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Transcript of MS4 Revision
Three areas of Study
Three Main texts for EACH Section
MS4 is about:
the demonstration of KEY ASPECTS of the INDUSTRY
Section A - Text
Section B - Industry and Audience
Analysis of textual deconstruction, with a detailed awareness of:
Representation is a complex concept through which we attempt to understand how the media constructs its message and how
respond to that construction and message.
Notice we mention AUDIENCE. No media deconstruction or construction can be seen in isolation, so it is more than appropriate to encompass all areas of deconstucting a text, whilst focusing on the question chosen, including context.
The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo
David Fincher (2011) Genre -Crime/Drama/Mystery Cert 18
Starring - Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgard, Steven Berkoff,
Consider the representation of character, language, costume, setting, non-diegetic music and how these create meaning.
Now consider the positioning of the audience - what is your response and why?
What is required is a detailed analysis in your answer, focusing on representation, but NOT in isolation.
The Dark Knight
Batman is a fictional character, a comic book superhero appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. Batman was created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, and first appeared in Detective Comics (May 1939).
Originally referred to as "the Bat-Man" and still referred to at times as "the Batman," the character is additionally known as "the Caped Crusader," "the Dark Knight," and "the World's Greatest Detective," among other titles.
Batman has a fan-base that started from an early time. These people have evolved through time, age and technological advances so the story or narrative surrounding Batman has been reborn, many times too in order to move with the times. However, he, the character, has remained true to the original in many ways.
A chain of events in a cause and effect relationship occurring in time' (Bordwell and Thompson).
'A way of organising spatial and temporal events into a cause and effect chain of events with a beginning, middle and end that embodies a judgement about the nature of events' (Branigan).
There are a number of theorists associated with Narrative Theory:
Elements of Narrative Theory to Consider.
Story and Plot
Action and Change
All the theorists mentioned will be a specialist in one of the above fields.
The idea of theory is to identify function and purpose. For example:
talks about the ideology- the narrative will embody a judgement.
suggests that there are a limited and key number of character types used in each narrative.
considers the structure and says that there is an equilibrium, disequilibrium and then a resolution to the narrative structure, giving the audience a finality, an end to their story.
emphasizes the active role of readers in creating meaning and their 'culturally formed expectations'.
narrative codes are:
Claude Levi Strauss
suggested that narratives are structured by a series of binary oppositions
Just considering these two areas, let us look at a scene from The Dark Knight and see how the above can be used to analyse this text.
The Dark Knight - Dir -2008
The Joker crashes the party.
Some theorists suggest these are different to previous narratives.
Characteristics of a Postmodern narrative are:
Irony, black humour, playfullness
Codes and Conventions
Genre in more depth
Conventional definitions of genres tend to be based on the notion that they constitute particular conventions of content (such as themes or settings) and/or form (including structure and style) which are shared and belong to them. The attempt to define particular genres in terms of sufficient textual properties is sometimes seen as attractive but it poses many difficulties. For instance, in the case of films, some seem to be aligned with one genre in content and another genre in form.
Theorists and Genre
The film theorist Robert Stam argues that 'subject matter is the weakest criterion for generic grouping because it fails to take into account how the subject is treated (Stam 2000, 14).
While some genres are based on story content (the war film), other are borrowed from literature (comedy, melodrama) or from other media (the musical). Some are budget-based (blockbusters), while others are based on artistic status (the art film), racial identity (Black cinema), location (the Western) or sexual orientation (Queer cinema). (Stam 2000,14).
Conventional definitions of genre tend to be based on the notion that they constitute particular conventions of content (themes, settings and iconography) and form (structure and style), shared by the texts which are regarded as belonging to them.
Rick Altman - defined in terms of media language (SEMANTIC elements)
Jonathan Culler (1978) Generic conventions exist to establish a contract between creator and reader so as to make certain expectations operative, allowing compliance and deviation from the accepted modes of intelligibility
Tom Ryall (1998) - genre is a cognitive repository of images, sound,stories, characters and representations
The Dark Knight
This genre is still subject to debate among scholars. Some argue that it blurs with melodrama or hard-boiled detective stories, and others have argued that it is limited to a particular time period as well as style in cinema.
We could suggest that The Dark Knight has certain thematic and visual elements comparable to film noir, but perhaps, neo-noir is more an appropriate categorization? This subgenre, due to its progenitor, is also shrouded in contention. Robert Arnett states that “Neo-noir has become so amorphous as a genre/movement, any film featuring a detective or crime qualifies.” Though it has been argued that The Dark Knight is an example of neo-noir, can we really place it in any category that is still being defined
The protagonist(s) faces death, either their own or somebody else’s.
The force(s) of antagonism must initially be cleverer and/or stronger than the protagonist’s.
The main storyline for the protagonist is either a quest or a character who cannot be put down.
The film’s narrative construction is dominated by the protagonist’s point of view.
All action and characters must be credibly realistic/natural in their representation on screen.
