26 April


The writer places time, money and people at risk because his ambition has life-defining force. What’s true for the writer is true for every character he creates

In Robert McKee’s ‘The Substance of Story’, the substance is defined as the nucleus to the story: “alive but intangible”. This reading highly focused on the Protagonist in stories and their necessary qualities as characters who inspire and are well-regarded. According to McKee, Protagonists are evidently: wilful; have conscious desires; have self-contradictory unconscious desires; have a capacity to pursue their Object of Desire convincingly; have a chance to attain their desires; cause closure at the ‘end’ of the story; and are empathetic. I agree, I disagree; I am befuddled. In order to determine my level of agreement on the matter, I consulted the second reading – ‘Casablanca’ by Umberto Eco.

a cult movie must display some organic imperfections… To become cult, a movie should not display a central idea but many. It should not exhibit a coherent philosophy of composition.

Ah, yes. Finally some clarity. My mind’s hazed-cloud of opinion has been blown away (or has possibly slowly dripped and fallen during precipitation of the quote). By using Casablanca as a case study, Eco reveals how the cult film embodies five genres in the space of two minutes. Which leads me to my overarching perspective: intertextual referencing by postmodernity.

Yes, McKee’s Protagonist qualities are common and anticipated in cinema history and future respectively. My view, however, is that the manifest of these qualities is directly associated with the degree of ‘cult-ness’: the superfluous nature of these qualities intensifies dependent on the level of ‘cult’ – or postmodernity. This goes hand-in-hand with the “text based on text” and “cinema based on cinema” realisation. There is no true original text; they are inevitably influenced by predecessor texts and societal/cultural knowledges. My own example to support my perspective is Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore – arguably a text thats degree of postmodernity is almost unparalleled – with intertextual referencing to: Western and Eastern cultural texts; Western and Eastern music; Western and Eastern celebrities; Western and Eastern food… Basically Western and Eastern everything. The synthesis of Western and Eastern cultures and texts enforces a postmodern explosion of intertextuality. Through all of this, the Protagonist’s association to McKee’s qualities of a Protagonist is ostensibly variant. Reading Kafka, the Protagonist: is not wilful but random; has no conscious desires whatsoever; has unconscious desires that not even the reader knows upon the completion of the text; cannot pursue the Object of Desire convincingly as the Protagonist acknowledges ‘his’ unconvincing nature; attains minor desires through no force of his own; causes an opposition of ‘closure’ at the end of the text; and is neither empathetic or sympathetic to the readers. After this, you may think that Kafka on the Shore is probably a stupid fucking novel. It’s postmodernism and opposition to stereotypical Protagonist qualities, however, solidifies it as a cult text. Therefore, it is my view, that as McKee’s qualities of a Protagonist wane, the degree of postmodernism encourages the attribution of a text as part of cult-culture.


Week 7: Readings Regarding Media ‘Texts’ and Textual Analysis

24 April


Victor Burgin’s Looking at Photographs (Ch. 6) – ‘Thinking Photography, 1982

In Looking at Photographs, Burgin discusses photography in particular as a media ‘text’:

Photographs are texts… what we may call photographic discourse… [which] is the site of a complex ‘intertextuality’.

As an introductory reading to media ‘texts’, the analysis and deconstruction on photography is quite interesting. In relation to the textual analysis applied to photography and media ‘texts’ in general, Burgin discusses semiology:

Semiotics or semiology is the study of signs, with the object of identifying the systematic regularities from which meanings are construed.

The focus on semiotics in the reading drew parallels to this week’s lectorial discussion whereby semiotic textual analysis was introduced. Signs, denotations and connotations, and codes are primary aspects of semiology. The chapter concluded with a description of the four ostensible types of ‘look’ in a photograph: the look of the camera; the look of the viewers’ perspective; the ‘intra-diegetic’ looks exhanged between subjects and objects in the photograph; and the look the subject gives to the camera.The reading was a good introduction to semiotics however did not go into much depth in relation to what a media ‘text’ is. The second reading, however, did.

Gill Branston’s & Roy Stafford’s Approaching media texts – ‘The media student’s book’, 2010

[Media texts] are seen as actually structuring the very realities which they seem to ‘describe’ or ‘stand in for’.

