Genre Conventions and Audience Expectations Conclusions

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Genre Conventions & Audience expectations: Conclusions:

Genre Conventions & Audience expectations: Conclusions Lauren Tricker


The following survey was composed to enable me to understand what my audience wanted in regards to familiarity or unfamiliarity. Conducted with ten applicants, five online and five on paper, the importance of, in some cases, strictly following conventions, or in others, challenging the stereotypes, swiftly became apparent, and I plan to apply my newly found knowledge within a broad scope of areas. My questions were inspired by real media products and their usage (or disregard) of genre conventions. By displaying screenshots on paper surveys and YouTube videos online, I ensured that my applicants understood the topic of conversation and engagement was maintained through the visual composition. Please find my online survey here . Introduction

1-Would you prefer to see stereotypical Action Adventure characters, or astereotypical characters?:

1-Would you prefer to see stereotypical Action Adventure characters, or astereotypical characters? As exemplified by the chart, just over half (60%) of my respondents stated they would prefer to watch astereotypical characters, whilst the remaining 40% agreed a mixture of stereotypes and contradicted conventions is their preference. Myself and my partner vouch for the inclusions of astereotypical characters, and decided from the very beginning that we would give unconventional roles to dominant characters. This trend is now becoming a regular occurrence within postmodern films such as The Hunger Games and Divergent series, where the triumphant protagonist is often female (instead of male) whilst their love interest is male. In doing so, we aim to intrigue and engage viewers in not only the unfamiliarity, but to prompt further changes within the industry. However, to address the 40% of viewers who would like to watch both, conventional and unconventional characters, we have decided to include the much anticipated careless male antagonist for equal measure. In addition to this, the character roles have remained the same- for example, the protagonist being courageous and brave, the antagonist being authoritative and sloppy in their conduct. We have simply allocated these expected roles to the unconventional gender in film. This ensures that, not only are we pleasing at least 40% of our viewers, but that there is an asserted amount of familiarity within the production to avoid deterring further viewing.

2-Which out of the following Action Adventure characters and events do you recognise and find the most engaging to watch in a trailer? Please tick one from each group.:

2-Which out of the following Action Adventure characters and events do you recognise and find the most engaging to watch in a trailer? Please tick one from each group. This question was divided into two categories: characters and events. Within the question, I specified to choose one option from either category, but some failed to do so meaning my results in either group differ slightly. However, regardless of this, I will continue to pay my attention to the options that received the majority vote, and ensure that those who responded are catered. Within the characters category, 63% chose the antagonist as the most recognised Action Adventure character, whilst 38% stated they preferred the protagonist. The remaining voter opted for the sidekick. The only option that received no votes was the damsel in distress. These results are perfect in term of our plot. Within our trailer sequence and full production, these are three primary characters included alongside no mention of a damsel in distress or love interest- the quest is the primary hook with no distractions from characters. Because the antagonist received the most votes, when they are included in scenes, we will put emphasis on the stereotype of them being intelligent (as they chemically create Sofia), but avoids menial tasks (such as observing her progress in different realities, which the sidekicks do) and so on. The next most popular choice was the protagonist. Similarly to the antagonist, we will aim to stress the expected conventions attached to this character, such as the expected traits of being physically skilled (in battling the sidekicks) and intellectual (noticing she’s being observed and spotting the polaroid). However, we will also acknowledge the unconventional route we’ve taken


Continued w ith this character, such as allocating the role of the hero to a female rather than a male- which is uncommon in this genre. In providing Sofia with the expected qualities, this muted contradiction consequently heightens her presence, and fulfils the audience’s wishes. The remaining applicant chose the sidekick as being an engaging and recognisable character. Not only do we have two sidekicks, a male and a female, but these characters are dispersed throughout numerous scenes: conducting the antagonist’s dull tasks, observing the technical experiments, utilising the futuristic watch and so on. These two characters are in scenes with the other two characters, meaning their conventional role is amplified by appearing stereotypically inferior to their leader and Sofia. By following the stereotype, we hope that this will engage this remaining viewer, and by being in scenes with the other characters, we aim to please a large segment of our viewers simultaneously. The remaining part of this question was events. As I’ve previously mentioned, due to some completing the survey insufficiently, my results are slightly uneven in comparison to the characters category. All of my options received at least two votes, my most popular being the battle which received 38%, whilst the journey and protagonist’s initial struggle both received 23%, and the introduction to the quest received 15%.


