Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Notes on representation of age Skis

This episode starts off with the diegetic sounds of, what we later discover to be, someone skateboarding, this is a stereotypical hobby of the youth of today. This is then heightened through imagery, as the first image we see is one of the main characters shoe which has a drawing of a cannabis leaf on it, suggesting he's a weed smoker, another stereotype. However, the character's face isn't revealed until he reads the message on his phone. Although through the mise-en-scene it is clear that this character is a male teenager through his attire as his top and trainers are quite dirty and his trousers are ripped suggesting that he doesn't have much pride in his appearance. Nonetheless, the hat suggests that he does have some sense of style, this could be because of his youth.

This screenshot shows the CU shot of the character receiving a text message from his friend. This CU of the text shows its importance as the next shot is a reveal shot of the characters reaction. This gives the audience an idea that this is a regular occurrence that is deemed normal rather than something bad.

To reveal the character a low angle shot, this portrays the character as quite heroic, moreover, this shot also suggests that smoking weed is seen to be quite heroic and cool. However the scene that follows this is far more dangerous than heroic as he is about to skateboard down a busy road with cars driving in both directions, nonetheless, through his expression he illustrates his lack of care thus presenting the youth as thrill seekers who don't think about the dangers and consequences, a negative connation.

At the point of the 360 degree there is non diegetic sound which appears to be a guitar riff which is usually associated with rock and roll, this also could be a clue into the type of music this particular teenager is into. Furthermore, this sound thus heightens the danger of this action. The characters complete disregard of the danger of the commute is a result of the text from his friend Cook stating "smoking ur last spliff". Drug use is another representation of teenagers as it has been associated with the youth since the hippie movement in the 70's.                                

Further reading analysis

Key information I found from Nick Lacey's "Creativity and Genre in TV Crime Drama"

Zeitgeist- the defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time.

  • Zeitgeist - reason for CSI success
               - "the spirit of the times."
               - can be seen as both novel and relevant to the times.
               - first series proved layout worked for audiences, therefore allowing more success and two .
               - Prime Suspect focussed on the oppression of women in a patriarchal society
               - Prime Suspect also focussed on racism in the police

  • The Wire- this TV drama was very political
                        - It is characterised by moral ambiguity
                        - Emphasised the political dimensions of crime- in more depth rather than just cops and criminals.
                       - Narrative is also complex
                       - It blurred the lined between the police and the criminals.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The Wire and A Touch of Frost essay

Examine and compare the way the "law" is represented in The Wire and in A Touch of Frost. Analyse: class/status/authority, gender, race/ethnicity as well as whether the representations are sympathetic, realistic.

How do the producers position the audience in relation to the detectives / officers

The opening scene of both Frost and The Wire establish the social setting where the drama is set. In Frost this social setting is similar in that although it is also working class there does not seem presence of violence initially and instead is just police officers trying to drive through football fans.

The Wire is established as a police drama straight away. This is shown in the first scene as the police cars lights are being reflected in a puddle on the pavement which may be the victims blood. Moreover we can also infer this as a result of the diagetic sounds of the sirens and police radio, which instantly indicate that this is a crime scene. 

This differs to A Touch of Frost because it wasn't as clear that it was a police drama- as the "old man" was undercover and tricked the bouncers into leaving their post to help him out.

The Wire is a TV show based in America whereas A Touch of Frost is a British crime drama. The very fact that the programmes are set in two different countries suggests that there will be different representations, portrayals of the law as the American take on crime differs greatly compared to the British.

The credits also tell us that this is a crime drama due to the iconography which we is associated with the police i.e. crime scene and the police tape. Furthermore, the sound track being played through The Wire wasn't as tense as other dramas (suggesting that it was different) it also had a line that said "If you walk through the garden, you better watch your back." This suggests that crime was inevitable in this particular area, as the song basically says that if you commit a crime or even live in the area then prepare for the consequences and expect something to happen- this is a strong message however was executed in a light touch way, suggesting that they should know better and there will be little or no remourse for the guilty as they've been warned.

