In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
I wanted my promotional package to have a sense of continuity, to present the film as a product. Therefore I used the same colour scheme as my poster, and the same image. I attempted to keep the styling of my product in mind, and used the diffusion tool on all images in my website and poster to create a sense of youth and urban life which would appeal to my audience.
I knew that the purpose of a website was to provide information about the film for people that were interested in viewing it and wanted to know more. After seeing the poster and trailer, people already have gained a desire to view the film, and are searching for extra information to reinforce this. Therefore I provided this on my website with an emphasis on quotes from magazines, different applications providing information about the film, and the age rating.
Before designing my website I looked at existing websites of the horror genre in order to discover codes and conventions of real media products. The movies of the websites I analysed were “The Last Exorcism”, “28 Days Later” and “Nightmare on Elm Street “. Through analsyizing these existing products, I learned codes and conventions of the horror genre and attempted to apply them so that my product was credible as part of a promotional package. With regards to typography, my poster challenges codes and conventions of the horror genre as most of the posters I analyzed, eg. “The Last Exorcism and “Nightmare on Elm Street” used thin, spidery writing and I decided to use a bolder, more distressed font for my title. However I did use font like the ones shown on those websites for the tagline and quotes. I took this risk, as I believed it created a more gritty look to appeal to my target young urban demographic, as this was used for the website of “28 Days Later”. The websites typically used flashes of red in certain words in the font, reinforcing the theme of blood and violence, as well as including the blood stains from the poster. I used this on the producers, writer and director, to draw attention to these as often the audience may recognise these and be tempted to go and see the film because of their reputation. For my buttons, I used a font similar to the one used on the “28 Days Later website as I thought it looked electronic and futuristic. It was also similar to fonts conventional of the action genre, which was an element I wanted to portray as part of my treatment. I also provided a date, despite audience feedback that they would like to see “coming soon as they found it intriguing. This is because in the websites I analysed a release date was always included and I did not want my website to be unconventional.
The quotes placed around the image created a link between the iconography and the quality of the film, as well as recommending the film to the audience. This was influenced by the “Last Exorcism” website, which I chose to take elements from as it was well received in both my focus group and questionnaire. Rather than the focus being on the treatment, the focus was on others opinion of the film, as I had found that my target audience were more open to seeing a film if others had a high opinion of it. This method of simply telling the audience that the film is worth watching takes into account the hypodermic syringe theory, the idea that the audience accepts whatever message is given to them.
In analysing these websites, I found it was important to include information of the promoters and director and these often influenced the targets audience in decided whether or not to go and see the film. Therefore I included these as “presenting” the film, to increased my website’s credibility.
In order to gain an idea of what would be most appealing to the audience, I held a focus group and sent a questionnaire to teenagers via Facebook, or handed them out in college. I used this and the codes and conventions I had learnt through my analysis’s to attempt to create an appealing and credible website.
I learnt that a lot of my target audience did not use promotional websites, which meant it was important to include a link on social networks such as Facebook or Myspace. Teenagers typically spend a lot of time on these websites, so I knew that this would increase the amount my website got viewed by my target audience. I also found it was conventional, as all of the other websites I analysed included a link to these social networking sites.
Through my questionnaire I also found that black and white were most the preferred colour scheme by my target demographic. However, I chose to include red and grey in my poster, as I found that exclusively black and white posters were unusual, and only used in one of my analysed posters “The Last Exorcism”. The use of red connoted violence, and the grey helped create a sense of darkness and isolation and I felt that leaving these out would make my website less credible and effective.
A comment from my focus group stated that “Quotes from magazines and reviewers, that always makes me want to go see the movie”. This influenced me greatly in my decision to base my website on “The Last Exorcism” one, as a focal point of this is the quotes from magazines about the film. It seemed that my target audience were more likely to see a film if it had received positive feedback, and so I used this in my website.
My questionnaire, focus group and the codes and conventions showed me that including a trailer on my website was both desirable and conventional. All of my analysed websites included a trailer to further promote the film; however in all of my analysed websites, these were presented in pop ups that the viewer had the option to skip. I decided to place my trailer on the page of the website as with the technological resources available to me, using a popup would be very difficult. Feedback from my focus group showed that they wanted a “trailer from the page” implying that this was for convenience. I used a metallic look on the screen, which reinforced the gritty styling, and also contrasted against the brick wall, drawing the audience’s attention. I also took into account feedback that the audience wanted the option to skip and included a “close” button.
As typically my target audience would not want to spend time having to search for something, it was important that I remembered to keep my website’s layout basic and clear. In my focus interview, a person said that they preferred “The Last Exorcism’ website as it was “plain and simple” and another said they didn’t like a poster as it was “too confusing”
I also considered asking about which buttons I would like to be included on the website before I realised that it would be most conventional to include all of them, so the question would be irrelevant. I positioned these to the side of the image, in the same position as the buttons on the “Last Exorcism’s website. I put the last button in a different position and in black, while the other buttons were in white. This reinforced the urban styling of my promotional package, as well as using the colour scheme of black and white. The button that I chose for this, story, was also something I wanted to stand out and be a focus as it provided the background for my film.
My focus group also told me that they would most like to see the main characters or “Victims” on the website as “those are the people who relate to”. Therefore, I chose to use the two main characters as a focus of my website as this would help the audience to connect to the treatment, especially as the actors are of a similar age. I used the same image I had used in the poster to create a sense of continuity, and to show the sense of desperation in the characters in the website. The background, a brick wall, was influenced by “The Last Exorcism” website. I used this as it reinforced the urban gritty theme I was trying to emanate, and also refocused attention on the image of the characters as the location was not revealed. The fact that the background was a brick wall makes the location universal, so that the audience could almost believe that the events in my treatment could occur where they themselves live and relate to it further. I also used the diffusion effect on this to remain consistent with the styling of my promotional package