Thursday, 9 December 2010

Avatar Case Study

Looking at a reference to Hollywood in order to compare to the British film company practices.


  •  Directed by James Cameron, known for phenomenon Titanic and for creating film masterpieces.
  • The films budget was $237 million, yet it took over $2.6 billion in the worldwide box office and won many oscars and golden globes.
  • It is filmed in 3D, however Cameron worked with cinematographer Vince Pace to  pioneer and patent a 'fusion digital 3D camera system'
  • Cameron had the concept for this film twenty years ago, but he had to wait for the technology to catch up with him.With filming starting in 2003, a 'virtual camera' was used. This is a hand-held monitor which allowed him to move through a 3D terrain.
  • 70% of the film is CGI, including the female lead. The cast wore motion-capture suits which are basically leotards with sensors on. They acted out their scenes on a 'performance capture' stage, six times bigger than anything used in Hollywood before. 
  • A 'skull cap' was used to capture the actor's facial expressions with close camera enhancement. 
  • Motion Capture- Makes 3D easier, allowing special effects and it also lets them position the camera to make it look like a computer game (it is actually a viewpoint from inside the virtual world). 
  • The virtual monitor was a big advance in technology, and it allowed Cameron to capture results in real time. Cameron developed new techniques for the live action parts and an innovative filming ring. This meant each lens could mimic a human eye. It captured the two images needed for 3D simultaneously, aligning with the illusion of depth.
  • The Distribution Company was 20th Century Fox
  • Because of the huge budget, the marketing for Avatar was a global campaign. 
  • Friday the 21st August was named 'Avatar day' with 15 minutes of teaser trailer footage released worldwide online at the same time.
  • For the DVD release, an interactive trailer was released to convince audiences that the experience would be just as good away from the cinema and 3D screens. It allows viewers to zoom in, pause, look at hot spots and showed extended clips from the film as well as in depth information about the world of Pandora. 
  • 20th Century Fox enlisted the help of international creative marketing agency, Thinkjam. They made it possible for the interactive adverts to be shown simultaneously across the world, and created to technology for the internet to cope with this. 
    • If you were to give the full 'Avatar' experience in your cinema, then you would need digitally equipped screens. As well as this, each person in the audience needs a pair of 3D glasses to watch the film, which is an additional cost to the cinema, meaning the price of tickets is increased, so the film has to be worth the extra costs. 
    • So for both distributors and cinemas, 3D costs more, and with the equipment required so expensive, small independent cinemas have little chance competing. Only around 320 of the 3,600 cinemas in the UK are fully digitally equipped for 3D. 

    Wednesday, 8 December 2010

    Examples of Distribution From Film4 and Working Title

    Lovely Bones and Love Actually Presentation

    Working Title Distributions

    Working Title is almost completely Distributed by Universal, as they own a 67% stake in the company and have the money to afford big releases and marketing campaigns. For this, Working Title depend on because there audience is usually a multiplex one, so they need to appeal and reach everyone with there film. 90% of the British cinema chains are American and with Universal being part of the biggest chain they have a lot of power in the screening of their films and can more easily allow more screenings in more places to make it available to more people.
    Working Title themselves promote and market their films largely online, although this is all below the line, particularly on their website where they keep us up to date with merchandise and competition on the films we liked and also the chance to buy it on DVD when its available.
    Working Title Website Fact Sheet:

    Film4 Distribution

    In 2002, Film4 underwent big changes. It needed to increase it's annual investment by using 3rd party partnerships, and decided they could not possibly distribute their own films. This is primarily because 90% of films are distributed by US companies and all big cinema chains are American owned and there was simply know way a British film company could compete.
    The newly appointed head of Film4 and Channel 4 Drama, Tessa Ross secured a budget increase from $8-10 million to £15million a year.
    Film for try to make around six to eight films a year. To achieve this they set up a low budget studio with the film council and distributors optimum. It is also partly funded by advertising, including adverts on their website and and in between films on the TV channel.
    Ross has created a wider creative community, working with other companies such as Working Title and BBC Films. A lot of Films also find distributors at film festivals.
    WarpX and Film4 Hub
    WarpX is a joint project from the UK film council and Film4 with Sheffield based Indie Warp, they can finance three low budget films a year.


