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Theoretical Research

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Page 1: Theoretical research

Theoretical Research

Page 2: Theoretical research

Genre Investigation

• What is genre? • Genre is the term for categories, e.g. music, whether written or spoken, audial or visual,

based on some set of stylistic criteria.• What genre theorists can you find? • Genre theory is used order to ease the categorization of films. • Gunther Kress- Genre is ‘a kind of text that derives its form from the structure of a

(frequently repeated) social occasion, with it characteristic participants and their purposes.’• • Denis McQuail- The genre may be considered as a practical device for helping any mass

medium to produce consistently and efficiently and to relate its production to the expectations of its customers.

• • Christine Gledhill- ‘Differences between genres meant different audience could be identified

and catered to...’

Page 3: Theoretical research

• What is narrative? • Narrative = the way the events are put together to be presented to an audience.• A narrative is a constructive format that describes a sequence of non-

fictional or fictional events.• What narrative theorists can you find? • Vladimir Propp 1895-1970- Proposed that it was possible to classify the characters

and their actions into clearly defined roles and functions.• Identified 8 character roles and 31 points in story which move the story along. • 8 Characters- Villain, hero, donor, helper, princess, father, dispatcher, false hero.• Tzvetan Todorov• Suggests most narratives start with a state of equilibrium in which life is ‘normal

and things are how they should be.• Disequilibrium- the status quo is interrupted by an event. • Equilibrium- restored at the end of the story• A trailer can show disequilibriumm but must not show how it is restored. Trailers

must not show Todorov’s theory.

Narrative Investigation

Page 4: Theoretical research

Narrative Investigation

Page 5: Theoretical research

• What is representation? • All media texts are re-presentations of reality. They are intentionally composed, lit, written, framed, cropped, captioned, branded,

targeted and censored by their producers, and that they are entirely artificial versions of the reality we perceive around us. • every media form, from a home video to a glossy magazine, is a representation of someone's concept of existence, codified into a

series of signs and symbols which can be read by an audience. Without the media, our perception of reality would be very limited, and that we, as an audience, need the media to make sense of reality. Representation is a fluid, two-way process: producers position a text somewhere in relation to reality and audiences assess a text on its relationship to reality.

• What representation theorists can you find? The Male Gaze – Laura Mulvey – Feminist Theory – Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema – Written in 1975• The cinema apparatus of Hollywood cinema puts the audience in a masculine subject position with the woman on the screen seen as

an object of desire. Film and cinematography are structures upon ideas. Protagonists tended to be men. Mulvey suggests two distinct modes of male gaze – “voueuristic (women as whores) and fetishistic – women as unreachable Madonna's”. (Also narcissistic – women watching film see themselves reflected on the screen).

Queer Theory – Judith Butler• Queer theory challenges the idea that gender – being male or female – is part of the essential self, that it is fixed, immovable –Queer

theory suggest that our male or female gender does not control all aspects of our identity or how we perceive other peoples identity. Gender, particularly as it is represented in performance – on TV, Film etc, is fluid, flexible depending on the context in which it is seen. For example an audience can see Tom Cruise playing a “straight” pilot in The Right Stuff and interpret his gender, although male, as having very “queer” or “gay” attributes. The theory developed as a way of combating negative representations of gay sexuality in the Media. It combats the idea that people should be divided and categorised, indeed marginalised, due to their sexual orientation or practice and that a persons identity should not be limited to their sexual preference. It asks us to consider how the media constructs gay representation. (Apply to representation of gay sexuality in Knocked up…any others? What about Graham Norton? Alan Carr? Does Post Modern Irony regarding representation of gay characters relieve the audience of burden of moral responsibility regarding evolving attitudes a more flexible idea of gender?)

Representation Investigation

Page 6: Theoretical research

• What is an audience?• Audience theory provides a starting point for many Media Studies tasks. Whether you are constructing a text or analysing one, you will need to consider the destination of that text (i.e. its target

audience) and how that audience (or any other) will respond to that text.• A media text in itself has no meaning until it is read or decoded by an audience.• The targeted consumers/ people who have certain interests and are receiving the product/ film. • What audience theorists can you find? • Andrew Hart is among many writers, theorists and researchers who identify and value the existence of the audience in relation to the media. Audiences are vital in communication. It is for the

audience that the media are constructing and conveying information, and, if it were not for the audiences, the media would not exist. The exact relationship between the media and their audiences has been the subject of debate since the media were first seriously studied and emphasises the importance of the audience and of their relationship with the media.

