What I should add to my Section B answer – Shiloh

My question for Part B was “Convergence allows audiences to access media content from multiple platforms on one device. Assess the impact of convergence in your cross-media study. My three products were Teen Wolf (Network: MTV), The Originals (Network: The CW) and American Horror Story (Network: FX).

I think I should include stereotypes and countertypes in my Section B answer. Stereotypes are a fixed cliché of a person or thing. For example, the saying that blonde people are dumb. This is stereotypical as not all blonde people are dumb. I believe this can be used in the Part B answer. For instance, for my three choices of the broadcasting platform, I could talk about how the genre of production is portrayed and how they relate to the generalisation of such shows. Countertypes are positive stereotypes that accentuate the positive attributes of someone. For instance, a countertype could be that blonde people are smart. This is a countertype as it accentuates the positivity that blonde-haired people are smart. I could talk about how countertypes are used to influence the audience into wanting to watch such shows and movies, and to increase the popularity of the shows so the audience talk about it to people who do not watch it, which can intrigue others to watch it.

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Media Audiences

Audiences are affected by different texts in many different ways. The primary audience (the target audience) interpret what they see in their own way, and is passed along to the secondary audience (the people who are not the target audience but will also enjoy the texts). All three of my chosen media texts are mainly aimed at 11-16 year olds, but is enjoyed by people outside of this age range. The texts are accessible online, on TV and on certain apps that can be accessed on smartphones, laptop/computers and via the television. American Horror Story, Teen Wolf and The Originals are not shows that are normally played during daytime television, and are normally played after around 3pm. This is because the target audience is not for those who may still be at home before this time. I personally find all three texts entertaining and intriguing because I enjoy watching sci-fi supernatural movies and TV shows. This may be the reason why many people enjoy watching these shows, due to their popularity across many media platforms. The majority of audiences that enjoy science fiction will respond to these shows positively and will watch it and share it with others. Each of the shows have an irregular narrative, as the storyline always backtracks or has unexpected plot twists. Mythology is a key theme in Teen Wolf. For instance, one of the characters in the show are a chimera, a fire-breathing horrific hybrid beast. Parrish, a character in the show, is a shapeshifting chimera, as he can turn from human form into his supernatural form. Another mythological creature in Teen Wolf is the banshee. A banshee is a female spirit in Irish mythology who proclaims the death of people by shrieking. The character in Teen Wolf that plays the banshee is a girl called Lydia, who at first believed she was insane until she realised what she really was. The use of themes is essential in both movies and TV shows as it helps the audience grasp the concept on what they are watching. Also, themes help draw in specific categories within audiences. In many ways, the audience can manipulate or influence the text. For instance, if a person/a group of people are watching a show like The Originals, the audience will either see it as a good show or a bad show. If the audience enjoy watching the show, they have responded to it positively and will probably tell other people about it which will increase the popularity and positivity of the show. If the audience dislike the show, the opposite may happen: they would have responded to it negatively and will tell others how bad they found it, which could make them think there will be no point in watching the show. Moreover, audiences usually use hashtags when publically talking about specific texts like shows. If the audience speak positively or negatively about a show, everyone could find out. Producers of texts can use this to their advantage to see how the audience find the shows, and if there are improvements that are needed to be made, they can act upon this.I would say, in terms of audience interaction, the more dominant platform is multi-platform in comparison to one platform. This may be because if one started to watch a show from the first series but there are many series to catch up on, the audience may be convinced to watch it on other devices besides watching it on TV. Because of this, the audience may choose to watch some TV shows on a mobile device or laptop, laptop/computer, etc. I noticed that across different texts, many different ways of intriguing and entertaining an audience are used, which can be different to how other texts may appeal to their audience. For instance, The Originals uses the fact that it is a spin-off from the popular TV show The Vampire Diaries, which is well-known and watched by many, to influence the audience and make them think The Originals is an amazing show like The Vampire Diaries. This is a very useful tactic to increase the shows’ popularity and viewers. My chosen texts are primarily used by audiences for entertainment purposes. This is because my chosen texts are TV shows that are made to entertain people, not to document information and inform the audience about these. In terms of Stuart Hall’s Reception Theory, the majority of the audience’s readings of the texts are entertaining, suspense-filled and they leave you with the feeling of wanting to watch more of it, and not being able to wait to see the next episode(s). The texts are open to negotiated and oppositional readings, seeing as though some people may like the texts, whereas others may not enjoy it as much.

Media Institutions

My chosen texts have independent media ownership, which means they are free of influence by corporate interests. Although, nothing is truly independent, as if the government or corporate interests really wanted to influence what is televised, they could change it without hesitation. The distribution companies of my chosen texts are: Teen Wolf – MTV, American Horror Story – FX and 20th Television, and The Originals – The CW and Warner Bros. Television Distribution. Each of these distributors are financed by their advertisers, as each of the distribution companies are televised publically. The producers of my chosen texts are: Teen WolfAdelstein Productions/DiGa Vision/First Cause, Inc./Lost Marbles Television/MGM Television/Siesta Productions, The Originals – My So-Called Company/Alloy Entertainment/CBS Television Studios/Warner Bros. Television, American Horror Story – 20th Century Fox Television/Ryan Murphy Productions/Brad Falchuk Teley-Vision. The production companies never really get mentioned when the texts are being advertised. The distribution companies claim all the praise for the texts, and are payed by the distributors to televise it on their channels.  MTV are popular due to the popular shows like The Shannara Chronicles, Geordie Shore, Teen Mom and Catfish. These popular shows make MTV well-known throughout the TV industry, as the viewings of the shows being high makes MTV look good as a distribution company. This is the same for The CW being popular for The Flash, Arrow, Supernatural, Jane the Virgin and Supergirl. FX is popular for the shows Legion, Taboo and Fargo.

