How media products are created for audiences Unit 4
Media concept – genre Media products can be classified into categories or genre. The word genre comes from the French word meaning type or class. Media genres appear within a medium (film, television) such as the "horror" film or the television "situation comedy". A genre can be recognised by its common set of distinguishing features (codes and conventions) These features associated with a genres style and content may be, for example, a particular setting, character types, technical codes (lighting or music). You may also find that some media texts blur genre boundaries. Audiences recognise these features and therefore expect certain things. For example, at the end of a romantic comedy film the two lead characters will realise they are in love. Audiences may even select a text on the basis of its genre. Producers market texts according to genre because a niche audience has already been identified as taking pleasure in that type of text.
Examples Television Drama is a very broad genre so it can have sub genres: Comedy- drama – meant to be funny. Stories may be quite long and detailed for example Cold-Feet which ran over several series Period Drama – A drama set in a particular historical period such as the Victorian period. Soap Opera – a long running series with large number of different characters and plot lines which twist and turn over time. E.g. Neighbours, Coronation Street, Eastenders, Emmerdale
Part A In a new word document, write an introduction to this task which explains what media classification by genre means giving examples from any area of the range below.According to genre: e.g. sci‐fi movie, horror movie, romantic comedy, televisionsoap opera, television Situation comedy, television documentary, ‘reality’ TV,tabloid newspaper, broadsheet newspaper, local newspaper, national newspaper,freesheet, lifestyle magazine, specialist magazine, comic, radio drama, radiodocumentary, music programming, radio comedy, news website, fan culturewebsite Part BLooking at the TV sector, identify at least one programme in each of the rangebelow and describe the type of audience which these TV Programmes attractusing your knowledge from the earlier work of this unit:u television soap opera,t television situation comedy,http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/writing/guidelines_tvcomedy.shtml ttelevision documentary, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEP_CugxZCI ‘reality’ TVhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9htx4ncaGk&feature=results_video&playnext=1&li
Modes of Address Mode of Address: How does a media text speak to its audience. Who does it think you are? In everyday life the way we speak to/address/act towards a particular person will differ according to who we think they are; a teacher, a friend, a police officer and so on. This will influence the levels of respect, formality, friendliness, politeness, aggression, etc., with which we treat them. It will also affect our use of humour or slang, our tone of voice, body language, manner of dress.
Modes of address 2 Voyeur or Observer – most media products place you as the watcher and simply ask you to watch, listen or read what is happening Empathiser: This puts you in the shoes of the main character so that you experience the feelings they have and associate with them. Direct Addressee: The producer communicates directly with you by asking your opinion, to vote for a contestant, answer a question or respond in some way Inclusive addressee: the producer users unconventional approaches in order to emphasise that their media product is artificial or unreal and to go against the normal way that media products do things
Soap Opera The soap opera genre originated in American radio serials of the 1930s, and owes the name to the sponsorship of some of these programmes by major soap powder companies. Television soap operas are long-running serials concerned with everyday life. The serial is not to be confused with the series, in which the main characters and format remain the same from programme to programme but each episode is a self-contained plot. In a serial at least one storyline is carried over from one episode to the next. A series is advertised as having a specific number of episodes, but serials are potentially endless.
Features of a soap opera Recurrent events in soap opera include courtships, marriages, divorces, deaths and disappearances. Gossip is a key feature in soaps (usually absent from other genres) Broadcast serials have the advantage of a regular time-slot (often more than once a week), Even if some viewers miss it they can easily catch up with events. Viewers are also in a position of often knowing more than any character does. The form is unique in offering viewers the chance to engage in informed speculation about possible turn of events. Unlike a play or a series there is always a wide range of characters in a soap opera (which means that no single character is indispensable). Soaps are unlike traditional dramas (e.g. sit-coms) which have a beginning, a middle and an end: soaps have no beginning or end, no structural closure. They do not build up towards an ending or closure of meaning. Viewers can join a soap at any point. There is no single narrative line: several stories are woven together over a number of episodes. There is no single hero (unlike adventures, where the preferred reading involves identification with this character), and the wide range of characters in soaps offers viewers a great deal of choice regarding those with which they might identify.
