Thursday, 8 May 2014

Digital Technologies

Explore the impact of digital technologies on your selected industry.

Digital technologies such as the internet, or music specific websites such as Spotify and SoundCloud give the ability for new generations to listen to past music, such as Nirvana and Radiohead.

Nirvana's 'Nevermind' album was released in 1991 before the internet was published, therefore proved difficult to access music. Therefore, digital technologies such as YouTube and Vimeo provide a free service of music to new generations, giving longevity to the album, making it available to everyone. Full albums are now available on YouTube and other websites now, and the YouTube 'Nirvana - Nevermind full album' has accumulated near 8 million hits within under 2 years of it being published onto the website.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Uses and Gratifications from each of the studied texts

Peaky Blinders
Throughout this text the audience would gain various uses and gratifications from many parts of Peaky Blinder. This text would conform to the gratification of learning and self-educating on historical content. It does this by the narrative paying close attention to historical accuracy of the history around the time of post World War I. This is evidenced in narrative themes, key iconography and the mise en scene. During the the second episode the narrative demonstrates the attitudes and scenarios of World War I soldiers returning home, for example in series one and episode two, the police force is after guns stolen by the Shelby family from the army. Also in a lot of the scenes in this same episode, a lot of key iconography which reflects retrophillia is featured in the mise en scene that reflects on the period of time which is post World War I, such as the weapons, cars and the clothing.

Also, through this text another gratification the audience would gain is finding models of behaviour, it does this by the narrative using a-list, influential stars such as Cillian Murhpy, Helen McGroy and Sam Neil, all three of these actors have featured in a-star films playing a highly powerful positions that would attract a passive, mainstream audience.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

How does Peaky Blinders attract its audience?

Peaky Blinders is a British historic crime drama series, produced by Steven Knight, set in Birmingham in 1919. It follows the soldiers return from World war I and creating an illegitimate business as well as forming a criminal gang.

One way this text attracts its audience is the use of highbrow cinematography in a lot of the scenes in the text, one example of this is in the second episode of the first series, one of the first scenes included a young Irish Gypsy boy cleaning a horse, which was later on won by Tom Shelby. The camera featured close up shots of horses skin and hooves. Cinematography techniques are of vital importance to any filmmaker as they help tell the story of the text in the most effective manner possible. Another element of cinematography used in this same scene is the fight between the Shelby lads and the Irish Gypsy lads, the fight was shot in a slow-motion manner which helped the audience see what was going on, if the slow-motion wasn't used then the fight would have been over in seconds. These features would attract the intended audience as it mixes up the mainstream and niche conventions that are able to clinch to the BBC TWO audience.

Another way this text attracts its audience is featuring film stars that have participated in big A-list movies, one of these characters is Cillian Murphy who has been in Inception and Batman(Tommy Shelby), and Sam Neil (CI Chester Campbell) who was in Jurassic Park, using characters such as these would target a mainstream audience, doing 

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Explore the different ways in which audiences are targeted by chosen texts.

The text I studied is AMC's and Matthew Weiner's cable drama series Mad Men. This text is set in the late 1950/60s, and is a niche text targeting an active audience, which is not encoded to gratify a mainstream audience.

When analysing the series, varied and complex gender roles are complex and reflect the society in the 50/60s.  This complex representation can target an active audiences consumption needs. The 3 main women characters, Joan, Peggy and Megan are all shown breaking out of their traditional 1950's gender roles and the male protagonists begin to lose their empowerment over the women as the text goes further on in the series. This specific narrative device could promote models of behaviour and educate viewers on historical and cultural society alongside giving entertainment and therefore gratify and successfully target its audience.

One clever way this text was promoted was on a social network, but in a unique way. The directors created a avatar game which would involve creating a personal character that looked like you but dressed like a Mad Men character, this would then be promoted onto a social network such as Facebook, or Twitter where 100s of people would also see. This specific idea would

Friday, 13 December 2013

Research Investigation (Corrected) 2

How do male-targeted magazines GQ and MensHealth represent males in order to attract audience?

The representation of men changes drastically depending on its intended audience and their designed gratifications. By representing males in an aspirational manner, both magazines aim to gratify a male audience by guiding them to be like the men they represent in order for them to be attractive to women. I will prove this by analysing MensHealth and British GQ magazine articles and adverts. In addition I will identify what type of representation of masculinity the magazines are actually promoting, whether that be sexualized elements, particular models of behaviour and roles. I will apply various theories to support my investigation, these being; uses of gratifications, the mirror stage, and the cultivation theory.

