My Blog…

This blog has been created to follow the progress of an A Level Media Studies advanced portfolio project. The blog will be following me on the planning and the creation of a film promotion pack where I will be planning and creating a short film in its entirety, a film poster and a film magazine 2 page spread. Enjoy!


Question 3- What have you learned from your audience feedback?

When completing my coursework, audience feedback was an essential part of my research which helped aid the success of all three of my products. Below are two videos, the first one is explaining how my Audience feedback helped me to understand my audience and plan the short film and ancillaries accordingly and then the second one is to discuss what audience feedback has told me about the final outcomes of my products.


Question 1 – In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

My main task both conformed to but also developed and challenged typical media conventions. We wanted to follow conventions in order to convey the basic themes of our media text whilst twisting basic conventions in order to adapt the genre and engage the audience.


It could be argued that, the most important aspect of film making for the teenage drama genre is how the visual effect are portrayed to the audience. This is especially true when making a short film due to the constraints you place your film with in when it comes to expressing the narrative to an audience under a time constraint in which you must display a reading.

Being based upon such a sensitive topic and following such an emotional storyline, we needed to convey emotions, thoughts and feelings in different ways to connect the audience to our character. One of the ways we did this was with the use of different shot types. Although this was used throughout our short film ,one example of this was when we wanted to show the emotion and desperation of our character after her father shouts at her for watching a documentary focusing on the conflict of religion and sexuality. Below is the close up we used to show the depth of feeling we created with this shot:

The reason why we used a close up for this shot is because, this type of shots do not show the subject in the broader context of it’s surroundings… Instead the close-up camera angle gets “up close and personal” with the subject… so to a greater or lesser degree… eliminates the background from the scene or keeps its simple to keep the main center focus in the foreground on the main character allowing them to hold the shot. The use of this is common in the drama genre and particularly in those with a deeper underlying meaning that can be put into everyday context such as our short film. The inspiration for the use of close ups came from a short film called “Evolution- I am Gay”  a short film of an LGBT+ theme which follows a character struggling to find acceptance, the short film uses close ups to allow the audience to sympathise with the character and show how the character is feeling. I felt it worked well with our short film due to the personal feelings we display, especially around the scenes with the spoken word placed over the top as this is seen as her opening up her feeling to the audience. Below is the inspiration for these shots in our short film:


We also used the positioning of our characters in each shot to help the audience to establish a deeper understanding of their physical importance in the short film. Although Zara had importance to the audience as she was featured as the main character, she didn’t have importance from a viewers perspective of the order of film play as she’s downtrodden and weak under her father. This is something which although used in mainstream media text isn’t utilised to such an extent as the one we used it to due to our appeal to a niche and more versed in our case. One particular shot where we used this obviously was in the only scene we show her father in, His face is not shown; his back is turned to us and he is seen covering most of the frame in proportion to other elements:


This purposely links to the understanding created by Vladimir Propp and the idea of a Proppian Villain used in a film. Someone who is presented as evil, controlling and is often the main cause of the films disequilibrium. This in our case is most definitely the father although we have distorted the view of him by displaying not face of emotion, we have added a voice which with a stereotypical asian accent adds to the feeling of oppression due to the stigma that follows the ideas of asian parenting.

We then altered the use of his character idea by presenting our main character in a similar way, throughout the short film, we show Zara on her own and isolated apart from with her friends and at Pride. These are times when she can be herself so she is happy and surrounded by people who she loves. This shows that she can be free and that she is feeling at ease and content in these situations, whereas at home and on her own she is shown mainly from a distance and not filling the shot or not holding power in it. We displayed this is many shots. We opposed this convention by also displaying her in shots with a filled frame at Pride, although she is displayed via mid shots she is depicted  with her friends who help to fill the shot and represent her sense of completion when surrounded by those who support her.

On her own:

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We wanted to use her weak positioning in the frame and almost blend her into the background in these shots to show how she isn’t allowed to be herself so she’s no much more than just a figure in the shot. This was something we knew wasn’t in the mainstream and didn’t follow the conventions of shot positioning but we felt it would work and get across the idea of her not holding her own identity until the second half of the short film. Below is an example of her being presented with her friends, this helps us coney the idea of her feeling complete.

