Media Genres: Social Realism

I decided to investigate the aspects of genre a little more closely, and fitted the typical plots and parts of the film against a trailer for a film of the same genre. Secondly, I investigated the Social Realism genre, sometimes known as Comedy-Dramas. I looked at the narrative, the representations, the audience and the institutions of films in this genre. Below is the table that I created:



Genre Research and Genre Theory

I have decided to look at genre theory, and research some differet genres. I did so on a powerpoint presentation which can be seen below:

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Uses and Gratifications Theory (Blumer and Katz)

The uses and gratifications theory was proposed by Blumer and Katz, and consists of four main points. When we choose a form of media it has to (according to the theory) fulfil at least one of the four, although there is a potential for overlapping points.

The four points are identify, educate, entertain and social interaction:
Identify is when the media allows you to recognise a person or product, e.g. role models that reflect similar values to yours and/or aspiring to be someone else.
Educate is when the media allows you to search for/ search through in order to acquire information, knowledge and understanding of a certain topic.
Entertain is when the media allows you to find something to consume that will give you enjoyment and a way to escape from real life for a moment in hectic daily life.
Social Interaction is when the media allows you to communicate with others from around the world, and may include talking to people you do and do not know about recent events. This allows them to express their opinion and get involved in world-wide debates or may just be a useful tool to talk to family and friends about day-to-day life.

The uses and gratification theory can be applied to taste in film and film genres. For example, your personal film taste may vary depending on your mood and recent life events. We may choose films that we feel describes our situation, or helps to calm us down when angry or upset. Most people like films that they can relate to; on the other hand, they may choose a film that is a complete contrast to themselves, in order to experience that opposing feeling. We often choose films to fulfil a particular need, such as something to have on in the background, a way to learn about world events or a fictional world, and/or a way to switch off from the real world for a little while. We also select the genre of film we watch in an attempt to show empowerment and may listen to or change our film taste in order to fit into a social group or be individual from the crowd, to conform or rebel.

Audience Theories

Audiences can be roughly broken down into 4 main aspects:

  • Location – the domestic/ home consumption of media, as well as commercial consumption, i.e. in cinemas.
  • Consumption – the genre of what an audience is consuming
  • Size – the population of the audience and whether it is a niche or mass audience
  • Subjectivity – how the audience view the film in regards to their gender, sexuality, race, nationality, religion, etc.

Stewart et al. (2001) suggests that…

  • the relationship between a media text and its audience is changing
  • due to levels of sophistication and understanding, it is apparent that a text will be interpreted in different ways, due to the subjectivity and characteristics of the members of an audience

The Effects Model

  • media texts will have an effect or influence on the audience after consumption, normally a negative effect/ impact
  • this lies within the overall message that is being given to the audience in the text, which means that they have no control and cannot prevent this influence.

The Hypodermic Model

  • messages in the media texts are powerful
  • the audience will find it hard to ‘resist’ the message(s)
  • as the message is injected into them in a syringe-like manner, the audience can be referred to as addicted or drugged
  • Key Evidence: Albert Bandura’s psychological experiment “The Bobo Doll Experiment”, in which children who watched violence and 88% imitated the violent behaviour

The Uses and Gratification Model

  • opposite ideology to The Effects Model and The Hypodermic Model
  • the audience are actively using the text, rather than the other way around, for their own pleasure
  • use texts to gratify needs such as escapism, pleasure and information
  • help audience with identity, emotion and learning

Reception Theory – Stuart Hall (1970’s)

  • a producer encodes the media text with meaning and/or a message for the audience
  • the audience may decode and understand the message, but if they fail to decode it, they simply reject the message
  • Stuart Hall suggests there are 3 types of audience decoding:
  1. Dominant or preferred – the audience decodes the message in an exact or similar way to the producers original meaning AND generally agrees with it
  2. Negotiated – the audience change aspects of their previous views after decoding the text AND do not particularly agree or disagree with it
  3. Oppositional – the audience decodes the message but rejects it because of their culture, religion, etc. AND completely disagree with it

Short Picture Film: Final Photographs

Before making the film, Esme and I had to decide upon which pictures we were going potentially to include in our film. Once we had decided upon these, we could then edit them ready to be put into the editing software and made into an actual film. These are the photographs that we have decided upon:

IMG_6795 IMG_6769IMG_6742 IMG_6732

However, we are not going to actually make this into a short film. We decided that this task allowed us to develop our editing image skills rather than use of a editing software, so we thought it would be better just to have edited these images and finish there, as we will need more practice with the editing software soon.

Short Picture Film: Editing Photographs

Using photographs from the photo shoot, I am going to edit (half of) them ready for the film. I will use Photoshop and a variety of effects to test out different ways to edit the photographs, in order to see which would look better in the film and which suit our films genre the best.


 IMG_6795 IMG_6795 EDIT 1
To add to the creepiness of this photograph, I added a red filter, and made the photograph hazier, so that it gives off the idea of dizziness and illness, which echoes the fact that Aurora has been drugged.
IMG_6769 IMG_6769 EDIT 1
This photograph did not need a lot of editing, as it was taken in black and white on the camera. I adjusted the brightness and contrast, which makes the photograph look more grey, and therefore, older (as if it is a cloudy memory).

Esme edited these photographs:


Short Picture Film: Poster

image5 image6

These are two rough sketches of a potential movie posters for “Mal”, our short picture film. I completed these based upon convential movie posters, which I had previously researched. In the research, I found out the basic conventions for a movie poster; I kept to some of these conventions, e.g. putting the title at the bottom of the poster, and including a tagline/ review and names of those in the cast and crew. The second sketch for a poster is preferred by both Esme and I, and so we completed a digital version which can be found on Esme’s blog (here).

film-poster for MAL

Existing Movie Posters

Here are some exsisting movie posters:
movie poster 3 movie poster 2 movie poster 1 movie 3 

I’ve noticed that the images are often very centralised, drawing a viewer into the poster. There is normally a tagline to go along with the title of the film, as well as the names of some actors, cast and crew. The date of release is sometimes included, if the poster is a teaser poster, or the name and/ or detailing of a character are included, if the poster is a character poster. There may often be some quotes of reviews from well-known companies, or sometimes just a star rating from them. The tagline is often at the very top of the poster, while the title and majority of the rest of the text is underneath the main subject of the posters image, down in the bottom third of the page. When creating the movie postefor my short picture film, I will make sure to keep with most (if not all) of these conventions.

Short Picture Film: Ideas


“MAL”: A modernised version of Sleepy Beauty in which Aurora goes to a party, her drink gets spiked and being drugged sends her to the hospital.

image3 image4


“A Wish”: A story which shows the life of a gay man, from meeting his boyfriend to marrying him, which ends with the plot twist that it was all in his imagination.

image1 image2

Esme and I decided to create the first idea, as we think it would allow us to take a wider range of photographs and the end result would be much more interesting that the second idea. The second idea would also be harder for us to create due to casting.