Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Hollywood Film - Avatar

My notes on Avatar;

  • Directed by James Cameron
  • Budgeted $237,000,000
  • Grossed $2.6 billion, the highest grossing film of all time
  • Won many Oscars and Golden Globes
  • Cameron had the vision/idea for Avatar 20 years ago, but had to wait for the technology to catch up with his ideas.
  • Cameron patented a digital camera system called 'fusion digital camera system'
  • A handheld monitor was used to film Avatar 
  • Footage is 70% CGI, including the female lead

  • Cast wore motion capture suits whilst acting out their scenes on a 'performance capture' stage, six times bigger than anything previously used in Hollywood
  • Realism was improved by using a skull cap to capture facial expressions with close camera enhancement
  • Motion capture makes 3D easier. This technique was more closely aligned with the way high end computer games are developed
  • One major advantage was the creation of a virtual monitor. This allowed the director to see motion capture results in real time
  • Cameron developed new techniques
  • Innovative filming rig mimicked the retina of the human eye, which provided the illusion of depth
  • 21.08.09 (my birthday) was officially designated 'Avatar Day' - giving a full 15 minuets of teaser footage at hundreds of sold out cinemas across the planet
  • 21.4.09 - 20th Century fox launched the industries first rich media interactive trailer supporting the DVD. Clicking on points of interest, consumers can access extended clips from the film and in depth information about the world and inhabitants of Pandora.

  • Exhibition in cinemas required a digitally equipped cinema, also with a pair of specialised 3D glasses
  • 3d cinema tickets are more expensive
  • 320 out of 3600 cinemas are digitally equipped in the UK. In the USA 2500 out of 38000 are digitally equipped
  • It costs cinema's a minimum of 80,000 to get into a 3D position

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Working Title and Film4 Exhibition

Lovely Bones and Love Actually Presentation


My notes on distribution in general;
What is distribution?
The stage between production + exhibition which involves all of the deals done to get films shown. Promotion involves paid for 'above the line' advertising - which will be funded as part of the project; trailers, posters, billboards etc. 'Below the line' advertising is unpaid for, e.g interviews, reviews, word of mouth.
Is it all fair?
Big companies control much of the industry, as they control distribution of their own productions. Films are loaned out to cinemas for a finite period.
In the UK film market an increase in the quantity of screens showing films has not lead to an increase in the number of films shown.
Release of a film;

  • Marketability = identifying target audience and devising a strategy
  • Appropriate budget for box office expectation
  • Media partnership - decide who is best to link up with
Planning a release

  • Chosing a genre, age group, director, if your audience is semi literate.
Target audience

  • Focus on target audience - compared to past films
  • Use an element of famble
  • People over the age of 45 generally take 1 week to decide whether to watch a film or not, whereas teenagers are more spontaneous
P+A budgeting

  • Word of mouth - free advertising, can make or break a film.
  • Below the line advertising.
  • Screening programmes
  • Advertising costs, how to use the budget depending on what section it is spent on.

  • Time of the year
  • Weather - rain - more likely to go to the cinema than in the summer
  • Winter - darker earlier
  • TV adverts are more succesful in winter as people are indoors more
Word of mouth

  • Critical depending on movie
  • Screenings feed word of mouth - vital. Works both ways, can spread good or bad feedback.
  • Effects the life expectancy of films.

  • In 2006, 20% of all the DVD sales in the UK were pirate copies
Digital distribution advantages

  • Promises to transform the film industry
  • Making it normality to download films via broadband
  • Advantage- offers identical version of the film
  • Simultaneous global distribution, puts an end to the time gap
2 different views on distribution;
Toby Miller -50% of the money goes on marketing. Hollywood anticipates.
Tony Angellotti - Films are made with audience in mind. Audience decide film choices, stars etc.

Does marketing a film really matter?
Despite bad reviews, lavish marketing ensured pirates of the carabien 2 made over £50 million in the UK box office, 1.5 million copies of the DVD were purchased 10 days after release.
The Dark Knight broke viral records by costing £185 million to make.
The Dark Knight was released on the 20.7.08 and shown in 4336 screens across the UK, contrasting with This Is England which was released on the 29.4.07 and was on just 62 screens.

5 Major distributors dominate the UK film industry;

  1. United International Pictures (Universal are part of this company)
  2. Warner Brothers
  3. Buena Vista
  4. 20th Century Fox
  5. Sony
9/10 films in the UK are viewed as a result of these distributors. Most films are directly linked to Hollywood Production companies, who prioritise Hollywood films for profit. Usually blockbusters are distributed via blanket release (It is shown everywhere) comparing with other films which are considered an 'event'. One of the outcomes of the above distribution arrangement is that half of the films released in the Britain don't reach the whole company.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Film 4 Distribution

Film4 is controlled by Tessa Ross. (picture to the right)
  • Ross secured an increased budget from £8-10m a year to £15m for film4, who make 6 films per year.
  • Set up a low budget studio with the film council and distributors Optimum as well as WarpX (digital production house)
  • Working across TV and film drama also allowes for economics and cross fertilisation
  • Film4 gains a lot of money through advertising.
  • Ross see's film4 as part of a wider creative community with Working Title, the BBC and BBC Films, as well as partnerships with distribution compaines.
  • WarpX are a film4/UK film council joint project with the Sheffield based indie WarpX that finance three low budget films per year. 

Film 4 Production Practices

Film four is an independant British film company, owned by the Channel4 Corporation, which was launced on the 1st of November 1998. The company has recently improved their budget to £15m per year, contrasting to the £8-10m they were on previously. Film4's controller is Tessa Ross, who has an alternative way of thinking which reflects Film4's choice in films.

Film4's style is quirky and experimental. Their philosiphy is to aid directors and actors, and give them their 'big break'. By sticking to the quirky and non-mainstream style of films they cater for a seperate audience, which helps them compete with Hollywood films.

