Category Archives: BCM210

The Final Post: Interview on Romance Films.

For the last BCM210 post we were asked to test our survey questions, for the second assessment, in the form of an interview.

As mentioned in the previous post, the hypothesis for the assessment is romance films; how they have evolved, and how they influence audiences’ views on romance and their relationships. In the group I’m participating in we decided to use three specific films that convey different romantic views. These films are: ‘An Affair to Remember,’ (1957) ‘Dirty Dancing,’ (1987) and ‘Friends with Benefits.’ (2011)

Friends with Benefits (2011)
Friends with Benefits (2011)
An Affair to Remember 1957
An Affair to Remember 1957
Dirty Dancing (1987)
Dirty Dancing (1987)

Using Interview questions inspired by the survey we have created, I conducted a trial interview; these are the answers I received…

Individual interviewed: Female, age between 20-25

 Q: How do you feel romance films influence your opinion on relationships and romance?

I think they are often stereotyped as being unrealistic, but I believe some of them can instill morals and hope of what “real” love is supposed to feel like. They’ve influenced me into becoming a hopeless romantic.

 Q: How often do you watch romantic films and why?

Whenever I feel like watching something uplifting and I’m feeling hopeful. Never watch when you’re heartbroken lol.

 Q: Out of the following films: An Affair to Remember, Dirty Dancing and Friends with Benefits, which do you feel reflects your romantic ideals and why? ‘An Affair to Remember’ because it still holds those classic morals that old Hollywood was all about. It’s friendship that has turned into love unintentionally; that is to say she didn’t throw herself at him, nor was he just trying to get her into bed. It’s a sweet, tender, and caring relationship.

 Q: What is your opinion on romantic films, how do you think romance is conveyed in the media today?

Romance today is completely different to what it used to be and how it rarely is perceived in film. Instead of that lighting bolt connection or getting-to-know-you conversation, it’s about hooking up right away, hopping into bed and hoping that the guy texts you the next day and eventually (after many months of no strings attached) you call it a relationship. It’s 95% ridiculous and 5% moralistic.

 Results


From the interview, I was able to surmise that the questions asked were sound enough to inspire honest results. Analysing the individual’s answers, we can easily see how old-fashioned romance with morals is favoured through choosing, ‘An Affair to Remember’ as the film which influences their views on love. They believe in being a hopeless romantic despite the crude episteme of today.

 

Original Survey Questions


The survey questions that inspired the interview above are as follows:

Q: Circle the films below that you’ve seen

An Affair To Remember     Dirty Dancing     Friends With Benefits

Q: Have any of the previously mentioned films influenced your ideas on relationships/romance?

Yes/No

 Q: On a scale of 0-5 (0 being never and 5 being frequently), how often do you watch romance films?

 Q: Do you think the media has an important role in shaping opinions on romance?

 Overall from developing the interview questions, I was able to understand that the survey can easily be improved by expanding questions by merging two questions into one, so that new questions can be added in for more depth. Looking forward to seeing the diverse results within the answers collected through the finalised survey.

TEXT ANALYSIS: AN AFFAIR TO ANALYSE (REMEMBER)

 

An Affair to Remember 1957
An Affair to Remember 1957

For the second (group) assessment, the core theme revolves around romance films, and how they have an impact on audiences and relationships. Whether a classic or modern film, they all give an insight into the romantic points of view from audiences and writers. They are a representation of how love is conveyed in different epistemes.

One of the films being discussed for the assignment is 1957 film, ‘An Affair to Remember.’

In a Global Mail article, “Weeping in Seattle ROMANTIC REMAKE” What was it about An Affair to Remember that made Meg Ryan’s character in Sleepless in Seattle watch it over and over and drove her into living out the central plot twist by arranging to meet Tom Hanks on the top of the Empire Estate Building?” (Italie 1993) Hillel Italie gives insight into director, Nora Ephron and screenwriter Jeff Arch’s thoughts on ‘An Affair to Remember’ (1957) and how the film inspired, ‘Sleepless in Seattle.’ (1993) Italie also discusses the context of, ‘An Affair to Remember,’ comparing it to the original film, ‘Love Affair.’ (1939)

In the film, ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ Meg Ryan, Rosie O’Donnell and other characters cry while watching, Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr in, ‘An Affair to Remember.’ At one point, Ryan and O’Donnell mime the line; “Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories. We’ve already missed the Spring.” (An Affair to Remember 1957)

Sleepless in Seattle 1993
Sleepless in Seattle 1993

In the article, Italie (1993) reports that Nora Ephron calls, ‘An Affair to Remember’ memorable, adding that the women on the set of, ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ would watch the ending scene countless of times.