    Distribution is the stage in between production and exhibition and involves all the deals done to promote the film.
    There are two types of film promotion; 'Above the line' and 'Below the line'. Above the line refers to all the promotional material and marketing that is financed within the films budget such as the official trailers, posters and billboards. Whereas below the line consists of all promotion that isn't paid for, but that still generates interest in the film, for example; interviews with the cast or director, reviews and fan pages or videos such as trailer re-makes on youtube.
    Films are loaned out to cinemas for a finite period and release deals are done that secures access to a certain number of screen at a time. But in the UK film market, an increase in the quantity of screens showing films has not led to an increase in the number of films shown.
    The five main Distributors in the UK film industry are:
    • United International Pictures (This includes Universal)
    • Warner Brothers
    • Buena Vista
    • Twentieth Century Fox
    • Sony
      These show around 90% of the film in the UK.
      In most cases these distributors are directly linked to the Hollywood production companies who make the films and exhibitors who prioritise Hollywood films over others for profit.
      Usually the blockbuster films we are familiar with are distributed via what is called a 'blanket release' so even if a small UK independent company manages to get it's product into cinemas, it is usually competing for attention with one or more films that take on the status of an 'event'. This generally means that a lot of the films released in Britain do not reach the whole of the country.
      The problems smaller companies face is that every film in each cinema has a reel to project it, so a reel is needed for each cinema. Bigger companies can produce more prints, whereas smaller companies producing a less commercial product can't afford to do that so people who do want to see then have to wait for DVD release.
      Looking at an example of how important marketing is and why it is always such a large part of the budget, Pirates of the Caribbean 2 Took over $50million at the box office and had over 1.5 million DVD sales ten days after release. However the film had received poor reviews from most critics, so the marketing of the product and it's previous installment contributed to the films success rather than the quality of the film.
      A huge problem in film distribution is Piracy. Hollywood investigators claim that there is a 10% increase each year in the revenue lost to illegal distribution. It is also a big problem in the UK.The UK film council aim to produce a strategy for responding to internal distribution opportunities and for working to remind the public that small production companies are actually hurt more by piracy than conglomerate companies.
      A new wave of distribution is being introduced in the form of digital distribution. It promises to transform the film industry more than any other as once it becomes the normal thing to download films via broadband, the potential for a new form of blanket distribution is obvious; not only do you no longer need multiple prints you can also bypass the cinemas. However, there will still be a need for cine,as as many people still go to enjoy 'the experience' of seeing it on the big screen. Another strength of digital is that it offers identical quality to the original film. Much of piracy involves films not being available in other countries until much later, so people who want to see it close to release watch pirate copies online. With digital distribution planning simultaneous global distribution via the Internet, it will put an end to this time gap and exploitation by pirates.
      Viral marketing is also becoming more and more frequent in distribution. Videos, quizzes and downloads are available from the films website as well as the production and distribution compaines' websites.
      The time of release is crucial due to competition and appealing to your target audience at the right time. Making the film noticed and available to the right people is also vital. On planning the release you need to think about the target audience, research and past experience with a type of film, how often people go to the cinema or buy a DVD (eg, many people but DVDs around Christmas time). To compete with other films the marketing needs to stand out and be directed at the right time to the right people. So during October half term, many children have nothing to due to darker nights, so many films appealing to younger audiences are released.
      Word of mouth is possibly the best marketing for a film you can have, however it is hard to acquire. Advanced screenings are free to the public ti convince them to see it and then tell their friends about it, however his can backfire if the word of mouth is negative. We see adverts for these screenings in magazines which match the target audience. Research proves this by showing that people are most influenced by their friends' recommendations.
      Distribution is vital to a films success, which is why such a large part of any film budget goes towards the distribution of the film and the marketing surrounding it.

      Tuesday, 7 December 2010

      Film4 Productions

      • Film4 Is a British based film company owned by Channel 4.
      • The controller of Film4 and Channel 4 Drama is Tessa Ross. 
      • Established 1998 along with the Film4 Television Channel.
      • One of the biggest film institutes in Britain, primarily funded by Channel 4 and have recently under gone a 50% budget raise from eight to ten million a year to £15million. 
      • They are known for producing 'British' films that are gritty and centre around relationships, concentrating on 'social realism' . They quote what they do as 'We develop and co-finance smart and distinctive feature films.’
      •  Channel 4's philosophy has always been to experiment and innovate and cater for audiences not addressed by other channels. Film4 follows this philosophy by looking for distinctive films that will compete in the difficult cinema market. They often use first time feature screenwriters or directors and aim  to produce around twenty films a year 
      • Film4 films are often less available to the 'multiplex' audience as they aim more for their niche target audience, and crediting at film festivals. 
      • A particular big hit for Film4 was Slumdog Millionaire, which was originally planned to be released straight onto DVD, broke box office records and has gone on to gross around $243million worldwide, along with winning seven BAFTA's and eight Academy Awards. 
      • Originally a subscription-only service, the film4 channel was relaunched in 2002 to become the only subscription free film channel on terrestrial television; increasing its audience from 300,000 to 18million. 
      • The channel tends to show films around two years after the theatrical release, with films involved with film4 throughout production being shown on either channel 4 or film4 itself first before other channels (e.g- Slumdog Millionaire).
      • Similarly to Working Title, you can view video blogs and see behind the scenes of film4 films in production on the website at:
      • Film4 Productions also finance many films, often partnering with other British companies such as Warp films and working title, or the French company Studio Canal, as well as playing a part with the conglomerate companies in Hollywood. 
      •  A new venture recently launched by Film4 along with Sony and Disney is a new online video on demand service for film4. It will supply a selection of films to rent online, with many available the same day as DVD release from 50p to £3.99. There is already around 500 films available: 
      Notable Films:

