Media Investigation

Part One – Critical Frameworks

Genre –

Genre is a way of classifying or categorising different media products, iconography helps audiences you know what you want to watch.  Genre is a sales tool, its there to reel you in and make you want to spend lots of money at the cinema. One of the positives of genre is that its set everyone has their own type of genre they like and one negative would be that every time your specified genre comes out in cinema you immediately want to see it meaning you’re spending lots of money on those types of films.

Regulation – 

Regulation is put in place to protect different age groups wether that be for TV, Film, Games or even radio. A positive for this is that your are protecting children from watching or playing harmful things, A negative maybe that actually there isn’t much difference between a 17 year old and an 18 year old so that might raise the argument of ‘Should regulation of film be revised’.

All films must be viewed by the BBFC before being released, this is so they can determine the right age that would be suitable for the audience.

Technology (Inc Digital Media) –

Technology has changed massively over the years, Some may say that the millennials know more now than generation X. Millennials are known as digital natives and Generation X are the digital refugees meaning that Generation X has almost lost its way with technology. In many ways technology has had a bad effect on the industry for example when artists release songs consumers can download them illegally or use Spotify or Apple music meaning that the artist alone won’t profit anything.

Production/Distribution/Exhibition –

This explores issues that come up at different stages of making and releasing a media products.

Production –  Budget, tech used. Issues about where and how it was made.

Distribution – how did it get to the audience? who paid to get it to the audience?

Exhibition –  where and how was the text consumed? Cinema? Online? TV?

Audience Theory – 

There are two kind of audiences, Active audiences who interact with the media, absorbing content and making conscious decision about their lives do to the subject matter. Passive audiences consume content on a subconscious level, absorbing content with no conscious digestion of what is true or false.

The hypodermic needle theory suggests that the media ‘injects’ ideas and opinions into a passive audience, this theory was developed in 1920s – 1930s an example of this would be if a child was to play GTA and kill some civilians they may think that it okay to do this in real life.

4 categories 

Diversion –  Escape from everyday problems and routine.

Personal Relationship –  Using media for emotional and other interaction.

Personal Identity –  Finding yourself reflected on texts.

Surveillance/Info – Info useful for living, weather reports, holiday bargains.

Representation –

In the media, it is the way in which aspects of society such as; age, ethnicity, national/local identity, gender, Issues and events are presented to an audience by text.

We must consider how they are presented and the effect on the response of the audience, the way in which these aspects are represented will change according to their context.

A stereotype is a construction where character traits are over-exaggerated and easy to recognise. It can be positive or negative and are quick ways for the producers of the text to transmit messages.

Narrative –

Narrative is what happens chronologically in the story.

Plot – the plot is the way in which the director chooses to portray the story – characters, setting and propps.

The two main narratives that films follow are Non – linear which is when the storyline is not in chronological order and Linear which is when he story is in chronological order and has a clear beginning, middle and end.

Todorov’s theory involves 5 sequences of events:

Equilibrium –  narrative is steady and unchanged

Disruption of equilibrium – Flashbacks, dream sequences and flash forwards.

Realisation of the disruption – character realises there is a disruption.

Quest to restore the equilibrium – not necessarily a quest but has some struggle against disruption.

Re-establish equilibrium – resolution, clear ending.

Levi Strauss, Binary opposition.

The narrative is driven by the constant creation of conflict/opposition. The narrative cannot end until there is conflict resolution. These oppositions can be…


Roland Barthes
Action Code: Advances the narrative and tells you whats coming next.

Enigma code: Controls what the audience sees or knows. sets up clues about what is to come but leaves it to the audience to guess.

Marketing and Promotion – 

Marketing is buying and selling a product or service, this could include selling, advertising or delivering products to consumers.

Promotion is something that is used to publicise or advertise a product in a way that makes consumers want to the product, this can be done through TV, magazines or word of mouth.

Media products such as films, Tv and music are all promoted in ways that appeal to the audience, For example youtube display ads either before or during their videos to promote things like music and films.

If i was to look into marketing and promotion for my essay, i would research into how ‘Monsters Inc’ promotes itself to appeal to its target audience.

