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Transcript of Genre
There are many genres across the media platforms. And genres can have
This refers to the increasingly popular trend to mix genres within one product.
The increasing popularity of hybrid genres is partly a response to the sheer amount of media output, crossover is inevitable.
For instance, an action movie aimed at men can maximise its audience by including elements of romantic drama within the plot, thus also appealing to women.
Codes and conventions
Different media forms have codes and conventions (things that are typical), different genres have codes and conventions too.
Choose three films from one genre. Investigate the codes and conventions of that genre.
Used to describe a particular type of media product e.g. Films, TV shows within which we as audience have identified common features, elements and conventions
For example within the genre of Science fiction
there will be sub-genres of:
Fear of technology
Can you list some examples of the sub-genres of horror?
Alien is a classic example of a hybrid genre. What two genres do you think it mixes?
These are technical, audio, symbolic and linguistic codes that are repeated across a genre and how they are used.
For example: Low key lighting to build tension is a convention of the horror genre.
Complete the genre table in the shared area
Polysemic - when something can have multiple meanings
eg. the colour red
Anchor - a way to fix meaning.
Eg. the low key lighting and the POV shot of the women could suggest that a romantic storyline will be happening.
This is anchored
by the next shot of the two characters sitting together on a couch.
What are the common codes and conventions of that genre?
Genre and audiences
Audiences are used to genres - they are familiar/easy to understand.
Genres create expectations that we expect to be fulfilled.
You go see a horror film expecting certain codes and conventions; if it doesn't have those things, you could argue that it hasn't been successful. So if a romantic comedy doesn't have a happy ending, it might disappoint the audience.
Audience knowledge of genre means they may enjoy when a genre is
However genres are sometimes accused of being predictable and stale.
Why is genre useful for institutions?
Their popularity with audiences means that large profits are available to companies
who get the formula right - if a particular genre is popular then it will be repeated by other production companies to maximise profits - see sequels.
1. Always use specific examples to support your work. Don't just say camera shots/camera movements.
2. Consider WHY something has been used. General reasons such as "It appeals to the audience" or "it makes the sitcom more interesting" should be avoided.
3. Don't just describe, analyse. Always ask why.
4. Don't mis-use terminology. Keep going over terms you have learnt to make sure you are using them correctly.
Subverting a genre
When analysing a genre text, you should consider if it fufills genre conventions or subverts them.
Subvert means to
In Amazing Spiderman 2 - instead of the hero getting the girl, she dies. This subverts the superhero genre.
However, there are trends in genre. What was once popular can go out of fashion. For example, Westerns and Musicals were once extremely popular but are less so now. What genres would you say are popular at the moment?
In Unforgiven, Clint Eastwood's character William Munney isn't a traditional western hero, he is a poor shot and bad at riding a horse, He is also friends with an African American man.
Hybrid genres, intertextuality and subverting genre conventions can be linked to the idea of post modernism.
One post modern idea is that audiences are so media literate and sophisticated that they appreciate media products that play with ideas about genre instead of just pure genre products.
Genre practical task
I want you to create a dvd cover for a film of a genre of your choice.
You will need to consider:
What genre are you working in? Is it a hybrid genre? Is it a sub-genre?
What codes and conventions of that genre do you need to include?
What codes and conventions of DVD covers will you need to include?
Genres will have fans/ inbuilt audiences
Genre is a critical tool that helps us study texts and audience responses to texts by dividing them into categories based on common elements.
Steve Neale (1980) declares that “genres are instances of
repetition and difference
This is the idea that genres may be dominated by repetition, but are also marked by difference, variation, and change
Genres change, develop, and vary, as they borrow from and overlap with one another
Genres of order (western, gangster,sci-fi etc)
Hero – individual, male-dominant
Setting – contested space which is argued over (ideologically unstable)
Conflict – externalised – against others (expressed through violence)
Resolution/ending – elimination (death)
Themes – The hero takes upon himself the problems, contradictions of his society and saves us from them - macho code of behaviour - isolated self-reliance (either through his departure or death, the hero does not fit in with the values/lifestyles of the community but maintains individuality)
theory is that there are just two genres: the genre of order and the genre of integration (1981)
Genres of Integration (Musicals,comedies, domestic melodramas etc)
Hero – couple or collective e.g. family
Setting – Civilised space (ideologically stable)
Conflict – Internalised – between themselves (expressed through emotion)
Resolution/ending – embrace (love)
Themes – the romantic couple or family are integrated into the wider community, their personal antagonisms resolved - maternal – familial code - community co-operation
A key symbol
Cowboy hat - Western
Blood - Horror
Genre - recap
Genres are how we categorise media products.
We recognise genres because they repeat common elements. However they also need to change and evolve to keep audiences interested. (
a genre is a sub-genre.
Mixing elements from different genres create a hybrid genre.
The common elements of genres are called codes and conventions. These can be technical, audio, symbolic or linguistic.
A film can
the codes and conventions of the genre and it can
Genres are useful to both audiences and institutions.
Genre practical task
Use photoshop to create a film poster from a genre of your choice.
A poster should include:
Edit - transform - scale
Press the tick to confirm
T for text
Media forms (media language, genre and narrative)
How is the genre communicated to the audience?
How is the genre communicated to the audience?
P - One of the ways that the genre is communicated to the audience is...
E - example
(USE SPECIFIC MEDIA LANGUAGE TERMS)
E - explain
A/I - think about the effect on the audience and the producer's intentions.
One way that the genre is communicated to the audience is through the use of iconography. Several key pieces of sci-fi iconography are shown such as the spaceship setting and robots/artificial intelligence. These elements will clearly signify the genre to the audience which is important to attract fans of the genre. Using iconography can be useful for institutions because it helps to quickly communicate the genre which is effective in advertising.
Key terms - genre, hybrid genre, iconography
sub-genre, codes and conventions,