Sunday, 30 January 2011

What makes a good thriller?

In my spear time i watched a movie called 'The hole' it was a adventure/fastasy thriller, with an age certificate of 12a. This raised my issue to watch actually makes a good thriller...  
Creating a Sense of Danger
A thriller needs to have a central main character (protagonist) who finds themselves in danger. Often, the plot of a thriller will seek to isolate the protagonist from the world around them to the extent that we get to learn much more about their inner feelings and all about the predicaments they’re faced with. To do this successfully, you need to be able to portray their sense of loss, betrayal, feeling as though they are on the edge and that their whole world is at risk of collapse. Quite often, they’ll also be at risk of death at the hands of their main opponent (antagonist), although not necessarily in all thrillers. However, the important thing is to get the viewer to actually feel that the problems the protagonist encounters could actually happen to them and to be able to instill a sense of fear, dread and worry into the audience.

The Importance of Pace

If you’re making a thriller film or video, you need to ensure that it’s fast paced throughout. Very often, the beginning of a thriller wastes no time in putting the protagonist in a dilemma from the off and this enables the audience to relate to their situation immediately.

The Balance of Power

Another important aspect of thriller writing is to ensure that the villain or antagonist always has the balance of power shifted in their favour for the vast majority of the film. The whole idea being to draw the audience in to the struggles the protagonist needs to try to overcome and to get the audience on the protagonist’s side. Therefore, the villain must always be one step ahead up to the point of climax when the power shifts and the villain is eventually defeated.

Twists and Turns

Good thrillers try to lure the audience in to a false sense of security. They should be written from the point of view of taking the audience on a journey where they’re not sure where they are going. Scenes which build to a point where the audience thinks they know what to expect but then the scene dramatically switches to an unforeseen outcome will maintain the suspense and tension.

Character Growth

Another important aspect of thriller writing is to ensure that the audience gets to know and understand all of the weaknesses and fears in the protagonist’s character but as they come to overcome the challenges they’re presented with, the film or video must also reflect their strength and determination and, in the final outcome, show how overcoming their greatest fears and rising to the challenges have made them into a better person. At the same time, it’s also important to expose the antagonist’s weaknesses and now their own fears as the balance of power shifts and good triumphs over evil.Quite often with thrillers, good writers will build to a climax where good eventually does win out but then when you think you can stop biting your finger nails and relax, the villain or antagonist will engage in one final attempt to undermine the hero before being thwarted for good.

I used this site for my source of information.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Match cut exercise

In lesson we had to use jelly babies to plan out our story board for are film we will be making. we were given the task to take pictures of were we wanted are characters to be on the film and the direction from which we were filming. 

We had to use match cut, which is A transition in which something in the scene that follows in some way directly matches a character or object in the previous scene. we also had to used shot/reverse shot to show a flowing conversation done by two characters, lastly we learnt the 180 degree rule which is The 180° rule is a basic guideline in film making that states that two characters in the same scene should always have the same left/right relationship to each other. If the camera passes over the imaginary axis connecting the two subjects, it is called crossing the line. The new shot, from the opposite side, is known as a reverse angle. The reason for using the 180 degree rule, is to make the film more believable and to change the audience with you so they feel part of the scene portrayed in the film. 

Cinema audiences

There were 31 suspense films released in 2009. 'Action, animation and comedy account for 52% of box office in 2009' the reason I think these genre's are so popular is because they appeal to a wider audience then other genres do. Technology has advanced making the world of animation and action have come more alive and more exciting for the audience's to watch. Having said that, comedy films are as popular however they need less use of high technology rather its more about the star quality played in the film. As most viewers know comedy films are at best when there is good actors acting.

Thrillers in 2009 accounted for quite a low proportion of UK's box office takings, this may be because thrillers have all the same desire, to keep the audiences anxiety high. A thriller should always have a story line that's unexpected, this will promote a bigger more exciting experience for the audience's however a lot of thrillers have been let down for the lack of originality and for this reason thrillers have become much more predictable.

Looking at 'genre by genre' on the teaching blog, I can see that there are different audience's for different sub genres of films. Romance, period and suspense have target audience of female viewers and crime,action and sci-fi have an target audience of male viewers however comedy and horror have an audience of both women and men. From seeing the age certificate given for the films feature on the teaching blog, there is an target audience for age as well as gender, All the films have been given a certificate 15 or over this may be because thriller's appeal to a more mature audience given the fact that thrillers can be tense and stressful which a younger audience wouldn't appeal to.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Film openings

In this lesson we had to watch a documentary of opening films and understand different views of peoples knowledge on how films are made exciting for the audience.

