1. Hollywood Film Genre
manea senior ColleGe
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2. Hollywood Film Genres
What are they?
Film genre (def’n): Films can be classified into categories according to
the codes, conventions and narrative conventions used to construct
them. These categories are known as film genres.
Your local DVD store has separate sections for different genres of
films, however within these genres you can often find sub-genres or
blends of genres.
The chart on the next page shows some of the Hollywood film genres,
subgenres and blended genres.
4. Different Genres of Comedy
Comedy is often considered one genre but in fact it can be divided into a
number of sub genres and genre blends.
Romantic comedy Parody Slapstick comedy
Sci Fi Comedy Action Comedy Horror comedy
5. analysis oF
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oF Film trailers From tHe
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6. To succeed in any Media course, you MUST be able to
define, understand and identify
CODES and CONVENTIONS of various media works.
CODES (def’n): Aspects of the text which help the audience make meaning. In
Media, we can divide the codes into SYMBOLIC, WRITTEN, AUDIO and
TECHNICAL codes (see your “My Lesson Framework” booklet for a list.
CONVENTIONS (def’n): Codes which an audience expects in a particular type
of media work or genre. They are the codes “conventionally” (normally) used to
make that type or genre of text.
NARRATIVE CONVENTIONS (def’n): The expected CHARACTERS,
SETTINGS, STORYLINES and THEMES of a particular type or genre of
This analysis identifies the codes and conventions used to construct a
8. Symbolic Codes Identified in the Tombstone Trailer
Men: White collared shirts, button up vests, riding chaps,
Costumes long pants, kerchiefs, cowboy hats, cowboy boots
Women: Long 1910-era dresses, long gloves, bonnets,
shawls, lace, feathers
Men: short hair, all men have groomed moustaches,
Hairstyles natural looking makeup – they are tanned and a little
and/or grubby looking
Women: Hair is piled up on top of head and curled,
Makeup natural looking makeup
Pistols and rifles, gun holsters, cigar, coins
Serious facial expressions with lots of “staring
Body competitions” between characters. Actions include
language: walking determinedly, riding horses fast, chasing
enemies, shooting rifles and pistols, opening coats to
Facial reveal gun holster to enemy, running away from
“baddies”, having serious discussions.
All earthy colours – browns, greys, black, burnt red &
Colours white. Everything has a “semi-sepia” tone. No bright
colours such as green, yellow and bright blue at all.
9. Written Codes Identified in the Tombstone Trailer
Titles T one – the title of the film displayed at the end of the
trailer. Glides in from front of screen. Written in shades of
grey in something similar to Rosewood Standard font.
Capitalised letters with serifs.
Written Text None
Credits The director’s name fades in over title – suggests
audience is familiar with his reputation. Next shot lists the
key production company and crew and main cast
members (celebrities of the 1990s, Kurt Russell and Val
Kilmer, are mentioned first). Next shot lists more actors,
executive producers, writer and restates director’s name.
Final shot states “Coming in December to a theatre near
you. From Hollywood pictures”.
Font All fonts have serifs (little ‘feet’ at the end of each letter)
and are in capital letters. The look is masculine and
Language All written text language is informative rather than
persuasive, emotive or descriptive.
10. Audio Codes Identified in the Tombstone Trailer
Click sound icon to hear the audio of this trailer
Dialogue Trailer features some key dialogue from film. Initially this dialogue allows viewer to
identify who the main characters are (Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday). Then dialogue
suggests what the conflict is (“the only real law around here is the cowboys”). There
are snippets of Wyatt Earp trying to motivate others to “step up” and face the villains
and also of the villain confronting and challenging Wyatt Earp. Again, this helps the
audience predict what the central conflict will be.
Music Begins with a subtle drum beat, electric guitar chords, symbol crashes. Once the two
main characters are introduced through dialogue, the music beat picks up and there
are a few subtle bugle calls. Music never fades but alternates from sounding “heroic”
to “urgent” and back to “heroic”.
Narration Male narrator speaks slowly with an American drawl. He explains the storyline and
setting. He identifies the producer (“Hollywood Pictures presents”). Towards the end
he names all main actors beginning with Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer and finishing
with famed veteran actor, Charlton Heston. He finishes his narration with some
emotive phrases about justice.