Their biggest success is Slumdog Millionaire, which wasn't expected to gross 25 times it's original budget; raking in a staggering $377910544. Again, it is not your typical film, adressing contraversial issues yet in a different style to Hollywood. 

The Film4 channel is a freeview channel in the U.K and Ireland, which now manily airs Hollywood blockbusters around 2 years after their release, it also broadcasts it's own productions. In August 2007 Channel 4 added the Film4+1 channel, which allows viewers to see the film an hour behind the original broadcasting time. They also added a Film4 on demand service, which allows viewers to watch a selection of Film4 productions anytime. 

The Film4 website ( has an on demand service, information on productions, video clips, reviews, interviews, behind the scenes clips, and competitions. It gives the viewer a wide variety of special features, producers, writers, directors and actors.

Channel Four Television Corporation was set up by the government. It is a publicly owned "not-for-profit" corporation and does not have any shareholders.

Working Title production practices

Working Title;
  • Co-Chair people of working title are Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, who have been listed as the most powerful figures in British industry.
  • They only have 42 full time staff, which is split between working title (main company) and low budget WT2.
  • Secret of their success? "The working title philosophy has always been to make films for an audience- by that I mean play in a multiplex. We totally believe in this because we know it is the only hope we have of sustaining the UK film industry"
  • Working Title was founded in 1984
  • 85 films have grossed more than $4 billion worldwide
  • They have won several awards; six academy awards, 26 BAFTA awards, 4 Oscars and prizes at Cannes and Berlin film festivals
  • Impressive catalogues of films from a wide range of genres; Billy Elliott, Johnny English, Love Actually and Shaun of the dead.
  • Their flops have been Wimbledon, Thunderbirds and Captain Corelli.
  • Blockbuster comedies of Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson who deliver punchy period films, political dramas, litery adaptation and family affairs.
  • Working Title launch fresh talent, such as directors Joe Wright (Pride and Prejudice) and Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliott)
  • In addition to which it has launched 'Working Title 2' a subsidiary for low budget films with an 'independant' appeal
  • Their most successful genre is RomComs. The companies 'Treasure' is Hugh Grant.
  • Working Title was bought by Polygram, taken over by Universal in 1999. Bevan said "We were now part of a big structure, so we spent much less time on finding the money and much more on developing the scripts"
  • Universal own a 67% stake in the company, many of its recent films are co-productions with Studio Canal.
  • The remaining shares are owned by the companies founders which is the BBC and private investors.
  • Working title is clever and tactical about film projects. In 2004 they made Shaun of the Dead, and Bridget Jones 2, knowing they would financially be OK, because Thunderbirds was a flop the other two supported it.
  • They have to make 1 big blockbuster per year that makes $200-$400m in the box office revenues.
  • Is Working Titles lower budget film brand. Some of their productions are Billy Elliott (2000), Shaun of the dead (2004) and Ali G in da house. WT2 recently released Burn After Reading starring Brad Pitt and George Cloony.
  • A long history between American actors playing leading roles in British films; e.g Rene Zelwegger playing Bridget Jones.
  • The importance of release dates is vital, as it can make or break a films success. e.g films released in winter generally do better as the weather is colder and people spend more time indoors. Christmas films tend to do better if released in the Christmas period (Love Actually) , the same with Romantic films doing better around Valentines day.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Regional Identity

Britain is usually seperated into three regional stereotypes; the north, the south and the 'country people'. These are the stereotypes we associate with Northerners and Country people;
The North Stereotypes

  • Flat cap wearing
  • Pigeon racers
  • Friendly but 'bloody-minded'
  • Stubborn and argumentative
  • Whippet owning
  • Menial Manual (hard) jobs
  • Little education
  • sexist
  • Thick accent
  • Bitter Drinkers
  • Hot Pot
  • Miserable weather
  • Cobbled Streets

Country Stereotypes

  • West Country - scrumpy addled yokels
  • Inbred
  • Stupid
  • Happy 
  • 'Livestock bothering'
  • Farm hand yokel


  • Lord of the manor
  • Hunting toff
  • Slow pace of life
  • Land Rovers
  • Tractors

In this clip these men, especially two of them, fit into the Northern Stereotype.

This clip begins with a close up of a typical pub meal with a pint of beer, this indicates to the audience it is more likely to be a group of men eating the meal, as women aren't typically paired with drinking pints with meals. Immediatley this is a cultural code, highlighting the men involved aren't particually well off. The extreme close up then continues to show another pint, at this point the audience would continue to assume that all of the men are consuming lager. It becomes apparant that there is a class divide as the man with the white beard says 'Managment and Workers', a close up shot is used of the managers, who appear to be well groomed and clean, then of the workers whose appearance is more scruffy. 
The manager continues to talk in what would be a yorkshire accent, he says ' not in this day and age ' which relates back to the 4 Yorkshire men sketch, that life used to be harder and they enjoy boasting about who was the most hard done by.
It is evident that the two 'workers' fall into the Northern stereotype of being sexist when one of the workers say ' can I have some sauce bab, not that you're not saucy enough yourself '.The fact that none of the other men take any notice of the comment made, re-enforces the stereotypical idea that Northern men are sexist.
The conversation continues, with the camera angles being predominantly mid-angle shots, and shot reverse shot creates the idea that we are watching what they are saying from realistic points of view. The worker who made the comment at the waitress asks his colleague if his son  goes to 'that poncy toff academy' which creates an even bigger distinction of classes. This enforces the stereotype of Northeners having little education.
The men then start to make 'gay jokes' towards the manager whose son is called 'Ben Trotter - Bent Rotter', which reflects that the workers have the higher status, as they are walking all over the boss', that they have no inception of the status of the men they are with. 
Throughout there is only diagetic sound used, and no sound added in for effect, this creates social realism which makes the scene more realistic and relatable.
In my opinion, contrasting to society's view on disability/impairments, the steotype of Northern people is more about actions rather than appearance. Their accent is possibly the most recognisable sign of their regional identity, yet these characters conform to a few of the other stereotypes.