      Slumdog Millionaire
      The Lovely Bones
      Wild Child
      Four Lions 
      Nowhere Boy
      This is England

      Film4 Productions Film - Film Fact Sheet - This is England:

      Working Title Productions

      • Working Title is a British film company based in London.
      • Co-Chairpersons: Tim Bevan, Erin Fellner
      • Established: 1984
      • They only employ 42 full time staff, split between Working Title and its subsidiary company.
      • Subsidiary company - Working Title 2, established in 1999 and run by Natasha Wharton. WT2 is a smaller low budget film brand that appeals to a more niche audience. They have more independence as they aren't contracted by Universal. 
      • Taken over by Polygram in 1999, which is now Universal. They have a 67% stake in the company. Remaining shares are owned by company founders, BBC films and private investors. On the take over by Universal Bevan said 'we spent much less time on finding the money and much more on developing decent scripts' . 
      • Working Title's Philosophy: 'to make films for a audience - by that I mean play in a multiplex. We totally believe this because we know it is the only hope we have of sustaining the UK film industry' 
      • 85 of working Title's films have grossed over a $4 billion profit worldwide. 
      • They pride themselves on producing a wide range of genres in their films, they have also recently branched out into theatre; producing Billy Elliot: The  Musical.
      • They pride themselves on keeping good relations with the people they work with, often re-using  people. They are well known to work with Directors Richard Curtis and the Coen Brothers, and Mr Bean actor Rowan Atkinson and Romantic comedy film star Hugh Grant. 
      • They have a good record for launching new talent, such as Director Shekkar Kapur.
      • On average, they make around 4 films a year 
      • Working Title often post live blogs on their website to keep fans up to date with the latest films in Production:

      Notable Films:
      Love, Actually
      About a Boy
      Bridget Jones' Diary
      Pride and Prejudice 
      Hot Fuzz 

        A Working Title Film Fact Sheet - Atonement:

        How is Regional Identity represented in 'The Rotters Club'

        Find more videos like this on Beauchamp College Media

        As we are introduced to the narrative the first shot is a close-up of a plate of food. The food is what you would describe as typical 'pub food'; steak and chips, a signifier that shows the characters are lower class.  We also see that two of the men are drinking beer from a tankard with their meal, again a symbol of their lower class, especially when we compare that the two Southerners are drinking glasses of wine, which is considered much more sophisticated. As the narrative progresses, we begin to understand that the men all work for the same company, with the North 'side' representing the workers, symbolic of the stereotype that the north are more working class.  As one of the managers announces each role there is a close up of what we could determine to be the most stereotypical of each region, so we are clear as to who is who. If we compare the way the managers and workers argue there point, we see a difference in their language and the way in which they put there point across. The first example we see is the manager, a representation of a southerner; he keeps his voice very controlled, with a calm manner and he uses the very formal phrase of 'paranoid mentality' to argue Roy's point. If we compare this to the northerner arguing a point, we see much more aggressive, 'brutish' attitude and colloquial language such as 'well bollocks to that' which reflects the stereotype of northerners being argumentative and the way they don't use 'proper' English. 
        We see this colloquial language again as well another typical Northern male trait; being sexist and inappropriate towards women.  This is shown as we see the man speak to the waitress. Firstly, he calls her 'Bab' which is reflective of their slang words, but then he goes on to say ' Not that you're not saucy enough yourself' which could be seen as inappropriate and rude, yet none of the men, pass comment; showing how we have come to accept northerners to behave in this way; or alternatively it could reflect hoe un-argumentative Southerners are, as they dislike confrontations and like things to run smoothly. 
        We see this towards the end of the narrative when one of the northern men explain that the southerners son is called 'Bent Rotter' instead of 'Benjamin Trotter' at school by his friends. Instead of re acting or defending his son from the insult, the man simply acknowledges that he was unaware of this and continues as he was, avoiding confrontation. 
        We see another part of the Northern Stereotype that we previously saw in  the sketch about four Yorkshire men; the way they are proud to be worse off than others. This comes to light when one of the northern men find out that the other is sending his son the same school as the southern man. Describing the school the northerner calls it 'that poncy toff's academy' showing his resentment for any sort of academic achievements, and describing what most would class as a good thing in a negative light. 
        We see the setting is a restaurant and judging from the decor it isn't a high class one, but more likely in the North. It is slightly dated looking, reflective of the stubborn ways of the North and there refusal to change. We can infer from this that although the managers are meeting with the workers to become equal, meeting them at a lower class place than what we assume they are used to suggests they could be embarrassed of their northern counterparts. 
        We can also see that while the southerners are comfortable in their suits, the northerners have a more informal appearance; even though they are wearing suits, they don't fit quite right and we can infer that they aren't their usual attire. 
        The sound is all diegetic to create a realistic atmosphere, possibly to symbolically represent that the North, South divide is real, if a bit exaggerated in this narrative. 

