Two assignments are required for the module Contextual Studies. The first was to produce a powerpoint presentation that had to meet the requirements of 20 slides with a time of approximately 20 seconds. Any topic could be chosen as long as it related to the student’s course. This module was to be completed by all member of the Art School, therefore it was not specifically designed towards the Film and Photography course. Guidelines were included on the brief, explaining the structure of the powerpoint. This was to include a description, analysis, evaluation, and Interpretation.
The chosen topic for my presentation was the film Deadpool. I discussed the technical, written codes, character representation and the use of CGI.I found that talking about one film allowed me to go into more detail about the technical areas of the production and character development. Below are the notes that I used and the slides that I presented.
Deadpool was directed by Tim Miller and produced by Marvel Entertainment. It was written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, and released in 2016.
The opening sequence instantly creates a humorous element to the film. This includes opening credits, due to the unconventional wording. Unlike the typical formal structure of introducing the director, actors and other important roles, it instead is unserious.
3. The text has been shown in large font, over less distracting areas of the scene. so that the text is brought to the viewer’s attention. It immediately becomes apparent that the target audience is aged 18+.
4. The text was intended to create humour, with a pause between the written information, only showing the scene. Accompanied by a heavier beat in the music, this gives ‘laughing’ time for the viewers.
5. The camera travels through the whole car in the opening credits. Macro shots are used to focus on certain areas, that have been designed to be unserious and humorous.
6. The shots slowly reveal the scene, where Deadpool is already showing violence in a comical way. He has not been placed in a typical action stance. Instead, he is in the air poking someone’s eyes, whilst holding onto another person’s pants.
7. Due to the macro shots, high detailed texture maps have been applied to the models. This is visually more realistic and appealing.
8. The camera shows unusual angles of the situations. Close-ups of bullets and guns identify the high use of action, and the obscure angles signify the chaos within the scenes.
9. The close-ups of the car debris and a hand crashing through the glass signify chaos and destruction, unsurprising of the Deadpool character.
The combination of CGI with practical effects appears seamless. Action shots transitions to CGI without bringing attention to the change.
11. During a car chase, the shots transitions from inside a car to a CGI car flipping over. The change from practical effects to CGI has been done effectively, without creating attention to the transition.
12. CGI has made it safer and easier for the scene to be created. No stunt actors had to be used or risked when performing the crash.
13. Deadpool creates an interesting relationship with the audience. This is because he breaks the ‘fourth wall’. With previous knowledge of the character, this is conventional, creating humour and dominant preferred reading from the viewers.
14. He also goes further by making direct contact with the camera. He flicks gum which appears as though it lands on the camera and wipes it off.
15. The film brings the expected personality of the character from the start of the narrative. After the opening credits, he turns to address the audience, establishing his conventional characteristics.
16. Following further conventional Deadpool traits, he undertakes an anti-hero archetype. Causing chaos and inflicting violence, subverting the superhero representation but conforming to Deadpool’s convention.
17. Continuing with his chaos he breaks the laws of physics. As a car is upside down, time stops except for Deadpool. He then makes a comment about leaving his stove on.
From the film, I think the visual effects have been done successfully, that engage and excite the target audience. It has influenced me to learn more effects that I can apply to my own work, without using too many that will devalue the overall production.
19. I think the portrayal of Deadpool has been done well, creating the lovable anti-hero and staying true to the comics.
20. This film is influential through the creative thought to how the character will be portrayed, not only through the verbal script, but also camera angles, high level of action and directing to a specific audience of 18+.
During the process of creating the presentation and learning the notes, I felt uncomfortable with the thought of preening in front of people, especially with an additional class that I am unfamiliar with. I became worried and began to overthink the presentation. I had changed my original idea from talking about wildlife photography to speaking about a TV series instead. However, closer to the time I changed the idea again, even though I had completed the presentation notes and slides. I thought that a TV series has too much to speak about, making my presentation vague and I became uncomfortable with my notes.
I finally chose to talk about one film, Deadpool. I found that there were more visual effects and character development that I could speak about and could go into more detail about the film. I was satisfied with this choice and looking back I think it was the right choice to make.
As the day for the presentation grew nearer I became considerably nervous. I was afraid that I would speak unclearly and forgot what I was meant to say, having to pause whilst reading the notes.This would have been embarrassing and look unprofessional during a presentation. Therefore, I began to practice every night and spoke in front of people that I knew. At first, they expressed that I was too uncomfortable and did not know the notes well enough to make each slide appear more seamless.
However, with more practice I began to learn the notes, only needing to glance at the cards. The night before the presentation I continued practicing and was informed that I had improved and the last practice sounded more confident.
