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Evaluation of Practical Production Essay

I believe that my practical production turned out to be quite successful in following the codes and conventions of the gangster/crime genre. In order for our trailer to flow from shot to shot smoothly our group decided that some of the original story board shots would need to be changed, this happened with out first shot which was changed from a photograph into an establishing shot of the main protagonists. In doing so we were able to anchor the trailer and begin with the audience having some idea about the type of film we would be advertising.

Following the first shot most of the others were kept the same apart from slight changes in the camera angle in order to emphasise action that was taking place. The main problem came with out storyboarded shot of the gangsters playing cards around the table (where we decided to use a classic shot similar to that in Reservoir Dogs where the camera glides around the table allowing us to be introduced to the gangsters), but because we did not have a dolly to affix the camera to our only option was to film by hand making the footage unprofessional and shaky.

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We overcome this by using long fades and white dissolves which cut out the sections in-between viewing the gangsters and allowed the section to look level. The overall look of the trailer is confusing and the shots are not in chronological order. If the film was actually to be produced it would be alternative, using replays of previous scenes and showing them from different points of view; much like the British gangster film Snatch.

Our trailer plays through once baring the last shot, then loops showing all of the previous shots speeded up, and then sped up further before slowing down to show the last shot of the telephone box ringing. By using this method we were able to draw attention to certain sections and build atmosphere, because the more it is played the harder the audience will be concentrating and wondering what the significance of selected scenes is: creating an enigma code.

By doing so one of the main roles of a trailer (which is to encourage a target audience to view your film by showing sections which appeal to them, and make them want to view more) is fulfilled. As our trailer is set up in this format we would rely heavily on an active/semi-active audience who would be able to apply Kuleshov theory and understand that the shots are being replayed because there is something important in them, and also the realisation that from shot to shot the characters are the same people at different times in the overall film.

I also believe that men will be able to decode the trailer with ease, or with greater ease because they are the trailers preferred reading, proved because no women characters are established in the footage it is safe to assume that there will be little female roles if any at all; therefore as it is easier for a person to identify with their own sex then a women watching the trailer could only have a negotiated reading of what is actually happening.

This also fits in with the gangster genre because they hardly ever contain female roles, other than that which signifies a sex symbol/trophy girl for the gangster. Or in some cases the female role is given to a ‘damsel in distress’ for which the main protagonist must save (although this isn’t true for most gangster/crime films). During the editing process we added non-digetic sound in the form of music allowing a pace for the trailer which would have to establish a stereotypical gangster lifestyle.

The type of music we used was by the Refused and called New Noise it is a punk/metal track which is upbeat and fast which denotes the gangsters hectic lifestyle, the music was also cut and looped to fit the trailer so that during the beginning scenes it is kept quite constant and builds a lot of atmosphere and tension, and then once the main action begins and the shots begin to get faster the music changes and becomes a lot more violent and emphasises the speed, then at the end of the trailer the music begins to fade out allowing the ringing of the telephone to run over the title sequence.

The music works very well in drawing attention to the enigma codes such as the gun shot and the dead body. The other sounds (those being the gun shot, dialogue of the man on telephone and telephone ringing) were also put onto the trailer during the editing process; this allowed them to be heard louder, and in the case of the telephone conversation to show the viewers the connection of the phone box ringing at the end.

When filming the trailer we tried whenever possible to use McKee’s theory about positioning of the characters, so that the more negative characters are shown to the left of the screen, and the more positive characters are positioned to the right. As our trailer was about gangsters it was harder to decide on the positioning because in reality all of the people were negative; and like most gangster films ours would have ended with the retribution of the gangster who thought he was above the law, giving the moral code that crime doesn’t pay, and whether the gangster was to end up in prison or dead they would have been punished for their crimes.

The only shot that we could really apply McKee’s theory was with the gangster who was pointing the gun, because he was shown to be the bad guy during the trailer, although to find out why he was the bad guy the rest of the film would have to be watched, this would be seen as both an action and enigma code because as an audience we want to find out who he is pointing the gun at, and when the shot is fired who has been killed?

The decided title of the film was ‘A Cons Game’ this promotes the idea that the gangsters in the film think that none of it is serious, and to them their kind of lifestyle is just a game, which promotes the value to the audience that being a gangster is cool, but this is why audiences like to watch these kinds of films because they operate out of our own reality reassuring us that they could never happen in a normal setting.

People who are considered to be passive may take the trailer literally and this is why again it is important for those viewing the full film to be aware that justice prevails and that eventually these criminals will see the error of their ways. Again the trailer would have to be given an 18 age certificate due to the violence that an audience would expect and so that those watching would be hope to be sensible enough not to recreate any of what they see.

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