How does your media product use,
develop, or challenge forms and
conventions of real media products?
What is an opening title sequence?
Opening sequences are shown at the beginning of
films to introduce them and give the audience
information on the most important members of the
production, for example the names of the main
characters, the director and producer of the film.
The credits are most often superimposed either on
static pictures, a blank screen for further
emphasise or on top of action. Conventional credits
are also in a particular order to show higher archy
within the job roles; for example, it was said by
Pete Frazer that the main characters tradionally
appear first and the directors last. There may or
may not also be music in the background to create
a certain mood to fit the particular genre.
The conventions of an opening title sequence
TITLE: The title of the film will always appear in the opening title sequence
to let the audience know what they are watching. The name of the film may
also hint at the genre, for example the 'Evil Dead'. This film title
immediately gives the audience a big clue that it will belong to the horror
genre purely from the words used. The film title may also give the viewers
an idea of what the film might be about. For example when you see the film
title 'Taken', you automatically get this idea of what will happen in the film.
MUSIC: Music may or may not accompany the credits in the
background. The use of music in a title sequence can build up
tension and atmosphere for the first scene; it can also have a
dramatic effect on the audience's mood and feelings towards
the film. It is also another factor which highly hints at the genre
type through the pace and ryhthm
PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION: Another key convention is the
credits of the production name. This enables the audience to
familiarise themselves with it and possibly watch other films they
have made, therefore making the production name better known.
CAST & CREW: The names of well known actors commonly appear
it title sequences as well as important crew members such as the
producer and director; however not everyone is listed here as they
are less significant. The full cast and crew members are listed at the
end of the film.
CHARACTERS & SETTING: A main setting is typically introduced in the
opening title sequence to set the scene which may or may not also include
a main character/s. This again is another key element that can give the
genre of the film away to the audience.
My Opening Title Sequence
During the production of my product, My group and I had to ensure
that we used the conventions of an opening title sequence and link
them to our genre - Thriller.
PRODUCTION,DISTRIBUTION,PRODUCER: This is first done through the distribution name which is immediately
shown, 'Indigo Cinema's Presents.' The colour of the title is white with a black background to create a sense of lonliness
and establish an eerie atmosphere straight away. This is a typical convention of thriller films as they usually adopt dark
places such as alley ways to create suspense and tension.It is then joined with the production company which appears
after the first date the title sequence is set in,'Produced by Ashman Studios'. The colour of the credit is red with a
black and white scenery behind it to make it stand out. The colour red connotes blood which will encourage the
audience to imagine the image of death - a factor which foreshadows what happens later in the sequence. It
then goes on to state who the film was produced by, also in red. Here we have developed the conventions of opening
title sequences as this is the order the credits traditionally take.
CAST AND CREW: My product further develops these conventions of a
thriller title sequence through the credits of the main cast and crew
members. The credits fade in and slowly fade out, giving them a
shadow-like movement to reinforce the dark and eerie atmosphere that is
used in thrillers. We made the colour of them red to ensure that they are
clear to see and as said previously, they connote the image of blood and
death. We also used red as it is a bright and furious colour which links in to
the fast action that occurs in the genre thriller.
SETTING: The opening scene of my product is of the family home belonging to the characters,
therefore following the convention of an opening title sequence adapting a main setting. We edited
our sequence to make it black and white all the way through, with the credits and name of the film as an exception. This
was done to accentuate a shadowy atmosphere, adding suspense and excitement to our product;
therefore developing a thriller convention of the use of shadows. The use of shadows is also used in
the thriller/horror film 'Insidious'. When filming the inside of our main setting we took a slow pace to
give the impression that it may now be deserted and only memories are left behind.This use of black
and white also represents our idea of the title sequence being set in the past as it moves through the
years with the dates as a guide, for example my product starts in '1980'.
My product has also developed the convention of flashbacks through the fragmented time. The
opening title sequence begins in '1980' and ends in '2000' showing a sense of looking back into the
past and remembering the memories of the happy times before GJ Wentworth was murdered.
CHARACTERS: It could be argued that the use of characters in my product both adopts and challenges
forms and conventions of real thriller films. The characters we used are not presented as heros or
villians in my title sequence as you would usually expect in a thriller film; instead they are presented as a
typical middle class family. We are only introduced two of the characters in our film as we wanted to
emphasize the bond between the father and son which would then be tragically broken through death - a
convention typical in the thriller genre. The little boy, Hunter goes against the forms and conventions
of a thriller as he is portrayed innocently. However, it could be argued that the father, GJ Wentworth
adopts certain conventions though his costume. He is wearing a black and white suit which is commonly
seen in the genre we are using as it represents profession, strenth and power. A very popular character
which also adapts to this convention is James Bond.
MUSIC: My product also challenges these conventions through the music to a certain extent. The sound of the
music is upbeat, light hearted and slow paced, creating a happy atmosphere. This fails to adopt the typical
conventions of a thriller film as they commonly use very faced paced sounds/music, sometimes with a hard base
in the background. However as my opening sequence continues, the light hearted music is abruptly interrupted
with a gun shot sound. This succeeds in adopting the conventions as weapons are often used in thriller films as
part of the action. This sound effect will immediately change the happy atmosphere, creating suspense and
tension in the audience. It then goes onto a static radio report to increase this suspense and build up the enigma
which is typically established in real thriller films.
TITLE: The name of our film appears at the end of the opening title sequence to emphasize
the name of the film in a powerful way and create an impact on the viewer. In some film
names they give away what will happen in the film, such as in 'TAKEN'. However the name
we came up with maintains this sense of enigma as it doesn't suggest what might happen,
therefore creating a sense of excitement as the audience wait to find out what will go on.
Where we decided to put the film name breaks the conventions of an opening title sequence
as I have found from my own research that it traditonally appears before the casting director
and composer of the music instead of at the end.