After showing our film to many of my peers, they had some positive and some negative things to say. Some were specialised answers that were relevant in a critical manner, and others were nice and positive but lacking in any relevant lexical terms and generally useless in relation to my evaluation. However, taking onboard all criticism and compliments, I have these examples to show how people felt about it, taken from a wide spectrum of my friends on Facebook. I am not including their names.
“I liked the angles”
“I didn’t like the black and white Instagram filter”
“The acting was very good”
“It was cool how you made an effort with the costumes”
Whilst constructing our product, I learned how to keep a camera in focus with a tracking shot, I learned how to compose a decent frame, with light being the hardest thing to counter and deal with, through flashes, torches and other illuminators. Whilst I did not edit the film myself, I watched another member of our team edit it and gained an appreciation for the time and energy that the process consumes. I now know how to add sound effects, add filters to video and cut and edit shots. We used a Nikon D3100 to film.
The ideal audience member for our piece would be a ‘Young Alt’ or a ‘Metaller’ according to UKTRIBES. The people that would go to the cinema to see our film would be interested in cinema and drawn in by the fact that it’s a Film Noir. For me, the idea audience member would be myself. My favourite film is Pulp Fiction, not a Noir, I know, but a piece of cult gold. The people that would come to see our film for any other reason other than being left gobsmacked by a mind-blowing trailer, would appreciate classic cinema and enjoy the classic style and black and white style of our film. We wouldn’t welcome the philistines* who get bored of the fact that it’s black and white. We want our audience to be cultured and somewhat educated in film or cinema culture. I think that the film might be popular with hipsters and alternative people, looking to find a niche to attach their names to, before everyone else does.
*Philistine = No Culture
A conformist in everything they do. A person who is obsessed with sports, muscle cars and mountain dew. They listen to whatever everyone else is listening to, wear whatever everyone else is wearing, and avoid anything that is in the least bit unusual, unique, or eccentric. They tend to have little to no use for art, be of limited intelligence, be obsessed with such things as NASCAR, tend to drive gas guzzling vehicles like Extended cab Pickup Trucks. They are the fuel behind reality television. They love ATVs and all the damage they cause to the land.
Even though we used Warner Brothers as our Studio/ Distributor, I feel that if Lionsgate were to distribute or push the film, it would reach a larger audience. Take The Hunger Games or the Divergent series. These films are made to a poor or sub-perfect quality and are based off of ‘young adult’ novels. They reach a huge audience of impressionable young people and are responsible for explosion of the genre of PG friendly violence sci-fi action films with overcomplicated jargon and unexplained backstory. Regardless of the quality of these films, they make an enormous amount of money and reach many people all across the world. The Film Noir genre is dwindling ever so slightly except for a few successful Neo-Noir Chris Nolan films and I feel like Lionsgate would be a good studio to bring it to life. They would have great advertising campaigns and would certainly push the film into the public eye, hopefully re-invigorating the genre, allowing it to grow into the popular style it once was.
Screenshot 1: TITLE. Our film title is DANS LE NOIR. It is short, catchy and memorable. French for ‘In the Black’, the title is easily translatable for anyone with a level of education above that of a mountain goat. We used the conventions of a short title that isn’t always in English to give an exotic yet depressive feel to the film. In some of the Film Noir pieces that we analysed, we found that recurring themes such as simple, bold titles were commonplace and for good reason. We quickly established the feel and direction for the film and we think that our titles are easy to read and in-keeping with the darker tones of the piece.
Screenshot 2: SETTING. We wanted our locations to be gritty, dirty and dark. Think – Inception, a Neo-Noir masterpiece which opens in Limbo, with crumbling skyscrapers and dirty waves. The building that the lead character walks out of in the opening shot is a business classroom block in our school campus. While white, it is grotty and pretty scarred due to frozen Scottish winds and rain. It fit the conventions of the genre, with a depressed feel that worked well with our story. We didn’t want to film our piece in a bright, spotless clean environment because it would kill the mood and dark feel.