In structuralist analysis of texts and semiotics, the text is considered a highly structured work that’s intentional deconstruction of this structure generates meaning. Textual analysis is easily supported through evidential aspects of the text. The two approaches to media texts are qualitative and quantitative, or semiotic and content, analysis.

With semiotic analysis we, the audience, are called ‘readers’, partly as a way of emphasising that we are dealing with something learnt rather than ‘natural’ and partly to indicate the degree of activity needed to make sense of signs.

Quantitative or content analysis, on the other hand, focuses on the parallels and patterns between the aspects of texts and the intertextual relationships with other texts – both explicitly represented and alluded to. Charles Sanders Peirce states that there are three types of signs in relation to semiotics:

Symbol: Signs for which the relation is arbitrary… there is no necessary connection
Icon: Signs which resemble what they stand for
Index: Casual link between the sign and what it stands for

Index is the type of sign that is most subjective in semiotics and can generate different meanings dependent on the knowledge of the ‘viewer’: their personal knowledge and experiences; their opinions and perspectives; their goals and motivations.

I am now feeling crazily nostalgic this week in relation to the lectorial’s focus and the readings. I am brought back to my prior learnings of the four approaches to meaning in texts: author-centred, reader-centred, textual analysis, and world-context approaches. I would like to delve into structuralism, post-structuralism, marxism and psychoanalysis again for Project Brief 4; I think they will amazingly compliment the semiotics of textual analysis. My group has been given ‘texts’ as our basis.


6 April



Collaboration: a term that keeps popping up in the Media One course. The idea of collaborationism has been studied viciously by many theorists and writers, especially on social media and internet sharing. In the “What is Collaboration Anyway?” reading, it states:

User-generated content and social media create the tendency for confusion between sharing and collaboration. Sharing of content alone does not directly lead to collaboration.

This forms the basis of collaboration study. Where does collaboration begin? Who initiates the collaboration when social media is concerned? The answer, I believe, is the non-human entity linking the relationship of two human collaborators: the Internet. Although the internet does not consciously choose with its brain to assist in collaborationism (or does it?), the Internet’s ubiquitous nature in collaborationism in 2015 is not to be ignored. Probably the most important section of the reading (again my opinion), is the ‘Criteria for Collaboration’ sub-chapter. It details how on assessing the strength of collaboration, particular criteria can be questioned: intention, goals, governance, coordination mechanisms, property, knowledge transfer, identity, scale, network topology, accessibility, and equality. I realise after writing out the specified criteria you are now probably confused by the ‘list-y’ nature; I feel the same way. But there is relevance to it. Whilst collaboration can be an unintentional happening, it generally is a planned and motivated occurrence between multiple parties to achieve a similar or same result. The reading’s deconstruction of Wikipedia’s collaborative nature was vitally interesting. Although the stigma of Wikipedia is DO NOT TRUST WIKIPEDIA, I tend to take this less seriously than I am instructed to. Wikipedia is the world’s most collaborative online database and although sometimes the information may be misconstrued or embellished, it is a perfect example of successful collaboration at work.


14 March


I am going to keep this one nice and short (I hope) due to my current physical state.

Note to self: Do not attempt to read an ethics report after minimal sleep and minimal food-intake

I am not sure whether or not it is this physical state or the fact that I did not watch the film Tagged (2007) that evoked a sense of agony upon me as I read week 3’s Donovan reading. I can take one (or both) of those stances however I almost adamant that neither are the cause. To put it simple, that was one of the most boring articles I have ever read and am glad that it is now part of my past and no longer infects my present or future. Donovan writes about her documentary film Tagged and unpacks an evaluation in excruciating detail of the successful and appropriate manipulation of ethics revolving around the production of the film. Apparently, Tagged presents an “ideological position” and is “truthful [in its] representation” through chosen aesthetic and discursive techniques. All I have to say is that whilst Tagged may have attempted this and might actually be one of very few ‘documentaries’ that intend on presenting truth, Donovan’s point has been overshadowed (personal opinion here) by the pain inflicted upon me in reading this article. I have not seen, and fail to believe that there is, a documentary that’s authors actually present 100 percent truth. The editing in post production, the planning of the film and multiple takes of shots in Tagged solidifies my opinion and has strengthened my stance against ‘documentary’ films. In truth, I have not seen the film; it could oppose my arguments completely and subvert my ideologies (however I highly doubt that). So in conclusion, I understand the position of the report and can draw connections to various points made by Donovan on ethics, however, the article interested me as much as the film adaptation of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): not at all!