During the time of the presentation, I had developed shingles This made me feel very uncomfortable as my body was sore and felt unwell. I did not allow this to affect me on the day and continued with the presentation. I think by pushing myself I came out of the experience stronger ad proved to myself that I am cable of things that I do not feel confident with.
Before I presented I was very uncomfortable but did not feel as nervous, compared to a week before the presentation. I think the practice helped tremendously with my confidence. I wanted to do the presentation so that I did not have to worry about it anymore.
I chose to stand in front of the audience, instead of the additional option to sit behind the monitor. I thought that it would appear more professional and confident if I stood in front of everyone. I ignored my nerves and chose this position, and found that when I began I felt better about the situation.
In reflection I feel as though this experience has aided in my personal development, improving my communication skills and confidence. This is a useful skill when talking to businesses, clients and pitching ideas, that is common in the film and photography industry. I feel relieved that I have complete this task and think that I did better than I expected.
A positive outcome during the presentation was that I did not have to take noticeable pauses to read my notes. From the practice and amount of times I read over the notes, I had learned what was to be said. Therefore, I only glanced at the notes to keep myself on the right track and ensure that I didn’t forget any points. Feedback after the presentation was that I sounded confident, which I think was because I had learned the points that had to be mentioned. With even more practice for future presentations, I could completely memorise the notes so that I do not need anything in my hands to remind myself for each slide. I can then look directly at the audience, appearing in control and much more confident.
I received positive feedback after the presentation. I was told that the slides appeared to have followed the correct structure of the brief. I took time when creating the notes to read the brief and add the headings that it provided. By doing this I ensured that I structured the presentation in the correct way to what the brief had outlined. The guidance notes and questions that were included in the brief were used when writing the script for the presentation. This made my overall presentation sound more sophisticated and ensured that I met the criteria.
A negative during the presentation was that I did not have much interaction with the audience. I stood in front of them and made sure that I took the time to look in their direction but think this could be improved. Instead of standing I could have moved around more, directly making references to the slides by pointing to certain areas of the images that were relevant to my points. This would have engaged the audience more and helped explain what I was talking about. By speaking more expressively it would make the presentation sound more interesting and create a confident and professional appearance. The audiences are more likely to remember the information in the presentation when it is presented in an engaging and interesting manner.
The slides could be improved by including gifs. I do not regret using single images on the slides that take up all the screen as this makes it clear to see and catches the audience’s attention. However, including various gifs of a small section of a scene or action that relates to the points that I am making would engage the audience further. It would make the presentation more interesting and increase the likelihood that the viewers remember the information.
It was a positive learning experience that has helped develop skills that I will need in the future. It has allowed me to work under pressure which is beneficial to experience so that it does not affect me negatively. I was able to experience my reaction to the pressure, which I found to be positive as I did not allow it to affect my work. I understand I need to work on confidence and communication skills, which this has helped towards.
I think I could have included more film theory in the presentation. A detailed analysis of the narrative structure, character archetypes, character development, technical codes and genre conventions would have produced an informative and in depth presentation. I also could have included a deeper understanding of technical areas, such as the special effects. Providing information how the CGI was conducted and why it has worked successfully would have provided the audience with much information that they may have learned from.
I think the time hindered the presentation as it made it more difficult to go into detail and talk about many areas of the film, this resulted in a more brief analysis. I think this could be improved by selecting specific areas to speak about. For example, the presentation could be about the success of the special effects. This would allow me to go into detail about how it was done and why it is successful. The other half of the presentation could then link with the special effects but move into other areas, such as genre conventions. I could discuss typical conventions for action, superhero films, such as the use of violence shown in the action scenes that use CGI. Discussing ways it may have also subverted conventions would produce a more interesting presentation topic.
The final presentation could have been improved by being more expressive to engage the audience, but by practicing I managed to sound more confident than expected. The presentation could have been more detailed, covering sophisticated topics that would have been a possible learning experience for the audience. I think even though I had shingles at the time and find this activity very uncomforting, I am satisfied with the way I presented.
Overall the presentation was successful. There are always areas to improve upon but I had positive feedback and found that I was more nervous leading up to the presentation than on the actual day of presenting. This experience has aided in the development of key skills that will I will benefit from in my professional development. Communication and confidence will lead to obtaining more clients, well-structured pitches and less chance of issues created during productions. This has helped me to get my point across in a short time frame. Often with bad communication between clients the end [router may not be what they expected which can produce issue. However, with regular communication and ensuring that their and my own points have been understood and correctly explained will minimise chances and problems occurring.