  • I would see how their trailer grips children into making them want to watch the whole film.
  • I would find out why they create toys about the film and see how much it raises the number of people who know about it.
  • Finally i would see what platforms they use to advertise the film to grow the number of people watching.


 Part 2: Choosing your focus area

The narrative techniques Pixar use to tell a story in relation to Monsters Inc and Toy Story.

The focus of my research will be to find out the narrative techniques Pixar use to tell a story in relation to Monsters Inc and Toy Story, The reason i’m choosing to investigate this is because I find these films entertains but at the same time feel as if they are almost stand alone films as they don’t really compare to other kids films.

Both films use Strauss’ binary opposites theory. Randall being evil and Mike and Sully being the good and in Toy Story, Woody being the good and Zurg being the evil, The films also use Todorov’s theory.

Narrative techniques used in Monsters Inc and Toy Story aren’t like any other animation kids films, A lot of other kids films will follow the Propps Character types theory which explores characters such as The hero, The villain, donor, dispatcher, false hero, helper, princess and the princess’s father whereas I think that films like Monsters Inc and Toy Story follow Todorov’s theory, The 5 sequences of Equilibrium which are Equilibrium, Disruption of equilibrium, realisation of equilibrium, Restore the equilibrium and re-establish equilibrium. A positive to using these narrative techniques would be that it can help the films to stand out and not be the same as the rest of the kids animation films, and a negative could be that if an audience member doesn’t like a type of narrative technique used in the film they may not watch it or may lose interest in the film.

The research I plan to undertake (Secondary) would be to look back at both films and note down the narrative techniques used in both of them and explore why they might be used, I also plan to use books to learn more about narrative so I can find other techniques that Pixar may use to tell their stories. I know of a few Pixar documentaries on Netflix about how they created films such as Toy Story so they should shed some light on the process.

The primary research I will undertake would be surveys, I may ask questions like ‘Do you know of any narrative techniques?’ ‘Is the storyline easy to understand?’ another type of primary research I may do would be a focus group, for example I would get two clips from Toy Story and Monsters Inc and get the group to answer questions such as ‘Do they use the same narrative technique?’ and ‘How well does the clip tell the story?’. I will be aiming the primary research more toward 17 and above, The reason for this is because  I feel anyone under that age may not understand narrative to well as they would be more enticed by character.

Through the research Im expecting to find out that they both use similar narrative techniques and i’m also hoping to maybe find some new information about how the writers wanted the storylines to be and how they planned to lay them out. I also would like to understand why they might use certain narrative techniques against others techniques to tell their stories.

Part Three – Research and Explore your Focus Area

15 sources I shall use for my essay –

  1. To Infinity and Beyond!: The Story of Pixar Animation Studios.


Screen Shot 2018-01-18 at 15.54.41.pngScreen Shot 2018-01-18 at 15.54.58.png


The narrative techniques Pixar use to tell a story in relation to Monsters Inc and Toy Story.

Annotated Catalogue

Web resource 

Item 1

BBC Bitesize wasn’t a very reliable source as a lot of the information on the site I already knew from past lessons, When writing the essay I used bitesize to look at the 3 act structure of Toy Story.

Item 2

Riko (2011) Toy Story, Sid’s House. Available at: (Accessed: 15 December 2017).

This link was useful as I was able to analyse Sid’s bedroom to them be able to talk about him in more depth.

Item 3

This link was useful as I was able to understand why the writer used certain techniques to engage the audience and how to keep them coming back to watch the films.

Item 4

This link wasn’t useful for my research as it didn’t go into depth bout narrative it was just an article about the technology they use to create the characters and the scenes.

Item 5

Although the article was about Inside Out the main narrative of the movies are somewhat similar it then helped me to understand they use the same techniques to keep people coming back.

Item 6

This was useful towards my essay as I was able to look at all the rules Pixar use to create their films and then talk about them within the essay.

Item 7

Weiland, K. .. M. (no date)Monsters Inc. Available at: (Accessed: 13 December 2017).

This link was useful as I was able to analyse Randall as a protagonist and look at the conflicts that him and the antagonist had.

Item 8

Segers, K. (2010) Structure: Toy Story 1. Available at: (Accessed: 13 December 2017).

this link was useful as I could breakdown each act of toy story to help me talk about narrative and how its set out.


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