Short Paper on realist television form (not content)
Please upload your paper here on Canvas and hand in hard copy to your TA in Tutorial.
Please put your name and tutorial time and number on your paper.
- You are asked to analyze form, not content; focus on how things are represent not what is represented.
- You are to write on only one of the topics below or come up with our own.
- Papers must engage the issues, questions and topics of CMNS 220.
- You must refer to relevant readings from the course and it is in your interest to conduct (limited) academic research and cite outside sources.
- You are required to draw upon the ideas and methods of course readings (or outside academic readings) and lectures and incorporate them into your analysis. It is appropriate and expected that you borrow ideas so long as you cite your sources. See the APA guide for proper format of references. Underline or italicize titles of books, movies, TV shows, journals or magazines, put individual episodes or article titles in quotation marks. Plagiarism shows a lack of integrity, is dishonest, and is poor scholarship. The minimum penalty for plagiarism is an F on the assignment.
- You are writing an essay, not just answering questions. In other words, the questions below are only there to give you ideas about what to address in the essay. As an essay, you should make sure you include a meaningful introduction that states clearly the argument you will be making; a body that includes sub-arguments, evidence and references; and a conclusion that pulls together the strands of the argument. A good structure allows the reader to see how things come together instead of constantly struggling to understand what you really mean.
- Good writing is very important. Make sure you do at least one editing revision on your essay. Peer review is not only allowed but also recommended (as long as this doesn`t turn into a collaborative work...)
- Citations and referencing allows us to see what parts of your argument is original and what is borrowed, and then to trace borrowed ideas to their source. Be consistent and clear, and remember: over-referencing may be tedious, but under-referencing is plagiarism.
- Use 1.5 spaces and print two-sided if you can. The trees (and I) will thank you. Use plain fonts -- nothing fancy.
- Be sure your introduction clearly sets out your thesis or main argument. Make sure your introduction contains a precise, concise thesis statement. Be sure to signal to the reader exactly what you propose to argue in the main body of your paper. Conclude with a summary of your arguments and a restatement, in different words, of your thesis.
- Following paragraphs should offer fully developed arguments that support your main thesis. Most, if not all, paragraphs should be at least 5 sentences long. Each paragraph should include arguments that are supported by observation and analysis.
- Avoid informal language: “basically,” “I mean,” and vague terms: “society,” “the media,” “the masses,” etc.
- Avoid or restrict first and second person pronouns (I, me, you); focus attention on your arguments about the text in question, not on yourself or your process of writing this assignment.
- You will not be judged on your opinions, but on your arguments. Begin with insights and arguments and support those with observations and conclusions. Take a stand, challenge yourself and your readers toward new insights and ideas. A string of observations does not constitute an academic paper.
- Do not recount plot or describe the TV show. Do not describe characters. Discuss plot elements, setting or characters only in support of an argument, claim or point.
- Your paper should be organized according to your arguments, not the arrangement of elements of program. Unless it is necessary to make arguments about narrative logic or structure, do not write and organize your paper by following the sequence of the program from beginning to end.
- Avoid any claims as to the actual effects of the show on unspecified, real viewers. Television creates subject positions for its viewers and that can be discerned through analysis. By watching closely, we can see how TV structures our gaze and represents ourselves and our experiences back to us. But what happens in the minds of real people when they watch a program can not be discerned by watching television.
- Demonstrate all the effort, thought and care that went into writing your paper with a professional presentation. Double space with a 10 or 12 point serif font like Palatino or Times, use one inch margins on all sides, number your pages and staple your paper. Do not use plastic covers, folders or paper clips -- just a simple staple. Add images if you like but they will in no way enhance your grade.
- Most important: take pride in your ideas and express them in the clearest, most convincing way you can.
*If any of these basic requirements of professionalism are not met, your paper will be returned without a grade.
- To practice close, careful analysis of a television show with attention to its form and the specific ways that form creates a “realseemingness.”
- Discuss things like camera work, lighting, editing, and the way these formal elements create a sense of the real
- To demonstrate insight into the how social relations are represented and how that process of representation is naturalized.
To provide brief insight into the values and messages of a realist television program and begin to explore the ideological implications of realist representation.
Topic 1: Close analysis of Realism on TV
Realism is an ism; that is, it is a set of standardized and accepted codes and conventions which are understood my both producers and audiences as providing a some sort of "window on the world." How do such codes function in a specific show? How is spatial and temporal coherence maintained? While realist conventions can be varied and change over time, they all work toward a single purpose: to efface the process of production and construction, to hide the fact that what we see is always a highly organized and carefully constructed representation of the world. Moreover, particular interpretations of the world or events and the values and ideologies behind those interpretations seem to emanate from the world or characters, and not the process of representation or the institutions that produce it. How do their realist conventions (continuity editing, framing, focus, camera movement, observational cinema verité) work to mask or efface the ideological work of TV?