I will be analysing the October 2013 issue of GQ, which is the 'Men of the year 2013' special, featuring a very iconic middle-aged man, Tom Ford. The magazine cover usually features idolised men aged around 25 and onwards the majority of the time, by doing this it will give the male audience a mirror effect, creating an aspiration for them. GQ is published in 18 other countries as well as the UK, averagely circulating around 950,000 magazines within 6 months (1), British GQ had a circulation of 117,778 from January to July 2013 (2). The American-started magazine, launched in 1931 started of as a mens fashion magazine for the clothing trade, aimed primarily at wholesale buyers and retail sellers. Initially it had a very limited print run and was aimed solely at industry insiders to enable them to give advice to their customers. The popularity of the magazine amongst retail customers, who often took the magazine from the retailers, spurred the creation of Esquire magazine in 1933. 

MensHealth is an American magazine with 40 editions in 47 countries, launched in 1987. It is also the “best-selling mens magazine on U.S. newsstands” (3). Although originally started as a men's health magazine, it currently covers various men's lifestyle topics such as fitness, nutrition, sexuality and even fashion. The magazine's website,, averages 38 million page views a month (4). Its current and former editors are all males, which explains the 'high-standard' images of men, trying to suggest it will teach men how to attract glamorous women. Most magazine covers of this magazine include a smiling man, usually with their top off flaunting a certain part of his highly defined body, mostly all, with a clean-shaved body, usually wearing jeans or joggers sometimes interacting with a good-looking woman, the woman would usually be prowling her half naked body over the male showing his dominance and power. By wearing rugged jeans, yet having a clean-shaved body, it mixes the metrosexuality and masculinity of the males. One example of this method is the March 2009 magazine cover, this features a man wearing rugged jeans, topless broadcasting his well-looked after body, standing next to a naked woman, leaning up against the dominant male, he also has his arm around her breasts, showing his dominance in the gender roles by covering up “what is his”, almost creating a hyper-reality(5).

The representation of the ‘ideal’ male has drastically adapted to the changing society over the past 30/40 years. “A different effort to transform masculinities has started among civil groups that have a goal that maybe even more ambitious than physically transforming gender.”(6). In the 1980’s the perfect man would be the rough and tough Robert Downey Jr. Their hair was long, their shirts were creased and their stubble was showing. In the 80’s, there was not the same huge care about what they looked like, men didn’t use moisturisers or tweezers. But now, there has risen a new wave of men, who take care of themselves and worry a lot about how they look. One could argue that the males have taken on more stereotypical feminine qualities. These are known as metrosexuals, “heterosexual urban men who enjoy shopping, fashion, and similar interests traditionally associated with women or homosexual men.”(7). Within my first text, GQ it both subverts and conforms the metrosexuality coventions. In the advert for Justcavali aftershave, it goes against metrosexuality and includes a strongly heterosexual male, with messy hair, a beard, with a tattoo and a woman lustering over him, and then in the FARAH Vintage advert it includes 3 males, all with a clean-shave, short, well groomed hair, skinny jeans and formal jumpers and shirts. This advert has completely opposite representations to the Justcavali aftershave, this demonstrates that GQ magazine advertisers subvert and conform metrosexual conventions depending on the product being advertised. Within the second text, MensHealth

[But despite all this, “men still hold old-school beliefs”(8). Ignore this]

If a magazine can give you desires and the advertisements offer the solution it is thought of as a successful financial model. MensHealth gains revenue in 2 main ways, them being, advertisements and sales. If it weren’t for adverts there’d be no sales, and if it weren’t for the sales there be no money to pay for adverts. A lot of the adverts in MenHealth are based on sex, one example of these are the Durex adverts. This attracts the male audience due to the other adverts and hyper-realities given off, giving them self-confidence and belief in attracting women. MensHealth target audience is middle-aged men, around 40-55 attempting to get fit, MensHealth magazine will aim to boost the self-esteem of the consumer, containing articles about topics such as “How to date a supermodel” and “Get anyone you want” articles. And usually these articles contain an image of a 40 year old man with a young, attractive woman all over him. By doing this it shows that reading and using the tips in this article this will happen to them.
The common representation of males in GQ is that they are successful, alpha males. This creates models of behavior aspiration for male viewers, giving them an effect of jealousy which then leads to desire and consumption. One example of this in the magazine can be the Giorgio Armani ‘ARMANI code’ aftershave advert on page 129. This shows a well groomed male dressed in a suit with a female dressed in a black cocktail dress with her face pressed up to the side of his face and her arms around him. This shows male empowerment and says to the audience if you wear this aftershave you will be like the male in the advert. The connotations of this advert show wealth and power, the woman is leaning over him making it look as if she couldn’t stand if he wasn’t there. This magazine will give desires and the advertisements inside offer solutions, which makes it a successful financial model. The more advertisements and desires, the more revenue for GQ. GQ will include various powerful men on each cover of their magazines, including 50 Cent, Muhammad Ali and Christian Bale(9). Using celebrities like these will attract different audiences with opposite views. In the Christian Bale interview it included a picture of him screaming at the camera showing off his traditional male stereotypes, with an unbuttoned polo and messy beard(10), whereas in the Muhammad Ali interview it included a picture of him wearing a slick black and white suit, with a clean shaved face wearing black sunglasses. Both of these inserts include completely opposite photos of two aggressive men. At a first glance at GQ a first skim would create an opinion that believed it was a highly metrosexual magazine only including metrosexual men, but the Muhammad Ali and Christian Bale articles demonstrates further the representation of men is wider.

