Wednesday, 8 May 2013

how typical are your chosen texts of their genre?

Social realism is the key genre represented in the film Fish tank. The Social realism genre aims to present the closest image of reality as possible to the audience, it contains generic conventions that audiences would expect and fain gratification from. Some conventions of social realism are the use of urban locations, unknown actors and working class characters. These conventions can be found in the opening scene of the film where Mia played by Katie Jarvis confronts her friend over the phone, her friends dad after she throws stones at his window, and a group of teenage girls when she criticises their dancing. Firstly Katie Jarvis has never acted before and was picked for the role of Mia when she was seen arguing at a train station- in the film she plays a character similar to herself which makes her acting and emotions more believable. Whilst she is looking out of the flat window the audience are able to see the location of where Mia is- as there are high rise blocks of flats all around her, also the diegetic sound of traffic shows that it is set in an urban area, which is typical of the social realism genre, this links to the class as it is filmed in Tilbury which is a deprived area of London and known for its high crime rate and anti social behaviour. Other ways in which the audience can see her class is through the clothes in which the characters are wearing, Mia is wearing a tracksuit and trainers and the other girls in the scene are wearing cheap-looking clothes. The language which Mia uses also reflects her social class as she has a common accent and she swears at least 5 times in the opening scene e.g. she leaves a voicemail on her friends phone saying "ring me back you bitch".
Even though Fish tank is of the Social realist genre, the genre can not be called typical as it adapts to social change in different films. An example of this is in the film "A taste of Honey" which was made in the 1960s. In Fish tank there is a sex scene between Mia and Connor where the audience can actually see the two having sex, in todays society this is much more accepted even though it may make the audience feel uncomfortable, however in A taste of Honey this is not seen at all and the audience only see the scene before and after, as this was not ever seen on screen in the 60s

Friday, 26 April 2013

Discuss the audience appeal of your three main texts

Madmen is a critically acclaimed drama shown on Sky Atlantic at 10pm, and is produced by AMC. By broadcasting the programme on this subscription channel this already limits the audience, as not everybody is able to watch it. However Madmen is the first cable show to take home an Emmy for outstanding drama series three years in a row, which proves how even though it will never have a mass appeal it is very popular. Madmen does not spell everything out for its audience and there are often hidden issues with in the storyline, this means the audience has to take an active role when watching, and critics have described the episode "The other women" as a 'top-notch episode full of closed-door talks and identity politics'. Madmen is character driven and in this episode there is a very strong representation of each character- especially in the scene where Don visits Joan at home to talk her out of spending a night with the Jaguar boss to gain a higher position in the advertising company and to win the contract for them. This scene is sophisticated as it is constructed as a non-linear sequence and it shows the same scene from two different points of view, firstly it shows Don visiting Joan and then the flashback of his pitch to Jaguar, after this it flashes back to Joan spending the night with the boss of Jaguar but then returns to the scene where Don visits Joan but from her point of view, this adds to the sophistication as you seeing the same situation from two different perspectives, this is entertaining for the audience because this has never previously happened in any season of madmen. The target audience for Madmen is middle class 25-50 year olds who like getting cultural or aesthetic enjoyment from television programmes.
 In comparison Lost is more mainstream than Madmen and targets the widest demographic possible, by having an ensemble multinational cast it makes it easier for the audience to personally relate to at least one character, also the cast is made up of different ages so the age of the audience can range from 12-40 years old. Another way in which Lost appeals to its audience is through its hybrid genre of action, fantasy and science fiction- these are all popular genres and by combining them it targets a wider audience. The title sequence establishes the genre, and positions the audience- the scene is of Jack, Kate and Charlie walking through the jungle and Charlie says "before the pilot was ripped from the cockpit he said nobody is going to find us unless the transceiver works" along with misty writing, and the creepy music the audience can still be passive as this gives as much information to them as possible and even if the audience has not watched the previous episode, the scene then flashes back to the plane crash- this is constructed in a non-linear way to reveal more about the character and whats happened, and by showing the crash it highlights the action genre, it does this again in the episode when it shows Kate in the plane- and the audience see the plane crash from a different perspective. Lost appeals to its audience also through the use of a neutral location within the narrative, this creates escapism as it is in an exotic location, it also creates an enigma as they are so isolated. The use of enigmas guides the audience through the use of music, and camera shots, enigmas also keep the audience interested- one scene where this has been successful is when the group go on a walk to get more signal on the transceiver and they run in to a polar bear which Sawyer then shoots- the disequilibrium is set up using a long camera shot to show how lost and alone they are, a low drone plays which indicates danger, also the pace of music increases as the polar bear gets nearer and the camera movement goes shaky and it ends with a black screen. Shallow focus is used to block out the mise-en-scene and just show the characters facial expressions and this highlights also that all the characters are facing the same direction- the enigma continues once the polar bear has been shot as we do not fully see an image of the polar bear but instead get told by Kate what the animal is.
 Louis Theroux: Americas most hated family in crisis, is much different to Lost and Madmen firstly because it is shown on a terrestrial channel and also because it is a documentary. It is shown on BBC 2- a channel which has to entertain, inform and educate through the programmes it shows- by including all three uses and gratifications it appeals to a wider audience as it offers more to them. One example of the way it entertains the audience is in the opening scene of the show, the scene shows the Westboro baptist church picketing outside a college, long shots are used to show the location, the amount of people and the offensive signs which they are using which adds to the shocking factor- however Louis Theroux style of journalism softens the situation as he says "is it possible you've become more weird?" which mocks the church and makes them out to be a joke. This scene is also constructed to inform the audience as it shows the last time Theroux visited the church. Audiences are intrigued by the extremist views of the Westboro baptist church, the BBC represents this through interviews with the children where an 11 year old boy is holding a "God hates you sign" and also the viewers see a video the church made against Jewish people which included the swastika symbol, implying that they may be pro nazi.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Explore the impact of digital technologies on your selected industry.

