Produce a trailer for a new film of between one and two minutes duration

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A2 Media Studies coursework - Critical Evaluation


The task set is to produce a trailer for a new film of between one and two minutes duration. The trailer should clearly conform to or subvert established forms and conventions to make meaning. The product should target a specific audience and should clearly demonstrate the practical use of technical skills and careful planning and show how these contributed to the final production. The accompanying log should also document and give evidence regarding each individual's contribution to the final product. The planning should clearly detail all stages of production such as organisation of time and equipment. It should also show how these measures enabled the production to progress. The final product should be a competent piece of work showing all stages of production and the technical skills and techniques involved in its production.


Last year's AS production brief was considerably different to that of this year's A2. The obvious reason for this is that the AS production was print-based, whereas this years is Audio-Visual. Whilst both adhere to certain forms and conventions within the media, these forms and conventions are completely different in either production, and so they are not directly comparable in any way. It is also apparent that the A2 level production encourages critical analysis of the coursework, as both a standalone production and in the context of other media productions, and so offers a greater degree of flexibility in terms of evaluating ones own work. I am pleased that I was able to work in a time based medium such as film for the A2 production, as I find that these kind of productions do indeed stand up to a more diverse range of critical analysis, through theoretical frameworks such as genre, representation, ideology, institutions etc. Finally, it is most helpful that we have been able to use a more flexible medium of production this year. Through the use of film we have a greater opportunity to apply these theoretical frameworks to our own productions, by way of both the methods of production and the subsequent critical analysis. This presents a much more concise way of understanding and interpreting a production, and is much improved on last years specified AS brief of rigid adherence to codes and conventions. With this new brief as a guideline, I can aim to achieve a much more significant piece of work than last years AS brief allowed.

This log consists of three parts (not including this introduction), all of which examine the ways in which the production has progressed, and how it stands up to critical analysis as a finished production. Part One details the planning and research involved, as well as recounting the pre-production procedures that the group undertook to organise the production efficiently. Part Two analyses the trailer as a standalone product, in terms of the technical decisions that were made during and post-production, and how these decisions affected the overall effectiveness of the trailer. This part addresses the theoretical frameworks that can be applied to a contemporary production such as ours, drawing from the film and genre theory present within the A2 course. Part Three is the final part of the evaluation, and critically analyses the production within the context of similar products originating from the institution that we aimed to emulate. This final part makes use of both my own analysis and audience reaction derived from a post-screening questionnaire, so as to try and measure the productions' success as genuine institutionally produced trailer. This final section also includes a conclusion, essentially my final evaluation of our production in the light of the collective results gained from both audience reception and critical analysis. Lastly there is an Appendix of the Critical Evaluation that contains all of the relevant evidence of planning. This consists of all of the basic pre-production materials, such as the storyboard and design plans, created during the group planning sessions early in the academic term. The appendix also contains the collective results of our screening questionnaires, as well as samples of the two questionnaires themselves.

Part One - Planning and Research:

Upon receiving the assignment, the members of the class split into mutually agreed groups. I was the fourth member of a group also consisting of class members Danny Wickenden, Chris Butler and Craig Wigan. We quickly began to plan our production by deciding which of the suggested briefs we would choose, the subject matter, and equipment limitations and how to work around them and the amount of time that was available for the production. Initially we had a number of ideas regarding the content of our production, while the format itself was originally a short film in its entirety. With this decided we could begin to organise our time efficiently and divide the remaining weeks into planning, filming and editing/post-production stages. It was while we were at this early planning stage that, even though we had a number of ideas for filming, none of them were particularly suitable for the five-minute short film format on which we had initially decided. In response to this we re-evaluated the time that it would take to adapt our idea, so that it would be viable for the five-minute format, and decided that it was not practical with respect to the planning time we had left. We then decided to take one of the unused ideas for our short film, and instead adapt it to trailer format for a new film. This trailer format turned out to be far more practical than our initial idea, and so we finalised our treatment and began to plan the other factors of production.
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We also needed to decide the target audience for the production as well as the genre/conventions to which we would conform. The target audience is particularly specific for this type of genre (the horror/thriller), due to the fast paced editing/storyline, the high action content and the male driven narrative. We decided to aim the production at 18-25 year old males, as we felt that this would be the most receptive market to this production. The forms and conventions were effectively decided for us, due to the tightly structured plot that we decided on and the crossover between two ...

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