GenreGenre is a way of categorising a particular media text according to its contentand style. Genres have particular characteristics also known as paradigms, thatthe audience can identify and recognise these paradigms which can lead tothem having expectations as to how the media will develop, e.g. in crime filmsthe audience may expect the villain to be brought to justice.There are a variety of genres that can include; horror, comedy, crime, romance,sci-fi, animation, thriller, historical and many more. There can be hybrids ofgenres as well such as a rom-com which also has specific conventions of thishybrid genre.Media texts are given a specific genre in order to attract a specific targetaudience for example in a horror film the audience are likely to expect weak andstronger characters, weapons, suspense and dramatic music, blood and a villainor supernatural monster. There are usually one or more deaths involved withthe horror genre.
Genre TheoristsRick Altman argues that genres are usually defined in terms of medialanguage (SEMANTIC elements) or certain ideologies and narratives(SYNATIC elements). Daniel Chandler: 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.David Bordwell notes, ‘any theme may appear in any genre’ (Bordwell 1989)‘One could…argue that no set of necessary and sufficient conditions can markoff genres from other sorts of groupings in ways that all experts of ordinaryfilm-goers would find acceptable.You can apply these codes and conventions from these differenttheorists to the horror genre as horror films typically contain an isolatedsetting, low key lighting, with a hero and a villain/supernatural monster.
NarrativeNarrative refers to the different types of story structure that genres employ aswell as the actual story-telling devices and narrative moments which they areassociated with.There are narrative structures such as LINEAR narrative.This means that therewill be a clear beginning, middle and end. ARISTOTLE identified the basic linearline structure. He observed that the middle section may involve some crisisresolved by the end of the story.There are also CIRCULAR narrative structure where the beginning is the sameas the end of the film. This has been done in the play ‘Blood Brothers’ and thefilm ‘The Hangover’.Freytag adapted Aristotles basic triangle the idea of the plot complicating. Climax The rising and falling action can vary Rising Action Falling Action during film trailers, typically with the a slow building rising action with an abrupt ending which usually uses a series of Exposition End short takes and fast pace editing.
Narrative TheoristsTodorov’s narrative theory states that a narrative will follow this structure:-EQUILIBRIUM (how the place and characters begin at the beginning of the story)-DISEQUILIBRIUM (a disruption to the equilibrium)-RECOGNITION of the disruption-RESOLUTION (plan to resolve the disequilibrium)-RESTORATION OF EQUILLIBRIUM (the story returns back to the beginning).Vladimir Propp went through hundreds of fairy/folk tales and identified:-8 character roles (villain, hero, donor, helper, princess, her father, dispatcher, falsehero)-31 functions which moves the story along e.g. punishment of villain or ban of anaction.
Todorov’s theory can be applied to horror films such as Sweeny Todd.2.Benjamin Barker returns to London after 15 years arrest in Australia under the newidentity of Sweeny Todd, hoping to regain a new normal life. (Equilibrium)3.However when in Fleet Street he learns (by Mrs Lovett) that his wife poisoned herself afterJudge Turpin (who falsely charged Benjamin) raped her. He also learns that the judge is thelegal guardian of his daughter. (Disequilibrium)4.Todd decides to reopen his barber shop but can not help but feel angry towards JudgeTurpin and lets his anger get the better of him when he murders a man who blackmails himand misses an opportunity to murder Judge Turpin. (Recognition)5.Todd then turns his revenge on the entire world and vents his murderous rage on hiscustomers whilst waiting until he can kill Judge Turpin. Mrs Lovett then comes up the idea touse the dead bodies in her pies in order to make more money and improve her business,thus they both benefit from the situation. (Repair/solution)6.At the end of the story Todd kills what seems to be a beggar women and Turpin. Howeverthe beggar women turned out to be his wife, that Miss Lovett lied about her dying so Toddthrows Miss Lovett into the furnace. Whilst cradling his dead wife Todd lets a boy namedToby kill him so Todd can be at peace with his wife. (Restoration)
Roland BarthesThe Hermeneutic Code: any element within the story that is not fully explainedand becomes a mystery to the reader. The real truth is often avoided.The Semantic Code: the connotation within the story that gives additionalmeaning over the basic meaning of the word therefore we are able to paintimages with our minds.The Cultural Code: anything that cannot be challenged and is assumed to be thefoundation of truth. This usually involves either science or religion howevermagical truths are often found in fantasy films.The Proairetic Code: builds tension within the film by implying that some otherpiece of action is about to happen which makes the audience keep guessing.This is usually done within horror films.The Symbolic Code: organizes semantic meanings into broader and deeper setsof meanings.
Representation•Every media form, is a representation of someones concept ofexistence, codified into a series of signs and symbols which can be readand identified by an audience.• Therefore media texts are re-presentation of reality.•Representation has dealt with particular social groups such as focusingon women, ethnic minorities, age, gender, sexuality and sub cultures.Examples of this can be representing black people as criminals whichcan lead to stereotypes.