The music industry has developed overtime to integrate into the ever changing modern society. This has helped artists to promote, market, and sell their products by interacting with fans, offering their music instantly and allowing anybody around the world to listen to them.
 Lady Gaga is a prime example of how digital technology has boosted her career by making her more well known and also it helps keep the millions of fans she already has. Lady Gaga is the worlds 2nd most followed person on twitter with 33610937 followers who read and respond to her tweets and are interested in every way- Lady Gaga, unlike many celebrities replies to her fans and calls them her 'little monsters' this gives the fans gratification because they are inspired by her and by speaking to her they gain social interaction. Through social media the fans are able to find out every detail about Lady Gaga's life and the type of person she is, Parasocial interaction has been created here, even though she knows nothing about her fans she often thanks them and reminds them that they are the reason she has achieved so much- this can only make her fans love her more.  Lady Gaga was recently interviewed by google, one of the most influential search engines in the world, and she has been named as one of the most searched artists ever this shows her popularity and how the internet enables people to find out who she is- increasing the number of fans she has through free publicity.
 Itunes, Youtube and Spotify have all worked to Lady Gaga's advantage allowing people to download and listen to her music instantly through the internet. Over 3 and a half days she was asked 54000 question via her Youtube channel also giving her fans social gratification as they are able to find out more about their favourite artist whilst listening to her music. Since 'The fame' was released in 2008 it has sold 12 million copies world wide consisting of mp3 downloads and WAV download.
  Similarly Radiohead have been more successful as a result of digital technology. When releasing 'The king of limbs' they promoted via the bands website as the band had no record label and self-released the album making digital technology such as the internet even more important. On the 14th february 2011 the band announced the release of the new album, the 19th february on the website. However the promotional video 'lotus flower' and the album were released a day earlier- a decision made by the band themselves. On the 18th the only available copy of the album was a MP3 download or a WAV priced at just £6 from their website as a result of this the internet(digital technology) was the most important factor when selling this album. Radiohead were not able to sell this through itunes etc as the price was too low, however it did have a set price unlike their previous album which was available at what the customer wanted to pay for it. Later the physical edition of the album was released through the bands TickerTape imprint on XL, showing that the internet was not the only fact contributing the success of 'The king of limbs' and a small record label like XL was useful and was able to distribute the physical edition well and on the 9th of May 2011 a wider digital release 'newspaper edition' was released via AWAL.
  However unlike Lady Gaga and Radiohead, Nirvana was unable to access as much digital technology. As their album 'Nevermind' was released in 1991 the internet wasnt common and very few were able to access it, but satellite channels were available and instead of promoting through social networking sites, or youtube they performed on channels such as MTV and their music videos were shown around the world. Aswell as satellite channels they always appeared on programmes such as top of the pops and The Jonathan Ross show. Even though the band are no longer together they still promote their music through social networking sites and by using Youtube and Spotify etc. they are able to gain new fans as a new generation can listen to their old music, 'Nevermind' is available to download instantly. This may have contributed to the fact they have now sold 30 million copies. On the 20th anniversary of the album they repackaged the album and marketed it as a special anniversary copy through social media, satellite channels and by replaying music videos.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