The opening scene of both Frost and The Wire establish the social setting where the drama is set. In Frost this social setting is similar in that although it is also working class there does not seem presence of violence initially and instead is just police officers trying to drive through football fans.
The opening of Frost is shown at a slower speed, to create tension and give the viewers an overall look of the location this is when they use a point of view shot, looking out of the window to show the busy crowded streets  Which then cross cuts to a close up of the drivers face, which shows his frustration and annoyance as he then honks his horn. In Frost the crime is not shown straight away because even though we see what appears to be someone hot wiring a car, this scene turns out to be fairly comedic as we then realise that it wasn't someone trying to steal the car but an old man trying to start his car and has to ask to be given a push. 

This particular shot shows Frost as a defenceless old man trying to start his car. The use of CU in this shot creates sympathy for Frost as we the audience feel sorry for him.  Furthermore, from the LS below, the two men are in the foreground which suggests that they take more dominance in this shot, demonstrating once again that Frost is supposed to be a feeble old man.
 This is then heightened even more when the two men first see him as they're quite derogative towards him as they call him an idiot and are quite patronising towards him through the use of the word "mate" in regards to Frost, who's clearly their senior, this sense of familiarity shows their lack of respect for him.

There is also a comedic element, which isn't apparent in the opening scenes of The Wire. This could suggest that the law is not always as serious as you would expect, particularly those in England compared to the USA. Whereas, in The first scene of The Wire, we start of with a panning shot of a crime scene, showing a dead body and a man picking up evidence from the floor and depositing it into a sealed bag. 

Like The Wire there is also the use of police walkie-talkies to suggest that this is a police series, reinforced by the emergence of the police men from the van. This is when the editing in Frost does however speed up and the narrative becomes more engaging, something that doesn’t happen in The Wire, when all the police officers emerge from the van to arrest the two men who had been giving it a push. This simple arrest suggests that the police officers in Frost are not dealing with intelligent and sneaky criminals as they are in The Wire. 

In The Wire, there appears to be a close relationship with the policeman and the criminal, as they're both shown in the same shot, which suggests that there is no need for the policeman to show his authority.

The opening scene of both Frost and The Wire establish the social setting where the drama is set. In Frost this social setting is similar in that although it is also working class there does not seem presence of violence initially and instead is just police officers trying to drive through football fans

    Both A Touch of Frost and The Wire use police walkie-talkies which are clear props to imply that it’s a police series, reinforced by the abrupt entrance of the police men from the van. This is when the editing in Frost speeds up and the story becomes more appealing, something that doesn’t happen in The Wire, when all the police officers emerge from the van to arrest the two men who had been tricked to give it a push. This simple arrest suggests that the criminals in A Touch of Frost are far less intelligent than the ones in The Wire as they’re easily fooled, this also shows the policeman to be quite shifty and crooked as they’re willing to lie and set people up in order to arrest them.

The use of non-diegetic sound, heightens the tension and anxiety, along with using a hand held camera to capture the police officers entrance into  the building thus allowing the audience to experience what they’re experiencing. Once the officers had broken into the building we learnt the nature of the crime, illegal dog fighting and gambling. This highlights the difference between law and the types of crimes  American and British police officers have to deal with. Also, as soon as people see the police in Britain they run, showing their fear of the policeman and the policeman's superiority as these were grown men who were terrified. There seems to be a recurring theme of citizens in Britain fearing the law more because they are not as accustom as the Americans to crime. As in The Wire there was a shot of children looking at the crime scene with blank expressions suggesting that this was a normal event in their neighbourhood. Furthermore, from the race of the children, the victim and the witness I can assume that this was in a poor neighbourhood which is accustomed to crime, especially murder as black neighbourhood tends to fall into this stereotype in cop dramas in America.

The hierarchy of police officers is also something that is present in The Wire and Frost. In The Wire it established by the fact he wears his own clothes and is in charge of talking to the victims and in Frost this is also the case and his importance is also shown by the police cars all going on his command thus showing his leadership and authority, whereas there's only one police officer in The Wire so we're unable to know where he ranks in terms of authority in the police force, however, we do know that he has more authority within the situation he's in, talking to the criminal.