The whole point of magazines are to create a profitable organization, this is done by selling aspirations and solutions to relevant problems. In both, GQ and MensHealth this is done, but in slightly different ways. Inside GQ it sells aspirations to MensHealth, this is all about looking the best, whereas GQ will focus on the perfect shave, fashion or gadgets, some might say a “more modern view”(11). But still, GQ use men in every almost advertisement, always a good-looking model, well-dressed/undressed. GQ represent men in a slightly metrosexual way, using models that are wearing skinny jeans, with well-hair. This will attract a slightly niche audience as it won’t receive attention off the masculine, manly-men. There is an increase in the metrosexual group this decade(12), and magazines such as GQ will attempt to attract this audience by including metrosexual men, and metrosexual products such as shavers, aftershave and hair gel. MensHealth magazine sells various aspirations to men, it will use ripped men, always empowering a woman, if they are in the advertisement with them. By using these type of men, it will attract a mainstream audience, near enough all men will at one point in their life be self-conscious of their appearance, therefore magazines such as MensHealth will clinch these men by using ‘the perfect male’ in their magazines and tell the man that he can be like that. Overall, I believe that both magazines use the men in the magazines to sell aspirations, but use the men in oppositional ways. Despite the differences, both magazines sell to very similar types of people, both GQ and MensHealth will target customers that are either self conscious about themselves, or looking to improve their looks and appearances, and overall improve themselves overall. GQ and MensHealth will use different types of men, clothes and accessories to increase the magazine sales. I believe that GQ represents men more modernly, and ‘up to date’. More and more men are becoming metrosexual as time goes on, and GQ’s sales will only increase at a very high rate.  

Word Count – 1653

(1)“eCirc for Consumer Magazines”. Alliance for Audited Media.
(2)“Mag ABC’s: full circulation round-up for the first half of 2013. Press Gazette

(3)Kinetz, Erika. “Who’s the Man? Dave.”. The New York Times.

(4)“Men’s Health”. Rodale inc


Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Fish Tank - Social Realism

Task - How typical is your chosen text to its genre?

Fish Tank is a 2009 British drama film written and directed by Andrea Arnold. The text is a social realist film, and adheres to this genre in many ways.

One way Fish Tank adheres to the genre, social realism, was in the scene where the teacher came around to talk to Mia about school, and Mia looked at a dead fish on the floor. This connotes that Mia would be a fish out of water being in school.  This shows is a very typical convention used in social realist films, and shows that she is not entirely accepted by society, and like I've already said, would become a fish out of water.

Another convention that shows how typical Fish Tank is to its genre is the use of unvarnished locations, such as busy town centres and council flats. Not editing the lighting, or adding props will make the film become more realistic, and adds empathy to the viewing making the audience feel in Mia's shoes. Unvarnished locations are constantly used in the narrative, which make this narrative very typical to its genre, social realism.

Another way Fish Tank is shown typically of its genre is in the scene where Mia picks up a 'Wanted Female Dancers' poster, and also in the same scene where she is watching clips of professional dancers on the computer, this shows her dream, and shows that the protagonist, Mia, strives for an improved life and circumstance than the one she finds herself in at the beginning of the narrative.

Whilst looking at the video of the 'London Street Crew 03' dancers, it changes camera footage and focuses on the screen, using a POV footage style. This makes the scene feel more realistic, and puts us in Mia's shoes, and her point of view, which later on causes us to gain emotions she feels, and become more attached into the film. POV footage shots are used numerous times in scenes in the films, which make this narrative very typical to its genre, social realism.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Identify the 3 Sci-Fi conventions that are present in the text, The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games contains typical and re-occuring conventions from the Sci-Fi genre. The genre conventions could be categorised as narrative themes, character roles, iconography/mise en scene and technical conventions. The narrative is typical of its genre in many ways.

During the text, the narrative theme present was a anti-establishment ideology. It reflected on a government in power, taking advantage of their power and creating the Hunger Games. This is seen in a particular scene when Effie, the woman mainly in power, ordered a female and male to come to the stage and partake in the games.

A technical convention which frequently occurs in the Sci-Fi genre is the close up camera shots in order to show emotion. One particular scene where this occurs is when Katnis' sister, Primrose is called to the stage. The camera zooms up on both Katnis' and Primrose's face in different cuts to show their emotion and create a sympathetic feeling for them.

Classic iconography found in the Sci-Fi genre is futuristic technology, this is present in Hunger Games when they are on the train on the way to the games, the train doesn't actually touch the rails, it is hovering over it. This shows futuristic technology that is not being used in the current day.

However the narrative also does not conform to the genre. This is proved when....