specific effects i.e. the use of extreme close-ups to show emotion in a characters face. In a lot of short films, particularly social realist short films, dull colours are used along with low key lighting and kinetic camera work in order to make the sequence appear more gritty and realistic which is complemented through the lack of non-diegetic score. However the technique also works well with more romantic pieces such as 'Veronique', where dull colours and kinetic camera work is used amid high key lighting and close ups of characters to make it obvious to the audience that the film is based around a romantic encounter. In terms of mise-en-scene, actor performance has significant effects on the outcome of a short film. In 'Gravity', the improvised dialogue gives the film a more realistic edge to it. Key props ,such as the bag in 'Double-Take', do well to draw the audience in the same way expensive productions do.

Conventions of a short Film.

Short films are created and used to promote different effects amongst the audience who view them. While many short films are used to inform and educate the audience on different social issues, whereas other short films are simply created for entertainment purposes. For these specific reasons short films undertake a wide variety of different themes which may be based around current pressing issues or aspects of society that have remained constant over the years.
An example of a popular theme for a short film is community, or the recent decline in the sense of community that Britain in the past had been accustomed to. This is portrayed in Nadia Attia's 'Sold', in which a lack of community and a sense of isolation appears constant in the short film. This can be seen through the way in which the neighbours in the film aren't even comfortable enough to converse with each other, or the fact that they aren't even on first name terms with one another even though they live in the same building. It is an example of how contemporary British society is changing and how it has changed over recent years.
Another example of a popular theme for a short film is multiculturalism. This is again an example of how contemporary British society has changed over recent years and is classically portrayed in the short film 'for the love of''. It is a short film which uses a narrative point of view to discuss the contrast between traditional expectations and representations of multicultural society, whilst also highlighting the negative aspects such changes may have on society such a racism and the poverty experienced among immigrants.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Film Posters and Magazine (Research)

  • What is the purpose of a film poster? Where to posters appear?
    Film posters advertise and encourage audiences to view a film through the images, text and composition. The posters use a number of techniques to reach their target audiences, they can alert audiences of the genre of the film just through images of the starring actor who is known to play characters for a genre e.g A poster of a film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger the audience will immediately assume that it is an action film with unnecessary violence and countless fight scenes, this is part of the semiotics used by film posters to help the audience process the information just from the imagery alone, without even reading the title audiences should be able to tell what the film is about and only need to use the title as anchorage and confirmation to go and view the film. That is the purpose of a good film poster. Film posters can be displayed on the outside and inside of major mainstream cinemas as well as smaller ones, they can be found in billboards or in shops. Film posters can also incorporate third party endorsements to be viewed in magazines an newspapers.
  • What are the conventions for film posters? What elements do all film posters contain?
    Film posters have three main codes to follow which are Technical codes the techniques used in the construction of the title which include the title 'Tag lines' and billing block.
    The written codes are the range of contexts in which words are used in the text itself, i.e. the actual words creating the film title and the 'Tag line'.
    The symbolic codes are the system of signs embedded within the text itself i.e. the connotations of the images, colours and font styles.
    All Film posters need a Film title, the title of the film. Tag lines are catchy, enticing short phrases used to advertise and sell a movie. They can also sum up the plot, tone or themes of the film, they help reinforce the film so you remember to go and see the film e.g. 'Same make. Same Model. New mission.'- Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) the tag line refers to the 'Terminator' robot. Some may require you to think slightly where as others are straight forward as 'Part man. Part Machine. All Cop. The future of law enforcement', Robocop (1987). Tag lines are usually short sentences can have what you call a 'Rule of three' which are to do with the sentence structure which are; Rhetorical question e.g. 'What if someone you never ever net, someone you never known, was the only some one for you?'- Sleepless in Seattle (1993) Rhyme and Repetition e.g. 'Whoever saves one life saves the entire world' - Schindlers list. Billing Block, the block of text at the bottom off the poster listing distribution rights supporting actors and other legal small print for the film, these all need to be present for it to be classified as a film poster.

  • Title, 300
  • Tag line, Prepare for glory
  • Billing Block, located under the '300' Title
  • Symbolic codes, blood splattered posters suggest it is going to have a lot of blood. The bright light shining down makes the scene look glorious, could mean the Gods are watching over them. The armour worn by the characters indicates their soldiers taking part in some sort of war, are they just wearing red capes or are they soaked in blood?
  • Technical codes, blood red Tag line and blood splattered font for the title and the positioning of all the text to fit into the shape of the cliff.
  • Written codes, '300' the title of the film and the number of the soldiers shown maybe, the 300 are the ones preparing for glory.

Monday, 18 January 2010

What are the potential audience for short films?