        Thursday, 2 December 2010

        Regional Identity - North,Country Stereotypes

         The Northern Stereotype (Yorks, Lancs, etc)
        - Flat cap wearing
        - Pigeon racers
        - Friendly but 'bloody minded'
        - Stubborn and argumentative
        - Whippet owning
        - Manual (hard) jobs
        - Little education
        - Sexist
        - Thick accent
        - Bitter drinkers
        - Hot pot
        - Miserable weather
        - Cobbled streets
        The Country Stereotype
        - Scrumpy addled yokels
        - Inbred
        - Happy
        - Stupid
        - Livestock bothering
        - Farm hand yokel
         - Hunting toff
        - Lord of the manor
        - Slow pace of life
        - Owners of animals
        - Land rover/Tractor owners

        How is Disability represented in 'The Street'

        Find more videos like this on Beauchamp College Media

        The narrative begins with a close up of barbed wire, which we associate with danger, or in fact keeping us away from danger, so this symbolic code helps us infer that we should be wary of what is behind the wire. Of course this is a more negative viewpoint, but we are made aware of the barbed wire and it's connotations from the close up.
        We see a close up of a man looking into what you could class as a cage with a look of anxiety on his face. Then we see again through the cage effect that he is looking at a man walking up to a van. This is an action code, as it suggests something is about to happen between these men. From the camera angles and editing of this we can infer that this man is looking into the ‘cage’. As the narrative continues, we are introduced to the two characters previously seen by the van. We see the man outside the van has severe burns and scarring on the right side of his face, an enigma code as we want to know the story behind it. In the shot his face, or rather his disability, is framed in the front section of the vans window. Again this creates the feeling that he is in a sort of ‘cage’; which could be a symbolic code of how society separates those with a disability which coincides with the social model of disability of how it is society that puts him this box of disability, the burns don't disable him from doing a job which looks like it involves manual labour, however we deduce he can't simply because of the burns; he is disabled and therefore can't do it. When the topic of conversation turns to him being unable to get his old job back, the camera focuses in on the side of his face with scarring, yet before we predominantly see him from his non scarred face, the editing of the narrative reflects how the audience is seeing him; when we see as what we decide to be 'normal' we see the 'normal' side of his face, yet when we see him segregated because of his impairment, we see what we class as his disability in shot more. Throughout this scene there is diegetic sound which helps us realise the social realism being shown, they are trying to represent a realistic view of how people with disabilities cope in society. Again we see a close up of the barbed wire, however this time behind it is the man with the scars, this is possibly a symbolic code showing he feel like he is in a cage, and is restricted.
        Next we see the man going to help a woman who has dropped her shopping. The pace of editing has picked up slightly from the previous scene, possibly reflecting his anger at being denied a job. We approach the woman from the mans point of view, which helps the audience relate to the character. But we also see how the woman sees the man and why it shocks her, the close-up camera angle and quick editing creates this effect to make it more shocking. The setting in this scene could also be seen as relevant to the representation of disability. It is uphill, and as the man is climbing up the hill he is below them so, which could show social inferiority, yet as he walks off he picks up speed; he is trying to run away from the woman and a situation where his disability was the focus.
        The narrative continues to a shorter sequence with no dialogue and the first non diegetic sound. It is fast and angry to match the characters feelings. The use of drums with a beat, gives a tribal feeling which links into the idea that he could be seen like an animal in a cage, or alternatively it could be a symbolic code; we associate tribal music as something foreign to us, just like we see his disability, as something that sets him apart, like in the idea of differences.
        A sound bridge takes us into the next part of narrative where we immediately see a darker room, with the blinds shut, suggesting this scene will have a more negative atmosphere, most likely due to the characters anger. The light falls through the blinds to create a bar effect on the mans face, which once again links back to the idea of being in a cage. For the angrier parts of the conversation between the man and what appears to be his commanding officer in the army, we see more focused shots on the side of his face with scarring; an animalistic representation, which links again to the idea that people with disabilities are different to everyday people. The switching of shots between between his scarred and non-scarred face shows the binary opposites of his personality; the 'normal' human being and the man with an impairment that separates him from everyone else.

        Wednesday, 24 November 2010

        Memento - How the editing creates the films narrative and represents the character and his disability

