AS Media Studies: Foundation ProductionEvaluation of Thriller Production
The aim of this project was to produce an original two minute thriller film openingby preparing, shooting and editing it whilst also producing a new soundtrack toaccompany it for a specific target audience.We had to look at the theories behind thrillers in order to deepen and widen ourknowledge of thriller movies and the conventions that come attached to them. Thiswas to enable us to produce the best possible opening to embody the thriller genre.For our thriller opening to be successful, we felt that it had to raise questionswhich created suspense and tension. This follows Roland Barthes’ theory of actionand enigma codes. He believed that in order to create suspense and tension, therehad to be unanswered questions. For the main plot of our story, we wanted to catchthe attention of our target audience which was males and females aged 15 andabove. This was the age range we chose as we wanted to appeal to an age rangethat is more likely to attend the cinema. We didn’t choose the age range of 18 asdoing this would restrict the market and would lose a valuable amount of peoplewho may want to watch it.We tried to develop an idea which would encourage the audience to carry onwatching the film in order to resolve the unanswered questions that they may have.Research had to be carried out for us to grasp the characteristics in the openingscenes of thrillers and for us to see what we possibly could be included in ouropenings to make them more effective. One of the movies that we watched anddeconstructed was Alfred Hitchcock’s
North by Northwest (1959).
This film consistsof many of the conventions associated with the thriller genre. The enigma which isseen throughout the film is “Who is George Kaplan?” The opening of the filmillustrates Tzvetan Todorov’s theory of equilibrium. It starts off by showing us theprotagonist behaving how he usually does and carrying on with his daily activities;this presents the audience with the equilibrium.We then see the state of equilibrium beingdisrupted by the protagonist being kidnappedand mistaken for “George Kaplan”. This fits intothe sub-genre of innocent on the run. Thetheory of thriller sub-genres was devised byCharles Derry who said that all thriller moviescan be sub-divided into six further genres:psychosomatic thriller, innocent on the run,thriller of murderous passions, thriller of acquired identity, political thriller and moral confrontation. To further my understanding of thrillers and for me to be successful in giving theaudience what they want, I assembled a questionnaire and set out to question