A shot list is a simple way of showing what camera shots will be taking place in shot order. Our shot by shot list contains what shots need to be included and where they will take place in the film opening.

When my group and I were trying to create the storyboard, we thought that we should create the shot by shot list as well so all the shots for the storyboard would be in the right place and be the same as the shot by shot list. I was the group member to create the shot list and I added the details that we needed  such as the type of camera shot, the angle and any movements that would take place, including what the shot would be about and what it will involve. I find that the shot list will be more important than the storyboard because even though the storyboard shows everything that is meant to take place including the angles, the shot list is in note form and is displayed in a grid which I will find easier when directing my group with what shots need to be done, from which angle and how everything needs to be displayed in the camera shot. The shot list will be important when the editing takes place because my group and I will know where the shots need to go and whether it is a flashback or not.



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This is the storyboard Nabeela created for my group but we all decided on what the shots were supposed to be about and the style of shot, e.g. close up. We thought we should use a variety of shots to make the opening seem interesting that makes the viewer want to see more. I think it was my idea to use a lot of flashbacks to make the audience understand how the woman ended up in this situation, but the whole group put their ideas together on how to show the flashbacks and what should be included in them.

We figured that we would use a lot of flashbacks of the woman’s childhood because this is when she was kidnapped and the way its supposed to blend in with the woman putting on the make-up is by the flashbacks being memories that she is thinking of at the time of putting on the make-up. We figured this would be a good idea because we wanted the audience to understand how the woman came to be in this situation and to show how long ago her kidnapping was and to show that she still hasn’t been found years after. to add to thew effect, my group and I thought we would mix some of the woman’s happy memories as a child and build up to the kidnapping when her life got switched around and became a tragedy.

We got some of our ideas from the film opening of Se7en because we liked the way the images flowed together as a montage of images and we liked how it picked out certain details in the opening that could relate to the plot of the film and be specific details that will be included later on in the film. Furthermore, we thought we should use a montage of images so that we revealed some important details such as what happened to the girl but didn’t want to reveal too many details otherwise the audience may feel that they know everything that will happen before just in the opening of the film.


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This is the storyboard Nabeela created for our group  based on our preliminary data.


A storyboard is a set of images that is put together to form the outline of the film in terms of what each scene or shot should look like. Storyboards are important as they help remind the group what shots are to be used, what is supposed to be in each camera shot and when it should take place within the film.

When my group filmed our preliminary data, we used some of the storyboard, however, we ha to change some of the shots to extend the film opening and to make include more details as to what was going on in the opening. When editing the preliminary data, I helped my group edit as I was ill when the opening was filmed. Even when we were editing, we changed some of the shots around and did not follow the storyboard because we all knew the film plot and what was supposed to happen, but when we edited the film opening, we found that some of the shots didn’t make sense and were not needed in the film. Furthermore, when we watched our preliminary data after adding all the camera shots together, we realised that the film opening didn’t make sense; this is when we decided to change some of the film shots around so that the film opening made more sense and was more enjoyable to watch.


Story line:
It is based on a girl seeing the head teacher about missing various lessons of school within the past few weeks. The head teacher is not pleased with her attitude towards school and learning and intends on taking action.
For our preliminary data, I used meant to act in the film, in which I did for the first few scenes, however, because I was ill for a week when the filming took place, my group decided to film the preliminary data without me in the film. To make up for missing out on the filming, I helped out with the editing. I helped out by contributing my ideas on putting the film together and arranging the title of the film, where it should go and the font it should be. Additionally, I helped my group find and add the bell ring sound for the beginning of the film when the name of the film comes up. Also I helped my group find a theme for the title to go on, which was the paper margin theme, to make the audience hint on the fact that the film is about school.

Alfred Hitchcock

Introduction to Hitchcock:


Sir Alfred Hitchcock was born on the 13th August 1899 and died on the 29th April 1980. He was an English film director and producer who specialized with many techniques in creating suspense and psychological thriller genres. Hitchcock was became England’s best director and ended up moving to Hollywood where he developed his career further within the film industry. He mastered silent films as well as films with sound and dialogue.


Hitchcock established new ways of filming as technology developed and began moving the camera in certain ways to enormously increase the suspense and to make the audience feel more involved within the film and make them feel like they were the characters. He framed shots differently to maximise different emotions and framed different angles, such as the point of view shot and close ups, to make the audience feel like they were in the shoes of characters and make them understand what’s going on in the scene between the characters. Most of Hitchcock’s stories involve a villain or fugitive who is trying to escape the law and usually involve a blonde female character. His films usually feature thrilling plots and have twists within the film. Also he usually portrayed a lot of violence, murder and crime to create high levels of suspense. Furthermore, Hitchcock frequently used these things called a “MacGuffin” which symbolizes something the villain and the hero is trying to get or achieve. For example, the MacGuffin could be money, love, power, diamonds, a location, a person or even survival. From his films and style, Hitchcock became a cultural icon.

