Archive for September, 2013

The Walking Dead Todorov and Propp 30/09/13

September 30, 2013

The Walking Dead(Days Gone By)

Todorov and Propp


Situation=Normal life

Disruption= “walkers”, everyone has died and many have come back to life

Resolution= There is none- N/A


Hero= N/A there isn’t one

Villain= Zombies

Princess= Humans

Series and Serial

The Walking dead is a Serial

Serial= Problem concluded at the end of a series

Series= Problem concluded at the end of each episode



Cliff-hangers, make people watch the next episode


If the audience miss one episode they may not watch any more- This can be overcome with a “last time” at the beginning to show people what they have missed in a nut shell

Online TV companies now release a whole season at a time to get around this



You can just jump in


People will just miss episodes because it is just a drop in- Some shows to get around this have an underlining story or a Narrative Arc= A relationship that develops over time

Soap Operas are different to the rest; they are a serial that never ends until there is no more demand for it


Stars- 25th September 2013

September 30, 2013


  • marketing device
  • commodity – a product to be sold
  • persona – image that plays across texts – primary (film) secondary (chat shows, etc)
  • reduces the uniqueness of the film
  • gives the audience a clear idea of what to expect in the film
  • an object of desire
  • the meaning can shift (mean different things to different people – readings)
  • typecast – known for playing a certain type of role
  • some stars more typecast than others
  • can be difficult for starts to break out of it

Jim Carrey– trying to break out of his slapstick comedy persona with such films as The Number 23, I Love You Phillip Morris and The Majestic
wasn’t successful so he turned to  franchises- Anchorman 2, Kick-Ass 2 and Dumb and Dumber To

Stars who are starting to become less successful are likely to go back and make a squeal

A-List Stars- massive, open movies – Tom Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie

B-List Stars- Vince Vaughn, Matt Damon, Cameron Diaz

  • Stars are usually attractive – erotic contemplation
  • one way relationship

TV Stars

  • David Tennant
  • John Hamm (Mad Men)
  • Ashley Walters? (Top Boy)

TV Stars have a circulating persona (chat shows, TV magazines, morning TV)

Holly Willoughby – TV presenters can be stars too
acts suitably for the program she is in therefore is a personality not a star because she doesn’t act the same (doesn’t have a persona)
Celebrity Juice, This Morning, The Voice

Soap Stars

  • Michelle Keegan (Coronation Street)
  • Steve McFadden (Eastenders)
  • Barbara Windsor (Eastenders)
  • Chris Fountain (Hollyoaks and Coronation Street)
  • Patsy Palmer (Eastenders)
  • Shane Riche (Eastenders)
  • Jesse Wallace (Eastenders)
  • Suranne Jones (Coronation Street)
  • Danny Mac (Hollyoaks)


A Continuation On Stars

September 30, 2013

As the title would suggest, the lesson was a continuation of our discussion on stars, their qualities and how they are used for marketing a film.

Using Leonardo DiCaprio as a case study, a list of essential qualities that consist his persona (his image in the public eye through his film roles and interviews, essentially)was drawn up, concluding that generally he is:
.Troubled/ Dark side
.Professional (mostly)
.Dates models.

To illustrate this, a clip from Inception (2009) was used where he interrogates Cillian Murphy’s character at gun point. In the scene, intensity and a dark side were both portrayed, and if you view the film as a whole then signs of heroism and charm are certainly present, emphasizing the idea of a star’s persona. The last three points are more relevant to the gossip/interview side of a persona, and to illustrate this a video interview with Empire Online about Body Of Lies was used. ( In the interview, DiCaprio speaks in a very complimentary fashion about the directors he has worked with in a very complimentary way, portraying him as being very professional, as well as humble about the fact that he has worked with “A List directors” such as Scorsese as behaving in a fashion that could be seen as being arrogant would destroy the persona. (The interview all ties into the idea of the publicity circus that we have been covering lately).

We then examined both his official website and a fan site, with the former most likely being set up by his agents. The use of the website helps to market DiCaprio, as stars a re a commodity as we learned last lesson, and so includes trailers for his upcoming films and the like. ( The fan site would be actively encouraged by DiCaprio’s management as it serves to market him and his persona for free.. It also emphasizes the weight that stars have on popular culture as people choose to dedicate themselves in this fashion to document them.( (Websites and fan sites like this could be used in your star portfolios.

Two final key ideas were introduced, firstly that stars are extraordinary and ordinary, being regular people that through the ideas of stars and how they are portrayed through the media become more than ordinary, and secondly that stars are in decline as there are less of them (A Listers, anyway) and they can open films less on their own. Instead, franchises are taking over as the sure fire way to open a film and make money. There are some exceptions,such as the Pirates of the Caribbean series, which serves as an amalgamation of the two.