Continued The battle is proven to be the most anticipated Action Adventure event. To avoid spoiling our final combat and foreshadowing the ending of the film, within our trailer sequence, we have decided not to include any footage of the concluding fight scene. However, to fulfil such a large quantity of our audience’s needs, we have inserted a snippet of the protagonist and sidekicks’ battle within the concluding montage to provide a taste of the production. I believe, if there was no mention of such a vital convention, we would disappoint many of our viewers and would lessen the attraction of the film- especially as this event is where suspense is at its height. The journey, which includes the protagonist’s initial struggle, received a combined, thereby heightening their importance. These two events consist a large part of our entire film and is an opportunity to amplify the essential mise en scene. Again, to avoid spoiling our production, we are using the concluding montage (which briefly shows these essentials) to provide a short sight of what the journey (and therefore, the protagonist’s struggle) will be like. The remaining option is the introduction to the quest, which chose. To ensure we don’t only show snippets, and provide a decent chronological event that demonstrates the construction of the film, we use the build up to the quest’s introduction to do this. Sofia only establishes what she needs to do after discovering the polaroid (which is shown in full within the trailer). However, the footage prior to this is essential in projecting the foundations of our complex postmodern storyline, so we show this in thorough detail up to the plots introduction.

3-Which out of the following postmodern conventions do you find most recognisable and appealing?:

3-Which out of the following postmodern conventions do you find most recognisable and appealing? There are three dominating postmodern conventions: time travel, alternate reality and fragmented self. Out of my digital and face-to-face surveys, alternate reality proved to be most popular in receiving 80% of votes, whilst the remaining options each received 10%. Within our sequence, we have included aspects of all three conventions, meaning we are bound to please 100% of our audience in this area. Alternate reality and fragmented self combined, within our film, to enable Sofia to live numerous lives and realities as one individual, meaning these two are the most dominating conventions within our sequence. Her fragmented realities change from being disabled to supernatural, whilst, in the laboratory, she finds herself to be completely powerless when under the antagonists influence. To ensure we reflect this ideology clearly, we will film relevant shots back to back to seamlessly project similarities where she is living numerous realities, such as when the nurse initially informs her of her injuries, and later when she’s free to return home. To incorporate an aspect of time travel and target the remaining 10% of our audience, the antagonist’s watch, which teleports its user to and from different realities, is our tailored interpretation of this convention. Rather than transitioning to a different era or time period, we ensured to use the futuristic prop in a way that would complement our storyline.

4-Which out of the following is crucial for an Action Adventure postmodern trailer?:

4-Which out of the following is crucial for an Action Adventure postmodern trailer? These results I am extremely pleased with, as, once again, each option received at least two votes. Fluctuations of tension was most popular, receive 50% of the votes. Pyrotechnics and stunts then received 30%, and weaponry and uniforms was chosen twice by the remaining 20%. Fluctuations of tension, in my opinion, are essential for a production’s success as, upon the suspension’s return, it will not project such an impact if it’s ongoing rather than in phases. This enables crucial moments to be rightfully heightened by added music and editing techniques, but also diminished on demand. However, in saying that, no professional editing methodology could create an astounding film if there were basic mise en scene. Weaponry and uniforms, within Action Adventure films specifically, are crucial to amplify action and reflect character roles- whether they be one of many henchmen or the primary protagonist. Props and costumes in particular demonstrate the hierarchy, which can be emphasised when required through utilised tension fluctuations. Pyrotechnics and stunts are also crucial in utilising the effective mise en scene. If, visually, the film is impressive but the action on screen remains stagnant and dull, this will consequently lead to a dismal production. If these are utilised well, it adds a professional element to your work meaning audience appeal is likely to be heightened in doing so. Myself and my team member are planning to include a crafted battle scene, so this ensures the use of stunts within our own work.

