This is the Director’s Commentary we filmed to explain some of our points with examples from the video playing.
Genre: The genre of the music is set up by the mise-en-scene and location. The clothing of the boys, their piercings and expanders as well as the hotel setting create the rock/metal genre through contextual references to the life of a band as well as conforming to the contemporary ‘ordinary casual wear’ most newer bands like Enter Shikari wear. There is also other band merchandise that the boys are wearing -part of the rock/metal fan fashion. The hotel setting also creates intertextuality with the horror genre, which is commonplace in the rock/metal music genre. The live performance has stronger connections to genre, as it includes all the musical instruments used in the making of the music, like near enough every music video of the rock/metal genre, and all the boys are wearing black. The lead singer is wearing an iconic accessory of the rock/metal genre, which is the aviator glasses, and the setting and use of a smoke machine holds an intertextual link with live gigs, pyrotechnics and the usual grungy basement/studios where underground rock/metal bands usually start out.
Notions of Looking: The notions of looking in this video are weak. There is only one shot that includes the idea of watching, where the Possessed Demon is seen staring through the hotel door window. This could be interpreted as representing the nightmarish idea of being watched and observed which fits in with the video’s narrative. There are also a lot of mid-shots in the video which could be interpreted as including the idea of voyeurism as it feels like the audience are present and watching the band members.
Sound & Vision: The main technique used in the video is amplification of the lyrics. However, it is used frequently. It starts with the image of the girls receiving the call from the disgruntled band member asking for revenge on his behalf, this is seen to the lyrics ‘hate to twist your mind’ which foreshadows their later purpose in the video. At first the narrative acts as a contradiction to the song, as the amplification is so small it doesn’t ruin the narrative for the audience, and leads them to wonder what the girls are doing appearing for the boys if the song is about a nightmare, and nightmarish situations. The amplification runs throughout the video, as the lyrics ‘an old acquaintance severed’ are heard we see the girls walking into the hotel, again foreshadowing the narrative, and as the girls are walking into the lobby, the lyrics ‘men like you have such an easy soul to steal’ are heard. When Bradley opens the door for them, the lyrics ‘pull the trigger’ are heard, insinuating that he doesn’t know what he has just unleashed. This continues as the girls walk out to ‘it hurts to know that you belong here’, communicating the bands guilt at losing a member. When the pan of the girls in their costume appears on screen, the lyrics ‘it’s your nightmare’ can be heard, and appears to kick off the events as the transformations then begin ‘now your nightmare comes to life’ being heard as the camera flicks back to the pan. As the first girl leads away a band member the lyrics ‘dancing with your demons’ can be heard, further implicating that the girls are not what they seem, this is extended in the second girls luring of the band members as the lyrics ‘where all that’s wrong is right’ can be heard, and finally this is continued as the last girl leads away the last band member in the room to the lyrics ‘so sedated as they medicate your brain’. This amplification of the lyrics stops as the hysteria of the narrative kicks in with the transformations, but comes back as the last boy has been targeted, ‘no one to call’ being heard as he runs, alone, away from his attacker, and the video ends with a direct illustration of the lyrics as a distorted ‘nightmare’ can be heard, the boys awake from sleeping only to be frightened, frightened of what though, is left to the audience.
Star Image: The star image in the video is clear as it represents the band breaking up and chaos ensuing due to the angry, resentful feelings boiling over. This presents the music industry and the stereotype of the genre, and uses star image to create a message about the consequences of treating band members unfairly, or creating a dispute between the group, tying in with Carrion’s star image of equality, unity and individuality.
Intertextuality: The intertextuality featured in this video is very strong. Through the editing of the second half of the video, it is clear that the connection to old horror films is apparent. The use of the rounded frame edge within the narrative shot also creates intertextuality with silent movies and the film industry as a whole. The video also has more intertextuality with other music videos which can be seen through the live performance part of the video, where the location is a grungy basement/small studio. There is also intertextuality with live shows as the smoke holds intertextuality with the pyro-technics seen in most live shows. The setting within the narrative can be seen as an intertextual reference with the horror movie genre, as lot of horror movies and literature is set in hotels, or unfamiliar houses, for example ‘The Shinning’. The characters in the narrative that the girls transform into also represent a clear intertextuality with the contemporary horror genre and the genre throughout the ages as ‘monsters’ and ‘creatures’ are a main feature of it.
When reflecting on the star image conveyed to the audience in our promotional package, the band offer the typical rock star image we wanted for them. The image created adheres to the conventions of the products and the genre, as well as having challenged the genre by bringing forth a stronger group representation as part of the promotional material.
