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100 MC: Week 8 Individual Task

The three texts I chose to look at to apply Todorov’s linear narrative structure and

Propp’s notion of character functions and narrative units are:

  • Lord Of The Rings (fantasy/adventure fiction based novel)
  • Pulp Fiction (gangster/action film)
  • It’s 30 For A Reason (Think! Road safety advertising campaign)

The character functions in LOTR are very much a conventional fantasy fiction narrative structure to all hero and villain based stories, it follows all of the 5 basic stages of Todorov’s linear narratives and also includes all 8 roles of Propp’s Morphology of the folklore:

Todorov:

  • Equilibrium: The beginning of the story shows all is a peace in the shire and Middle Earth
  • Disruption: Frodo is given a quest by Gandalf to Destroy the ring
  • Recognition: Sauron has waged war for the ring and Bilbo confirms Gandalf’s proposal to the quest for Frodo.
  • Attempt: A fellowship is developed by the most powerful individuals of different race in middle earth to help destroy the ring and assist Frodo in his quest
  • Enhanced Equilibrium: The Ring is destroyed and Saurons reign of terror is over

Propp:

Propp’s theory characterises narratives in terms of functions of certain stock characters, around which narratives are structured:

  • The Hero: Frodo
  • The Villain: Sauron
  • The Donor: Gandalf/The Ring
  • The Dispatcher: Bilbo
  • The False Hero: Borormir (or ‘man’ as a race)
  • The Helper: Sam in particular of in context the entire Fellowship
  • The Princess: Arwen acts as the record not to the main hero Frodo but as a reward to Aragon who is  almost equally viewed as the hero to the story
  • Father: arguably Biblo’s role again or Elrond

These characteristics do not apply to the narrative role and non-chronological order of the film Pulp Fiction. As the films narrative structure from beginning to end is in juxtaposition its character functions are often in a Dramatised Narrative Voice which means the story is often told in first or third person. This usually means the narrative comes from the point of view of the characters and the audience sees the story through their eyes. This also means the narrative often comes from the main lead but sometimes many characters are involved in dramatising the narrative e.g. when the film often skips to another story that links to the main plot or narrative. Then the audience have multiple dramatised narratives in one text.

There is a similarity between Pulp Fiction and the Its 30 for a reason Think! Safety campaign which shows a narrative structure that does not conform to either Todorov or Propp’s theories of narrative. They are both in non-chronological order but both have different messages to the target audience. As Think! Is a campaign against speeding drivers its message is factual and aimed at the audience by having their feelings manipulated by the director through the narrator (the dead child). It is also a way to look at a range of characters views through narration that are non diegetic of the main lead character with the information being based on fact.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeUX6LABCEA (Think! Its 30 for a reason advert)

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100MC: Week 7 Individual Task

Looking across the range of media objects I enjoy what I found was all of them relate to the documentary genre loosely in the same context but all about different things. The particular media objects I have been looking at are:

  • Ross Kemp on Gangs (Television Documentary)
  • Lords Of Chaos (Journalistic guidebook on the rise of the Black Metal underground)
  • Stephen Fry in America (Television Documentary)

 

The similarities on these media objects is that they all focus on different cultures from a vast amount of different countries across the world e.g. Ross Kemp has interviewed gangs ranging from Russia to South America, LOC focuses on the majority of Scandinavia, Germany and England, whereas Stephen Fry is seen traveling from the Deep South to the Pacific of America.

 

The differences is the first two texts look more in depth with the obscure ethics that much more controversial groups explore such as Russian Skinhead/Nazi culture (Ross Kemp) and Satanism, Music and Murder (LOC) Both these texts look deep into the propaganda these groups instigate on society and explore a vast region of interviews with people involved in these scenes with their own opinions on what they believe in and why they choose to follow what is most often perceived as a ‘negative’ lifestyle by the media and large groups of society.

Stephen Fry in America is a much warmer ‘family based’ documentary with a softer and much more accessible approach at highlighting the differences in American society and also being joined by iconic celebrities along the way e.g. Morgan Freeman and Ted Turner.

 

There is a clear difference in target audience for each of these texts even though they still fall into the same media genre.

Ross Kemp on gangs would target an audience interested in the history and rise of gang culture across the world or also Ross Kemp himself, a high profile British actor once quoted as’ Britain’s Hardest Man’. A perfect role to a show based on violent gangs.

Those who would choose to purchase LOC usually begin by being fans of the now popular music genre Black Metal. This is because prior to the controversy of the murders and church arsons in the 90’s that the book covers, Black Metal began as a music genre aiming at teens often searching for individualism and elitism in the ‘darkside’ of music rather than a lifestyle with a very strong negative philosophy with controversial imagery and propaganda.

With a huge back catalogue of a career in many different types of media e.g. Television, Radio, Literature and Film, the target audience of Stephen Fry in America would already have expectations of what to expect from his shows and therefore should be able to easily emotionally engage and decode the messages perceived in his journeys. Much of the documentary has commentary from Stephen Fry that often has strong personal morals to it, in one episode Stephen Fry feels so connected to America he says “ I have never felt so much at home in a place I have never been”.

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100MC: Week 5 Individual Task

The two step flow process or the hypodermic needle are ways the media ‘inject’ messages, meanings or uses and gratification into their target audience or even mass society. The risk of exposing particular messages on what can be considered a vulnerable audience e.g. Youth are questionable depending on the content or how distorted the audiences perception is on decoding maybe unintentional messages or reading things a producer may or may not of intended (Shannon and Weiver Model)

 

In relation to my cabinet of curiosities certain messages which may seem to be negative or in bad favour to a vulnerable audience become very apparent by the moment of the text. The controversial imagery and iconography even to the front cover to the book Lords Of Chaos already sets up a wall of noise to the process of decoding the intended message from the sender. Taglines on the cover such as ‘The Bloody Rise Of The Satanic Metal Underground’ with a photo of a Norwegian church engulfed in flames alone is enough to spark shock and a negative reception.