The dominant notions of disability are separated into the individual model, and the social model of disability. The individual model states that the disabled individual must conform to overcoming their disability, that they have a responsibility to overcome their disability. This perspective generally aims for the 'normalisation' of disabled people, often through medicalisation of their condition.
The social model is one that is evident in this clip, this deciphers between impairment ( the 'problem) and disability ( the way society views it as a negative). The idea is that the way society doesn't have a way to deal with the impairment, so it then becomes a disability, as the impaired person is given obstacles to overcome due to the negative view on their impairment.
Oliver stated in 1996 'Disability is produced in different forms, and in different proportions, in different cultures'
Society has produced the idea that people who deviate from the social expectation of normality are abnormal, e.g obese people could be classified as abnormal and to a certain extent have a disability. The presumption that a slender body is normal, fat and disabled people share low social status and fat people are blamed for their greed and lack of control over their bodies are all concepts society has generated on the stereotypes of overweight people.

In this clip the impairment of the main character is the severe burns on one side of his face. It is evident that some characters treat him differently due to his burns, and ultimately treat it as a disability. 
The clip begins looking through railings and barbed wire, which implies his burns are trapping him and preventing him to do as he pleases. The opening line of dialogue is 'I want my job back' which appears to be on a building site - this could reflect his want to build his life back together after his accident. We see the burnt side of his face before the healthy side, which reflects how society see's him; they see him as an ugly man with a burnt face rather than a normal human being. This is an enigma code as the audience want to discover how he got the burns. The men at the building site act as if they are wary of his face, which results into them avoiding eye contact and treating him possibly nicer than they normally would have done, this shows their pity towards his face rather than treating him as if his face was fine.
The woman who is getting her shopping out of the taxi is shocked when he helps her pick up her food, this could reflect societies honest view of him, rather than the front that is put on when talking to him; that he isn't aesthetically pleasing to look at and this degrades his status and power. The woman feels as if she has to justify her actions as he walks away, which re-enforces society seeing his face as a disability because if it was someone with a healthy face, no further action would have been taken.
The camera looks as if it is hand-held, as it is shaky and from realistic points of view (no extreme close ups or high angle shots) which again, re-enforces that how the different people behave towards him fits together on how society see's him.
As he is walking down the street the music has a tribal feel to it, that it is quite animalistic, the beat of the drum reflects his anger on how he is treated.
At this point we are only aware that his face is deformed, not that he is missing parts of his right hand. This illustrates how people judge others on a first impression, which is superficial yet this is why impaired people are given obstacles which creates a disability e.g people in wheelchairs, obese people, extremely short/tall people. We see how the 'impaired' individual appears and judge their ability on first impressions.
A slight sound bridge is used as he is walking on the street to the next scene in the recruitment office. The healthy side of his face is shown first, which reflects the sargeants reactin towards him as he see's him no differently to how he'd see someone with a healthy face. The shadow falling on his face in the office looks as if he is behind bars or in a cage, and that society has trapped him.
I think that this character challenges a stereotypical view of a 'disabled' person being pitiable and pathetic, as he acts as a healthy human being. It appears that his body is working, yet it is the appearance of his burnt face which causes people to judge his ability to do things.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Moral panics, Hypodermic Theory and the Passive Audience

This lesson, we focused on the Hypodermic theory and the way it could be related to Moral Panics. The task we had was to create a presentation on xtranormal on an area in the media which has been reported in the sense that they caused public controversy.

Columbine high-school Massacre
The Columbine high-school Massacre's were carried out on the 20th of April 1999, 12 students and a teacher were killed as well as 21 others being injured.It was reported that the video game called 'Doom' influenced the shootings, and that both boys involved we're avid fans of the video game. They were said to have re-created their own more violent levels of the game, they also created a level of school shootings days before the massacre. Another influence could have possibly been from Marylin Manson, whose violent music took most of the blame for the shootings, whilst the game went unrecognised. The game 'Doom' which allows players to pointlessly kill lots of figures was said to have been a 'stress releif' for the murderers who were also said to be manically depressed; yet their obsessive attitude had caused them to be restricted from computers.

Facebook & Social Networking
The general idea of facebook is to socialise, which is not hard with over 400 million accounts worldwide. It has arguably a lack of security as details are exposed to potentially anyone. It is also dangerous to children as stories have been reported of paedophiles using facebook as a weapon to find children. Another example of security was someone advertising a house party on facebook and 21,000 people confirmed they were going, the house was completely ruined.
Another lack of security, is that companies have software where they can check your facebook, look through your photos to see if you're suitable for a job/place at university. The new 'Places' on Facebook could ultimately aid stalkers, as you are telling them exactly where you are at a certain moment in time. It is dangerous for naive people.

Arguably skins could be seen as having a bad influence on people in their late teens. The idea is that after teenagers watch Skins they want to live the same lifestyle e.g sex, drugs, little education. It infers that parents are bad role models and teenagers are easily influenced by a TV series portraying one extreme of teenage life, which is basically unrealistic. However a majority of people who watch Skins simply enjoy watching it for entertainment value, rather than aspiring to be the characters from Skins. A strength of the show addresses serious issues, such as drug abuse, eating disorders, pregnancy etc. yet it is exaggerated for entertainment value.

Man Hunt
The idea of the game is to kill as many people as possible, which would clearly cause controversy as it would be considered immoral. It was brought to attention when a boy from Leicester stabbed his friend to death, it was thought he was influenced by 'man hunt' but it turned out he coincidentally happened to have a copy of the game and had never actually played on it. Ironically the controversy surrounding the game made people want to buy it more, as it was represented to be dangerous. 

Paranormal Activity
Paranormal Activity has been reported as one of the scariest movies ever made. It has even been reported there has been suicides over the film. The idea that it is based on a true story, and the way it is filmed (handheld camera, no obvious special effects, no non diagetic sound) played the scariest part as the audience feels it could happen to them. Paranormal activity had a lot of bad press, which could have been a publicity stunt as people would then want to see what its about. 

