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.