21/01/2014

Representation of Women


MS1 - Media Representation

Q) With reference to your own detailed examples, explore representations of women in the media today (16).
A) A 'representation' can be broken down into 're-presentation' which means to show a constructed view of reality. Media can be described as a representation of factors such as age, gender, political or social issues (e.g.; homosexuality, substance abuse, etc), national and international events and national/regional identity. Whilst some representations confront both sides of a factor, other representations are one-sided. It is this type of representation that causes the most controversy and criticism from the global audience.
One factor of representation that receives criticism for being one-sided is the representation of women in the media. The creation of new communicative technology has caused a significant increase in media texts portraying women as sexual objects. This is sometimes called 'sexual objectification'. There are also media texts, particularly adverts, that campaign for the removal of this general perception of women and the awareness of the importance of gender equality.
Some media texts purposely sexualise women for the 'male gaze' (male gaze being a persuasive technique used by the media that specifically targets the male audience through exploiting a woman sexually). An example of an text that is a heavily sexualised representation of women is the marketing trailer for the game Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude which was released in 2004. The trailer begins with a crowd of college students standing outside the campus, waiting for the arrival of the game's protagonist Larry Lovage. Amongst the crowd are women who we learn Larry is not attracted to. These women appear 'normal' and quite boring: they are flat-chested, their mannerisms are masculine and they are all wearing the same coordinated outfit of a plain t-shirt and a pair of trousers. This has been done to show that not every girl in this game is beautiful and not important to the game's plot. This makes the female audience feel quite insulted because the text has created this false perception that girls are only going to grab a person's attention if they are stunnning when, in fact, these 'plain' women could actually be the nicest.
The main storyline is about Larry Lovage, a sexually obsessed 'ladies man', who gets to choose which of the three most popular girls in his campus he would like to have sex with. This storyline represents women as second class and their only purpose is to please the man. This disgusts me - a member of a female audience - because this representation of women discards any aspirations of a sustainable future, such as a successful career or being able to settle down, that they have and, instead, replaces it with this idea that we want to sleep with men. This also makes me wonder if women, who actually dream of pursuing a life like those in this text, actually have respect for themselves.
The three main women, who are competing against each other to try and win Larry's 'love', are the archetypes of female sexualisation: their womanhood has been overexaggerated, their skimpy choice of outfits exploits their toned chests to everyone else, they are plastered in make-up and they are incredibly ditsy and coy towards Larry. This represents women as only being attractive to men if they have the 'perfect' figure. This makes curvacious girls feel even more self-conscious about their own figures and would feel pressured to lose weight in order to have a happy love life. This will also make mothers of the boys buying this game feel weary because they would be worried that the boys may admire the main protagonist to such an extent where they will actually copy his behaviour towards women and they may ignore or disassociate themselves from girls their age who are not size 6 or size 8 because 'Larry did not bother with them'.
At one point in the trailer, Larry suggests to a woman in underwear that they should have sex in a public area. Her response is a casual but upbeat, 'Oh ok'. This represents women as being people who lack the self-conscience to care about respecting themselves when it comes to fulfilling their love life. This not only insults women but it could also offend female victims of sexual abuse because they did not have a choice when they were attacked outside for the public to potentially witness the assault and to see that these women have a relaxed attitude towards prosmicuity may horrify them.
At the trailer's climax, Larry is surrounded with a woman at each shoulder. These women are wearing nothing but tiny underwear and dancing provocatively towards him. This represents all women as being suggestive or 'begging' for male attention. This annoys me because this representation of women is allowing boys, who could be playing this game, to assume that women only want to befriend men so that they could pursue a sexual relationship with them when, in fact, most women are not like that and view sex as a privilege or something that enhances a loving relationship rather than a hobby or a necessity.
 
This is a link for the Magna Cum Laude trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJO-qLbH1eo
 
 
 
Another example of a media text that is a sexualised representation of women is the trailer for the film Piranha 3D which was released in 2010. Despite it belonging in the horror film genre, one of the codes and conventions of horror films is to feature girls that are visually attractive so that they appeal to the targeted male audience.
When introducing the film's setting in the trailer, the cinematographer features young college students partying on a waterboat beach party. A medium close-up shot shows three young women, who look in their late teens to early twenties, dancing in nothing but their bikinis on one of the boats. One of the girls appears to be dancing in a suggestive manner as she combs her one hand through her hair and rubs her other hand over her breasts. This represents young women in particular as being people who exhibit themselves purposely to capture a man's attention. Whilst the male audience may like this type of dancing and will not be bothered by it, a female audience could possibly feel disgusted and ask why the woman would want to smoothe herself down in that manner whilst being surrounded by other people.
As the trailer progresses, a car of young women drives beside a man on a motorbike. At the start of this section, the women appear to be having fun in a harmless, flirtatious way. This is proved with the camera focusing on the man's bashful smile. However, one of the girls vigorously shakes her breasts in front of the motorcyclist, encouraging him to behave dangerously by driving faster and performing a wheelie in order to impress his admirers. This represents women as being irresponsible people and not willing to consider the consequences of their actions. Whilst some members of the audience may continue to believe that the girls are behaving in a harmless fashion, other members of the audience may question the reality behind this section and may even be put off from watching the film if they go on to believe that the rest of the trailer's events are influenced by the wreckless behaviour of the female characters.
One of the actresses that feature in this film is Kelly Brooks, an English model, who portrays one of the partygoers. She is not only wearing a bikini top that appears several sizes too small for her but is dancing in a way that allows even more focal attention to be drawn towards her breasts. This represents women as being eager to expose themselves in order to gain appeal from men. The fact that Kelly Brooks' womanhood has been exposed could be seen as a persuasive technique because her beauty will attract the male audience's attention and will force them to watch it in order to see what this actress has to offer. The female audience, however, may question the film's sincerity and wonder if this film is actually a parody of horror films which heavily emphasises female sexualisation.
At this point of the trailer, it is clear that the film does not feature any possible countertype of a young female character. In fact - apart from the female officer - none of the female cast members are portraying strong-minded women at all. This represents women as being less empowering and more vulnerable or weak compared to men. This may annoy feminists or female activists who campaign for gender equality and equal dominance due to the mass proportion of these stereotypical characters.
 
