In this section I will log my thought process’ after each draft, underlining what factors I like and which I don’t as much. It will allow me to evaluate my own work as I go on meaning a more considered approach to my designs.
Website draft one:
This poster was my first draft so, as always, I was aware of the fact that your first draft very rarely ends up being your final product. This draft was designed before my ‘palette shift’ when I changed by movies colour scheme from black and red to white and red. I have written a page based around my reasoning and what effect it had on my thought process. My original thinking for the dark background was to add a scene to my website, create a level of intrigue and to have a dark, musky page.
This presented problems however to the aesthetics of my site. The red font became ineligible as the dark background seemed to swamp it into losing it effect. The red font was essential to my marketing campaign as it connotated blood/danger and I was unwilling to let this theme be lost from my designs.
One of the more noticeable design factors to the draft is the positioning of the hyperlink bar. Positioned below the ‘Angel of Death’ logo it means the viewer will be able to navigate quickly if they hold no interest in the home page. This isn’t what I was aiming for however as the media is the focus point of the entire site; I needed the surfers to watch it and be intrigued by the teaser trailer.
Also, in an attempt to make them stand out, I allowed the production company’s logos to remain. I thought this would be beneficial to the poster but in fact hindered it. As well as distracting the reader, it also belayed the ‘normal’ conventions set before in an uninteresting way. Looking back at some sites I have analysed in the past, I found this is something which is very rarely done.
I wanted to add some critical acclaim to my website because, as my textual analysis work suggests, the website is aimed to promote the movie and you will inevitably come across a website with critical quotations when analysing other sites in the field. They have immense power in influencing people to fork out around eight pounds to go to the cinema. If a respectable magazine, newspaper, website or critic compliment or endorse your production, the chances of people turning up at the cinema are multiplied ten-fold because these people/corporations pride themselves on informing audiences and are trusted means of information for the general public.
Of course my quotations were completely hypothetical but I was aware that; a) the praise needed to be substantial and b) it needed to be from people/corporations whose opinions and reputations would be enough to influence potential consumers. I opted to use Empire, the country’s biggest movie reviewing magazine and holder of a reputation which had been built on over a number of years and Jonathan Ross, presenter (at the time) of Film 2010, who has been intrinsically linked with the film industry for decades by hosting award ceremonies, writing reviews and presenting shows such as the BBC One hit. I used a grey/white shade for the stars to make them stand out of a very dark background which not only makes them more visible but also makes them seem important, drawing the reader’s eyes towards them.
Taking a glance at the top, right hand corner of the page you will notice that there is a selection of social networking site links. This followed my textual analysis research while also providing an element of authenticity to my page. I decided that I would add an effect to the ‘buttons’ to make them feel at home in the dark surroundings of the website. Thios presented problems however. The first being that the identity of the logos had been lost; their colours are a big factor of their brand. The second lies in the fact that companies become unhappy when you start to adjust their logos meaning problems could arise.
Website draft two: (post palette shift)
For this draft there were a number of alterations made to the predecessor. Firstly, and perhaps most notably, the colour scheme had changed. White has now swamped the poster. I talk abut my reasoning for this more extensively in the dedicated section but to put it in simple terms; I wanted to oppose the conventions that have been set before which suggest horror movies should be dark and black affairs. Furthermore, my movie follows a very religious theme (somebody believes they are ‘Death’ themselves) and I believed that the dark colours created by the cloak would not work against a dark background. I also believe that the white adds a good contrast to the darkness which ‘Death’ exudes meaning the battle between good and evil (bright and dark) is shown in the colour scheme of the marketing campaign.
During the production of this draft I started to add some essential data, company logos and website function. I knew this was needed and went about adding them but I found that the lower third of the site became overly crowded. If you look at the image above you will see that there is simply too much text for the viewer to read in a short amount of time meaning their attention could be lost.
This draft allowed me to explore the ‘blood red’ theme further as the colour now fully stood out against a brighter background. Horror films very rarely base around white but it has been done effectively by Hollywood blockbusters ‘Saw I’ and ‘Strangers’.