Media Representations

Representations are key in media, as this is what the audience may/may not perceive from a text. Characters, places, themes and many more factors are represented in many different ways to portray different meanings to the audience. For instance, the characters in The Originals are represented as many different levels of hierarchy, as well as levels of power and popularity. The Originals family, being Nick-Klaus, Elijah, Rebekah, Kol, Freya, Finn and Henrik, are represented in a way that makes the audience think they are the most powerful of the witches, vampires, werewolves and hybrids that ever lived. Klaus is the egoistic one, who always thinks of how his actions will benefit him, rather than how they will harm him or those around him. This portrays selfishness and an egotistical manner. I think this character was portrayed in this way to represent his strength as well as his weaknesses, and shows the audience what kind of character he truly is. Setting is also used effectively for representing specific meanings to the audience. For example, Teen Wolf is set in Beacon Hills, California. Ironically, this town attracts many supernatural forces, making Scott and his friends have to fight them off, which makes Beacon Hills seem like a beacon for the supernatural. Such representations relate to dominant ideology and stereotypes in many different ways. In many TV shows, the main characters are normally portrayed in a hierarchical way to stereotype different levels in society as well as status within a family. Relating back to The Originals, the different characters are portrayed in a way to show their status within their families as well as within the society in which they are apart of. Moreover, the amount of death, danger and betrayal that follows the Mikaelson’s (the Originals family) stereotypes those with supernatural abilities as dangerous people who cannot be trusted. This relates to Hall’s Reception Theory, that there are three main types of audiences reading messages: Dominant, Negotiated and Oppositional. Dominant is what the audience wants to hear from people and agreeing, but with limited knowledge. For instance, if someone watched a one-off episode of The Originals for the first time, they may see Klaus as a disrespectful, dangerous vile creature, but if they saw him in other episodes they may see why he is like that or may see that he is not always like that. Negotiated is when the audience agrees, disagrees or questions a political speech or news broadcast due to previously held news. This receiving does not relate to this, as the chosen texts are not regarding any politics or to inform the audience about anything happening in the world. Oppositional is when the audience recognises the Dominant message, but rejects it due to cultural, political or personal opinion. For instance, someone watching American Horror Story may believe that different characters are portrayed as bad, but there may be a reason behind it or may not be intentionally bad at all. Some platforms are used more successfully than others in order to create the desired representation. For example, broadcast is the most popular platform, so broadcast is used more frequently to give a recognised representation of a character. With the broadcast platform, the audience can visually see what a character is like without the need to imagine what the character may be like if the audience reads about them.

Media Forms

My chosen media texts relate to narrative theories. In relation to Levi-Strauss’ Binary Opposition theory, all three of my cross-media texts have binary oppositions, as the themes of good and evil are constantly portrayed for many different reasons. In The Originals, the Mikaelson’s are portrayed as evil and the ones who everyone else need to put an end to, but to the audience the portrayal could be that the Mikaelson family are just looking out for their family and are trying to do their best to keep the peace, but is difficult due to Klaus’ past. I would say that all three of my chosen texts are not related to Propp’s Narrative Theory, as there are heroes and villains, but there never really is a dispatcher, donor or “damsel in distress”. In terms of typography, texts and emails are normally shown on the screen of the device used, rather than showing it in an abstract way to the audience. This use of naturalism allows the audience to find the texts more intriguing.

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The typography for the Teen Wolf logo is very abstract, which shows the nature of the show. The words are in block capitals in italic, which gives it its individuality with the use of the misty dust effect behind some of the letters. This is effective as it stands out and gives the audience something to remember and identify about the show.
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The typography for the The Originals logo is naturalistic yet stylish. The symbol in the O of Originals is very recognisable which gives the audience something to remember the show by. The word the is in lowercase, whereas the word ORIGINALS is all in capitals. This opposition makes the logo look more effective and stand out more.
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The typography for the American Horror Story logo is very different to all other logos. All letters in the title are in block capitals, but beneath all three of the o‘s which have been made small are two dots. This makes the title stand out and is very recognisable to the audience. This is very effective as it makes the title stand out from all the others and makes the show look good as well as just the title.
Non-diegetic sounds are used effectively in all three of my chosen cross-media texts. The texts use many different added sound effects such as gunshots, explosions, etc. In The Originals, the vampires can move extremely fast, and a slight swoosh noise is used to add to the effect of them moving at such fast speeds. Many songs and instrumentals are also used to help set the mood of the scene and make the scene(s) look more effective. As all three of my chosen texts are all related to the supernatural, the use of dark colours in the three texts is useful as they represent the seriousness of a scene, and also relates to the personalities of some of the characters. The dark colours also show the stereotype of supernatural creatures being dangerous and evil. Cinematography is also used effectively to help improve the visual effects of the scenes. In the three texts, many different camera shots at different angles are used to create given impressions to the audience. Close-ups in particular are constantly used to show the facial expressions of a character, which shows how the character is feeling. In fight scenes, the camera is often not on the stand and is held quite loosely to give the effect that the fights are drastic, which makes the fight scenes overdramatized.

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