Representation and StereotypesBranston and Stafford state that there are characteristics to representationsuch as:-A categorising and evaluation of the group being stereotyped.-Emphasise on specific features which are easily recognised by the audience forthem to draw the conclusion of the represented group.-The evaluation is often (but not always) a negative one.Representation can be linked to horror films such as the representation ofgender. This is because women are represented as vulnerable and an easytarget within horror films. However the horror genre also allows thisstereotypical view of women to be challenged, because as the story progresseswe can see how the woman can become stronger and overcome the villain.Horror and gender can also be linked to Laura Mulvey’s male gaze theory suchas in ‘Halloween’ where we see women through the male’s perception whichcan lead to the stereotypical view of vulnerable.
AudienceAudience are the people who the media text is aimed at (target audience) andthe people who consume the media product. Audiences can be sorted intocertain categories such as the demographics and psychographics of the targetmarket. Demographics Psychographics Age Hobbies and Interests Gender Religion Socio-economic Spending powerIn the next few slides are audience theories that explain why audience’s choseparticular media texts (such as horror films) and how the audience take in theinformation.
Uses and GratificationBulmer and Katz developed the Uses and Gratification theory in 1974, statingthat individuals might choose and use a text for the following purposes:- Entertainment/Diversion-Information/Surveillance-Social Relationships-Personal Identity
Hypodermic Syringe ModelDating from the 1920s, this theory was the first attempt to explain how massaudiences might react to mass media. This theory suggests that information isabsorbed into the human brain without thought.The consumer is vulnerable from consuming media texts and are easilymanipulated by producers, therefore the consumer will accept dominantideologies as the norm.
Two Step FlowLazarsfeld, Berelson and Gaudet analysed the voter’s decision making processduring the 1940 presidential election campaign and published their results in‘The People’s Choice’.Their findings suggested that the information does not flow directly from thetext into the minds of its audience unmediated but its already filtered throughopinion leaders who then communicate it to their less active associates, overwhom they have influence.
Reception TheoryThirty years ago research was conducted on how individuals receive andinterpret a media text, and whether their individual circumstances (age, gender,class) affected their reading.Stuart Hall addressed this concluding that audiences take on their own theoriesof a media text as people are all different hand have different ideologies.
These audience theories can be relatable to the horror genre.This can include many people believing that from thehypodermic syringe model, this can influence the consumer tothen commit these crimes. This perception has led to thebanning of films such as The Exorcist in the past.However studies have argued this theory claiming that byviewing horror films it allows us to gain the feeling of the crimeswithout having to commit it which therefore satisfies theconsumer. It also allows the consumer to share the experiencewith others and gain a sense of empathy.
Media Language InvestigationIn the following slides I will analyse three different horror trailers2. The Devil Inside3. The Woman In Black4. StrangersI will analyse in detail how the trailer has been produced through use of cinematography, editing, sound and mise en scene and how these following features will contribute into creating a typical trailer of the horror genre.
An extreme close up has been used here to show the cut on this womans mouth. The make up and overall mise en scene makes her The Devil Inside look possessed which adds to the horror genre.Through use of editing andcomputer development weare now able to create morehorrifying images such as themangles body shown in thisscreen shot. This realisticimage makes the readerbelieve that this could happenin reality therefore makingthe trailer and film seem moreterrifying. It also is amemorable image which willmake the audience rememberthis film, therefore they willbe more likely to go and see There have been use ofit. security cameras as part This is a mid shot. The of the cinematography lighting has been used on and mise en scene to the character’s face to show entrapment. It also show the emotion yet adds a realistic element given enough light to to the trailer as we all show the possessed character behind in the have security cameras. dark which adds to the This adds to the scary tension and scary feel to atmosphere to the trailer. the trailer. Cinematography: There is a use of mid shots and close ups to gain the expression of the characters. It also allows the view to see the detail such as the cuts on the woman’s arm. There are high angles to show lack of power the woman has over her possession. There are also uses of extreme close ups to show the horror and create an idea of chaos as the consumer cannot fully see what they are watching. There are also use of Dutch tilts to show the chaos and to help build tension. The lighting has been used effectively throughout to show emotion on character’s faces but also to emphasize the darkness which is a typical convention of horror. The end scene of the title of the film has images of the cuts shown on the victim earlier showing continuity.