AS Media Studies – Analysing Posters

September 27, 2013

Analysing Film Posters

When producing a film poster, it is very important to grab the target audience’s attention.

To achieve this, film posters use the pneumonic AIDA:

A is for ‘Attention’. Grabbing the attention of the target audience.

I is for ‘Interest’. The target audience are interested in the poster, and therefore the film itself.

D is for ‘Desire’. The target audience will want to go see the newly-released film, because of the poster.

A is for ‘Action’. The target audience actually going to the cinema to see the film.

If a poster doesn’t use AIDA, then no one will be engaged by its unique and often enticing features.

Conventions of a Film Poster

Here are some typical features that appear on a film poster:

‘Z pattern’. The composition of a poster, which refers to an invisible ‘Z’ going across the poster.

‘Rule of Thirds’. Used as a way of obtaining accurate composition. The poster will use the Rule of Thirds to have a correct layout.

‘Tagline’. The tagline of a poster is a way of engaging the audience in the film. For example, the tagline for the 1977 film ‘Star Wars’ is ‘A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…’.

‘Narrative image(s)’. Image(s) that communicate the general synopsis of the film to the audience. Narrative image(s) are an example of NVC (Non-Verbal Communication).

‘Stars’. The actors/actresses who are going to appear in the film.

‘Genre’. The type of film that is being advertised as a poster. The genre of the film is usually revealed by the use of iconography (associated signs and sounds e.g. blood – horror, guns – action).

Analysis of the ‘Cache’ (‘Hidden’ in French’) Poster

1. The blood streak is a clear use of ‘horror’ iconography.

2. The poster follows the Z pattern. The top horizontal part of the ‘Z’ (going from top right to top left) goes across the stars’ names. The diagonal part of the ‘Z’ (going down from top right to bottom left) goes across the narrative image and the title. Finally, the bottom horizontal part of the ‘Z’ (going from bottom right to bottom left) goes across the small print at the bottom.

3. The white background is symbolised as being ‘pure’, but the blood streak is seen to ‘disturb’ this ‘pureness’.

4. The awards section of the poster emphasizes that the film is aimed at a niche market (specific audience) and it is also aimed at an arthouse film audience.

Analysis of the ‘The Grudge’ Poster

1. The use of the word ‘it’ in the tagline suggests that the ‘thing’ is being referred to as a monster. This is because there is no reference to ‘it’ being human.

2. The red colour in the title suggests that the film has a horror element to it.

3. The stars name is above he title. This suggests that the star is famous. However, because the name is in a small font, there is a suggestion that the star isn’t as famous as other Hollywood stars.

4. This poster has a good composition to it, due to it using the Rule of Thirds.

5. The narrative image is a Japanese monster. A Japanese monster is a typical feature of Japanese horror.

Thank you for taking your time to read this blog.

Lesson – 16/09/2013 Media Studies Blog – Robert Gray

September 27, 2013


–          Ill manors is a British genre film which was initially released on May 30th , 2012, then on June 6th, 2012.

Marketing techniques for Ill manors

Posters – There were 8 different kinds of posters here are some examples:


Within the posters there were many marketing techniques such as the gun, which could represent action in the film directing it at 16-30 year old males.

Cross promotion – As a famous music artist Ben Drew aka. (Plan B) could easily cross promote his film. Close to the release of the film he released the album “ill manors”

The album included a lot of songs from the actual film, and singles in which their videos included characters from the film – however there was no actual footage from the film which was unusual.

Below is an example of the music video:

This album release can also be used as part of the publicity circus – as plan B appeared on many chat shows etc… to promote both the film and the album.

Another interesting point about this film is that the trailer:

this was only released a month before it came out – if we compare this to inception where a teaser trailer was released about a year before, you can see that inception was trying to create a “buzz” for the film and attract audiences.  Also within the trailer it was rapid montage this did not give a clear idea of the film, this was a weak point of the trailer.

Social media advertising was also a key element in in marketing the film:

Here we see Facebook, Twitter and an official website.

When thinking about defining the audience remember

*Genre can include and exclude at the same time*

When applying this to ill manors, you could say the film was aimed at 16-30 males due to the appearance of guns, and attractive women in the trailer; however you could also say it was aimed at a niche audience due to the complex storyline “We are all products of our environment”.


Take the BBC marketing for the apprentice:

The BBC has a huge core audience, and because they own the channel it doesn’t cost them to advertise, they can put the advert for the apprentice in-between their shows.