Rap Music
Critics say rap music is corrupting children and young people, suggesting ultimatley that it makes them want to be violent and anti-social towards others. The lyrics could be seen as excessive and un-neccisary, most swear words are cencored in 'clean' versions of songs, yet there is the oppertunity to buy the original version of a song without any cencors. It is represented to send out a message that sex/drugs/violence are acceptable and a normal part of life.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

How the editing creates the narrative and represents the character and his disability in Memento

The style of the editing in Memento reflects Leonard's condition of short term memory loss. The non linear editing gives the impression of the story being told in two different tenses. The fact the parts of the story are parallel yet are from different aspects, contrasts with the typical way of editing. The introduction of the film is split into colour and black and white scenes, the black and white scenes hint that they are flashbacks yet it isn't confirmed, this is an enigma code; the audience want to know what has happened, and why he shot 'Teddy' in the head.
The film opens on an extreme close up of a Polaroid picture of a crime scene; a body and blood all over the wall, it appears to be what you would typically expect a crime scene to look like, this being a cultural shortcut instantly indicates that somebody has been shot. The polaroid has a mans thumb holding the picture. As the credits roll you see the photo being shaken as the image gets lighter, this immediately implies the clip is being played backwards which is a cultural code as you know instantly it is a Polaroid; which you shake to make the image appear. It starts to fade, this links to Leonard having short term memory loss; this is then a symbolic code. The scene continues to run backwards, showing what has happened up to the point of the man being shot. It goes back in slight slow motion, which emphasises how fast it happened when the scene switches to playing forword and the man is shot. The music being played is non-diagetic, it builds tension to the point of the man being shot where the music cuts and you hear the gunshot.

It then goes to an extreme close up of the characters eyes, which illustrates that we are seeing the story through his eyes, this is enforced by him narrating the scene as there is various extreme close-ups, it makes it harder for the audience to focus on the setting. It is then made clear he is in a motel room; the image of him in the motel room again is a cultural code, mainly obvious to the western world, which is the target audience. It is also obvious that it is a flashback as it is in black and white. The mixture of him voicing over the scene, the gray scale filming and the extreme close up indicates something out of the ordinary with this character, that the way he thinks could be in great detail like the clip shows; it makes the audience believe there potentially could be something wrong with him e.g amnesia. This is an enigma code as it creates a story and hooks the audience in, wanting to know more. Linking the two scenes together is the fact that all the clips we've seen are very short which reflects his short term memory, it implied that as the clips are quite intense that he is angry about his short term memory condition.

The narration then continues to Leonard making a payment to the hotel receptionist, it is made clear he 'isn't all there' as he is reminded by the receptionist that they have previously had the conversation. It is noticable that he is also staying in a temporary home, which reflects his amnesia. The character who was shot in the opening sequence then appears at the hotel, which immediatley tells the audience that the film is not showing in chronological order, this is another enigma code; the audience will want to know why they aren't being shown the sequence of events in the correct order. It becomes evident that we are being shown the colour clips in reverse.
The introduction of the film then progresses in the manner of switching from black and white to colour, the impression that it gives is that the colour scenes are being shown in reverse, and the black and white scenes are being shown in chronological order, this gives the audience an an enigma code to ultimatley work out where the two sets of clips will meet. It also gives an insight to Leonard's disability, as we (the audience) are trying to work out his story just as much as he is.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Sexuality in Skins

The clip opens with a close up of Tony's face. He is staring straight into the camera as it starts to very slowly zoom out, you can hear church bells which implies it is a Sunday morning - this is a cultural code and could also be interpreted as an enigma code - the audience will ask questions such as why is he awake so early on Sunday morning? As teenagers are portrayed to go out late on Saturday night, a lie-in would be an expected behavior from anyone in their late teens - which the audience can gather Tony is from his face and the appearance of his room, specifically his duvet.
Tony's sexuality could be questioned as you look into this clip. The fact he is lying between the man and woman on his duvet could reflect his sexual preferences; possibly that he could be bi-sexual, or that he could be 'curious' and not have decided on being homosexual or heterosexual. The way the light falls on his face is a symbolic code, the light creates a shadow on his pillow of his face, which could illustrate he is hiding his sexuality, or he is changing into a different person due to his sexuality. The church bells could also show how the church disapprove of homosexual/bi-sexual sexualities, and that it is a constant reminder that he knows in society it is more difficult not to be heterosexual.
Another enigma code is the fact Tony wakes up before the alarm clock could infer he has been worrying about something, possibly his sexuality. His bed also obviously hasn't been slept in which implies he has been out partying the night before. As the alarm goes off this is an action code as he then immediately opens his eyes, inferring he isn't a deep sleeper, and gets out of bed, again contrasting with the idea that most teenagers turn the alarm off and go back to sleep. Also, the reason he has an alarm set early Sunday morning is another enigma code, making the audience wonder why he needs to get up; this drives the narration on.
As the camera zooms out and Tony's room becomes more visible, it is clear he is almost too organised compared to what most stereotypical teenager's bedrooms would look like. His room is decorated in neutral colours, contrasting the naked bodies on his duvet. Linking back to the idea he is unsure on his sexuality, due to him lying between the man and woman could be challenged as the man is lying on his front, revealing less than the woman who is lying on her back; this shows he could be more interested in women as the image reveals more than the man.
The naked bodies on the duvet could imply he is quite confident as normally male teenage bedspreads are chosen by their mother, and are quite plain. It immediately shows his taste and how he is possibly seen as a typical 'lad' by his friends. Another item in his room that indicates his confidence is how he has a supermarket storage item as a bedside table. Thinking about it logically the fact he would have to get the trolley into his house, up the stairs and into his room without his parents noticing would require a lot of confidence, or maybe suggest his parent's aren't bothered about what he does in his spare time.
If you were to look at this clip from a passive point of view it wouldn't be
obvious there are hints questioning his sexuality, yet the editor has clearly added these clues to give the impression that he could have different sexual preferences than first meets the eye.


