Essay notes about GENRE and hybrids: comedy, mocumentary, thriller

Your argument should consider:

  • The main features of the genre
  • How these generic features are then used in your chosen texts; you should pay particular attention to mise-en-scene, narrative and acting
  • How genre informs your reading of the text(s)
  • The ways in which your text(s) might ‘hybridize’ with other genres
Genre is a French word meaning ‘type’ or ‘mind’. It’s output is marked my a particular set of conventions, features and norms. (pg 1. Introduction: what is genre). Therefore, our main aim of this presentation is to find out how different genres can use similar techniques and about cliches within each of these categories in relation to two films: The Breakfast Club a teenage drama film from 80’s and What We Do In The Shadows a vampire comedy of 2015.
The Breakfast Club:
  • MAIN GENRE: drama as a film genre relies on the emotional development of realistic characters (Buffam, Noelle. “Genre: Drama – The Script Lab”. N.p., 2016. Web. 22 Apr. 2016) -just as in The Breakfast Club-realistic characters in a realistic situation and set. Often, these dramatic themes are taken from intense, real life issues, (Buffam, Noelle. “Genre: Drama – The Script Lab”. N.p., 2016. Web. 22 Apr. 2016.) just as the Breakfast is talking about teenager’s issues. Heroes or heroines of a drama film are usually facing a conflict from the outside or a conflict within themselves. Drama films aim to tell an honest story of human struggles. (Buffam, Noelle. “Genre: Drama – The Script Lab”. N.p., 2016. Web. 22 Apr. 2016.)
    • Techniques – frame freeze-single frame or picture played continuously to create an image of a frozen frame in order to create a enigmatic or emotional end to the film. VIDEO of the LAST SCENE
  • TEEN DRAMA subgenre: Teen films are targeted at teenagers and young adults in which the plot is based upon the special interests of them, such as coming of age, first love, rebellion, conflict with parents, alienation. (Driscoll) Often these normally serious subject matters are presented in a glossy, stereotyped or trivialised way. Films in this genre are often set in high schools, or contain characters that are of high school age, one of the most widely used conventions is using the stereotypes. (Kaveney. N, 2006) which also are exactly the main conventions we see in The Breakfast Club.
  • COMEDY sub-genre: Comedy is a genre of film that uses humor as a driving force. It’s main purpose is made to make people laugh and have fun watching it. The aim of a comedy film is to illicit laughter from the audience through entertaining stories and characters. Although the comedy film may take on some serious material, most have a happy ending. (Buffam, Noelle. “Genre: Comedy – The Script Lab”. N.p., 2016. Web. 22 Apr. 2016) Comedy film has the tendency to become a hybrid sub-genre because humor can be incorporated into many other genres, such as it is a subgenre in The Breakfast Club, which is clearly seen from it’s storytelling, but also the use of lights, which are daily and bright, sound- using catchy and uplifting soundtracks and camera, which is mainly naturalistic, shows each character equally.
  • COMEDY is also the main genre of What We Do In the Shadows, because of the narrative, the acting and techniques.
What we do in the shadows
  • The writers tap into this rich vein of what is essentially bastardised folklore to produce excellent comedy material , applying it to the real world with all the ugly impracticalities (procuring human victims, sleeping upside down, being allergic to sunlight etc.) which that entails. All these things are captured using documentary techniques; the film is a combination of talking head interviews, archival footage/photographs, and ‘raw’ footage of the struggles of the characters’ daily lives.
  •  subgenres
    • MOCKUMENTARY/FANTASY-DOCUMENTARY: ridiculously happy to be on camera — preening, mugging and posing at every opportunity. Each crew member wore a crucifix and was granted protection by the film’s major subjects. Seven Days. N.p., 2015. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.  Almost every scene begins with a recognisable domestic situation which turns supernatural without losing its kitchen sink appearance, such as a when, in the opening minutes, an argument about washing up rotas (also rather kitchen sink) explodes into a flying battle between two hissing vampires. GOING CLUBBING: Shot by a single camera from across the road, the fully costumed actors are seen imploring unmoved club doormen to explicitly welcome them into various venues – and it is unclear whether this is unscripted footage or if the bouncers agreed to be in the film beforehand, which adds another layer of fact/fiction for the audience to decode. When Deacon admonishes new blood Nick for attracting attention by flying outside, the accused glances from the camera to Deacon, replying, ‘You’ve got a whole documentary crew following you around’. Despite the aggression no fighting ensues after the ‘alpha