Coronation Street Coronation Street is a Granada production which is broadcast nationally in the UK on ITV. First shown in 1960, it is the longest-running British TV soap opera. It is watched by more women than men, by older people, and especially by people from lower socio-economic groups It includes strong and positive middle-aged females who are the first to spring to mind when viewers are asked to recall the characters. It deals with personal events. Work away from the home is seldom shown. People meet in shops and the pub to comment on events. Life seems to revolve around finding a partner. Commonly known as kitchen sink drama The introduction of outsiders to the community is usually presented as a threat. It has been criticized for the minimal role of non-whites in the past. Viewing ratings dropped when an attempt was made to introduce more contemporary themes, and there was then a move towards a lighter, more humorous style. Rival soaps have led to some attempts to update the style. However, it has been criticized as having grown old with its audience. The camerawork and editing is very conventional. Cutting is largely motivated by dialogue. Camerawork consists primarily of group shots, 2-shots or 3-shots (in medium to medium close-up), shot-reverse shot, occasional panning, and close-ups of single characters for emphasis.
Eastenders Eastenders, a BBC production, was first broadcast in 1985. It is watched by more women than men, and more by those in lower socio-economic groups. The BBC is aware of its responsibility as a public service (unlike commercial British television companies) to be of benefit to the public, and to produce serious programmes of quality. The characters tend to be mainly working class. In addition to women, young characters and men are given strong roles, so that the potential audience is wide. It has become particularly popular with teenagers. Set in Londons East End, it is in the social realist tradition. The programme makers emphasized that it was to be about everyday life in the inner city today They regard it as a slice of life. Producer Julia Smith disingenuously declared that we dont make life, we reflect it She has also reported: We decided to go for a realistic, fairly outspoken type of drama which could encompass stories about homosexuals, rape, unemployment, racial prejudice, etc. in a believable context. Above all, we wanted realism. Unemployment, exams, racism, birth, death, dogs, babies, unmarried mums - we didnt want to fudge any issue except politics and swearing Eastenders has also featured single-parent families, teenage pregnancy, prostitution, arranged marriages, attempted suicide, drug problems, alcoholism, generational conflicts, a protection racket, a cot death, extra-marital affairs and marital bust-ups, sexism, urban deprivation, mental breakdown, disappearances, muggings, a fatal road accident and a suspected murder:
Eastenders It has sometimes been criticized for being bleak! Although it was part of the intention to handle controversial social issues the programme makers insist that Eastenders is not issues-based (i.e. storylines are not developed simply to illustrate predetermined issues). They see themselves as pursuing documentary realism They accept that the programme has an informational or educational function for viewers, offering a discussion of topics of concern to them, but they are more concerned with raising questions than with offering answers. Entertainment is seen as the main purpose. The programme does not confine itself to the naturalistic mode, but sometimes shifts towards either melodrama or sitcom. The camerawork and editing is in the naturalist tradition, supporting an interpretation of the programme as a window on the world: The use of the camera is unobtrusive and largely static, with only rare use of close- ups and tracking; The editing seeks to be invisible; the background sound has a density of naturalistic detail; lighting is usually flat, with no harsh shadows It tends to have more simultaneous storylines, more scenes, more meeting-places, more characters per episode, and a faster pace than either Coronation Street
Situation Comedy Most comedy that is seen on TV is situational comedy, where the comedy is in whatever situation the stars are in. situation comedy has a storyline and ongoing characters The situation is usually that of a family, workplace, or a group of friends. The early 1990s saw the rebirth of the animated sitcom, a trend which continues to this day. Most notable is The Simpsons, the longest-running sitcom in US history. Other successful sitcoms in this subgenre include South Park, Futurama, Beavis and Butt-head and King of the Hill. In the mid-1990s several sitcoms have reintroduced the ongoing story line. Friends, the most popular sitcom of the 1990s-2000s The early 2000s saw a rebirth of the single camera shooting style for half-hour sitcoms, with shows such as Malcolm in the Middle, 8 simple rules, Everybody Hates Chris, My Wife and Kids, The Office, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Scrubs. Unlike earlier single camera shows, these sitcoms do not use laugh tracks.
Sitcom Format A sitcom typically lasts around 30 minutes. Frequent advertising breaks cut todays half hour programs down to 22 minutes. A sitcom usually has four main characters. In most cases, they include a hero, an anti- hero, a love interest and a buddy. Successful plots will typically fall within a family or workplace setting or some combination of the two. Within this setting, there are A and B storylines. An A storyline is the main plot of the sitcom. In most cases, the A story runs throughout the show and does not resolve until the final scene. The B storyline is secondary. Sitcoms filmed on set in front of a live studio audience usually feature a central area where most of the shows activity takes place. Think of Monicas apartment or Central Perk in "Friends" or the bar in "Cheers." The set has three solid walls and the audience and cameras look through the open fourth wall.