There are several types of sound used in TV ;

Diagetic sound - Natural sounds that are sourced within the scene e.g people having a conversation, radio playing in the background, doors open/shutting, bullet shots in a war programme. In this clip all the sounds are diagetic; nothing has been added to create a specific atmosphere.

Non diagetic sound - Sound added to create atmosphere or tension e.g Theme tunes.
A potential problem with non diagetic sound is that it may make it less realistic, yet the potential benefit is it can make it more dramatic. The man overspeaking and the dramatic 'Jaws' theme tune added tension to this advert.

Sound bridge - Sound which carries on over two scenes, literally creating a bridge between events.

Indicental music - Short sequence of sound to create an emotion / feeling. e.g sad slow music to emphasise a character being upset.

Asychronous sounds -A 'natural ' sound out of place and without a source.

Contrapunctual - Sound which creates an opposite emotion to the one on screen. e.g a happy scene with sad/slow music playing.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Explain how ethnicity is represented in the Hotel Babylon clip

We watched this video a few times and then were asked to answer; Explain how ethnicity is represented in this clip
There stereotypes portrayed in this Hotel Babylon clip are very typical and what you would expect from that ethnicity, mainly focusing on the well known bad points.

The clip starts off with the black man attending to the white man, which relates to the historical fact that white people had the status over black people, the fact that the hotel staff member was assisting the man on the deck-chair instantly shows who has the status. The camera then uses a long shot and follows the servant as he walks alongside the poolside when a black guy who obviously knows him gets out the pool and starts talking to him. They use shot reverse shot as they are talking. The man in the swimwear has a Jamaican vibe to him, his shorts are the colours of the Jamaican flag, he has braided hair, wearing a bit of bling and he over uses words such as ' bro, blud, man' which reflects where he comes from. The fact he's talking about having a party plays on the fact black people are always seen to be partying and not taking things too seriously. These two are binary opposites and the servant could be seen as challenging the stereotype of black people as he's in a suit, has an English accent and isn't up for partying like the other guy is. The music in the background is slightly hip-hop, which is also seen as music that black people stereotypically enjoy.
In the next scene the two stereotypes that are re-presented are maids and the Japanese. You see the maids bring their trolleys up to the room, when they speak to each other you immediately know they are from some eastern European country from their accent. They then go into a Japanese mans room who is sitting on the bed with just his dressing gown on, suggesting he was waiting for them. Shot reverse shot and over the shoulder shot is used in this scene, as well as close up. Japanese people are often seen as being very neat and tidy, which is shown as he already has the money for them in two piles on the table. They are also seen as being almost perverted, as he lets out a ' oh ' as they are starting to undress. A close up is used to show the Japanese man intensely staring at the maids as they undress, with his eyes wide open which is showing he is excited. The maids (especially the one on the right) are portrayed as being easy and would do anything for a bit of money. The music the Japanese guy turns on is Moulin Rouge, which has a burlesque feel to it which could show that that is the aspiration of the maids, and where they want to go in life.
The next scene is short, but shows a hotel staff member giving a British man 'Mr Taylor' some toilet roll, shows that British men are lazy and inpatient. You don't see Mr Taylor which leaves it up to the imagination to how his character would look judging on his situation.
The British stereotype continues with the two hotel supervisors gossiping about the chefs in the kitchen. They don't have any regional accents which indicated they are upper class and well educated. It re-presents the British as posh and liking a gossip, maybe that they are snobby and look down on other people e.g British hotel supervisors looking down on foreign kitchen staff. They clearly take a lot of pride in their appearance which illustrates to foreigners that British people are snobby and look down on others, especially foreigners. The camera watches them walk down a busy corridor switching between long shot and mid shot as they walk towards the kitchen.
The british stereotype continues again into a third scene, with the storyline that the Italian head chef has been sleeping with his collegues wife. This immediatley gives the impression that Italians are womanizers and like a bit of 'fun'. The music has a faster pace to it which could illustrate that tensions are running high in the kitchen, especially after hotel management leave you see the true feelings of the chef's, the italian instantly snaps at the british guy, who can't seem to stand up for himself which re-presents British people as a bit pathetic and wouldn't stand their ground against somebody of a higher rank. The Italian chef grabs a meat clever which could also show that he can't control his temper, which would reflect that all Italians are as temporamental as he is.
Throughout this clip cultural codes are used to imply specific nationalities; such as accents. They were very stereotypical of each country/nationality portrated. People living in Britain would mainly relate to this as all of the actors are speaking English; paired with what the actors look like we automatically assume a certain nationality, a few being European. This ensures the actors don't have to do much on screen acting to let the audience know their identity. 
Overall I think that 'Hotel Babylon' re-present stereotypes very typically, they don't particually challenge them; more pick out and emphasise the bad points on a specific ethnic stereotype. They show these stereotypes so viewers can quickly understand the character without the actors having to make their ethnic make-up overly obvious.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Stereotypical class and status character

I have chosen to use Gene Hunt from Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes as my stereotypical character. I've focused more on status rather than class, as i focused on class more in my prezi presentation.
His status as DCI in the police is challenged especially when Alex comes along in Ashes to Ashes, as she's an independent woman and at the time women would have not have had such power at the time.
He almost abuses his power as he portrays the 'good cop' but isn't as 'by the book' as police are nowadays, yet his word is final.
In the 70's and 80's the patriarchal society that Britain once was was being challenged, and Gene Hunt shows the almost comical side of how he can easily take advantage of the fact he is DCI, and what he says goes.
The music that is used in the series 1 of ashes to ashes advert builds up towards him stepping out of the car, therefore building his status, by introducing the characters (Chris and Roy)that have less of a reputation than Hunt, then Alex' reaction immediately shows the audience that he's higher up than everyone else and possibly a bit of a womanizer.