To what extent are your chosen texts typical of their genre?

Fish tank is of the social realism genre and contains typical conventions of this all the way through, to make the film seem more like reality. Viewers will be able to relate to issues within the film, but also they could see it as a form of escapism from there own problems. Some conventions of Social realism are unknown actors, no flashy editing, and a strong regional accent. In fish tank these are all obvious as it is set in essex the majority of the characters have a southern accent, also some of the actors are unknown and unprofessional e.g. Katie Jarvis was casted as Mia when she was spotted arguing with her boyfriend at a train station. By using an unknown actor it makes the film more realistic as they havent been previously seen in other films or television.

 In the opening sequence of Fish Tank the mise en scene creates a negative image of an Essex council estate, long shots are used to show the setting and also no non-diagetic sound or flashy editing has been used to make the scene more realistic. The characters seen are all wearing normal everyday clothes and it is obvious they are of the working class- you are able to tell this from the way they act as they swear and Mia starts a fight with a group of girls- which is unlikely to happen in a middle class area. They also have a strong regional Essex accent. Social realism texts are often based on working class families as these are the people who face a daily struggle with things such as money for example when Mia goes in the lake her mother complains that her tracksuit cost her £20.

In the film Mia aspires to be a dancer and the scene where she records her audition tape there are many conventions of social realism. Firstly it is being filmed/recorded on a hand held camera which she was given by Conor, By using a hand held camera it makes it look unprofessional as we see the actual footage from the camera. All the sound in this sequence is diagetic as you can hear Mia breathing heavily, and also  the music she is dancing to is from her headphones and has not been added on. This was filmed on location in an abandoned flat- most social realism films are not filmed in a studio.

Friday, 16 November 2012

To what extent are your chosen texts typical of their genre?

Sin City is a post modern text as it is a hybrid genre which includes conventions of film noire, horror and comic book. By creating Sin city in this post modern form, it mixes genre conventions to create a new identity and broadening its audience by not just having it based on one genre which would exclude viewers who hold an oppositional reading of them. Including all three genres makes the film more appealing and all the conventions put together make it different to other horror or comic book style films.
 Film Noir is a genre which mainly describes hollywood crime drama's that can emphasise cynical attitudes and sexual motivation. Film Noir was discovered around the 1940's and 50's, this may be the reason why Sin City was made into a black and white movie, where colour has only been used for extra effect. The style of film noir is majorly influenced by social, political and economic problems of the twentieth century, Sin City......

Conventions of film noire include faces and reflections obscured through objects, jump cuts and jaring juxtaposition and is usually set in the wrong end of town.

Monday, 15 October 2012

How are teenagers represented in series 1 episode 1 of The Inbetweeners and series 1 episode 1 of Skins?

How are british teenagers represented in series 1 episode 1 of The Inbetweeners and series 1 episode 1 of Skins?