5-Why is that?:

5-Why is that? As 50% of my audience stated they believed tension fluctuations are crucial, this consequently means my results to this question are mostly in favour of speaking positively of this option. One respondent stated variations are important because “it shows the film has some sort of dynamic” which I completely agree with. We aim to keep our viewers engaged and “interested”, only allowing them to relax with the intention to later amplify the suspense. Another person stated that fluctuations “adds to the story”, which is very true as the primary purpose of postmodernism, Action Adventure and Sci-Fi films is to increase and decrease suspense throughout- unlike a romance which is to heart warm viewers and so on. In addition to this, one audience member advised, “Tension released too soon is a bit of a disappointment”, and so we will ensure to be cautious when crafting our sequence to avoid negative responses. Pyrotechnics and stunts, as this option received 30% of votes, received highly positive responses, one applicant agreeing they are “more engaging and thrilling to see”. Building and diminishing excitement, in addition to suspense, is another fundamentality of our genre hybrid, and so by including conventional events I intend to achieve this result. P yrotechnics and stunts will be utilised to create a “more exciting” and “more interesting” sequence that lives up to my audience’s expectations. The remaining 20% chose weaponry and uniforms as vitalities in sequences. One audience member justified their reasoning as it constructs “a more tense” trailer and production. We are planning to have uniforms for the sidekicks, ensuring that we visually as well as metaphorically voice the hierarchy and ensure suspense is projected when needed.

6-Which out of the following is the most expected Action Adventure gender role?:

6-Which out of the following is the most expected Action Adventure gender role? As shown from the bar chart, 100% of my applicants stated that the strong, male protagonist was the most expected Action Adventure character, whilst the remaining options of the helpless damsel in distress and careless male antagonist received no votes. However, just because the other two choices received no votes doesn’t mean that they aren’t expected nor recognisable, it simply proves that having a male hero is the most predominant conventional character that is currently displayed on our screens. Because of this, myself and my team member have decided to defy this expectation and ensure we use a female protagonist, who will retain the same qualities the stereotypical male character would to ensure her role is recognised. In doing so, we are following the postmodernism Action Adventure hybrid trend of having an alpha female, whilst her male co-star is presented to be a weaker companion. In our sequence and production, we have not included a love interest whatsoever to ensure that the focus is on our female hero, and completely rids the idea that women need to be loved to succeed. Some may say that, if we did include a helpless male love interest, it may amplify the contemporary connotations attached to our female hero, but, like I’ve said, we didn’t want to draw any attention away from her unconventional ways. We have, however, decided to include a careless male antagonist, which not only is the unaltered stereotype, but this instead accentuates the female hero’s ways. By making her enemy male, it emphasises the extent of her abilities more so than it would if we had a female antagonist (which is so unexpected it may surprise viewers and take the attention away from the sequence itself).

7-Which out of the following is the most unexpected Action Adventure gender role?:

7-Which out of the following is the most unexpected Action Adventure gender role? These results were fairly expected, as 60% of my applicants agreed that a helpless male love interest would be the most unexpected Action Adventure gender role, whilst 30% stated a triumphant female antagonist is the most unfamiliar. The remaining 10% stated that a strong female protagonist was the most intriguing. I expected the majority of my votes to agree that having a helpless male love interest was the most unexpected, considering, on the question prior, 100% agreed that a strong male protagonist was the most expected. The love interest within Action Adventure films, stereotypically speaking, are inferior to the hero, and these qualities go against what 100% of my applicants agreed a male hero should have. However, due the results not being 100% on both this and the last question, the remaining 40% of my applicants must agree that these two Action Adventure gender roles are more unconventional than a triumphant male protagonist is conventional. I can understand why 30% of this 40% agreed that a triumphant female antagonist is the most unexpected- as the victory is supposed to be on the hero’s side, allowing the film to conclude on a high. We decided to follow this convention as it is included across all genres , not just Action Adventure, Sci-Fi or Postmodernism; if we disregarded this trend, we may be slightly far-fetched in doing so. However, I do believe tricking the audience into believing the protagonist’s defeat is effective, but only if you shortly resurrect this misconception which will eventually contribute to the victory. The remaining 10% stated that a strong, female protagonist is the most unexpected Action Adventure gender role. In our trailer, however, we have decided to include a female protagonist in inspiration of the successful postmodern sci-fi series The Hunger Games and Divergent which project this convention. In doing so, we aim to change this individual’s perceptions (amongst others who may agree) and alter the industry’s rigid stereotyping.