His rank in his job especially increases the way the audience accepts his, what would otherwise be un-acceptable, behavior. If it was Chris coming out with half the lines that Gene did, it wouldn't have the same affect.
Hunt's body language is quite proud, dominating and confident, which shows his self confidence is high. I would assume he has quite a lot of pride and cares a lot on what people think of him and his overall reputation.
The way he dresses also asserts power, he is dressed considerably more formal than Ray, Alex and Chris. He's wearing a shirt and tie, suit and a long overcoat with leather gloves whereas Ray is wearing a black turtle neck polo shirt with a leather jacket which is more casual. Looking at how they are standing in this photo Gene is standing in front and it looks like as if he could be rubbing his hands, like he's ready to get going. It could also show that he is protecting them. I think that Gene Hunt is at the more extreme end of a stereotypical DCI; abusing his power and having a fair few sexist one liners. This character works solely on how he is built up by the reactions of other people towards him, 9/10 times when he is in the room he has the higher status.
In my opinion, after watching both series of Life On Mars and all three series of Ashes to Ashes, i grew quite attached to Gene Hunt, mainly for all of his one liners and simply the way he goes about things. From a feminist's point of view I could see how he would be despised because of his obvious sexism and how he could be seen as being at one extreme of a stereotypical man, how he belittles women obviously because his status in his job allows him to.
The idea of him being a stereotypical man is based on opinion, but i think there are masculine traits that are exaggerated which makes him more beleivable, yet he doesn't represent a majority of men which would critisize him being a stereotypical man.
I think Sam Tyler lets the audience see how exaggerated Gene Hunt is, as Sam's character is one that you are more likely to come across in everyday life. This could relate to how society and expectations have changed since the 70's/80's, so his character lacks validity to men in 2010, yet proves that some behaviors of men haven't changed.

How does Calvin Klein represent females in this advert?

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

The idea of the 'Male Gaze' is obvious from this photo, or any underwear advert. The way Eva Mendes has been styled is obviously to be aesthetically pleasing to a man, this raises general questions such as how men look at women, how women look at other women and how women look at themselves. Relating back to Laura Mulvey's 'male gaze' this advert could be interpreted in different ways. The way men look at women; Obviously I am going on stereotypes with this point as I am not a man, but when a man looks at this advert it would mainly be for Eva Mendes' body and the fact she's in sexy underwear. She is also oiled up and has damp hair, which links back to her looking as if shes just got out the shower, which is associated with sexiness. As you look at her stance she looks powerful, so some men may also find that attractive and feel if their wife/ girlfriend/ lover/ partner wears the underwear, they could also look like this. The power is shown in the way she is standing with hear head turned back, her hands on her hips (her fingers pointing to the briefs), her legs apart is a powerful almost masculine stance. Her eyes being shut goes back to Laura Mulveys idea of the types of women, that Eva is creating a mysterious look because she's not making eye contact, the fact she's not wearing a wedding ring show's she's available, so the 'too good for you' vibe comes off of her. The second point of how women look at themselves could be a bit intimidating. As about 99% of women do not have a body like that so it could put them off, or if a slim woman looks at it, she could feel like she wants to wear it to boost her confident or look like Eva Mendes. Other women wouldn't look down on her as the underwear isn't slutty, more 'tastefully sexy'. It could also make women judge other women, and possibly Eva for posing like this. From a feminists point of view they could also think ' good on you ' for looking powerful and dominating, like she is marking a teritory. I reckon that using this advert as an example men could definatley objectify women as something good to look at, but from a womens point of view they could feel sexually enpowered and in control.

Compared to the Calvin Klein advert with Eva Mendes, this one of Jamie Dornan contrast when you look into the underlying signals. In my opinion this advert is aimed at both men and women. The stubble on his face and the hair on his chest shows he's not over-groomed, which would make men feel less intimidated by him, despite having a very toned body it doesn't look as extreme as the muscles body builders have, as he doesn't have a six-pack, or it has been photoshopped out; it isn't supposed to overpower or challenge men, it is a realistic man. Jamie's body language is vunerable, with the head facing down and his arms hanging by his side doesn't portray power like Eva Mendes' advert did. This relates to women liking vunerable men, which would draw their eye to the advert, along with his amazing body. I asked my friend Megan what she thought when she looked at this advert; ' It makes me want to buy the boxers for my boyfriend, as it gives the impression that he'd look as hench as the model'.
When it comes to the boxers there is no emphasis on them, as they are plain and there's no body language pointing towards them or enphasising them. The 'Calvin Klein underwear' slogan is near the upper half of the body, which doesn't draw attention to the boxers more to the mans body. The result could be switched as men could feel sexually enpowered for wearing these boxers, and women could look at this man purely as some eye candy.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Stereotypes in the media

Stereotypes shape the publics opinion. They are narrative shortcuts which orientate the audiences expectations. Some people argue that stereeotypes are fixed and unchanging. This links to the hypodermic theory that cinema injects people with stereotypes.
Leon Festinger beleives we resist changing our opinions unless faced with overwhelming evidence against what we beleive. Cognitive disonance is when our brain encounters new ideas and rejects them because they don't match our expectations. This is subjective to opinion, it also works in the sense that overwhelming evidence can change your opinion on something as it seems more plausable.