 

Lords of Chaos focuses on the controversy that existed in the early 90’s Scandinavian metal underground such as the murders, church burnings, Satanism and Nazism that has now been widely exposed by mass media in magazines books and films highlighting these elements to a now very popular music genre Black Metal.

 

The book tries to give a very liberal interpretation that attempts to act neutral towards its audience for them to get an understanding to the matters that happened but also trying not to glamorize the actions committed by criminals in the book. Quotes from musicians or people involved in the scene such as Samoth from the band Emperor speaking about the church burnings once said: ‘Most of the actions were more or less “let’s do it tonight” kind of things. But that didn’t make them any less serious. It was not like “knights around the Round Table”…’

Words from such a respected musician in the scene and the sheer seriousness of the nature could certainly be an influential quote to a youthful audience.

 

(Reference – Lords Of Chaos by Michael Moynihan & Didrik Soderland)

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100MC Week 4: Individual Task

 

Advertisers and Institutions identify their target audience by many different ways. This is usually based on social class, education, age, ethnicity, gender and income. The most common way a target audience is categorized and identified is by using the demographic classification chart which summarizes societies social grade, social status and occupation:

A – Upper Middle Class +: Higher managerial, administrative or professional

B – Middle Class: Intermediate managerial, administrative or professional

C1 – Lower middle Class: Supervisory or clerical, junior managerial, administrative or professional

C2 – Skilled working Class: Skilled manual workers

D – Working Class: Semi and unskilled manual workers

E – ‘Those at lowest level of subsistence’: State pensioners or widows (no other earner), casual or lowest grade workers

(Reference: http://www.businessballs.com/demographicsclassifications.htm)

In relation to my cabinet of curiosities which is a based on a music magazine for a niche audience called Terrorizer, I had to contextualise the social backgrounds through interviews with various bands the magazine focus’s on giving to its audience. A great example comes from a working class background band called Napalm Death from Birmingham: They are a politically motivated ‘Grindcore/Death Metal’ band who lyrically deals with left wing extremist views, society and poverty. With song titles such as ‘Multi-national corporations, genocide of starving nations’ it becomes apparent that their target audience can be connected to that of group E upto perhaps C2.

As for the magazine I chose for my cabinet of curiosities I feel it is no different. The iconography and linguistics used in the magazine are a simplification of similar views that would be emotionally engaging for the same target audience that would fall under the same category. The magazine advertises itself with urban fonts and imagery usually featuring a band on the front with a quote or tagline covering the main feature (much like a gossip magazine or red top tabloid)

Link to magazine: http://www.terrorizer.com/

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Day 1 – Today we began coming up with a collection of ideas for the task given, to make a video on ‘anything you have always wanted’ to do. We decided to go with the idea of making an interview collective of people in Coventry answering the same question ‘If you had unlimited money for 72 hours, what would you do?’ After much thought we decided that question was rather dull and expected the answers to be too similar and uninspiring. We decided to change the question to ‘if you had 72 hours to do anything, what would you do?’ This should give us a much broader response from the people we interview.

After we all came to an agreement we began scouting suitable areas of Coventry that looked like we could get a decent amount of people in an area we felt safe to use the camera equipment with, and also an area that would not be too distracting.

 

Day 2 – We met up first thing in the morning to rent out the camera equipment from the Ellen Terry building and then moved to our first area to record. Moments after recording our first interviewee we were told to move on by security as the area we had decided to film was considered ‘private’ even though it was a public square. We were told it would be acceptable to film publicly by Bank Road with no obligations so we decided to move there. All day we approached lots of different people to get a decent collection of minorities’, age and race in order to get a fair response from our chosen target audience (the target audience being anyone willing to participate!)

After along day filming we decided we had enough footage for the task and returned to Ellen Terry to upload it, then we agreed to meet the next day to begin the editing process.

 

Day 3 – Things became problematic during the editing process today. This was because not only did we record the footage with a video camera but we also used a separate microphone to film the audio of the interviewee’s voice to get a clearer and more productive sound for the footage. The particular software on the computers didn’t seem to respond to our audio so we decided to try our own laptops and computers that had simpler software to see if we could get things going. Again the same problem existed so we decided to start again from scratch and re-upload the video camera tape and microphone audio. We found a program that eventually responded to our equipment and the editing began. It was a pretty simple process, we cut the footage down to just the responses and synced the audio in with the visuals. After we added a few story borders and it was ready for presenting.

 Everything was completed in time and I really enjoyed the process.

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Here is the video we made during our 72 Hour challenge. We interviewed a cross section of the public and asked them ‘If you had 72 Hours to do anything what would you do?’…

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Newspapers capital is gained by the profit and sales it makes by reaching a mass audience usually gained by advertising. This means not only does a newspaper need to advertise itself through a media and language aimed at its specific target audience, but also must include outsider forms of advertising such as actual adverts from other businesses etc in the paper itself. These businesses will have to pay the newspaper or any other print based media for the advertisement space.

Owners of this particular media e.g. Rupert Murdoch who is the owner of The Sun, makes sure that the profit through advertising in his newspapers comes from reputable businesses with an already established target audience and brand identity or name.

The Sun being a newspaper aimed at mass society in the biggest brackets of social class (C1 downwards) Journalists who work for this paper must write stories that this target audience feel are relevant to themselves but also does not alienate them in any kind of social or apolitical manner.

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