This is a link for the Piranha 3D Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdMO51GaTMs

 
An example of a text that defies sexual objectification is the front cover of the December 2009 issue of Glamour magazine. Glamour magazine is a printed media text that specifically targets a middle-aged female audience and this issue's cover featured the current First Lady of the US Government.
The area of the cover that captures attention straightaway is the medium shot of First Lady Michelle Obama. The choice of a long, red gown and a large, silver necklace which covers the neckline rightly portrays her as being a sophisticated and classy woman. This represents middle-aged women as still being visually attractive and still often appearing youthful and vibrant. The target audience will feel inspired by her because they see that her humble yet beaming smile reaps confidence and her appearance defines her natural beauty. Fans of the First Lady will also be attracted to this magazine when they see that their idol is not being represented in a sexualised way unlike most magazine covers nowadays. The caption that accompanies it ('Looks back on her big year - and answers your questions') also represents her as being friendly and willing to reach out to communities. This will not only be admired by her fans as well as an American female audience but it also intrigues a British female audience who may wish to know more about her private life as well as her speculated public life.
The issue honours 'the Women of the Year'. This represents women as being potentially inspirational figures in society and will provide middle-aged women with hope that, despite their age, they may still be able to pursue the career that they wish to have as well as fulfill their private lives. It also enlightens the female audience and restores their faith in women and their aspirations despite the majority of A-List celebrities being sexualised to a certain extent by the growing demands of the media.
The caption that is situated below the title says, '12 winners give you life advice'. This represents women as being willing to help and support other women. The audience may wish to know what this potentially rewarding advice could be and, as a result, are persuaded to buy the product and discover what this advice is.
One of the other topics that this particular issue raises questions the morals of a loving relationship. The issue provides the reader with a section listing '7 reasons guys love you just the way you are'. This represents women as being more than just a sexual object for men. By saying 'just the way you are', the quote suggests to the audience that they should not feel pressured to adapt themselves in any way in order to please the man. This pleases the target audience because this issue will help to highlight how important women are to men and it will help the reader to realise that, despite sexual objectification in the media, men actually cherish and care about the woman that they love.
This is the December 2009 Issue of Glamour magazine.
 
 
Whilst some critics argue that gender equality in media has now increased due to stricter regulations set by advertising agencies, the ratio of sexualised representations to non-sexualised representations of women that were raised in this essay alone proves that sexual objectification is still very much present in today's media. The increase of new communicative technologies has caused the enforcement of age restrictions to become more leniant (what with young children being able to purchase films and games or watch TV programmes that contain explicit content) and, therefore, has increased the casual audience response towards the sexualisation of women. On the one hand, I believe that exploiting a woman's dignity as a way of encouraging people to purchase a product is wrong. On the other hand, I feel that it is becoming increasingly difficult to remove yourself from sexualised media texts what with figures suggesting that, in 2011, every person consumed an average of five thousand adverts a day from the media. Three years on, technological advancements must mean that that figure is a small fraction of the number adverts that one person views in one day. Whilst I hope that female sexualisation in media may become less obvious and overpowering in the future, I am confident that this controversial issue in the media will continue to affect us - the consumers of the media - for years to come.
 
 

14/01/2014

Poster Ideas

These are some several digital drafts of my poster for my film production 'Conditional Love'. Some of the elements are superimposed images taken from Google whilst other elements have been created using Adobe Photoshop. These posters continue to be a working progress with them being basic ideas. I hope to influence these ideas as well as input more ideas and elements into my final draft.
 
All of the superimposed elements that have been used do not have any copyright infringements.
 
As the course progresses, I hope to add more drafts before submitting my final draft to the examiner as well as posting the result on the blog.
 
I would like to add images of the characters that are edited to appear as
if they are slightly faded in the white background or portions of the red tone.
 
 
I would like to replace the cartoon/animated characters with shots from actual actors.
I really like the idea of the superimposed silhouette of the couple arguing and hope
to use this idea as well as the contrast in element brightness to show the difference
in moods, i.e.; the use of low lighting to create a darker mood.
 
Although this is not the final photograph that I wish to include in this element, I hope to continue this idea onto my final poster draft because I believe that the crack in the photograph is enigmatic in that it exploits a specific character relationship. In this case, this once happy couple may not be anymore. This is an enigma code that I hope to achieve in my poster with my actors being shot in this position previously then their photo will be superimposed into a photo frame. The crack is an effect found on Google which I superimposed as a layer on top of the photograph to create the impression of smashed glass.
 
This is an idea which I have created during the last few lessons in class. The black effect in the background is to represent the inside of a plastic black bag. This representation allows the consumer to assume that all of these loving gifts have been thrown away as rubbish. This representation, particularly the photo, suggests to the audience that this young couple are not as happy as they use to be. I would like to continue using this idea but make a few adjustments such as make some of the elements darker and change the font.  
 


06/01/2014

Codes and Conventions of Coming-Of-Age Films

As part of my pre-production research, I decided to compile a list of codes and conventions of coming-of-age films. This list will be very useful to me when I am producing my script as well as applying elements into my marketing texts, i.e.; my posters and my DVD cover.
 
This list has been compiled with assistance from primary research such as the recurring patterns from the textual analyses of marketing campaigns and opening sequences of coming-of-age films and from secondary sources (websites and news articles). This list not only contains typical character traits and typical locations that would feature in a coming-of-age film. It also includes a typical coming-of-age film's narrative structure.
  • The plot of a coming-of-age film usually revolves around a relationship between two of the characters. This relationship is usually the influence behind key events of the story.
  • Sub-plots: abuse, sex, bullying, drug use, first love, rebellion, society’s view on virginity, pregnancy, life at home, transition made to become mature, loss of innocence, acculturation (the psychological and emotional effects of society, how people adapt into society), stressing the ability to make wise decisions or judgments, gang culture.
  • Themes include: romance, variety of characters (particularly humorous), the importance of friendship, exploring the party lifestyle, situations that the audience can relate to, drama
  • Typical main characters are young people approaching 16 years old or 18 years old and a child-like trait, which was present at the start of the film, disappears as part of the characters' 'transformation'. Male characters are very stereotypical: they seek for 'one thing' (sex). The characters tend to have strained relationships with their parents.
  • There are distinctive types of character such as; 'the girl next door'/the sweet innocent girl, the rebels/people who rebel against the law, the geek who lacks social skills, misfits, the jocks who intimidate the main, male character/try to liaise with the lead female character, etc.
  • Urban, contemporary music is used for transitions between shots and cuts (particularly hip-hop and rap music when representing gang culture)
  • The target audience for this genre of film is 15-21 year old females. The typical age rating varies from 12 to 18.
  • There is often a moral or hidden message, which influences the conclusion, that encourages the audience to reflect on their past behaviour or their views on certain issues that affect a modern-day society.
  • Typical locations include: school, parties, rough neighbourhoods, areas of outstanding beauty (countryside), a character's bedroom, abandoned areas of the countryside, council estates and apartment blocks.
  • Typical shots that are used are: montage editing, minimal use of transitions (fade ins or cuts), inter-titles, date recapped at end of the film, low key lighting, focus pulls, slow motion, internal monologues/narration, scenes of intense dialogue, over-the-shoulder-shots for conversations and cross-cutting.
 
NARRATIVE STRUCTURE
 
INTRODUCTION: Introduce the main characters and the setting to the audience whilst establishing a conflict or a problem and doubts that are underlying factors of that conflict.
 
ORDEALS/COMPLICATIONS: Insert events that complicate the problem. Ensure the drama gradually increases until the film reaches the climax.
 
CLIMAX: The most dramatic section of the film.

EPIPHANY/KNOWLEDGE: The protagonist discovers something about themselves that makes them realise that things need to change.

TRANSFORMATION: As a part of the conclusion, a part of the protagonist's life has been changed because of the effects of the climax and of the epiphany. This is usually a positive ending but can be negative depending on the severity of the climax.
 