Law is presented in very different ways in The Wire and Frost. The Wire shows a police officers compassion and bond with the witness whilst Frost is very much about the police officers and criminals being two very different groups of people.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Class and Status - Spooks

Discuss the ways in which representations of class and status are constructed in the extract through the 4 micro-elements:

The opening sequence of this extract starts with Sampson looking at his reflection in the mirror, looking devious and sinister. This idea is then echoed through the sound as theres a noise that sounds like an explosion, this is usually associated with gothic tales as its quite eery this suggests that this character is quite devious an evil character. Moreover, when Sampson begins to speak his tone of voice is quite low and husky creating a far more intense and sinister atmosphere,

This screenshot suggests that the event of a woman drawing an "X" on the door (X to signify a target, x marks the spot) isn't out of the ordinary, therefore implying that this sort of activity could be a recurring occurrence. This could also show that they've relinquished control due to the oppression by the upper class- in this case, the politicians who feel its their duty to eradicate people who don't fit their image and by the looks of the children's faces, it has happened before.

 Moreover, the fact that "X" was drawn by a white female on a black woman's door suggests that this is a hate crime, in which the ethnic minority are targeted regardless of gender. Furthermore,before and after she does this she looks at the children whose glance stays on her throughout what she does, and almost disregards them as she doesn't look remorseful for what she's doing or even look startled by them, perhaps illustrating how low she sees them, she might see them as a were class to them therefore she doesn't need to explain herself to them, this could because of her race. She might see herself to be above them in the social ranking. As a result of her drawing the "X" two men in big jackets enter the shot and barge into the woman's house and start throwing her belongings out onto the balcony, where the children are still watching.

Moreover, from the diegetic sounds you can hear that the intruders are smashing all the lady's belongings, showing no respect towards her, thus showing their lack of respect for her- which could be because of her race or because of her low social rank. In addition, you can also hear the screams from within the house suggesting that there's a child on the premises however this still doesn't stop the men from destroying the home and capturing the woman.

The next shot is a birds eye view shot of a very expensive and classy car, which is chauffeured driven. This particular shot shows the character that's in there to have a very high status and be quite high in the social ranking.

We then discover that it is the character Harry  in the car, the editing then shows a CU of Harry on the phone barking orders to his employees- this demonstrates him to be an authoritative figure head as he's the one instructing people on what to do.

The editing of this shot, blurs Sampson out in the foreground of the shot and solely focuses on the other man in the shot perhaps suggesting that he was not completely behind what Sampson had just said about being called a "Islamaphobic." Furthermore, this idea of uncertainty is has been shown through the crowds silence, feasibly suggesting this is quite a sensitive subject, implying that perhaps the audience aren't as "pro-white" as he makes them out to be. However, seeing this he then turns it round to his favour by using the negative stereotypes associated with the Muslim rac, i.e. terrorists.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Representations of Social class in Shameless

Through the miss-en-scene I can infer that this is set in a council estate in Manchester, however from my knowledge of the series I know that it is set in the fictional Chatsworth council estate, StretfordGreater ManchesterEnglandThis is also shown through the camerawork through the use of panning as it gives a bird’s eye view of the estate and I can also infer the regional accent of the narrator Frank Gallagher. 

Moreover, Frank Gallagher's narration of the setting suggests that the estate is like a Utopia as he portrays the council estate in a positive light which is juxtaposition of what the audience see's as the stereotypes associated with estates are usually quite negative. Moreover, his descriptions of this estate would seem like hell to someone of a higher class and status. 

Below is the extract of Shameless.

From this extract, it appears that the narrator Frank Gallagher seems to be really appreciative of what he has, this is shown through the upbeat score of music in the background, as it is quite jolly and uplifting which echo his happiness. This is also shown through his tone of voice and vocabulary as he uses a biblical reference to describe the grassy area of the estate as he called it the "Garden of Eden", suggesting that to him this place really is paradise. This could link to his class because he doesn't have much he's able to appreciate the little things whereas someone from perhaps a richer and more educated class and background would see this place as a hovel and wouldn't appreciate its beauty due to them having more materialistic things. This could be because of his class as they are usually seen as people who lack ambition and settle for less due to there "can't be bothered" mentality.  