Teenagers are represented differently in the media, and stereotypes are made. Negative representations are shown with maybe a few positive characters included, the issues of the program often reflect this e.g. drugs, violence and school. The Independent discussed teenage representations in the media, two different opinions were included- 'It seems the endless diet of media reports about 'yobs' and 'feral' youths is making them fearful of other teens," it said. "Nearly a third said they are 'always' or 'often' wary of teenage boys they don't know"' the other opinion being "We found some news coverage where teen boys were described in glowing terms – 'model student', 'angel', 'altar boy' or 'every mother's perfect son' this shows opposite views on how the media can influence their audiences opinions.

The Inbetweeners [1] and Skins [2]are very similar as both groups of teenagers are both starting sixth form and they contain different types of characters, having different characters appeals to a wider audience. Another way in which they are similar is they are all from a normal working class background and all live in suburban towns meaning there are no major cultural differences. However there are some differences The Inbetweeners does not tackle major issues such as drugs, depression and death whereas skins makes this a main focus in each episode.

The uses and gratifications theory is important as it targets the audience effectively, whether they take a preferred, oppositional, or negotiated reading. The Inbetweeners [1] promotes passive text viewing as it is pure entertainment as the genre of the show is comedy and does not offer information, audiences are also able to personally relate to certain characters in the show, The Inbetweeners represents very common and usually characters that most ordinary people can identify with or have encountered during their school days [3]- each character has a different personality e.g. the geek, the idiot, the over confident, and the normal guy. In this episode [1]Will Mckenzie is new to the school and therefore feels like an outcast, many of the viewers might be able to personally relate to this character. Whilst watching the show we feel their embarrassment because we can identify with some of the situations they find themselves in. The show's friendships and situations feel real. [7] The Inbetweeners [1] is not informative but does integrate social interaction into the program but overall it is mainly consumed just to make the audience laugh, as the genre is comedy. We know this as The Guardian quotes‘it has two different gag ratios - the laughter one, and the urge-to-spew one. Both are high.’[4] For example its very humorous when Will tries to get served in the pub but in fact gets everybody else kicked out when he says‘everybody in this pub is bloody underage’ then goes on to insulting nearly everybody in the pub.

In comparison Skins [2] contains all four aspects of the uses and gratifications theory. Skins [2] also features a group of teenagers doing the same type of activities but characters with in ‘Skins’ are always successful and they never make fools of themselves (unlike the Inbetweeners)[3]. A review by Msn said‘the moment the school nerd is seduced by the willowy class hottie. This could only ever happen in Skins.’ This shows how the characters are often successful. [5] E.g. in this episode Michelle agrees to take Sid’s virginity.

The issues in the show such as drugs and violence can often inform the viewer about these scenarios and how people can act differently, e.g. in this episode [2]Sid visits a drug dealers house to pick up some marijuana. The cultivation theory is seen throughout the series of skins and relates to Gerbners theory of ‘second order’ effects  which shapes conceptions of reality e.g. on specific attitudes, such as to law and order or to personal safety[12]. All characters in the show have different personalities and problems, much like the Inbetweeners. The viewer may personally identify with specific characters because of this. The audience often then discusses storylines, as they can be controversial, shocking or interesting which creates social interaction. An aspect of entertainment is included in skins; the program is aimed at the same age range of the central protagonists in the text, so it is likely that they share the same humor.

The Male Gaze theory can be applied in both programs, the figure of the woman on screen as the object of desire for male viewers. In the Inbetweeners [1] this is shown when Carly is speaking to Simon and she leans down revealing her cleavage so the audience can see part of her bra. In Skins [2] the first shot of Michelle is her legs, the camera follows them up to her towel as she is on the phone to Tony discussing helping Sid lose his virginity. The male gaze can be applied as they appeal to males as a form of ‘eye candy’. Laura Mulvey quotes “There are circumstances in which looking itself is a source of pleasure, just as, in the reverse formulation, there is pleasure in being looked at”[10]. This can represent women in two different ways, either a voyeuristic view or as a fetishistic view. Voyeuristic being about a person who derives sexual satisfaction from observing[11] and fetishistic being The displacement of sexual arousal or gratification to a fetish. This need for pleasure can often back up stereotypes of women and objectifying them. [6]

