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Genre Theory

Presentation looking at genre theory in relation to A Level media studies and my music video.

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Genre Theory

  2. 2. “The word ‘genre’ means ‘type’ or ‘category’.To study a film as a genre involvestreating it, not as a unique entity, but as a member of a generalcategory, as a certain type of film.The aim…is therefore to classify, or organise, a large number of films into a small number of groups.” - Film Studies by Warren Buckland
  3. 3. • “Yet…this process of classification does not systematically organise films into genres. This is because the boundaries between film genres are fuzzy, rather than clearly delineated. Moreover, genres are not static, but evolve. Therefore, their common attributes change over time. Most films are hybrid genres, since they possess the common attributes of more than one genre.” - Film Studies by Warren Buckland• Genre is “a recurring type or category of text, as defined by structural and thematic criteria.” - David Duff
  4. 4. • Genre Theory places a text in relation to other texts, and the context in which it’s consumed.• It is used in studying “non literary texts; notably film and media” - David DuffIconography often helps to define a genre.• Yet there are many ways of categorising media texts beyond the usual: western, action, romance etc• Many genres, such as Horror, depend on shared cultural values rather than a common time/setting or fixed iconography.
  5. 5. • Genre helps both audiences and institutions to make decisions about what they want to see and what they want to make to supply that demand.• Each genre has its own conventions which evolve over time (Duff) - its not fixed which was the traditional literary view.• “Genre is not... simply ‘given’ by the culture: rather, it is in a constant process of negotiation and change” - David Buckingham 1993• Changes in genre reflects changes in society and our values.
  6. 6. • “Different genres specify different ‘contracts’ to be negotiated between the text and the reader” (Livingstone).• This knowledge of the conventions can be both positive and negative for the producers as it can lead to passive viewing from the audience. However producers can use the audiences expectations to their advantage by manipulating the conventions to make new hybrid genres.
  7. 7. • “The same text can belong to different genres in different countries or times.” - John Hartley• “Genres are instances of repetition and difference... difference is absolutely essential to the economy of genre: mere repetitions would not attract an audience.” - Steve Neale 1980
  8. 8. Music Video• Genre conventions I’ve used: lip-syncing, editing to the beat, engagement with audience, artist/character shown, music playing, some form of narrative/message• The genre I’m working in is romantic, however it is moving away from conventions by looking at the break up and not the ‘falling in love’ part of romance.• My video conforms to some conventions of a romance by including a couple in love (these portions making up the flashbacks) which builds audience expectations for the video. But then the rest of the video subverts the conventions by showing a strong single female who is moving on from the relationship. It plays with the conventions by showing her in similar conventions used in romantic videos and then showing herself happy in them on her own.
  9. 9. • “Genre creates expectations that condition our responses. The familiarity of the genre enables each spectator to anticipate and predict what will appear in them. Genre sets up hopes and promises and brings pleasure if these hopes and promises are fulfilled.” - Film Studies by Warren Buckland
  10. 10. Uses and Gratifications: Audience Pleasures1. Recognising conventions due to familiarity2. Emotional pleasures linked to different genres3. Cognitive satisfaction - problem solving, predicting. Pleasure comes from realising these predictions/ expectations4. Noticing manipulated genres, shifting our expectations5. Judging characters6. Sharing experience of genres with other people that enjoy it - creates a community.
  11. 11. Audience reception • The preferred reading of my text is that the audience will enjoy the subverting of the conventions and see it as an interesting look at female representation and a new way at looking at the romance genre - making them feel positive about themselves.
  12. 12. Criticisms of GenreGenre is a great way of helping define different methods ofcommunicating to the audience and provides boundaries and guidelinesas well as shorthand for both producers, institutions and audiencesin terms of creating and consuming media. However genres can gettired and be stifling for creators who want to experiment outside therigid boxes set out for them. Yet without a ‘genre’ to conform tothey would find hard to find funding or to sell their product toaudiences who require genre to understand and choose their media.Audiences are made up of individuals and are no longer passivelyconsuming media such as described in the Hypothermic Needle theoryalmost a century ago. They interact with their media and, as evidentin Web 2.0, are often the producers themselves. They understand medialanguage and how media is made now and so the constricting boundariesof genre can be hard to work around, to make it clear to everyonewhat you are trying to make. By trying to pigeon hole everything intogenre specific boxes many fail to see the art behind the product.Institutions are less enthused to take risks and so the cycle willcontinue as each side of the process will continue to haveexpectations which both sides will continue to provide for the otherin order to sell the products.