  • Institutionally funded short films tend to have considerably smaller budgets than mainstream full length "Hollywood," films and take much less time to produce due to the fact that they are not always intended to make profit. The majority of British short films are funded by the UKFC (UK film council) and then initially distributed for single release at film festivals before being released on DVD. The BBC and Film 4 release a number of short films each year, the BBC tend to target younger audiences as there themes tend to be more about educating and informing audiences.
    The Internet has also been a break through for short films due to it easy accessibility almost any where access (on 'smart' phones and i-phones). Most people use the Internet everyday in some way or another, and because of websites like YouTube and google video short films are gaining wider audiences and being viewed outside the classroom by younger audiences, this is an example of how synergy can really boost an industry.
  • The intended audiences for the short films I have viewed are for younger audiences such as secondary school and college students, as they raise awareness on current affairs and raise issues that affect young people such as gun crime in Colin Hutton's 'Gravity', or day to day issues like a teenage crush in Patrick Bergh's 'Veronique'. These films are made easier to relate to with the use of young actors around the ages of the intended viewers, which is important in this regard while also doing well to stress the importance and repercussions of such issues Short films can also raise awareness of issues that are not talked about in the media everyday, but are just as important as the main headlines. 'For the love of ...' - Chris Sheriff, is a short film I watched which raised the issue of the mistreatment of migrant workers in the UK, which may not directly affect young people but is an important issue for them to be aware of due to its social significance.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

The purpose of a Short Film

  • Promotion, Short films are meant to promote new full length films as well as to be built on to make full length films. They are shown the majority of the time at film festivals almost exclusively. There are even website that buy short films to help promote new upcoming film directors. Short films differ from mainstream full length films because, short films rarely go mainstream to be distributed into cinemas for the public to view. They are usually privately commissioned or may go straight to DVD.
    'Alive in Joburg' by Neill Blomkamp is an example of an unconventional experimental style of filming. The almost continuous interview documentary style is a experimental technique you would not see being tried out in mainstream films because they simply would not be able to invest hundreds of thousands of pounds into a new technique without testing it. In a short film like it is a risk worth taking to gain feedback, this film was successful and went on to being made a full length mainstream film 'District 9', which earned $37 million in its opening weekend, its a fair amount considering it was a short film to begin with.

  • Education, short films are usually released on teacher resource websites, as well as on DVD for educational purposes, as the short films I viewed which included a booklet to explain the the issues raised and how to teach from, short films are perfect for discussing important issues in a matter off minutes better than watching a full length film to gain information on a issue/topic.
  • Short films, are not usually to make, but are used by young or new directors as a testing ground for a idea to see how it in a logical sequence to work and expand on to make a full length film. A short film can tell an hour long story in a 10 minute video sequence or simply just a scene of a story to see what it looks like.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Style and Genre

  • Short films tend to be filmed on digital video cameras, which gives them a gritty realistic look. Due to the cost of celluloid film which makes colours very bright and vibrant compared to the majority of short films I have viewed such as 'For the love of...'- Chris Sheriff, in which the use of digital camera was perfect for the film as it helped give the gritty look to a film about racism and the underclass. Kinetic camera work is also very common in the style of short films as free hand camera work also cuts costs.
  • Experimental techniques are very common in short films as they make good testing material for new techniques such as the P.O.V (Point of view) shot of from a gun like in 'Gravity'- Colin Hutton. These experimental techniques can include the use of black and white footage. Short films can also have a surrealist style techniques 'breaking the four wall' are common in short films an example in 'Sold'- Nadia Attia when the T.V starts talking to the character.
  • Short films Genres can vary in Genre as much as mainstream films can but tend to be used as educational tools to teach so social realist themes are a commonly used genre in short films, as well as promotion tools at film festivals to sell a movie idea.

Short Films (research)

Narrative structure
  • Non - linear narrative, flashbacks are common in short films as they are an easy way to show a important part of the story quickly. In 'Double Take' - Toa Stappard uses this narrative technique to show a the main characters past in less than a minute, through video footage on a digital camcorder in the diegeses of the short film of his earlier crimes.
  • Linear narrative structures are a simple way to tell a short story because they tell the story in 'real-time' as you see it. 'Sold' - Nadia Attia shows how effective this structure can be, it is a simple story of a character with ambitions, filmed in real time. The main character is woken up by his door bell, goes to answer his female neighbour is at the door wanting to borrow kitchen utensils, he sends her away, watches the shopping channel has an epiphany and purchases some utensils. This short film also uses a Circular narrative as everything returns to normal/how the story began.
  • Short films can also have a 'Three part structure' which has a beginning, middle and end but Short films don't have to have a beginning , middle and end the can have none of the above. 'Gravity'- Colin Hutton used an equilibrium of a child on a swing swinging happily, a disequilibrium of some teenagers playing with a gun and on of of them shooting it and finally a new equilibrium on the same child on the swing still swinging but motionless and dead.
  • Open ended: Cliffhanger endings are also common in short film as they do not all need to have a narrative closure as they are so short.
  • Multi-stranded narratives are also common as there may be two contrasts that make the story. 'Double take' - Toa Stappard uses a multi-stranded narrative of Crime & Justice which gave the story an edge with a Thief and Vigilante the multi-stranded narrative was needed to make the story.