Examples of Alfred Hitchcock films:

The   Pleasure Garden (1925) Murder!   (1930) Rebecca   (1940) To   Catch a Thief (1955)
Downhill   (1927) The   Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) Mr.   and Mrs. Smith (1941) The   Wrong Man (1956)
East   Virtue (1927) Sabotage   (1936) Suspicion   (1941) Vertigo   (1958)
Champagne   (1928) Jamaica   Inn (1939) Saboteur   (1942) Psycho   (1960)

Hitch Movie Poster 4714178446_e3c6bb3af3_b I-Confess

References and useful websites:



This clip based on Alfred Hitchcock is about some of the techniques that Hitchcock used to create suspense when creating his films. From this clip, I have learnt that the audience is the most important thing when creating a film; the movie experience must be enjoyable for the watchers otherwise the audience will not want to watch the film. Hitchcock has a technique where he wants to get the audience to feel like they are in the characters place and to show the audience what the characters care about and what they need. Also he uses a lot of close ups to show the full emotion that the characters are showing. I find this important when watching films as I know what the characters care about and their emotions towards others. Another technique Hitchcock uses to show emotion is that he uses differences in proximity to help add to the effect of what the characters are feeling out of a scene. From my experience of watching films, I would say that when making a film, the camera shots should be a long distance away from the character if they are showing emotions or feelings that are lonely or show emotional distance between characters. When showing emotions or feelings such as sadness, fright, or intimacy, the camera shots should be close-ups or shots that are zooming in to the characters faces to show their emotions. For example, here is a shot that shows intimacy between two characters to make the viewer understand that they are affectionate with each other and are in love.

buffy and angel

From this image, you can see that from the part of the clip about zooming in helping to demonstrate emotions, shows that the viewer can get an idea as to what the emotions the characters are showing. These types of shots show implicit imagery which can suggest meaning or relate to representation and can help strengthen the meaning of the camera shot.

Another technique Hitchcock used was to try and tell the story through visuals, not through dialogue. A part of the clip on Hitchcock’s techniques stated that Hitchcock uses the camera to ‘reveal the story with objects’. Also Hitchcock stated that “often the eyes will reveal what a person thinks or needs”. I agree with these statements because I find that by using the camera to show shots of what a character is thinking or what they need, the audience can sometimes understand what the character intends on doing but also helps to put the audience in the characters place and makes the movie experience seem more thrilling and intriguing. I thin k this is a really good idea because if the film has too much dialogue and uses the same basic shots, the audience will get bored and lose interest in the film, therefore the more of a variety of camera shots and the less dialogue keeps the audience entertained and sometimes makes them wonder different things such as what they are going to do with that object or what is the relevance of the object in that scene.

An additional technique Hitchcock used when making his films was point of view shots and reaction shots. With reaction shots, for example, he would show the characters facial expressions, then something that character would be looking at, and then back to the characters facial expressions to see what their thoughts and emotions were based on that event. This is a useful technique as it informs the audience as to what that character was thinking and what happened that made them think or feel that. Using point of view shots is also important because the audience can visually see what a character is looking at, which also helps to put the audiences in the characters place, resulting in the film seeming more intriguing. Additionally, Hitchcock used a variety of images that make up a montage, which shows a variety of images together to get the feel of what the scene is about. He used a montage of images mainly when conflict was taking place and used a lot of close ups to get the important details needed in to the scene. For example, you may see a fight taking place in a film and a montage of images is used. The shots might be point of view shots of the enemy fighting the protagonist, then a point of view shot of the protagonist view of the fight, maybe the enemies face, then a shot of an object useful in the conflict, i.e. a knife, and then a shot of the protagonist looking at the knife. These types of shots build up tension and make the audience feel more involved in the film and make it seem more intriguing to watch. I find this technique useful as it gives the audience little details as to what could happen and what the characters are thinking.

In conclusion, I feel that Hitchcock’s techniques are very useful when making a film and I have realised that when creating a film, the most important aspect is to make sure you tell the film through visuals and less of the dialogue to express thoughts, emotions and what is going on in the scenes. Also it is important to capture the characters emotions by using close ups and reaction shots to get the audience to understand what the characters are thinking or feeling.






The genre thriller is used to make the audience feel thrilled and excited. The idea is to keep the audience alert and at the edge of their seat. The protagonist in these types of films is set against a problem, for example, an escape, a mission, or a mystery. No matter what sub-genre a Thriller film falls into, it will emphasise the danger that the character faces []. Thrillers are based on fast pacing, frequent action and  usually heroes who must defeat the villains. They are used to create suspense and tension and cliffhangers can commonly be used. Thrillers differ greatly compared to the genre horror as horror is based on scaring and horrifying the audience, more than thrilling them. The main foundation of horror is to use the audiences most terrifying fears to create the horror and they tend to use a lot more gore and sometimes supernatural to create the fear, whereas thriller doesn’t tend to use as much.


