Monday, 6 July 2015

Year 12 Summer Work

1. Make sure that when you come back, you know what you want to do. If you need to check the specifications at OCR – GCE Media Studies – and remember you’re doing A2 not AS...

2. Analyse at least three similar texts on your blog – I think five, overall, would be enough – and remember, Laura, one text per post. Think about the way you were taught to analyse texts for the AS exam; look at structure and mise-en-scène; think about genre and audience expectations; look at representation. The representation of women in music videos is an understandably touchy issue (see all the fuss about Rhianna’s latest magnum opus, for instance:

Make sure you cover it. You might like to look at Laura Mulvey’s Male Gaze theory, in which she suggests that women have become conditioned to view a film from the point of view (though not necessarily through the eyes) of the male protagonist. Women are, therefore, objectified as romantic interest, objects of sexual/romantic desire, victims (either from the male killer’s angle or from that of the hero who will rescue them.

3. You ought to use the following, depending on your choice of topic, but bear in mind that what you see and what you create may have some aspects of various theories and may not stick rigidly to one (and it is possible to relate music video, for example, to genre theory, depending on the individual video):

Genre Theory:

(Tom Ryall, 1998) “patterns/styles/structures which transcend individual films, and which supervise both their construction by the film-maker and their reading by an audience.”

Steve Neale (1990) argues that Hollywood’s generic regime guarantees meanings and pleasures for audiences.

Neale (1980)- much of the pleasure of popular cinema lies in the process of “difference in repetition” – i.e. recognition of familiar elements and in the way those elements might be orchestrated in an unfamiliar fashion or in the way that unfamiliar elements might be introduced e.g. Scream and its sequels: certain elements are similar in all three films, yet new ideas and material are incorporated into each sequel.

Neale (1990) – Genre is constituted by “specific systems of expectations and hypothesis which spectators bring with them to the cinema and which interact with the films themselves during the course of the viewing process.”

Jonathan Culler (1978) – generic conventions exist to establish a contract between and deviation from the accepted modes of intelligibility. Acts of communication are rendered intelligible only within the context of a shared conventional framework of expression.

Ryall (1998) sees this framework provided by the generic system; therefore, genre becomes a cognitive repository of images, sounds, stories, characters, and expectations.

Genre has come to represent, as John Fiske (1988) has said, “attempts to structure some order into the wide range of texts and meanings that circulate in our culture for the convenience of both producers and audiences.”

Music video Theory:

“They now provide pictures for the songs in our heads. Goodbye, imagination… No need to think, to embellish, to create, to imagine.” (Joe Salzman, 2000)

“Often, music videos will cut between a narrative and a performance of the song by the band… Sometimes, the artist… will be a part of the story, acting as narrator and participant at the same time. But it is the lip-synch close-up and the miming of playing instruments that remains at the heart of music videos, as if to assure us that the band really can kick it.” (Steve Archer, 2004)

The presence of women is often solely for the purposes of display and the purpose of this display is to facilitate a voyeuristic response in the spectators, which presumes a male gaze, regardless of the actual gender of the spectator i.e. a powerful and controlling gaze at the female, who is on display and is, therefore, objectified and passive - paraphrasing Laura Mulvey (1975).

“Is the female flesh on display simply a cynical; exploitation of the female body to increase (predominantly) male profit margins, or a life-enhancing assertion of female self-confidence and sexual independence?” (Pete Fraser, 2005)

Andrew Goodwin (1992):

There is a relationship between the lyrics and the visuals (with visuals either illustrating, amplifying or contradicting the lyrics).

There is a relationship between the music and the visuals (again with visuals either illustrating, amplifying or contradicting the music).

Particular music genres may have their own music style and iconography (such as live stage performance in heavy rock).

There is a demand on the part of the record company for lots of close-ups of the main artist/vocalist.

The artist may develop their own star iconography, in and out of their videos, which, over time, becomes part of their star image.

There is likely to be reference to voyeurism, particularly in the treatment of women, but also in terms of looking (screens within screens, binoculars, cameras etc).

There are likely to be intertextual references, either to other music videos or to films and TV texts.

Documentary Quotes

‘It’s not so much what you get in the shooting but what you do with it afterwards’ Paul Watson documentary maker. 

Possible models or narrative strategies:  

Expository: lecturing, overtly didactic, e.g. with a personal presenter or an explanatory voice-over.
Observational: like a "fly on the wall," the camera, microphone and film crew seem not to be disturbing the scene or even to be noticed by the participants. 

Participatory or interactive: the film crew takes part in the action or chain of events.

Reflexive: the film exposes and discusses its own role as a film (e.g. the ethics or conditions of filmmaking) alongside the treatment of the case or subject.

Performative: the film crew creates many of the events and situations to be filmed by their own intervention or through events carried out for the sake of the film.

Poetic: the aesthetic aspects, the qualities of the form and the sensual appeals are predominant.

News Values

Although this powerpoint was put together for work on TV news, Galtung and Ruge’s theory can be applied to print news.

Another couple of areas to look at it are Narrative and Character Theories

Again, the works you look at/create may not have all Propp’s character types and some may be combined; likewise, the text may go through Todorov’s narrative theory more than once to create cliff-hangers or the narrative may be disrupted and non-chronological or show different points of views – anachronic, in other words, like the film, Memento.

In your discussion of the texts, make sure you reference the relevant theories.

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