Sound Effects Lots of gun shots throughout trailer. Neighing horses and lightning are also heard.
Language Dialogue is persuasive, serious and often aggressive.
Narration is emotive and serious (“now the time has come for justice” “the west would
techniques never forget” “justice is coming to Tombstone”.)
11. Technical Codes Identified in the Tombstone Trailer
Eye level to make audience feel like they are there in the
Angles Worm’s eye view shots of Kurt Russell to make him look
powerful and heroic.
Wide shots of groups of men riding or walking into battle
Camera Mid shots showing characters in conversation
Distance Close ups of facial expressions – characters reactions to
others are clearly captured.
Extreme close ups of fingers on gun triggers
Mostly slow pans and tracks to follow movement. Many
Camera shots are steady and all have been done on tripod.
Shots are short with straight cuts when showing action
Editing footage. Some shots of Kurt Russell looking concerned
or motivating others are longer. There are a few cross
fades and slow motion shots – especially when showing
Kurt Russell in a group wide shot, then cutting in to a
close up of just his face. When narrator says each
actor’s name, there is footage of them on screen so
audience can identify the roles these stars play.
Natural looking light for each location. Indoor locations
Lighting such as saloons are dimly lit – keeping with the limited
lighting of the era. Lighting has been used to further
illuminate smoke from cigars, guns, fires. Most of the
footage is set during the day.
12. Narrative Conventions Identified in the Tombstone Trailer
Standard hero vs villain characterisation.
Characters Heroes are former law enforcers – Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday and
Villains are the rogue cowboys who have had control of the town for
a long time.
Victims of the villains are the women and children of the town of
Mostly set within the town of Tombstone. Town settings include:
Settings main street, inside the saloon, verandas of town buildings. There are
also shots showing a desert- type area. Everything is very dusty and
dry looking with limited greenery. Buildings are made of wood.
The trailer seems to match the storyline of the main film. It begins by
Storyline introducing key characters, settings and conflict. Wyatt Earp is a
retired sheriff who is new to the town of Tombstone and looking for a
fresh start with his family. The narration and snippets of dialogue
reveal that Wyatt Earp and his friends believe law needs to be
reinforced in the out-of-control Tombstone. They reassign
themselves as law enforcers and are thus challenged by the
cowboys. It suggests the hero wins with him looking powerful and
victorious in the end. The audience will probably not be surprised by
the storyline, however they will watch the film to see the famous
actors and the exciting action.
Former law enforcers are trying to restore justice to the town by
Conflict overpowering and chasing the rogue cowboys out of town.
14. Symbolic Codes Identified in the A Fistful of Dollars Trailer
Costumes Collared shirts with suede and leather vests,
long pants, cowboy boots, poncho (on main
character), cowboy hats,
Hairstyles Short hair and natural looking or no makeup. All
characters have full moustaches or stubble –
and/or they look very masculine.
Props Pistols, gun holsters, cigars
Body Serious facial expressions with lots of “staring
competitions” between characters and scowling.
language: Actions include walking determinedly, riding
horses, shoot outs between characters, opening
Facial coats to reveal gun holster to enemy.
Colours All earthy colours – browns, greys, black, burnt
red & white. Everything has a “semi-sepia” tone.
No bright colours such as green, yellow and
bright blue at all.
15. Written Codes Identified in the A Fistful of Dollars Trailer
Titles A FISTFUL oF DOLLARS is displayed towards the
end of the trailer and is white on a deep red background.
Clint Eastwood (main actor) written over a shot of the
Production company name fades in to the title shot.
Font is the same for credits and titles. Font is sans serif
Font (no little feet on the letters) and is mostly capitals with a
few random lower case letters. Writing is white and looks
All written text language is informative rather than
Language persuasive, emotive or descriptive.
16. Audio Codes Identified in the A Fistful of Dollars Trailer
Click sound icon to hear the audio of this trailer
Dialogue Short sentences from main character, mostly threatening. Other characters bully him,
then the main character responds with some calm yet intimidating threats before
carrying out these threats.
Music Drum beats – especially after the narrator says something. Someone whistling a tune
with some flute or piccolo music.
