A2 Media Studies (Evaluation) - The theory of trailers - GenrePresentation Transcript
THE THEORY OF TRAILERSBy Tanya McDonald
WHAT IS A GENRE?
“A Category of Artistic composition, as in music or literature, characterized by similarities in form, style or subject matter.” “A Style of Expressing yourself in.” …but this doesn‟t really help us to understand what genre really is.
GENRE One of the main problems with genre is how to go about defining a genre; genre itself comes from the French (and originally Latin) word for „kind‟ or „class‟. Genre is widely used in rhetoric, literary theory, media theory, and more recently linguistics, to refer to a distinctive type of „text‟. Robert Allen notes that for most of its 2,000 years, genre study has been primarily nominological and typological in function. That is to say, it has taken as its principal task the division of the world of literature into types and the naming of those types - much as the botanist divides the realm of flora into varieties of plants (Allen 1989, 44).
GENRE (CONTINUED) Contemporary media genres tend to relate more to specific forms than to the universals of tragedy and comedy. Nowadays, films are routinely classified (e.g. in television listings magazines) as thrillers, westerns and so on - genres with which every adult in modern society is familiar. So too with television genres such as game shows and sitcoms. Whilst we have names for countless genres in many media, some theorists have argued that there are also many genres (and sub-genres) for which we have no names (Fowler 1989, 216; Wales 1989, 206). Carolyn Miller suggests that the number of genres in any society... depends on the complexity and diversity of society (Miller 1984, in Freedman & Medway 1994a, 36).
GENRE (CONTINUED) A genre is ultimately an abstract conception rather than something that exists empirically in the world, notes Jane Feuer (1992, 144). One theorists genre may be anothers sub-genre or even super-genre (and indeed what is technique, style, mode, formula or thematic grouping to one may be treated as a genre by another). Themes, at least, seem inadequate as a basis for defining genres since, as David Bordwell notes, any theme may appear in any genre (Bordwell 1989, 147). He asks: Are animation and documentary films genres or modes? Is the filmed play or comedy performance a genre? If tragedy and comedy are genres, perhaps then domestic tragedy or slapstick is a formula.
GENRE (CONTINUED) In passing, Bordwell offers a useful inventory of categories used in film criticism, many of which have been accorded the status of genres by various commentators: “Grouping by period or country (American films of the 1930s), by director or star or producer or writer or studio, by technical process (CinemaScope films), by cycle (the fallen women films), by series (the 007 movies), by style (German Expressionism), by structure (narrative), by ideology (Reaganite cinema), by venue (drive-in movies), by purpose (home movies), by audience (teenpix), by subject or theme (family film, paranoid-politics movies).” (Bordwell 1989, 148) Another film theorist, Robert Stam, also refers to common ways of categorising films: “While some genres are based on story content (the war film), other are borrowed from literature (comedy, melodrama) or from other media (the musical). Some are performer-based (the Astaire-Rogers films) or budget-based (blockbusters), while others are based on artistic status (the art film), racial identity (Black cinema), locat[ion] (the Western) or sexual orientation (Queer cinema).” (Stam 2000, 14).
GENRE (CONTINUED) Defining genres may not initially seem particularly hard but it should already be apparent that it is a theoretical minefield. Robert Stam identifies four key problems with generic labels (in relation to film): extension (the breadth or narrowness of labels); normativism (having preconceived ideas of criteria for genre membership); monolithic definitions (as if an item belonged to only one genre); biologism (a kind of essentialism in which genres are seen as evolving through a standardized life cycle) (Stam 2000, 128- 129).
GENRE (CONTINUED) Conventional definitions of genres tend to be based on the notion that they constitute particular conventions of content (such as themes or settings) and/or form (including structure and style) which are shared by the texts which are regarded as belonging to them. The attempt to define particular genres in terms of necessary and sufficient textual properties is sometimes seen as theoretically attractive but it poses many difficulties. For instance, in the case of films, some seem to be aligned with one genre in content and another genre in form. The film theorist Robert Stam argues that subject matter is the weakest criterion for generic grouping because it fails to take into account how the subject is treated (Stam 2000, 14). Outlining a fundamental problem of genre identification in relation to films, Andrew Tudor notes the empiricist dilemma: “To take a genre such as the western, analyse it, and list its principal characteristics, is to beg the question that we must first isolate the body of films which are westerns. But they can only be isolated on the basis of the principal characteristics which can only be discovered from the films themselves after they have been isolated.” (Cited in Gledhill 1985, 59)
GENRE – TYPICAL GENRES IN FILM Fictional films are usually categorized according to their setting, theme topic, mood, or format. Staiger classifies Andrew Tutors ideas that the genre of film can be defined in four ways: The "idealist method" judges films by predetermined standards. The "empirical method" identifies the genre of a film by comparing it to a list of films already deemed to fall within a certain genre. The “Apriori” method uses common generic elements which are identified in advance. The "social conventions" method of identifying the genre of a film is based on the accepted cultural consensus within society. Jim Colins claims that since the 1980s, Hollywood films have been influenced by the trend towards "ironic hybridization", in which directors combine elements from different genres as with the Western/Science fiction mix in Back to the Future Part III.
