Audience Theory | 05.02.2018

“Apply the concept of Audience to one of your coursework productions”

Level 4 (21-25 marks)
Candidates demonstrate a clear understanding of audience and relevant media theory and can relate concepts articulately to the production outcome, describing specific elements in relation to theoretical ideas about how media texts are produced for and received by audiences in various ways. Candidates offer a broad range of specific, relevant, interesting and clear examples of how their product can be understood in relation to relevant theories of audience and reception.

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.

There are three main modules of Audience Behaviour surrounding Audience theory; there is the Hypodermic needle, the Gratifications module and Reception. Im this essay, I am going to attempt to apply the concept of Genre to my A2 5 minute Short Film, Disturbed Mind. My film follows a young male adult whom lives with Schizophrenia and is confiding in a counsellor, however his mind deceives, and there is not actually a counsellor there at all.

The Hypodermic Needle, also known as the effects model sees the audience as weak and passive and the media as strong. This enables the media to say something, and essentially inject information, and the audience accepts it automatically. In 1961, Albert Bandura started the Bobo Doll experiment in order to prove that human behaviour is learnt more by social imitation and copying rather than generic, genetic factors. Bandura created a big blow-up clown-looking doll and let the children watch as adult either played or showed aggression and love to this doll. And when the children went to the doll, Bandura found that the children imitated what the adults did tho the doll. Bandura created the concluding point that media texts are injected and the audience is powerless. This idea of injecting aggression and general behaviors  into audiences caused moral panics and the creation of ‘couch-potatoes’ with copy-cat behavior. This meant that in some cases laws were changed and films became banned.

It is important to remember that Bandura’s experiment took place in 1961, and that this was 60 years ago, and since then, the audience has evolved and become less likely to blindly accept obvious propaganda. Therefore applying this concept to modern society and audiences of today is difficult, as the audience has more of an awareness on recognising propaganda media texts. In Disturbed Mind there are slight copy-cat themes in the beginning of alcohol consumption, however this is to portray the ‘normal’ male young adult life. As the short film progresses, there is the story of the paranoid schizophrenic male. It could be noted that this portrayal of schizophrenia is injected into an audience, and despite our evolving society, labels to illnesses are still given, therefore this narrative could arise the idea of self-diagnosis or seeing only one portrayal of schizophrenia and believing that is it, with an ‘I saw this in a film one time’ approach.

The next model is the gratification and uses model, which a has a different concept to the effects model. The affects model is essentially given (or injected) into an audience, and the gratifications model is looked for by an audience, weather that is for releasing anger or sexual simulation. Disturbed Mind could be watched and used by an audience for a sense of understanding or even something to relate to in order to help with their  issues.

Lastly is the reception theory, which is the media technique that Stuart Hall recognised in the 1970’s, whereby media texts are encoded with a hidden message which is then to be decoded by the audience. This leads to lots of perceptions of a text, which can however cause confusion. In Disturbed Mind, there are hidden messages implanted in order to foreshadow the confusion with in the main actors mind. Also there is variations in representation which create certain semantics, i.e. warm and cold colour palettes to convey moods. This is a convention of audience theory that Disturbed Mind follows.

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One comment

  1. Katie

    The following is the exam board’s description of a level 4 answer, from the June 2011 mark scheme.

    Level 4 (21-25 marks).

    Candidates demonstrate a clear understanding of audience and relevant media theory and can relate concepts articulately to the production outcome, describing specific elements in relation to theoretical ideas about how media texts are produced for and received by audiences in various ways. Candidates offer a range of specific, relevant, interesting and clear examples of how their product can be understood in relation to relevant theories of narrative. 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 2, possibly 14/25.

    – This is great until the last two paragraphs, then it fizzles out.
    – Too many typos, though — this needs a good proof read.
    – You could get a much better mark with a second draft. Expand your “uses and gratifications” and “reception theory” paragraphs to be as expansive as the “hypodermic” section…

    Like

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