Friday, 25 March 2011

Welcome to my blog!

This is my blog, detailing the process of creating the opening of the new feature film "Suburban Zombie"

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Eval Q1 Use of Conventions

When looking at other film openings it became apparent that there are conventions that are followed for film openings, not specific to film genres. Some examples are:

  1. The production and distribution company idents being the first thing that appear on screen.
  2. The film titles, including film name, actors etc. Is the next thing that appears on screen. Either seperated in an animation from the first scene of the film or over the top of the first scene.
  3. The establishing shot of the film is usually an extreme long shot, or a fade in.
  4. Non- diegetic music over the top of the first scene.
  5. The last shot of the opening scene fades out, and no more titles appear after this.
Fight Club ident

Suburban Zombie Ident

These are some of the key conventions in the zombie genre:

Establishing shot
  • Post-apocalyptic setting.
Word zombie never used, however it is used satirically in the film "Shaun of the Dead" where Shaun tells Ed not to use the "z-word".
Normally revolves around a group of different characters e.g a white racist paired with a strong black character.
 Low Budget
Urban setting used
Big, isolated building
Conventions used in Suburban Zombie 
 Post-apocalyptic setting
Our film includes this convention, as the setting in the house is clearly very run down, and void of life, excluding the two protagonists and zombies.
Word zombie never used
 Our film follows this convention, as the only time the two protagonists acknowledge the zombies is when one of them says "Dinner time!".
Normally revolves around a group of different characters
Our film challenges this convention, as the two protagonists are both white males, and wearing similar clothing (jeans and hoodies) we did this to create a sense of unity. 

 Low Budget
 Our film follows this convention, as we were clearly operating with an extremely low budget. 
Urban setting used
We chose to challenge this convention by filming in a remote location, in the grounds and around an abandoned house. 
Preffered Reading 
By getting audience feedback we found that our encoded meaning was easy to follow, or as Stuart Hall described it, the "preffered reading". None of the people we recieved feedback from had deciphered an oppositional reading

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Eval Q2 Representations

In our film opening "Suburban Zombie" we represent social groups mainly through the zombie characters, but also secondly through the protagonist character.

We decided to represent sterotypical working class British "hoodied youths" or "chavs" as we felt that this would be easy to represent, throught the form of zombies, in our film opening. The way in which we followed the sterotype of violent, anti-social, hoodied and slightly dopy youths was not just through costume choices, but also the way in which the zombies act. To start off with, we ensured all the zombies were dressed in hoodies, trainers and rough trousers or jeans. This goes along with the sterotypical working class youths or "chavs". The second thing we did was utilise the stereotype of "chavs" being dopy and stupid. We did this by making them hunch and walk slowly and erraticly. The reason we did this was, since they are zombies. we can justify their movements, whilst also following and pushing the stereotype that we had decided to include.

Ben Drew
Some examples of other films which have followed this sterotype of youths as yobs are Harry Brown and Kidulthood. In Harry Brown the only teenagers that are shown in the film are violent and disrespectful. Mainly being shown through the antagonist - Ben Drew, who also plays a similar character in the sequel to Kidulthood, Adulthood.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Eval Q3 Distributor

Our film "Suburban Zombie" is a zombie film,  a more specific sub-genre of horror. Whilst deconstructing zombie films in the research and planning stage of our coursework task I came across a number of different film distribution companies, for example; Continental Distributing, 20th Century Fox and Focus Features. These companies distributed films such as Night of the living dead, 28 days later and Shaun of the dead, respectively.

Recent Zombie Films

Director + Year: Ruben Fleischer (2009) 
IMdb Rating: 7.8/10
Budget: $23,600,000
Gross: $75,590,286 (USA) £3,001,207 (UK)
Distribution Company: Columbia Pictures

Resident Evil: Afterlife -                                                                                                                                                                                                         Director + Year: Paul W.S Anderson (2010)                                                                                               Imdb Rating:  5.9/10  
Budget: $60,000,000 (estimated)
Gross$60,128,566 (USA)
Distribution Company: Screen Gems

 Colin -
Director + Year: Mark Price (2008)
Imdb Rating: 5.3/10
Budget: £45
Gross:  $798 (UK)   
Distribution Company: Kaleidoscope


Kaleidoscope, the UK distribution company behind the film "Colin" is one of the only distribution companies that is relevant to us, due to the fact that we are low budget, indie film-makers. Kaleidoscope are also behind other low budget films other than Colin, such as "Slave" (Darryn Welch, 2009), which again shows that they would be a perfect company that might distribute our film. Colin has achieved a huge number of DVD sales considering the budget of the film, on it has achieved, as of 21st March 2011, 16600 sales. This shows that our film could do well with sales, even if, like Colin, it is "Straight to DVD".                                                                                      

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Eval Q4 Audience

Our film "Suburban Zombie" will contain strong gore and horror, such as when one of our protagonists gets eaten by a zombie and lots of blood is shown on the characters, as well as when a zombie is shown with an arrow in his stomach after being shot by the main protagonist. which suggests that the BBFC Rating will be at least at 15, if not 18 
(BBFC Rating). Although the opening doesn't contain too much physical gore, we were planning for the rest of the film to contain a lot more gore, as well as some moderate sexual scenes. We expect the primary audience to be male, between the ages of 15-24, but could appeal to a higher age range, as there is a pre-existing zombie fan base, from the first "...of the dead" films. There is a secondary female audience for the film, as we were planning on including a strong female character later on in the film.