Most thrillers tend to show good and evil fighting each other, which tends to create the suspense. Throughout a thriller they tend to have a growing sense of threat or danger and be likely to show a search or hunt to find the enemy []. The idea is usually to show the thriller from the main character/hero’s point of view but have some short clips of the villain’s point of view so the audience can see how the villain acts when they are not around the hero or a clip from the past so that the audience can understand why have become evil or what their plan of action is. One way to boost the audiences thrills is to make the thriller as realistic as possible so that it is more believable and becomes more interesting. Another thing thriller producers tend to do is make that both, the villain and the hero, have enough strengths to make the storyline be extended with the fight or grudge because the movie will be over before it has begun.


Thriller mainly started in the 1920’s when sound had first been introduced to films. Sir Alfred Hitchcock was one of the main film producers and directors who mainly focused on thriller when creating his films. ‘The Lodger’ (1927) is his first thriller film to be played with sound and is a crime-based thriller. The film is about a serial killer murdering blonde women in London. A mysterious man arrives at the house of Mr. and Mrs. Bunting looking for a room to rent. The Bunting’s daughter is a blonde model and is seeing one of the detectives assigned to the case. The detective becomes jealous of the lodger and begins to suspect he may be the serial killer []. Similarly, ‘I Confess‘ (1953) is another thriller created by Alfred Hitchcock and is also based on a crime thriller. It is about a man called Otto Kellar and his wife Alma who work as a caretaker and a housekeeper at a Catholic church in Quebec. Whilst robbing a house where he sometimes works as a gardener, Otto is caught and kills the owner. Racked with guilt he heads back to the church where Father Michael Logan is working late. Otto confesses his crime, but when the police begin to suspect Father Logan he cannot reveal what he has been told in the confession [].                          From this you can tell that quite a lot of Alfred Hitchcock’s thrillers were crime based maybe because they were easier types of thrillers to write and maybe because audiences preferred them more to other subgenres of thriller.


EdenLake (2008):                                                                                                   Plot: A couple decide to escape for a romantic weekend away at a remote lake enclosed by woodlands and is seemingly deserted. The couple’s peace is disturbed when a gang of intolerable kids who steal and vandalise their campsite. When the boyfriend, Steve, decides to confront them, the gang decide to violently attack him leaving the girlfriend, Jenny, subject to a brutal game of cat-and-mouse as she desperately tries to find her way out of the woods.

Rear Window (1954):

Professional photographer L.B. “Jeff” Jeffries breaks his leg while getting an action shot at an auto race. Confined to his New York apartment, he spends his time looking out of the rear window observing the neighbors. He begins to suspect that a man across the courtyard may have murdered his wife. Jeff enlists the help of his high society fashion-consultant girlfriend Lisa Freemont and his visiting nurse Stella to investigate.

Snatch (2000):

Unscrupulous boxing promoters, violent bookmakers, a Russian gangster, incompetent amateur robbers, and supposedly Jewish jewellers fight to track down a priceless stolen diamond.

Hollow Man (2000):

The Hollow Man features Kevin Bacon in the title role as Sebastian Caine, a scientist who discovers a formula for invisibility. After an experiment makes him slowly disappear, Cane begins to go insane, and soon threatens the lives of his fellow researchers.



There are many different sub-genres of a thriller film, examples include, crime, psychological, disaster, mystery and sci-fi thrillers.

Crime thrillers:

This type of sub-genre refers to a crime that has or will take place and includes a hero (usually an investigator or highly trained police officer) who is after the villain. There are many topics this genre is usually based on; for example, the villain is usually after something against the law and the hero has to try to stop them from getting it. The villain could be responsible for murder, robberies or even kidnapping, in order to get what they want. The hero then has to try and stop the situation from escalating and make it worse, by searching for them and bringing them to justice. Additionally, in most crime thrillers, the hero tends to win the battle and in some, can involve a lot of action.

For me, crime thrillers can be intriguing because sometimes the audience wonders if the hero will survive or if the villain some how escapes and makes the audience speculate how the hero will win or how and what the villain does to try and win the battle and to the extent that they intend on going.


Psychological thrillers:

This sub-genre involves ‘A suspenseful movie or book emphasizing the psychology of its characters rather than the plot’ [1]. The idea of a psychological thriller is to test the characters mental and emotional state instead of their physical well being. This type of genre intrigues the audience because it tests them to see what they think the hero or villain is trying to do and to test their own intelligence to see if they can figure it out. Psychological thrillers tend to have lots of twists to keep the audience occupied and engaged in the film in terms of wondering what the characters intend on doing about the situation.