• What audience theories link to the horror genre? • The Hypodermic Needle Model• Suggests that audiences passively receive the information transmitted via a media text, without any attempt on their part to process or challenge the data. Don't forget that this theory was

developed in an age when the mass media were still fairly new - radio and cinema were less than two decades old. Governments had just discovered the power of advertising to communicate a message, and produced propaganda to try and sway populaces to their way of thinking.

• The Hypodermic Needle Model suggests that the information from a text passes into the mass consciousness of the audience unmediated, ie the experience, intelligence and opinion of an individual are not relevant to the reception of the text. This theory suggests that, as an audience, we are manipulated by the creators of media texts, and that our behaviour and thinking might be easily changed by media-makers. It assumes that the audience are passive and heterogeneous. Used to explain why certain groups in society should not be exposed to certain media texts (comics in the 1950s, rap music in the 2000s), for fear that they will watch or read sexual or violent behaviour and will then act them out themselves.

• Two-Step Flow• Paul Lazarsfeld, Bernard Berelson, and Hazel Gaudet analysed the voters' decision-making processes during a 1940 presidential election campaign and published their results in a paper called The

People's Choice. Their findings suggested that the information does not flow directly from the text into the minds of its audience unmediated but is filtered through "opinion leaders" who then communicate it to their less active associates, over whom they have influence. The audience then mediate the information received directly from the media with the ideas and thoughts expressed by the opinion leaders, thus being influenced not by a direct process, but by a two step flow. This diminished the power of the media in the eyes of researchers, and caused them to conclude that social factors were also important in the way in which audiences interpreted texts. This is sometimes referred to as the limited effects paradigm.

• 3. Uses & Gratifications• Researchers Blulmer and Katz expanded this theory and published their own in 1974, stating that individuals might choose and use a text for the following purposes• Diversion - escape from everyday problems and routine.• Personal Relationships - using the media for emotional and other interaction, eg) substituting soap operas for family life• Personal Identity - finding yourself reflected in texts, learning behaviour and values from texts• Surveillance - Information which could be useful for living eg) weather reports, financial news, holiday bargains• Reception Theory• This work was based on Stuart Hall's encoding/decoding model of the relationship between text and audience - the text is encoded by the producer, and decoded by the reader, and there may

be major differences between two different readings of the same code. However, by using recognised codes and conventions, and by drawing upon audience expectations relating to aspects such as genre and use of stars, the producers can position the audience and thus create a certain amount of agreement on what the code means. This is known as a preferred reading.

Audience Investigation

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Analyse • -Cinematography/Sound/Mise en scene/Editing

Media Language Investigation Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

Establishing shot- Dark, spooky, deserted

Slow Pan across- informs audience of the location and brings across a spooky atmosphere

High angle over shoulder shot- gives the villain power

Children song echo in background (1,2 Freddie’s coming for you...)Short sharp non diagetic sounds with editsScreams- ambient sound

Dark, shadows- sense of the unknown

Fire- deathBlack and red jumper- evil colours

Claws- violence, pain, death

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Media Language InvestigationAnalyse • -Cinematography/Sound/Mise en scene/Editing

Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

EditingShort sharp cuts, slow pans and whip pansSlow creates tension, suspense and spooky atmosphereFast creates a jumpy atmosphere.

Page 9: Theoretical research

• What is research and planning?• Research and experimental development is creative work

undertaken systematically to increase the stock of knowledge• Planning- process of creating and maintaining a plan; and the

psychological process of thinking about the activities required to create a desired goal on some scale.

• What research and planning stages are needed to make a horror

film ?• Analyse horror films through cinematography, sound, mise en

scene and editing. • Plan plot/story, location, characters, costumes ect.

Research and Planning Investigation

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• What are real media texts?• What are conventions of a horror trailer?• Captions• No voice over• Who is in it, title, date it opens• Synergy• Enigma• What theories link to the trailer?

Real media texts Investigation

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• What is digital technology? The term digital technologies is used to refer to the ever-evolving suite of digital software, hardware and architecture used in learning and teaching in the school, the home and beyond.

• What digital technology do you need to create a horror film?

Digital Technology Investigation

Page 12: Theoretical research

• What is creativity? Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. To make new things.

• What creative features are used in horror trailers?

Creativity Investigation

Page 13: Theoretical research

• What is post production? Post-production is part of filmmaking and the video production process. It is a term for all stages of production occurring after the actual end of shooting and/or recording the completed work.

• What post production stages do you need to create a horror film?

Post-Production Investigation