If you want to address this question with reality programming, music video or advertising, consider the function of hyperreality. Often, the codes and conventions of realism are made explicit and the show can be somewhat self-reflexive. You can see the codes at work because they are so extreme and obvious. Yet there seems to be a tacit understanding between producers and audiences that the overcoding (erratic camera movement, misframing, focus pulls, direct address) is to be read as real.
Here is the example we discussed in class.
Topic 2: The realism of reality TV.
We need to focus on the codes and conventions used in reality TV before we can offer an ideological analysis. So how do things like direct address function to represent participants/contestants as real people? How does camera work function to make appear as if events unfold before the camera without construction by the producers? How does editing work to efface the construction of the images? Does a reality show use invisible editing? How does fly-on-the wall camera techniques make it appear as if we are seeing the world as it "really"is, or appear as a reflection or window on the world. How can editing or camera techniques work to develop or undermine a character`s authenticity? How does a show present images as the real world populated by real people? If you would like to offer a brief discussion of the ideological implications of a show, hint at its values or conclude with reference to a show`s ideological work, please do so.
Topic 3: Realism as Authenticity
Choose one of the three options
a. music video
First, your task is not to argue whether a musical form, song, artist or video is or is not authentic. For our purposes, there is no actual authenticity behind an artist or song or set of images; your job is to recognize at the outset that authenticity is always a matter of codes. Thus, you are asked to analyze the means by which claims to authenticity are made in music, just like Peterson and McLeod do. Try to examine the criteria of such claims, what is at stake in county music according to Peterson? What are behind claims of "keeping it real" in hip-hop as described by McLeod? Your primary task is to examine the televisual codes and conventions that express authenticity like hand-held cameras, sepia tones, black and white, camera work etc. Many popular music genres sell authenticity as part of the package that is sold with an artist, band, album or song. Examine the package and the packaging process. The more `threatened" (McLeod) a music genre is, the more extravagant its claims to authenticity (Sid Vicious and Kurt Cobain). Often, the more extravagant the claims, the more extravagant the code of realism become. Different musical genres and forms present authenticity in different ways: Rock offers bourgeois individualism or the authenticity of certain rebellious experiences (sex, drugs, rock and roll). Country often conjures up a sense of place: rural, home, the south or west or recreate an artist`s roots in rural life. Hip-hop has its place in the inner city with images of urban spaces or insists on "keeping it real" or will link an artist to crime, drugs, extreme masculinity or sexual excess, etc. Punk makes its claims to authenticity with unemployability, a DIY ethic and a refusal of capitalist enterprise. Pick a genre, artist or even a single song and discuss how the relationship between image and sound in television music video -- or elsewhere on TV -- authenticates the music and artist.
b. authentic commodities
In a world dominated by massed produced goods that all look the same, it is paramount that advertising makes distinctions between parity goods. Equally important is the signification of authenticity in advertising. Goldman and Papson discuss the authenticity of bourgeois individualism at length. If authenticity is always a matter of codes, what codes are used? In ads, authenticity can be located in the production of mass-produced goods (whiskey or trucks) or its consumption (beer) or in what the product can represent (jeans) or the experiences it may offer (soft drinks, cigarettes). Advertising often uses elaborate codes to signify authenticity: both social codes (of dress, of expression) and televisual codes (hand-held cameras, focus pulls, grainy image). How are authentic celebrities or non celebrities used? The point of most ads is to attach the meanings of authenticity produced by those codes to the product. Your task is to offer a close analysis of those codes as well as the process by which the specific meanings of authenticity are attached to a product. You can focus on a particular product, class of product, a single TV ad or a small set of ads.
Ads for pickup trucks, whiskey, jeans, shoes, sometimes soft drinks, traditional food items, etc. are good places to look for authenticity in advertising.
c. Reality TV and the crime of being fake
Often, the narrative tension of reality shows seems to be structured by notions of individual authenticity. The issue is not so much verisimilitude of the text but the genuineness and credibility of individuals. Contestants/characters are to be judged by audiences according to how "real" they are behaving. Sometimes, the worst crime a character can commit is to be fake or insincere. Act fake and get voted off. In gamedocs, this is complicated by the need to make deals or alliances and "game" the situation in order to win, thus setting up a tension between the authenticity of the person and the contrived situations they find themselves in. Consider how editing, camera work and narrative are used to express a character`s authenticity or inauthenticity. Here is an example:
Communication 220 Student: Professor: Institution: Course title: Date: Introduction The realism in television programmes is portrayed in different forms and codes that show authenticity. In particular, advertising uses both social codes and television codes to make their production, consumption and representation authentic. The social codes and television codes that are utilized in advertisement, add up to the authenticity of the advertisement on TV and other digital platforms. Codes like camera work, sound, and lighting create a sense of the real. Furthermore, representation and naturalisation of social relations and the values and the message passed in the adverts also depict a sense of the real. This paper will look at a series of whisky advertisement and analyse how the sense of authenticity is created and the representation of values and perspectives in the advertisement content. Johnnie Walker TV commercials These commercials include the Important Man, Jim Beveridge commercial, Keep Walking commercial on Ispot TV and the night tiger. According to O`Neill et al