Question 1B

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Question 1B by Mind Map: Question 1B

1. Narrative

1.1. Bordwell and Thompson

1.1.1. "A chain of events in a cause-effect- relationship occurring in time" It is a way of organising spatial and temporal events into a chain with a beginning, middle and end that embodies a judgement about the nature of events.

1.2. Torodov

1.2.1. Narrative Structure: Equilibrium, Disequilibrium, Resolution. Equilibrium = the point in the trailer where you set up the time, place, characters and the normality for the storyline. Disequilibrium = the point of disruption, where things start going wrong. Resolution = the solution to the problems.

1.2.1.1. Our Trailer does not follow Torodovs theory exactly as it does not show a resolution in order to avoid ruining the film for the audience. Instead of a resolution it shows a montage which is a non-linear structure of stock scenes through fast paced editing and music such as an ascending tone.

1.2.1.1.1. However, it does follow Torodov's theory in the idea that the equilibrium is shown at the beginning of the trailer when the protagonist is asked "what is wrong", the disruption is shown when the antagonist appears behind the protagonist and cracks her neck and then the montage begins.

1.3. Barthes

1.3.1. 5 Narrative Codes: Action Code, Enigma Code, Semantic Code, Cultural Code and Symbolic Code.

1.3.1.1. Action Code: Any action which implies a further narrative action. This can be seen in my trailer when the antagonist cracks the protagonists neck as it implies that the antagonist has taken over control which then leads to the possession of the protagonist.

1.3.1.2. Enigma Code: Any element in a story that is not explained and so exists as an enigma for the audience. This can be seen in my trailer as the question asked in the opening scene "what seems to be the problem" is left unanswered which leaves the audience to find out an answer for themselves.

1.3.1.3. Semantic Code: Any element in a narrative that refers to an additional meaning by connotation. This can be seen in my trailer as there is a lot of low key lighting and blue tones. The low key lighting connotes death and danger and the blue tones connote death but also tranquility and calmness.

1.3.1.4. Cultural Code: Any element that refers to a science or body of knowledge – shared knowledge about how the world works.

1.3.1.5. Symbolic Code: Levi Strauss argued that narrative structures have binary oppositions. This can be seen in my trailer as there are oppositions between the living and the dead and also between light and darkness. The opposition between the living and the dead comes from the possession of the living protagonist by the spirit of the antagonist.

1.4. Levi Strauss

1.4.1. Binary Oppositions: All stories have a binary opposition such as good vs evil and dark vs light which are both paradigms. There will always be one thing against the other.

1.4.1.1. This can be seen in my trailer as there is a clear battle between good and evil between the protagonist and the antagonist. There is also an opposition between the living and spirit worlds as the protagonist who is alive is possessed by a spirit.

1.5. Propp

1.5.1. Identified the 7 key characters: The Hero, The Villain, The Doner, The Helper, The Princess, The False Hero and The Dispatcher.

1.5.1.1. In my trailer there is evidence of the helper through simons character of a therapist, the villain is the antagonist and the princess would be the protagonist who is the vulnerable character.

2. Audience

2.1. Passive Audience Theory

2.1.1. The media are dangerous as they can influence a lot of people to do dangerous things. Based on the idea that all people react to texts in the same way. People often experience media alone there is nobody to contextualise what they see.

2.1.2. Hypodermic Needle Theory: messages are injected into the audience by syringe like media. The audience is powerless to resist and so the media works like a drug and the audience is effected.

2.1.3. Copycat Theory: Audiences will copy what they see in a media text. The media can influence and affect the audiences behaviour and how they think. Preys on psychological fears held by parents and society.

2.1.4. Cultivation Theory: How the media affects peoples attitudes rather than actions. "Persistent exposure to television content has minimal but measurable effects on the perceptual world of audience members" Over exposure to media can force the audience into a sense of hyperreality.

2.2. Active Audience Theory

2.2.1. As individuals we can interpret the media in different ways.

2.2.2. Uses and Gratifications: People use the media and its texts to their advantage to meet their individual needs.

2.2.2.1. Cognitive Needs: people access the media to gain more knowledge or information.

2.2.2.2. Affective Needs: people use the media to fulfil their emotional needs.

2.2.2.3. Personal Integrative Needs: media can fulfil our self esteem, people will change their lifestyle to relate to the media.

2.2.2.4. Social Integrative Needs: social networking etc. Let you keep in touch with your peers.

2.2.2.5. Tension Free Needs: using the media as an outlet and form of escapism.

2.2.3. Catharsis Theory: Emotional effect experienced by people who use the media to purge or cleanse negative emotions such as anger or fear.

2.2.3.1. Watching aggressive media does not make viewers aggressive, it purges them of aggression and so watching violence makes them less aggressive. Diminishes the aggressive drive and so prevents further aggressive behaviour.

