How do characters dress? (props)

  • Angel: we decided to break the convention of Angle being the positive character; her wings will be black covered by white glitter powder; it matches with the design in cards we asked for (link: Design of cards)

Meaning: related to the backstory ‘under veneer’, Angel is not necessary to be a saviour, the conventional costumes we follow is wings, as if they are the goddness.




  • Boy lover: A ring with a heart shape/a similar shape as girl lover’s necklace
Meaning: the concept of lovers bound together, and the conventional image of love is a heart shape, but it is not likey boys will wear a necklace so it may be more realistic to wear a ring.


  • Girl lover: a necklace with the same ring as Boy Lover as a pendant

 Meaning: (as said in Boy Lover part)


  • Druid: it is a flower crown with mistletoes


mistletoe: one of the conventional consume of Druid; they used to cut trees of mistletoes with artefact weapon

Meaning: she is the one who can revive one person and kill one, which gives her the power to either be the good or the bad, but we decided to let her be a positive character, opposite of Angel, she is the ‘goddness’ actually.


  •  Werewolves: a mask usually be seen in Halloween party for each of them


Why not using make-up?

Having looked at other’s AS works, we agree that sometimes less is more if you can not make it right! Werewolf make-up is tedious and artist needs to be highly-skilled to draw, we are not that professional in make-up, it takes much more time than put a mask on…


  • Madman: a straw hat


Meaning: the same hat as villagers to keep the normality; but the way of wearing it is different



Facebook meeting: process of making cards!

Winter holidays came and we had to discuss it online. After I found designs on the cards and we decided on it together, we asked a Y10 student Jay Zhong to draw it, actually employed him and paid since he is good at art in general. Game cards are quite important in our short film, it may be a branding so having thought carefully, we wanted our props look appropriate and fit in.

Unfortunately, our budget is quite low so finding an artist is not realistic, i do think this is part of our learning and approach to media productionif you want to earn profits, lower your cost of production and try to get a good quality of product.


  • Ran out of ink!
news from Jay












It surprised both of us that ink was finished so fast! It was during winter holidays and he was in Germany, it meant art work would postpone till the school starts BUT it did not affect us much, this time we started earlier just in case something went wrong, and it proved we got enough time to let him finish!

Tip 1: Leave yourself enough time, to make everything as you expect, otherwise, your idea may not be achieved in limited time.


  • Choosing the frame colour!

We’ve decided that the colour went with gold, which would go with ancient and mysterious style in medieval time, but we were not sure about how other colour might look.

The truth is we are right, gold is the perfect colour, silver is not strong enough to contrast the white paper, black would be plain as the characters are drawn in black too.

Tip 2: there is nothing wrong to try, it is going to be worked out by doing.


  • A part missing?!


Both of us agreed that it was a bit odd, without the corner of it, it did not look like completed in terms of the planning I did before. ( click Select a Frame to see)

Tip 3: it’s better to produce one at first as a sample, rather than producing tons of it before you confirm that is what you want, it is wasting of time and money!


  • Confusing about the pens

It is not easy to talk online sometimes, it was confusing which pen ran out of ink and the effect we wanted by plainly describing it, i just kept asking questions as you can see…


Tip 4: always remember it is a teamwork, expressing your ideas in the brain is crucial in every step.


It could be the slightest thing in the production, but it can improve 1% of quality by correcting even tiny mistakes as proved in the research Marginal Games Theory!

#3 Design our cards!



Without frame, the card will be too plain and we agree that the card is one of the most important props in the film so it’d better be good quality, not necessarily fancy though.


Frame 1:



It’s a card design but the shape of frame 1 is curvy like riband, and the line is simple but it takes much more space than others




Frame 2:



It is quite girly but the line is too thin to be the frame we want.




Frame 3:



We are satisfied with the double line, one is thicker and one is thinner, and it is not hard to do.




Frame 4:



The patterns are beatiful but this frame is like for greeting cards or letters, the line is too thin and not simple.



Frame 5:


very classical frame, the line is too thin though, many of frames have the same problem.





Finally, after applying it on the cards, frame 3 works the best and it matches most of images we chose. I will keep all the frames in case we need it sometime.


#2 Design our game cards!

I was working on the part of looking for images on the cards for each character that can represent their personality and one thing I learned is not be to complex but it should be effective to show the character – simple but symbolic.


