MS1 key concepts booklet 2014


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This is not my work, I can't remember where I found it though. It is s really good resource

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MS1 key concepts booklet 2014

  1. 1. .KEY CONCEPTS.
  2. 2. 1 .REPRESENTATION – KEY CONCEPTS. When analysing a text, we are interested in HOW the subject is represented, but also WHY they may be represented in that way. HOW Positively Over-represented Empowering Subverting a stereotype Negatively Under-represented Disempowering Reinforcing a stereotype
  3. 3. 2 WHY To make an interesting narrative or story (humour/intensity) or to appeal to the audience’s needs and desires (to make the product desirable). To comfort the audience by reinforcing their view of the world, providing a sense of security or continuity To promote or reinforce a particular view or ideology To reinforce or challenge hegemony* (e.g. a male hegemony) * - Power To enable audiences to relate to the characters To challenge audiences by offering an alternative perspective
  4. 4. 3 .IDENTIFYING THE TARGET AUDIENCE. How to Specify a Demographic: Start with age: Select an age range, e.g. 25-31, or... Describe the age of your target audience: (children, teenagers, young adults, adults or mature) e.g. 'a teenage demographic' or 'children' Then consider gender: e.g. 'female demographic' or 'men' Next, consider interests: e.g. 'fans of...' or 'people who enjoy...' Consider ethnicity, religion , cultural practice and sexuality: e.g. 'Christians' or 'homosexual men'
  5. 5. 4 Consider viewing habits: e.g. 'regular readers/viewers of...' Also consider the size/type of the audience: Is it a large (mass) audience or a small (niche) audience? Is is a mainstream audience or an alternative audience? Where relevant, also consider... DEMOGRAPHICS.  Category A Upper middle class - bankers, doctors;  Category B Middle class - teachers, middle managers;  Category C1 Lower middle class - office supervisors, nurses;  Category C2 Skilled working class - tradespeople;  Category D Working class - unskilled manual labour;  Category E People at the lowest level of income - unemployed, students, pensioners. PSYCHOGRAPHICS. Adverts are more likely to be identified using psychographics rather than demographics, for example... Aspirers: People who want to appear rich and attractive. 'People who aspire to be...' Reformers: People who want social change, are unimpressed by status and make decisions based on their values (e.g. environmentalists) Explorers: Adventurous people who like talking risks Mainstreamers: People who follow the crowd Strugglers: People who find it hard to achieve (often connected with poverty) PRIMARY AND SECONDARY AUDIENCES. Texts often have a primary target audience, but also a secondary one. For example, Pixar studios primarily make their films aimed at a young audience, but appeal to a secondary audience of adults (e.g. parents).
  6. 6. 5 .WHY DO AUDIENCES CONSUME MEDIA TEXTS?. .USES AND GRATIFICATIONS THEORY (BLUMLER AND KATZ, 1974). According to Blumler and Katz, these are the reasons why people consume media texts. Media producers may design their texts to appeal to these needs and desires. INFORMATION & SURVEILLANCE  Finding out about events  Seeking advice  Learning  Satisfying curiosity/Interest  Security through knowledge PERSONAL IDENTITY  Reinforcing personal values  Finding models of behavior (role models)  Identifying with people in the media  Gaining insight into self SOCIAL INTERACTION  Finding a basis for conversation  Identifying with others  Gaining a sense of belonging  Having a substitute for real-life companionship  Gaining insight into the circumstances of others  Helping to carry out social roles  Enabling one to connect with family, friends and society ENTERTAINMENT  Escaping  Being diverted from problems  Relaxing, getting cultural enjoyment  Filling time  Emotional release  Sexual Arousal
  7. 7. 6 UTOPIAN SOLUTIONS (RICHARD DYER, 1992). Richard Dyer argued that media offer us something that is lacking in modern life. Specifically, a sense of… COMMUNITY The audience feels part of a group. E.g. Watching soaps can give audiences a sense of community or shared experiences with the characters. Talking to people on Facebook also reinforces this idea. INTENSITY The audience feels that life is exciting. E.g. Watching an action film can offer audiences a sense of intensity. ABUNDANCE The illusion of having plenty. E.g. Watching James Bond never having to worry whether he can afford the next vodka-Martini can offer audiences the illusion of abundance. TRANSPARENCY The illusion that life is simple. E.g. Action films often offer audiences a sense of transparency, in that we know who is good and who is bad. ENERGY The illusion that you are energetic. E.g. Watching characters run, jump, shoot and dodge explosions offer audiences a sense of energy, which may be missing in their lives.
