AS Film Studies Reflective Analysis Guidance booklet

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Information about AS Film Studies Reflective Analysis Guidance booklet

Published on February 4, 2014

Author: naamah


AS Film Studies Reflective Analysis 10 marks / 5% of AS Film Studies This document must… 1. be completed individually – not one per group 2. use the correct terminology to identify specific micro-features used in the film… 3. …and explain what affect these micro-features have on audience feelings or understanding 4. NOTE: If working in a group, each group member should focus on analysis on a separate area of the production… but this doesn’t mean others cannot be mentioned 5. be between 600 and 800 words You could include screen grabs from your own production to help illustrate your points, but this is not an essential requirement. Mark Scheme: This excerpt from the mark scheme illustrates what we will be looking for in the very best post-production reports. An example reflective analysis follows. Use this as a template for your own.

March 2012 AS Film Studies Candidate Approx. 770 words Reflective Analysis INTRODUCTION Explain: • what genre of film you decided to produce • who it was targeted at • what you intended to show in this sequence • which micro-features you were specifically responsible for REFLECTIVE ANALYSIS Paragraph 1: Music • • • • Introduce one key point per paragraph (italics) Use technical terms and appropriate vocabulary (in bold) Explain how your decisions help make meaning for the audience (underlined) Feel free to explain changes you made – but give reasons REFLECTIVE ANALYSIS Paragraph 2: SFX • • • • Introduce one key point per paragraph (italics) Use technical terms and appropriate vocabulary (in bold) Explain how your decisions help make meaning for the audience (underlined) Feel free to explain changes you made – but give reasons For our AS Film production coursework, my group decided to create a sequence from a thriller film. We intended the film to be targeted at young adults, around 18-30 years old. In order to conform to generic conventions, we decided that we would employ a range of microfeatures to introduce a victim and an antagonist, and create an atmosphere of threat, fear and suspense as the sequence developed. I took specific responsibility for the use of sound (both diegetic and nondiegetic) in the production of the film. In order to clearly establish the character of the victim, I decided to introduce upbeat pop-music at the start of the sequence, when the victim is cleaning her kitchen. I selected a recently released, wellknown piece of pop music which the target audience would recognise, to help the audience relate to the character. Initially I used this music non-diegetically, but the music did not seem to match the movement of the actor on the screen. In a re-shoot of this sequence, we filmed the victim switching on the radio before they started to clean; we then asked the actor to dance slightly as she was cleaning, in time with the music. This switch from non-diegetic to diegetic sound works far more effectively, in my opinion. It creates a greater sense of realism, which is important for establishing a sense of suspense, and the dancing also helps the audience understand that woman is happy and innocent. The next key use of sound in the film is diegetic, too: some glass breaks off-screen. This effect was created by smashing an empty milk bottle, and recording on a digital audio recorder. This sound is the first signal to the woman – and also the audience - that she is under threat; it is the first disruption to her secure, happy life. Although the source of this sound is off-screen, it needed to be clearly audible to the audience to help them understand why she stops cleaning and leaves the kitchen to investigate. To ensure this, I muted the diegetic music track slightly at the point when the glass breaks. At first I was concerned that this would make the music seem unrealistic as the radio wouldn’t naturally change volume at this point. However, the dip in the volume of the music actually serves to reflect the chracter’s own shift in attention, away from the song. This further helps the audience understand that the glass breaking is important to the narrative, and also implies to the audience that the happy, innocent life (which the diegetic music represents) is beginning to slip away.

Hellesdon High School English Department REFLECTIVE ANALYSIS Paragraph 3: volume / silence • • • • Introduce one key point per paragraph (italics) Use technical terms and appropriate vocabulary (in bold) Explain how your decisions help make meaning for the audience (underlined) Feel free to explain changes you made – but give reasons REFLECTIVE ANALYSIS Paragraph 4: Music • • • • Introduce one key point per paragraph (italics) Use technical terms and appropriate vocabulary (in bold) Explain how your decisions help make meaning for the audience (underlined) Feel free to explain changes you made – but give reasons The next key use of sound further develops tension and a sense of threat as the victim leaves the relative safety of the kitchen. Other members of my groups had signalled the change in atmosphere by making the new location darker and by using a hand-held, shaky camera to imply a sense of fear. I wanted my sound to support this change in location and atmosphere, and decided to use the radio once again. I asked the actor to switch off the radio as she left the kitchen – a close-up on the switch clearly communicates this to the audience. This abrupt end to the music creates an eerie silence. To enhance this contrast, I raised the volume of the diegetic sound at the point when she flicks the switch, so that the “CLICK” is unnaturally loud – again communicating disruption to the audience. The silence established by the ending of the pop-music enabled me to move from diegetic music use to non-diegetic in the final sequence. In the new darker setting of the garage, I wanted to use some music that would slowly build up as she walked closer to the antagonist, so that the audience would understand that she was nearing the source of the threat, similar to the way that music is used in Jaws. I didn’t want to use diegetic music here, as there was no obvious music source in shot, and no reason within the narrative to explain its presence. I selected a track called “Devil’s Walk” by Ernest Jones for this sequence, because it starts very quietly and ends in a loud crescendo of drums. I carefully placed the music so that the crescendo coincided with the climax of the sequence – where the housewife is attacked by the burglar – to increase the sense of fear and excitement in the audience. Rather than fading the music out at the end of the film, I chose to abruptly cut the music to communicate to the audience how quickly the housewife’s life has ended and create a shocking end to our sequence. Approx. 770 Words