Madman(1): villiager look-like, portrait of smiling slyly, bows down, the shadow of his hat covers his eyes

  • he/she is actually on werewolf’s side and hiding among the villagers(sneaky)

Cursed one(1): a scratch on the arm

  • Like zombie movie, the person is infected by the curse and a scratch is a symbol he/she will turn to werewolf next night



Werewolves(2): the main protagonist, instead of drawing the whole body, we decide to do a portrait

  • as mentioned, I’d like to keep it simple and this portrait effectively shows werewolf, we agreed with it



Angel(1): a sign of wings

  • there are two choices below, I prefer the left one and my partner prefers the right one but finally the left one goes with the frame
  •  Angel is usually considered to be a girl, in the game, it can be a boy(even though it depends on casting) so we aviod gender issue


Lovers(2): half-heart shape

  • as same as Angel, there is no gender indication for lovers
  • half-heart can strongly tie these two characters instead of a whole heart



Druid(1): a scale

  • describe it perfectly – choose one to revive and one to die


it looks nice and curvy, but not as good as the one below


   it is vintage style, and it matches the frame we chose, give our film a medieval fantasy feeling(props in Lord of rings are similar)


Too scientific and plain

Ordinary Villagers(6): people with a hat and hoe

  • no special face expression



Research: How to make branded films?


What is branding?

It is the idea or image of a specific product or service that consumers connect with, by identifying the name, logo, slogan or design of the company who owns the idea.

To be honest, I am not satisfied with my AS opening since the only thing could be mentioned about branding was selfie stick so I would like to do a specific research for branding at A level in order to create a complete product, more impressive.

After researching, I figured out that branding can help film producers think more about the core idea of the film, make the storyline neat:

what do you want to show as the centre of the story?

How to emphasise it? what do you seek to tell audiences under veneer?


There are four points that are helpful to create a sense of branding:

Brand marketing

  1. Produce a good film

A good marketing strategy can improve branding but limited so it is crucial to produce a good film at first. I would like to say it is to make film unique to consumers.

For example, Harry Potter was a massive success as books, which establishes the success of the film. And its storyline is much more what audiences want, very interesting – boarding school, coming of age and associated with magic. Its story contains ambiguity – good in evil and evil in good, which intrigues audiences to think and also reveals one of the back stories behind.

All of the excellent content leads to the potential success in branding, otherwise, it is hard to brand anything!

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(from Harry potter brand wizard)


2. Picture an unique protagonist/antagonist

This is one of the tips I learned from Harry Potter in terms of my own experience, the first thing I remembered from Harry Potter was not his magic power, it was his appearance, his glasses.

People even call the spectacles Harry Potter Glasses, it is the branding, fans even dress like Harry Potter, his character is unique, which gave me a hint that costumes and props would make a huge difference to films but it will only do good if it fits.

One more thing, it can contribute to branding because it is constant, otherwise, it might not work. He wears this round-shaped glasses through all seasons of Harry potter. And now people think wearing this style of glasses seems more intelligent.



Another example of successful branding is Dark Knight. It portrays an unique character as Batman, his appearance is impressive enough and when people think about Dark Knight, they think about the Batman. It is more likely to be a logo, simple but effective. It provides citizens of Gotham the hope and criminals the fear, the branding it creates connotes justice and hero.


Not only Batman but also Joker, both of them creates the branding, contrasting to each other: Batman is heroic but Joker is the Villain. Clear portrays make them unique, Joker’s creepy face, which is not able to be copied by other films since his appearance and his characters are so impressive, it will not fit in other films.



3. Emotional involvement

After producing a good product, it is necessary to meet consumers’ needs. For me, it is the way to strength the elements of  branding already existed in the film, and let audiences get involved therefore increase the loyalty. Branding is created by consumers, they explore things they find interesting, they develop it so the interaction is important.

It is more likely to do with marketing, it engaged with audiences and it was demanded by consumers, the activity they got involved is to do with the film Harry Potter itself, the branding is created by involvement of consumers, taking a part in. For example, they opened fist part of Universal’s wizarding world of Harry Potter.

Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 16.13.33

Dark Knight is even more successful in branding by virus campaign:

Youtube – Dark Knight virus marketing campaign

After the game of ‘tracking the Joker’, it is really hard to forget it! to forget such a character and its plot, it is curiosity, it gives fans a chance to play in.

Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 16.21.34


4. Online marketing

It is the way to increase publicity and give consumers a chance to make the brand their own. Because of rapid development in social media, it is available for consumers to create the brand, their response to the film is the process of creating a brand.

Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 16.22.27


5. Brand consistency and restraint

Once consumers become loyal to brand, film producers need to meet their expectations, otherwise, they might turn away from it. The branding of Harry Potter might not be such a big success if it did not satisfy consumers. Consumers are the one experiencing branding, creating branding and developing it.

Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 16.41.03Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 16.41.21


First meeting: HOW TO DO IT list(basic plan)

We’ve decided on the idea of Werewolf for a while and it’s time to work out our first drift plan.

I wrote down the ideas we wanted to use while discussing:

  • the game will be set in a psychology lesson, which makes sense why they play the game
  • Teacher will talk to camera mixed with her point of view from students like House of cards, which feels like talking to audience, breaking the fourth wall and audience suddenly pay attention:
  1. there are titles aside while teacher explaining rules(bullet points)
  2. students appear like their character when the Narrator(teacher) calls their character name in order to create a sense of fantasy. For example, werewolf wakes up with grey make-up and cloaks
  3. Seer is renamed as Angel so there is clearly two leaders in the game – werewolf(kill villagers) and Angel(save villagers)
  4. the back story will be done by flashback
  5. Angel’s wings are going to be Black with white glitters wrapped, after every night, the glitter will fall a bit indicating Angel can also be horrible to others – under veneer
  6. might use Arc Shot at the beginning showing cards over the shoulder by freezing image and titles aside explaining their special power

Here is the discussion memos afterwards:

Discussion memo 1

Discussion memo 2

Discussion memo 3


There are also impractical ideas(NO!) we crossed out considering the time limitation:

  • 1 minute discussion after each night, before voting out one player (X)
As people known, participants can not leave their seats or communicate with other players during the game, otherwise, they might collute and reveal their identity, gossiping around is not a good idea even though it is more ineresting!
  • flashback of the play of werewolf doing charity indicating his good nature in reality (X)
The meaning of this idea is not terrible but it is true that doing charity is too much for a brief flashback, which is likely to confuse audience, very clumsy. It can be some light moments – picking up the pens for others, helping disable students move, then the plot is clearer and neater.

#3 Film Reseach: Fantasy(modern)

Twilight (series)



Twilight is a series of vampire-themed fantasy with a sub-genre of romance, which emphasises the relationship between Bella and Edward who has already been a vampire. Unlike other research that mostly set in medieval time, Twilight pays most attention nowadays with flashbacks in old times, which is what our short film might do – transfer of identity for the game in medieval time and back to themselves again to modern school look during the day time. The way it does for flashback or recollections is worth looking at.




  • Vampires do have special abilities rather than magic power like in Harry Potter, they seem have the abnormal speed of moving and strength, e.g. Edward Cullen has the ability of reading minds, and Bella is able to use ‘shield’. It sounds less fancier than magic wand but it keeps the normality in a modern society as much as possible.



  • Over-pale face, and red eyes when hunting: the transition of appearance effectively shows the vampire fantasy storyline, the change between human-being and vampire is quite clear by change of make-up and even style of costumes




  • Cullen crest in Vampires’ family: it ties the relationships of everyone in Cullen’s family, which teams them together to against another group of vampires who are supposed to be antagonists.
  • It is a way to avoid more dialogues to show the information of relations, and it would be unnecessary to speak up on purpose so it is much better to apply details of necklaces



  • The costumes of Cullens are rather ordinary than fancy, which are a bit unconventional to conventional fantasy, but they always wears the similar colour indicating they are together, very clear, and they do not want to attract attention from others.

#2 Film Research(main one): Fantasy(Medieval times)

Lord of the rings: The fellowship of the ring (2001)

(Main research)

Trailer of Lord of the rings


It perfectly fits in the genre adventure fantasy, which is also similar to Harry potter, but i would like to do a more detailed research on Lord of the rings since the set of it is closer to our short film so it is worth a deeper analysis. To be honest, it is conventional and a lot of elements in it signal audiences that it is a fantasy, which is not hard to notice.


How did it construct the advanturous story? (muse-en-scene)

  1. Props
  • Ruling ring: contains evil power by Sauron, the most important symbolic prop in the movie, all the stories happen because of it; it consumed vanity and the desire of power; it is able to speak, which creates a sense of fantasy indeed.



