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Working on the behind the behind the scenes video

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The Individual Research Diary.

As part of the 182MC module we have been given the task of creating a online individual research diary, while we make our behind the scenes video.

While some might argue that a diary should have a clear linear progression, I think it should be treated more like a scrape book. Adding theory, notes and ideas while making the behind the scenes video, I have created this diary with this idea in mind.

I wish I could say I have enjoyed every second of this module, however as I think many people might be able to understand there have been tasks that I have enjoyed more than others, such as the disruption task. I also like being able to take the photos that where used as an over lay in the sensory module (turns out that photography advantage module came in hand after all). That being said there were also times when I found the tasks frustrating. While the smell of money is a good idea, we struggled to come up with a way to represent it at first.

Over all I have enjoyed being able to use the theory from both the readings and the lectures and building something form that. Through our group discussions we were able to plan and asses our tasks based on the main theory.

The final push to edit.

Well as with many plans, they do not always go the way you plan (sorry about the pun), At the start of this module, as a group we wanted to try and edit while we went along. this way it would get to a week before hand in and we would be ready. However we found with the amount of footage we recorded when both discussing and doing the tasks that editing took longer than we had anticipated.

So the last the week has been a compilation of late nights in the library, hunched over laptops editing and re-editing of the tasks and completing a number of other coursework assignments. With what seems to be a unnatural amount of hot chocolate consumed, along with nearly 40 biscuits, 3 subways, 5 oranges and enough chicken Tikka to feed a family of four, finally the end is almost here and the video is on the brink of being completed, and ready to be handed in.

Researching Visual (notes from readings 2)

Beltran, Mary. Meanigful Diversity: Exploring Questions of Equitable RepresentationFlow 12:07, 2010.

Beltran suggests that there are four main questions we should ask when considering if a representation is meaningful or not.
These are:
  • Are the characters of colour fully realized individuals?
Are the characters of colours within the story adding to the story, or are they simply their to add to the development of the lead white characters’s development.
A way to asses this is to ask questions about who’s home life and inner world being shown?
For example Programs such as ‘Glee’ and ‘Friday Night Lights’ develop stories line with their white charters more than its African American characters. For example within ‘Glee’ a lot of attention is placed upon the character of ‘Rachel Berry’ a white female singer while not expanding upon similar female black characters story lines.
  • Do the writers and producers appear knowledgeable about and interested in the worlds and perspectives of the non-white characters?
The predominantly white-male media industry, means that a lot of the writer of these programs are white. It leads to the question of if there was a more divers team of writers maybe they would have personal knowledge of potential characters and stories that white writers do not.
  • Does the diversity of the cast appear natural?
For example does the white lead in a program have a best friend of colour without realistic explanation? A lot of the time this comes across a unrealistic and gimmicky.
  • Do the series or film producers exploit the natural diversity of a story’s setting or subject matter?
Populating the cast in accordance with the diversity of the region or of the career the characters engage in.
For example a program set in London such as Eastenders has a divers range of cast members, which could be found within London’s natural diversity. However Programs set in a rural setting are less likely to have divers cast members (this dose not mean to say that there is no diversity in rural areas) but the question we have to ask ourselves is does the choice of cast appear to be ‘natural’ do the non white characters appear out of place in the story setting.

Researching Visual (notes from reading 1)

Researching the Visual

Representation. in: Television Studies: The Key Concepts. Routledge, 2002: 198-201
Representation is closely linked to issues surrounding depicting reality. Can Tv give a true representation of reality? It is more like a reflection of reality. This is due to the simple fact that even programs such as the news is produced, and thus can be given from the perspective of the producers. For example news shown in different counties focus upon the stories from different perspectives, or at least from the perspective of the elite who have the most to gain or loose form the news.
Whether a tv program sets out to reflex reality or not, ‘it always engages in a process of representation’.
Research has looked into the way representations make meaning. With a lot of focus being placed upon stereotypes.
Power and Ideology- who has the power and what message are they trying to portray in their representations.
‘to represent’ ‘re-prsentation’
What we see is a construction, it is highly edited.
‘representative of the people’ – suggests that what we seen represent us or ‘stand in for us, the consumers’
‘This understanding of the term, lead to thinking about how social groups are shown on television’
‘Media representations are a reflection or distortion of something ‘true’ or ‘real’.’
‘Negative representation’ -focus upon one attribute or characteristics of a group can lead to stereotyping.
As a means to counter the arguments for negative representation and stereotypes, they offer a wider range of ‘positive’ representations.
However is reversing the stereotype enough? Some writers argue not.
Our own social identity and position might effect our understanding of an event, this suggests that people will not have the same reading of a representation. This brings in the ideas of ‘negotiated’ ‘preferred’ readings of media texts.
Richard Dyer (1985a) -outlined an approach to help readers understand how representations work.
  • noted number of questions that could be asked regarding the sense that representations make of the world.
  • who typically represents whom and in what ways. (power and Ideology)
  • suggests ways in which students of media might analyse specific examples of stereotypical representations.
  • also examined the questions of ‘pleasure’ – what pleasures are forced by a text and to who?
  • links with a senses of self and the process of identification.
  • how we become absorbed into a characters role or positioning the narrative
  • inorder to engage interest media representations must provide something pleasurable.
  • Whos point of view is it shown?
  • Do audience members all get pleasure from something in the same way?
Power and Ideology
  • who has the right to speak?
  • who is silenced in these representations?
The system of power offers legitimacy to some meanings and marginalizing others.
  • predominance of white middle-class males in media industries could lead to some views being over-represented of tv. They are then seen as normal or ‘common sense’. Representations seen as ‘ideological’
Stuart Hall (1997a)
  • need to see representations as constitutive.
  • do events really have a fixed true meaning?
  • representation cannot capture the real event, because what is being represented (the initial event) is dubious in the first place.
  • Reality is not fixed or known
  • Reality has no fixed meaning until it has been represented.
  • Hall argues’ reality does not exist meaningfully until it has been represented’ ‘nothing meaningful exists outside of discourse’ (1997a)
The task of television studies is to try to understand how meanings are produced through practices.