male’ werewolf says, ‘You’re on camera mate, don’t. Don’t do it’, – this is a perceptive parody of Kemp-esque gangland documentaries in which hoodlums wave weapons and posture aggressively during interviews, without actually breaking out into violence. At first all non-human guests seem oblivious to the cameras. That is until Vladimir’s nemesis points them out, at which stage the cameras begin to roam erratically while Vladimir tries to protect them: ‘You will not eat Stu and you will not eat the camera guy’, then turning to another camera, ‘Maybe one camera guy’. Another common documentary technique parodied in WWDIS is the reconstruction, or ‘re-enactment’,  in which an already fictional event – how a human character became a werewolf – is dramatically re-imagined, with all the hallmarks of a Crimewatch UK (1984-) instalment. It is also a parody of many other vampire and werewolf movies.
    • BIOPICS: flashbacks, historical background, legends, stereotypes.
    • SUPERNATURAL: Supernatural film is a genre that centers around supernatural elements, such as ghosts, gods, goddesses, and miracles. Supernatural films deal with the unknown questions of life; therefore, they tend to incorporate religious elements into the plot. Since they emphasize the unknown, Supernatural films are considered quite suspenseful. These films often cross over into other genres, creating hybrids like Supernatural-Comedy and Supernatural-Drama. (Buffam, Noelle. “Genre: Supernatural – The Script Lab”. N.p., 2016. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.)
    • THRILLER: These are types of films known to promote intense excitement, suspense, a high level of anticipation, ultra-heightened expectation, uncertainty, anxiety, and nerve-wracking tension. Thriller and suspense films are virtually synonymous and interchangeable categorizations, with similar characteristics and features. If the genre is to be defined strictly, a genuine thriller is a film that rentlessly pursues a single-minded goal – to provide thrills and keep the audience cliff-hanging at the ‘edge of their seats’ as the plot builds towards a climax. The tension usually arises when the main character(s) is placed in a menacing situation or mystery, or an escape or dangerous mission from which escape seems impossible. Life itself is threatened, usually because the principal character is unsuspecting or unknowingly involved in a dangerous or potentially deadly situation. Plots of thrillers involve characters which come into conflict with each other or with outside forces – the menace is sometimes abstract or shadowy.(“Thriller And Suspense Films”. N.p., 2016. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.)Thriller Film is a genre that revolves around anticipation and suspense. The aim for Thrillers is to keep the audience alert and on the edge of their seats. The protagonist in these films is set against a problem – an escape, a mission, or a mystery. No matter what sub-genre a Thriller film falls into, it will emphasize the danger that the protagonist faces. The tension with the main problem is built on throughout the film and leads to a highly stressful climax.
Buffam, Noelle. “Genre: Drama – The Script Lab”. N.p., 2016. Web. 22 Apr. 2016.
Kaveney, Roz. Teen Dreams. London: I.B. Tauris, 2006. Print.
Driscoll, Catherine. Teen Film. Oxford: Berg, 2011. Print.
Buffam, Noelle. “Genre: Comedy – The Script Lab”. N.p., 2016. Web. 22 Apr. 2016.
“What We Do In The Shadows”. Seven Days. N.p., 2015. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.
Romanski, Philippe and Aïssatou Sy-Wonyu. Trompe(-)L’œil. 2016. Print.
Buffam, Noelle. “Genre: Supernatural – The Script Lab”. N.p., 2016. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.
“The Breakfast Club (Movie Analysis) And Teen Stereotypes – Judith Andre”. HubPages. N.p., 2016. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.
“What We Do In The Shadows | Film | The Guardian”. the Guardian. N.p., 2016. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.
Geffen, Sasha et al. “Film Review: What We Do In The Shadows”. Consequence of Sound. N.p., 2015. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.
“Thriller And Suspense Films”. N.p., 2016. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.
Buffam, Noelle. “Genre: Thriller – The Script Lab”. N.p., 2016. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.
Geffen, Sasha et al. “Film Review: What We Do In The Shadows”. Consequence of Sound. N.p., 2015. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.
Garrett, Jason. Social Outcast Cinema. 2008. Print.
“Editing Techniques Cinematic Presentation”. N.p., 2016. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.
“Emotions In Motion- ‘The Breakfast Club’”. Year 9 English @ Bossley Park High. N.p., 2015. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.
Reed, Rex. “‘What We Do In The Shadows’ Is A Fresh Take On Vampires In The Vein Of Mel Brooks”. Observer. N.p., 2015. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.

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