This is why they are in the strong position – they have a wide variety of audience and the power to easily advertise whenever they want.


They had two tasks:

  1. To get people to know about it.
  2. Get these people to watch it.

The fear was shown across 4 days, so they needed to grab the audience quickly.

Because it was shown across 4 days this meant there was less marketing opportunities, as they couldn’t advertise for a whole week until the next episode as they may usually do., it was also hard for them to promote catch up as people may not have enough free time to catch up on a day-to-day basis.

Friday 20th September (Leonardo DiCaprio)

September 25, 2013

Leonardo DiCaprio’s star persona
-Action films -Heroic -Goes out with models
-(Character based) -Intense
-Heart-throb -Darker side/troubled
-Diversity in roles.. persona? -Private/professional (mostly)

Publicity circus – Appearing in the media in order to sell something (interview). Marketing which is not paid for.

EPK – Electronic press kit

Leonardo DiCaprio does an interview for the film Body of Lies which appears on the Empire magazine website.
This is done to generate traffic on the Empire website so people will subscribe to the Empire magazine. Also, more hits on the website means advertisers pay more to advertise on their website. Also, the interview will market the film. This is called a symbiotic relationship as it benefits both parties.
e.g. The benefit to ITV of getting a lot of people watching is that it can sell audiences to advertisers for more money. When the Jonathon Ross show has celebrity guests on, there will be a lot of viewers, which means the advert slot will be more valuable to advertisers and creates more revenue for ITV, and a larger audience for the advertisers.

How does the Leonardo DiCaprio Body Of Lies interview market the film?
-Starts by talking about the genre of the film (Action/Thriller) to sell the genre to audiences
-Unique rolls
-“Most suffiecient film maker I’ve ever worked with”
-“Editors take ages, make film perfect”
-Selling the film makers/directors
-Picture of the film in the background
Note: When creating a star portfolio look at a fan website as well as an official website – Splend in the grass – Jennifer Lawrence
“Got lucky” “Plucked from everyday life” – Normal girl, just like us – makes her relatable and therefore more likeable.
The magazine is marketing ‘Winters Bone’ positively so studios will give them access to stars next time they want.
Jeniffer Lawrence did the Esquire photo shoot to raise publicity and market herself.

Marketing of Inception and Winter’s Bone

September 23, 2013


Teaser for Inception

In this teaser, we are given no dialogue- and so don’t know what the film is about. It teases, thereby encouraging us to see the film. A point about the marketing, is that it was effective for giving very little information, this secrecy influenced the audience to create a story for themselves, encouraging them to watch the film.

The intended audience for this film is 16-30 year old males, this audience is catered to with action sequences for younger men, and an intellectually challenging plot for older men.

A website and an app was released before the film which gave clues to what the film was about, while posters warned the audience about the fictional crime of “dream theft”. These clues created an “internet buzz”, and widespread interest- an official inception website with information and an extra trailer,”Alternate reality games” (ARG’s) were also released. The film itself can be marketed well with a game, as the narrative is structured similarly to a game, with different levels and so on. Other marketing used was social media, such as a facebook page for the film, and the ability to “create your own posters”.

The film was also marketed via magazine, with Empire magazine calling it the “Movie event of 2010”. There was also coverage with Electronic press kit and the publicity circus, where Christopher Nolan and Leonardo Dicaprio will have spoken about the film without giving too much away.

200 million was spent on the film, a further 100 million was spent on marketing it.

In this poster we can see indications of the genre- gun, bleached out colours (thriller). And we can see Leonardo Dicaprio at the front, as he is the main selling point.

Winter’ Bone

Winter’s Bone is an indie film, so it had a small budget and wasn’t expected to make much money. Indie films tend to be unusual, and are usually aimed at Cinephiles (people who are really interested in films), or students interested in something different, and perhaps an older and more educated audience.

The trailer creates intrigue, as it’s unclear what is going on, the trailer makes the film look like a mainstream thriller- which it isn’t.

As part of the publicity circus, Jennifer Lawrence (the lead actress), did a photoshoot in a bikini.

What to expect from Horror

September 23, 2013

Typical things you can expect a horror film to be:
-Have tense music
-Low key lighting
-An ugly/scary villain
-Suspense throughout
-Atonal music
(Sequence is 4:35 – 10:40)

-The tense music tells us that something bad is going to happen.
-Terrible things happening in an ordinary setting is gripping.
-Shocking when man gets ran over by the ambulance.
-Shallow depth of field adds suspense; can see something but not sure what.

Sub genres of horror: eg. Zombie

Slasher: Psychopath terrorises small community or group of friends.
Haunted: Restless spirits need exorcising from building.