Posts Tagged ‘Task 2’

We are looking at how media products are constructed for a specific audience.

A simple place to look for examples of this are in advertising, particularly promotion for films.

Any media product can be seen as a construct – a ‘reality’ that is created from separate elements, both technical and aesthetic (sets, costume, actors, lines, lighting, sound etc). These are designed to communicate a specific meaning to the audience. Later we will look at how the audience actually make sense of all these, but for the moment we want to dissect the poster and trailer to examine why these elements were chosen.

Firstly, you will need to identify what elements of the trailer are chosen or controlled. Quick hint – you can’t just say ‘everything’… you need to be specific about all the elements you can identify. Then you can look more closely at them and identify why the choice was made to present them in this way.

We can look at what choices producers make in terms of language. When we speak to a child, we try not to use big words. When we discuss media terms with you we try and explain jargon using different words. An audience of non-media students will not understand some of the terms we use, so we would need to be aware of that if we were producing a documentary about media issues – and choose how we use the language accordingly.

A good example of this would be the difference between how a news story is covered by BBC News and Newsround. The wording will be different for both, as will the use of images because the audiences are so different.

The same is true when making fictional or promotional content. We talk about the media language used – ie considerations for costume based on what the audience will understand, considerations for lighting based on how the audience will interpret it etc. Note that when a mobile phone rings in a show, it tends to be the default ring tone because the audience will recognise that as a mobile phone going off.

So, when we analyse something we first identify the elements within it. So, for the poster, you will have text, lighting, colours, characters, background, costumes, etc. Each one will have been chosen specifically. This is the construction of content.

The main purpose of a poster is to attract an audience. In simple terms, it is telling you what kind of film it is. If you are a big fan of Romantic Comedies, the poster for ‘Halloween’ is never going to appeal to you – you are not the target audience. But it does serve the purpose of making you aware of it and attracting you to find out more. Within this, designers use semiotic to convey elements of the story without giving away plot. Think of it as a visual tag line.

If that appeals, you may seek out the Trailer. Now we have an audio element to consider – so, the use of music, the speech used, text as well as a selection of the best bits of the film. Or, the bits of the film to attract the target audience. Sometimes marketing get it wrong – ‘Fight Club’ flopped in the cinema due to the focus on action in the trailer. Audiences were disappointed at the lack of action in the film, so the box office suffered due to the ‘dumbing down’ of the film for the trailer.

This selection (or mediation) of events in the film to target the trailer to a more specific audience is an example of what we can term ‘the mode of address’, or how a media product is talking to an audience. We can look at the trailer for Fight Club as ‘talking down’ to the audience, by over simplifying a film. The film itself talked up to the audience – it assumed they were intelligent, and wanted to convince them of the alternative view of life explored within the film.

For your assignment, you need to do the following tasks. More details can be found on Blackboard in “NED CMP Year 2” and teh “Critical responses” folder. Look at “Content and Construction” and ‘ND Mode of Address”

  • Define the following terms on your Blog:
    • Construction of Content – the choices made as to what will be included in the media product
    • Modes of Address – how these things are included
  • Find Poster and trailer for a specific film.
  • Do a Textual Analyse the poster – how has it been constructed to –
    • tell the story
    • Appeal to a specific audience
    • pass information to the viewer?

Now have a look at the ‘Trailers – down to you’ hand out.

    • Do a textual analysis of the trailer.
      • How is it using spoken language?
      • What kind of words are being used?
      • What kind of tone of voice is being used?
      • What kind of images have been chose?
      • How has it been cut?
      • What does the trailer say to the audience?
      • What does it communicate?
      • What is the sub text?
      • How is this being communicated?

    This will need to be on your blogs by Friday 27th January