Researching Digital (note from readings)

Researching the Digital

Project Muse
Between Democracy and Spectacle
The Front- End and Back-End of the social Web
The Front-End of online media -Where users interact
In creases:
“the ability of users to produce and disseminate new creations and to take part in public cultural discourse”
This suggests that the front-end of the online media gives users more freedom to produce things, and therefore reinforce the idea that we are not simply consumers we are prosumers as we make and distribute our own material.
The Back-End of online media- To which the owners have access
This refers to the sites that people use. For example Youtube, is a site on which people can share their videos which they have created. However Youtube owns the site and so has the right to remove or block deny account it sees to be violating its agreement.
The Terms and Conditions within social media sites can also be an example of how the companies control the sites and the content on those sites. For example within the term and conditions of the Facebook messenger app, stat that it can access your camera and photos at anytime without informing you.
There is a growing tension between the dynamics on the front-end and on the back-end the web 2.0. This could be due to the increasing amount of control producers feel they have over their work and so they might feel restricted with what they can do when using sits such as youtube. The only real solution to get past the back end of the internet, would be to build or buy your own server, then create and mention your own website. This is the only way to have full creative control. However it can be very expensive and time consuming producing such a thing. This might be due to the fact that you need to have some idea of code and how to write a program and a website in order to do this.
It has been suggested that the involvement and participation the front-end of the internet is simply a simulation of actual involvement (we have no say in how Tumbler is run) and instead we are still controlled and manipulated by the back-end of the internet.
Guy Debord called it “the heart of the unrealism of the real society”.
The social meaning of technologies are shaped by how ‘they are embedded into social life, advanced, and transformed by the myriad of individual actors, large institutions, practices, and projects that constitute contemporary reality ‘.
Therefore the importance given to technology is due to the ways in which we use it.
‘Much of the current analysis focuses primarily on there front-end and thus paint an overly utopian and very one-sided picture’
‘There are, of course, critical analyses that focus on the back-end, yet they also paint a very one-sided picture of technological dominance’
This would suggest that must of the research surround the front and back-end of digital media contain extensive biases.
We make two assumptions which could explain some level of bias seen within digital research.
1st ‘all forms of social life involve communication; thus, changes in communication directly affect all forms of social life’
This docent take into account the fact that some people have an agenda to make changes, it suggests that changes in how we communicate with each other, directly effects the way we communicate with each other. I can see some instance where it might feel like this is happening, for example the mobile phone and the age of texting among teenagers, during the mid 2000,s 2005-2008 mobile phones didn’t have touch screen and where more used simply as a phone than how its used now. The ability to text meant that teenagers could communicate with each other more freely (while still being confined to the 10 digit dialing pad). Teenagers and other groups in society started to use short had text abbreviations such as ‘G8’ for ‘Great’ or ‘Brb’ for ‘Be right back’. Now some of these shorthand text talk still is used within the digital media when we communicate with each other such as ‘Brb’, but culturally abbreviated speech has mades its way into every day conversions of teenagers. With statements like ‘YOLO’.
However we must not forget how ‘the changes in the organization of the digital are taken to be so powerful that they simply impact on the material reality’  And that understanding these new changes in communication provided a ‘privileged vantage point’ which allows people to understand a range of social transformations.
This argument states it as a simple contrast between the old and the new, we are expected to replace old forms of communication with newer technologies.
2nd ‘conflicts are the result of miscommunication and a lack of information about the other side. Thus, improved communication leads to cooperation.’
  • an old utopian promise
New forms of communication do not stop conflict. The inventor of the radio Marconi predicted that the radio ‘will make war impossible, because it will make war ridiculous’, this was two years before WW1.
New forms of communication can be argued to impact individuals more than whole countries or societies. Lets face it when the telephone was first invented people wanted to talk to the same people they’d been writing letters too for years. If people didn’t talk to each other before why talk to each other after. However the digital media opens it up on a more real and actualized scale, for example ignored to phone/ text some one you had to have their number (there was always the directory, but that might of lead to some awkward conversations), with the digital world we can gain cases to people we don’t know and follow them, ask them questions. They could be on the other side of the world.
With the adoption of digital social tools, projects can be realized without need for money, bloging is free. Small campaigners were able to produce their messages to a wider audience online than they where able to with out the use of social media. For example the ‘Mattress Protest’ started small but went viral due to the use of digital social media. These small groups and even the larger ones are no longer dependent upon an organization in order to publish their ideas.
‘Only now that… (digital social media)…. are well understood, and can be taken for granted, are they beginning to unfold their full social potential.’  The difference between Web 2.0 and Web 1.0 is accessibility, Shirky. The power of the digital tolls are being felt more today due to the fact that they are more easily accessible to people and not just to ‘geeks’. However ‘only 60% of US households have broadband’ which could suggest that it is only accessible to those with the finial ability to pay for it, while it is very useful to some eating and paying the bills is a bigger priority. We might also suggest that the generations before the digital age might choose simple not to use new technologies.