        The film memento has a non-linear narrative, which differs from typical films. The film is edited to separate the film into two sections; the black and white scenes and the colour scenes.
        The opening shot of the film is an extreme close up of what would appear to be a mans hand holding a Polaroid; a very gory photograph of a person who has clearly been shot in the head,with blood splattered everywhere; this is an enigma code as the audience want to know the circumstances around this mans death,like who killed him and why there was a picture being taken of him. As the scene continues the Polaroid begins to fade and it is shaken, as it would be whilst it is developing and it soon becomes clear that the scene is going backwards in time, as the photograph un-develops. The Polaroid itself is a cultural code as if you weren't aware of how Polaroids work then you wouldn't understand. Non-diegetic sound plays along with this to create an atmosphere that creates emotion for the audience as they are looking at an image that can fuel emotion so, they have added music to encourage the triggering of this. The music builds up as the scene goes backwards until we see a quick flashes of the shooting that just happened, the pace of the editing in this matches the events of the shooting and the music becomes much more dramatic for those few seconds, triggering interest for the audience as they know some of their questions could be answered, however the editing cuts so that although we see the event, we don't gage the reasoning behind the shooting or in fact all the details of what and who this person is. We see the pace gradually increase as we work from the aftermath to the actual shooting, the taking of the photo and the shots of the fired bullet and glasses fallen on the floor are shown slowly, with the audience able to piece together the confusing details. This music and the scene working its way backwards is an action code as the scene before which is actually what happened after implies some form of action is just about to take place; as we can see from the Polaroid that something has.
        The narrative then moves into a completely different direction as the scenes become black and white. It appears to be the past; as the commentary by the character himself implies. The editing in this scene is substantial; with lots of short close ups and extreme close ups of parts of the man and the room he is in, showing all the little details. It begins with a close up of the mans profile and it focuses in on his eye, implying to the audience that we are about see this characters point of view. Sure enough we soon see the room and shots of the mans body such as his leg, through the man's eyes. This is when we first become aware of his disability. The audience were left with an enigma code as to why the man was taking a photo of the man he shot earlier, yet as we see examples of his lack of short term memory it becomes clearer. Along with the characters commentary on it, the disability is a huge part of the storyline and his character. The short close-up montage editing is a symbolic code of the characters memory as it portrays it as simplistic; from the monotonal colours, and obviously limited from the short shots in the sequence; so the editing is giving us an insight into his disability.
        The scene returns to colour and we assume to be back to the scene of the shooting where we left. but this isn't the case; we see the man interact with a member of staff where he is staying discussing his disability and explaining how he can't remember the man behind the counter. He pays a fee for his room, so it is made clear he is staying in some sort of temporary accommodation, a symbolic code of how his life is temporary due to his disability, however this is a cultural code as not everyone would be aware of such places as motels, which seem the most likely place for him to be staying. Then we are introduced to someone we recognise, the man who he shot, so we know that the film isn't following a chronological order and that we are going to find out the circumstances leading to the shooting. We know this character is key as there is another Polaroid of him and the man is aware of his importance even though he can't remember anything else.
        The colour scenes are playing out the actual events leading up to the events at the beginning, and showing him  living in society and dealing and interacting with people unaware of his disability, yet the black and white narrative gives us an insight into his perception of himself and the situation and the way his mind works, or doesn't. He commentates them so to allow an explanation with showing any extra shots that need to explain the storyline; instead the black and white shots focus on what the character is seeing himself.

        Saturday, 20 November 2010

        Sexuality in Skins

        The sequence opens with a close-up of the character's eyes, which immediately open as the asynchronous sound of church bells starts. This is a British cultural code, so we infer that it is Sunday morning simply because we know that in England there is a church service every Sunday where the bells sound at the start of service. His facial expression is blank and he doesn't look as if he has just woken up, which is an enigma code that leads the audience to question why a teenager is lying awake on a Sunday morning, when stereotypically they never get out of bed. As the camera slowly pans out, we again see a sign of him not having slept as the sun falls on his face; his curtains are open which suggests that he has not slept deliberately. However what is unusual is the shadows symmetrically fall on either side of his face, which could possibly be a symbolic code of showing he has two sides to him. As the camera pans out further we see his duvet is unusual; it has the body of a naked man and woman on it; an enigma code as it leads us to question what kind of character has this as his bedspread. He must have a lot of confidence in himself and be independent of his parents; either they are very understanding or don't care. The fact that there is both genders on there could symbolise the fact that this character is bisexual, and the fact that he is lying in between could support this, but it could also show that he is confused between the two. 
        The bells continue to sound and grow evidently louder as more of the shot is revealed. Since the suggestion of bisexuality is introduced during this it could be a symbolic code to suggest the controversial nature of the character as the bells are linked with a religion in which it is frowned upon to be bisexual. 
        Looking at the bed, the character doesn't appear to have moved which again suggests that he has deliberately not slept; and the audience could infer that there is something wrong or worrying him as a reason for the lack of sleep. 
        We see that his room is unstereotypical of a teenagers, it is tidy and white with a sort of clinical feel about it. The fact that it is white could be a symbolic code of his sexuality as he doesn't yet know his identity, and he is unsure so at the minute his room is blank. The only stand out part is the bed cover, which links to sexuality and suggest that this is the main focus of this character. 
        At the end of the clip his alarm goes off, which is again unusual of a teenager on a Sunday morning but is also an enigma code as the audience questions what the reason could be for him having an alarm to get up on a Sunday, and why he has set it if he has deliberately been lying awake regardless to the time. Throughout the clip the editing is a slow paced pan out, which synchronises with the slow relaxed pace of the church bells however as we finish the clip the editing switches quickly as his alarm goes off, again the sound matches the pace of the clip.