The storylines in Skins [2] can create and encourage the already negative stereotypes of teenagers, however usually the outcome is positive, which can change the viewer’s initial thoughts. Individuals characteristics also contribute to this e.g. looking out for their friends-Tony helping Sid lose his virginity. In Skins [2] two narrative theories can be applied; Propp and Todorov. Characters in skins are represented differently based on the roles in which they play in the storylines. Propp’s theory suggests that Tony is the hero, Cassie is the princess and Chris, Anwar and Maxxie are the helpers- this is shown in episode one as Tony is the most responsible for Sid losing his virginity as he helps him the most and Cassie is vulnerable and may be seen as the most desirable. This is useful when deconstructing the representations of teenagers in this text. Having different characters playing different roles (villain, donor, and dispatcher) makes it more realistic as not everyone in real life gets along and there are many differences, like in a traditional folk tale[10] Propp describes these character roles as “the building blocks of narratives” as without them the structure would not work. This shows a both positive and negative representations of teenagers as there are good and bad characters and the way they are portrayed shows this [6] e.g. Tony has a lot of friends, and try’s to help everybody making him the hero. Todorov’s theory is also included as the five stages are shown in this episode. The equilibrium is their normal, everyday lives. The disruption is that Sid has not yet lost his virginity, the realization happens when Tony talks to Sid seriously in the cafĂ©, the attempt to repair it is at the beginning of the party and the restoration happens at the end of the episode when Sid has actually lost his virginity. This basic structure has made the episode interesting, but realistic and has allowed it to flow easily. [6] The Inbetweeners [1] narrative structure however is not as clear; the only one that is included slightly is Propp. The main characters, Will, Simon, Neil and Jay do not fit into this structure however other characters do. Carly is seen as the princess, and Mark is seen as the villain because he is the school bully who threatens Will [1]. The main characters do not fit in as they are seen as equal as none of them are more popular, more evil or more powerful than the other. The other characters have been included into the structure as they are then used as obstacles or an aim to achieving something e.g. in episode one Simon’s main aim is to get Carly (the princess) to like him.

Representations of teenagers in the media can have a negative effect on society, as they are not represented fairly unlike other age groups. Age is a huge factor in both The Inbetweeners [1] and Skins [2] and is part of the narrative. The age range is adolescent teenagers who are trying to live their lives to the full and show how they have control over their lives. One teenager says ‘We don’t get noticed for the positive things we do just the negative’ [7]. Neither of the programs I have chosen shows a completely positive representation of teenagers. They only show very few positive characteristics e.g. in the Inbetweeners [1] Will is a model student as he is hardworking and enjoys school, however this is soon influenced by the 3 friends he makes which are the total opposite. In this episode [1] you can see Will as a ‘perfect student’ as he sounds disappointed that he now goes to a state school and not a private school- this shows that he values his education- Neil, Jay and Simon influence Will as when they go to the pub and buy alcohol illegally- something that Will wouldn’t usually do but to fit in he feels that it is necessary. The positive representation is taken over by a much larger negative representation making it unbalanced. Some people think the negative representations add to the entertainment of the shows but many feel that these representations could have a negative effect on the viewers who might think that taking drugs and drinking alcohol is ‘cool’. America did a similar version of the show Skins [2], an article from the daily mail shows that many parents feel that it is the ‘most dangerous show ever to children’ [8] parents in the UK would share similar views to this. ‘Who can remember the horror of parents who suddenly had a glimpse into a teenage life of sex, drugs and cringe worthy moments?’[9]This indicates how shocked parents are, however this could be misleading as the negative representations in the show might make the parents think that this is how there teenage children act, when in fact Skins [2] is an over exaggeration of teenage life.


Friday, 12 October 2012

views on teenagers

''It seems the endless diet of media reports about 'yobs' and 'feral' youths is making them fearful of other teens," it said. "Nearly a third said they are 'always' or 'often' wary of teenage boys they don't know."' - The independent

"We found some news coverage where teen boys were described in glowing terms – 'model student', 'angel', 'altar boy' or 'every mother's perfect son'," - The independent