We then watched everybody elses prezi presentation on seven stereotypes re-presentated in the media.; all of these views are not mine they are ones that appear to be portrayed in the media.
Children; Children in the media are played as the same age of the target audience. e.g Tracey Beaker/ kids at the dumping ground are all the ages of the target audience. The media portray children to be good people so that the children watching aspire to be like them.
12-14 year olds; nearly always play cool characters who lead action packed, interesting lives, they always play the good guys e.g M-I-High, again it gives something for the target audience to look up to.
15-18 year olds; Never normally played as 'normal' teenagers. You have one end of the spectrum, such as skins where all the teenagers are seen as druggies, dropouts, violent people who lead exciting lives going out partying getting off their face which is, lets face it, hardly like the lives of teenagers i know. Then the other end of the scale would be The Inbetweeners, which shows social rejects and their struggle on getting girls and getting through the hurdles of teenage life. That is more realistic but obviously not a match to everybodies life. Characters such as Vicky Pollard are used to discourage mid teenagers becoming like that. People look down on her and take the piss out of her which makes her a bad role model and would make people avoid being like her. Older people (30+)
20-30; Hollyoaks represents the idea that when you're younger you dress older and when you're older you dress to look younger. It reflects that the 20's is the prime time of your life and everyone is successful.
Eastenders shows that you get more sophisticated as you enter your 30's, e.g drinking wine instead of alcopops and that women dress more their age, more glamorous. It shows men being more successful, dressed in suits.
Elderly people are re-presentated as being old, mardy, weak, not with it, complaining or contrastingly as a happy chappy 'war hero'.

Ability & Disability
There are many typed of disabilites, but the one the media foucuses on is people bound to a wheelchair. Disabled people are typically seen to be wearing comfy clothes, as they are viewed to be housebound and don't actually need to get out of their wheelchair. Normally characters in wheelchairs are vunerable, don't make much effort and aren't energetic. This depicts disabled people. Andy and Lou from Little Britain make full use of the stereotypical disabled person. The settings of Andy's house is untidy and dirty, implies that because he's in a wheelchair he can't do day to day chores.
The camera nagle tends to look down or at a disabled person, never looks up to them. It is common that the carer is in the image with the disabled person, rather than focusing on the individual person. Another thing that doesn't focus on the individual person is when you hear stories of disabled people doing well, e.g if someone who had lost their legs and had fake ones put on and ran a marathon, would get a lot more praise than someone who had both of their own legs. This re-inforces that non-disabled people patronize disabled people. The personality traits of disabled people in the media are either that they are evil, or stupid. There's rarely a normal character in a wheelchair.

The toilet sign is something we all recognise, it gives the cultural signal of women wearing skirts and dresses, and men having broad shoulderrs and having thicker legs/arms than women. Nobody challenges this or gets 'mixed up' on what toilet to go into as this is what we accept a sign for female and male toilets. Stereotypically males are seen to be wearing trousers, short hair, strong, earn more money, working, bigger.
Women are seen to have long hair, not physically as strong as men, less responsibility and to be a typical housewife. The picture shows a 1950's woman getting pies out of the oven. This image shows a typical 'housewife' getting pies out of the oven, the child in the image also represents how women were supposed to stay at home, raise children and put dinner on the table for when the
husband ges home. Jokes people make nowadays about women being in the kitchen relates back to this. In contemporary soaps males are seen as the supporters, 'stoic', never the other way round. The women are seen as 'wearing their heart on their sleeve' and don't tend to control their emotions. The physical fighting in soaps , 9/10 times is done by men, if it is done by women its more of a bitch fight. It perpetuates stereotypical views, if you type fight into google, no images of women come up.

Regional Identity
Northeners- People are friendly yet reject anyone from the south. They are portrayed to moan a lot and consume a lot of alcohol. On average they live a 'lower class' life, and that more crime happens compared to the south. In this clip Frankie Boyle portrays scottish people by picking and exaggerating certain stereotypes.

Southeners- They seem to live a more upbeat lifestyle, mainly based around cities. They have a more 'Newsreader' Accent, which is easier to understand but is labelled 'posh'. They are more forward about subjects.

Countryside - From places such as the west country or Norfolk, are harder to understand and maybe seen as not ' with the times ' . Also seen as farmers, they wear more relaxed clothes, have more rural jobs e.g farmers and are seen to have a more physical working lifestyle. This clip from hot fuzz exaggerates the west country accent.

Hoodies are portrayed to be the sort of clothes that make people unnaproachable, and black people are normally seen to be wearing them. This enforces that black teenage/early 20's boys are thugs.·That they are lazy, don't want to work or help the community. This stereotype is challenged in Hollyoaks by a young black male (Calvin) is a police officer and therefore is helping the community. 
The full on traditional indian wedding is seen as a stereotype. That all indians dress in their shari all the time. Bend it like Beckham shows a stereotypical indian family, and their reaction to Jess wanting to play football -something indian girls dont do. This picture shows Jess' football team getting her dressed in her shari, exxagerating the cultural differences between a common western game and indian expectations.

It is also seen in British television that a majority of the actors are white, emphasising people of a different ethnicity are a minority and different.

Gay Male's wear tightly fitted clothing, are more into fashion and style than hetrosexual men, they like to spend their time out clubbing with girl friends, and often take part in gay parades.
Mr G in summer heights high is how you would expect a gay middle aged man to behave. He is into performing arts and is quite affeminate the way he speaks and acts.
He's quite bitchy aswell which is a trait that is normally associated with girls. He also has a 'handbag' dog called celine, handbag dogs are also seen to be something girls would have.
Plots tend to include coming out, how they cope and the abuse that suffers. This is focussing on the negative points of being homosexual. Lesbians are also portrayed in the media as having short hair, being butch, into contact sports such as rugby, deeper voices and act manly.

