Monday, December 1, 2008


Here are some possible PROPS and CLOTHING we will be using in our media thriller and will be an important part of our MISE EN SCENE in maintaing the thriller conventions.

The Mysterious Killers Props

The mysterious man's props are scissors, knives, newspapers and a briefcase among others. These objects mainly give the mysterious man a negative impression, which is important to keep the audience on edge and still the characters identit remains hidden. Therefore giving little clues will maintain the audiences suspense.

As of today we are very proud to be.....

Animatic Sequence


We drew upon our ideas and created a storyboard that would lay the foundations for our thriller opening.

At first, we are going to shoot from the top of 'EAT' using it as a low angled shot on the bustling street of town. There will be one person in different places at a stand still whilst everyone around him changes a a fast pace. Then there will be parallel editing which will consists of the antagonist cutting newspapers up. Then sharply cutting to a girl on a swing   

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thriller Conventions

The following is a list of thriller conventions that we used to analyse industry and student thriller openings and will take into acount when creating our very own thriller opening.

Thriller Conventions:

A crime at the core of the narrative (often murder, but not necessarily).

A complex narrative structure, with false paths, clues and resolutions.

A narrative pattern of establishing enigmas which the viewer expects to be resolved.

A protagonist who is systematically dis-empowered and drawn into a complex web of intrigue by the antagonist.

Extraordinary events happening in ordinary situations.

Themes of identity.

Themes of mirroring.

Themes of voyeurism.

Protagonist with a ‘flaw’ which is exploited by the antagonist.

Titles often reflect an aspect of the pro/antagonist’s psychological state.

There is often a scene near the end of the film in which the protagonist is in peril.

Mise en scene which echoes/ mirrors the protagonist’s plight.


Detailed Ideas

Example of Thriller titles:
  • The Unread Story
  • Obsession
  • Swingers
  • The Untold Story
  • Insanity
  • Challenge
  • Stalker
  • The Effect
  • Dark Temptation
  • Nemesis

Monday, November 24, 2008




Cinematography is a term that describes everything related to the camera in filming: film stock, film speed, framing, distance, level, angle of the camera, the movement of camera.

  • Close Up on facial expressions to create an edgy and nervy atmosphere.
  • High Angle Shot to show the victim is vulnerable and innocent.
  • Low Angle Shot on killer to create power.
  • Various of different camera distances are used for dramatic effects.
  • Establishing Shot to show the location.
  • Close Ups on the killers weapons/tools.
  • Panning.

Example Of A Close Up From The Film The Ring Revealing Facial Expressions.


  • Speed up certain bits.
  • Quick transition between several close ups.
  • Being able to add the sound effects.
  • Writing for the cast needs to be effective in causing tension.
  • Fading from scene to scene.
  • Flash backs to other scenes-more than one story line going on at one time.
  • Parallel editing- which lets us follow the simultaneous flow of actions at the same time from two different locations.
Mise En Scène

Mise en scène is everything that appears before the camera.

  • Characters-Have a mystery man where you do not see the killers face, which gives the audience a sense of insecurity.
  • Lighting-Darkness. Flickering lights creates Spooky atmosphere.
  • Props-Weapons, Scissors, Newspaper cut outs.
  • The use of figure, expression and movement by actors.
  • Extras to show reality.
  • Location-the setting.


Non-Diegetic :

Non-diegetic sound is where it has no source within the film itself.

  • Creates tension so that it makes the audience feel on edge.
  • Sets the mood within the scene.
  • Sound effects which is added for the dramatic effect.
  • Creates a vibe.


Any sound in the scene who's source is justified by something the scene, whether actually seen or not.

  • Voices of characters when talking.
  • Sounds made by objects in the sequence.
  • Sounds made by the characters from physical actions. e.g. Punch, Smack, Footsteps, Door Slamming, police sirens.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008



- Hold A Shot Steady ( Where Appropriate )
- Frame A Shot Appropriately
- Use A Variety Of Shot Distances
- Shoot Material Appropriate To Task
- Use Appropriate Mise En Scene
- Editing So Meaning Is Apparent
- Use Sound With Images Appropriately
- Use Titles Appropriately 



In 'Surface,' a thriller project created by students, there are many micro elements that are effective in supporting the conventions of a thriller however there are relevant aspects that are missing which could enhance the viewers enjoyment. This thriller opening sequence has the convention of a crime being at the core of the narrative as the viewer gets to see a distressed girl being kidnapped or hurt by what seems to be the antagonist, in which is shown through the different combinations of Micro elements.