Thomas Sutcliffe say's '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.' The reason this is true is that if you make the first 5 minutes of the film exciting, grabbing the audiences attention it will make them tempted to watch more however according to 'Director Jean Jacques Beineix' there are risks of 'instant arousal' as after the audience have watched these 5 minutes of excitement, the rest of the film may not be as exciting, making the audience bored with the rest of the film.

'Critic Stanley Kauffmann' describes a classic film opening as an establishing shot building up to the main character, for example; first  there will be shots of a building, a window, then a secretary sitting at a desk, a corridor and finally introducing the main character. This is to show that everything is connected and the world is much bigger and important than you think.

A effective title sequence is 'Seven' made by 'Kyle Cooper' this is because it doesn't make the audience feel comfortable rather it makes them feel on edge as your disturbed with the amount of detail shown. It builds anxiety within the audience as it feels as though 'it hit you on the head', unexpected. The title sequence also allows the audience to get a sense of the character- as we can tell that he must by psychotic.

'Orson Welles' didn't get to achieve the opening film he wanted originally 'Touch of Evil' as he wanted no credits or title sequences he wanted to plunge straight into the story however universal studios argued with this idea an added all this features to the film. Welles was disappointed with out come as he believed it ruined the suspense within the audience.

However 'The shinning' was able to create the suspense needed to draw the audiences attention, it started of with a extreme lot shot to show the the car moving from a distance, it then slowly follows the car like a predictor - The audience know that everything about this scene tells you that these people are heading in the wrong direction. 

Lord Of the rings poster evaluation

The font of ‘Lord of the Rings’ is quite bold and  is written in a roman style, straight away you are drawn to the title of the film.

Like The mummy’ there’s a theme of colour however the title is brighter which may suggest that it’s important for the audience to know the title as much as the characters shown.Comparing this to ‘The Mummy’ we can see that ‘The lord of the Rings’ choose to show their characters however ‘The Mummy’ does not, and as the title is beneath the actors it could be because – the actors are more important than the film title, they might reach out to a bigger audience than the title would.

There is a lot of detail and I can tell from looking at this picture that it is set in the historic times; also the amount of detail might be there to insinuate a sense of adventure and a story yet to be told. The scheme of colours and the way everything is spread out kind of give the idea that the characters are at war, as I can see thick mist over army which gives a hint of good and evil. 

Monday, 24 January 2011


The font used on this poster is very formal and quiet old fashioned. adding a sense of it being set back in time around the early 1900. it is also quite sophisticated having a element of a quiet lioness atitude to it, with the joined up letters especially the R running through to the I. it also reminds me of this because of the colour red which can represent pride. 

When looking at this font i straight away could see that there is a huge amount of difference, changing the character of the whole image. the font used is very bold and in your face, which is simple but very effective in terms of being eye catching. but is smaller then the narnia font. It is also a quiet a bit more modern, but at the same time very classic. The colour also is very striking and in your face. 


when creating a title sequence its quite important that the Font used is well thought through and has relevance to the film.
The font used in the film "PEARL HARBOR" is 'PLATINO'.  Its a very simple straight forward font, clear and spaced out the image used is not modern which mean it has comparison to the font which was initially realeased in 1948.

The font used in "PEARL HARBOUR" is much smaller and less outstanding that the font used in this film "ROCKY". ROCKY uses the 'FRANKLIN GOTHIC HEAVY' font i believe this was chosen in comparison to the actor in this movie. It's big, bold, black and heavy which makes it more outstanding to the audience and is likewise a perfect discription of the character. Also the fact that its not clouded with so much detail its nice and simple makes it so much more appealing. 

The Mummy poster evaluation

The mummy gives the sense of being in Egypt, and the use of font enables the audience to get the sense that it may be filmed in the historical times. The middle 'm' is much brighter and bolder than the other letters and has a glowing light behind it also as there is an image of a sand face in the sky it may signify that there is mystery and supernatural beings in the film-  the letter 'M' it also is similar to the pyramids as they are near enough the same shape.

The size of the font is quite bold however as the rest of the background is near the same colour (warm orange)  only one of the letters stand out. The way the picture is laid out is in a sort of triangular shape - this may be done to draw the audience's attention.


The use of Franklin Gothic Heavy font is used in the cover of the film 'ROCKY' this font suggets to us the audience that the film is based on very bold and heavy themes, this relates very much to the character of Rocky himself who is also very much a bold and strong man. all the letter are all in capitals the connotation that this being forth is that the characters in the film and stand up boldly and steadily also proud and confident. The font is im in very simple format with not much detail to it, also just like the character of Rocky how live and everyday average life on the streets of NewYork.

Over all the font chosen for the cover of Rocky was well chosen because it does not have top much detail and relates very much to Rocky and the rest of the film, connotation of this is that is beings about pride and strength to the audience.