With others:

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We wanted to display the idea that she is taking back her life in the second half of our short film, we did this by letting the character control the movements instead of the shots being fixed and showing her at home, we used more fluid and more movement in our camera work when she was free and out with friends, this is something we felt was going to help translate Zara’s feeling to the audience. We did this by manly using fixed cameras to focus on her at home during the start of our short film. We felt this followed the conventions of other films in this genre and in the Drama Genre as a whole, One film I felt this was particularly focused in was “Evolution-I am Gay”, the camera movements move from being fluid and free when he is young and oblivious to the issues he is yet to face, they then move to fixed camera movements later on when he is struggling with his sexuality and then return to fluid once he is at peace and has found love.

Evolution- I am Gay Examples-






How we used this in our short film-





The use of cinematography is also particularly important when it comes to the ancillary tasks I picked. My ancillary one was a movie poster, the main idea for this was to show the development of Zara’s character from being what her father wanted her to be which was a muslim daughter to her being what she viewed as free and herself which made her happy. The use of photography allowed me to use different angles and different lighting styles to display this progression in her character. The importance of cinematography for a poster is that it is a still printed image so no sound can help to convey emotion, therefore imagery is vital.



This is is a sort of binding factor which ties together the rest of a film, It looks at the characters uses, the clothes they wear, the locations used and additions such as lighting. One key part of Mise-en-scene is Location, each genre have different locations we expect to see in a film.

One common location is a home setting, this is commonly used as a safe and somewhere of security. In Our short film we adapted this and twisted this conventional view, by showing Zaras home as somewhere were she isn’t safe and somewhere she is afraid to be that almost trapps who she is. This is after I looked at the idea of Binary Opposition as an audience pleasure; A binary opposition is a pair of related terms or concepts that are opposite in meaning. Binary opposition is the system by which, in language and thought, two theoretical opposites are strictly defined and set off against one another. In our short film we used the audience’s thoughts of what a home is to them and opposed it with the language of our text to construct a more complex meaning in order to isolate our main character. We took the idea of her being at home with her father as a threatening situation and one where she isn’t safe.

We also used the addition of lighting in a setting to create this idea, was wanted the home shots to be dim with mostly artificial lighting and shots where she is free to have bright lighting and mainly natural. this was too show the mood levels of her as she feels trapped and can’t express herself at home but at Pride and with her friends she can be free and happy:

With her friends we wanted to show her in her comfort zone and happy with the way she can be herself which is why we filmed these with bright sun shine during the day but most of her in her bedroom is at night so it’s dark outside and only artificial lighting is used.

Another use of Lighting to convey a reading in my work was when it came to the ancillary tasks, ancillary one featured Zara in front of a black background with three varying contrasts of lighting levels from dim to bright. These were to signify the mood of my character, an idea which I developed after viewing a video based on the contrast of lighting in cinematography on youtube-


Looking at my other ancillary task, I picked to do a magazine Double Page Spread. This requires a key feature image to draw in the audience to the article at hand, so the image is by far one of the most important factors of the magazine. I used lighting to bring focus onto the two hands in the foreground of the image, the background is mainly black as it was taken at night with blurred lights in the distance to add depth. There were many inspirations I used for this article which all used similar lighting techniques in order to bring attention to the main focus of the articles image.

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When it came to our actor we wanted to use a female, someone who could carry out in a way that is realistic of a person in this position. Our main character is a young asian female, a group often overlooked in films, she is a lesbian which is also an underrepresented group in the media and one we wanted to highlight. We did feel the need to stick to Stereotypes because of the short time we had to fit all  of the narrative in so constructing a counter typical view would have been hard. When it came to Zara she needed to be a moody teen girl who wants to rebel against her parents, a theme which most teens can relate to although adding in the fact that she is also finding herself gave us an extra feature to use. We placed Zara against her white, male but also gay best friend; Daniel- This was to show that often when you come from an asian/ religious background you have more constraining factors on your life. It was a way in which to show how she was oppressed and how her best friend hadn’t seen as much of a turbulent time due to his social privilege of being white and male.

Another stereotype we played off was the strict Asian parent, Often in the media we see an asian child being oppressed by their overly strict parent and this is one we used to get our message across. We played off this to attract to our audience as often teens feel like they are hard done by when it comes to parents. We used a stereotype seen in another teen drama called “Sahar” , although it follows a different theme of storyline it features the basic strict religious asian father. We wanted to  present her father as a beastly man, almost over exaggerate how much he dislikes her by using the Proppian character type of a villain. We wanted to play on the fact that its often harder for asian children to come out and its often hard for those from a religious family. The fact that we used the theme of the Orlando shootings and never mentioned her father actual religion we aimed at the rather current issue of Islam and Homosexuality which we feel importantly about and look at how the two sides clashing can have such huge negative effects on someone’s life.