Another alteration, and perhaps one of the most significant, is the repositioning and redesigning of the hyperlink bar. I made very slight changes to the ‘look’; lowering the case size to make it more compact, making the current location bold to enable to the user a greater interface and addition of the caption “2oth Century Fox (LOGO) Presents Angel Of Death” just above it. Adding the logo was important because it creates the feeling that you are on a 20th CF produced website, which of course you are. I was aware that tis authenticity was vital.
There were certain factors which I could remove such as the Oscar nomination which was added to fill space and, to be honest, added on a whim. I decided this needed to be removed because a) it was irrelevant and b) it was too soon because this website is advertising a movie that is only at the teaser trailer stage. I also removed the buttons for the media player and minimised them into smaller and easier to manage links. This freed up further space and I made more by moving the social networking links towards the top of the page. Now I was left with the film title, the ‘A Samuel Stevens film’ tagline, the ‘in RealD 3D’ logo, ‘the ‘Awakening 14 Dec 2010′ line and the essential film producers’ logos.
Website draft three:
As you can see from the image above that these alterations made a great impact on the spacious nature of the site. Websites, according to my textual analysis’, shouldn’t be too cluttered and I have consciously followed this convention. By freeing up more room, the white fade effect becomes more visible. I was keen for the white space to be clear because it represents the ‘battle’ between good (light) and bad (dark).
A another addition to this draft is the ‘news block’ positioned in the top left corner. I added this with the thought process that websites also need to inform as well as entertain. Admittedly this idea was taken from other, un-horror related websites and on first examination I realised this didn’t seem to work. As well as making the site seem somewhat disjointed it also took up a vast amount of open space; space which could be filled with an image of the main character.
I went about making the news block by creating a red base rectangle, adding a large piece of text saying ‘news’ and reducing the opacity to created a faded effect. Then, using images from my location shoot, I added some pictures to correspond with the textual news stories.
You may also have noticed that, in the previous few drafts, a new base image has materialised. This image, of a host of trees in the Fleckney countryside, added to the scene of the movie and allowing the location of the film to seep through into the website. It also looks visually appealing; creating a scene of horror, intrigue and alarm. I added some effects to the image to made it seem more misty while also adding a greyscale effect meaning the image seems like it was taken some years ago.
I was keen for the logo’s font to resemblethat which is used on the bible’s sleeve. My theme follows the story of a patient who believes he is Death, the religious entity, and the struggle between good and (false) evil. For this reason I took the font from the bible and ‘stained’ it with the colour red. Red is connotated intrinsically with danger, blood and death. To take a font related with peace, worship and religion and juxtapose it in such as way with themes of death, I believed it was an effective way of portraying the struggle of good vs. evil that are ever present during the production.
Website draft four:
In this draft, I was comfortable that my poster was starting to take shape; the text had all been centralised, needless clutter had been removed and an main image had been added to the canvas. One of the more drastic alterations from the previous draft was the movement of the media player from a lower left position to the centre of the page. This, as well as following conventions and my textual analysis work, enabled my page to have a symmetrical layout. Another switch was the location of the critical acclaim from the right-middle to the middle-middle position.
I had also changed the text used from a piece more likely to be used in the later stages of a production to a quote that can only be said about a movie at the teaser trailer stage. You will remember that I had previously used text such as “This years horror blockbuster” but I couldn’t help but notice that this wouldn’t be said about a movie this early in the production. For this reason I altered my text into “a destined hit under Stevens’ stewardship” which is much more likely. It is taking the reputation of the director and making an assumption about the film because they would not have had a chance to watch the film.
The image I used, of my main character (Darren), features him in mid-shot and looking across the scene. His clothing is in relation to that of a normal university student his age which was essential in representation. I was aware that it was essential that he was portrayed as a normal, cool and desirable teenager. Desirable in two ways; attractive to females so they can sympathise with his plight, and ‘cool’ in the eyes of males so they can relate to him.
The mise-en-scene of the image is simple but it is easy to dissect; something I was keen to establish due to the nation of “page-hoppers” on the internet. People need to understand characters roles immediately. For this reason we spent some time in the shoot discussing what pose and facial expression we should use to make it clear he is a character whose equilibrium has been broken, who fears for his life and who can see the antagonist of the film. For this reason he is arched backwards, trying to maintain a distance between himself and whatever he can see, and his face is clearly showing an alarm as what is happening.