The two major themes that underpin the thriller genre are the desire for justice and the morality of individuals.
One small, but significant, aspect of a thriller is the presence of innocence in what is seen as an essentially corrupt world.
The main plotline focuses on a mystery that must be solved.
What to consider
1) well-organised and
2) linked to media ideas of
construction and design
3) consideration of any
around your response.
content and meaning through expressive and accurate writing
demonstrate your knowledge
of media concepts, contexts and critical debates
The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo 2011.
Bullet point information about the film:
Textual analysis - Narrative, Representations, Genre
Production - Director, stars, production company, web-site, budget, profit, critics reports, marketing material, merchandise.
Audience - Who are the audience? Where are they positioned? What theories can you apply and why?
apply that knowledge:
1) give detailed analysis of media products and processes and
make clear reference to the shaping of
What do you know about the fan-base and how can you encompass this into your answer? Audience responses and positioning. Ideas of Propp and the Hero? Levi Strauss and Binary oppositions?
How can you contextualise the film in your response? History? Other comic-book characters? links with comics, magazine articles, TV shows?
What do you know about the narrative of the film? And how might you apply this to your analysis?
Starring - Michael Caine, Heath Ledger,
Car Chase Scene
The protagonist(s) and antagonist(s) may battle, themselves and each other, not just on a physical level, but on a mental one as well. Either by accident or their own curiousness, characters are dragged into a dangerous conflict or situation that they are not prepared to resolve.If this is how we understand the thriller genre then The Dark Knight seems to fit, and if this is so, it likely meets the criteria of one of its subgenres, crime thriller, as well.
Biographical film about the life of Ian Curtis - singer of the 1970s band, Joy Division
Anton had worked with Joy Dividion as a photographer - this was his first feature film.
Running time 122 minutes
Screenplay - Matt Greenhaigh
- Biography, Drama
- Profiles Ian Curtis, enigmatic singer of Joy Division,whose persona, professional and romantic troubles led him to commit suicide at the age of 23
- Music, post-punk band of the 1970s and the life style of sex, drugs and rebellion
Control was nominated for 2 Bafta Awards
The screenplay written by Matt Greenhalgh is based on the book Touching from a Distance, by Curtis's widow, Deborah, who is also a co-producer of the film.
The film was directed by Dutch director Anton Corbijn.
Contextualize the film
Why was it made and what/who was represented?
How was it made? (Budget, writers, director, actors)
What was the narrative?
Who were the audience/fan-base to this film? How were they targeted, positioned? Is there a story to be told around them?
The tragedy of Ian Curtis
Tony Wilson and others talk about Ian's tragic death.
MS4 Synoptic paper
2.5 hours long - Answer one question from Section A and two from Section B. You must use a different industry for each question. You must consider all three texts for that industry in your answer.
Taken from the Winter 2012 paper
SECTION A: TEXT
(Representation, Narrative, Genre)
Answer one question from this section.
You must refer to the three main texts
you have studied in each answer.
CHOOSE ONE INDUSTRY ONLY
A1. Explore the different representations of either men or age within your three main texts. 
A2. How important are characters to the narrative of your three main texts? 
MS4 Synoptic Paper - Section B
SECTION B: INDUSTRY AND AUDIENCE
Answer two questions from this section, using
a different media industry for each.
You must refer to the three main texts
you have studied in each answer.
B1. Assess the main advantages of the internet for your three main texts. 
B2. With reference to your three main texts, discuss the key features of their distribution. 
B3. Explore the different ways your three main texts attract their audiences. 
B4. How global is the appeal of your three main texts? 
Representation of the main character/protagonist - hero or villain? (Propp)
How do you know this? - Use of language, costume, setting.
what message has been constructed?
What message did the non-diegetic music give us?
Add more information-->
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (original title in Swedish: Män som hatar kvinnor – literally, Men who hate women) is a crime novel by the late Swedish author and journalist Stieg Larsson. It is the first book of the Millennium series trilogy, which, when published posthumously in 2005, became a best-seller in Europe and the United States.
Production information - The Swedish film production company Yellow Bird created film versions of the Millennium Trilogy, all released in 2009, beginning with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, directed by Danish filmmaker Niels Arden Oplev. The protagonists were played by Michael Nyqvist and Noomi Rapace.
A Hollywood adaptation of the book, directed by David Fincher, was released in December 2011. The main characters were portrayed by Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara.
- This English-language adaptation of the Swedish novel by Stieg Larsson follows
a disgraced journalist,
Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig), as he investigates the disappearance of
a wealthy patriarch's niece
from 40 years ago. He is aided by the
pierced, tattooed, punk computer hacker
named Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara). Blomkvist and Salander uncover immense corruption beyond anything they have ever imagined.
Character type and message.
Mikael Blomkvist is
a disgraced journalist
who is asked by a
to write a biography on his family. But what he really wants Blomkvist to do is to find out what happened to his niece, who went missing 40 years ago. Blomkvist, at first, is not interested,
until the man offers to help him clear his name.
