Key Media Concept - GenreStarter:Why can genre be considered useful to each ofthe following:1. Film producers?2. Distributors/marketers?3. Audiences?
Producers like genre because:• They can cash in on popular genres – avoid unpopular ones (not fool proof – they can get it wrong!).• Its easier to raise funding for genre films .• It can be easier/cheaper to write films – many genres rely on a particular formula or are more driven by fx than dialogue.• Film industry can exploit writers of popular books – writers are often associated with a particular genre e.g. John Grisham law based thrillers, Stephen King psychological/supernatural horror.• It can be easier to choose and market stars who are known for films in a particular genre.• It is easier for them to make films in the same genre.• It helps them predict expenditure & minimise risk
Distributors/marketers like genre because:• They can market the film using stars connected to a genre.• They can use genre signifiers in trailers and posters.• It can be easier to predict and target an audience through genre films• It can be easier to reach a target audience - cinema trailers are often similar genres to the one you’re watching
Audiences like genre because:• It helps them choose/categorise• Prediction, expectation anticipation• A sense of expectation , pleasure and anticipation also comes from the repetition of key elements• Even when genre conventions are broken, the success of this depends on us knowing the ‘rules’ in the first place. Pleasure from surprise.• Often genres have thematic pleasures – issues of law and order will be debated in a western and (usually) good will triumph over evil.• Detective films depict crime, but reassuringly lock up the wrongdoers by the end of the film, and so on – genre films often play out audiences fears and anxieties in a ‘safe’ way, or allow audiences to laugh at other’s misfortunes in a comedy for example.• Audiences want a mix of the familiar and the new in genre films
Genre as an academic approach• Genre is a critical tool, a concept that helps scholars to study films and filmmaking as well as audiences’ response to film. It has been used since Ancient Greek times when plays and poetry were arranged into tragedies or comedies.• Genre study allows a form of scientific methodology to be used in studying things, which display similarities. Comparing films within the same group and between groups has several benefits.• So what do the academics say about genre?....
Genre is not clear cut Christine Gledhill• There are no rigid rules of inclusion and exclusion‘ (Gledhill, 1985).• Genres... are not discrete systems, consisting of a fixed number of listable items‘ (Gledhill, 1985).• It is difficult to make clear-cut distinctions between one genre and another: genres overlap, and there are mixed genres such as comedy-thrillers (Chandler, 2000) . Daniel Chandler
Genre is about repetition & difference• Particular features which are characteristic of a genre are not normally unique to it; it is their relative prominence, combination and functions which are distinctive (Neale, 1980)• ‘Genres are instances of repetition and difference‘ (Neale, 1980)• ‘Difference is absolutely essential to the economy of genre (Neale, 1980) - Mere repetition would not attract an audience. Stephen NealeNow apply this to your own work - What elementscan be seen as repetition of genre conventions andwhat can be seen as difference?
GENRE - Lacey’s Repetoire of ElementsLacey considers the repertoire of elements that work incombination to suggest a media text belongs to a particulargenre or mix of genres.He provides a useful framework to follow when analysinggenre. Lacey breaks a text down into these five areas toidentify the elements in each: – Setting – Character – Narrative – Iconography – StyleRemember – Lacey does not see genres as fixed but asdynamic and changing over time. Nick Lacey
GENRE - Lacey’s repetoire of elements• Narrative: This refers to the story structure as well as the specific narrative devices, which genres employ (car chases, gunfights, weddings, etc.).• Characters: Narrative is usually developed through characters and their functions (hero, villain etc). Some characters are so closely associated with a genre that they become generic types. For example, in horror movies, the ‘final girl,’ who maintains her personal dignity, usually defeats the psychopath. Nick Lacey
GENRE - Lacey’s repetoire of elements• Setting: Some genres have a distinct location but this can be subject to change, for example horror films have moved from the gothic to the suburban. Genres can also be associated with time periods like the gangster films set during prohibition in America but successful films have updated this.• Iconography: Films contain visual and audio images, which become instantly recognisable and associated with the genre. Eg: Gangster films feature the iconic ‘Tommy’ gun spraying bullets in the hands of a man in a sharp suit usually standing on the running board of a car. Nick Lacey
GENRE - Lacey’s repertoire of elements• Style: Iconography refers to the objects but style describes the way they are presented. Camera angles, editing, lighting and the use of colour all contribute to the style of a film.Now analyse your production work using Lacey’stheoretical framework:• What elements can you identify that establish a particular genre? (Go through the 5 areas)• Are there overlapping/mixed genres?• Is it difficult to categorise your work by genre?• Do you challenge genre conventions? Nick Lacey
Quick recap on genre…• Nick Lacey considers the repertoire of elements in relation to: – Setting – Character – Narrative – Iconography – Style Nick Lacey
Now you have explored genre as a concept and applied it to your work,do you think there any problems with the genre approach? Discuss in small groups.
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