GENRES – TYPICAL GENRE‟S IN FILM (ANDPUTTING MY TRAILER INTO CONTEXT) These are just some of the examples of the variety of genres of films which have been recognised (These are listed on Wikipedia), I‟ve increased the size of some of the genres which I feel my trailer/film plot applies to (The bigger the size the more it applies to my trailer):Absolute film, Action film , Actuality film, Adventure film, Amateur film, Anarchic comedy film, Animateddocumentary, Anime, Anthology film, Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, Art film, Arthouse Action Genre, Backstage musical, Badgirl movies, Beach party film, Bildungsroman, Biographical film, Blaxploitation, Blue film, Bourekas film, Buddy cop film, Buddyfilm, Camcorder film, Cannibal film, Cartoon, Chanchada, Chick flick, Childrens film, Chopsocky, Christian film industry, Colonialcinema, Comedy film, Comedy horror, Comedy of remarriage, Comedy-drama, Coming-of-age film, Compilation movie, Compositefilm,Conspiracy fiction , Crime film , Crush film, Cult film, Dance film, Disasterfilm, Docudrama, Docufiction, Documentary film, Drama film, Educational film, Epic film, Epic Western, Ethnographic film, European artcinema, Eurospy film, Experimental film, Exploitation film, Family film, Fantasy film, Female buddy film, Fictional film, Film à clef, Film deFemme, Film gris, Film noir, Florida Western, Found footage (genre), Gendai-geki, German underground horror, Giallo, Girls withguns, Gokudō, Goona-goona epic, Gore film , Gross out, Guerrilla filmmaking, Guy-cry film, Heimatfilm, Heist film, Heritagefilm, Highlight film, Hip hop film, Historical fiction, Home movies, Hood film, Horror film, Hyperlink cinema, Independentfilm, Industrial video, Interstitial art, Japanese horror, Jidaigeki, Jukebox musical, Karl May films, Korean horror, Koreanmelodrama, Legal drama, List of cult films, Lucha film, Macaroni Combat, Mafia comedy, Martial arts film, Masala (film genre), Meat pieWestern, Melodrama, Message picture, Metafilm, Mexploitation, Microcinema, Mo lei tau, Mob film, Mockbuster, Mockumentary, Mondofilm, Monster movie, Mountain film, Mouth of Garbage film, Musical film, Musical short, Muslim social, Mystery film, Mythopoeia(genre), Naturalism (literature), Nazi exploitation, New Queer Cinema, Northern (genre), Ostern, Outlaw bikerfilm, Ozploitation, Paracinema, Parody film, PBArcaro/sandbox, Period piece, Pink film, Poetry film, Pornographic film, Postmodernistfilm, Prison film, Propaganda film, Psycho-biddy, Psychological horror, Psychotronic, Race movie, Rape and revengefilm, Reality film, Remodernist film, Retrospective, Road movie, Romance film, Romantic comedy film, Romantic thriller, Rubblefilm, Rumberas film, Samurai cinema, Satire, Sceneggiata, Science fiction film, Screwball comedy film, Semidocumentary, Sexploitationfilm, Shinpa, Slapstick film, Slasher film, Snuff film, Social guidance film, Social problem film, SocialRealism , South Seas (genre), Space Western, Spaghetti western, Splatter film, Sponsored film, Spy film, Stonerfilm, Submarine films, Superhero film, Supernatural drama, Surf film, Swashbuckler, Swashbuckler film, Sword-and-sandal, Teenfilm, Telefoni Bianchi, Tendency film, Thriller (genre), Training film, Travel documentary, Trial film, Undergroundfilm, Vampire film, War film, Weird West, Werewolf fiction, Western (genre), Wiener Film, Womans film, Women in prison film, World
GENRE – WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE TARGETMARKET How we define a genre is also dependent on what we want to do with the film – and in particular who we want it to be aimed at. If we are studying the way in which genre frames the readers interpretation of a text then we would do well to focus on how readers identify genres rather than on what theorists believe genres to be. Defining genres may be problematic, but even if theorists were to abandon the concept, in everyday life people would continue to categorize texts. For Robert Hodge and Gunther Kress, genres only exist in so far as a social group declares and enforces the rules that constitute them (Hodge & Kress 1988, 7). In relation to film, Andrew Tudor argued that genre is what we collectively believe it to be (though this begs the question about who we are). Robert Allen comments wryly that Tudor even hints that in order to establish what audiences expect a western to be like we might have to ask them (Allen 1989, 47).
GENRE – WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE TARGETMARKET John Hartley argues that genres are agents of ideological closure - they limit the meaning-potential of a given text (OSullivan et al. 1994, 128). Robert Hodge and Gunther Kress define genres as typical forms of texts which link kinds of producer, consumer, topic, medium, manner and occasion, adding that they control the behaviour of producers of such texts, and the expectations of potential consumers (Hodge & Kress 1988, 7). Genres can be seen as constituting a kind of tacit contract between authors and readers.
BIBLIOGRAPHY http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/intgenr e/intgenre1.html http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/intgenr e/intgenre2.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film_genre http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Film_genr es