  8. 8. 7 .HOW WILL THE AUDIENCE RESPOND?. Theorists used to believe that audiences were passive, accepting the messages of media texts without question. They believed that audiences were easily influenced and often imitated what they saw or read. Current thinking rightly sees audiences as more active and discerning, often challenging and questioning what they encounter in the media. THE RECEPTION MODEL (STUART HALL, 1980). Stuart Hall identified that there are three ways in which audiences can respond to a text. He said there were preferred, negotiated and oppositional readings. Preferred reading The reader accepts the message that is intended by the writer and sees it as natural and transparent (e.g. that page 3 of The Sun is sexually alluring or ‘a bit of fun’) Negotiated reading The audience slightly modifies the original message, partly reflecting on their own views and experiences (e.g. that page 3 is not my kind of thing, but is still harmless) Oppositional reading The reader understands the original message, but chooses to criticise or go against it (e.g. that page 3 of The Sun is an example of base sexual inequality and crass female objectification) DAVID GAUNTLETT'S 'PICK AND MIX' THEORY (2002). David Gauntlett argues that audiences are very selective when engaging with media texts. They may pick their own values and identities when reading a text, whilst ignoring other parts. For example, when reading The Sun, readers may choose to ignore page 3 altogether and concentrate instead on stories they can relate to.
  9. 9. 8 .PRINT LAYOUT. Masthead Gives the name (and often date) of publication. Headline Words in large font found at the top of the story, grabbing the audience’s attention and flagging up the narrative. Sub-heading Usually answers the questions: who what where and when in a sentence. Byline The name of the writer (by…) Pull quote A quote from an article or interview is copied and enlarged to pique the audience’s interest (usually something funny or shocking). Caption The words beside a photo, which explains what the audience is seeing. Cropping Selecting a particular part of an image for emphasis. Anchoring The use of words to create and add meaning to an image. Typography The font style e.g. serifor sans-serif Copy The writing/article in a print text (the ‘text’ refers to the product, as a whole).
  10. 10. 9 .NARRATIVE THEORIES/CONCEPTS. Linear narratives Linear narratives are stories that have a beginning, middle and an end (which happen in time order). Non-linear narratives These narratives play with the time order in which the story is shown and may include flashbacks (for example, in Pulp Fiction). Todorov (Disequilibrium) Todorov suggested that all stories are based on a change from equilibrium (where everything is in order) to disequilibrium (chaos/disorder). This can also be described as stability versus instability. Eventually, the narrative is ordered into a new equilibrium. Binary oppositions Claude Levi Strauss (as well as Roland Barthes') identified that narratives were often drawn out of the conflict of oppositions (good vs. evil, strong vs. weak). Roland Barthes' Enigma Code Texts can often tease the audience with mysterious or unexplained elements to draw them into the narrative. What happened last night? Why is there a tiger in the bathroom? Closure Most texts have closure (or a closed ending) where all of the problems are resolved and all of the questions have been answered.
  11. 11. 10 Open ending Some texts have an open ending and leave some elements a mystery. Exposition Very often, narratives use exposition, where characters explain essential parts of the plot (this can include sub-titles or a voice-over). Propp’s 'Spheres of Action' (1928). Vladimir Propp analysed one hundred Russian folk tales and found an identical narrative structure in each of them. He identified spheres of action, where a character would appropriate specific roles to progress the story. The eight character roles and their spheres of action are: 1. The villain: villainy, fighting, action 2. The donor or provider: giving, magical agent or helper 3. The helper: moves the hero, rescues from a pursuit, solves difficult tasks, transforms the hero 4. The princess and her father: a sought-for person who assigns difficult tasks, brands, exposes, recognises, punishes 5. The dispatcher: sends the hero on quest or mission 6. The hero: departs on search, reacts to donor, attempts difficult tasks 7. The false hero: takes unfounded glory for the hero's actions However, many of these theories have limitations. For instance, can you think of any texts which do not follow the above patterns? .Other narrative devices. Hooks: A scene where a question is raised and we want to know the answer Teasers: A scene which gives a clue to the answer Cliffhangers: A high tension end of an episode or sequence Dramatic irony: When the audience know more than the characters
  12. 12. 11 .CAMERA SHOTS. Name of Shot Example (with description) Useful for (and shortcut) LONG SHOT (LS) A wide view of the scene.  Setting the scene (establishing shot)  Action  Movement MEDIUM SHOT (MS) Cuts the body just below the waist.  Conversations  Single character’s actions CLOSE-UP (CU) Just above the head down to the lower chest - usually only one character in the shot.  Show character’s emotions  Reveal character’s reactions to events. EXTREME CLOSE-UP (XCU) Cuts right into the character’s face, usually focusing on facial features such as the eyes.  Show subtle emotions  Create drama  Reveal significant plot details (e.g. important detail in a photograph) OVER-THE-SHOULDER SHOT (OSS) The camera is positioned behind the character as if looking over the shoulder.  Dialogue scenes/conversations
  13. 13. 12 LOW-ANGLE Taken from below the character as if they are looking down on us.  Looking up, suggesting power and superiority. HIGH-ANGLE Taken from above the character(s).  Looking down, suggesting weakness, inferiority and vulnerability. HAND-HELD CAMERA The shot is shakey, as if someone is holding the camera.  Creates a documentary-like look.  Creates a higher sense of realism. POINT-OF-VIEW SHOT (POV) Shot from a character's viewpoint.  To events from someone’s perspective.  Usually used to build suspense (i.e. we see things from a killer/monster’s eyes).