The Reflective Analysis You have to write a ‘Reflective Analysis’ of your Extended Step Outline/Photostory Board/ Film or Film sequence. It is not an old style evaluation – ‘I enjoyed the task, I think it worked for its target audience because my friends watched it and they liked it, if I did it again I would make it better by starting earlier and trying harder’. None of that really says anything worthwhile about your understanding of how films tell stories and make meaning for the audience, and showing your understanding of how films tell stories and make meaning for the audience is what this is all about. You can write this as continuous prose, like an essay, but you really don’t need to. You can do it with subheadings and bullet points. A format which some students have used before and which has worked well has been a presentation, with one slide for each page of your step outline, and each slide talking about the different key technical elements at work on that page. Good work:-    Talks about specific incidents from your step outline in cinematic detail Focusses on specific micro elements (like editing or mise en scene) and analyses how they are making meanings for the audience Uses technical vocabulary effectively The best work will examine how the technical aspects of your work might make different meanings for different audiences. There is a word limit of 800 words, which really isn’t very long. You have to be precise, making every word count. Your reflective analysis should include the following:  Attention to the codes and conventions of your chosen genre  Details of your target audience  Some details as to whether the film is mainstream or niche  Your sources of inspiration for your movie or sequence  References to other films or film-makers whose work have been influential in your project  An understanding of how this sequence fits into the wider film and where it is located (if appropriate)

 A balance of the technical codes and your creative choices utilizing all appropriate terminology  An explanation of what meaning you intended for the audience (as generated by the selected micro elements).  An explanation of influential artistic devices and styles (e.g.: symbolism, expressionism etc.)  Audience feedback, preferably in the form of direct quotations  An acknowledgement of the technical or practical difficulties in devising the film or sequence  Potential for development or extension  Details of what you have learnt

Sample Reflective Analysis For Extended Step Outline Throughout my step outline I wanted to use the micro aspects of the film noir genre to represent aspects of my key characters. I wanted use to use the cinematography to create visual symbolism as a way to express this, for example in ‘scene one’ I used overhead lighting and positioning of Detective Jones to suggest deceit by concealing half of his face in shadow. I did this to show the audience that this Detective - who is in a position of responsibility and justice - has a darker immoral side to his persona. This scene is the catalyst in the film; it begins the story and sets up the protagonist and his narrative development. Scene two propels the story further by focusing upon sound. It begins with a ‘soundscape’ of city noise from an urban environment (a key convention of the noir genre), it also symbolises normality and everyday life. Later in the scene Mr S kills a hired gun, this juxtaposition from everyday life to murder and death is a stark realisation that under the veil of everyday life there are criminals that hide in plain sight. In this scene I also use a non-diegetic accentuated heartbeat as the hired man faces death, this is a stereotypical technique used in films such as ‘Crank’ when he is on the pavement in the face of an imminent death. However, upon reflection I wouldn’t have used this technique as it is too clichéd. Although it adds tension to the scene I think it makes the death too drawn out for a character of which the audience have no emotional connection with, I also don’t want to follow this stereotypical overly used technique as it has been used and copied many times. In this scene I also wanted to make the mechanisms such as the lighter, cigar cutter and gun louder and clearer than in reality. This cold, calculating and callus metallic sound is reflective of Mr S’s personality and almost detaches him from human emotions. In scene three I focussed upon the mise en-scene. The main purpose of this scene was to represent the historical and social context of the film as well as showing the film noir genre conventions. Also another key aspect I wanted to explore was props and performance, using the conversation between Veronica and Jones to show a suggestive flirty side (as a femme-fatale would be represented) to them both and then the impact of his realization as he gets shot at. This gives a good contrast between emotions and I think this small scene works well showing the conventions whilst intertwining it with action and performance. Scene four explores the use of editing, I wanted to use montage editing to show a distorted representation of time and space, this not only adds interest and pace to a scene but is also used to show the audience detective Jones feeling and memories. I wanted to show an insight into the detective and allow the audience to be able to comprehend and establish empathy with his character. I used white fade in and outs because I thought it worked well with the clinical and pure environments, perhaps not for the bar scene but both the wedding and hospital scene as it gives them an eerie dream like feeling. I like how the white pure memories clash with the dark entrance to his house which is the setting for death and the beginnings of insanity. Straight away the audience know this scene is not happy and pure by the juxtapositions preceding it. This also builds tension and dramatic impact for when the realization does come. Another visual representation I wanted to add in here is how his life is still dark and that in his dingy hotel room it still has the feel of his house from his memories, and that he can’t shake off the dark shadow of that event and his past. In my final scene I wanted to show performance. I used parallel editing because I felt it gave me the chance to show the performance of two characters as they journey through their emotions and then eventually come together on a split screen, therefore visually symbolising the end to their emotional journey. I think this scene works well, showing both the transformation of detective Jones and the mercy shown by Mr S. This would hopefully give the audience a dilemma and make them question their opinions and stereotypical views based upon the opening scene. The performance here is key and the actors would need to be able to express themselves convincingly for the viewer to feel the gravity of the transformation that is taking place. Jones in an exaggerated and violent, physical performance would contrast with the subtle, but markedly different, manner of Mr S.

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