Editing: There has been use of type writing used at the start of the trailer so theaudience can read what is being said through the telephone call. Also by saying‘the actual 911 call’ makes the audience believe that this can happen in reality,therefore causing tension and horror to rise. The shots have been edited sort offuzzy to show chaos which is usually associated with horror. Towards the end ofthe trailer there are fast paced cuts (short takes) to build suspense. There are alsomotivated cuts as well as the use of fade outs so the image goes black, which is acolour associated with horrorSound: There are use of voice-overs to create a realistic feel to the trailer as ifthey are listening to a police phone call, making the horrific incidences realisticThere is also diegetic sound which is carried over the shots to become a voiceover which has been done when the woman is singing a nursery rhyme. Kids’songs are often used to create an eerie feel in horror. The key action parts thatare designed to make the audience jump use non diegetic sound to emphasizethe action.Mise En Scene: Use of dark and low lighting is used throughout to show thehorror genre. There are also use of the Christ cross to show the ideal of the devilwhich is linked to the horror genre.
The Woman In Black Darkness and a night setting is common within horror trailers as it adds suspense andBlood is common within nervoushorror films. This shot atmosphere withinhowever could also imply the audience.someone is watching himwhich adds to the horrorelement as it creates asense of the unknown.Cinematography: The trailer begins with an establishing shot in order for the audience tovisualize this is where the action will be taking place within the movie, giving the audience aninsight. The room is old, tattered and destroyed which creates an eerie look which follows thehorror genre. There are use of close ups and mid shots to show the terror on character’s facesand to show the ‘creepy’ objects in the house. There are also use of insert cuts as well once thesetting has been established to show the action within the scene. There are use of low angleson the house to show the power of this haunted house. The lighting used is also dark which aretypical of horror trailers
Editing: Within post production a variety of editing devices have been used. There are uses of transitions such asfade outs which leaves a black screen which adds to the horror genre as black is a conventional colour. There arealso use of motivated cuts when the word ‘house’ and ‘women’ is mentioned it cuts to a shot of them so theaudience can gain an insight as to who the characters are. The scenes have been edited so as to when an object isdestroyed or some form of action is shown on the screen it co-alongside with the flash of music for emphasis.There are short takes throughout which have been pieced together in a fast pace towards the end of the trailerto show tension and speed in the action. There has been no copy used either which is usually typical of horrortrailers, though this may be done as the voice over will create a better scary atmosphere for the horror trailer.Sound: At the beginning of the trailer there is ambient sound of the wind which creates an eerie atmosphere andan idea of desertion within the house. There is also a voice over of the child telling the story of the film in anursery rhyme style. Children and nursery rhymes are often used in horror films to again create an eerie andscary feel to show the genre of the film. This is the only voice to be heard within the trailer to show that no onewill hear you scream in this town, creating a sense of horror. Also by not being able to see this voice and where itis coming from will also add tension. The non diegetic sound of a child’s music toy is constant throughout tocreate tension, which speeds up part way through and cuts out to just one note after the title of the film hasbeen said. This has been done to show chaos, tension and suspense. It also does not fit with the fast pace actionthat is happening on screen at the time which goes against typical horror trailer conventions.Mise En Scene: The overall mise en scene of the horror trailer is old, dark, death and decay which are allcommon features of a horror genre. There is also a deserted area, the Christ’s cross (which is used a lot withinhorror) and blood – all typical conventions of a horror trailer to create a scary location to emphasize the plot andmake the consumer feel nervous and scared. There are lots of use of children’s toys which shows how themonster prays on children, therefore creating a scary environment.
A Dutch tilt has been used here to create a chaotic look to the scene Paranormal Activity 3 which complies with the horror genre. The lighting is also dark which is another typical convention of the horror genre. This mirror shotLighting has shows a dark figuredbeen carefully supernatural beingchosen here to which is typical ofcreate the scary the horror genre.atmosphere. Also the darkness creates the terror in which horror films are known for.Cinematography: The cameras chosen to film this movie has been done by using homevideo cameras to create a more realistic feel to the film, making the reader believe that thisis something that could happen in reality. The hand held camera also gives a distorted andshaky look during some shots within the trailer which shows a chaotic feel to the trailerwhich emphasizes the horror genre. There are use of close ups and midshots to show theterror on character’s faces to show the horror genre. There are also flash backs and over theshoulder/mirror shots so the audience can gain a greater insight into the trailer. There arealso dutch tilts in order to create a chaotic and distorted look to the trailer.
Editing: During post production the continuity between each shot has been edited to a distorted and fuzzy look to show a chaotic atmosphere which is a typical convention of a horror genre. There are motivated cuts as well which link back to previous films showing the audience a brief history of the film to show synergy. Some scenes have been edited into slow motion which creates an eerie feel as the laughing over the top has been echoed and edited to create suspense. Copy has also been used with use of emotive language to create suspense and make the audience ask questions which will make them want to watch the film.Sound: There are voiceover used throughout which has been echoed and distorted to create a nervous and eerie atmosphere which adds to the typical horror genre feel. The non diegetic sound along with the sound of broken up film is used towards the end of the trailer to create further suspense. The childs laugh carries over the black out through use of a sound bridge in order to add further suspense to the audience.Mise En Scene: The overall feel of the trailer is quite dark, as black is a typical convention of horror. Also light is used to emphasize the scary aspects within the trailer (such as the torch under the face) as well as the darkness to emphasize the supernatural monster that is often associated with night. The use of everyday clothes and home cameras used makes the trailer seem very realistic to make the audience believe that this could happen to them in their own home, which adds to the scary atmosphere within the trailer.