Merrin (vs.?) Mason

12 March


William Merrin – ‘Studying Me-dia: the Problem of Method in a Post-Broadcast Age’

In this modern digitised era we live in, many elucidate that the term ‘Media’ recedes more in present day to its successor ‘Me-dia’. Personal ideologies are forefronted through self-made me-dia as society’s grandest medias are, whilst highly regarded, often seconded. Merrin’s blog Media Studies 2.0 ironically presents his post on the issues formalised by modern digital me-dia in contrast to broadcast era media. Volume, Dispersal, Ephemerality, Access, Discovery, Content, Ethics, Production, Audience, Generalisation and Accumulation form Merrin’s package of ‘problems’ with today’s digital age. He commends the volume of post-broadcast era me-dia, however, whilst acknowledging the multitude of documentation devices, records his pessimisms on ephemerality and the inevitable digital lost of instant/ present-focused me-dia. Whilst he details the differences and similarities between media and me-dia, his point – at times – is shrouded by the irony that his post on problems with post-broadcasting is distributed through his me-dia blog.

John Mason – ‘Researching your own practice: the discipline of noticing’

Mason’s chapter on ‘noticing’ is a pedagogical stance on noticing media, forming an acute exposé on intentional noticing, marking and recording.

Intentional noticing: This is pretty much self-explanatory. For aesthetic purposes, I will still define it. Intentional noticing’s primary focus revolves around “living-in” and “learning from” media (likewise me-dia). Mason states that we are “multi-sensate beings” where intentional noticing occurs every day – whether consciously or unconsciously – and is easily aligned with ordinary noticing and perception. Intentional noticing can be only recalled through being “re-minded (literally)”.

Marking: This one is a bit more difficult. Marking, as Mason defines, is a “heightened form of noticing”; therefore I understand it as the ‘second step’ after intentional noticing. Whilst one could presume that marking is a solely conscious effort, it can be internalised by the sub-conscious. I am more inclined to take the stance that marking is – opposed to more conscious – more deliberate than intentional noticing. Whereas intentional noticing relies on being “re-minded”, marking draws focus on “more than casual attention” as recollection of events and remarking to others and yourself allows easier accessibility of the incident at a later point in time.

Recording: Whether brief or in depth, recording as the third form of noticing involves noting the noticed – externalising the event/ incident from internal thoughts. It is important to understand, however, that internal note-taking is also considered a form of recording as this is arguably still an aspect of conscious recording. This form of noticing requires the most motivation and attention, two imperative attributes that we disregard and detest.

Application of Mason to Merrin

When considering Mason’s status on noticing media, parallels can be drawn between this and Merrin’s methodical ‘problems’ of media in our current post-broadcast age. Merrin’s viewpoints on ephemerality and discovery, in particular, collaborate with the idea of intentional noticing specified by Mason. If intentional noticing is the act of taking attention but no attachment to, it augments the notion that ephemerality is an issue with me-dia in a post-broadcast era. Do we as media practitioners need to consciously move to marking and recording in our digital me-dia age in order to deter this ephemerality? I suppose the idea of intentional marking and intentional recording rely on motivation and attention. Is it really the post-broadcast era that has caused ‘media’ to wane?

I agree with Merrin; I disagree with Merrin. These are two conflicting statements that both correlate with me. I am not torn between the two; I can confidently accept that I can associate with both. Yes there is a larger volume of today’s media and me-dia that contribute to an inevitable result of forgotten digital artefacts however Merrin’s note on access is imperative in order to contradict this. Today’s access of media – whether minute or gargantuan, fan-made or industry made – eclipses the broadcast era’s primitive methods (by comparison) of access, distribution and accumulation. I feel that my agreements with Merrin can mostly be subverted through a conscious application of Mason’s intentional marking and recording.

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