Wednesday, 27 November 2013

What makes a Comedy film?

So what makes a comedy film?

Majority of people when watching a comedy film expect to be laughing throughout but there is a variety of different types of comedy films. There are 4 main types of comedic film.

                                         Slapstick Comedy

Slapstick originated from a stage device made of sticks that make a loud sound when slapped together. This type of comedy was particular successful during the silent years of film, which then made it unique and laughable at time for it's physical  gags, exaggerated pantomime and harmless violence. A good example of slapstick comedy was Charlie Chaplin's 'Little Tramp'.(1915)

              Screwball Comedy

 This type of comedy became popular amongst the American public during 'The Great Depression'. It is a sub genre of romantic comedy film and was established 1930's to mid 1940's. A popular Screwball film around this time was Frank Carpa's, 'It Happened One Night'.

Black Comedy

This form of comedy was popular in the 1940's. This type of comedy consist of making the audience laugh despite the dark , sinister story line behind the film. A popular black comedy film was Michael Banton's 'Kind Hearts and Coronets'.


Parody films do have similarities to Black comedy as they take serious situations and use some slapstick techniques to make their audience laugh. A very successful modern type of this type of movie is the Scary Movie series, which was first in 2000.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

The Three Act Structure

Opening Sequences: Initial ideas

After looking at various comedy films and genres, my group collectively decided that we would looked to film are opening scene under the genre of romantic comedy. Now that this is decided we can now as a group identify key aspects of these films such as production etc:

When thinking about how we could make a successful opening sequence for a romantic comedy, a few questions were asked.

- What is classed as a romantic comedy?
- What do you usually expect to see in romantic comedy?
- What are the types of story lines do you usually find in these films?
- What type of characters are in these films?
- What type of situations are placed in these type of films? Are they complicated or simple?
- Are romantic comedies predictable
- Do they always have happy endings?Do all the main characters end up in love?
- What type of probs are used?
- Is the appearance of each character important to the story line? e.g clothes and personna

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Anaylsis of Comedy Films

After deciding the genre of our opening sequence with my film partners Alice and Taylor, we decided that our film would be comedic. We decided on this genre because we wanted our 2 minute clip to be an enjoyable and laughable experience for the viewers. Now that the genre of our opening sequence has been confirmed , I can now anaylse how comedy films are produced, how much they cost, the different types of comedy and the thought process behind the film.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Conglomerates and how they attract audiences.

While looking at the institutions behind most of the films we watch , I found out exactly what production and media outlets are run and owned by a major Conglomerate. Disney in an example of how a conglomerate that has access to a wide range of audiences because of the media networks and studios they own can exploit their films and TV.

Genre Codes

What is an opening sequence?

                           What is an opening sequence?


An opening sequence is the the beginning opening minutes of a film which may introduce the characters or location of the film and also list all the credits of the media too. Opening sequences are designed to give the audience some sort of information about the film before it starts and it also is a good way for the audience to grasp some understanding of the film they are about to view.

Opening scenes can have a conventional order which makes the sequence run more smoothly. For example most opening sequences will start by showing the credits of the film then followed maybe by the introduction of characters of the location of the film depending on the approach the production team behind the film wanted the sequence to go.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

What I learnt from analysing opening title sequences

So what have I learnt from looking at various sequences? I have learnt that the opening title sequences can vary and are is there for one purpose which is to list the hierarchy of all the companies involved with the film and also all the individuals who act and produce the film. Some opening title sequences are more graphically than others which incorporates the characters of the film , like Toy Story , whereas others like Spiderman ,are fairly simple and do not grab the audience's attention.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Different film opening types

Narrative Structure

Film openings with an narrative style are designed to guide us through the course of a film. The narrator would usually introduce elements of the film such as the characters or gradually introduce certain situations with in the film. Narrative opening scenes can be effective as they then add more importance to characters when they are eventually seen for the first time in the opening. Narrative structured film openings still have effective credits as this gives the audience something to visualise both in front of them and in their mind as they interpret what the narrator is talking about. For example all the institutions involved will be still listed in the opening minutes, so the importance of the companies behind the film are not taking away just because of the different approach they have taken.

Discrete title sequence

Discrete title sequences  give away very little to do with the story line or the location in which the film is set. The opening clip does the simple elements that most openings have such as credits of the companies behind the film. This type of opening sequence can be effective because it may make the audience more intrigued to what the film as they do not know what is going to happen.

A stylised edited opening

This type opening incorporates a lot of editing and transitions used to help give the audience an insight in to the film but without giving away the whole plot of the film. This type of opening may give out a number of clues that relate to the ending of the plot but this will be unclear to the audience as they have not watch the film yet. These type of openings can be found in a lot of action films as they have a lot of energetic scenes.

Titles over a blank screen

This type of opening sequence can be very limited as it does not give the audience any anticipation show they can not make any judgment on what they are going to watch. This opening consist of having a plain background and incorporates credits listing everyone involved in producing the film , which overall makes it bland and boring for the viewer. No other camera shots or images are shown which add to the limitations of this type of opening sequence.

Star Trek Opening Scene


00:12 - Paramount Pictures
00:31 - Spyglass Entertainment
00:47 - Bad Robot
1:00 - 11:43 - Full opening scene of film
11:43 - Film title

In contrast to the other opening scenes/sequences , the production team behind the film Star Trek took a different route in the way in which they introduced the  film and institutions behind the project. The other opening scenes I analysed have established the importance of the institutions , actors and actresses that hold a  role in the film by displaying this some form in the opening 2-3 minutes. The beginning of the film does follow what I had seen in the other opening sequences by showing what companies were behind the film. Paramount Pictures appeared first which can suggest that this is seen as the biggest company backing the film, followed by Spyglass Entertainment and Bad Robot. After the first 47 seconds , the opening scene becomes far from similar to the others I have watched. Between 1:00 - 11:43 , there is a full action packed scene which encounters a lot of extra's and supporting characters die. This is significant as at that point we have not seen the title of the film,which could suggest many things. The late arrival of the title of the film , could suggest that the film producers felt that they did not need to display the title too early because of the audience they are  targeting. The majority of the target audience would be fans of the tv version of Star Trek , so therefore they do not need to state the obvious early on. Another reason why they left to display the title after 11 minutes is because it adds emphasis to the fact it is Star Trek film not an episode from the tv series. Also the use of the battleship fight scenes, keeps the attention of the audience compared to other opening scenes that can be quiet boring or simple.

