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Theory 1b

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Theory 1b

  1. 1. Exam: G325 (1B)Section A: Theoretical Evaluation of Production• Question 1(b) requires candidates to select one production and evaluate it in relation to a media concept. The list of concepts to which questions will relate is as follows:GenreRepresentationNarrativeAudienceMedia language• You may choose to write about work undertaken at AS or A2, main task and/or preliminary/ancillary tasks.Objective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  2. 2. GENRE Genre definition • A set of types/groups which any medium may be classified. • Western Science-Fiction Comedy • Sitcom Quiz Show Soap • Reggae Drum n Base Jazz In each case the acknowledgement of genre depends on the acceptance of generic conventions.Objective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  3. 3. GENRE Genre - Timeless? • No - open to historical change - they are historical constructs. • John Fiske - ‘Any one programme will bear the main characteristics of its genre, but is likely to include some from others: ascribing it to one genre or another involves deciding which set of characteristics are most important.’ • Edward Buscombe felt that iconography was the best way to achieve generic definitions.Objective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  4. 4. GENRE Richard Maltby and Ian Craven • The success of Hollywood is reliant on the combination of predictable elements with variation.Objective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  5. 5. GENRE Auteurs • Auteurs - A group of film makers that were considered to be particularly influential and artistic. Does work show a particularly unique style?Objective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  6. 6. GENRE Rick Altman • Genre theory presumes that viewers pre- read texts. • Viewers become passive voyeurs • Genres are therefore restrictive • Does not acknowledge or allow for the hybrid - the blending of genres.Objective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  7. 7. REPRESENTATION QUESTION 1B REPRESENTATION – ExampleThe piece of coursework I am choosing to write about for representation is the pop video we made for‘Dice’ by Finley Quaye. Representation is the way that media products construct a sense of reality andoffer us the idea that what we are seeing on the screen is related to the real world, so it is being REpresented to us.This is a major aspect of media literacy – the more you know that the media are representing things inparticular ways and not just showing us things as they are. People who think that the media justshows us a ‘window on the world’ are less media literate. People who create their own media andpublish it on the internet are often very media literate because you have to understand how the mediais produced to make it yourself. Pop video is representing two things –the song itself (in a promotionalway to make people buy or download it – like a form of advertising) and the ideas and messages thatare in the song. Andrew Goodwin writes that the pop video often ‘anchors’ the meanings of the song –which might be quite abstract – with the imagery of the main performer as a ‘star’ – a kind of signifier,in semiotics. He says that this is more of a commercial than artistic idea. Thinking about our video, Ithink this is a weakness of what we did because our video really represents the story of the song – arelationship breaking down – without really creating a star image for the singer. If we had moreperformancein the video this would have worked but to have neither performance or a star image means it looksless like real pop videos. Goodwin says the pop video is usually an extension of the aesthetics ofperformance” and I don’t think ours manages much in the way of aesthetics. One important thing Ihave learning on my Media course is that representation is about who is not in the frame as much aswho is, and looking at our video all of the characters are white, and the mise en scene is a suburb anda rural area, so we haven’t represented anyone from an ethnic minority or anyone with a disability.And we chose a heterosexual couple for the romance and the affair is also heterosexual. So we arenot really doing anything challenging. But most media is like this and if you think about MTV, what yousee is mostly music being represented through very old fashioned gender roles – what Kaplan calls‘the male gaze’ in pop video. Compared to lots of videos on MTV our representation of women is quiteprogressive – they are not shown as objects and they can give as good as they get. So overall ourvideo was quite mainstream in how it represented a relationship and didn’t challenge conventions.And its main weakness was that it didn’t really manage to offer an aesthetic extension of performance.Objective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  8. 8. REPRESENTATION Answer these questions in a new blog post • Who have you represented? Why • How have you represented? Why? • How you are talking to your audience? • What techniques have you used to commuicate with the audience, i.e, camera, sound, mise-en-scene, editing?Objective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  9. 9. REPRESENTATION Answer these questions in a new blog post • Who have you represented? Why • How have you represented? Why? • How you are talking to your audience? • What techniques have you used to commuicate with the audience, i.e, camera, sound, mise-en-scene, editing?Objective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  10. 