“This is…a movie you have memories about…I can watch it over and over. When we were shooting Sleepless, we’d watch the last 10 minutes of the film and within the eight minutes everybody would be crying – if they were girls.” (Ephron 1993)

The reactions of Tom Hanks and Nora Ephron’s husband is also illuminated by Ephron (1993), as she clearly points out the male response to the film saying,

“My husband (writer Nick Pileggi) left the room. Tom Hanks, who couldn’t leave the room, made it clear by a number of unbelievably derisive noises what he felt about this.” (Ephron 1993)

Then, earlier in the article Italie (1993) quotes writer, Jeff Arch, who reportedly calls, ‘An Affair to Remember’ “an incredibly sappy movie.” (Arch 1993)

From these points of views we can easily surmise how the following scene from, ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ illuminates a stereotypical view on how men and women feel about romantic films when, ‘An Affair to Remember’ is described.

Talking about the context of the film, Italie (1993) explains how director Leo McCarey remade ‘Love Affair’ (1939) into the Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr remake, saying the plot was not changed, but subtle religious connotations were added.

An Affair to Remember 1957
An Affair to Remember 1957
Love Affair 1939
Love Affair 1939

“McCarey was a far more serious man when he decided to resurrect Love Affair nearly 20 years later…At times, it’s subtle, like the way Kerr keeps referring to the Empire State Building as “the nearest thing to heaven” or compares a country villa to the Garden of Eden.” (Italie 1993)

From this we can understand the director changed his views on romance by the time he created, ‘An Affair to Remember’ to give the film’s narrative a moralistic and deeply sensitive feel.

In conclusion, it can be understood that an audience, screenwriter and directors’ views on romance is reflected in films but in reality.

References


 An Affair to Remember 1957, DVD, Twenty Century Fox Film Corporation, USA, directed by Leo McCarey

Italie, H 1993, Weeping in Seattle ROMANTIC REMAKE” What was it about An Affair to Remember that made Meg Ryan’s character in Sleepless in Seattle watch it over and over and drove her into living out the central plot twist by arranging to meet Tom Hanks on the top of the Empire Estate Building? The Globe and Mail, 19 July 1993, viewed 12 March 2015, http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/docview/385329321?pq-origsite=summon&accountid=15112

Love Affair 1939, RKO Radio Pictures, USA, directed by Leo McCarey

Sleepless in Seattle 1993, DVD, Tristar Pictures Inc, USA, directed by Nora Ephron

Why Research Ethics are Important.

The Hobbit: An unexpected Journey, 2012.
The Hobbit: An unexpected Journey, 2012.

When starting an adventurous journey, also known as a research project, the essential part of collecting, analysing and writing information is the use of ethics.

Whether it’s medical research, or media research (authors, script writers, journalists and public relations) each profession follows a code of ethics to ensure all participants who have volunteered to be part of the project are respected, and that the researchers collect data properly. This is the main reason why researching ethically is important.

In the set text, ‘Research Ethics in Media and Communication’ Weerakkody defines ethical research saying it, “ensures the researcher is ‘doing the right thing’ by the project, its participants and society at large.” (Weerakkody, N 2008, p.73)

According to Weerakkody (2008, p.73) the main way researchers gather information is through surveys, fieldwork, interviews and documentaries. Participants that become a part of the project volunteer, meaning they chose to participate and were not coerced or forced. (Weerakkody, N 2008, p.76)

Historically speaking, the use of research ethics was introduced to stop inhumane research from taking place; such as the cruel experiments Nazis undertook in World War Two. Another example Weerakkody (2008, p.75) highlights is the Case study on the 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment. This case study reveals how researcher, Professor Phillip Zimbardo had Stanford University students act as either prisoners or prison guards in a jail created to study, “psychology of imprisonment.” (Weerakkody 2008, p.75) The unethical events that took place are evident in how prisoners were strip-searched, chained, and the power the prison guards were given; one element of power being conveyed in the mirrored shades as explained by Zimbardo in the BBC documentary video. (BBC 2015)

Overall this meant there was no respect for the participants, especially the students who portrayed the prisoners. Weerakkody (2008, p.75) illuminates that the prisoners experienced breakdowns, and the experiment concluded after six days instead of two weeks as the students took the prisoner and prison guard acting role on as actual identities.