From looking at this angle the mise-en-scene shows the counsel estate to be a sought of haven, a sanctuary if you will. This is shown through the bright setting of this particular shot as the connotations usually associated with an estate is grim and dark. During this section, the pace of the camera shots quicken, this has been done via numerous jump cuts. This could have been done to show the increase in activity, additionally, this could also mean that there isn't much to see as if this was a period drama such as Downton Abbey which solely focuses on the upper class and their servants, the camera shots would be much slower and there would be far slower and more panning shots of the grounds, whereas the camerawork in this extract is very fast and intimate, as it zooms into the house very quickly.

In this shot the director has chosen to show children playing, to suggest that this a friendly estate where everyone gets on, this is once again highlighted through the mise-en-scene. This shot shows working class people in more of a positive light thus eradicating the usual stereotypes of thugs and gang members hanging out in parks creating nuisance 

The use of CU's in this shot helped to add sympathy towards the child and it also heightens the idea that people of a lower class have less control of their children thus resulting in their bad behaviour. Although, the child looks scared of the father, the dad then loses his control and power from the situation as he is then knocked in the head by a loaf of bread by one of his children, thus suggesting that the children run the house.
In this section, the father has just been hit on the head with a loaf of bread ans has dropped to the floor. This reinforces the stereotype that a single father can not cope on his own as his children appear to not respect him, this could be due to how he acts more like a friend to them and not like a father. Moreover, as he's a stay at home dad their lack of respect could be because of this, they might be ashamed that he's not done anything with himself, he's just living of the dole and they can't really respect him as he's just acting like a kid himself, this could be as a result of him being an unemployed working class man in his middle ages, who has a tendency getting drunk, taking drugs, petty theft and getting into fights in public or with the law. His family are also working class and they all are regular drinkers, most of them are also criminals. Women are often shown using sex to manipulate people. 

This shot clarifies that there is a blurred line, in terms of hierarchy in this family as the father is supposed to be the head of the household, the more dominant character but the facts that the angle is a point of view shot looking up at his children, which in the extract is followed by them running out of the house  suggests that the father has no real control or power over them which is more profound in lower class families than middle or upper class.

This particular screenshot shows Franks daughter to be quite demonic, as the mise-en-scene shows fire to be underneath her and she's moving her fingers in away that can almost be read as casting a spell, thus suggesting that she can be seen as the "devil" child, which is another biblical reference. This can also be seen as a pagan ritual, as everyone is gathered around the fire, this could be seen as the middle classes perception of the lower class.

This shot of the police car entering the estate shows the people applauding its arrival showing their lack of respect towards authority. This also suggest that this is a usual event for them, that they have numerous encounters with the olive. This is usually associated with people of the lower class as they often turn to crime in order to get money or stop their boredom.


 This shot shows Franks son using an aerosol can to increase the fire showing that he see's arson and vandalism to be fun. Thus showing the lower class in a negative light, as it shows him being a nuisance to society. However, this also shows his father to be terrible at his job as he's encouraging it rather than trying to put a stop to it, another representation of social class.

Ultimately, this extract shows the working class in a very negative way as it depicts them in a very stereotypical manner; showing them swearing, taking drugs, drinking, fighting and partaking in illegal activities and scams rather than trying to get real jobs. Moreover, the fact that the children have different mothers illustrates that the father has a tendency to sleep around with different women, who clearly don't care about their children, bar one who occasionally comes in to help Frank which then confirms the connotations attached to working class people. The use of different shots, the miss-en-scene, sound and the editing really help to impact the audiences perception 

Friday, 8 November 2013

Representation of Women in Media

Below is a clip of my view on how women are represented in the media.

As a feminist I believe that women shouldn't solely be seen as pretty objects to be looked at but as intelligent individuals who should be equal to men and with this in mind I created my video to be a hard hitting expose on the belittlement and sexualisation of women in the media. I did this by using clips from music videos where women are seen as "Glorified prostitutes" which has been stated by a sociologist called Engels. Moreover, I also enclosed a clip from a documentary on the inspiring female super heroine which was Wonder woman as I believed that she was the driving force for feminism and women believing that they could be more than housewives but the heroines of their own lives, they can be independent.