  14. 14. 13 .CAMERA ANGLES/MOVEMENT .Movement. Tracking Camera moves at the side of the action/character, as if on a slowly moving train. Dolly Camera moves towards the action/character, Steadicam Camera moves smoothly amid the action (attached to the camera person). Hand-held Shaky use of camera (realism or documentary style). Zoom Camera lens zooms towards or away from the action from a fixed point Crane shot Camera moves high above the action or from a high point towards the characters to give an idea where the characters are Aerial shot Camera shoots from a helicopter to give a huge view of the setting .Angle. Low angle Looking up to the subject, suggesting power, authority, superiority. Eye level Level with characters. High angle Looking down on the subject, suggesting weakness and powerlessness. Canted angle (askew) When the camera is tilted/slanted to the left or right to create a sense of uneasiness or distortion of reality. .Focus. Shallow focus Draws attention to a character or object in the foreground Focus pulls When the foreground character or object is in focus and the lens is ‘pulled’ to focus on something in the background, or vice versa Deep focus All characters or objects are important .Lighting. High key Positive, happy, joyful, lots of light. Low key Dark, lots of shadows, mysterious and dangerous.
  15. 15. 14 .TRANSITIONS & EDITS. Cut When two shots are edited together – usually to change angle. Dissolve A merging between two shots to signal the passing of space or time. Fade in A shot gradually turns from black to the beginning of a scene. Fade out A shot gradually turns to black. Continuity editing Editing gives the illusion of time running smoothly and uninterrupted (most narratives use continuity editing) Montage A collection of shots edited together, usually from different times and places (and usually accompanied by music) that create an idea or tell a story. Juxtaposition The placing of (sometimes contrasting) shots together to create meaning, e.g. juxtaposing shots of warfare and grinning politicians creates specific meaning. .SOUND. Diegetic sound Sound which characters can hear (e.g. speech, the sound of explosions etc.) Non-diegetic sound Sound that has been added (which the characters cannot hear) e.g. voice over and non-diegetic music. Parallel sound Sound that complements the actions onscreen. Asynchronous sound Sound that is produced in the world of the text but the audience cannot see it being created (e.g. footsteps when we cannot see the person walking). Voice over A person who talks over the images, usually narrating or contributing to the story. Contrapuntal sound Sound that is in contrast to what we see onscreen (for instance tense music over a scene of celebration).
  16. 16. 15 .GENRE. Term Definition Genre A category of text, with fixed conventions (e.g. horror). Subgenre A text that focuses on a particular set of conventions within a specific genre (e.g. zombie movies are a subgenre of horror films). Hybrid genre Mixture of two or more genre conventions (e.g. Shaun of the Dead is a horror/comedy/romance hybrid). Genre code/trope A specific ingredient of the genre (e.g. guns in an action film). Repertoire of Elements All of the elements of a particular genre. E.g. An old West setting, horses, duels, cowboy hats and a Sherriff’s badge are the repertoire of elements for a western. Intertextuality A text deliberately borrows a sequence from an existing media text (e.g. The Simpsons consistently borrows sequences from other media texts) Pastiche A text borrows heavily from a certain genre. (Hot Fuzz uses many conventions from the buddy-cop action subgenre.) Parody/spoof A text makes fun of certain genre conventions (e.g. Scary Movie makes fun of horror films). .TV SCHEDULING. Zoning: The placing together of programmes of the same genre to encourage audiences to stay watching that channel, e.g. Channel 4 comedy programmes on a Friday evening or a string of Channel 5 crime dramas. Stripping: Placing programmes at the same time every evening so that audiences get used to watching them as part of their evening's viewing, e.g. Coronation Street and Eastenders.