Discussing the “Nuremberg Code (US Government Printing Office, 1949)” (Weerakkody 2008, p.77) Weerakkody outlines the ethical safety rule when participants are involved in research saying,

“Research should avoid the possibility of causing unnecessary physical or psychological suffering, nor should it inflict pain, trauma, injury or harm to subjects.” (Weerakkody 2008, p.77)

The Stanford Prison Experiment is essentially considered unethical because of the treatment of prisoner students and their suffering, which is outlined in the above statement.

Media researchers such as Journalists and films makers have their own code of ethics. In journalism Weerakkody (2008, p.87) says Journalists have to respect privacy of their participants, anonymity and confidentiality of sources, and follow the Australian Journalists’ Association’ Code of Ethics. These are: “honesty, fairness, independence and respect for the rights of others.” (Weerakkody 2008, p.87) In other words Journalists write facts in an unbiased and neutral manner.

When talking about filmmakers, Weerakkody (2008, p.86) says participants interviewed for a film documentary must be protected and filmmakers, “must be socially responsible when making representations of people and make the portrayals balanced, in good taste.” (Weerakkody 2008, p.86)

When Harry met Sally 1989, Sony Pictures.
When Harry met Sally 1989, Sony Pictures.

An example of documentary interviews for film is represented in 1989 movie, ‘When Harry Met Sally.’ In a TCM article, Andrea Passafiuma (2015) talks about the scenes where couples recall how they met each other. Passafiuma (2015) explains filmmaker; Rob Reiner conducted interviews with real couples, and brought in actors for the film to portray their stories. This shows good ethics as the participants who told their stories were represented fairly and respectfully.

Overall it is clear that research ethics is important for researchers to conduct projects correctly and to respect and protect their participants.

References

Passafiume, A 2015, When Harry Met Sally, Turner Classic Movies, viewed 9 April 2015, http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/21366%7C0/When-Harry-Met-Sally.html

Paulie Johnson 2015, Psychology: The Stanford Prison Experiment – BBC Documentary, online video, 20 February 2015, YouTube, viewed 9 April 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gb4Q20z0T1Q

Weerakkody, Niranjala Damayanthi 2008, ‘Research ethics in media and communication’, in Research methods for media and communications, Oxford University Press Australia and New Zealand, South Melbourne, Vic., pp. 73-91

Text Analysis: Social Media Emotion Flu

Meme photo by, makeameme.org
Meme photo by, makeameme.org

Social media has a big impact on today’s society. It is our communication link to people we have seen only a mere few minutes ago, (work, uni, school or socially) and to other individuals we have not talked to in person for a certain amount of years, (and be honest, they probably wouldn’t be in your life if it wasn’t for Facebook, Twitter, etc.) All these people are now in our everyday lives when we login to Facebook. They our in our friends list, sharing images or videos, posting statuses, and they are ultimately having an emotional impact, affecting how we feel.

In one of week three’s set readings, “Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks,” Adam Kramer, Jamie Guillory and Jeffery Hancock outline their research into how individuals (message receivers) are affected when they read positive and negative statuses on their Facebook News Feed.

The key phrase in this text to explain their findings is, ‘emotional contagion.’ In Oxford Dictionaries, contagion is clearly defined as the, “communication of disease from one person or organism to another by close contact.”

This signifies that one person communicating an emotion to another individual can ultimately change how the other is feeling. The receiver begins to express an emotion that is not their own. Adam Kramer and the other researchers confirm this at the beginning of their article by saying,

“Emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading them to experience the same emotions as those around them.” (Kramer, A 2014)

The contagion defined though is an example of “close contact” (Oxford Dictionaries 2015) In the article the research is based on social media contagion. So in other words, the research is not based on close physical contact of two individuals conversing; instead it is based on emotional contagion spread via the messenger to the receiver through Facebook posts written and viewed.

The emotions analysed in Kramer’s research is happiness and depression. The article (2014) theorises that people who view positive posts of others on Facebook may have the sensation of feeling alone. It states, “exposure to the happiness of others may actually be depressing to us, producing an “alone together” social comparison effect” (Kramer, A 2014)

Highlighting this concept, Kramer states that emotional contagion happens through, “text-based computer-mediated communication.” (Kramer, A 2014)

As a Facebook user, when we login, the first page we see is the News Feed. It is here that posts from a certain amount of our friends is displayed, and excuse the cliché, but not all posts are gems. As readers we are hit by a wave of positive and negative written emotions. Kramer (2014) outlines this along with why Facebook users only see posts from a handful of friends; he says:

“People frequently express emotions; which are later seen by their friends via Facebook’s “News Feed” product…the News Feed filters posts, stories and activities undertaken by friends.” (Kramer, A 2014) Kramer (2014) also reveals that this is done by Facebook to give users posts they’ll prefer.