        There are different types of sound during TV and film:

        Diegetic: Natural sounds that are sourced within a scene, such as the people talking, or noise made by movements, doors opening and the radio or television in the background. The main types of TV pregrammes that use these are soaps such as Eastenders and Coronation Street or medical dramas such as Holby City, as they want the scenes to appear like everyday life and to make them more credible.

        Non-Diegetic: Sound that is added to a scene to create an atmoshere, such as a soundtrack. A potential problem would be that it loses realism, but it does create a dramatic effect.

        Sound Bridge: Sound which carries on over two different scenes which then literally creates a bridge between two events.

        Incidental Music: Small, very brief snippets of sound which creates an emotion or feeling. This is normally more cultural, than for a character. 

        Asynchronous Sound: A natural sound, which is out of place and without a source on the scene.
        Contrapunctual Sound: Sounds which create opposite emotion to the one which is on screen.

        Moral Panics, Hypodermic Theory and the Passive Audience

        In pairs we had to look at an area in the media which had caused public controversy. We produced presentations using the Xtranormal website. 
        Columbine high school massacre: 
        The massacre was carried out by two boys, with 12 students and 1 teacher being killed as well as 21 others being injured. It is believed that a factor in influencing the two shooters was a video game called 'Doom'. In which a marine has been posted to mars by his captain where he has to attack enemies in order to prevent them from attacking earth. The two shooters were supposedly avid fans of the game and had created their own levels online. Another supposed influence was 'The basketball diaries' film and the music of Marilyn Manson; who was largely blamed for the strong influence of violence in his music. However as investigations continued it became known that the boys had already been given restricted access to computers and it was thought that the massacre was a way of relieving stress. The biys were also thought to be clinically depressive. 
        The channel 4 TV drama is said to be a bad influence on teenagers, as they want to copy the lifestyles of the characters on the show.To older people it is often seen as offensive as it contains sex, drugs and alcohol, so parents don't want their children to copy this. It can put pressure on teenagers as they feel this is how they should be, and it promotes the lifestyle of being a 'dropout' and not ding well in life. The Sun newspaper also described the show as 'controversial' and with such media attention focusing on it, it drew media attention to the series and encouraged people to watch it as it was something of public interest; so the controversial nature of the show increased ratings and made the show more successful. Abbie, whose presentation it was, said that she watched the show and enjoyed it but it didn't make her want to be like them as it was too unrealistic to be real life, yet it does address serious issues of being a teenager or just life in general.
        Man Hunt: 
        The idea of the video game is to kill innocent people so there was a lot of controversy surrounding it. There has been speculation that the game has led to violence and crime. It was reported that a boy was brutally murdered by his best friend in a way that was influenced by the game, and the boy was supposedly and avid fan of the game. It was also reported that it was banned in New Zealand, this was publicized in the hope that it would increase sales, with the idea that if the media portrayed it badly then it would want to be played more which, turned out to be an effective marketing strategy. 

        Paranormal Activity: 
        The film is all about a American woman who has been possessed and is said to be one of the scariest films of all time. It is said to be based on true events and the formatting of the film shows this idea of it being real. The media reported people leaving the film early because they were so scared and there was lots of attention on blogs and i newspapers. The film got a lot of attention from rumours that were later believed to be a publicity stunt, this was things such as people having medical problems from being so scared of the film.

        Rap Music:
        Reap music as a genre in general is said to be corrupting children. The amount of talk about drugs, violence and gangs is said to encourage children to be like this as this is what they're roll models are like. It gives listeners a bad mentality, and if they listen to it over and over again it may eventually become what is called a 'sleep state'. The censored sticker on CD's that warns of explicit language makes the music more desirable as the children want something they can't have. 

        Call of Duty- The airport level:
        The level in this Call of Duty involves a terrorist attack in which the player is on the side of the terrorists and civilians have to be killed. It creates the illusion that violence is acceptable. The media reported the game badly, suggesting the violent depiction of a terrorist attack in an airport should be banned. Although there is a warning of content before the level and you are not actually forced to  kill civilians, if terrorists are killed then the level ends. Another factor is that in video games we associate anyone being killed as 'enemies' so when we are trying to kill civilians we start to see them as enemies and as you experience this there has been suggestions that you can simulate it. 

