Welcome to the blog of Rasam Production's Asa Newmarch (The Cinematographer), charting the evolution of the opening to the new feature film "Test Drive", jointly produced with Sam Pollock (The Director) and Rob Shaw (The Producer). You'll be able to see the final cut on YouTube [will be linked on a future day] as well as various short videos and vod/podcasts right here on this blog! Enjoy, and please feel free to comment/add suggestions!

Sunday, 20 March 2011


Since the coursework has been finished now, I must farewell to this blog. We had our ups (the enjoyment of discovering some enjoyable classics from looking at the film openings, like Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and the downs (having to rewrite the entire plot of our media product and going through the nightmare known as the Halloween remake), but overall a great experience and now I must move on, but I will return during A2.


Wrenched Final Cut

After a long development process, here is our indie, slasher masterpiece Wrenched!

Evaluation Question 7: Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?

After looking back at the work I did for my prelim, I have learnt many things in progression from it to the full product. These things include, better preparation for filming, in terms of script, storyboards, call sheets and time management, since when me and my group first filmed the prelim, we didn’t have much time to prepare for the prelim and we had to make do with a rushed script and storyboard, and due to that it lead to poor time management because we had to reshoot the prelim. In comparison with the progression of the coursework product, we had better time management, due to the multiple extensions of the deadlines and even without them, my group’s time management was still good, since we spent a huge amount of time researching by looking in books, using the internet, looking at film openings relating to our genre etc. We also made multiple storyboards and call sheets to increase the development of the media product, due to having to rewrite the entire plot and concept of the product after the first rough cut was shown to the rest of our media group. We learnt from this, that even though we had to change the idea of the product, we would be able to show more elements of development, via items such as storyboards and call sheets.

Another thing we learnt was camera techniques, since in the prelim, we had to film again, due to the lack of shot-reverse-shot and the shaky camera. We also used a few camera angles, such as, mid-shots and close-ups. However, when we came to filming the coursework product, we used many different angles in order to hide the mechanic’s identity, such as, low-angle and over-the-shoulder shots for when the mechanic is talking to the girl, point-of-view, Dutch angles etc. We also managed to overcome the shakiness of camera, seen in some parts of the prelim, since we lacked a good quality tripod. However, we managed to keep all of the shots in the product steady, by using a tripod most of the time, while for the point-of-view shots; we just used the steadiest hand in our group.

We also learnt how to use the power of mise-en-scene, since it was lacking in the prelim. For example, the clothing in the prelim just signified that despite of the modern day setting, the actors just came in their casual clothes, which was another element that made us look unprepared for the prelim. When the time came for the production of the coursework product, we used all the aspects of mise-en-scene. For example, the girl’s IPhone anchors the time period as being modern day, due to the how technological advanced it is. We used whatever we could in the coursework product, whether it be a knife sliced through bread in order to symbolise horror and an upcoming murder or a boiler suit being intertexual to the antagonist of the Halloween film franchise, Michael Myers and denoting the mechanic’s social class.

One more thing we have learnt is how helpful the use of research is, since there was no research before we began filming the prelim and during that time, we should have at least glanced at one or two rom-coms because the genre of our group’s prelim was rom-com. When we got round to doing the coursework, before we started filming the product itself, we did a huge amount of research in order to know what elements to use. For example, we looked at many different film openings in order to find out what techniques, we learned how to pull off these techniques correctly from the good, A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984, Wes Craven) for example. We also looked at the not so good examples to know how not to pull off these techniques. E.g. Cry Wolf (2005, Jeff Wadlow) and the Halloween remake (2007, Rob Zombie). Besides from looking at film openings, we also looked at sources of information on the internet and books to see what people thought of these techniques and they pulled them off.

Here are both the prelim and the coursework products, so that you can see how me and my group progressed from them:



Evaluation Question 6: What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?

From the process of constructing my media product, I have used many forms of technologies for the construction. These include different websites, such as, Blogger and Facebook which I used to report on the progress and development of my media product, so that people looking at the blog can know when the final version is coming and can give feedback, in order to help me and my group make it a better product. I also used YouTube and Facebook to share the media product around the world, so that I could get feedback from the rough cuts, sample footage and final product on what to improve and how I can put the improvements into play, as well as knowing people's opinions on the media product itself.

Other technologies I learnt about and used included the cameras. The cameras were a key ingredient needed, since we used them to film the footage we needed for our media products and upload them to the Macs, which we used to edit and upload our footage. Despite being on a low budget, I managed to achieve what I wanted for the media product, since the concept was based on reality, with no sci-fi or fantasy twists and I believed that the sense of realism from the concept was captured, despite me and my group being amateur film makers. I feel that the media product came out successfully, despite the low budget, but we weren’t aiming to be a high budget film, so we could be the next best horror/slasher film franchise because if that was the case, then we would have used viral marketing to show off our product, like we did with the use of Blogger, Youtube and Facebook, in order to obtain the feedback.

We also used certain software to edit our product. These software programmes included, IMovie in which we used to trim down certain shots and insert transitions, along with titles to make our product look good. We also used specific sound effects to our product, in order to create a sense of atmosphere. Garageband was used to compose the soundtrack to our film, in order to add atmosphere to the media product along with the IMovie soundtracks and the song from the Feedback, which made it look good, despite being low-budget work. However, if we were students back in the last decade, we would have difficulties with this process, since back then was a time when computers were just starting out, along with the cameras. So it would be a long process, due to the technology not being as advanced as today’s, since computers use to be a privilege to have, due to have, so only those who could afford it.