Screenshot 3: COSTUME. The costume in our film was easy to choose because we wanted all of the colours to be dark. The victim in the film is wearing a dark green wax coat and black jeans with common Adidas shoes, that were available in 1994, (we checked). The killer is also wearing dark clothes but his hat and long hair separate the two characters and there is no way that they could be confused. The detective characters in the film are clearly distinguishable from an ordinary person, such as the victim or a bystander due to their detective trench coats. We thought that this was in-keeping with the genre’s conventions when it comes to characters.
Screenshot 4: CAMERA WORK. We shot the majority of our films shots from a low level, to present the characters as strong or fearsome. The low angles let every inch of the characters be in the shot so that the viewer can develop a relationship with them early on in the piece. The variety of shots used make the piece more interesting because if we used a boring mid-shot for two and a half minutes, then it would be dreadfully boring and we would lose the audience’s attention. We noticed that the camera angles in the Film Noir examples that we watched were all varied and decided not to challenge the trend as it clearly works to hold attention and build suspense.
Screenshot 1 (use again): FONT AND STYLE. Our film title uses a ‘typewriter’ style font to emphasise the fact that it is set in the past, even though the typewriter was beyond obsolete by 1994, (when our piece is set). We wanted the font to give the viewer a feeling of nostalgia, or at least to be reminded in the opening titles that the film is set in the past. A basic and straightforward title screen, we felt that it was appropriate for the realistic nature of the film. The font styles that we chose for our establishing opening credits were all incredibly simple and did not detract from what the audience were seeing in terms of content or shots.
Screenshot 5: STORY/NARRATIVE. Our film uses the conventions of the genre and has a protagonist vs antagonist narrative like most Film Noir pieces. We have two detectives chasing a bowler hat wearing, Italian speaking hit man and if we were to film the entire film, there would be many close encounters and suspense building chases. Following on from the conventions of the genre, the antagonist is clever and difficult to apprehend. This forces the audience to side with the protagonist/s and they build an emotional attachment to them. We thought that this conventional method of storytelling worked fine, so why fix something that isn’t broken?
Screenshot 6: GENRE/SUGGESTIONS OF IT. The screenshot for this section shows the genre conventions in a good way to explain our reasoning. The shot shows a lightly damaged building in grey, wet conditions in the dark. Keeping in check with the genre’s conventions, this shot isn’t colourful or bright. We chose this because we enjoy the genre’s bases and didn’t want to challenge them in this way, as the tried-and-tested system works just fine.
Screenshots 7 & 8: CHARACTERS. These two shots show our four characters. We have two detectives, so that we could play on a conflict storyline between the two of them if we were to film the whole piece. We have the hitman and we have the victim, a mafia boss’s son. They are fairly simple characters but they don’t need any depth to them to stay interesting, especially as we were only filming the opening titles.
Screenshot 9: SFX. We didn’t use any CGI or any expensive visual trickery in our film but we decided to put it in black and white, following the conventions of the Film Noir genre, more popular in it’s earlier days, when colour film wasn’t available. We filmed across several days, so light levels varied and we fixed it with a B&W filter. We liked the convention and didn’t want to challenge it.
From the preliminary task, (creating a shot library), I have gained a better understanding of the use of each technique and how to incorporate them into a product to represent certain aspects of the narrative and highlight characteristics of our chosen genre. In my progression exploring many aspects of what would be the full product I have practiced analyzing these techniques and have learned how to apply them. I also believe that we have found more intriguing shots than the ones that we originally planned to use. The location that we used is also different from the one we planned previously as there wasn’t enough light in the original spot. We also decided to add a variety of sounds during various scenes, as we all agreed that we wanted a slightly different mood for some scenes. Coming from our first ideas, the film sort of grew up, adopting a broader range of ideas and camera angles to better the final product.
We would have attracted the audience, (if it was a real film), with the bold and simple title, early character development and early action scene, with suspense built up from the get-go. In our video, we used reasonably long shots at the start with the main character walking around some buildings. We did this because we wanted to build suspense and we wanted to attract the audience and force them to want to know what will happen to the main character. After the killing, the killer disappears into the darkness to emphasize the Film Noir effect. During the detective scenes we really wanted the audience to feel like they were looking for clues, just like the two detectives were. We felt like the shots and costumes would engross the viewer in the story and allow them, not only to view it, but to experience it too.