1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
Title of the film
I produced the title of our film Classmates on a word document. The title includes two different fonts and colours for the two different words. The word ‘Class’ is in a bright pink colour, in the font Edwardian Script It. This font is an elegant and formal design, and reflects our female character that is very classy and proper.
In contrast to this the word ‘mates’ is in a plain blue colour in font Berlin Sans Fb. This is a reasonably scruffy and unremarkable font, the blue in a similar colour to a pair on jeans. This font reflects are male character that like the font is reasonably unkept and common.
The fonts contrast so differently that my audience are sure to notice the distinction between the two. After watching the opening to my project they will link the binary oppositions to the different fonts and to the two main characters in my film.
The title to my film is in a similar style to that of which a typical romcom would be. My title includes bold colours and fonts which reflect the aspects of the film which are romance and comedy. Other examples of romantic comedies with bold and extravagant titles include Love Actually, with a red and white colour scheme, and Mean Girls, with bold lettering in pink and purple. The colours pink and blue of my film title signify the contrast of male and female, boyish and girly.
The titles for a romantic comedy usually fade in and out with a background of soft music. My film has been more creative with the title being placed on a fridge, with magnets and other relevant pictures surrounding the title.
Setting and Location
The locations of my film include was two houses situated on the same street in Ilkley. The female characters house is an old, detached Victorian house. The house has four large floors with four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a grand kitchen and living room. The male characters bedroom was a spare bedroom I transformed into a messy teenage boys bedroom. We did this by removing all objects such as pink lamps and pink furniture and drawers to create a boyish atmosphere. We added posters on the walls, threw clothes and underwear on the floor, as they would be in an ordinary teenage boys room. We placed empty spirit bottles on side cabinet to the boy’s bed to signify that he is a heavy drinker.
These bedrooms are designed to signify the contrasting characters social class, wealth and personality. Other romcom’s that portray particular stereotypes on their wealth do so with their houses. E.g. in Mean Girls the stereotypical ‘popular’ girl has a large house and an enormous pink bedroom.
I used a science lab in my grammar school Ilkley Grammar, for the registration scene towards the end of the opening clip. I included an amount of extras to be in my registration scene, as there would be in a normal day at registration. This adds to the verisimilitude to my featured film and makes it appear more realistic. All teen romantic comedies are featured in a middle school. Although usually American, my film is similar to the conventional teenage high school as possible.
We chose for our female character to wear a knee length floaty, colourful dress, with black tights and a thin cardigan. The outfit as a whole represents her class and grand lifestyle. Her outfit shows that she fits into a certain stereotypical group. This is that the richer people in society will wear the most expensive and exclusive branded clothing, so the rest of society knows that they are in the higher end of the money spectrum. Having designer labels for this certain stereotype is a must, as being able to afford the pricy designer items excludes others who cannot afford such luxuries. My main female character carries a Louis Vuitton bag, which is one of the most well known designer handbags. For its celebrity endorsement and its price tag.
The main male character wears clothes that are simple and plain. He has reasonably long, spiky hair which gives him the ‘cool’ look that he wants to portray. He has stubble on his face which signifies he is quite rough looking and lazy. When the main character finally gets out of bed, he rushes around his room and grabs random pieces of clothing of the floor and quickly pulls them on. This is contrasting with the female character who has carefully prepared the night before what she was going to wear for the following day. My female character wear very formal clothes, such as designer labels etc, compared with the main male character in plain, blue jeans.
Jeans are an item of clothing that the majority of males have in their wardrobes. Dressing casually is something that all male’s can relate to, as they may relate to my stereotypical male character. Seeing as he is late for school and is in love with the ‘popular’ girl at school, which is something many teenage males can understand.
Camerawork and Editing
I have included a variety of shots in my film opening these include….
Similarly to other romcom’s I have included sharp jump cuts from the girl’s bedroom to the male’s bedroom, each lasting for no longer than five seconds in the contrast to the male and female scenes. I have used this sharp editing so the beginning of the film is paced and can contain a lot of different scenes and ideas. Everything the two main characters do is in contrast with each other, the shots are in constant back and fourth, paralleling with each other. Soft panning has been used to get a larger view of some of the sets, such as the female characters bedroom and the registration scene. The music to my film is a soft and simple piano for the girl’s scene, which turns into more of an upbeat pop piano as the story unfolds. The male characters scenes have more of a beat to them with drums and an up-tempo piano. The male characters music is more rock whilst the female character has more of a pop genre. Most romantic comedies have soft simple music to start their films. My film is conventional in the sense of a romcom and implies a similar aspect. I composed the soundtrack for my film in the Garage band application, and included a range of different tracks which blend well together to creating the perfect soundtrack, which synchronises well with my film opening.
Title font and style
The opening titles to my film are done very creatively. I was inspired by the titles in the romantic comedy Napoleon Dynamite. In this film the opening titles are presented to the audience on a number of different plates. I used different creative titles in my project. These include titles incorporated into different objects in my film such as on a vodka bottle, Listerine bottle, on a window and written on a pillow case. The interesting and inventive titles flow well into the creativeness and quirky senses of the film. They give the opening a dynamic and comedic aspect to the film as the two main characters signify a possible romance.
Other titles include distribution companies and actors names in a thick, bold font appearing in the bottom left of the screen. The different colours of purple, blue and pink add to the playfulness and fun on the opening scene. These are the sorts of colours that are included in romantic comedies. This is because these are the colours that appeal to the target audience who are mostly females that are looking to watch a film about comedy and romance.