05/01/2014

'Elephant' Marketing - Textual Analysis

As part of my pre-production research, I have decided to analyse several coming-of-age posters. The ideas from this analysis will influence my film's marketing campaign. The differences in dvd cover and film poster will also help me when it comes to product continuity. Whilst looking for films to analyse on IMDB, I discovered the film Elephant which was released in 2003 and directed by American film director Gus Van Sant. When I searched for images of the film's marketing campaign on Google, I found several of their posters. One issue that arose straightaway was the fact that there was a certain lack of continuity between these posters: it was as if the producer of this poster wanted to advertise two completely different films. It was this issue that I wanted to raise as part of my pre-production research.
 
Elephant is a coming-of-age film set in Portland, Oregon and its events are loosely based on the 1999 Columbine High School massacre. The film chronicles events surrounding a school shooting and these events are based on the perspectives of two bullied high school children, Alex (played by Alex Frost) and Eric (played by Eric Deulen), who are soon revealed as the pair behind the school's massacre.

POSTER


 
When I first saw this poster, I thought that it was one of the least effective film posters that I had seen. This thought was based purely on the layout of the poster, particularly in the main third of the poster (where the photography is). Whilst the typography at the bottom of the poster may have had potential to be effective in terms of advertising the film to a large body of people, the consumer's focus is drawn away from that and is attracted towards the clumsily placed photography. It leaves the consumer wondering why there are two people randomly kissing in front of an orange elephant. It also makes us question why the elephant is actually in the poster: we ask if there is a deeper meaning behind its presence or if it's just there because the animal shares its name with the film title.
 
There are several elements in this poster that I think are really effective. The first element is the use of a white background. Apart from incredibly bright or fluorescent colours, white is an effective colour to use if a person wants other elements in a poster or another type of press text to really stand out. In the case of this poster, the white background really compliments the black title's typography at the bottom third of the poster. By allowing it to stand out, the consumer's focal attention can be drawn towards the film's important information such as the title, the age certificate, recognisable producers or writers within the cast credits and the studio credits. Another element is the way that the title's typography is presented. An informal font has been used to inform the consumer that this film's target audience is a younger audience. It also suggests to the consumer that the themes in the film are quite light-hearted. This will encourage people within that target audience to go and watch this film. It may also attract 21-30 year olds who might wonder what those light-hearted themes are and might want to find out if those themes will affect the film's events. However, the consumer who has read the film's synopsis may think that this font choice misrepresents the film's violent themes. Others may argue back that this film may be an alternative, less graphic representation of violence. They may add that the violence in this film may not be the main issue that affects the characters of this film and it could be other issues that face the teenage characters who live in a modern society such as peer pressure, drug abuse, failed romance, etc. It could be those issues that cause the violence to occur in the first place. The final element that I thought was effective was the different typography used when mentioning the director of the film Gus Van Sant. Bubble-writing in block capitals has been used to represent the director as being an individual who is fun and centres his films on light-hearted themes that make an impact on teenagers or a younger audience on a more personal level. The orange outline on the bubble writing is a form of continuity: it is the same colour as the elephant. This could signify that the director had a reason why he included the elephant in the poster. This continuity gives the poster a professional finish and encourages the consumer to go and watch this non-amateur production.
 
If I was to change anything about this poster, I would have changed the presentation of the photograph of the young couple kissing. I would have created a fade finish on the photo so that it blends in more naturally within the background. However, Van Sant may have chosen this presentation of the photograph because he aimed for it to be blunt and not organised so that it captures the consumer's attention. Even though the photograph is representing not only the age range of the characters but one of the issues raised in the film too (love or teenage romance), I would have included a few more photos that could subtly represent more themes of the film such as the violence or terrorism. These photos would help the consumer to establish a better understanding of what they can expect from this film. Once again, the lack of representation could have been an attempt to capture the consumer's attention by creating an enigma code. The current structure of the poster leaves the consumer wondering if love and romance is a major theme or if it is an underlying theme of the film's main events. The final thing that I would change about this poster is the presentation of the film awards which can be seen in the top third. By showing a film award on your poster, this increases that film's chances in attracting a large revenue from the audience and the consumer. On this particular poster, the film awards have been adjusted to an extremely small size so that it is almost undistinguishable. This stops the consumer from realising that this film actually has potential to be really good and enjoyable. I think that Van Sant made this decision not to have enlarged presentations of these film awards because he wanted the consumer to go and watch the film in order to construct their own opinion of his work rather than rely on a second opinion or biased material to persuade or dissuade them from watching this film.
 
 
 
This is another poster that was used for Elephant's marketing campaign. This is a clearer, more professional representation of the film and, to me, it is the professional finish that appeals to me more than the previous poster. Instead of a rule of thirds structure, the same photograph of the young couple kissing is the poster's background.
 
The typography is the poster's foreground and, in comparison with the previous poster, is completely different and appears more formal. In comparison with the previous poster, the main film award has been enlarged and is more visible for the consumer to notice. The iconic Palme D'Or logo has also been used to represent the film under a positive light. The consumer now knows that the director of this film, Gus Van Sant, has been awarded the Palme D'Or Award for his directing in this film. The Palme D'Or is a major award to be received in the film festival season so this will encourage the consumer to watch this film and find out for themselves why the director of this film has won this award. This may also encourage them to discover more of his films and watch them too to see if they match up to the standards that this film sets. Whilst the previous poster used a formal colour and font to compliment the white background, this poster's title's typography is in block capitals and is purple. The darker shade of purple helps the title to stand out against the background and its large font size allows the consumer's focal attention to be drawn into the most important information on this poster. I think that if orange font was used, some of the letters could have been lost because of the bright natural light in the background. Like with any other poster, Van Sant would have wanted the title's typography to be as visible and as clear as possible because a title is the most important element in a film poster when it comes to individuality and that particular film standing out in comparison with other coming-of-age films.
 
The photography introduces the characters' age and one of the film's locations to the consumer. The characters appear to be younger than 18 but old enough to still be attending school. This suggests to the consumer that this film may also be targeted at an audience of the same age of these characters because some of the issues that could be raised will most likely be the most relatable to teenagers. The location used to shoot this photograph appears to be in an enclosed room in a school. This is an enigma code because this could be a location that has a major influence on the film's events or it could be a place that is important for one of the characters. Enigma codes are a way of drawing in the consumer's appeal. Another enigma code is the boy's body language towards the girl beside him. As she kisses him on the cheek, he appears deep in thought or estranged to an extent where he may not feel the same way about her. When put into that context, some could say that the girl, although she may be very close to him, is completely oblivious of his private life and the events that appear to be consuming the boy. That context makes the consumer wonder about the relationship between the two characters and it makes them want to see the film in order to find out if that relationship will make an impact on the film's events. A medium-close up of the two characters has been used with the male actor being in the centre of the shot. This type of shot allows the female actor to also be present in the image so that the consumer can not become confused as to who is kissing the male actor. The positioning of the male actor suggests to the audience that he is the male character. This also suggests to the audience that the approach towards the film's events could be shot on the basis of his character's perspective. The reason why the image has not been edited could have been because Van Sant wanted to create a naturalistic representation of his film. If effects such as fades or colour filters were used, this could have fazed that representation and it could leave the consumer wondering what time period or genre this film belongs to. If effects were used ineffectively, it could lead to a very poor representation of Van Sant's film and it could dissuade the consumer from watching this film based on the fact that they think the poster represents the film as being a parody or a humorous approach towards the events raised in the film rather than a serious drama.
 
