1. How does your media product represent
particular social groups
By Jaydeen Lee
When assessing the development and production of my group’s two minute film opening; we had
to take into account- class, race, gender, age and sexuality. This would effect the film opening
either positively or negatively if not executed well. We looked at a few example on the Pearl and
Dean website and realised that most big films like- Attack of the block and/or The colour purple,
were successful because they heavily relied on the audience’s ability to conform associate the
characters to stereotypes. So as a group we had to evaluate how the cast may impact on the
representation of certain social groups. If we decided to disrupt the natural connotations linked to
certain stereotypes we would need to asses how this may impact and possible confuse our
audience for example the Dexter series (which conforms to the natural stereotype of a detective
but subvert the audience’s expectations through his double secret life and blood thirst for death,
creating a quite cynical tone and atmosphere in contrast to the Mise en scene and chirpy upbeat
We decided as a group to have the two protagonists of a working class
background. We manipulated the common stereotypes of the working class by
adding in dialogue, altering the Mise en scene and using a range of camera shots
to steer a negative representation of the working class. We realised that the
common stereotypes and conventions- rough, uneducated and dependant- may
not reflect reality but historically is associated with this particular social class.
Although we had casting limitations i.e. our original adult actor suddenly cancelled and we could not find 2 other
white male actors; which would have fit our first cast idea. We understood that the actors that were available
worked better with what our idea was. With a Black female and Asian male playing as our cast they fit well with
our genre. As the negative stereotype of single black mothers would be associated with the mothers characters.
Also the different ethnic backgrounds allows diversity and allows these different ethnics to play key roles in film
opposed to old-fashioned films in which different backgrounds were either villains of side cast additions
Mother Son stereotype Possible changes
The mother was played by
a young, black female. She
is addicted to drugs and
uses her fostered son to
feed the addiction. She is
the vixen in the film
opening and often abuses
her foster child. The shot
of her opening the fridge
exaggerates her inability
to control the addiction.
The son was played by a young
Asian male. Who’s parents had
died and is in the care of his evil
foster mother. At the beginning
he is walking by himself to
show his loneliness and
emphases his fragility through
the use of low angle shots.
Both protagonists conform to
The mother conforms to the
negative connotations of her
race. Often we would associate
the black actor as being one of
violence. She subverts the
connotations of a mother by
neglecting her foster child.
The boy also conforms to the
negative stereotype of a
Muslim boy. He is seen as week
and in the film opening neglects
morning prayer, to emphases a
loss of hope and faith
If we were to produce a film beyond
the film opening. We would have
included a positive black female
character to create a balance
highlight racial profiling is not always
accurate and that there is some
positivity in different races .
Also we would include a strong and
positive Muslim character. To help
the boy regain faith and hope and to
shed positivity to such a dark
We looked at how the age of the two protagonists may represent both youth and the
adult. Both are represented as though binary opposites. The age of characters can
have some negative or positive perceptions by the audience. The connotations of
youth displayed in our film opening are- vulnerable, innocent, dependant and fragile.
Compared to the associations of the adult- authoritative, dependant, weak, and
suborn. Age is a very important factor and sets the tone for all films and so we used
these both very negative connotations and applied them to our genre and dialogue to
highlight the storyline of the film opening.
We had the idea throughout our plan that we would have a male boy actor. We chose
a male actor as we have looked at many examples- The girl next door- Gregory Wilson.
And found that money movies around this nature have female actors and so we
wanted to highlight that abuse happens in both sexes.
Initially our original plan was to have two male actors. However, unfortunately, one of
our male actors was unable to take part in our film. The idea of having a male adult
actor was to conform to the negative stereotype of men being emotionally detached
and aggressive. In fact on average, 2 women a week are killed by a current or former
male. Therefore the audience can then associate his character with these negative
stereotypes, easily as it is established regularly by the media and different institutions.
Instead we had a female adult actor and realised that this could still be effective. This
difference in genders can highlight the emotions issues both casts have and their
inability to comprehend. Also the positive connotations we would associate with her
character would be caring and understanding. However, by subverting this it create
sand element of shock for our watchers and further emphasises her ‘evil’ character
Both casts are heterosexual. We decided to not have any homosexual
cast as it would distract our audience from the main plot. Also this
would be too much information for our cast to know in the first two
minutes and could possibly give away the whole story.
This would also be very, hard to execute as the male boy actor is
religious and would not feel comfortable. Even though it would have
been a very interesting concept, we wanted to keep it simple.
In addition it would also be hard to execute as we wouldn’t know how
to hint that the actor is gay in the first two minutes. As our time was
very limited and our minds fixated on trying to stick to our initial plot
we decided this would have been the best idea.