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Media Studies- Narrative, Representation and Genre in Music Videos

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Media Studies- Narrative, Representation and Genre in Music Videos

Question 1B

Genre Narrative Representation

Representation in my A2 Media Production

Several groups are represented in my production. The video shows that the young men who form the main characters in the video are unhappy when life events prevent the continuation of their friendship. The 1999 children now report suggested that the majority of male characters in the media are heterosexual associated with the world of work and hide their emotions. We wanted to represent platonic male friendships thus meeting one of the conventions. We also presented our male characters in the world of work which is another stereotypical expectation.

We differed from male stereotypes by presenting a character as being depressed and angered by his lack of friends. Mental illness is often represented negatively in the media and it is used as a semiotic (Saussure) to suggest evil or violence. We wanted to challenge that dominant ideology (Marx) and show our protagonist acting positively to remedy his mental anguish by expressing his emotions. Gramsci suggests that dominant ideologies can change over time and we wanted to use our film to facilitate this e.g. music video representations of homosexuality such as Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” have helped to normalise these relationships.

Laura Mulvey talks about the male gaze in the media. Our video does not feature women and we did not appreciate the impact of the representation of sexuality until the video was viewed by young teenage girls who rapidly picked their favourite! This could be an important marketing tool.

Narrative in my A2 Music Video

The narrative for my music video predominantly follows Todorov’s theory. The video begins with the equilibrium of main protagonist staring at the camera. Disequilibrium is introduced through flashcards on which negative emotions are written e.g. loneliness. A conflict is created as the protagonist views other students who are confident about producing music on stage. The resolution occurs as our protagonist walks to the stage, guitar in hand. Finally our new equilibrium sees him smiling as he plays guitar on stage.

Our protagonist is a hero on a quest to find the confidence to produce live music. In terms of Propp’s character types our protagonist is also the antagonist as he attempts to stop himself fulfilling his goals through a lack of confidence. Goodwin’s ideas are linked here as our narrative closely matches the song lyrics which asks our protagonist to “stop and stare” – in this case at his antagonistic weaknesses.

We used a closed structure as this is a music video convention and more satisfying for the audience. Our encoding of the video most closely matched Barthes semiotic code as we wanted the audience to recognise the connotations of loneliness e.g. sitting alone at a desk or on a playground. We used a basic binary opposition of fear vs. empowerment utilising Levi-Strauss ideas about internal conflict.


My music video engages with my target audience in several ways. Firstly, my research suggested that music videos from the pop punk genre were best received via YouTube. Evidence for this can be found in the enthusiasm for new artists such as Psy who owes his success to YouTube. The pop-punk market is niche and it is essential to be able to tap directly into this market.

My video features teenage male singers and musicians. The “tweenie” market is very important to the music industry and it is essential to engage with young girls who will be keen to purchase merchandise and tour tickets. When we showed the video to a sample group of 12 -13 year old girls they were quick to pick out their favourite band member in an example of what can be seen as gratification theory, as the girls imagine which boys they would date – this is a major factor in the success of bands like 1D and The Wanted.

The music video also needs to engage with a male audience. The band are shown playing real instruments which is aspirational for young males watching the song. Ien Ang talks about treating audience members as individuals and we hope the individual clothing choices and appearances would encourage young men to see the band members as unique and to identify with them.

The video identifies the mental health consequences of not being part of a friendship group and our character is shown throwing items onto the floor as he is enraged with his circumstances. This throwing is a semiotic for despair or exasperation. Saussure suggests certain semiotics are identifiable to audiences and we wish to drip drip (Hypodermic needle) the impression that our band embraces friendship and would embrace any fans who followed the band.

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