 
 
 

03/01/2014

'Kidulthood' Movie Poster - Textual Analysis

 
As part of my ongoing research, I have decided to analyse several posters of popular films from the coming-of-age genre. These posters will help me and my final project because any recurring patterns within the films' marketing campaigns will help to structure the marketing campaign for my own movie. It will also help consumers to easily identify what genre my film is by just briefly looking at my film's poster or DVD cover.
 
The second film poster that I am going to analyse is 'Kidulthood'. I decided to analyse this poster because it clearly establishes the genre, the film's social context and what age group is this film's target audience. During its time of release (2006), Kidulthood was critically acclaimed for being - according to the Daily Mail - 'a harrowing, uncompromisingly bleak but thoughtful look at the anguish of being young and poor in Britain' and - according to The Guardian -  'a rollicking UK youth ride, cinematically filmed, persuasively acted and bumped along by a fantastic all-British soundtrack'.
 
ANALYSIS
 
The structure of this poster appears to be in a rule of thirds layout with the top layer containing an important element of typography, the middle layer depicting an even number of cast members casually standing or sitting looking towards the camera and the bottom layer showing the title's typography. This structure effectively creates three focus points for the consumer to look at; the quote at the top of the poster, the cast and the title of the film. This allows the audience to gain a clearer insight into what they can expect from this film.
 
The top third of the poster has a light background due to the bright, natural light from the sky in the photograph which is the poster's main foreground. This light background compliments the black font colour used for the review's typography. This choice of colour draws the audience's attention towards the very positive review given from a national body who have critiqued the film. Not only is there a five-star rating: the quote given by TOUCH magazine describes this film as being powerful, moving and unforgettable. These words are very positive (particularly 'unforgettable' which some may say is a hyperbole in this case) and this second opinion encourages the consumer to go and watch the film to see if the film actually is powerful or unforgettable just like the reviewer suggests. The five-star rating is given to films that are excellent or outstanding. This gives the consumer another reason to watch this film.

The centre third of the poster uses a relaxed version of  the rule of evens when it comes to the positioning of the film's main characters. The rule of evens is typically used when shooting an informal, casual photography of a group of people. This shows to the audience that the characters in this film poster are at ease or comfortable around each other. By positioning the two actors on the left of the third close together, this suggests to the audience that these two characters either have a close friendship or an intimate, romantic relationship. The relationship status is evident what with the male actor resting his left arm around her and the actress not responding in a negative way to his close proxemics. This could also be an enigma code in that their relationship could be a key influence in the film's events. There are several elements of the mise en scene that suggest to the audience that this group of young people are in a poorer area of society. Firstly, all of the male actors are wearing dark hooded jackets or jumpers. This type of clothing is stereotypically worn by gang members or people who are in a poorer area of society. Secondly, the actor on the far right is resting a baseball bat on his shoulder. A baseball bat is not only used to play cricket or baseball: it is also classed as a melee weapon. The actor's menacing glare towards the camera and his casual stance shows the audience that he is most likely using it as a weapon rather than a source of entertainment. This suggests to the audience that the film contains violent or intimidating scenes. It also suggests to the audience that this character could have an aggressive personality. Thirdly, the location of the photograph's shot appears to be within a run-down council estate. There are several elements of the mise en scene that suggest that this location is a council estate, e.g.; some of the actors are sat on top of concrete bollards, others are sat on a small concrete wall barricaded by a corroded iron guard and there is a faint, panoramic view of a run-down area just above the iron guard. This not only suggests to the audience the film's geographical context but it also suggests to the audience the film's genre. Council estates and apartment blocks are location code and conventions for a coming-of-age film. This, alongside the age of the characters in the shot, suggests to the audience that this film is a coming-of-age film. It appeals to fans of gritty coming-of-age films and it encourages them to spend money and watch this film.
 
The bottom third of the poster is where the title's typography is positioned. The bottom third's background is darker in comparison with the other two thirds because it is shadowed by the photograph's angle of light. The charcoal colour of the tarmac makes this third even darker. It compliments the typography's white font colour. This sudden brightness draws in the consumer's attention and it helps them find out the name of this film. It also helps them find out the essential information such as the release date, the age certificate and the studio's logo. It also allows the consumer to read the tagline which is 'Before adulthood comes...'. There is an ellipsis to confirm a dramatic pause. It is almost as if they want the consumer to fill in the blanks for them. As a result, this involves the audience and draws in their attention. The answer to this is the teenage years or childhood. This tells the audience that the characters in this film are either going to be children or teenagers. By viewing the characters in the main third of the poster, the consumer will soon realise that the characters in the film are teenagers or young adults. Teenage or young protagonists are a code and convention of coming-of-age films. This appeals to fan of this genre and it encourages them to go and watch this film. The difference in font size between the tag line's typography and the title's typography helps the consumer to identify what is the title and what is the tag line. The title's typography is all in block capitals except the 'i'. The 'i' emphasizes the word 'kid' in the film's title. The word 'kid' is slang for 'child'. 'Kid' is used as a colloquial phrase so that the consumer knows that this film is set in a modern-day society. The use of this colloquial phrase also suggests to the audience that the characters within this film are from a poorer background and have been raised in an environment where slang is used. This also suggests to the audience that other slang terms or even explicit language could be in this film. This appeals to people who enjoy gritty dramas where the environment is realistic and there is a naturalistic approach towards that film's themes or social issues. The word 'kidulthood' is not a word that is even registered in the dictionary. This is an enigma code because it makes the audience wonder what the phrase 'kidulthood' means and how it differs to being a teenager or a young adult. This amount of intrigue encourages the consumer to watch this film and discover what this phase in life actually is. Also in the bottom third are ways that the audience can access exclusive features that the film offers. There is a html address as well as a mobile number for consumers to text in order to access clips of the film. In terms of the age of audience, these elements of the poster targets the younger audience because it is younger people who tend to use their mobile phones more or browse around the internet on a daily basis. This is also a suggestion to the consumer that this film's target audience is a younger, teenage audience so it may discourage elderly people or parents of very young children from watching the film. Another feature that is in the bottom third of the poster is examples of artists from the film's soundtrack. In this film is music from Roots Manuva and Dizzee Rascal. By mentioning these popular artists, this attracts a different body of potential audience members: people who love listening to these artists and are fans. The choice of music (hip hop, rap and grunge music) also suggests to the audience that this film is aimed at a younger target audience. As a result, this could discourage people who are not fans of these artists from watching this film in order to prevent themselves from listening to their least favourite artist's music.
 



09/12/2013

My Film's Target Audience Justification

The genre that my film production is going to be is a coming-of-age film. Coming-of-age is a sub-genre of the very broad Drama genre. The best way to define a  'coming-of-age' film is that it is an account of how a person (the protagonist) makes the transition from youth to adolescence. The typical age that the protagonist should either be or approaching is 16 or 18 years old.  
 