We already know there is an existing audience for this type of film, from films such as "Colin" (Mark Price, 2008) and "...of the dead" films. As well as the zombie comedy film "Shaun of the Dead" (Edgar Wright, 2004). From researching, watching and deconstructing these films we know that our film fits in with the same primary audience. 

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Eval Q5 Mode of address

Killing scene
To keep our audience attracted and interested in our film we have included narrative enigma, for example the film starts out with a running then killing scene, and the audience doesn't know who the two protagonists in the house are, why they are there or even (at the beginning) if the two events are in the same area. We have encorporated humour in the form of one of the protagonists turning and saying "Dinner time!" Before proceeding to charge into a fight with the zombie group.

Recording the soundtrack
In terms of the soundtrack, we used two seperate tracks that we recorded as a group. The first track "L490" is solely acoustic, with three guitars used that slowly get louder as the track goes on. We used this to build up tension at the start of the film, up to the fight scene. We decided to keep the first two shots of the film (the establishing shot of the house, and the shot of the weapons against the wall) silent, as we felt this would entice the audience. The second track we used "Black Storm" is an original song that I (Kyle) wrote and recorded with my band. The genre of the song is rock/metal, and the reason we used this is because we felt that it fit well with the fight scene of the film opening. It also reflects on our primary target audience, as this genre is most commonly associated with teenage males.

We included aspects of gore in our film opening, most prominent is the large amount of blood on one of the protagonists during the fight scene, this reflects on our primary target audience (teen males) as well as the conventions of other zombie films.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Eval Q6 Learning on Technologies

For our coursework film opening "Suburban Zombie" our group used a wide range of different technologies:

Facebook and Youtube

Feedback from facebook
We used the social networking site "facebook" to recieve feedback, by embedding things such as our film rough cuts, and rough idents. We found this worked well, as when we embedded items we recieved a fair amount of good feedback.

IMDB and Google

We used Google primarily for online research, such as into the zombie genre, and make-up effect ideas. IMDB was great for finding out details about other zombie films, such as the budget, production company, rating etc. 

USB Sticks

We used USB sticks a lot when editing our film, as they are an easy way to transport files from seperate computers, such as the soundtrack songs "Black Storm" and "L490" from my home computer, to the Apple Macs in school.


We emailed between each other as a group regularly in preparation for the coursework, which proved to be very useful, especially in situations where we were trying to organise what days we would be filming.

Camera, Microphone and I-Movie

For the actual filming of "Suburban Zombie" we used hand-held digital camcorders for the footage, which we then uploaded to I-Movie on the Macs. For recording our podcasts, we used a small condensor microphone before uploading to the Macs for editing in I-Movie, then uploaded them to Vimeo for embedding into our blogs.

Kristal recording software

We used the website "Scribd" for uploading scanned in documents such as the storyboards and call sheets. We then used the embed feature to add them to our blogs.


For recording the soundtrack songs "Black Storm" and "L490" I used the recording software "Kristal" because I had used the software in the past and it worked well for recording all the instruments.


I found the softwares I-Movie and Kristal particularly useful, as without them finishing the coursework couldn't have been possible. Also I was suprised at how youtube and facebook became for feedback, which was a great help when making improvements.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Eval Q7 Learnt since Prelim

When I filmed our prelim I didn't have much idea about how much planning and preparation is needed to make a film look the way you want. The task was fairly simple: "A continuity task involving filming and editing a character opening a door, crossing a room and sitting down in a chair opposite another character, with whom she/he then exchanges a couple of lines of dialogue. This task should demonstrate match on action, shot/reverse shot and the 180-degree rule."

Untitled from Roam Hamilton on Vimeo.

In terms of planning for our prelim, we did not use things such as a storyboard or a call sheet, which are features  that we included in our actual coursework task. For the filming, we didn't think about aspects of mise-en-scene such as props and clothing, which is something we considered in great detail for "Suburban Zombie" 

Some other things that we didn't include in the prelim, but that we used for our final coursework film are; rough cuts, company idents, a large range of shot types and a soundtrack.

One main thing we didn't include in the prelim is detailed research into the genre, which is something that we spent a long time doing in preparation for filming 'Suburban Zombie', mainly through a large amount of deconstructions of zombie films, that we split up between the group so that we could get more done. I deconstructed a few zombie films such as Day of the Dead and Night of the living Dead.

Our research into zombie films helped greatly with creating our film, as it gave us a clear understanding into the genre conventions, camera shots, soundtrack etc.

Another big thing that we didn't do when creating the prelim was assign group roles, which is something that was key to our creation of 'Suburban Zombie'. We assigned a cinematographer- Alex McCluskey, a Director- Sam Boyes and I was the Producer. These roles helped distinguish who needed to do what task, which in turn helped us to get the preparation for filming finished.

Friday, 11 March 2011

SB - Tom Savini

Tom Savini, AKA The Sultan of Splatter, The Godfather of Gore.

Tom Savini is the most influential special effects artist of all time, he has worked on all of George A Romero's 'Dead Trilogy' aswell as Friday the 13th and Creepshow.

Savini is primarily known for his groundbreaking work in the field of special makeup effects. He got his breakthrough working with  George A. Romero, providing a convincing wrist slashing effect in the opening scenes of Martin (1977). The following year, working with an expanded budget on Dawn of the Dead, Savini created his signature palette of severed limbs and bite-marks.

Thursday, 3 March 2011