  17. 17. 16 .ADVANCED THEORIES & CONCEPTS. Theory/Concept Description Laura Mulvey - The Male Gaze (Mulvey, 1975) Mulvey argued that women are often presented as passive (often sexualised) 'objects' for the pleasure of the male gaze. John Berger - "Men act. Women appear." (Berger, 1972) In his book 'Ways of Seeing', John Berger argued that, in art: "Men act. Women appear." Similar to Mulvey, he argued that texts often present women as passive objects of beauty, while men are the decisive characters of action. Naomi Wolf - The Beauty Myth (Wolf, 1991) Wolf argued that, for women, beauty is an economic value. Women (more than men) need beauty in order to be successful and it is this value which the media often presents as being of prime importance. The Female Gaze (Gamman & Marshment, 1988) These theorists claim that men can also be positioned as sexualised objects for the pleasure of the female gaze. Winship (Winship, 1987) Winship argued that women need lifestyle magazines because they are excluded from mainstream culture and that they are encouraged to use products to please men. Tough Guise (Earp & Katz, 1999) Earp and Katz argue in this film that the representation of men as tough and violent reaffirms the status quo of male violence (particularly directed towards women) in the world. Moral Panics (Cohen, 1972) The concept of moral panic was developed as a result of Stanley Cohen's studies of youth groups in the 1960s and may affect how an issue is represented. Cohen argues that a moral panic occurs when society sees itself threatened by the values and activities of a...
  18. 18. 17 Theory/Concept Description (continued) group who are stigmatised as deviant and seen as threatening to mainstream society's values. The process by which a moral panic develops involves stages: 1) The occurrence of a deviant act or social phenomenon 2) The act or problem being widely reported on in the media, e.g. initially on the news and then spilling over into internet chatrooms and incorporated into fictional narratives etc. Imagined Communities (Shaun Moore, 1998) Shaun Moore (1998) argued that media texts often allow audiences to perceive themselves as part of an imagined community, where the audience feel that they have something in common with other imagined members of the audience. Racial Stereotypes (Alvarado, 1987) Alvarado (1987) has suggested that there are four types of representations for members of the black community.  The humorous – e.g. Eddie Murphy  The exotic – models such as Naomi Campbell  The pitied – representations of needy black communities through charity advertising or films such as Blood Diamond  The dangerous – portrayed in news and documentary reports of black inner-city gangs or gun crime. Left and right wing (political ideologies) In short, left wingers believe in the community (e.g. increased taxes so the wealthy can take care of the poor, regulation of companies to avoid exploitation) and right wingers believe in the freedom of the individual (less tax and regulation and more freedom to make your own way in the world). Hegemony This can mean two things. Firstly: any dominant power (e.g. hegemonic masculinity), but can also be used to refer to the process by which making that power appear natural or 'common sense'.
  19. 19. 18 Theory/Concept Description News Values This concept poses that news is prioritised according to the following criteria:  Is it a negative story or bad news?  Is there the potential for personalisation and human interest?  Does the story have shock value?  Does it feature or create celebrities out of people to whom the general public can relate?  Is there continuity with this or other stories?  Does the story have close enough proximity to the target audience (e.g. are British people involved?)
  20. 20. 19 Theory/Concept Description Theory/Concept Description
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  23. 23. 22 .HOW TO STRUCTURE A PARAGRAPH OF ANALYSIS. It is important that you do NOT describe a scene as if it were real, e.g. “The hero looks concerned before the robber pulls out a gun...”, instead: 1. Identify the use of a technique, using media terminology. (e.g. “We see a close up of…”) 2. Make specific reference to the text. (e.g. “a close up of the hero’s eyes, looking concerned”) 3. Use the words “connotes” and/or “signifies”. (e.g. “This signifies…”) 4. Analyse the purpose or effect of the technique (explore what the connotations are). (e.g. “danger, as we know the hero suspects something”). 5. Discuss the impact on the audience. (e.g. “This is likely to create tension for the audience, as they expect something may happen, but they do not know what.”) 1. .OPTIONS FOR DEVELOPMENT (CHOOSE FROM BELOW).  Connect with another element (e.g. sound). (e.g. “This notion is confirmed by the ominous orchestral music that is building”)  Discuss the appeal to the audience. (e.g. “This may appeal to people in the audience who identify with the hero and want him to succeed.” or “This offers audiences a sense of intensity (Dyer, 1992)”)  Does it reinforce or subvert a stereotype? (e.g. “This reinforces the stereotype of men being powerful and in control, as he appears to sense danger before it happens.”)  Does it support or challenge an ideology? (e.g. “This supports a patriarchal ideology, as men are the dominant force in the scene.” Or “This displays a male bias because…”)  Explore alternative interpretations. (e.g. “Despite being positioned to feel support for the hero, we could see him here in a negative light - like an angry shark, waiting for the kill.”)