When it comes to a target audience, the coming-of-age film genre has a wide range of viewers. Although technically aimed at a targeted teenage audience, young adults will be able to appreciate issues that are influenced by everyday life and so they will be able to enjoy the film because it explored these realistic issues in an original yet respectful manner. The coming-of-age films that attract an older audience tend to include explicit, controversial themes which will raise that film's particular rating as a result.
 
My film's pitch is 'A sixteen year old boy becomes the victim of an abusive, tumultuous relationship under the hands of his manipulative girlfriend'. In this pitch alone, there is a theme that is a code and convention of coming-of-age films: relationships. Through this alternative approach towards the awareness of domestic violence, I am aiming to attract an audience of about 14-17 years old because they are mature enough to understand the concepts of a basic, loving relationship and will take away this approach as a form of encouragement if their concepts of a relationship are neglected or harmed. I think that if the age was any younger, they would become disinterested and the lack of 'visual effects' such as exploding cars or superheroes darting across the skies will not appeal to them. Although the target gender for this film is boys (as the film encourages them to speak out and have more confidence when it comes to gender equality in domestic violence), I think that girls will most likely be the gender that will actually watch this film because girls tend to enjoy coming-of-age dramas more. 

04/12/2013

Film Pitches

Before even the pre-production stages of a film can begin, a producer or writer needs to present their ideas to a distributing company or film studios. This is because the studios/distributing company have enough money to fund your idea and transpose that written idea onto screen (whether this be the large cinema screen or just a small television screen). These studios and companies receive hundreds of ideas every day so it is important that an idea is produced in a way that is clear and concise. The best way to do this is to produce a pitch consisting of 5 lines (or 25 words). A pitch should introduce the main plotline, characters and any themes that could provide an interesting enigma code(s) for the members of the studios/company reading your pitch.
 
 
This is my pitch for my film:
 
'A 16 year old boy becomes the victim of an abusive, tumultuous relationship under the hands of his girlfriend'

01/12/2013

'Get Real' poster - Textual Analysis

For my final media project, I have decided to change my genre from thriller to a teen drama due to feedback from a focus group on my script that I produced as a homework task. Although my initial idea was to produce a psychological thriller that would gain audience appeal through the power of character emotion, I soon realised that this was quite difficult to pull off for a targeted young adult audience. However, I still wanted to keep the abuse story theme because I thought that this was an interesting idea to develop. It is also an issue in society that affects all kinds of people who have experienced any form of abuse or witnessed others suffer at the hands of an abuser(s). With it affecting society on a large scale, it is relatable to the audience on a more personal level and, as a result, they would hopefully find it a realistic, respectful approach to a personal matter.
 
Teen drama is a sub-genre of the very broad drama genre that has a plot and themes which specifically target a younger audience. Examples of teen dramas include; Kidulthood (2006), Elephant (2003) and Paranoid Park (2007). However, the teen drama that I am citing influence from is Get Real (1998). The reason why I am choosing this film as an influence for my marketing campaign is because the poster's visual codes represent the themes of the film clearly but still maintaining an enigma code as to how those themes will affect the events as they progress. The poster also introduces the main character, Steven Carter, which signifies that the film is based either on a first person narrative or the photography is based from his perspective on the film's events. Me being a teenager myself, this film appealed to my emotions on a large scale and this is what I hope to achieve from my film.

To help me for future assignments and as inspiration for my own project, I have decided to analyse the film's poster.

GET REAL (1998)


This poster is a brilliant example of an effective teen drama poster in my opinion. Although some consumers may feel that the tagline is too long, I believe that it effectively represents the film's target audience and it signifies what kind of themes and issues this film is going to explore. The larger tagline above the title's typography lists issues that affect teenagers. This represents the film as being a text that specifically targets that young, teenage audience. The list ends with a question. This means that that list has a purpose and it is actually a rhetorical question. This makes the consumer feel more involved with the film so makes them feel almost obliged to watch it to see how these issues are tackled in the film. It is also written in an informal language to help attract the younger audience and to prevent the film from being represented as being formal and very serious.  This informality is also represented through the font that has been used. It also suggests to the audience that this film's setting is based in a modern-day environment rather than it being a period drama. The title's typography is larger and in a red font to help it stand out more against the yellow background. The lack of proper grammar (such as the capital letters and the removal of the full stop) hits hard at the consumer because, to me, it is more like a statement rather than a title. The title is an imperative as well which is also a form of involving the audience. The second tagline underneath the title's typography tells the theme of the film: the term 'out' in this case is a colloquial phrase used by society to describe a person who is confident and free to openly admit their homosexuality (whether they are gay, a lesbian or bisexual). This suggests to the audience that homosexuality and society's perception of it is the main topic that is explored in this film. The tag-line also introduces the lead character: Steven Carter. It also introduces the age group that he belongs to and one of the main locations that provide this film's setting when it says, 'School's out'. Not only does it tell the audience that this film is targeted at an audience that is in the same age group as Carter but it also suggests to the audience that the film is based on his perspective.

The only photograph that is used is a shot of the legs that belong to people dressed in similar uniforms. When people think of school, they automatically think of a smart uniform. This is a continuation of the film's setting. The black and white colour scheme allows the person in the middle to stand out. The clash in colour scheme has purposely been done so that it delivers a message to the audience - that message being that everyone should be allowed to be different without being judged upon. The actor, whose costume is in colour, also crosses their legs to continue delivering this 'standing out' message. This is an enigma code because it makes us wonder whether that actor is Steven Carter or if the photograph applies to the audience on a larger scale in that the issues raised in that list secretly affects many people sat in the same classroom.

The use of the film festival awards shows that the film has received critical acclaim. There is also a review from a professional media body below the festival awards. This creates a positive perception of the film and it encourages the audience to go and watch this film for themselves.

26/11/2013

Reflection on Storyboards & Scripts

Over the past few weeks, we have looked at the production of scripts and storyboards. To learn further from this, I have produced a script and a storyboard of my own to go alongside coursework. Whilst the script was based on an original idea and full of codes and conventions for an audience member to easily identify that script's genre, the storyboard was my interpretation of a novel that has not been adapted into a film in the past.
 