Title Sequences

In every film there are different elements and techniques for a tittle sequence to add various amounts of tention or any kind of suspension for example credit over blank screen which often uses soundtracks and sound effects before introducing the actual imagery, this is continuous un till it gets to that point. Another example would be a discret title sequence which are separate edits that show themselves apart from eachother. they are also very stylish and carry a distinctive edit to create character.
As well as that there are:
Narrative film opening
Styled editing

The opening sequence that i looked at was "Dead Calm"

When analysing dead calm i could straight away figure out that it was defiantly a opening sequence with credits over blanks.  With a slow fade in credit of the producer, then after a few seconds the tittle of the film.

Thriller openings

Having analysed multilple different thriller film openings i have noticed that there are three basic structures.

For instance we have, Narrative film openings with titles this is where in some films the narrative starts immediately usually introducing the location, setting and lastly characters to the audience sometimes consisting of titles running throughout the whole opening sequence.

Titles over a blank screen, this is when a movie starts with a blank background/screen and rolling titles with  either sound effects or sound track playing throughout later introducing us to a character, location or a object.

Finally theres Discrete title sequence openings.

Enemy of state 
This is a perfect example of a discrete title sequence opening. Throughout the opening scene you notice that there are very heavy editing and stylised and comes across very technological due to the use of colour, sound, switching between clips and the overall use of editing also the use of font some of which make the letters look like symbols.
It tells a story or a plot but stands completely apart from the opening of the actual film.

step father title sequence

The structure of the opening 'Step father' gives an idea of what kind of movie it is, the narrative is shown clearly through the music and acting, as the story slowly builds we get the image that the man is changing identities immediately we wonder why he is needing to do this. The film then starts to create a more tense atmosphere as looking at the props in the background it slowly shows the tools used for the killing which is  accompanied by the sound of christmas carols and the phone of the hook.

It then introduces a bigger story as we see a mother and her children lying on the floor - straight away we assume that they are dead which then gives sense that this is a phycological/horror thriller and the content of the story is revealed- we know that he his a murderer.

step father title seuqence

The structure of the opening 'Step father' gives an idea of what kind of movie it is, the narrative is shown clearly through the music and acting, as the story slowly builds we get the image that the man is changing identities immediately we wonder why he is needing to do this. The film then starts to create a more tense atmosphere as looking at the props in the background it slowly shows the tools used for the killing which is  accompanied by the sound of christmas carols in background and the sound of the phone of the hook. 

It then introduces a bigger story as we see a mother and her children lying on the floor - straight away we assume that they are dead which then gives sense that this is a phycological/horror thriller and the content of the story is revealed- we know that he his a murder. 

Friday, 21 January 2011

short film

The aim of this project was to create a sense of tension and build anxiety within the audience. As a group we had to work together in order to create a short film thriller. 

In this lesson we learnt how to edit our short films. There were many different aspects to look at, for example; one scene fitting in with another or if the focus of our group member's acting was clear. However since we filmed in college, it was hard to get the footage we wanted. This was because students in college were walking in between shots - when rather we would prefer a clean shot of just one of our group members. 

In our next lesson we used mac computers and the software 'final cut'- we used it to edit our short film. However, before we put our film onto the computer we needed a hard-drive, our group memory card, from the camera, and a memory stick, to import our group work onto the desktop. Once we did this we could start editing our film. 

As a group we first watched all of the clips and chose which clips worked best together. We then dragged it onto the time line. As some of the clips jumped in places, which did not look realist, we therefore had to use the 'I' and 'O' buttons to cut out these places. 

Some parts of the clips had extra bits that were not required, to change this we dragged the 'i' or 'out' closer together. Once this was done, we all decided to create a more tense atmosphere. We used a slow motion effect - we used this effect to jump back and forth from the camera's perspective to the person who was acting perspective. To create a more thrilling sequence, as the person acting was not to know the camera was coming up behind them.
We also learnt new words for example: 'Transition' which is a change from one place or subject to another.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

First edit

first edit


The movie 'Seven' is openend with a discrete title sequence we know this by the way the opening of the film does not relate to the rest of the opening sene in the film, which leave us the audience in confusion of what is going to happen next throughout the rest of the film.

there is nop narration to being the story or give the audience a hint of what is going on, extreme close up of objects such as fingernails, newspaper prints, photography, film strip, scissors and razor blades, all there extreme close up of there objects create a distorted image in our mind and keep us wondering of what sort of person is using them. A psychotic theme is built in our mind due to the graphic nature of the title sequence, we get an impression the the person shown using the objects may have some sort of psychopathic problem, chilling music is also played in the background to create a distorted effect on the audience . 
the title sequence is then left on a cliff hanger as sene change to a man a woman sleeping in a bed, the music in the background also changes to a much more clamer and mellow sound.      