Technology changed the film business over time because digital filming became available over time and has now become the driving force of the film industry, due to its power. (This is what we used in our product) Now, 3D filming has come into play, which is being used in films such as Avatar (2009, James Cameron) and the upcoming Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011, Michael Bay). In contrast, to when film making was in its first steps, the technology used included, hand cranked cameras and projectors which aren't as powerful as the cameras today, due to the methods of using them. Then during the 1920s sound film was introduced, which changed the industry forever because companies would be able to make films with complex stories and truly fleshed out characters, so that the audience would get the best experience from these films.

Evaluation Question 5: How did you attract/address your audience?

I attracted/addressed the audience, in many different ways. These included, using a narrative enigma on the mechanic, since it draws the audience into the story because they want to find out the identity of the man and it denotes that he is the killer of the story, when it actually isn’t and the twist is that the girl is the killer. This unexpected twist was another method that was used to attract the audience, since it creates an original dis-equilibrium that leads the audience into new territory, which makes my media product memorable, due to this.

Another way I attracted/addressed my audience was by, using a song by a band with permission, in this case, The Feedback. The song plays in a non-diagetic way, made to look diagetic by playing on the radio  when the mechanic is working in the garage at the beginning of the product. By using this song, it attracts the audience if it’s popular with them. For example, Linkin Park’s music is usually used in the Michael Bay Transformers trilogy and because of this; some people might only go watch the new Transformers film, Dark of the Moon (2011, Michael Bay), only to listen to the Linkin Park song. Besides for being an advantage to the company, me and my group in this case, it is also an advantage for the band, since it promotes them and it would persuade the audience to buy their CDs and listen to more of their songs, leading to a massive increase in profit for both the band and the production company/distributor of the film.

Here's an example of the song chosen for Dark of the Moon:

Intertexuality is also used to attract the audience, since it is used quite a bit. For example, the boiler suit is a reference to Michael Myers, the antagonist of the Halloween film franchise and it makes it easy for a fan of horror films to follow the preferred reading of my media product. Another example of Intertexuality being used in my media product is the mid-shot of the girl’s phone ringing, since the person calling her is called Freddy. This is a reference to the main antagonist of the Nightmare on Elm Street films, Freddy. Besides from being intertexual, it also signifies who the masked killer might be and people might understand this signifier, if they have seen any of the Nightmare on Elm Street films, and might gain knowledge of the product’s upcoming events, if it were a full product.

Elements of humour can also be seen within my media product, in order to move slightly away from the serious mood of it and give the audience a good laugh or two. These elements include, the false scare which is used when the girl is making tea for the mechanic and the mechanic taps her on the shoulder, this is used to add tension showing that something horrifying is about to appear, when it actually isn’t, in order to grab the audience’s attention and give them a feeling of fear, then a good laugh, once they learn that the scare is false. Another element is seen when the mechanic is sniffing the girl’s underwear, this used to add some black humour and mix it with the light humour, the false scare in this case, by doing this it will attract the fans of black humour within the audience and get them engaged in the media product’s plot.

Evaluation Question 4: Who would be the audience for your media product?

For my media product, 16 to 24 year olds would be the target audience with the media product being marked with a BBFC rating of 15. This is because after looking at the guidelines of the BBFC, I feel that the product is a 15 because it contains sexual references, the underwear sniffing part being a prime example, the amount of horror used for the opening and the references of violence. E.g. the killer slamming the mechanic on the head with a wrench. Recent examples of the 15 rating for the slasher/horror genre include, Scre4m (2011, Wes Craven) and The Roommate (2011, Christian E. Christiansen). These films gained the 15 rating because of the feeling of menace they have and the amount of violence seen in both films.

Another reason why my media product is targeted at the 16-24 year olds is that, the actors starring within  the film are aged within that age range and by aiming at that age range, and then the audience can then bond more with the characters and be immersed within the product making them want to watch it multiple times over and the characters represent the age range and social classes seen in reality, due to that it is verisimilitude. E.g. the girl is studying for her upcoming exams, connoted by the exam timetables she has posted up on her wardrobe.

Besides basing the chosen age rating by age rating, the rating is also based on gender and it will to both sexes because my product will appeal to females besides males, because of the twist of a female killer and due to that, it will give that feeling of girl power against male suppressors towards the female audience, which will attract them into watching the product. As for the males, they will be attracted also because of the female killer, despite being a final girl stereotype; she is depicting as being a wolf in sheep’s clothing and some men might find the girl sexy, due to that twist, since there are guys out there which judge a girl based on their looks, not their looks as it seems in this day and age.

From the feedback I got for the first rough cut, I was told to represent the social classes in a better manner and by doing that I expanded on the target audience I was aiming for in hand, by aiming it at the two social classes depicted in the film, working class and lower middle class. I can aim my media product at these audiences because of how the social classes depicted, since the audience can relate to these characters due to their, appearances, accents, and actions, making my media product verisimilitude. 

Evaluation Question 3: What kind of media institution might distribute your product and why?

My answer to the third question:

The website of my distribution company choice.