With reference to Richard Dyer’s theory of “Star Image”, how effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?
What is a “star”?
A star in modern society usually refers to a celebrity, be it a film actor, musician or athlete.
In media terms, a star is “someone around which a set of semi-mythological meanings are constructed” according to film professor Richard Dyer (BFI, 1981).
These meanings are constructed in order to sell the performer and any products they create to a large and loyal fan base.
Richard Dyer and “Star Image”
Richard Dyer said that a star is an constructed image, as opposed to a real person, made from a range of materials (such as magazines, adverts and films).
He also said that stars are commodities produced and consumed by audiences on the strength of their meanings.
For the purposes of this PowerPoint, I will be talking exclusively about music stars.
Richard Dyer and “Star Image” (Cont.)
When talking about these meanings in relation to music stars, they can include:
An anti-authoritarian attitude or rebellion
Originality, creativity and talent
Aggression or anger
Success against the odds
A disregard for polite behavior or social values
Conspicuous consumption of drugs, sex or material goods
Richard Dyer and “Star Image” (Cont.) Elvis in his heyday was an example of sexual magnetism – the swinging of his hips was considered very erotic and many conservative Americans called for it to be banned. Eminem is an example of success against the odds- coming from a very violent and drug-filled neighbour hood. He frequently references his success against the odds in his songs and music videos.
We used Dyers ideas when constructing a image for our pop group, Chaos Theory.
Chaos Theory is a rock group pitched at the audience of 16-25 year old males, and with this audience in mind we shaped the image of the band.
The main categories that Chaos Theory falls into are: Youthfulness, an anti-authoritarian attitude or rebellion, aggression and anger.
Our Group’s Star Image
Chaos Theory and Youthfulness
All the members of our band were less than 18 years old. This fact alone makes them youthful.
However, some people may not be interested in “kids” making music, and so we tried to increase how old they looked by their physical appearance.
They all wore matching clothing – black shirts – which looks relatively smart, and makes the band members look slightly older. This helps them to appeal to a wider range of ages.
Chaos Theory and an Anti-authoritarian attitude
The lyrics of the song we chose for Chaos Theory make it clear that they are anti-establishment, yet this also needs to be made clear through their star image.
Our Digipak cover shows the band staring at the camera in a defiant and forceful manner. This reflects a “devil-may-care” attitude towards life.
This appeals to an audience, as we wish we could have this kind of attitude to life, but due to our life goals and values, it is usually untenable.
Chaos Theory and Rebellion
The magazine advert we created shows the band in a grimy, dirty urban environment.
The fact that they are wearing nice clothing in such an unsuit- able environment shows that they are rebelling against the norms of society.
Rebellion is another attractive thing potential customers, as it usually involves something we would not consider doing, and we “live our dreams” through Chaos Theory’s rebellious behaviour.
Chaos Theory and Rebellion (Cont.)
However, this image also contradicts Chaos Theory’s image of being anti-authoritarian, as they are lined up in an orderly fashion, as pupils would be at a school, or soldiers in an army.
This contradiction only adds to the mystique of what makes up Chaos Theory's star image, as audiences not only enjoy what they expect to see, but also what they don’t expect to see as well, as hypothesised by Roland Barthes, with his ideas of “plesier” and “jouissance”.
Chaos Theory and Aggression and Anger
The lyrical content of “Let’s Get Outta Here” is aggressive and anger in its tone and delivery.
We sought to emphasise this aggression while creating or pop video.
We did this by making the performance part filled with jumping, moving and kicking, which can all be interpreted as aggressive actions.
This aggression helps to heighten the image of Chaos Theory as “bad boys” which always helps attract an audience.
Aggression and anger conti- nues in the modern day to intrigue, as it is uncommon for people to show much anger in society.
Chaos Theory and Aggression and Anger (Cont.)
The construction of star image is very important in promoting an act, but it is not just done through their portrayal in adverts and on CD covers.
It is important to get coverage in the right kind of music magazines. E.g. An article in Kerrang! would appeal to lovers of rock music, and be approp- riate for Chaos Theory.
Further Promotion (Cont.)
It is also vital that Chaos Theory act in public as their star image suggests they would, or the illusion may cease to be effective.
This would mean they would have to be anti-autoritarian in their beliefs and views, especially when performing live or giving interviews.
A famous example of this is the Rolling Stones and their alleged activities on an airplane journey, just as they were sculpting their image as sexual gods and heavy users of drugs and alcohol.