The star image created here is one of unity and a ‘feel’ of the band as a whole. The stance they are stood in is typical for bands of the genre as they’re positions boast a casual arrogance but suggest an easy approachability which most metal bands adopt as the genre is very based in masculine gender roles and even the women within rock/metal like Amy Lee and Hayley Williams are always represented as strong, powerful and dominant. When it came to mise-en-scene connected with star image we wanted the boys to wear what conventional rock/metal bands wear in their professional shoots. We asked them to wear dark denim or black jeans and specifically asked those who wore ‘skinny’ jeans to wear them as this is very common style item of our chosen genre. Iconic styles of our genre include the use of plaid shirts, V-necks, baggy zipper jackets, beanie hats and band t-shirts of the band’s own personal musical influences. So to incorporate conventional and appealing style for our artists we asked them each to wear something of the above, or preferably try to wear what they owned that fitted that list. Karl, the guitarist and Bradley also had some conventions of the genre in the way they looked. Bradley and Karl both had ear expanders, which we asked them to wear, and Karl also had a nose and lip piercing as well as a chest tattoo. We asked him specifically if he could wear a V neck vest so it would be visible in the shoot and to make sure he had his piercings in. The outcome of this was great and I thought they looked perfect for their star image of a new band making their debut. The main points of star image I wanted Carrion to hit here were:
• Casual yet intimidating and masculine essence through pose and proxemics
• Securely apart of the rock/metal ‘fashion’
• Digipak elements like typeface fitted securely with my research into digipak typeface (bold, represented the musician’s style)
• Fitted with the ‘old-school’ darker album palettes seen in the earlier digipak’s feature in genre research
So with the failure to pull off a professional mug shot, I wanted to create the idea they were a part of a digital criminal report, the type face positioned directly above their heads to create an intertextual reference with T.V drama and action movie’s where the criminals are shown to the audience via a shot of a computer showing their mug shot. This reference was subtle as I decided that having it blaringly obvious wouldn’t fit in with the house style of the digipak anyway. My aim was that it was recognisable to the target audience that it was almost a ‘profile’ and my hopes were that this would then be connected to the intertextuality I had first wanted to include as a lot of the rock/metal stereotypical star image revolves a lot around them being careless with regards to the law and that they’re above obeying the rules, even the rules of society. To aid the intertextuality and further develop the star image I wanted of a ‘casual yet intimidating and masculine essence’ I asked them all in the shoot to pose with the air of arrogance and intimidation that was familiar to them through reading magazines they’re interested in of their own accord such as ‘Metalhammer’ and ‘Kerrang!’as the boys also shared our music taste, I knew they would understand what look I was going for, and they did. I involved their position in the band to emphasise the aspect of the band’s image that they are highly connected with the process of creating and writing their own parts to the song, and that they are all responsible for their music that their fans enjoy, giving them an individual identity through promotion.
For the inlay I already knew through research that conventions state that there is usually no text located there. This meant that I needed an interesting image that conformed to the genre and looked appealing to the target audience. Since I was creating a promotional package for the type of genre I enjoy, I went off what I would like to see, as an audience member, from my images. I stated in my design that I wanted something that was simple and explained with the conventions of the genre. None of the boys wear or own insignia rings, however after looking over the pictures I had taken I thought a close up of Karl’s tattoo ‘The meaning of trust is a broken hymn’ could be really effective and be construed to be lyrics to one of the songs or mark him out individually within the band and further promote the equality of media attention. It also belongs safely within the genre the added bonuses of his prominent Adams apple and stylised hair style that can be seen to softly feather his neck also create fantastic mise-en-scene to explain and conform to the conventions of the contemporary rock/metal genre. This fits perfectly with Carrion’s star image as they are supposed to merge ‘old-school’ rock/metal and contemporary rock/metal to create an appealing star image and sound that connects with all rock/metal fans. I deliberately set the picture slightly off-centre to subtly promote the ‘nightmare’, ‘weird’ and slightly ‘odd’ themes within the music as the negative space besides Karl is just over his shoulder, giving it a creepy, ghost-like feel. This fits perfectly within the promotional house style.
As a product on a whole I wanted the digipak to all have images that related to one another, this was easy with the Front Cover and Front Reverse as the same image was cut using Photoshop and then resized and fine-tuned in Illustrator only as ‘close-up profiles’ of the boys. I found it hard to keep this idea consistent with the Back Cover. After doing the Inlay, I decided it would be best to keep the key elements of star image that underpin Carrion, so I decided I wanted another band member on his own, who wasn’t the vocalist (as seems to be almost a convention or at least frequent occurrence in rock/metal) and have him feature on the back cover. I also thought it would be best to stick to the ‘Nightmarish’ themes within the promotion package, so using my idea sparked from the inlay design of negative space; I decided I wanted an image with interesting and eerie negative space. The picture of Bradley’s almost menacing smirk works perfectly with its negative space and the selective use of it makes it almost sinister. Again, this works perfect with the over-all star image associated with rock/metal which is an intimidating and edgy masculine appeal, as well as the ‘Nightmarish’ idea behind the whole promotional package. I also decided that the use of an ellipsis and song title ‘Last Laugh…’ for the last song (number ten) worked really well with the image of Bradley as it complemented the image choice. The positioning of the text is one that’s quite regularly used on digipak’s of all genre’s and through my research I found that different artists had all sorts of ways of incorporating the track list on the back of the CD. I found the straight line easier to use as it keeps the picture of Bradley on the back intact, leaving his identity intact and if the text remained white contrasting against black it would not only be consistent with the digipak, but keep the stark contrast between typeface and cover shown in my research. The black and white effect throughout the digipak also gives the boys a dreamlike unearthly star image, which again ties in securely with the house style of the whole promotional package.