Bullet point the information you know about all 9 texts you have studied
Advertising x 3
Devise a paragraph as an opening for your answer
One paragraph to introduce Representation
and your three chosen texts
One to introduce Narrative and your three chosen texts
One to introduce Genre and your three chosen texts.
Bullet point your answers for Film - using one text now, but all three for homework, as this will highlight what you need to know for each film.
Clues of crime, drama, thiller and mystery are clearly seen in this sequence
The use of these repeated codes are read and recognised by the audience:
language - verbal signifiers
This clip gives ideas about construction and why the design creates a message and value base and why the 'frame' is such an important component for this message.
To broaden your study into the three areas of TEXT, INDUSTRY and AUDIENCE is to broaden your understanding of each text's construction.
Control. Dir Anton Corbijn - 2007
For the body of your answer:
Choose two-three scenes from each text to analyse.
Practice how to compare and contrast your case studies (scenes from your texts), making reference to audience positioning/gratification and industry.
Summarize your findings, bringing in commentary about your chosen texts and making sure you link this to the question.
Example - Representation -
The role of selection, construction and anchorage in creating representations of character type and message is clearly demonstrated in similar, yet very different ways in these chosen texts. The role of the 'Dark Knight' represents a moral, superhuman yet fallible character, juxtaposed against the very complex, childlike dangerous representation of the 'Joker'. The underlining sadness of the narrative of Joy Division was clearly and powerfully represented by the main protagonist, played by.....etc.etc
Industry and Audience
Television - History
Uses and Gratifications (Active Audience). One influential tradition in media research is referred to as 'uses and gratifications'. This approach focuses on why people use particular media rather than on content.
HYPODERMIC NEEDLE THEORY
Integration and Social Interaction
Blumler & Katz (1974) argued that audience needs have social and psychological origins which generate certain expectations about the mass media, leading to differential patterns of media exposure which result in both the gratification of needs and in other (often unintended) consequences
The theory suggests that the mass media could influence a very large group of people directly and uniformly by ‘shooting’ or ‘injecting’ them with appropriate messages designed to trigger a desired response.
Both images used to express this theory (a bullet and a needle) suggest a powerful and direct flow of information from the sender to the receiver. The bullet theory graphically suggests that the message is a bullet, fired from the "media gun" into the viewer's "head". With similarly emotive imagery the hypodermic needle model suggests that media messages are injected straight into a passive audience which is immediately influenced by the message.
Stuart Hall – Encoding/Decoding
Hall suggested that there are three kinds of hypothetical decoding positions for the reader of a text: dominant, negotiated and oppositional.
•dominant (or ‘hegemonic’) reading: the reader fully shares the text’s code and accepts and reproduces the preferred reading.
•negotiated reading: the reader partly shares the text’s code and broadly accepts the preferred reading, but sometimes resists and modifies it in a way which reflects their own position, experiences and interests
•oppositional (‘counter-hegemonic’) reading: the reader, whose social situation places them in a directly oppositional relation to the dominant code, understands the preferred reading but does not share the text’s code and rejects this reading, bringing to bear an alternative frame of reference (radical, feminist etc.)
Look at ideas of construction - or encoding (Stuart Hall)
Familiarize yourself with the questions being asked of you by looking at an exam paper or two.
Knowledge around each industry is always beneficial, as it adds to the depth of your answer.
For example - an answer about representation in Section A cannot exclude audience theory and information concerning critics reports, stars or a linked website relevant to your response; it can only add to the depth of your answer.
The Killing, BBC Four
BBC4 (March 2002)
The Killing remains a remarkable piece of television. Its sheer narrative ambition – to present one convoluted murder mystery, lasting no fewer than 20 episodes and spanning a police investigation, a grieving family and a political campaign – is unparalleled in British TV drama.
The Killing is much more than just Midwinter Murders: it comes from an honourable and growing tradition of complex continental cop drama, including the French detective show Spiral and Sweden’s original Wallander. But by some magical Nordic alchemy, it has transcended both of them.
Danish crime drama series which follows the police investigation of one specific case, day by day, with each hour-long episode covering 24 hours of the investigation.
Media Guardian News
Series 3 - BBC 4
BBC4's The Killing returned for its third series with a record audience of more than 1 million viewers – but it was unable to top rival crime Scandinavian drama The Bridge.
The further adventures of Sarah Lund and her jumper averaged 1.04 million viewers, including 64,000 on BBC HD, between 9pm and 10pm on Saturday.
It was up on the second series launch, which began with 815,000 viewers in November last year, and the first series of The Killing, which opened with 393,000 viewers in January 2011.
But not even the anticipation around the third – and final – series of the acclaimed Danish import could top The Bridge, which had a total of 1.097 million viewers when it launched on 21 April this year.
The first episode of the new series was followed immediately by the second episode on BBC4, watched by 783,000 viewers, a 3.9% share, between 10pm and 11pm.