Clearly, the use of cinematography is very important in this opening and is apparent in the use of of close ups however because close ups are consistently used there is a lack of variation in distances which does not meet the criteria. This lack of variation does not keep the viewer on edge and tense even though the consistent use of close ups is used in order so that the opening would not give to much away and therefore make it tense and dramatic it fails to take into account that the repetition becomes a bit tedious.

Editing plays a very important role in this sequence, in particular the use of cuts has a very important effect in establishing a tense and weary atmosphere. The use of what seems to be blood in water slows down what is happening and also allows the titles to be shown while making the viewer tense and nervous by then cutting back to what is actually happening extremely fast in which surprises the viewer and puts them on edge. This is put into use after approximately 15 seconds of the man trying to kidnap the girl and just as the viewer wants to see more it cuts back to blood in water. The blood in water is slowed down extremely and the girl being kidnapped is played at a faster pace. This contrast has a very good effect on the viewer as they don't quite know what is happening.

Sound has a massive effect on the viewer in this thriller opening. The criteria of using sound with images appropriately is clear in this sequence as the non diagetic sound that is used contributes substantially to making the viewer on edge. There is a soundtrack that is played throughout the opening that is calm and mellow when the blood in water scenes are in use but then gets amplified as it then sharply cuts back to the man and girl. It then gets mellow and calm again as it then cuts back to blood in water and this order is repeated through the opening. The sound bridge between these scenes in which you can hear the diagetic sound of the girl screaming creates a connection that makes the viewer know the girl is in peril and wants to keep watching to find out what happens.

Mise en Scene does not play a significant role in this opening as the shots that are used do not establish the man and girls surroundings as the students are trying not to give anything away. The only clear use of props that is apparent to the viewer is of the mask and hoody that the antagonist is wearing which helps keep the identity of the kidnapper hidden as it is clear that this lack of identity plays a major story line in the thriller.

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Monday, November 17, 2008


There are many different micro elements used in the opening sequence of 'SE7EN', that support the conventions of a thriller. The four elements, which are Cinematography, Sound, Editing and Mise en Scene are all essential to maintaining the conventions of a thriller.

One of the elements employed in Se7en is cinematography. The camera distances are important in thrillers to establish certain things and also to distinguish the overall story line. One camera distance used is a close up. This highlights certain features of the killers personality, for example a close up of him holding a blade which demonstrates the persons cruel nature. There are also elements of mystery as there is no shot of his face, therefore it adds to the tension and makes the audience feel nervy.

Another micro element used to support the conventions of a thriller is sound. Wether diegetic or non diegetic, sound can be used to great effect in causing tension and giving the audience a feleing of unease and insecurity. An example in Se7en is the non-diegetic sound which is really high pitched and eary. This adds to the suspense of the sequence. The sound is not familiar and is difficult to define. This is chosen to maintain the audiences curiosity and the machine sounds and rattling causes this mystery. As well as this the sounds are really unpleasant and this supports one of the conventions that is 'use sounds with images appropriately'. In this case, it is appropriately used as from the images which are weapons and such like, there is a link with the unpleasant sound.

A good mise en scene is vital in the genre of thriller. This micro element is simply what you see framed before the camera. Mise en scene is everything in the shot including objects, costume and the location. It is important to have as it identifies to the audience what is to come, as shown in the opening sequence of Se7en. This is shown because various objects and killing weapons are depicted, as well as newspaper cuttings and a picture of distorted hands. As well as to indicate to the viewers the real genre and what is coming, it causes mystery as yet again, the mysterious persons 'mysterious' face is hidden.

The last micro element is editing. Editing is important as it enables the thriller to run smoothly and also the transition type between each shot can be modified for great effect.


      From left:
 Luke Masterson, Viet Pham, Will Morrison Ayton and Richard Chapman

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