Thursday, 31 May 2012

Scott and Bailey: the trailer...

Storyboarding your own trailer:

  • Think about music for your own trailer - and why you would choose that track. 
  • Note the shots that centre on their private life and relationships - remember the family audience you're trying to appeal to. 
  • Try to give a sense of setting and make sure you provide a suitable mise-en-scene. 
  • Remember to use only two or three long shots - you only have ten shots altogether. 
  • Remember to use sound to enhance the drama - crescendo and sforzando. 
  • Remember to put in SOME action - don't make it all about relationships. 
  • Make sure your shot distances match the drawings. 
  • Make sure you use at least two angled shots. 
  • Describe the shots accurately. 
  • Number them and think about the time you are set and how you want to break it down. 
  • Remember to note the edits used - Scott and Bailey use only cuts, but the pace picks up during the action scenes (i.e. the shots are quicker). 
  • You may want to use a title card or two; they are used in Scott and Bailey, but bearing in mind how FEW shots you'll have, you may just want to add/superimpose the title on one of the shots. 
  • I would advise you to annotate your storyboards - though do it quickly.

Crime Television Case Studies X

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

TV Crime Shows - mock exam...


1.  We think the most important ingredients of successful television crime shows the following:

·        engaging and fast paced narratives
·        maverick heroes/heroines
·        conflict in the characters’ lives

From your viewing of TV crime shows, how far do you think these features are reasons for their success?                               (15 marks)

In all cases, make sure you refer to shows you have seen or read about. The question could well be something like this; however, you will need to refer to other possible reasons for success – and here, you ought to refer to the visual style of some shows.

2.  Let’s have your pitch for the pilot for your own TV crime show. You need to include:
·        an appealing and suitable title
·        a setting and location
·        a brief synopsis
·        three brief character profiles - try to make a point about representation
·        its unique selling point
                                                                                          (15 marks)

Where possible, refer to the way your show uses Propp’s character theory and Todorov’s narrative theory and Levi-Strauss’ theory of binary opposites so the conflict can engage the audience and move the show forward.

3. Tell us why your pitch will be successful. You need to explain why it will be popular with the target audience and how it meets the demands of our brief.                                                             (15 marks)

Again, where possible, allude to features and character traits from existing shows, stressing that your show is using these conventions to maximise the potential for reaching a wide audience. You could refer to your own audience survey to point out how your show has features that the survey found popular. Think how visual style is one of the key factors in the success of Sherlock and CSI – your show needs to cash in on these sort of ideas to appeal to a younger audience.  It’s pre-watershed?  What’s on the other channels? Soaps? Reality TV? Hospital shows? Cookery shows?  Wildlife documentaries? It would help if you had the names of some shows during this time slot so you could refer to them by name. You are also going to have explain WHY your show needs to be popular – remember, it’s a commercial cable/satellite channel, so it will need to be popular enough to attract advertisers to help finance the channel. Make a brief comment about the public fear of TV crime shows influencing vulnerable sections of the public and how you have toned down the violence for a pre-Watershed audience that will probably include children – but also make the point that you believe audiences are active consumers of media texts and hat they develop strategies to deal with problematical material – refer to gauntlet, Buckingham or Uses and Gratifications. You won’t have a lot of time to this, but it will get you marks if you show awareness of the fact.

4. We need to know how you could market your pilot.
·        Either create a 30 second television trailer to promote your film, using the ten frame storyboard sheet enclosed.
·        Or create the homepage for this website. You should use the A3 design sheet enclosed.                                                     (15 marks)

I would advise you to do both, just to be sure, but the basic question suggests you need a written section on the various methods used to promote a show like this, so even if you do the storyboards, discuss the advantages of using the internet.  Look at the CSI and Sherlock websites and note the various features used to market the show, especially the interactive ones, which will give the audience a sense of ownership and may help convince them to continue watching.  When designing your own website, base it on one of those and give it the same kind of features and links, but remember to link it to the TV channel so there will be cross promotion! Finally, think about the use of social network links and various gimmicks to promote your show virally and make some reference to the ability of the audience to access material on their smartphones.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Television Crime Drama and Binary Oppositions

Binary Oppositions

The theorist Levi-Strauss suggested that conflict drives narrative, so it is made up of a series of binary oppositions

For example:

Good versus evil
The maverick detective versus the traditional detective who goes by the book
Male versus female
Older versus younger
Black versus white
Police versus criminal
Police versus lawyer/solicitor
Power versus vulnerability
Chaos versus order
Criminal activity versus decent citizenship
Justice versus injustice

Crime Television and Audience Theory V

A few points...

David Buckingham (2002) posited the view that people are active viewers who can engage with the texts and deal with problematic material.

David Gauntlett (1998) has criticised the Effects Theory and has noted, "... if, after over sixty years of a considerable amount of research effort, direct effects of media upon behaviour have not been clearly identified, then we should conclude that they are simply not there to be found."

  • Real world crime reportage is almost never criticised by effects theorists even though viewers should be more engaged with the real world than a fictional one
  • Crime dramas are often very moral
  • Gruesome sequences are intended to repulse viewers and are not shown for sadistic pleasure
  • Someone whose mental faculties are already disturbed by illness caused by various factors, may be influenced by a media text, but it is unlikely to be the single causal factor behind a violent episode.

Crime Television and Audience Theory IV

Stuart Hall and David Morley (1980) put forward the Encoding/Decoding Model, suggesting that audiences vary their response to the media, depending on social position, gender, experience, race and general context.  Media texts are seen to be encoded with a preferred reading, but not everyone will respond in that fashion.  Hall found three kinds of response.

First is the dominant or preferred response; here, the audience will agree with the dominant values expressed in a film.  This can, of course, cut both ways for censorship. 

Hall’s second category of audience response is a negotiated one, where the spectator may generally agree with the values expressed in the film, but there could be some disagreements, possibly dependent on social background and cultural competence.

The third category is the aberrant reading. This is potentially the most dangerous category, where viewers completely misread the director’s intentions. 

So, although this theory positions the audience as active, the idea of an aberrant reading implies that the text could have a negative influence, depending on the audience member's social/psychological/emotional background.

Crime Television and Audience Theory III

Social Learning Theory

Repeated exposure to violent acts on television encourages a copycat effect - especially amongst those who are considered vulnerable.

This kind of scaremongering often appears in the popular press and a number of cases have arisen where media texts have been blamed publically for people committing crimes - e.g. the Jamie Bulger case - although the police said the presence of certain videos in the killers' houses had no effect, in popular memory, the murder is till linked to the boys watching Childsplay III.

This is  not too far away from Cultivation Theory. According to this, audiences are densensitised by repeated exposure to violence.

Crime Television and Audience Theory II

The Hypodermic Syringe Theory

A passive audience consumes media texts unquestioningly.  This theory, based on the idea that audiences are affected (usually negatively) by what the texts they consume, lies behind ideas that there are causal links between violence in the media and violence in society.

Notoriously hard to prove, but crime shows can play on our darkest fears. Although most crime shows, especially the more violent ones, are broadcast after the watershed, children can stay up to watch them, they can be recorded or watched on DVD.

Crime TV and Audience Theory I

Uses and Gratifications

The theorists Blumler and Katz (1974) identified several gratifications an active audience can get from looking at media products.

a) Escape from Reality - people can get involved in the texts in a variety of ways
b) Social interaction - people can discuss what they've seen with their friends/colleagues, while watching the show and afterwards
c) Identity - people can identify a part of themselves in a media text through character or circumstance
e) Entertain
f) Evaluating self against character

How many of these can you apply to crime show fans?