Music in opening title sequences

One good example that shows how music is created and written to match the theme of the film it features is the anthem Skyfall by Adele. The song opens with a low calm pitch and gradually becomes a dramatic piece with various instruments being played as the singer, Adele, changes pitch of her voice in various ways. There is also a choir which adds a certain effect to the Orchestra  in this song which again connects with the film which is quiet theatrical because it is an action/thriller. Towards the end, all the important aspect of the song merge together to bring one dramatic finish which can match the end or most important scene in the film. This could be a pivotal fight scene or death of a character.

The song Lose Yourself by Eminem , is a gritty, emotional soundtrack which summarises the film based on his life. The song epitomises what the whole film is about, as he this describes the struggles and problems he's had to overcome in his life. The song delivers a message that is portrays through the film. The chorus is the most engaging and important part of the song as the tempo rises and the pitch of the voice and instruments become louder and more on the edge.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Analysis of Opening scenes of film: Toy story

When choosing what opening scenes to analyze,I decided that I would look at three films from various genres in the industry. The first opening scene I chose to analyze is the popular child animation film, Toy Story. The first shot is of the main character, Woody laying on the floor with plastic body parts around him. This already suggest the playful theme behind the film. The first vocal text shown in a shot in the first 4 seconds says,' Walt Disney Picture presents' which already indicates how much influence and power Walt Disney as a company, had behind the film. As the scene continues , the role of Woody is gradually shown, which then leads to emergence of the film title,'Toy Story'. This is important as this shows how the production team behind the film think is the most important force that brought the film together as they are listed first.

The use of various camera shots are like point of view are used to give the viewer another perspective through another example. For example, when Andy(the boy) watches Woody slide down the bannister at 44 seconds, you are shown it as how he would view it. This is then used effectively to then incorporate more text stating important people/companies who produced the film. Every time there is interaction between the two characters in the opening scene, text is shown after. This happens 8 times throughout the clip. The opening scene portrays a warm family orientated film which makes this appealing for all young viewers.

Hitch Opening Scene


00:02 - An Overbrook Entertainment production
00:07 - An Andy Tennant film
00:15 - Will Smith
00:19 - Eva Mendes

This opening sequence for Hitch follows the approach most films take in their opening scene. The companies behind the film are shown fairly quickly as a series of different situations between 'couples' happen as the main character narrates throughout.

Audience reaction: The positives and negatives after the release of a film.

When looking at opening title sequences I looked at some of the reactions and feedback for the films I anaylsed. The film Django Unchained is a good example of how a successful film can still come under so skepticism after its release. After the release of this film, legendary director Spike Lee, blasted the film on social network Twitter, stating that he would not watch the film because it was disrespectful to his ancestor and anyone that lost their live during the period of slavery. You could say that this opinion of the film is hard to justify because of the success of the film , which suggest that the majority of people did not have a problem with the context of the film. Despite the popularity, the institution behind the film will be aware of the issue, especially as the comments are from a highly respected director.

Analysis of Opening scene : Django Unchained

Django: Unchained has the most effective opening scene compared to the other to I decided to analyse. Like the majority of films, the main the company behind the film are credited first before we see anything regarding the film, in this Columbia. The next couple of seconds list the actors involved in the film. The still wide shot in the background begins to slowly move which then turns in to a pan shot as a group of men who appear to be battered and bruised, walk in and orderly line. The first opening 44 seconds are effective as you do not expect to see this. The title then appears in the centre of screen which suggest its importance. The clip also uses close ups to show the expressions on each other the men's faces. The opening of this film is effective as it shows a lot of emotion without the any of the meaning of the story being given away. For example the use of various shots helps to make this an effective opening.

At 1:16 , the scene goes in and out of an unfocused follow shot when following one of the men, in this case Jamie Fox. When the shot is focused you can see the emotion on his face and when shot is not focused text appears on the screen for you to focus on. Text continues to come across in bold red writing listing the people associated with the film. In terms of gaging the audience, the opening minutes of this film, the camera angles and shots help keep the attention of the audience as you could sense emotion through the visual expressions shown on the slave's faces. I think that the opening scenes can be improved.Because of the various camera shots this allows you to focus on something else other than the long list of text appearing on the screen but if this was no the case the audience would become disengaged with the film as they would be just viewing long pieces of text.

Analysis of Opening scene : Spiderman

The second opening of a film I decided to analyse was the opening of Spiderman. Within the first 6 seconds the first title shown. "Columbia Pictures presents", instantly we know the company who are behind the production of the film with this text emerging from a gloomy background. The next text to appear in the clip is again stating the various companies involved in making the film which in this case is Marvel Enterprises and Lauren Ziskin Production. The use of graphical spider webs and dramatic music already give away integral parts of the identity of the film which is Spiderman. The rest of the clip then lists all the actors/actresses involved with the film and then the directors and production team. At this stage it does not give away any of the story line for the film or give the audience any indication of what will happen. The opening sequence for this particularly simple and isn't the most entertaining for the audience compared to the other two clips I analyse. This could suggest that the production team behind the film didn't see the opening credits as an important part of the the film.