The story and how it is set up
Conventionally romcom’s have voice over’s to explain the characters situation and emotions they feel at the time the film is set. This helps explain to the audience what is happening in the film. My film opens similarly to the film ‘Wild Child’. My opening scene begins with my main female character awakens in a very pink and girly room. Her pink, bear alarm clock starts to ring at 7am. The alarm clock is surrounded by jewellery, perfume bottles and other pink things. This connotes to the audience that this is the bedroom of female teenager who seems to be very wealthy and feminine. My audience will already have a certain stereotype of what they expect the main female character to be like. This will probably be the rich, spoilt child that appears in many romcom’s such as Mean Girls and Wild Child.
In contrast the blue, digital alarm clock sitting on a wooden bedside cabinet belongs to my main male character. The clock is plain and simple compared with the small, pink alarm clock of the female character. This signifies the main male characters persona. The alarm clock is surrounded by vodka bottles. This gives the impression of a male who drinks a lot of alcohol. All of which are spirits which signifies he is clearly just drinking to get drunk and not for the taste. This gives the impression the male character is young and rebellious.
After watching the first minute of the film the audience could already have a good idea of what typical stereotypes the two main characters portray. Their characters are shown through different aspects such as their bedrooms which connotes their class, and their actions such as the male character sleeping in, and drinking vodka at seven o’clock in the morning.
Female’s alarm clock
I have kept the traditional romcom idea, by having soft, light music for my opening. Straight away my audience would be able to narrow down a certain genre by the type of music that plays. For example you would not expect a slasher horror to open with a light hearted piano piece that transitioned into an upbeat drum beat.
By using short and sharp jump cuts the audience can predict the scenario of the two opposing characters. The soft and classy music for the female character creates an atmosphere of innocence and distinction. Whilst the male characters soundtrack is more rock and has more of a beat than the females piano piece.
The boy, girl scenario makes the audience believe that something might happen with the two characters in the future. It is a very conventional idea that a poor boy would fall in love with the rich girl, with a Romeo and Juliette style idea. If my audience were to be familiar to any romantic comedies they would have picked up on the aspect of the possible romance of the two characters, as they have a number of diversifications.
The comedy aspect of my romcom comes is shown through the male character drinking vodka at early hours in the morning. This is certainly a very harsh stereotype of young, underage drinkers, which is very much verging on alcoholism. This is not portraying a specific group of teenagers but some could be seen in this sense. When my male character drinks from the vodka bottle in his bed, this adds the humour aspect to the romcom and always for the target audience which is mainly female teenagers, to mock that particular stereotype.
As my film opening runs into the separate characters getting ready for school (or not in the male characters case). The soundtrack changes as the tempo becomes a lot faster as the female character gets dressed, brushes her teeth, does her make-up etc. The music only speeds up slightly when the male character lies in bed. Before the male character realises he is very late the music stops completely as he cries ‘oh no!....’ this adds emphasise to him speaking, this draws the audience in at that point to pay close attention to what he is about to say. After the male character realises he is late, he hastily runs about his room putting on clothes, grabs a vodka bottle and runs to get to school. The tempo changes here to a very hasty beat which signifies that he is in a rush. This tempo is constant until he reaches registration. The fast beat really helps the audience to understand that my main male character is late for school, as he runs franticly around his house.
The main unconventional theme in my project that differentiates from the normal romantic comedy is that the main female character in my film is actually a lesbian. Generally in a romantic comedy the girl who is stereotyped as being rich, attractive and posh is usually heterosexual. This stereotype is usually the popular girl, who other girls crave to be like for their looks and popularity. With this complete change in character to what the audience expects, leads the audience into thinking more about the storyline, and how it will pan out. Different questions may be raised such as will the male character still want to be with her even is she is a lesbian? Or will the main female character come around and have mutual feeling towards the male character?
How the characters are introduced
Both main characters are contrasted with each other in the morning scene with both their alarm clocks ringing etc. My female character wakes up with a black eye-mask in matching pink and black pyjamas. She sleeps in a large double bed with fairy light wrapped around it. The pink wallpaper adds to the Mise-en-scene that she is very girly and wealthy. She wakes up straight away, draws her blinds and gets dressed and puts her make-up on for school. This character is very similar to the main character of the film Wild Child. My main character differentiates from the female in Wild Child as she is homosexual and not heterosexual, which deviates from this particular stereotype.
My main male character wakes up in a small, compact room. He sleeps in a single bed next to a window, which signifies how squished he is in the bedroom and how small the room actually is. He knocks the alarm clock of the side cabinet to switch it off this connotes he doesn’t care about time and would prefer to go back to bed. He pulls the pillow over his head and tries to get to sleep again. This is a stereotype of the typical rebellious or ‘rude boy’. My main male character is similar to the character Charles from the film Four Weddings and a Funeral. This is because he similarly runs frantically around his bedroom, trying to get ready to an event he is late for. The two characters are also quite similar is appearance and personality.
I included certain special effects to make my film flow easier, as if time had passed. I did this by using transitions of scenes fading in and out of each other. This is a typical thing to do for a romantic comedy and is soft and not too unrealistic and sharp. I used a fade in transition for the start of the film of the alarm clock to give the film that natural and soft flow.
When the female character flicks her hair I made this appear more dreamlike by slowing down her actions and lightening the brightness of the clip. This makes the audience see the point of view of the male character and how he sees her. This is a typical thing to do in a romantic comedy which shows how the male character finds the female character attractive and almost dreamlike. The romcom New York Minute uses this editing effectively. By adding dreamlike or soft music also creates the atmosphere about how the character feels towards the other character.
Male’s alarm clock
My female character is generalised as being girly, rich, posh, attractive and popular. This creates a certain stereotype of a ‘popular’ teen that appears in all main teen romcom’s. My male character is portrayed as being rebellious, unorganised and rude. These are other stereotypes portrayed in teen romcom’s. My film is conventional in the sense that it contains certain stereotypes that are usually found in teen romantic comedies, usually in a school environment.