In my opinion, these types of thrillers are great for testing the audience and making them constantly wonder how the situation is going to wok out. Additionally, these types of thrillers tend to make the audience feel engaged in the film, right to the end, as the audience usually tries to guess the plot of the film and what the twists are.

An example of a psychological film I have seen is ‘Red Eye’. This film is about a woman, who works as a highly qualified member of staff of a hotel called Lux Atlantic’. She was kidnapped whilst on a plane flight on her way home from her grandmother’s funeral. The kidnapper wants her to help kill a politician who is supposed to be staying in one of the hotel rooms by switching the room he is supposed to be staying in around. The kidnapper threatens her by showing that if she does not do as he says and changes the room, her father will be killed.




Disaster thrillers:

A disaster film is ‘A film in which a disastrous event such as an earthquake, fire, air crash etc is the focus of the action’ [2]. A disaster thriller is usually based on a natural or artificial tragedy and threatens the lives of the human race. It gives the audience ideas as to what could happen if this type of disaster actually happened. Most disaster-type films are associated with the disaster having something to do with human activity that has built up over hundreds of years or something recent that has made it occur. Also most disaster films focus on a particular person or group of people who strive for survival or try to save other people to avoid extinction of the human race.

An example, of a disaster film I have seen is 2012. It is about a man who studies the Earth’s changes and understands that a major catastrophe will occur by a prediction of 2012 due to the Earth’s core heating up. This man then tries to tell the US president that the Earth’s crust is becoming unstable and that the human race could become extinct unless something was done to save at least a portion of the human race. At this point in time, it is supposed to be 2009, so the Government only have three years to prepare for the disaster. They decide to build ‘arks’ that should be able to survive the disaster but decide not to tell anyone else. Meanwhile, a writer (of books related to the Earth) takes his son and daughter on a camping trip only to find that a lake he used to visit as a child had dried up and the Government had quarantined it off. The Government then found the father and the two children take them back to a base where more research was taking place. The man, Jackson, then stumbles across the man who discovered the disaster and told him about the disaster that is set to happen. The disaster begins to happen and Jackson is left to try and save his family from the disaster.




Mystery thrillers:

This sub-genre relates to crime thrillers and mainly focuses on an investigator or detective who has the job of investigating a mystery or crime. In these films, the detective has to solve the crime or puzzle by searching for clues. The audience only see the clues when the detective finds them. This is what makes mystery films suspenseful; not knowing and trying to figure out the crime or puzzle.

An example of a mystery thriller film is Escape Plan. It is about a man, Ray Breslin, who is highly qualified in his job as part of structural security. As part his job, Ray has to analyse different prisons and try to escape from them so he can build a prison that is escape proof. He wrote and published a book about how to build an escape proof prison and someone was inspired by his ideas and tried to build a prison using his ideas. Ray then gets kidnapped and put in the prison his inspirer made. His aim is then to escape the prison otherwise he will be stuck there.

escape plan


Science Fiction – Sci-fi Thrillers:

Sci-fi thrillers are fictional movies and can be based in any world whether it is real or imagined, on Earth or outer space. The plot of the film can be set in any tense, past present or future and they can be very unrealistic. Some sci-fi films involve science or technology may be important in the film, some of which might be discovered or created in reality. [1]

An example of a science fiction thriller is The Purge. This film is about a law where there is an annual night in which all crime is legal for twelve years. The film is set in the future and a wealthy family help a man by inviting him in their house during the Purge. The man who was let in tries to hide in the house because there is a group of people who want to kill him outside. The family then get a knock on the down from a man asking for their target and assure them that their family won’t get killed if they give him to the people outside. The family attempt to give the target to the people outside but have a change of mind when they realise they don’t have the courage to do it. The target hides and the group of people who want to kill the target break down the door and try to kill the target and the family.

the purge



My ideas on thriller films is that they should feel realistic yet still feel gripping and intriguing to get the audiences attention. I feel that if a thriller doesn’t make the audience ask themselves lots of questions, maybe about the plot or the characters, or if the thriller doesn’t have twists within the film, then the film doesn’t seem thrilling and interesting for the audience. Additionally, if the film seems too confusing for the audience, they can ruin the film because they wouldn’t understand what’s going on (just like the Matrix!)


My name is Molly and I am currently studying media at AS level. This blog is based on the genre, thriller, and contains information on what a thriller is, Alfred Hitchcock and the process of my group and I making a thriller opening to a movie. In my group, there is Amrit, Nabeela and Rehnuma. This blog will also contain information and analysis on thriller openings so that we can get an idea of how to make a suspenseful movie opening.

This is my group. (from left) Nabeela, Amrit, Rehnuma, and me!

This is my group.
(from left) Nabeela, Amrit, Rehnuma, and me!