Narrative: In the narrative of our video there was a specific star image we wanted to represent, and that included the unity of the band. When we re-did the narrative we wanted to portray the iconic ‘band break-up’ that has typically happened with Guns N’ Roses, Escape the Fate, Evanescence, Fall Out Boy and Sum 41 so that we could use the video to reinforce their determination to stay together by subverting this image of unity and using the video as an indication of the chaos that would ensure if they did break up by using an hypothetical ‘Nightmare’ scenario. When it came to mise-en-scene within the narrative we wanted to the boys to look relaxed as they were checking into a hotel whilst on a short break in between shows yet still wanted them to appear as if they were still apart of the genre, so again we asked the boys to wear the clothes they were comfortable in that consisted of some band t-shirts, skinny jeans and beanie hats with all ear expanders and piercings in. Throughout the video the representation of the women accentuated the band’s star image as is the case in most videos of the rock/metal genre as portraying them in the ‘groupie’ stereotype at the beginning highlights the masculinity found in the genre and is also a convention. It conveys the band’s image as the stereotypical ‘rock’ band and everything that is associated with that which appeals to fans much like the artist of the track we used. The location and small bed in the room we thought in the end worked as we had to down grade for the re-shoot, however for a band who have just released their debut album their hotel room wouldn’t exactly be luxurious or large as the tour would have a smaller budget. We featured a shot of this in the video to set the band’s context through their star image which would make them more relatable because fame and stardom can cause a greater divide between fandom and artist. This alienation is something fan’s don’t necessarily like hence the popularity of web 2.0 like twitter and facebook where fans can directly contact their favourite artists. Giving them this relatable image makes them more appealing to fans and helps as this is a promotional package. The behaviour of the boys and the empty beer cans we placed on the bedside table were to again create this stereotypical ‘rockstar’ mentality, we wanted to mess up the room as there have been features in Kerrang magazine on the ‘Rock star Quiz’ that measure how much of the rock star stereotype a star has and rates them a percentage out of one hundred. In this article there is also a question about how hotel rooms are treated on tour and there have been many stories of band’s messing up the rooms. To conform to this we messed up the boys room and placed empty beer cans around to plant the seeds of this image.
With the live performance element of our video we also had a strong star image in mind that we wanted to achieve throughout the shots. As the musicians are very closely connected to the music we wanted individual shots of all the band members and their instruments, we also wanted these shots to be low angle to bring a sense of empowering and intimidation to them individually, to keep the masculine representation and image of them. We used mainly mid-shots and low angels to involve the audience as ‘live gigs’ are a huge convention of the genre and would again keep the relatable star image we are trying to convey as well. The low angels were to conform to the conventions of masculinty in the genre. We also used close-ups of the instruments to enhance the importance of them within the making of the music and the importance to them in the genre holding interxtextual star image references with many professional band shoots were the band member is pictured with their instrument or microphone. In this section, we used mise-en-scene to simply suggest the ‘debut’ new-starter feel of the band by using a simple three light piece in the T.V studio behind the drummer and two lights at either side of the band, this is reminiscent of many garage/basement settings used in many other music videos by bands of the same genre. We wanted their star image to mainly stay within the conventions of the genre to appeal to their target audience. We also wanted the boys to all wear dark clothes which is something that is convention of the fashion of the genre and is usually the convention in many professional shoots and as this is meant to be more professional than casual we decided to make use of this convention to represent them in the familiar rock/metal image that fans would be expecting, therefore making the band more appealing and define their image as a rejuvenation of an ‘old-school’ rock/metal and the fusion of this with the contemporary rock/metal image.
Again the emphasis of star image advertised in this product focused on the unity and identity of the band and individual members. I wanted to incorporate the album cover of the digipak anyway, as that is a convention of the album advert as a product. However, I wanted to challenge this in order to carry over the star image of Carrion into all the media products used in the promotional package. The group shot of them purely stereotypes them as part of the genre as it is a group pose seen in many photography shoots of band members across the years, especially in the earlier time line of rock/metal. This again conveys the combination of old rock/metal and contemporary rock/metal, just like in the front cover of the digipak, as the contemporary mise-en-scene of the band juxtaposes with their positioning in the shot, merging both ideas together, appealing to all ages within the rock/metal scene. The individual shots of each band member down the side link to the four square boy’s ‘profiles’ featured in the front reverse of the digipak. This links both ancillary products through the individual publicity the boys get as part of a separate yet combined star image, giving each band member equal emphasis and a character that fans can attach to and feel a more personal relation to, for instance Bradley’s smirk gives him a playful identity on the poster, and Tom’s stern vacant look gives him an elusive identity which may also attract fans in the same way. Each individual further promotes the band as a group and gives them each their own star image, inside the star image of the band, further appealing to the fan base as the development of web 2.0 calls for deeper personal involvement with musicians and music as a whole, and like any aspect of the media industry, we need to adapt with web 2.0 in order to keep the industry afloat.