Status & Class
Mine and Jordan's Prezi presentation was on Status and Class;

We found that there are three main 'classes'; upper class, which is royalty, lords, dukes, and millionaires. Middle class; which is everyday people. Most of us fit into that category. Lower class; chavs, homeless people.
We associate the 'upper class' people to be rich, play sports such as polo and cricket, go fox hunting, live in mansions, have lots of jewells/diamonds, wear tweed, have afternoon tea, have a butler and drive a bentley. Usually people with higher class have the upper status in the media, and tend to have control of the situation.
Middle class is what we would consider 'normal' people, living in a semi-detached house, do normal things such as go to festivals, shopping with friends, have jobs such as teachers or bankers and have the typical 2.4 children. Outnumbered is a good representation of a middle class family. The setting is in a house and the situations that happen are not far from real life. The song ' The day I died' by Just Jack describes (up until the death) a typical day of a middle classed person ' drag myself from my bed, around twenty past six, get my kids up make breakfast 1 egg 2 toast 3 weetabix ' seems like a realistic routine that middle class people do.
Working class is seen as Chavs, wearing baseball caps, living in council houses. Bianca from Eastenders talks like you would expect someone from a lower class to, with a strong cockney accent. This indicates she isn't well educated and is a bit gobby. They are also related to not having much money.

Friday, 15 October 2010

The Male Gaze

The Male gaze is the idea that all aspects of media are from the perspective from a hetrosexual man. This picture of Barack Obama gives a good representation of the male gaze. It re-inforces that 'men look', and that men deliberatley re-presentate the media in from that perspective, the concept is of the male gaze is one that deals with how an audience views the people presented.
The film audience have to 'view' characters from the perspective of a hetrosexual male.

The features of the male gaze;
The camera lingers on the curves of the female body, and events which occur to women are presented largely in the context of a mans reactions to these events.
It almost relegates women to the status of objects or possessions. The female viewer must view from a males point of view.

For feminists, it can be thought of in 3 ways;
- How men look at women
- How women look at themselves
- How women look at other women.

From the concept of the male gaze it demonstrates that the way women are portrayed, men look at women more for their body or what they could potentially offer in ultimatley a sexual way.

It makes women look at themselves and compare them to photoshopped models, and maybe have lower self esteem as they aspire to be like the women in underwear adverts or catwalk models.

Naturally, women compare or judge other women, but look at them in a completely different way to 'stereotypical' man. If i look at another girl e.g in the street I am usually looking at how they style their hair or what they are wearing and compare them to what I am wearing.

The way women are portrayed ( men checking them out) can be used to their advantage, such as flicking their hair or sitting in a certain way to get male attention.

We watched the music video of ' She's so lovely - Scouting for Girls '

Mr Smith then asked us questions,
What colour was the boy and girls top?
What number lane were they at?
What colour belt were they both wearing?
What shoes were they both wearing?
What colour eyes did they have?

Predictibally the girls got way more right than the boys, as the girl in this video would be 'eye candy' and distract them from noticing other things. This is a typical example of the male gaze.

Marjorie Ferguson (1980)'s
The chocolate box;
half lips/ full smile
lips together/slightly parted
teeth barely visable
full/three quaters of face to the camera.

Looks like a typical girl next door, quite sweet, blandly pleasing, uninformity of beauty and devoid of uniqueness. Gwyneth Paltrow looks sweet and innocent on this cover of vogue, despite having heavy eye make up she looks like 'the girl next door', she also is looking above the camera which could be interpereted as being flirty, as when girls flutter their eyelids they look up.


Emphasis on the eyes
Mouth shut with a hint of smile
Head to one side or looking back to the camera

Sugestive of mischeif or mystery, hint of contact rather than sexual promise. Keira Knightley has her arm on her head and her mouth slightly open, making eye contact with the camera which shows she has confidence, but her facial expression isn't giving too much away.

Super Smiler

Full face
Wide open, toothy smile
Head thrusts forword or chin thrown back
Hair often wind blown or big

Agressive, look at me smile, unaproachable and maybe a bit attention seeking and over-confident. Sienna miller has backcombed messy hair wich shows confidence, her outfit is quite outgoing which matches her expression, which is layed back but shows she's confident and happy.

Romantic or Sexual

Includes male/female 'two somes'
Heavy Lidded
Overtly sunsual/sexual

Possibly or definatley available, gives off the signal that she is easier to get than other girls and maybe not up for anything serious. The model in this is making eye contact with the camera, with one hand on her hip and standing in a 'powerful' way with her legs open, could indicate a sexual message to males.

Trevor Millum (1990's)

Similar to cool/level
Eyes less wide
Expression is less reserved but still self confident

Cheryl Cole on this cover gives the impression that she's independant and powerful and knows exactly how to get a man to look at her.

Nymph like
Outdoor girl
Often smiling/grinning

The model on this cover looks healthy as she has good complexion, teeth and healthy natural hair. She looks the type as if you met her you could imagine to live a busy lifestyle, it looks to me as if you could imagine her playing tennis and being a bit ditzy.

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

This woman looks as if shes stressed by work, she may be unnaproachable and quite driven and indipendant.


Deliberatley ridiculous
Acting the fool
Pulling faces

Agyness Deyn is a classic example of Milliums view of a ' comic ' she pulls a variety of different facial expressions and often seems like shes having a laugh and not being entirely serious like most stereotypical supermodels.


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

Uma Thurman isn't really pulling a specific face, it looks like it is in a neutral position. The picture doesn't really infer anything so no message is given.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Audience viewing habits questionnaire

The task we were given was to ask ten people in our class 15 questions on their film viewing habits.
Me and Becca worked together to come up with 15 questions and ask them to members of our class, here are our questions and answers;

Audience Viewing habits questionaire
After looking at this questionnaire I came to the conclusion that most of the people i asked ( bar one person) don't chose to watch a film based on it being made by an American or British film company. It is inevitable that some, clearly not many, people chose to watch a film whether it is American or British, that is down to taste and opinion. It seems that more people watch a film on its content rather than whether it is American or British. It obviously it is impossible to generalise that statement as I only questioned 11 people, not the whole population. It is clear from this questionaire that we watch more American than British films, possibly because there are less British films to watch and maybe people just like the style of American films better despite saying it doesn't affect which films they view. I also thought it was quite contrasting that people didn't seem too bothered about whether a film was in 3D or not, considering the amount of money that goes into 3D cinema, and that about half of the people we questioned didn't like the idea of a 3D tv.