3. Media Language

3.1. The term 'media language' does not refer to the words spoken by an actor in a text, but the language and codes of the medium. For example, film language is different to the language of music. Media language is split into symbolic codes, technical codes, written codes and audio codes. These all fall under the category of ‘Semiotics’ which is the study of signs and is used to describe how meaning is constructed through language and codes.

3.2. Ferdinand de Saussure differentiated between the signifier, the signified and the referent.

3.2.1. The signifier is the physical form of the sign, the signified is the concept that is produced by the signifier and the referent is the real thing, not the signal or the idea. The sign or symbol we see does not make sense without the referent and the meaning it creates.

3.2.1.1. For example, in our trailer the signifier is the contact lenses that our protagonist is wearing to make her eyes entirely white and the signified is the idea that she has been possessed.

3.3. Symbolic Codes

3.3.1. Vital aspect of semiotics. Essentially they are the mise en scene of the film. This refers to everything in the scene which is significant to the viewer such as costume, props, lighting, colour and setting. Props are a key aspect of mise en scene as they enable the audience to establish thoughts towards a character and help to make a 2D character become three dimensional. For example, the use of mirrors in horror films can show the multiple divisions of a character.

3.3.1.1. In my you can see the reflection of the antagonist in the mirror even though she is not there in the room. The use of a broken mirror could represent the shattered lives of those affected by mental health issues which is the subtext of the film. Lighting is also a key aspect as it can be used to make subtle connotations, for example the use of low key lighting in my trailer will create a dark atmosphere and the sense of evil. Low key lighting also allows for the antagonist to hide in dark areas and jump out creating pleasure for the audience.

3.4. Written and Audio Codes

3.4.1. Refer to the relationship between dialogue, music, sound and visual text. Commonly in films there is non diagetic music; sound coming from outside the text source. Using non diagetic sound is a good way of lapsing time, setting a mood or establishing a character.

3.4.1.1. In my trailer, there is little dialogue in order to ensure that the audience focus on the events that are taking place. There is non diagetic music with ominous sounds but no beat which indicates the presence of evil. The use of ambient sounds throughout my trailer set the supernatural atmosphere for the film. The use of silence builds tension and is effective within the horror genre. I used an ascending tone and pace during the montage of my trailer to add pace to the trailer and help it to reach a climax. The title slates for our trailer all have the same font as was used on the magazine and poster in order to create a consistent house style. The font is distressed to connote the distress of mental patients.

3.5. Technical Codes

3.5.1. These include editing, camera shots, angles, movements and composition. When describing movement, we consider the primary action; the movement of characters and objects within the frame and secondary action; the movement of the camera in relation to those objects. In my trailer I will use a variety of camera angles. A conventional angle that I will work to include is a low angle shot. This camera angle puts the audience in a position of inferiority in comparison to the antagonist and so helps them to relate to the protagonist. Editing considers the way in which the individual shots are put together. This can be done using continuity editing whereby continuous action is shown in sequence which supports the narrative or by using montage editing whereby a series of seemingly unrelated shots are put together which the audience needs to work to connect.

3.5.1.1. The main body of our trailer uses montage editing. This enabled us to be able to include a variety of stock scenes and to create a faster paced trailer which is conventional to the genre and also helps to build tension.

4. Representation

4.1. Representation plays a role in the portrayal and understanding of films and genres. The media changes or constructs meaning about the world we live in, horror films show these representations through different theories of the way society functions.

4.1.1. Burger

4.1.1.1. “men act and women appear. Men look at women, women watch themselves being looked at” This theory is about the representation of gender roles. There is a social construction behind how men and women are expected to act. The words masculine and feminine have connotations of natural behaviours for each sex. Society has constructed the ideal behaviours for each gender. Media theorists would argue that men are represented as dominant, strong, intellectual and authoritative whereas females are represented as submissive, passive, emotional and sexual. The way in which gender is represented in the horror genre differs from other media texts. For example, the victim is always female and they typically are shown to be screaming and crying whereas the antagonist is generally male, promoting male dominance over women and showing that men are more powerful. In the horror genre, in the battle between males and females, the male will always win.

4.2. Burger

4.2.1. “men act and women appear. Men look at women, women watch themselves being looked at” This theory is about the representation of gender roles. There is a social construction behind how men and women are expected to act. The words masculine and feminine have connotations of natural behaviours for each sex. Society has constructed the ideal behaviours for each gender. Media theorists would argue that men are represented as dominant, strong, intellectual and authoritative whereas females are represented as submissive, passive, emotional and sexual. The way in which gender is represented in the horror genre differs from other media texts. For example, the victim is always female and they typically are shown to be screaming and crying whereas the antagonist is generally male, promoting male dominance over women and showing that men are more powerful. In the horror genre, in the battle between males and females, the male will always win.

4.2.1.1. My trailer conforms to this theory in the idea that the victim is female which gives the impression that females are weak and vulnerable. This could be seen as being anti feminist. However, the antagonist in my trailer is also female and is able to possess another body meaning that she is strong and powerful which could be seen as post feminist as it is challenging the gender stereotypes.

