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Science fiction films: lesson one

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Fergie Ferg

on 11 January 2016

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Transcript of Science fiction films: lesson one

Introduction to science fiction films
You have a plain sheet of A4 paper in front of you

Divide this paper into 6 rectangles (Folding will do, no need for a ruler)

In each rectangle draw images that sum up your expectations of what you might find in the science fiction genre
Pass your papers over to another student

Cut the images out. Be as neat as you possibly can, cutting around the actual images not just the rectangles.

Come up with a basic film plot based on the images that you have

You have 10 minutes in which to do this

You do not have to write the stories out
Share film plots: What did they all have in common?

Science fiction definition
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with the impact of imagined innovations in science or technology, often in a futuristic setting.

It is a realistic speculation of what might happen in the future.
In your own words, try to explain what science fiction is.
Revising the key areas of media studies
In media studies you study three media platforms:

Broadcast
Print
E-media

Make a mind map for each platform, and write down some examples of media products from each.
Science fiction films: lesson one
The four key concepts
When analysing or creating media products, you need to consider the four key concepts of media studies.

Media Language
- how is the product constructed? What technical, symbolic and written codes are used to create the product?

Audience
- who is the target demographic and how does the product attract them?

Institution
- who made the product and what processes did they have to go through?

Representation
- how are groups of people/places/professions portrayed?
Media products are increasingly using multiple platforms.

For example, Geordie Shore has extra content in youtube videos and Dr Who has a website with interactive games.
Key concept question: (audience) what uses and gratifications are offered by science fiction films?
Science fiction (or sci-fi) is a popular genre in film, television and books.

Can you think of some examples of science fiction texts?
When looking at science fiction, we need to think about genre.
What is genre?
A way to categorise media products.
Hybrid genres:
A hybrid genre is a mixture of more than one genre. For example, Shaun of the dead is a mixture of a zombie film and a romantic comedy.

Alien is a famous hybrid genre. What genres does it combine?
Sub-genres
Under the "umbrella" term of sci-fi, there are lots of different kinds of sci-fi. We call these sub-genres.
For example, The Hunger Games would be Dystopian science fiction film because it is set in a future that is bad.

Can you think of any other dystopian science fiction texts?
Science fiction sub-genres:
Dystopia
Apocalyptic (the end of the world)
Post apocalyptic
Near future
First contact (humans discovering/interacting with Aliens)
Alternate reality
Technology as a threat
Clones
Time Travel
What do you recognise from each genre?
Codes and conventions
When certain things are seen repeatedly across a genre, we can call them
codes and conventions
of the genre.
Codes and conventions can be
technical codes
(camera shots/lighting/sound etc)
They can also be
symbolic codes
(colours, clothes, objects, locations)
Narratives and themes
can also be considered conventions of a genre.
Minority Report is set in a future society where a system has been developed that predicts what crimes people will commit before they actually do it.
As we watch this sequence from the film, complete your conventions tables.
What did you spot?
Why are genres useful for audiences and institutions?
Audiences
Institutions
Film companies know what codes and conventions to include to make a successful genre film.
If a certain genre is popular, institutions can capitalise on this and make films from that genre.
Audiences will
have clear
expectations for
that genre.
Audiences know what
genres they
like/dislike.
When a genre film fits with your expectations of the genre, you can say it
fulfills
your expectations. When it doesn't fit, it
subverts
your expectations.
The Amazing Spider Man 2
subverts
the superhero genre because Gwen Stacey dies instead of Peter rescuing her.
Task
How did the scene from Minority Report fulfill audience expectations of the science fiction genre?
Point - answer the question
Evidence - refer to a specific moment.
Explain - how does the evidence reinforce your point?
Develop - Why did the film makers include this/ how will it effect the audience?
How to answer
The scene from Minority Report fulfills audience expectations of the genre by using several recognisable codes and conventions of sci-fi. For example, Tom Cruise's character uses very advanced technology to find the criminal. This is a typical code and convention of science fiction because it is something that you see in lots of science fiction films. It will have been included by the film maker to attract fans of the genre.
Genre key terms
Sub-genre
Hybrid genre
Codes and Conventions
Fulfill
Subvert
Iconography
A key symbol of that genre

What sub genre is the film you have a picture of?
Full transcript