 
WHAT I LEARNT ABOUT SCRIPTS
 
Out of the two ways of producing a movable media text, the script is the most easiest for an audience member to clearly identify that text's genre, themes and setting. A script is also easier when a producer or a writer wants to illustrate a text's opening sequence. There are several layout requirements that allow a script to appear professional. A professional layout is particularly important if a person wishes to send a script to a studios or production company in order to pitch their idea. Those requirements are:
 
  • The font is in Courier and in 12pt. This is the font that is used by most TV and film scripts and looks formal. The 12pt size is large enough for a consumer to read it but small enough to allow enough writing on the page as possible.
  • One page (except cover page) = Approximately one minute screen time.
  • An opening sequence should only be about three pages long. If any longer, the opening sequence would not be concise and could lack relevancy. If any shorter, the reader may be unable to identify themes, character relationships or, importantly, the genre of the script.
  • In the opening sequence, make sure you introduce the narrative, time period, genre, setting and any important characters.
  •  Clearly make out the difference between dialogue and scene notes or descriptions. The best way to do this is to have the description in bold.
  • To include dialogue, indent the character's name to the centre and align the speech underneath the name. Do not use speech marks as this does not look professional!
  • Indent any scene transitions on the right.
  • Number scenes to make the script more easier to read (even if the text's layout of events is non-chronological for the purpose of the theme or genre).
This is an example of what a cover page for a script should look like:



When it came to me producing my own script, I decided to base my text in the Thriller genre. As this is a genre that I am really considering to base my final project on, I thought that this would be a great opportunity to gain an insight of how difficult producing a script in this genre could be. I found it quite hard to create a thrilling script  because I was unsure about typical codes and conventions for this genre. I know that most thrillers have negative themes so I also wanted to base my text on issues that were quite negative. I also wanted the text to explore social issues that affect a contemporary society because this will allow my text to relate to the audience on a more personal level. My script depicted a short confrontation between a middle-aged man and his teenage niece. Her reluctant actions soon reveal to the audience that she is a victim of physical abuse. I thought of several articles that were in the news during the past few years as inspiration for the script because I fortunately have not experienced this first-hand. I also sought inspiration from these articles because I wanted it to be a respectful approach towards the sensitive subject.
 
In today's lesson, we shared our scripts around in groups and everyone had to try and guess what genre my script was by placing their answer on a post-it note then slipping those notes in an envelope with my name on it. Some people were unable to pick out what genre my script was and this is something that I will definitely need to work on in the future by watching several thriller films and picking out codes and conventions that are within all of these films. Like I did with the previous script task, I could also analyse examples of thriller script openings on IMSDB.
 
WHAT I LEARNT ABOUT STORYBOARDS
 
The storyboard is a way of planning how you could illustrate a movable text. This form of pre-production planning is effective for texts in the fantasy, anime/animation or action genres where the film's visual elements are really crucial when it comes to capturing an audience's attraction and interest. Visual effects such as explosions and CGI characters may be difficult to describe in writing so the storyboard allows an artist to draw that effect on paper where it is clearer. This is an example of a good storyboard:
 
 
A storyboard should contain the following information:
  • Shot Numbers - allows a clear structure for viewers to follow.
  • Shot transitions - cuts, fades, swipes, etc.
  • Labelling of mise en scene to help establish shots.
  • Shot proximity - close-ups, long shots, over the shoulder shots, etc.
  • Any speech cues
  • Any sound notes (diegetic/non-diegetic)
  • Extra camera information - pans, zooms, hand-held shaking
 
For my storyboard, I decided to base it on a novel that is within the same genre as my script: thriller. I decided to do this because this would benefit me in future coursework for my final project. I am not a keen artist so I knew that before I even started this task that I was going to find this difficult. I produced a storyboard of my interpretation on the opening paragraph for the novel Casting Shadows Everywhere  by L.T Vargus. The opening paragraph describes how Jake, the protagonist, is one minute being his care-free self then, the next, is rolling around on the floor after being kicked in the crotch by his tormentor, Tony. I wanted to be imaginative when it came to illustrating how he suddenly went from flipping off the table to being so low on the floor. Rather than being realistic, I wanted it to have an alternative, non-naturalistic edge so that the storyboard was my own interpretation rather than copying the author.
 
CONCLUSION
 
What I can take away from this experience of producing a storyboard and a script is that I feel more confident in writing a script because I feel a lot more confident writing than I am drawing. Although I will need to work on incorporating clear thriller codes and conventions into my script in order for it to be more exciting and accurate, I am going to plan my final opening sequence using a script. I am going to use a script because I am staying away from using visual effects in order to enhance the piece's realistic effect.
 
 
 
 
 


21/11/2013

What Inspires A Film?

During today's lesson, it was clear that whilst writing my 'Guess The Genre' script I had a massive mind-block. It took me forever to think of even the basic things to write down because I was worried if the themes and the points that I wanted to make in the script were being achieved in a realistic yet effective and imaginative way. That mind-block soon disappeared though when we were given a quick insight into the variety of media texts that can inspire a film adaptation. In the list ranged types that were obvious and widely used such as books and comics. However, there were other texts that are less familiar in the film world but are still really effective if used wisely.
 
In order to refer back to this inspiration for future reference, I produced a small mind-map so that when it comes to work for future assignments and for my final project I can make sure that my idea is as original and as captivating as possible for my target audience.
 
 

17/11/2013

Scripts and their Interpretations Part 2

For the second part of this task, I have looked at several other examples of scripted introductions and how they introduce a film's storyline, setting, genre, period of time and any important characters. For my final project, I have decided to create a psychological drama. I chose this sub-genre because the basis of the film's action is stripped down to dialogue and powerful character interaction. As this sub-genre often uses voice-overs or narration during the introductions, I have decided to look at the script for the following films:
 
1. Milk (2008, written by Dustin Lance Blank and stars Sean Penn as the title character)
 
 
2. The Godfather (1972, written by Mario Puzo & Francis Ford Coppola and stars Marlon Brando as Don Corleone and Salvatore Corsitto as Bonasera)
 
 
3. Raging Bull (1980, written by Paul Schrader & Mardik Martin and stars Robert De Niro as Jake LaMotta)
 
 
Questions:
 
1. How did each script introduce the narrative (storyline), setting, time period, the characters and the genre?
 
MILK
In the script for Milk, the first shot is of Sean Penn in his kitchen, recording his will on 'a circa 1970s tape recorder'. The description of this particular prop includes the decade of which that tape recorder would be released. This shows the audience that the film is based during the 1970s. This is also a form of continuity because the exact year of the film's introduction is mentioned in the caption for the first shot (Int. Harvey's Kitchen...1978).
 
Harvey Milk is introduced by Penn himself when he says, 'This is Harvey Milk speaking on Friday November 18th'. This tells the audience that Sean Penn's character must be the main character of this story. In the next caption, the setting of where Milk is recording his will is in 'a cluttered San Fransisco apartment'. This detail introduces the film's main location to the audience and makes us assume that Milk is either talking in a San Fransisco accent or in a general American accent. The script suggests to us that this is the location where the majority of the film is set because a person would want to record their will within the warmth and comfort of their own home.
 
The caption for the fourth shot states that Milk is 'making a campaign speech to a crowd of stone faced union boys'. The fact that he is delivering a campaign speech rather than any other normal monologue suggests to the audience that this film has a political theme because Milk is a politician or an activist.
 
Milk's final line in this section of the script is an enigma code because it gives the audience a vague insight of his life and it is the vagueness of his final line that makes us wonder why he would call the opposition party 'insecure, terrified, afraid or very disturbed themselves'. We wonder why he would want to use sharp, bitter words. It is this question that introduces us to a part of the film's narrative.
 