  • Swords: most of fellows carry cold steels, which shows the story dates back to medieval time, and there is no gun or missile.


  • Bow&axe: they are still cold steel, and shows the different special skills and features – archer who is an elf, very brisk, good at long-distance fight; Gimli who is quite simple and a bit chunky, good at big strength.



  • Magic wand by Gandalf: it is a symbolic prop of witch and very conventional in fantasy, Gandalf uses it to against his friend who betrayed him, it seems weak but it contains power in it.


  • Pointed hat: technically it is not very crucial to the story but it does create a sense of magic world, especially when Gandolf arrives in Shire, the hat is shown first and it gives audiences the first impression that this person is different from hobbits, who are happy, ordinary and simple.

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2. The color and lighting:

  • mostly colors are more muddy in Hobbiton, several conventional colors in medieval time – green, brown, ivory. I think such a style gives audiences a feeling of nature, not developed indeed and if interpreted deeper, it refers to the primitive life style of hobbits and their good and simple wills; the lighting is quite natural, without some special effects.

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  • Oud of Shire, the dangerous grows, colors are darker and muddier  – the atmosphere is intense and misery, which is also indicating the unknown story once they go beyond Shire – innocent might be broke, they are likely to grow, think more to survive.

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  • color is either white or dark later, with some red flame. White indicates the extremely terrible weather when they are trying to cross the mountain, also increase the coldness, the difficulty a group people face; dark occurs where Gandalf’s friend is creating an army secretly in a cave, there is no light except flame, which shows the feature of Villain, the great power of evil.

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  • color is bright and lighting is glowing by shiny stuff in the legend when it comes to elfs, which is a conventional plot that there is always a positive person to help the protagonist and there is a magic power in Middle Earth. White indicates peace, pure, innocent and goodness in the legend of lady of the light. The artificial light is white rather then red flame, which can be a contrast to the evil side.


3. Costumes

  • Frodo Baggins wears suspenders at the beginning with blueish shirt. Suspenders indicate his role of kid in the hobbiton, remains as Biobo’s nephew, without much concerns, with all happiness and simplicity, it also shows their style of living, ordinary and sufficient.
  • Blue and grey shirt indicates the potential intelligence, which is covered by peaceful life in Shire but it will be tapped later when he carries the Ruling Ring.

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  • His costumes change to red waistcoat in the party and remains the same later, sometimes with cloak. Waistcoat seems more grown-up than suspenders for sure, it is like a gentleman. the color red relates to bravery and passion, which is also the temptation to the ring, it is much stronger than blueish shirt.

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  • Half of the film he Frodo remains with cloak, he uses more equips because his role carries the future of the freehand and he is the one to be protected, he is more careful than anytime in his life, he is grown up.

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*Change of costumes is a tiny detail but it can relate to the change of situation and emotion, which would not be a bad idea to do in our short film if we can.

  • Gandalf’s robes(witch, wise man, experienced): he is clearly different from Hobbits since they think more and they are wise enough to see through a lot of things, they are not favor of food or beer, they focus on the future of the world.

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  • All in black ring race, slaves of Sauron: They are simple, extremely simple, single-minded, they serve Sauron without any doubts, they do not have real power, if they do, they would dress fancier in black, not a purely black cloak.



Harry potter

It is more likely to be an urban fantasy but the construct of it is still conventional, which is also based on the come of age novel the same writer wrote Lord of the Rings so undoubtedly they are similar and I would like to mention some features as evidence to confirm what conventional elements are in fantasy as well as the method to create an enigma.


Some features share with Lord of the Rings:

  • a fictional place: Hogwarts( a British boarding school) in Harry Potter; Middle earth( freehand, Shire) in Lord of the Rings
Hogwarts (Harry Potter)
  • Props contains magic power: pointed hat and wand in both; broomstick in Harry Potter; Ring in both. Nevertheless, they have different importances in different films, as analysed, Ruling ring in Lord of the rings is the centered prop but in Harry Potter quite a few props are important since the story is set in a wizard school.



  • Costumes in Harry Potter are symbolic, mostly uniforms in the school, which indicates their role of students but the type of uniforms is different from school nowadays, they wear Ravenclaw, which is longer like a robe but looks younger. It can create the effect of their role of students in a magic schoolcreative, full of potential power, brave, unconventional.