Another key part of Mise-en-scene is the use of signifiers such as Theatrical Property (Props) . They are used as a form of media language to code a text and signify a reading to the audience, not only do the audience gain pleasure from being able to read into the meanings of these props but they also allow for a more detailed reading of the text. One Prop we used in our short film was Zara’s bag, the idea that she takes a  bag with her everywhere she goes to help us signify that she likes to keep her personal possessions close, she doesn’t have a safe place to store them and therefore she carries them around with her in order to keep her personal life and secrets safe. This then leads to her box of secrets to be left behind when she runs away and her father finds out who she is underneath all of her secrets.

In order for her secrets to be discovered we came up with the idea of a secret book which keeps her thoughts and feelings, she writes in this book about how she is feeling in the form of a self addressed poem, the main stimulus of our spoken word- “What I am To Myself”. The book idea was gained from other texts as teens are often know for keeping a diary as a form of self expression, we wanted to display the similar idea as the one given off in “Evolution- I am Gay” :

The clothing of our main character was another main idea we wanted to use in order to show her as a closed and hidden character, we presented her in dark clothing which is inexpressive and doesn’t show off her identity. this was to convey to the audience her mood and not to give off much of her character. The only time we see her in different clothing is when she is at Pride and is wrapped in a Pride flag which is allowing us to see she is expressing herself.



The editing process was a fun one, mainly due to the creativity I was able to use when it came to transitions and continuity. I knew that I had to keep an atmosphere of drama going throughout the film till the end. The editing stage allowed us to position the shots we had taken and display our main character Zara how we wanted to.

We wanted to show Zara walking a lot in our short film, this came from the idea of her journey through life and we wanted to show her doing this alone. We took many shots of Zara walking to places but soon realised that this could be boring if the short film is made up of shots of her walking, this is when we devised the idea of editing her walking in a fast pace style which came from the TV show Quantico”


We also feature several cutaways of just Zara to show how she feels isolated and alone throughout the short film, this is to emphasise the fact that Zara feels herself to be a very lone character who goes through life quite alone and independently whether she likes it or not. One of the main ways to get across and individual characters feeling in a film is to use a cut away as it links the audience a single character more personally and this is one way we wanted to display Zaras loneliness in our short film.

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When it comes to the style of editing used in a film it can relay different types of codes to the audience in order to allow them to make different readings of the text. One way I have done this is by using softer and harsher editing techniques between different shots. For example, the softer and more fluid shots have been used in the scenes where Zara is with her girlfriend as she is happy and feels safe, I managed to gain this effect via the use of more soft cross fades and simple slow pace shot placement.  Although the shots of her running away are edited harshly and cut sharply to give the audience a deeper understanding of her feelings. They are done by the use of darker filters put over the shots and faster and more rough editing techniques such as cuts and jump cuts.

This was taken from my analysis of the short film “Evolution- I am Gay”-


Harsh editing techniques I used were things such as cuts, jump cuts,

One large editing feature of our short film was the Montage sequence we added at the end of the short film, We put it in as a form of display feature to express her inner feelings and express her anger during towards the events that were playing out. The montage sequence was fast paced and used fast cuts which helped to build emotions. The idea was to show how our character had been drawn to running away due to the overwhelming build of emotions she was feeling. It was quite an expressive format to use and was rather unconventional but got the message across to the audience and let us display the key elements of the storyline. As her father realised she had run away he found her box of secrets and she was contemplating all of the good times she’s had whilst being able to be herself with her friends and being a Pride.  The idea of the montage was to show that her life has suddenly picked up, so the phase of the short film picks up in response as this is the climax when assessed against the narrative arc.


When planning the film play of our short film I felt it necessary to look at form of a film’s order such as the Narrative Arc and the Dramatic structure theory of how a film should be presented. I concluded that films that are independent such as ours can break more conventions and doesn’t need to meet with the basic conventions, often films such as ours follow a more of a sporadic film play which results in it starting on a climax or finishing on a climax without a resolution to the films story.


We build up the story of our film to the point of her running away and her father burning her letter but this is where we finish our film, we don’t carry on the storyline so the film is left on a cliff hanger and the audience is left to wonder what has a happened to the main character as she has been left in a bad situation.