THE GODFATHER
The subtitle for the first shot says, 'Int Day. Don's Office (Summer 1945)'. This subtitle introduces the year and time period to the audience. In the caption for the first shot, it says how the title credit's typography should be represented: 'simple words in white lettering'. The colour white can be quite plain (even bland) but stands out amongst the chosen 'black background'. The typography's formality suggests to the audience that this film must be very dramatic, hinting to us the film's genre.
 
During the title sequence, the script cues a non-diegetic cry where someone says, 'I believe in America!'. This cry introduces the film's country to the audience. In this same caption, we are introduced to the character, Amerigo Bonasera, who is described as being 'on the verge of emotion'. The audience wonders why he is feeling so emotional. This question signifies that this character direction is an enigma code.
 
Bonasera then begins to explain why he is on the edge. He goes on to say that his daughter 'found a boy friend, not an Italian'. This introduces an element of the narrative to the audience. It suggests that there must be some kind of conflict between the Italians and another body of society. His speech finishes with him saying, 'Then I said to my wife, for Justice, we must go to The Godfather'. This quote intrigues us because it makes us wonder why the godfather is capitalised. It is also an introduction to the character, Don Vito Corleone (whom fans of the original adaptation will know), is addressed in that way because he is the leader and the wise character.
 
RAGING BULL
At the start of the introduction, the title sequence's caption says that the credits are 'intercut with close-ups of a fighter's body'. This caption's description suggests to the audience that this film has a recurring sport's theme throughout. The subtitle for the next cut mentions the film introduction's time period when it says the first cut is set in the 'Barbizon Plaza Theatre - Dressing Room - Night (1964)'. The mention of the exact year tells the audience that the introduction is set during the 1960s.
 
The caption for the first cut introduces the character, Jake LaMotta, to the audience. Although 'overweight and out of shape', it is clear that his character still has some life in him left when it goes on to say, 'the balls of his feet still pop up and down like they were on canvas and his tiny fists still jerk forward with short bursts of light'. This suggests to the audience that he is still determined to succeed. It also introduces to us an element of the film's narrative: it could be that LaMotta's career as a boxer had to abruptly end at a time when he was not ready to retire.
 
2. How did each script engage you?
 
Whilst The Godfather's script engages me with its formality and its very emotional monologue, Milk's and Raging Bull's script engaged me with elements of humour. Milk's script also engages me because of his final enigmatic quote in that section of the script when he says, 'I fully realize that a person who stands for what I stand for - an activist, a gay activist - becomes the target or potential target for a person who is insecure, terrified, afraid or very disturbed themselves...'. This line not only describes himself and why he stands out in society but he also describes normal people as the enemy. His description of the enemy engages me because it makes me wonder why he is open to calling the opposition such bitter names when his sole aim was to recruit people.  
 
The Godfather's script engages me because the shots are laid out in chronological order. This helps me to understand the introduction more and it allows me to pick out the key information from the script. Raging Bull's script engages me because I am able to get a clear representation of the lead character's present life and past life and how he is still caught up with living in the past.
 
3. What does each of the scripts have in common?
All of the scripts have a monologue to some extent during the introduction. All of the scripts indirectly introduce the film's setting whether this is in a stage direction or if it is said. For example: Milk's script introduces the setting in a stage direction of how the room in which Milk is sat in should look.  
 
4. How are each of the scripts different?
Whilst Milk's script and Raging Bull's script cross-cuts from the past to the present day, The Godfather's script remains in one time period and links fluently and chronologically into the next section of the script. The tone of The Godfather's script is also quite negative in order to prevent any humour whereas elements of humour are in Raging Bull and Milk in order to engage the audience from the start. The title credit does not appear at the introduction of Milk's script whereas it does for The Godfather and Raging Bull.
 
 
 


16/11/2013

Scripts and their Interpretation Part 1

Sound is one of the most basic essentials that a modern film production should have. If screenplay writers wish to include dialogue and sound effects into their production, it is essential that they should produce a script. This is because it allows actors involved in the production to confidently express the characters that are in the film. The camera crew can rely on the script when it comes to producing the shots for a particular scene or section and the sound crew can successfully insert sounds because of cues from the script.
 
In this task, I analysed the script for the opening scene from the 2012 film adaptation of the Schonberg-Boubil musical Les Miserables that stars Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean and Russell Crowe as Javert. I was able to complete the task by reading the manuscript then analysing how that section of the script was interpreted on screen.
 
Questions:
 
1) How does the script introduce the narrative, setting, time period, the characters and the genre?
 
A) In the superimpose caption, the script introduces the year, the country that the film is set in and the film's historical context in full sentences.  Even though they are full sentences, they are simple sentences. The length of the sentences allow the audience to easily remember these important facts. This allows the audience to have a clear understanding of the film that they are about to watch before any shots or screenplay have actually taken place. It says, 'The year is 1815. The French Revolution is a distant memory. Napoleon has been defeated. France is ruled by a king again.'
 
In A1's screen direction, not only is the actual location of the film's opening scene introduced (Ahead, the port of Toulon, the home of the French navy) but the setting and the atmosphere that the setting creates is also introduced to the audience. When a person thinks of 'Winter rain', they immediately think that it is dark and miserable. Some could say that this dark and miserable theme could continue throughout the film. It could also be an enigma code for events to come. Another superimpose caption that says the film's setting was written for it to appear onscreen during the film. This tells  audience members, who are unfamiliar with the theatre adaptation or with landmarks of France, that the opening sequence is set in a particular place in France.
 
 In the first shot's caption, the character, Jean Valjean, is described as being 'a great brute of a man' but 'he seems to feel nothing'. This is an enigma code because it makes us wonder why he feels nothing and so numb despite being incredibly strong and brutish. The fact that the shot focuses on Valjean's characteristics unlike all the other convicts suggests to the audience that he is either a main character or a character of significant importance to the film's events.
 
The second shot's caption directs the convict ensemble to sing their lines when it says, 'The convicts sing in time with the rhythmic pulls on the rope -'. This lets the audience know that the genre of the film is a musical. This caption also introduces the character, Javert, as being 'the officer in charge of the convict workforce' which shows the audience that there is a class and power divide between him and the other characters. It also says that he is 'expressionless' which shows that he is certainly not showing any remorse or guilt for the pain that the convicts are undertaking. This suggests that he must be the bad character or the villain of this film.
 
In the third caption, the relationship between Javert and Valjean appears strained and almost non-existent when it says Valjean 'stares back for a beat, defying him'. This suggests to the audience that the conflict of power between the two characters could escalate further as the film progresses. This suggestion could be classed as a part of the film's narrative.
 
2. How does it engage you?
 
A) It engages me by giving full descriptions of shots. This allows me to create an image of that shot in my head and this makes me, as an audience member, feel more involved and more connected to the film. The script's writer has also been careful not to go into too much depth when it comes to describing the characters. This engages me because the vague information makes me question why those characters are like that and it makes me wonder if those questions will be answered during the film's progression. Key characteristics have been mentioned rather than a whole list of personality traits. This engages me because it does not over-complicate the character and it allows the actor to create a realistic, respectful representation of that character.
 