  • It created a successful branding indeed, some words even those are not fans of Harry Potter know like Quidditch.

( more on the post of How to create a sense of Branding? )



#1 Film Research: Fantasy(fairy tale style)

Alice In Wonderland(2010)

Alice In Wonderland Trailer

It is more likely to be a fairy tale since a lot of elements in it present a magical word ‘Underland’ – a make-believe place, as same as the classic series Disney Land. And the colour and coustume in it are very useful for our short film, especially for the character Angel, who is considered to be fairy style, but most characters are dressed in medieval vintage style so the main Research will be in:

Film research: medieval time Fantasy


How does it create a sense of fantasy? (mise-en-scene)

  1. Props
  • sword indicating the time is not nowadays that is usually to do with gun, so it may be medieval times; Vorpal Sword is the magic object that has special power to slay the Jabberwocky, which is also one of the most props in it since it is the key to the battle.

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  • magic liquid ‘Drink me’ and cake ‘Eat me’, which are two important props since it has magic power, without them, the world relates to fantasy will not be connected since Alice may not have the chance to enter with her huge body for underland.It has the effect of help for the protagonist and create a sense of magical world.

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  • Hatter’s Hat, which is the object shows how small Alice and others are, indicating ‘the reality’ is not real indeed by using abnormal size of protagonist Alice; the signal of strength of magic power, the ease at shrinking and stretching people.



  • a table of tea cups and teapots, which is a way to keep normality in a make-believe world at the same time signals audience ‘the lunatics’ were having a good life before, they seem crazy but they did have some power or standing before; or it just indicates the fantasy in this world, nearly everybody is able to enjoy tea party.

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  1. Colour and lighting 
  • natural lighting in London – green grass(lively, energetic, being looked after), brown house(classic and conventional) , mild color clothes (educated, humble, friendly)

Blue dress – naivety, intelligent, simple, brave, different from other female’s white dresses; emphasize the unique character of protagonist


  • dim light in underland (contrast to lighter light in human world)

Grey layermisery atmosphere, not clear indicating underland is different from human world, it is confusing even ominous, there is no sunshine but intensely foggy and hazy views, which also indicating the misery atmosphere of ruling of Red Queen




  • exceedingly colourful in forests – it can mean creative and no-restriction, also gives audiences a dangerous feeling that anything can happen in it. For example, the monster rushed in while they met Alice here, the land may be a property neither belong to White Queen neither Red Queen



  • All in white in White Queen castle, which is contrast to Red Queen castle, the purity of her kingdom and positive character
  • Lighting in White Queen side is more natural and brighter, or using the artificial light to add up the brightness


  •  White Queen’s dress is stylish and girly, more like the role of princess, spoiled kid, also very gentle and pretty, which cooperates with lighting in order to emphasise the dark side of Red Queen;
  • nevertheless her dark red lips and nails demonstrate her power and strong character as a ruler, her way to rule is to use people’s fond of her apperance and soft manner, which can also be very deceived.


  • All in dark and red in Red Queen Castle, which indicates the bloody ruling of her policy and cruel nature, the colors give audience an impression that the Villain is Red Queen at very First

red queen

“ALICE IN WONDERLAND” Final Film Frame Helena Bonham Carter ©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Red – passion, blood, self-importance, the nature of showing off, dictator, which applies to Red Queen’s kingdom where everybody is complicated and herself believes ‘fear is better than being loved’.


  • Alice dresses in Red Queen’s style, it shows her bravery is coming back, which is questioned by Hatter before. She wears clothes from her enemy but she is brave enough to fight as she was young and expected.

T and T

  • Fat brothers’s suspenders and stripped T shirt

#1 Design our game cards!

My partner and I are trying to set up the card size and design on it, it depends on which angle we use, which is likely to be over-the-shoulder shot so we did a test round to see how each card Works.

First one: printed template 7cm x 5 cm

It is even smaller than my hand and it is too soft to be a card, it is hard to see the image as well.


Second one:(medium) 9cm x 7 cm

This one is bigger than the First one and the paper is thicker and tougher.



Third one: (giant) 11cm x 8 cm

This is huge and it is not natural or relaistic; players can easily peek  others’ cards(break the rule).



This is the three sizes we tried and we decided to choose the second one (medium) that is suitable for filming:

We also tried vertical direction but I realized that the camera goes with landscape(horizontally):