10. REPRESENTATION Answer these questions in a new blog post • Who have you represented? Why • How have you represented? Why? • How you are talking to your audience? • What techniques have you used to commuicate with the audience, i.e, camera, sound, mise-en-scene, editing?Objective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  11. 11. NARRATIVEObjective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  12. 12. NARRATIVEObjective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  13. 13. NARRATIVEObjective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  14. 14. NARRATIVEObjective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  15. 15. NARRATIVEObjective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  16. 16. NARRATIVE Todorov: theory of narrative structure: Equilibrium – Disequilibrium - Equilibrium Vladimir Propp - characters and actions (31 functions of character types) Barthes: decided that they could be categorised in the following five ways: ・ Action/proiarectic code & enigma code (ie Answers & questions) ・ Symbols & Signs ・ Points of Cultural Reference ・ Simple description/reproductionObjective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  17. 17. NARRATIVE Binary Oppositions Levi-Strauss Man Woman Another method of analysing the meaning Active Passive and structure of texts. Texts are structured by a series of binary External Domestic conflicts. Public Private Gender Producer Consumer Think about film genre, which portray very specific binary oppositions?Objective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  18. 18. NARRATIVE Binary Oppositions • In the mid-20th century, two major European academic thinkers, Claude Levi Strauss and Roland Barthes, had the important insight that the way we understand certain words depends not so much on any meaning they themselves directly contain, but much more by our understanding of the difference between the word and its opposite or, as they called it binary opposite. They realised that words merely act as symbols for societys ideas and that the meaning of words, therefore, was a relationship rather than a fixed thing: a relationship between opposing ideas. • For example, our understanding of the word coward surely depends on the difference between that word and its opposing idea, that of a hero (and to complicate matters further, a moments thought should alert you to the fact that interpreting words such as hero and coward is itself much more to do with what our society or culture attributes to such words than any meaning the words themselves might actually contain). • Other oppositions that should help you understand the idea are the youth/age binary, the masculinity/femininity, the good/evil binary, and so on. Barthes and Levi-Strauss noticed another important feature of these binary opposites: that one side of the binary pair is always seen by a particular society or culture as more valued over the other.Objective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  19. 19. NARRATIVE Andrew Goodwin: ‘Music Videos are simply an extension of the lyrics’‘Images add new layers of meaning to the words of the song.’Objective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  20. 20. NARRATIVEObjective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  21. 21. NARRATIVEObjective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  22. 22. NARRATIVEObjective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  23. 23. AUDIENCEObjective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  24. 24. AUDIENCE The Hypodermic Syringe theory The media is like a syringe which injects ideas, attitudes and beliefs into the audience who, as a powerless mass, have little choice but to be influenced. You watch something violent, you may go and do something violent. You see a woman washing up on T.V. and you will want to do the same yourself if you are a woman and if you are a man you will expect women to do the washing up for you.Objective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  25. 25. AUDIENCE The Culmination Theory One media text does not have too much effect, years and years of watching more violence will make you less sensitive to violence, so years and years of watching women being mistreated in soaps will make you less bothered about it in real life. • What do you think? Can you think of any criticisms of these theories?Objective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  26. 26. AUDIENCE Two-Step-Flow • Another argument suggests that the ‘masses’ will experience the media individually but then they will discuss what they have watched with others and it is the discussion which can then influence peoples opinions/behaviour. Are there any ways in which you share your experiences of the media with other people who werent around when you experienced the text?Objective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  27. 27. AUDIENCE Uses and Gratifications theory We make choices about what we watch and we also have certain expectations; we expect to be gratified by what we watch Information The five ways that we Identification are gratified by the Interaction media? Entertainment Escapism The 3 I’s and the 2 E’sObjective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  28. 28. AUDIENCE Will everybody watching the same programme react in the same way? • One major criticism of ‘mass’ theories is that they assume that the audience will all read a text in the same way. In actual fact our individual reading of a text can be affected by our culture, gender, class, age etc.Objective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  29. 29. AUDIENCE Encoding/Decoding • This theory extends the idea that we, as audiences, view texts in different ways. • Everybody brings different experiences to a text and this may alter how the text is decoded. • Watch the following clip and then share with the person next to you what you thought about it. Are your opinions the same? What do you think has affected your opinion?Objective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  30. 