Another way I used editing in my coursework to convey the feeling of a character was in my movie poster, was to show the strengthening of my character  from her going from sad when she is following her father’s wish to be muslim with a head scarf on in dim lighting with a sad facial expression, to her being happy with who she is as she is following the life she wants to with a clear view of her face and bright lighting expressing  her feeling of joy. This allowed me to face her face out to show her almost being a shell of herself and being faint in character and her being fully faded in for the final image as she is full of character due to being able to express who she is.




The use of sound in ur short film was mainly through the form of music and dialogue both diegetic and nondiegetic. The main use of sound effects were filmed by us and fitted in with the action playing out on screen, on example is the door slamming in the first scene which we recorded with an external mic attached to the camera on a boom pole in order to make sure it fitted in with the play of events.

Not only does sound follow the play of the film via dialogue but it also can be placed over the top of the film in the form of background music. This covers shots which have no sound and adds emotion to the scene. We discovered that short dramas use music to anchor the meaning and build emotion in a sequence. As a film’s narrative gets more intense, the music will follow accordingly which we picked up on and tried to add into our short film in moments which are dramatic, for example the end sequence of our short film where we placed the montage sequence.

A main part of the sound used in our short film was the spoken word we added over the top, one convention of the drama genre is to use a non diegetic voice over in order to convey ideas or feeling to the audience. In our short film we used a Spoken work to help relate to the audience and them to see deeper into our character. The spoke word tells the audience how she is feeling and about what she is feeling deep down. The spoken Word named “What I am to Myself” was written by me for our short film, The basic idea of it was to display Zara’s deep down feelings about how she felt in the current situation of her life. I wanted to help the audience to relate to her on a deeper level which is something which will help anchor the meaning of the film.



The text which I used with in my Movie Poster is the same as the as some of the text in the magazine article for ancillary 2, this is to keep continuity with in my ancillary Products and tie them in together. The text I used for my Ancillary One title was used to give a personal feel due to the hand written theme of the text. I then used this for the pull quote on my main article and used the same text for the credits on my movie poster. The text I used for the thumb nail of my short film is the same as the text from my two ancillaries in order to tie in the key themes.

What I am to myself


This was one thing which I picked up upon when analysing movie articles for my ancillary two, major films use the same text for most advertisement products in order to tie in the different products they release and they help to build a brand for the film.




Audience Feedback Ancillary Two

I asked for my Audience to give me detailed feedback as to what they felt about my Magazine double page spread and how well it synergised with my short film “What I am to Myself”. I did this in the format of an open survey which asked conclusive questions to find out qualitative information on my ancillary Two.

With the questions below, I then asked for 15 people to view my double page spread and give me conclusive results to the questions. I asked them to leave any bias they may have and any pre-existing views of the task at hand. These are the questions i asked and some of the results I gained-

  1. What do you like about the final outcome of this article?
"The image just fits in so well with the rest of the article, its well written 
and carries continuity throughout."
"That image just fits so well with the rest of the page and is a really high 
class and thought out image."
"The article draws you in and made me want to watch the short film again."

2.Have I produced this to a professional standard?

"Really Professional and made to a good standard, The large image really 
draws you into the article and is definitely like something you'd see in a real
film magazine."
"I could see myself popping to Tesco and buying this tomorrow!"

3.Does the image help to mirror the Short films themes and feelings?

"The image of Zara holding her girlfriend's hand is so topical and 
"The final shot of Zara in the short film is her running away holding Lucy's 
hand which fits in so well."
"The dark colour of the background and the faint lights in the distance give 
it such an urban and edgy feel just like the film."

4.Does the article make you want to see the film?

"I mean if i hadn't seen the film first then i would have loved to have 
been so excited to see it after this article."
"Yes the article is almost as gripping as the short film!"
"The way the short film is talked about really gives it the feedback it is 

5.Do all part of the page work together?

"I loved how you carried over the text from the short film and from the poster
to link them all together."
"Yes, the text and the image all lead you into wanting to read the article for

6.Is the article well Written?

"I was very impressed, a good use of the english language in order to draw in 
the audience to the short film."
"I wanted to see the short film after reading this. It for sure did its job!"

With the questions below, I then asked for 15 people to view my double page spread and give me conclusive results to the questions. I asked them to leave any bias they may have and any pre-existing views of the task at hand. These are the questions i asked and some of the results I gained-

These are just some of the great comments I received as to the continuity of my article and the final outcome of my product in relation to the final outcome of my short film. This task has taught me a lot and will definitely help me further in my coursework and complete my evaluation section.