I joke, obviously.
I attended Tuesday’s seminar (30th Nov) to present our work from week 8’s “Narrative” theme.
I showed how we had all managed to come up with examples of media pieces that go with and against Todorov and Propp’s ideas about linear structure and character functions.
Will Barton and I spent quite a while discussing Pulp Fiction, the film that I used as a classic example of a non-linear narrative structure. Weirdly, no one else in the seminar had seen it or could comment on it (I thought most people had seen it!). See my blog for more info.
Discussion turned to the morning’s lecture on “Representation”, which focused on the process of representation, and ideas such as the “gaze”, codes and conventions, stereotypes, feminist film theory and gender roles in the media.
Our individual task is based on gender roles in the media. We are being asked to produce a “binary opposition table” based on stereotypical gender roles.. A binary opposition table has two headed columns (male/female) with a list of comparable data entries on either side (strong/weak). See the task sheet for further info: http://keyconceptsinmc.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/105mc-week-9-tasks.pdf
Our group task is to then look at our groups lipdub result, and say how it might use gender stereotypes or countertypes like those in our binary opposition tables. Add to this, we have to then produce aberrant, negotiated and oppositional readings of the lipdub video.
Sounds complicated. The following links are the best I could find to explain these terms.
Next weeks seminar representative will have to discuss our group’s thoughts on (1) how our lipdub video might use gender stereotypes or countertypes and (2) if we managed to conclude anything relevant from these three “readings”.
Please leave comments on this post to kick start some discussion.
After we had a summing up of last weeks genre discussion and we analyzed our weekly task. Some groups have chosen as their genre example horror movies and games, while others based their task on soap-operas. I presenter our task – 3D Animation Movies and Cleaning Product Ads. It seems that it got Will pretty impressed and I am glad to say we did a good job!
Then we talked about “narrative”. While some of you may know what narrative stands for, having previous studies connected to it, there are a few, as myself for which the term was quite new.
We discussed Propp’s theory and if it can be found nowadays, in movies, ads etc. Some of us agreed that some elements can be found it today’s media, and that, in which concerns soap-operas it’s harder to connect them to it. Afterwords, Joseph Campbell’s “Te hero with a thousand faces” was related to Propp, having many things in common (eg. the way the character is constructed). C. G. Jung’s theory of the destruction of the mind followed, which was very interesting, learning about “archetypes” – “universal prototypes for ideas that may be used to interpret observations”.
1. Look at three different media objects: one print-based, two TV/film/web-based and with a mixture of factual and fictional. Examine them to see how far Todorov’s linear narrative structure and Propp’s notion of character functions and narrative units apply to the different texts.
Write a brief description of how each of these character functions and narrative units move the narrative forward through the different stages. Can you isolate other character functions and/or narrative stages in your media objects that Todorov and Propp did not isolate?
2. See if you can find a media object that does not conform to Todorov’s linear narrative structure and/or does not contain Propp’s narrative functions. If so, is that related to their form (for example, that it is a web-based, more interactive media object)? In what way is it different and why? What are the possible effects on the audience’s reading of the object: does it make the meaning clear?
Post your findings up on your individual blogs!
1. Compare your findings for the individual activity above.
- Are there any common threads to your findings?
- What does your research tell you about the concept of narrative?
2. See if you can do the individual activities above for the media object that you produced for your 72 Hour Challenge. How does it conform to/diverge from Todorov and Propp’s notions of narrative structure and why?
Now to get to something very important! The 2000-2500 words essay we have to do! Check the keyconceptsinmc.wordpress.com (I hope i got it right) for Steve’s post on how it has to be done. Be very careful about the Harvard Referencing System -check Coventry Uni’s site for more on how to use the correct references.
After you do your part on your individual blogs, we shall meet and discuss the group task:)
Our weekly task was to choose a genre in any two of the following areas:
. TV shows
. electronic games
. magazine articles
. social networking – and to list the defining characteristics of it.
Write a brief outline description of a new object within that genre thinking of a way to change it and subverting the genre conventions and outlining effects on the audience. At the end, we must write down what we learnt from the exercise and name some genre objects we currently consume, saying how do we think differently about them now.
After meeting and understanding what “genre” stands for, we agreed upon Films and Advertisements, the genre chosen being a 3D Animated Cartoon Movie and a Cleaning Products Ad.