4.3. Mulvey

4.3.1. “The Male Gaze” This theory says that a women’s body is displayed on screen, making the viewer a voyeur who experiences erotic pleasure from seeing the female character, making the woman a sexual object. The audience are forced to view scenes via the gaze of a heterosexual male which objectifies the woman. Many horror films have been criticised for using the male gaze because the directors are predominantly male. Men have not been portrayed in the same erotic, sexual way in order to be looked at and controlled by women.

4.3.1.1. The lack of the male gaze in our films shows that the female characters are not being punished for their sexuality which implies a post feminist message.

4.4. Clover

4.4.1. Final Girl Theory. This refers to the last female alive who confronts the killer. The final girl has specific characteristics such as being a virgin, having a unisex name and having a shared history with the killer. The viewer will typically share the perspective of the killer but will shift partway through the film to identify with the final girl. The character will become masculinised through her use of a phallic object against the killer which shows that the representation of females is still weak as in order to become powerful, the character must become male. The theory is a push towards feminism.

4.4.1.1. This theory applies mainly to slasher films and so is not applicable to our trailer. However, the lack of this in our trailer could suggest that we are challenging the idea that females need to be masculinised in order to be powerful.

4.5. Dobbs

4.5.1. Women are treated like disposable victims and decorative objects . Complex and interesting female characters are rare in horror films as women are given small roles which is an embodiment of how they are represented in society. The victim is always female and they are conveyed as helpless.

4.5.1.1. Our trailer conforms to this view because the victim is female and is helpless to the possession from the antagonist. However, the antagonist is also female and so this challenges the idea that male characters have dominance over females. The male character in our trailer has a smaller role than the female characters. This could show a post feminist view for our trailer.

5. Genre

5.1. Categories based on common elements such as setting, theme and mood. Daniel Chandler claims that the word ‘genre’ comes from the French word for type. Genre uses the structure of a film in order to create expectations within the audience, through knowing the genre of a film, the audience will know what kinds of things they will be exposed to.

5.2. Metz

5.2.1. Film genres went through a certain number of stages during their life as they develop through time. The experimental stage, classic stage, parody stage and deconstruction stage. Presently we are in the deconstruction stage. This is because the typical genre structures are being collapsed and in order to avoid being predictable, films are blending genres together and becoming a hybrid of multiple genres.

5.2.1.1. Although this helps a film to appeal to a wider audience, I tried to avoid including hybridity in my trailer in order to appeal more to fans of the horror genre as this is the genre of film that I am making and I want to appeal to its audience and fulfil their expectations.

5.3. Burton

5.3.1. Claimed that there are six key elements. These are: Protagonists (main characters), Stock Characters (minor characters), Stock Situations (common scenes such as car chases and death scenes), Icons (props, music, actors), Background (setting, set, decoration) and Themes (e.g. love, revenge, betrayal) All of these key elements add up to the genre formula.

5.3.1.1. This theory can be applied to my trailer because there is a protagonist (claudene) and one other stock character which is the antagonist. We only featured 2 main characters to avoid giving too much away in the trailer. We included stock scenes for example, the antagonist kills the protagonist in order to possess her body. The sound design is typical of the horror genre with the use of drones and an ascending pace during the montage. The subtext to our trailer is the stigma of mental health.

5.4. Altman

5.4.1. Genre offers audiences a set of pleasures. This includes Emotional Pleasures which are significant when the film generates a strong audience response, Visceral Pleasures which are gut responses and are defined by how the films stylistic construction elicits a physical effect upon the audience. This can be a feeling of revulsion, kinetic speed or a roller coaster ride. The final pleasure according to Altman is Intellectual Puzzles, this is the pleasure derived from trying to unravel a mystery or puzzle, pleasure is derived from deciphering the plot and forecasting the end or predicting the unexpected.

5.4.1.1. Our trailer lacks in Visceral Pleasures in the sense that there is not much blood and violence shown, this means that in comparison to other horror films, ours would be considered to be mild. However, it creates visceral pleasure during the montage as the speed increases which could give the feeling of kinetic speed. There is also an intellectual puzzle as the trailer does not give a resolution and so the audience are left to predict the ending of the film.

5.5. Neale

5.5.1. Pleasure is derived from ‘repetition and difference’ and that without difference, there would be no pleasure. The audience may derive pleasure from observing how the conventions of the genre are manipulated or the stretching of the genre into new directions and the consequent shifting of expectations. If a film meets the expectations of the audience then they will leave feeling gratified however, if the expectations are not met, the audience will be disappointed. A film needs to follow familiar conventions but combine familiarity with innovation.

5.5.1.1. The convention of low key lighting and multiple doorways enabled the antagonist to hide in a multitude of places where they could emerge from which would not be familiar to the audience. Having an unknown antagonist is also conventional to the horror genre but also adds a sense of mystery as the audience are left to figure out who this character could be. The setting for my film being a 'mental asylum' is less stereotypical than a forest or an abandoned building which could be considered to be innovative.