8-What mise en scene would you associate with the postmodern genre?:

8-What mise en scene would you associate with the postmodern genre? The postmodern genre is a futuristic and contemporary approach to making film. M y most popular choice was high-tech recurring props from 50% of viewers, alongside urban locations receiving 40%, and striking costumes receiving 10%. Unfortunately, high key lighting received no votes. High-tech props that are utilised consistently don’t only provide familiarity, but they boost the element of fictional futurism that is so dominant in the postmodern genre. Within our sequence, the sidekicks’ watch, which transports its user from one reality to another, is our recurring high-tech prop in that it intrigues and excites viewers as there is no such thing. In our trailer sequence, viewers see the watch being used and it’s purpose- in doing so, I hope to engage 50% of these voters. The element of futurism is also projected within an urban setting, which tends to be used within Action Adventure films like James Bond’s common location of Westminster, London, or even Sci-Fi’s anticipated setting of outer space like in Gravity or Star Trek. To fulfil 40% of our viewers’ requirements, we are filming a large majority of our sequence in Westminster and St James’ Park. By filming in a serene park which is surrounded by a bustling city, this reflects how Sofia aims to find peace in learning the truth behind having different realities. We are also including striking, metaphorical costumes. By placing the sidekicks in corresponding uniforms (white lab coats in the laboratory, and all black with sunglasses out in public), I believe the vocal familiarity is intriguing for viewers, and therefore fulfils audience requirements to project conventions. Sofia’s colour incorporation within her garments don’t only reflect her “chemical roots”, but how she aims to be different from the sidekicks and free from the antagonists control. High key lighting received no votes. Regardless, I still believe it to be vital in certain circumstances such as during the chemical construction of Sofia, if we saturate the colours to amplify the significance of the event.

9-What editing would you associate with an Action Adventure postmodern trailer?:

9-What editing would you associate with an Action Adventure postmodern trailer? As you can see from the chart, this question received mostly equal results, as 40% of my applicants stated CGI is most associated with this genre hybrid, and the remaining 60% chose pyrotechnic explosions and fast paced cuts in equal measure. Computer-generated-imagery, I agree, is fundamental to Action Adventure and postmodern productions and trailers, as it projects the fictional futurism that is anticipated within these films. We are going to use CGI to show the ‘creation’ of Sofia, a high angle shot displaying the computer-generated manifestation of the chemical reaction. In doing so, we intend to please this large percentage of our viewers, and many others who look forward to digitally composed images. Saying this, using fast paced cuts within your editing is an essential technique to amplify pre-existing tension and suspense, and perfectly combines with the event of a pyrotechnic explosion. For example, if an explosion was shown in one single long take, it would lose all of its effect and most likely spoil forthcoming events. By sharply cutting between numerous camera angles (which we have used within the protagonist and sidekicks’ battle) it thoroughly emphasises an already action-packed event, which is what our viewers want to see. Due to our limited resources, we are unable to create a pyrotechnic explosion, but compensated for this loss in the fast-paced battle, and also the creation of Sofia.

10-What would you recommend to avoid in an Action Adventure postmodern film?:

10-What would you recommend to avoid in an Action Adventure postmodern film? My results within this question are substantially skewed. Cliché dialogue has proven to be the majority of my viewers’ dislike, 60% of my viewers choosing this as their worst option. Basic locations then received 30%, and a lack of action received the remaining 10%. Unusually, the remaining three options received no votes. Clichéd dialogue is a regular occurrence within all three of our genres, but Action Adventure especially. We are aiming for impactful speech, especially within our narration, but not to the extent that some perceive it as cliché, as we intend to be different from the past productions our viewers may have watched. In addition to this, I believe we are definitely avoiding basic locations in our wide variety from Sofia’s homely bedroom to the city of Westminster and everything in between! Within these locations, we are planning to film action-packed footage that will maintain consistent engagement, excitement and suspense. To conclude, even though only one reality and everyday costumes didn’t receive any votes, we will definitely avoid such dismal inclusions to ensure nothing hinders our sequence’s progression and impact. However, it’s hard to say whether we are avoiding present chronology entirely due to the uncorrelated montage near the end of the sequence, and Sofia opening her eyes in the laboratory to conclude the sequence. Whereas, the sequence begins with the chronological event of the accident and discovering her different realities.