Monday, 10 January 2011



The film opens as Grady Edwards transforms himself in a bathroom. He shaves off his beard, dyes his hair, and takes out his brown contact lenses. He goes downstairs with his luggage, fixes himself a piece of toast with some peanut butter and drinks some coffee. As he leaves the house, the camera reveals the bodies of his wife and her two children. Throughout this scene string instrumented music is played to create tension and gets louder gradually, at the point were see the dead bodys of his family the background music increases immediately which make us the audience jump in shock.

The film comes to an end when Jackie hires a private investigator to look into David. Knowing his time is up, he goes to Jackie's house and brutally kills her by drowning her in her swimming pool on stormy night. He returns home and prepares to murder his new family and leave town. Determined to discover what was in the locked cabinets, Michael breaks into the basement as Kelly keeps a lookout. In the basement, Michael eventually discovers his father's body in a freezer, fear and tension is built in this scene as the audience awaits for Michael to get caught by David again fast camera movements give out the clue that something bad is about to happen. David knocks out Kelly and traps Michael in the basement. The commotion awakens Susan who enters the kitchen to discover Kelly unconscious and David furiously assembling murder weapons. He yells at her that it just is not working out, and that he thought she could be "Mrs. Grady Edwards". Stunned, Susan asks him to repeat the name. David grimaces and asks, "Who am I here?"
Realizing the danger, Susan runs upstairs. Michael escapes from the basement and revives Kelly. They follow David upstairs, where Susan stabs him in the neck with a piece of broken mirror. David chases them into the attic where he and Michael fight, eventually falling out of the attic and down to the ground, where they both lie unconscious. Michael comes out of a coma a month later. Kelly and Susan inform him that when the cops arrived, David had disappeared.

The film ends with a mother shopping in a home supply store with her two sons. She meets David who is an employee there. He introduces himself as Chris Ames. this leave the audience on a cliff hanger because we know what he is going to do next with this new family he has managed to get a hold of. 


Intertextuality is when you take certain elements of visual effects from another film for inspirations, for example mise-on-scene, camera shots, sounds (diegetic and non-diegetic) and methods of editing.

firstly i had to watch a clip from "Phycho" to look at the all the different aspects of the visual styles. After when watching and analysing other certain thriller clips, i noticed various similarities which contributed with different intertextuality.

The first clip that i watched was "fatal attraction", this defiantly had some of the same elements with uses of mise-en-scene, which had the white bathroom and even some other rooms. it also had a simular editing technique with the use of shadows adding suspension. i think this clip is very tense as we dont really see anything to the extend of gore as well as the other clip "succubus"only until the end shots . Another dominant aspect of the clip is the "The Stepfather" for example it use's a shiny knife which gives us an idea of the storyline. I also noticed the backing sound which used a high pitched violine in "what lies beneath" and "succubus" (however also used drumming) when stabbing. they also used diegetic sounds with the running taps in "fatal attraction" and "what lies beneath".


Its quite often that many films use intertextuality. They borrow different ideas from each other for instance camera angles, soundtracks, methods of editing or aspects of Mise En Scene. These are all things you may recognise from some films that you have seen in others due to the fact that they have been borrowed.

Having watched 3 different clips of the following film; What lies beneath, Fatal Attraction, The stepfather and (student thriller) Succubus i noted down the aspects borrowed from the famous shower seen in'psycho'.
The one that stood out the most and the one i thought had the most intertextuality was The Stepfather. M.E.S - The white bathroom and the shiny kitchen knife.
Also the pulling of the curtain when he collapses into the bath after being stabbed in the neck.


Intertextuality is when an director borrows certain aspects from another movie and uses it in there film. for student work we looked at four different clips of films and what different aspects used, were similar in each movie.

I found the clips interesting for the fact that they had a similar themes; The continues sound of running taps, the shiny knife and the use of camera angles to create a more tense atmosphere. For example in 'what lies beneath' theres is a slow pace panning shot of the 'women in the bath' this is similar to 'Fatal Attraction' which also use's camera angles in a slow pace manner however the camera shot is zooming out of her face rather than panning in.

Another example is the props used, nearly in all of the clips there was use of - the shiny knife and shower curtains, for example in the 'Step father' a kitchen knife is used by the 'villain' which later backfires resolving in him falling into the bath yanking on the shower curtains. this is similar to succubus as there is also a knife used by the 'villian'

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

See Mary!

You need to move your blog posts from the front page into this group blog. See Mary Berrisford (in room 322, the same office as me)to find out how to do this.