Sitcom Format Sitcoms filmed on location set up the whole production -- cast, crew, props and everything -- somewhere in the real world. The location could be a street, an old office building or even an abandoned North Hollywood hospital like in the show "Scrubs." Shooting on location adds authenticity and believability to a show. By placing the characters in a real setting, the sitcom avoids the potential distraction of a fake set. Sitcoms may be filmed using a single camera or multiple cameras. The single camera approach offers more control over the filming, providing the opportunity for close-up scenes, wide shots and lots of movement. Shows like "Scrubs," "My Name is Earl" and "The Office" use the single camera technique to follow characters as they go from place to place. The use of multiple cameras offers the opportunity to capture
Reality TV Real life, unscripted TV Many people watch reality for the fun of it. They can watch how someone; finds their true love, wins a singing career or makes some big bucks! Reality TV is a good example of the shifting power balance between producers and audiences. The direct engagement of audiences with these shows and their ability to influence the outcomes through voting and other interaction is often seen as a form of empowerment, although a more cynical take might suggest that it is designed primarily to increase revenue through the use of premium rate telephone numbers. Few other examples of TV output attract the same level of coverage in the print media, radio, the web and through other TV programmes as reality TV shows, especially the two leading programmes, Big Brother and I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! The importance of reality TV shows to television networks cannot be underplayed. With large amounts of airtime to fill owing to the increased capacity brought about by digitalisation. Reality TV is a popular means of filling this time.
Different genres within reality TV Documentary-style The viewer and the camera are passive observers following people going about their daily personal and professional activities; this style of filming is often referred to as "fly on the wall" or "Factual television". Special living environment Artificial environment, surveillance or voyeurism focused such as Big Brother Celebrities Fly on the wall follow celebrities lives e.g. The Osbornes, Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica, In other shows, celebrities are put on location and given a specific task or tasks; these include Celebrity Big Brother, Im a Celebrity... Get Me out of Here!. Professional activities portray professionals either going about day-to-day business or performing an entire project over the course of a series e.g. Deadliest Catch; Airport, Police Stop! and Traffic Cops;
Different genres within reality TVpart 2 Elimination/game shows "reality-competition", or so-called "reality game shows" In many cases, participants are removed until only one person or team remains, who/which is then declared the winner. Dating-based competition Artificial environment, surveillance or voyeurism focused such as Big Brother Shows that aired included The Bachelor, as well as For Love or Money, Paradise Hotel, Temptation Island Job search Competitors perform a variety of tasks based around that skill, are judged, and are then kept or removed by a single expert or a panel of experts e.g. Americas Next Top Model, The Apprentice, Hell’s Kitchen Other Genres include Self-improvement/makeover such as Nanny 911,m Extreme Makeover, What not to Wear and Renovation Such as Pimp My Ride or Changing Rooms.
What elements of constructionare in Reality TV shows? Without scrip or actors production elements have to be strong
Documentary Factual film or TV programme: a film or TV programme presenting facts and information, especially about a political, historical, or social issue Common Features of Documentaries A moment of direct address - a person appears to speak direct to the camera. Commentary provided by one or more people. Opposing commentary that seems to offer an alternative view of previous commentary. Captions provided to explain something. Maps or diagrams used to explain something. Archive film footage Archive taped footage Evidence of the filmmaker’s presence in one or other of the documentaries. Individuals being observed - being filmed in an unguarded moment or long before or after they have spoken on some subject to the camera. Events being reconstructed. Periods of obtrusive editing - montage, slow motion, time-lapse or film-in- reverse. Music or sound used to contrast or complement a film sequence.
Documentary Modern lightweight digital video cameras and computer- based editing have greatly aided documentary makers, as has the dramatic drop in equipment prices. The first film to take full advantage of this change was Martin Kunert and Eric Manes Voices of Iraq, where 150 DV cameras were sent to Iraq during the war and passed out to Iraqis to record themselves.
Task C Using your chosen programmes from the last task, fill in the table below which identifies the television programmes and how they are selected and constructed (elements of construction), modes of address . What makes it in the genre it is? Programme Name Elements of Modes of Address and Genre Construction e.g. Eastenders – Soap Discuss: Choose from , Voyeur or Opera •Location Observer, Empathiser, •Length, Direct addressee, •Characters Inclusive Addressee and •Typical Stories explain why you think it is •Themes this mode •Style Elements •Significant objects •Lighting effects / Camera Angles
Task D Identify a television programme that you think fits into each of the categories below and describe how and why it fits into the genre giving detailed illustrative examples from the programme. Single or one off drama Series Short Run Serial Continuous Serial
Task E Describe the difference between a code of practice and legal restrictions placed on creators of TV programmes. Use OFCOM as an example of a regulatory body for TV and explain the legislative background surrounding OFCOM. Include detailed illustrated examples of how OFCOM affects the content of TV programmes being produced. OFCOM website: www.ofcom.org.uk/tv/ifi/codes/bcode