A2 g324 l7 sept blog


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A2 g324 l7 sept blog

  1. 1. A2 Media Studies G324: Advanced Production Portfolio
  2. 2. Who Was Richard Dyer? • Richard W. Dyer (born 1945) is an English academic specialising in cinema. As of 2006 he is Professor of Film Studies at King's College London.
  3. 3. Who Was Richard Dyer? • Stars (1979) was Dyer's first full-length book. In it he developed the idea that the viewers' perception of a film is heavily influenced by the perception of its stars, and that publicity materials and reviews determine the way that audiences experience the film. • With this thesis in mind, Dyer analysed critics' writing, magazines, and advertising and the films themselves, to explore the significance of stardom
  4. 4. Star Theory • The terms "pop performer" and "pop star" have become interchangeable • The study of stars as media texts/components of media texts demands that the distinction be made between those who are simply known for performing pop music and those who are known for being pop stars, who have an identity or persona which is not restricted solely to their musicianship.
  5. 5. Star Theory • One of the reasons so many pop performers are described as pop stars is that they are quickly promoted to this status by their management. • This is easily done courtesy of a few judiciously placed stories, a famous boyfriend/girlfriend, attendance at premieres/parties and a feature in HEAT magazine.
  6. 6. Star Theory • HOWEVER, a true pop star does have a lasting significance, and has "brand awareness" amongst a wider market over a period of time. • Many of the so-called pop stars populating the top forty currently have not made a sufficient sociological or cultural impact to be classified as true stars if we return to Richard Dyers’ definition.
  7. 7. Stars as Constructions • Stars are constructed, artificial images, even if they are represented as being "real people", experiencing real emotions etc. • It helps if their image contains a USP — they can be copied and/or parodied because of it. Their representation may be metonymic — Madonna's conical bra in the early 1990s, Bono's 'Fly' sunglasses, Justin Bieber's haircut.
  8. 8. • “A star is an image not a real person that is constructed (as any other aspect of fiction is) out of a range of materials (eg advertising, magazines etc as well as films [music]).” Dyer, 1979
  9. 9. Star Theory • Yet that construction process is neither automatic nor fully understood. Record companies think they know about it — but look at the number of failures on their books. • TV programmes such as The X Factor show us the supposed construction process, how an ordinary person is groomed, styled and coached into fulfilling a set of record company and market expectations. • This is not true stardom, which must happen through a combination of factors. None of them labelled 'X'.
  10. 10. X Factor Failures • Steve Brookstein • Matt Cardle
  11. 11. Star Theory • “[Cowell is a] dreadful piece of crap who drags the music business down whenever he rears his ugly head... Pop stars today have no longevity. Rock 'n' roll is not about singing perfect notes or being a showbiz personality. It's about the anger and the angst. I hate what Pop Idol has done to the business.” — Roger Daltrey [of The Who], • As a record buying public, we prefer to believe in stars who are their own and our constructions rather than a transparent offering designed explicitly to appeal to our blander tastebuds served up by a record company interested only in our wallets.
  12. 12. Stars As Constructions • Constructed, artificial images - advertising, magazines, films and music. Good if they have a Unique Selling Point which makes them different • Record companies groom starts (artificial constructions) - we have more respect for them if they groom themselves • We want to believe that stars convey their real emotions to us
  13. 13. Industry & Audience • Stars are manufactured by the music industry to serve a purpose — to make money out of audiences, who respond to various elements of a star persona by buying records and becoming fans. Stars are the cogs around which a plethora of record company gears find themselves turning. • Record companies nurture and shape their stars — as the TV talent show processes have shown us. They tend to manufacture what they think audiences want, hence the 'photocopied' nature of many boy bands, teen bands
  14. 14. Industry & Audience • However, there are whole markets out there who are not convinced by the hype and don't want to spend their money on blandness. • The record industry also has a duty to provide bands/artists who are perceived as 'real' (for 'real, maybe read 'ugly' or unpolished) for these audiences. Stars can also be created by this route. • Pop stars, whatever their nature, are quite clearly the product of their record company — and they must be sold.
  15. 15. Industry & Audience • Historically, the industry has provided us with a range of commodities all with different appeal. • One way to achieve this is by producing new stars of different types playing constantly mutating genres of music - there's always something and someone fresh to choose from (important for the younger audience). • Another way is to produce a star with long-lasting appeal, who, once their brand is established, can cater to a fan audience for decades (in the way U2 or the Rolling Stones have done).
  16. 16. Industry & Audience • Unfortunately, these methods are oppositional. The 'conveyor belt' approach to new stars means that talent isn't developed, and a star's value may be very short-lived. • A star may only be significant or relevant for two years, or two albums. Too much focus on 'golden oldies' means that younger fans can't identify with stars, whom they see as belonging to their parents' generation.
  17. 17. Industry & Audience Summary • Stars - manufactured to make money from audience for record labels. • "X Factor" - 'photocopied stars' who repeatedly churn out what they think we want • Whole markets of audience who want something different – record labels have to cater to these different audiences - – Mirror branding - e.g. Rage Against The Machine & Joe McElderry - both part of the same record company (Sony Music)
  18. 18. Ideology and Culture • Many stars have the ability to influence their fans decisions and choices • This has led to a “Cult of Celebrity” in which the lives of the stars themsleves and NOT their work is under public scrutinty
  19. 19. Ideology & Culture • Stars - cultural values and attitudes - audiences may share these beliefs - e.g. The Jonas Brothers - wearing of purity rings • A star may initiate a fashion trend/hairstyle/clothing/copied by audience - e.g. Jennifer Aniston - "The Rachel" in the 1990s • Forms of media dedicated to celebrity gossip where fans can catch up with the lives of favourite stars.
  20. 20. Character & Personality • A star begins as a "real" human, possessing gender & race characteristics, and existing against a socio-historic background. • The star transformation process turns them into a construct, but the construct has a foundation in the real. We tend to read them as not- entirely-fictional, as being are very much of their time and culture, the product of a particular generation.
  21. 21. Character & Personality • Stars provide audiences with a focus for ideas of 'what people are supposed to be like' (eg for women, thin/beautiful) - they may support hegemony by conforming to it (thin/beautiful) or providing difference (fat/still lovable).
  22. 22. Character & Personality • Other stars construct “characters” into which they create an identity to appeal to their target market • These characters may be outlandish and outspoken and can become an ‘icon’ to their fans who believe in their message or identify with the character in one way or another.
  23. 23. Music Stars • Pop stars can be seen as actors - images are constantly changed to match ideologies of the time - getting publicity (whether negative or positive) enables them to remain in the spotlight
  24. 24. Fandom • Fandom is a term used to discuss a subculture of people who share a common interest in a topic • Music fans can often have an emotional response to their chosen stars – they might copy their look or go even further! Channel 4 - Crazy About One Direction
  25. 25. Task 1 • Summarise Dyer’s theory in a blog post – explain each of the 4 categories and give examples using … • Make sure you give examples for each using Images or Videos (you could use Tubechop!) • Discuss Fandom – are you a fan?
  26. 26. Task 2 • Write a 500 word essay answering the question: To what extent does a pop stars image influence their audience? • Remember to include images and relevant examples or quotes Always remember P.E.A