Theoretical Evaluation of Production 1B (Representation)

Introduction

  • Representation= the constructed and mediated presentation of people, things, places, ideas etc.
  • Mediated= everything seen in media texts has gone through a process to get to us (making decisions about how to represent)
  • Everything in the film industry is “represented”
    • Individuals
    • Groups
    • Places
    • Nations
    • Ideas
    • Regions/Locations
  • The representation of something is the final product after all decisions have been made

Para 1: The selection process:

  • Deciding what is going to be represented, and what is going to be rejected
  • The choices made when organising the representation
  • Deciding on what techniques to be used to make representations:
    1. Lighting
    2. Music: atmospheric
    3. Editing
    4. Camera Work
    5. Mise-en-scene: setting, location, props

Para 2: Stereotyping (Walter Lippmann)

  • Used as a term of abuse
  • “justified objections of various groups” e.g. blacks, women and gays
  • Walter Lippmann:
    • Absolute necessity for and usefulness of stereotypes
    • Limitations and ideological implications
    • Stresses stereotypes are:
      1. An ordering process
      2. A “short cut”
      3. Referring to the world
      4. Expressing ‘our’ values and beliefs
  1. The use of stereotypes has to be acknowledged as part of the way society makes sense of themselves and hence, make and reproduce themselves
    • Historical aspect- power relations in that society
    • An ordered hierarchical system as demonstrated by past societies as demonstrated in victorian or tudor
  2. Stereotypes are a very simple, striking, easily grasped form of representation.
    • Capable of condensing a great deal of complex information and a whole host of connotations.
  3. A projection of the world
    • Stereotypes are essentially defined by their social function, at this level of generality, they are primarily defined by their aesthetic function, namely, as a mode of characterisation in fiction
    • Majority of fictions that address themselves to general social issues tend to end up telling the story of a particular individual, hence, returning social issues to purely personal and psychological ones.
  4. The effectiveness of stereotypes resides in the way  that they evoke a consensus
    • what everyone thinks members of such and such social group are like
    • express a general agreement about a particular social group, as if that agreement arose before, independently of the stereotype
    • Those who don’t belong to a given society as a whole is then mocked for being so, or used as a function to create a new stereotype.

Essay draft One:

Apply the concept of representation to one of your media production.

The term representation refers to the constructed and mediated presentation of people, things, places, ideas and many other things. ‘Mediating’ presentation is the process that an image, product or feature goes through to be successfully portrayed to the audience. Everything in the film industry has been mediated, as the majority of aspects aims to be presented in a certain way: individuals, places, groups, locations. Once the mediation process has finished, and all decisions have been made, the final product is then known as the ‘representation’.

In order to construct a representation, one has to undergo the ‘selection process’. This routine is one that has the creator ask, and answer, certain question when putting the representation together. The first question is  the most obvious, which is what is going to be presented, and what is going to be rejected. Whilst planning our film, this was the first thing that we considered when piecing together the story and main characters. An example of this would be choosing to blatantly represent the youngest child as innocent, pure and naive to a certain extend. Something that we looked upon, but then rejected during the representation process was the specificity of the location; the colours, the decoration and the size. This was due to the fact that the places that we could use to film in was limited, as the production wasn’t on a large enough production scale to have sets, or rent out areas. We did, however, find a very suitable holiday home to film in, that we managed to book free of charge, that had a similar homely, but spacious look that we desired. The next stage of the selection process is to investigate the choice that are going to be made when organising the representation. This part of the process all took place within the planning phase, and consisted of us making decisions as to of, which order to put certain things in, and who was going to be performing them etc. The final process is probably one of the most significant, which is deciding on what techniques are going to be used to be represent the aspect in the correct way. Most of these techniques are ones that are used during filming the product, such as, the lighting, the camera work and mise-en-scene. However, this category does also include decisions made in post production, for example, editing and music. To illustrate, we watched some inspirational videos, and realised that instruments such as an acoustic guitar, violins and a piano, were used to represent a melancholic atmosphere, which is what we had hoped for. We also noticed that these same instruments can be used to create much more upbeat music, by playing them faster. Due to these representations, we were able to chose two pieces of music consisting of the same instruments, but with different ethos. For a representation to successfully work to its fullest potential, the conclusions to all of the tasks must have been made fairly early on in the production process, as representations require intricate detailing, to have the desired effect.

The next area of representations that can be investigated and applied to our film is representational stereotyping. The term stereotype is often used as a term of abuse and has derogatory connotations. Stereotyping is often defined as “justified objectification of various groups”, which in modern times could be considered as females, different races and homosexuals. Whilst investigating this subcategory, is was clear to see that the most reliable scholar was Walter Lippmann, who was an early 20th century American writer, looking the existence and meaning of stereotypes. He assesses the necessity for, and usefulness of stereotyping, as well as discussing the limitations and ideological implications. Lippmann stresses that stereotypes are used in four ways: as an ordering process, a ‘short cut’, to refer to the world and to express ‘our’ values and beliefs. The use of stereotypes is acknowledged as part of the way society makes sense of themselves, and hence, continue the species on. This ways of thinking is particularly evident in history, as seen by the hierarchical systems used in times such as the Tudors, or the Victorian era. There is still a prominent hierarchy within the modern day society, with an existent government etc. Stereotypes are known as a ‘short cut’ as they are a simple, striking, easily grasped form of representation. They are considered capable of condensing a great deal of complex information and a host of connotations into a singular category, because of this, Lippmann claims they have the valuable characteristic of efficiency. Stereotyping can be classed as a projection of the world, as they are essentially defined by their social function by primarily demonstrating their aesthetic function, namely, a mode of characterisation in fiction. In application to our film, this can be seen through the way that our representation of the little sister, is done by using what young generations are like today, and manipulating it to fit the character we had, using visuals and dialogue. The effectiveness of stereotypes resides in the way that they evoke a consensus for example, what people think members of a particular social group are like. The stereotype is taken to express a general agreement about a particular social group, as if that agreement arose independently of the generalisation. Stereotypes were vividly seen throughout our film, being used in the majority of the ways above. They were used as a ‘short cut’ to categorise features of the fictional character, and have props such as clothing, or dialogue, be representative of an entire generalisation.

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3 thoughts on “Theoretical Evaluation of Production 1B (Representation)

  1. Leah

    The following is the exam board’s description of a level 4 answer, from the June 2013 mark scheme (https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0-c7NOkBricRzhzWV96RUMxczg):

    Level 4 (21-25 marks).

    Candidates demonstrate a clear understanding of representation and relevant media theory and can relate concepts articulately to the production outcome. Candidates offer a range of specific, relevant, interesting and clear examples of how their product can be understood in relation to relevant theories of representation. The use of conceptual language is excellent.

    Complex issues have been expressed clearly and fluently using a style of writing appropriate to the complex subject matter. Sentences and paragraphs, consistently relevant, have been well structured, using appropriate technical terminology. There may be few, if any, errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar

    I would mark your current answer as being Level 3, possibly 17/25.

    – You must take time to introduce your film!
    – You cover the right material, Leah, but all of the 1b questions should be written from the position of a viewer rather than a filmmaker. You have to pretend that Mummy’s Girl is an actual film and you are analysing it as an audience member or academic.
    – You only make reference to one theorist. I would expect to see something about Stuart Hall and, maybe, Laura Mulvey. Shorter, more focussed paragraphs might help.

    Like

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