3. How did the film-clip introduce the narrative (story), setting, time period, the characters and the genre?
 
 
In the first few seconds of the clip, the year, the country and the historical context is introduced. The year of the film is larger than the rest of the text. This suggests that this detail out of the whole passage is the most important. If audience members are unsure why that date is significant, the first half of the passage explains why (twenty six years after the start of the French revolution). The audience are able to know the film's setting from the remainder of the passage which says 'a king is once again on the throne of France'. Non-diegetic fanfare music can be heard at this point. The genre and the aggressive tone of music suggests that the following shots in the sequence are going to express that aggression at some degree. The consistent dark colour scheme creates a miserable, dark atmosphere which suggests that the film's narrative could be just as dark and mysterious.
 
 
The camera then rolls from the ship onto the docks. This shot could be called the opening sequence's establishing shot because it introduces the location of this first scene to the audience. Although it is not clear what is the name of this particular place, the audience are able to identify it as being a war-ship docks because of the size of the ships that are on the left hand side and on the right hand side of the camera's position.
 
 
A high-angle shot then zooms in from the ship to the cast who are pulling the ship into the docks. The shot particularly focuses on Hugh Jackman. Fans of the original musical adaptation will recognise this character as being Jean Valjean. However, other audience members may not realise this yet and may question if his character has significant importance because the camera is focusing on him. His shabby costume suggests that his character could be quite poor but then the shackles around his neck confirms that he looks dishevelled because he is a convict.
 
 
A few seconds later, this next low-angle shot zooms to a medium close-up of Russell Crowe. Once again, fans of the original musical adaptation will be able to identify his character as being Javert, the officer in charge of this particular group of convicts. For those who do not know the musical, the low-angle shot is often used for characters who are menacing or have a high degree of power and status. This degree of power, alongside the much tidier costume that he is wearing, suggests to audience members (who don't know who he is) that he is the leader or dictator. The menacing mood and low eye contact suggests that he could be a bad character or a villain.
 
After this shot, the camera cross-cuts to a close-up of Valjean struggling to pull the rope back. Whilst doing this, he sings the line, 'Look down!'. By singing the dialogue, this tells the audience that this film is a musical. The line 'Don't look him in the eye' is addressed to Javert. The tone of this lyric proves that the rest of the characters in this sequence have a strained relationship with the officer because of conflict in power.
 
 
This low-angle shot of the convicts walking allows the audience a clear view of the horrible conditions that the men have to work in. This shot is also very interesting because it depicts the convicts walking over their country's flag without a care in the world. This is an enigma code for the film's narrative because it suggests that the people of France are living under such regime where they are physically unable to be patriotic and love their homeland anymore. This also suggests that at some point in the film, the cast could show defiance and stand up against the French regime in vengeance for the pain that they had endured.
 
 
This medium shot of the two characters together establishes their strained relationship for the audience. The difference in costume shows that there is a clear divide in power and respect. Valjean's back is facing the camera. This body language shows that he does not wish or choose to associate with Javert.
 
4) How did it engage you?
 
It engages me because one clear interpretation of the script has been created. Whilst the script was full of enigma codes that caused me to ask questions, the film's sequence explored these enigma codes in a way that was not directly addressed to me as an audience member. Elements of the photography created these enigma codes such as the interaction between the two main characters and symbols that signified possible plot elements. The audio codes also engages me because it allows me to understand and connect with the characters on an emotional scale.
 
 
 


14/11/2013

Useful Storyboard Website

Literally just stumbled across this blog page that is an archive of storyboards for some very famous films (Avengers Assemble (2010), Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (2008) and Star Wars (1977) are just a few of the films). In fact, the collection consists of fifteen different pre-production storyboards that I believe will be useful to anyone who wishes to produce storyboards for upcoming film or TV productions! Whilst some of the storyboards are just shots of particular scenes, others include important details such as shot types, transitions and other camera information that will help someone have an idea of how to produce a storyboard of high quality.
 

12/11/2013

Factors of Media Representation

 
GENDER:
 
 

This is a still image that captures the girls’ dancing in the video.
In Britney Spears’ music video for ‘Work It B***’ (November 2013), women are represented as having lower respect in the social class than men and that their sole aim is to please the man and create the male gaze. This is represented in a number of ways. Britney Spears and the dancers are wearing barely any clothes to flatter their figures and to please the male eye. They also dance provocative moves which represent women as the gender who are the most sexually suggestive. The video is completely ironic when compared with the song’s lyrics because the content of the lyrics express female empowerment and it tells women that in order to have success in life, they have to work hard. When you compare that ethic to this video, it completely turns that ethic on its head and suggests that a woman only needs to flaunt and wear barely any clothes in order to bag a man.
AGE:
The action thriller Escape Plan (2013 starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone) has main characters that are countertypes of the older generation. People stereotype elderly people as being frail, weak and not being able to take part in a lot of physical activity. However, Stallone (who is 67) and Schwarzenegger (who is 66) have characteristics that are the complete opposite to stereotypical traits. As the film progresses, the pair perform a lot of intense stunt work during fight scenes and as the two actors are in their 60s, this shows the audience that not all old people are weak and cannot do the most basic of tasks without
keeling over in agony or breaking a hip.

 
PARTICULAR EVENTS (ROYAL EVENTS/SPORTS EVENTS/POLITICAL RIOTS):
This is a still image of a scene that occurred during the London Riots.
In this picture that was captured by an editor from The Guardian’s website, the 2011 London riots are represented as being a violent affair that is caused by masked hooligans. This does not represent the full picture of the London riots and the image has been carefully chosen by the press to represent the event as being a disgusting perception on British culture and society. This picture does not represent the reasons why the riots occurred in the first place so it lets people assume that the riots were just an excuse for people to damage properties and to destroy shops, not because of a death that horrified the hooligans involved.

ISSUES (POVERTY/DISABILITY/WAR):
 

 
 
 
 
This advert from Clarks is advertising the range of shoes that are available in its new collection from sports shoes to smart shoes and stilettos. One of the models is disabled. This advert is a positive representation of the disabled society as it shows that disabled people are just the same as everyone else. This representation gives a positive, friendly impression of the company and it encourages people to visit their stores and buy products from the shop.
 
ETHNICITY:
This is the front cover of Playstation 2’s version of Final Fantasy XII (2006).


Released in 2006, all of Final Fantasy XII’s characters are white. This is evident in the game’s front cover. This is a representation of white people, without causing offence, the dominating race. Even though the game was released during the twenty first century when segregation and prejudice against black people is looked down upon by society, the cover still fails to illustrate society’s perception of racial equality. It is as if the producers of the game are assuming that gamers do not think that playing a black character is cool.

NATIONAL & REGIONAL IDENTITY:
On the British political panel show, Mock the Week, there is a section or a round that most of the contestants take part in where they are given a particular topic and they have a minute to prove that their topic is the funniest in order to receive points for their team. On the eleventh episode of series 5, comedian Michael McIntyre was given the topic ‘The North and South divide’ to talk about. His discussion of this topic represents Northern people as being less articulate when they talk when compared with people from the South (where McIntyre is from). His representation of Northern people, although quite comical, could have been taken as an offence towards that part of society because he creates this perception that they are quite slow and retarded in the way that they speak.