3D Animated Cartoon Movies:
-feature some sort of story or plot
-the majority represent the fight between Good and Evil, with the Good always wining
Cleaning Products TV Ad:
-always start with a dirty kitchen/bathroom
-there is a woman doing the cleaning
-ends up with an amazing shiny house
For the 3D Animation Movie we’ve chosen “Finding Nemo” as a start in our own story:
[…] After escaping from the tank and getting back into the sea, Nemo finds himself enjoying the adventure to the point of becoming a “pirate” and thinks of a way to take over the mainland. He will gather some of the most unworthy animals he can find and he will build weapons in order to exterminate the human race. In the meantime finds new ways to breath. Due to his ingenious plans, he wins all the fights and becomes one of the most feared creature and ends up having the human under his complete control for eternity.
Our story would definitely make parents think twice before taking their kids to see the animation at the cinema, because of its violent character and astonishing ending. It’s not a regular 3D animation movie, not having the expected happy ending, and the happy clown fish turning out to be the bad character.
Cleaning Products TV ad:
The ad begins with a dirty kitchen. The father and his 10 year-old son just finished their first cooked meal, which was a disaster, when the mother walks in to find the mess. The two boys put on a huge smile, and run outside to play football leaving on the table a bottle of X Cleaning Spray and the still-amazed mom. The camera moves to the front yard scene, where the little boy and his dad were playing football. 3 seconds later you see a pot flying out the kitchen window right on dad’s head and the mom saying with a superior smile: “It seems that the X Cleaning Spray works on its own!”.
Our ad destroys the myth of the obedient woman who always cleans up after her family without complaining. The audience will judging it to be absurd even intriguing, mainly men, considering cleaning to be a woman’s duty. The feminine audience may take it as funny.
We found the experience of “playing” with genre to be fun and inspiring, making us think more about how it affects people, and how we would react as an audience, at the sight of our own animation and ad.
I know that these photos are not the best but I managed to take some shots even though everyone was running away from the camera.
After some laughs and many hours of work we finally did it! Great job everyone!
“Do you agree that the Media can have a direct and measurable negative effect on vulnerable audiences?”
In our meeting, D2 came to a general conclusion of “Yes”. We all agreed that entities in the Media have the power and resources to create negative repercussions in society. Some more direct and measurable than others.
We all used different topics to illustrate this point. Harriet, Sofina and Nigel all cited elements of pop culture as being responsible for social conventions. Song lyrics, music videos and magazines all enforce ideas about how to act, how to look and what to care about. Insecurities and low self esteem can develop if you don’t feel like you’re hitting the targets.
Nigel made some interesting points about how urban youth culture can pressure people into getting involved with drugs. His cabinet of curiosities seems to dispute the legal status of cannabis, so it was interesting to see it approached from another angle. Glamorisation of cannabis is integral to certain music styles, so vulnerable first-timers can get involved without thinking of the side-effects.
Roxi came up from the opposite side, using an anti-fastfood animal rights propaganda film to show how it can put people off their KFC. When she showed footage of animal slaughter, the viewer said they would avoid fast food for a while. This exactly describes a direct and measurable negative effect on an audience- vulnerable perhaps from not having seen anything like this before.
It can also be said that the effects of an actual KFC advert may also be negative to a vulnerable audience, but it depends what you mean by negative. In the technical use of the word and from the agency’s viewpoint, if a KFC advert makes consumers buy fast food, that is a positive measurable effect. In a more general use of the word and from a moralizing viewpoint, it can be seen as negative to eat KFC that’s made from abused chickens.
Harriet included a study in her piece that shed some light on this “negativity” issue. A group of Harvard researchers conducted a study on the island of Fiji to see how the introduction of Western TV Media affected the girls’ ideal body image perceptions. It was found that after the introduction of mainstream mass media to the island, there was a significant increase in anorexia, bulimia and general body size issues. Click the link for more information: http://cdnedge.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/347637.stm
The study insinuates that media effects are regarded as significant and measurable when they are properly studied and the outcome is measured in statistics, e.g. a rise in mental illness, crime or even money. For sure, negative effects can still exist but they are made of opinions or cultural standpoints, instead of scientific or legal facts.