Animatic trailer

Below is the link to our animatic trailer


Audience theories and how we will implement them into our constructions

An audience can be described as, from a business standpoint, a demographic who only hold monetary importance. Given the importance of audiences it is no surprise that there are countless theories that discuss how audiences consume media texts. The primary debate amongst audience theorist is on whether audiences are passive or active.  I realised that it is vital to understand audience theory as we’re making a teaser trailer and film poster as part of our coursework, and so in order to be as professional as possible and to produce an effective trailer and poster we have to understand how audience consume and interpret media texts.


Effects theory- Packard:

The Hypodermic Needle Theory, also known as the Magic Bullet Theory, was the first major theory concerning the effect of the mass media on society. The theory connotes 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 and that audiences just accept what is presented to them and are passive in their consumption of said messages. Packard developed this approach in 1958 to explain how advertising uses psychological tricks to get the audience to buy products or services


Two Step Flow- Lazarsfeld:


The Hypodermic model proved too clumsy for media researchers seeking to more precisely explain the relationship between audience and text as the mass media became an essential part of life in societies around the world and did not reduce populations to a mass of unthinking drones, a more sophisticated explanation was required. Lazarsfeld  analysed the voters’ decision-making processes during a 1940 presidential election campaign and published his results in a paper called The People’s Choice. His findings suggested that the information does not flow directly from the text into the minds of its audience unmediated but is filtered through “opinion leaders” who then communicate it to their less active associates, over whom they have influence. The audience then mediate the information received directly from the media with the ideas and thoughts expressed by the opinion leaders (e.g. on Twitter) thus being influenced not by a direct process, but by a two step flow.


Uses and Gratifications theory- Blumler and Katz:

It became increasingly apparent to some media theorists that audiences made choices about what they did when consuming texts and that they were far from being a passive mass, audiences were made up of individuals who actively consumed texts for different reasons and in different ways. Researchers Blumler and Katz expanded this theory and published their own in 1974, stating that individuals might choose and use a text for the following purposes: Diversion, personal identity, personal relationships and surveillance. The idea behind audiences consuming texts as a ‘diversion’ from life is very simple. Most people work shifts from 8 in the morning to 5 at night most days, falling into a dull daily routine. Ergo, they desire to get lost in the fantastical world of cinema in search for relief.  Personal identity relates to the idea of audiences consuming texts in order to develop their personalities and relationships with others. I.e. a group of friends watching a film together. Personal relationships link quite closely with diversion, given that it discusses the concept of audiences consuming texts they can relate to, and the further an audience can relate to a text the further they will fall into that virtual world and the further their attention will divert from reality. And finally, surveillance is the concept that audiences consume texts that they believe to provide them with information.

Genre theory and how we will implement theories into our constructions

Genre, simply defined, is the categorisation of media texts into groups based off of the repertoire of elements within them and in comparison with the repertoire of elements in previous texts that are considered to be in the same genre. However, thats looking at genre very basically, upon looking at genre in more detail one can see it’s true importance from a film producing stand-point. Genre is a way of maximising profit through specialisation. Either through franchising a successful concept or producing films which can draw upon the talents of the studio workforce and facilities (conveyor
belt production process). In addition to this, genre is key marketing tool throughout the
distribution and reception cycle. It acts as another point of attraction for large audiences and a tool for distribution companies to more accurately focus on their ‘target audience’. With this understanding of how important genre is with regards to successful advertising and film making in mind, I decided to ensure that I understood as many genre theories as I could to improve my overall knowledge of genre and help come up with ideas to implement these theories into our construction.


Lacey’s theory of the ‘repertoire of elements’:

Lacey considers the ‘repertoire of elements’ that work in combination to suggest a media text belongs to a particular genre or mix of genres. He provides a useful framework to follow when analysing genre. Lacey breaks a text down into these five areas to identify the elements in each: Setting,  Character, Narrative, Iconography and Style

. Narrative: This refers to the story structure as well as the specific narrative devices, which genres employ (investigation, murder etc.).

. Characters: Narrative is usually developed through characters and their functions (hero, villain etc). Some characters are so closely associated with a genre that they become generic types. For example, in noir, the ‘femme fatale’.

. Setting: Some genres have a distinct location but this can be subject to change, for example noir films have moved from the US city to outer space. Genres can also be associated with time periods like the classic noir films set during inter and post-war periods are sometimes recreated e.g. Chinatown or radically changed e.g. Bladerunner

. Iconography: Films contain visual and audio images, which become instantly recognisable and associated with the genre. E.g. noir feature the iconic lipstick of the femme fatale and the private eye’s office.

. Style: Iconography refers to the objects but style describes the way they are presented. Camera angles, editing, lighting and the use of colour all contribute to the style of a film. Noir is heavily associated with chiaroscuro lighting, dated angles and long takes e.g. Touch of Evil



Theorises that genre is just a case of repetition and difference, claiming that ‘Particular features which are characteristic of a genre are not normally unique to it; it is their relative prominence, combination and functions which are distinctive’, ‘Genres are instances of repetition and difference’ and that ‘Difference is absolutely essential to the economy of genre’ (Neale, 1980) in other words mere repetition would not attract an audience as they would eventually get bored of seeing the same thing over and over again, ergo, whilst films must have some similarities to those that came before them in order to fall into the same genre (category), they must also include some differences/innovations to keep them fresh, exciting and appealing to audiences.

Ruby Rich:

Ruby Rich doesn’t see genre as being as traditional as just categorising texts based off of a checklist of the repertoire of elements, rather that genre is constantly developing and evolving. To better explain if we look at women, for example, the femmes fatales of original noir were typically passive and only partly exploitative, however, in Neo Noir, women are usually pure evil, and highly active, with sexuality and greed the primary markers of character. There’s some precedent, of course: the greedy scheming Laurie of Gun Crazy, who literally takes the film’s hero for a ride, and the relentlessly curious Gabrielle of Kiss Me Deadly, whose greed carries a sinister price tag, are the indicators the evolution of the Noir genre into the Neo Noir.


Rick Altman

Altman claims that “a relatively stable set of semantic givens is developed through syntactic experimentation into a coherent and durable syntax” and that “An already existing syntax adopts a new set of semantic elements.” My understanding of this theory is that Altman believes that genre is constantly evolving and developing and is in some sense a case of repetition and difference. He believes that one of the two key factors of genre analysis, semantic and syntactic elements, will be traditional and conform to a genre whilst the other is modernised and adopts new ideals and concepts. What this means is that films can be easy to categorise into genres by having traditional aspects whilst also being modernised by having innovative aspects. To clarify, semantic elements are mise-en-scene related and syntactic elements are more theme based and a presentation of different themes and ideologies

To conclude, with out constructions I believe that we will base our work around the genre of our piece around the Rick Altman theory about semantic and syntactic elements as it will enable us to easily be categorised as being of our desired genre whilst allowing us to be original and creative.