Cinematic Persuasion

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“Suspense, laughter, violence, hope, heart, nudity, sex, happy endings. Mainly happy endings.” Griffin Mill (in Robert Altman’s The Player , on what a movie needs to make money). Cinematic Persuasion. Cinema’s Power to Persuade. Movies are a form of entertainment - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Text of Cinematic Persuasion

  • Suspense, laughter, violence, hope, heart, nudity, sex, happy endings. Mainly happy endings. Griffin Mill (in Robert Altmans The Player, on what a movie needs to make money).

  • Cinemas Power to PersuadeMovies are a form of entertainmentThey are also a business (show business)they are also a form of persuasionMovies reach large numbers of peoplepotential for mass influenceMovies are told in a narrative formstories possess an aura of believability

  • Cinematic influenceAll serious evaluations of movie and television versions of American life suggest that pop culture portrays a world that is far more violent, dangerous, sexually indulgentthan everyday American reality (Medved, 2002) People may not expect to be persuaded during a moviewilling suspension of disbeliefMovies can persuade intentionally or unintentionallyintentional persuasion accidental influenceSocial responsibility versus artistic freedom

  • Movies and social modelingYoung people aged 15 to 24 are the most frequent movie goers.Only 1 in 4 movies portray no risky health behaviors (positive examples include Castaway and Sixth Sense)The movie industry rarely portrays negative consequences of risky behavior (such as HIV, pregnancy, DUI, etc.)

    Harold & Kumar In Escape from Guantanamo

  • Social modeling: thank youfor smokingSmoking rates in cinema are disproportionately higher than for the public at large (Omidvari, et al 2005).Over the past six years more than half of the movies geared toward children feature characters smoking. In more than a quarter of the movies, actors light up cigars (AMA, 2008). Teenagers are significantly more likely to start smoking if they watch movies featuring stars who smoke cigarettes (Dalton, 2003)89% of smoking is initiated during adolescence (Johnston, OMalley, & Bachman, 1996)

  • Movies and risky behaviorMore negative social modelingUnsafe sex:98% of movies with sex scenes make no mention of safe sex (Gunasekera & Chapman, 2005):.Drug and alcohol use:Movies with cannabis (8%) and other non-injected illicit drugs (7%) were less common than those with alcohol intoxication (32%) and tobacco use (68%)Buckling up:seat belt usage in movies is quite low, typically between 10-30% (Jacobsen, Kreuter, Luke, & Caburnay The national average is closer to 70%.

  • Positive social modeling occurs tooFinding Nemo normalizes disabilitiesNemo has an underdeveloped lucky finNemos father suffers from post traumatic stress syndromeDory has short-term memory lossBruce the shark is in a 12 step programA squid has incontinence (cannot retain its ink)

  • Cinema and social changeFilms often advance cultural awareness and social changeGuess Whos Coming to DinnerEasy RiderThelma & LouiseBrokeback Mountain

  • How movies persuade: stealth advertising Product placement- the practice of inserting brand name items into the movie scenes is (lists placements in movies)Types of placementVisualSpokenUsageApple has placed products in more than 1,500 TV shows.Apple is just as popular on the big screen, showing up in hits from "You've Got Mail" to "How to Lose a Guy in 10 days."" Films are carefully crafted, detailed works of art

  • How movies persuade: Promoting viewer identificationStories in films overlaps with viewers own experience, so they can relate to the message in the movieviewers identify closely with characters who face a crisis or adversityexample: Movies like Rudy and Seabiscuit champion the little guy.

  • How movies persuade: exporting American culture and valuesAmerican movies export Western cultures and values around the globeMovies are one of Americas three leading exportsNegative side- foreign audiences are not too thrilled with the emphasis on materialism, sex, and violence in the movies. Positive side- movies can embrace values such as freedom, equality, and human rights

  • Fashions, hairstyles, lifestyles are often imitatedMovies are vehicles for advertising

    How movies persuade: exporting American culture and values

  • Movies and violence Movies often serve as guides for social behaviorviewers often act out, model, imitate what they see on screenResearch on violence in video games, television, movies, and the Internet found that those exposed to movie violence demonstrated more pro-violence attitudes (Funk, Baldacci, Pasold, & Baumgardner, 2004).26 per cent of adults still have "residual anxiety" many years after viewing horror movies in childhood.

  • Movies and violenceHollywood routinely recruits teenagers and children (some as young as nine) to evaluate its story concepts, commercials, theatrical trailers and rough cutseven for R-rated movies. The FTC studied 44 restricted films meant for adults, and discovered that 80 per cent were targeted to children under 17.

  • Cultural and Gender StereotypesHollywood frequently typecasts minorities, cultural groups, and women, overweight people, the elderly, and other groups into limited rolesLegally Blonde perpetuates the dumb blonde stereotypeShallow Hal gives people permission to make fun of fat peopleJackie Chan fills the image of the martial artist who is sexually/romantically awkwardArab American community refers to the Three Bs syndrome. Arabs in movies and on TV are:bombersbelly dancersbillionaires.

  • Hollywood blazes a pathOscar winning actor,Morgan Freeman, brings a sense of authority, dignity, and gravitas to the roles he plays.He played the role of president of the United States in the movie Deep Impact (1998) and the role of god in God Almighty (2003).Is it possible he made the idea of an African American president more thinkable?Dennis Haysbert and D.B. Woodside also played the Commander in Chief in the Fox TV series 24.Can Obamas election be seen as a case of life imitates art?

  • Cultivation TheoryCultivation Theory predicts that heavy exposure to movies and TV may cultivate attitudes more consistent with the media version of reality than with reality itself.Heavy viewers have a more distorted view of the world than Light viewersHeavy viewers develop a view of a mean, scary worldMovies and TV provide biased, stereotyped depictions of reality, which can distort the beliefs of heavy viewers

  • Based on a true story?Plotlines and details may be loosely based, or may be based on false assertionsAmityville Horror: The truth was finally revealed when Butch DeFeo's lawyer, William Weber, admitted that he, along with the Lutzes, created this horror story over many bottles of wine. ( Texas Chain Saw Massacre: there was no real family of cannibalistic chainsaw murderers slaughtering people in Texas, nor any actual series of chainsaw-related killings. (

  • DocumentariesBowling for Columbine: documentary or mock-umentary?Supersize Me: documentary or shock-umentary?Beware of docu-dramasTime compressionComposite charactersRe-shot footage (example, reaction shots filmed at a different time)

  • Resistance to Cinematic PersuasionDo not let your guard downRealize its only a movie not real lifeBe aware of product placementsAssume the director will opt for a good narrative over accuracyBe informative and seek knowledge