        Wednesday, 3 November 2010

        Explain how ethnicity is represented in Hotel Babylon

        We watched a clip from Hotel Babylon that featured numerous different ethnicity's. Straight away we see a long shot of a stereotypical representation, as we see a black employee waiting on a white man, which immediately represents black people as a lower class. He is lowering himself to serve the man which symbolises him being lower status wise. Only adding to this is the characteristics of the white man; he is evidently wealthy and clearly relaxing, as he is dressed in a comfortable looking white dressing gown. With him wearing white and the employee wearing black; not only do we see their ethnicity represented by their clothes, but because the white man is wearing white there are connotations of goodness and innocence, whereas black suggests more negative aspects. The editing of this is quite slowly paced and with the lighting colours, it gives the scene a relaxed mood. Then we are introduced to another black character. He gets out of the pool to talk to Ben and so he arrives in the shot from below, straight away suggesting he is of lower importance, as if we look back at Ben’s encounter with a white man he lowered himself yet, this man is lifting himself to meet Ben’s level, showing how ethnicity affects status. The two black characters are binary opposites; we initially see this by their appearance.  Ben is dressed smartly in uniform, with everything neat and correct, but the other man has got his hair braided, is wearing a lot of jewellery or ‘bling’ and has several obvious tattoos. He is a stereotypical young black person, who we associate with hip hop music and rappers, as this is typically what they look like. Ben could be described as going against this stereotype as his appearance is more suggestive of a stereotypical white man. This stereotype and binary opposition is again seen in the way this man speaks. He uses colloquial ‘black’ language that we associate with his ethnicity such as ‘bro’ and ‘bredrins’ whereas Ben keeps his language very formal. The music throughout this scene could be described as having a kind of hip hop beat to it, which links into the black characters and their association with that genre.The editing of the characters interaction is a faster than the earlier shots and is also reverse shot reverse, which shows how Ben has gone from being calm to more anxious.

        Next we are introduced to two European cleaners. The initial shot pans out slightly from the cleaning trolley she is pushing. The fact that this is the first thing we see in the shot immediately shows the stereotype of European women in Britain being quite poor and considered very low in society and how they stereotypically have low paid jobs, hence why there is a focus on it. This is of course a cultural code as this is how we in Britain view Europeans that live here. Their uniform is also a symbolic code of their ethical stereotype. It is grey and very basic which shows which shows their jobs to be dull and not well paid or ambitious. The fact that the two girls also look very similar with their hair and uniform suggests that they have no individuality or anything of value to offer and are of very little interest to society. There is an enigma code as the two women stand outside a room, leaving the audience to question what 'double' is. The music subsequently changes from the first scene and could be described more as sexy; which then prepares us for the next scene where we see the two women go into a man’s room and strip for money. The music they dance to is from the film ‘Moulin Rouge’ which centres on a French burlesque club; it adds to the stereotype of European women using their bodies for money, which we see in both Hotel Babylon and Moulin Rouge. This could be a cultural code as those who haven't seen or are unaware of the film Moulin Rouge would not understand the link. There is an extreme close up of a pile of money, which is a symbolic code of how the money is the main focus as to why they are doing this. Another ethnicity is brought in along with the European women. The man watching is old and Japanese, and old Japanese men are stereotypically perverse. His actions are stereotypical of this as he is paying cleaners to strip for him. He is dressed in a dressing gown similarly to the first man, this again shows wealth and that he can afford luxury.Although he is paying 'double' for the maid service his room is, as his stereotype would suggest, very neat and clean, but again this is a cultural code as it is a British stereotyping of the Japanese.

        As we enter the kitchen, the music starts to become more rhythmical, just as we are introduced to an Italian chef; so we immediately see a mood set for this stereotype. Italian men are typical lothario’s which we already know to be true about this character due to the previous gossiping about him. He is also very affectionate to the female manager, again showing his typical Italian attitude. This is a cultural code as it is what we know to be an Italian stereotype. We again see how the colour of clothing affects the character. Italians can also be stereotypically seen as temperamental and with him wearing black, when usually chefs wear white, we assume him to be an evil character. Whereas the Englishman is in white and we see him as the person who has been wronged and therefore the good character.  We also see this in the way when the Italian man greets the Englishman; he pulls him down, suggesting he is of a lower morality and is pulling this man down with him. The fact that during the argument he grabs a cleaver shows his stereotypical temperament.

        Overall, we see a range of ethnicities represented in different ways. Mostly the stereotypes are negative, or compare good and bad, but we can see how the makers of the show represent ethnicity to show clear character stereotypes straight away.

        Sunday, 31 October 2010

        How does Calvin Klein represent females in the above advert? Are they objectified or sexually empowered?

        Calvin Klein could be seen as representing females in a number of ways with this advert. Initially you can see Laura Mulvey's idea of the male gaze simply because we are seeing an idealized woman; we as females think this is what men expect their 'perfect' woman to look like. Another thing that links with this is that the emphasis is predominantly on her body and of course the underwear advertised, whereas stereotypically women focus on faces; so you could argue that the advert is mainly for men, even though it is a woman’s product being advertised. Another thing you notice is that her hair is damp and her body is most probably oiled up to create a look of being wet which if we look further into it makes us think she has just got out the shower. Adding this to what she is wearing suggests she is likely to be going out, more likely in the evening to a party or on a date because her underwear isn’t exactly ‘casual’. We deduce that she is unlikely to be going out alone, and that in fact she is probably going out with a man. This sends the message to those who see the advert that Calvin Klein is associated with people who attract the opposite sex and possibly means women would aspire to be like this and buy Calvin Klein underwear to get a man.

        You can also pick out other things deemed to appeal to men. She’s wearing high heels which make her legs look slimmer, and also she is wearing suspenders which are associated with sexiness, yet the ones she’s wearing are tasteful because they are plain and stylish and black which can be seen as a sexy colour. Her hands placed on her hips draw attention to the underwear advertised and also a certain region that would appeal to men. On her hands we also see no wedding or engagement ring, showing that she’s available.