30. AUDIENCE Encoding and Decoding Theory As consumers we have learned to read a ‘media language.’ We decode signs in the same way that Media texts or we decode messages are language. constructed for recognition and interpretation. This process is called encoding.Objective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  31. 31. AUDIENCE Semiotic Theory Denotation: What can I see? Connotation: What does this signify? The cross becomes a sign. The actual cross is the signifier. What is being signified?Objective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  32. 32. AUDIENCE Ferdinand Saussure, C.S. Pierce, Roland Barthes Barthes: We are likely to read photographs by interpreting the various elements within them rather than reading a universal message. Mechanical photographic process (images are denoted by transfer to photographic paper) Cultural process (camera angle, framing, lighting etc.) Encoder = photographer Decoder = viewer How we read a photograph may depend on our cultural knowledge and experiences.Objective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  33. 33. AUDIENCE Iconic signs: which actually look like what they represent. Symbolic/arbitrary signs: which have a meaning that must be culturally learned because they don’t actually look like what they represent. Indexical signs: which have a connection to what they represent and are suggestive rather than directly resembling what they represent.Objective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  34. 34. AUDIENCE Media texts are polysemic Potentially open to many interpretations Class Past experiences Gender Age What could affect your reading of a text? Ethnicity Lifestyle Beliefs ValuesObjective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  35. 35. AUDIENCE McMahon and Quinn Identify three categories of codes that may be used to convey meanings in media messages: technical codes, which include camera techniques, framing, depth of field, lighting and exposure and juxtaposition; symbolic codes, which refer to objects, setting, body language, clothing and colour; and written codes in the form of headlines, captions, speech bubbles and language style. For instance, a journalist aiming at readers sympathy for an imprisoned political activist may choose to publish a photograph of the activist, crouched behind bars, next to a picture of a caged animal (making use of body language, setting, and juxtaposition) and anchor the picture to a caption that reads "CAGED!"Objective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  36. 36. AUDIENCE "Pop stars are, to some extentsymbolic vehicles with which young women understand themselves more fully, even, if, by doing so,they partly shape their personalitiesto fit the stars" alleged preferences.Objective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  37. 37. AUDIENCE Audience is a very important concept throughout media studies. All media texts are made with an audience in mind, i.e. a group of people who will receive it and make some sort of sense out of it. And generally, but not always, the producers make some money out of that audience. Therefore it is important to understand what happens when an audience "meets" a media text.Objective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  38. 38. AUDIENCE Constructing Audience • When a media text is being planned, perhaps the most important question the producers consider is "Does it have an audience?" If the answer to this is no, then there is no point in going any further. Audience research is a major part of any media company, using questionnaires, focus groups, and comparisons to existing media texts, they will spend a great deal of time and money ascertaining if there is anyone out there who might be interested in their idea. Its a serious business; media producers basically want to know the • income bracket/status • age • gender • race • Location of their potential audience, a method of categorising known as demographics. Once they know this they can begin to shape their text to appeal to a group with known reading/viewing/listening habits.Objective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam
  39. 39. Useful linksMEDIA LANGUAGE http://www.kenstone.net/fcp_homepage/language_of_film.ht ml http://www.mediaknowall.com/as_alevel/alevel.php? pageID=filmlang • If ‘language’ is defined as how we communicate, then it can be interpreted in many levels when it comes to the medium of film. We know that each language consists of learnt “words, phrases, grammar, punctuation, rules and common practices” (Wohl, Michael; The Language of Film 2008). Therefore we could transfer this understanding to the micro elements of film, camera, sound, mise-en-scene, editing etc, and/or go to a deeper level of analysis with a detailed look at choices of shot sizes, match-on-action, rules of continuity, framing and how they are pieced/edited together to create a sentence and therefore a language of communication. Unlike the other concepts in this part of the exam, we are not so much looking at what we are communicating but how we are communicating it. All of the decisions you made in your short films about which shots, angles, costume, set design, location, lighting, character movement, etc, play a part in this discussion. Arguably the language of film can’t be discussed separately from genre, narrative, representation and audience as your knowledge of each of these influences the decisions you made throughout production.Objective: Explore concepts in order to prepare for Key Concepts Exam

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