By analysing negative and positive words found in statuses, Kramer (2014) claims that negative posts increased by receivers when fewer positive posts were seen on the News Feed, and Positive posts were created when negative posts weren’t seen, proving that friends’ emotions have impact on Facebook. Kramer (2014) adds to this saying, that optimistic responses to positive Facebook posts prove the earlier theory (on the feeling depressed when viewing a positive status) wrong. (Kramer, A 2014)

Overall this text illuminates an interesting aspect on social media and emotions. Take caution; don’t catch the social media emotion flu!

References


Kramer, Adam D. I., Guillory, Jamie E. & Hancock, Jeffrey T. 2014, ‘Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 111, no. 24, pp. 8788-8790

Oxford Dictionaries 2014, ‘Contagion,’ Oxford Dictionaries: Language Matters, viewed 8 April 2015

BCM 210 – A Spoonful of Research

Mary Poppins 1964, Walt Disney Studios.
Mary Poppins 1964, Walt Disney Studios.

 

It’s another year of uni, which introduces a series of blog posts for BCM 210 that are pleading to be written, and whilst writing this I’m listening to a wonderful Disney Soundtrack – Mary Poppins. (1964)

Now I know what you’re thinking, “how does this relate to research?” Well quite simply, it doesn’t. Though if you indulge me by reading on, I will explain how a particular track relates to the first set text, Arthur Berger’s, ‘What is Research?’(First chapter in, ‘Media and Communication Research Methods’) and how he reveals that we all use research daily, showing a little academic research is not as sour as we thought it to be.

The track I talk of is, ‘A Spoonful of Sugar.’ (Sherman, R.M and Sherman R.B 1964) We all remember Mary Poppins telling the children, “In every job that must be done there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and snap! The jobs a game,” but for some reason we’ve found it difficult to find the fun in research.

Straight from the beginning, Berger talks about how students see research; how we conceive it as a tiresome and torturous first step before getting to explain, write and in turn, theorise what we want to. He explains this by relating it to his own experience with students.

“They see the required course on research as some kind of an ordeal they must survive before being allowed to take the courses they want and live a normal life.” (Berger 2014, p.14)

We all at some point though, out of interest and curiosity, research; whether its learning how to play a particular song on the guitar, watching a make-up tutorial, reading an article about our favourite band, or even reading a memoir about an author we admire – just to name a few concepts. If we can do that, why not aspire to research an interest in an academic point of view? See? The research then becomes “a game.”

Illuminating the idea of daily research, Berger (2014, p.14) says: “Most of us do what could be called “research” all the time…when people decide to buy a computer, they generally try to get some information about the brand and models of the computers they are thinking of buying…So we are always doing research, even though we don’t think of what we are doing as such.”

When researching academically, we can gather data and statistics (quantitative method) or research and analyse texts (qualitative) to find information that backs up our hypothesis. Berger (2014, p. 29-30) explains the quantitative and qualitative methods and how they may be used in research of crime shows, saying:

The qualitative researcher might study the metaphors in dialogue and the narrative structure…the quantitative researcher might study incidences of violence per minute in the series.”

For the second assignment in this subject, the aspects of media research I am interested in is the mass media, and how journalists cross platforms to reach their audiences through social media; or even how literature crosses media platforms via adaptation into film and television.

Overall, from the help of the set text, and giving an example of what I’d like to research, hopefully fellow researchers can realise, as Mary Poppins (1964) defines it, “the task (research) is not a grind.”

Marry Poppins 1964, Walt Disney Studios.
Marry Poppins 1964, Walt Disney Studios.

 REFERENCES


Berger, Arthur A. 2014, ‘What is research?’ in Media and Communication research methods: an introduction to qualitative and quantitative approaches, 3rd ed. SAGE, Los Angeles, pp.13-32

Sherman, R.M and Sherman, R.B 1964, ‘A Spoonful of Sugar,’ Mary Poppins, Walt Disney Studios, California, USA

Stevenson, R (dir) 1964, Mary Poppins, motion picture, Walt Disney Studios, California, USA