        However, you can also clearly see how this could be taken as sexually empowering for women. For example; even though the lack of wedding ring shows availability, it also shows independence and suggests she doesn’t need a man in her life to be successful. Her stance in itself is powerful; she has her legs apart which is a dominant, more masculine pose. It is also a low angle shot, so we are looking up at her, which again shows dominance. Although the hands on hips draws attention to where men would look the actual positioning shows an attitude that could be more threatening than inviting. Looking at her face we see that the look is reminiscent mostly of Trevor Millum’s seductive pose and the Marjorie Ferguson’s invitational or romantic/sexual poses. Her head is turned away from the camera and her eyes are closed which add a sense of mystery to her; making her seem superior to the male viewer. This also keeps the attention on the product advertised. Looking at her bra, we see that it is quite a basic, plain one, and with it being black as well, it could be classed as masculine; which once again shows how she is empowered. Finally looking at the Calvin Klein logo, we see it is positioned behind her, showing superiority. This tells us that Calvin Klein is promoting the idea that if you wear their products you too could be a powerful attractive woman like Eva Mendes. On the other hand, it is also positioned around the area that they are trying to draw men’s eye-line to, so you could see it as them objectifying her instead.

        Overall,  I think Calvin Klein are just trying to market the product to both genders, which is why although there is some possible objectifying of women with the fact that she is wearing very little and is essentially an idealised woman, that men would most definitely be attracted to. This could encourage men to buy the underwear because they want their partners to emulate this woman. This links to Laura Mulvey’s suggestion of how men look at women. Similarly, women would see this advert and want to be as much like this woman as possible, and would compare themselves to her- again like Laura Mulvey’s male gaze theory in how women view other women. It empowers women because of the power we can see and how she clearly is in control. Women would aspire to be like her, so would ideally go out and buy Calvin Klein underwear to achieve this.

        Monday, 25 October 2010

        Stereotypical Representation of Regional Identity

        We had to choose 1 character from a British TV drama and explain why they are a stereotypical representation of the area we studied in our Prezi presentations, so I had to look at Regional Identity.
        The first programme that came to mind was Gavin and Stacey simply because a lot of the story is based on where they live and how they are very different. I chose to do Stacey.

        Stacey is a typical Welsh girl. She is what you would describe as bubbly and very talkative. The Welsh typically have really strong accents which is very true in Stacey's case, she also speaks very quickly; which is again stereotypical of welsh girls, and this idea that they are quite loud and talkative. They are also known to be very patriotic and often family based, with a local community who all know each other. In Gavin and Stacey we see this with Stacey living on a street full of Terrace houses and knowing all her neighbours such as Dorris next door. She is also very proud of being Welsh. Apart from the city areas of Wales such as Cardiff, we tend to associate the Welsh with being a little old fashioned and a bit lower class. We see this from where Stacey lives and how the house isn't really newly decorated. But also from her bedroom which is still quite childish;which again shows the strong sense of family. The clothes Stacey wears also reflect this idea that Stacey isn't from a wealthy region. They aren't particularly fashionable and probably aren't majorly expensive; they are more casual and what you could describe as 'last season' so we see how she stereotypically doesn't hold fasion as a priority and also that she isnt really materialstic in reality, even though she does enjoy nice things. She also mentions on a few occasions certain 'bargains' she has picked up in shops. Another thing that is key to the Welsh stereotype is the language. Although Stacey doesn't speak Welsh she uses a lot of colloquial language which is associated with the Welsh and there are some references to the language throughout the programme which also shows the patriotic nature. 
        We also see the sense of community and the lower class life from the transport Stacey uses around Barry. Instead of a car like most women on their late twenties, she takes the public bus everywhere which suggest that she possibly cant afford a car or that she simply doesnt need one as she rarely travels anywhere that the bus doesn't; she has no desire to travel out of Barry which suggests lack of career ambition and how she is content with where she is and how family and her life is her main priority in life and what she wants.

        This video shows how everyone knows everyone in Wales and also shows the colloquial language Stacey uses:

        Saturday, 23 October 2010

        Trevor Millum (1990's)

        • Cool/level
        • Eyes less wide
        • Expression is less reserved but still self-confident
        • This is very similar to Ferguson’s invitational pose, however there is less focus on the positioning of the face and its angles. 

        • Nymph like
        • Active
        • Healthy
        • Vibrant
        • Outdoor girl
        • Often smiling/grinning

        • Concentrating
        • Engaged in business in hand
        • Mouth closed
        • Eyes object directed
        • Sometimes a slight frown
        • Hair often tied back or short style 

        • Deliberately ridiculous
        •  Exaggerated
        • Acting the fool
        • Pulling faces

        • A neutral look as of a dummy, artificial, wax like 
        • Features may be in any position - but most likely to be with eyes wide open and a smile
        • Looks remain vacant and empty with personality removed