Monday, 20 February 2012

Boarding Schools

We researched boarding schools presented in the media in both American and English cinema, to examine the codes and conventions commonly used.
Common motifs included:

  • Main character is sent against their will to the boarding school
  • Main character meets a group of friends and becomes one of them
  • Main character dislikes certain aspects of school life
  • Antagonistic characters dislike main character
  • Headmaster dislikes main character
  • One teacher who has strong bond with main character
  • Main character gets into trouble for something they did not do
  • Group of friends do something they shouldn't 
  • Homosexual experimentation occurs
  • Group of sexualised girls
  • Religion could be important
  • Clueless staff
Most of these motifs are not suitable to include in our trailer as they focus on events in the school, but a few have affected what we include in our trailer. We have decided to make our group of protagonists similar to the group of friends that are sexualised and promiscuous to make them appear more immoral to play into the idea of revenge being drawn onto their characters. We are also linking to the idea of useless staff by including no adults in order to make the characters more vulnerable to the spirit. The theme of religion occurs in our trailer due to the nature of black magic used through the ouija board and the following wrath of the spirit. We are also following the idea of sexual experimentation by including a shot of a kiss between two girls during their party, to emphasise their promiscuity and also follow conventions. The idea of doing something that should not be done is also included in the act of the ouija board. Therefore we are adhering to some conventions of boarding school films in order to create perceptions of the characters of the protagonists and refer to their pasts so that the audience already has some idea of their lives and a back story does not have to be focused on.

The genres of films that are set in boarding schools are varied, such as comedy in 'St Trinians' and drama in 'Cracks'. Some horrors have been created, such as 'The Woods', and supernatural themes are included in the film 'The Craft'. Boarding schools are typically linked with England, as characters staying together for school is more commonly seen in America through sororities and fraternities, but the conventions of both are quite similar such as the idea of sexual experimentation. American boarding schools are often shown as more corrupt, possibly due to England's more reserved representation, so we are using inspiration from American stereotypes for our promiscuous protagonists. 

Boarding schools in cinema and television often offer stereotypes in terms of the characters in a friendship group, especially female groups. These commonly include characters such as the Mean girl, the Mean girl's followers, the Funny girl, the Shy girl, the Loud one, the Different one, the Ethnic one and the Sexy one.
We have decided to make our five character fit into these stereotypes, although their characters will not be completely revealed in the teaser trailer so would only be fully presented in the full film. 

The group of girls will consist of the 'Mean girl', who is also the leader of the group as shown through the placement of her at the front when they are seen walking. She is also ethnic while the other girls are white. 

Two characters are the Followers of the Mean leader. 
One character is the 'Outgoing one' that is louder than the other characters. She is more boisterous and likely to cause disagreements.

The main protagonist who we intend to survive, in accordance with the Final Girl Theory, is the 'Nice/Shy one'. 

All of the characters could fall under the 'Sexy one' stereotype due to their promiscuous representation, although the 'Nice/Shy one' is less promiscuous than the others. 


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