Research and PlanningResearch and planning takes into consideration all aspects of developing,producing and selling the product to the consumer in order to make a successfulselling product. This could be done by conducting surveys, analysing salesreports in order to find what sells well. Research and planning will also have tobe taken into consideration when creating the specific medium as to make surethe product will have a professional feel (such as making sure there is continuityand a well thought out plot within a film).When creating a horror film, research and planning stages are needed to betaken into consideration. This would start with what the plot of the film is goingto be and finding out whether it will interest the chosen target audience.Careful planning of the cinematography, editing, sound, mise en scene will alsohave to be planned carefully in order to create a successful atmosphere of thehorror genre which is usually tension, suspense and darkness. Planning will alsohave to be considered in how to market the final product as well as planninghow to cut the final product up into a serious of short clips in order to create atrailer.
Real Media TextsIn the following pages I will analyse existing horror trailers and how they relateto the typical codes and conventions found in existing horror trailers.Codes and conventions that are typically found in horror films can include:-Isolated setting-Eerie music-Tension and suspense-Fast cut editing towards the end of the trailer to build up the action-Short takes-Either a supernatural monster or criminal
The Devil Inside‘The Devil Inside’ follows typical conventions of horror trailer as it contains a supernaturalbeing, lots of suspense with a few jumpy moments, darkness, blood/gore, and a sense of theunknown. All these conventions adds to the suspense created throughout the trailer which istypical of the horror genre. However there is no copy used throughout but instead a voiceover which is not typical of horror trailers. There is a slow build up and faced pace actiontowards the end which follows FREYTAGS theory of narrative. Women are also seen as thevictim but also the main character which links to the representation theories of women eitherbeing vulnerable or overcoming the supernatural force.
The Woman In Black‘The Woman In Black’ follows typical conventions of a horror trailer with scary/eerie music and taking theidea of childhood innocence and manipulating it into something to be feared about which is very commonin the horror genre. There is use of darkness, blood and a supernatural being which is all typicalconventions of the horror genre which links to David Chandlers genre theory. There is no copy used eitherwhich is not typical of horror genres, however the voice used is appropriate to set the atmosphere. There isfast paced action towards the end which follows FREYTAGS theory, however the music does not follow thisfast pace action which goes against the typical conventions. This trailer can be linked to people deciding towatch this film as a form of entertainment which links to the Uses and Gratification theory.
Paranormal Activity 3Although the trailer for ‘Paranormal Activity 3’ follows typical conventions of a horror genesuch as darkness and a supernatural being, it does go against typical conventions of thehorror genre. Firstly there is not fast pace action towards the end of the trailer. There is alsouse of a hand held camera which is not commonly used for horror trailers. There is howeveruse of copy which is typical of horror trailers to create suspense. This trailer does not followAristotle’s linear narrative theory but possibly a circular narrative as the sequels of the filmwork backwards. Furthermore the Proairetic Code is not very prominent within this traileras it does not necessarily make the audience keep guessing or waiting for the next piece ofaction.
Digital TechnologyDigital technology can be described as new media refers to on-demand accessto content any time, anywhere, on any digital device, as well as interactive userfeedback, creative participation and community formation around the mediacontent. Most technologies described as "new media" are digital, often havingcharacteristics of being manipulated, networkable, dense, compressible, andinteractive e.g. the Internet, websites, computer multimedia, video games, CD-ROMS, and DVDs.When creating a horror trailer a variety of digital technology will have to beused such as filming the product, producing the product (such as usingPremierePro), burning the film onto disc, creating the packaging (such as usingPhotoShop) etc. Also by uploading the trailer onto YouTube is also another formof digital technology as this results in the trailer being available to be viewedworld wide quick and easily.
CreativityCreativity is the use of imagination or original ideas to produce an artistic pieceof work.Creative features used within a horror trailer can include:-The use of creating a soundtrack to be used within the trailer which can add tothe action, tension and suspense of the film trailer.-The use of creating the costumes for the supernatural being, criminal or eventhe gore scenes which are associated wit the horror genre to make the trailerlook realistic which adds to the fear of the horror trailer.
Post ProductionPost production is a term for all stages of production occurring after the actualend of shooting and/or recording the completed work.Once completing filming the horror trailer post production stages can includeediting the clips together, adding non diegetic sound, adding special effects,editing of lighting and colours etc. Due to the development of digitaltechnology this has made the process of post production incredibly quicker andeasier.