Narration Narrator is male with a deep, slow voice with an American drawl. Begins with
narrator emphasising the character has no name (“this short cigar belongs to the
man with no name…”). Later, gives some description about the main character –
presenting him as dangerous. Finally, introduces the actor playing the man with “no
name” (Clint Eastwood) and states that the film is unique in style and adventure. He
says that “A Fistful of Dollars” is the first motion picture of its kind, it won’t be the last.
This presents the film as original, innovative and perhaps as a pioneer for future
Sound Effects Lots of gun shots throughout trailer. Horse neighing.
Language Dialogue is serious, cliched and often aggressive.
Narration is persuasive and serious in tone.
17. Technical Codes Identified in the A Fistful of Dollars Trailer
Repeated worm’s eye view shots of the man
Camera with no name to make him look powerful,
Angles threatening and perhaps heroic.
Wide, establishing shots of groups of men and
Camera man with no name to show their location,
Distance relationship and distance from each other.
Mid shots showing “villains” – makes them less
personable than the main character who is
filmed using close ups of his scowling facial
Extreme close ups of fingers on gun triggers
Mostly still shots done on tripod however, there
Camera is the occasional slow pan to follow the
Movement movements of the main character and one tilt
up from his gun holster to his serious facial
Straight cuts with a mix of short and long shots
Editing to begin with. When the action increases about
half way through, the shots are shorter and the
transition faster. It slows down again
Natural looking light for each location. All
Lighting footage set during the day.
18. Narrative Conventions Identified in the A Fistful of Dollars
Man with no name (Clint Eastwood) is presented as a
Characters solitary man who is fighting against everyone else in
the town. He is the hero but in the trailer is not
presented as likeable or friendly, nor does he seem to
be killing others as a form of justice and he seems to
be killing others simply because they cross him (it is
not for justice).
Main streets of a deserted looking town
Settings In the American desert. There is a hanging tree.
Man with no name enters the town and is immediately
Storyline confronted by the villains who try to shoot and kill him.
He then goes on a search for more villains. It ends
with him having killed a group of four men and
walking back down the main street of town. It is
unclear what the storyline of the film would be.
Man with no name versus nearly everyone else in
Conflict town who is rude to him.
19. Common Codes for Both Trailers
There are a number of similarities between the two trailers which allow us to identify
some of the conventions of the Western genre. These include:
Costumes: Cowboy boots, cowboy hats, collared shirts and vests, long pants, gun
Props: Pistols and rifles, some characters smoke cigars
Hairstyles and makeup: Characters are tanned and males have facial hair
Colours: Earthy colours in a semi-sepia tone. Definitely no bright colours such as
green or yellow.
Titles and credits: Written in masculine font often capitalised. Westerns seem to value
their lead actors – perhaps these films are appealing because of the stars who act in
Dialogue: Serious and aggressive tone
Narration: Male narrator with slow, American drawl. He describes characters and
Music: Drum beat, guitar chords, piccolo – all match action on screen
Sound effects: Gun shots
Camera Angles: Frequent use of worm’s eye view to portray the main character as
powerful, intimidating and heroic.
Camera Movement: Limited to slow pans, tracks and tilts. Mostly still shots
Editing: Straight cuts with the occasional cross fade. Mixture of longer and shorter
shots depending on amount of action on screen.
Lighting: Natural, day light.
20. Common Narrative Conventions of Both Trailers
• Hero (always a solitary male, sometimes with supporters)
• Villains (usually male lawbreakers)
• Victims (older men, women, children)
• American town in desert environment. Town streets are a dominant
• Hero arrives in a town and decides to save the victims from the
villains. He begins his quest for justice or power and is challenged
by the villains who attempt to kill him in various shoot outs. He
survives the shoot outs and ultimately wins the fight(s) against the
• Hero versus villain (main conflict)
• Villain versus victim (minor conflict)
21. Conventions of the Western Genre
Just a reminder:
The conventions are the codes which an audience expects in a particular
type of media work or genre.
They are the codes “conventionally” (normally) used to make that type or
genre of text.
People who prefer to watch specific genres (Westerns, Horrors, Romances)
are considered to be the “target audience”.
The target audience expects certain things to happen in the film – they
know that the film maker will use the conventions of the genre to appeal to
We can identify the conventions of unfamiliar genres by comparing two or
more texts from the same genre – in this case, I compared the trailer of
Tombstone to the trailer of A Fistful of Dollars.