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Thread: Representation of minorities in film

  1. Default Representation of minorities in film

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    Hi guys, for my final year university essay i have to conduct a survey and collect data, would you guys be so kind and spare 3 minutes of your time to complete this short survey about the representation of race in film please.


    https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/JC2PCJL

    Thanks

    Brian.

  2. #2

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    I'm not an expert on surveys but I'm pretty sure my teachers wouldn't have approved this one. Not by topic but by design. For example the test seems to assume everybody watches mainly Hollywood films. I for one hardly ever watch American films at all. I tried to fill it in as best I could though. Good luck!
    The cats are watching us...

  3. #3
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    Totally agree with Grapes.
    It was fun trying to fill it in though as I am forced to answer in such a way that would give totally the wrong impression.
    I'm white.
    "Would you say your race is stereotyped in film?" No. and that's about as useful as it gets.

    "In which recent film that you have watched you feel like you / your race are not being represented accurately?" - All of the fiction I watch does not represent my race accurately. Accurate representation of people in fiction, regardless of race, makes a rather boring film. The whole point about fiction is it offers something different from an accurate representation of reality.

    "Characters like me are often not an important part of the film" Agree. And thank heavens for that otherwise the film would be dull in the extreme.

    Don't get me wrong, I think I understand what you're trying to get at - the problem is your questions only make sense (a) with regard to Hollywood movies (in which case you should confine the questions to Hollywood movies) and if your respondants are non-white. Of course the moment you limit your respondents to non-whites, you are leaving yourself open to all sorts of criticism about bias.

    I don't think this has been thought through....
    Tim

  4. #4

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    Some food for thought:
    When you talk about movies, you are usually talking about a medium that tells stories in about 90-120mins. That's not a lot of time to get into the background stories of multiple people.

    I think stereotyping has gotten a LOT better in the last 30 years. When you watch a Hollywood movie from the 1990s, some of those characters are so flat they might as well be cardboard cutouts. What has improved is not just a desire to make characters more dimensional, but also the approach and skill of story tellers in moving the story faster in smart ways, so there's more room to tell more of it.

    From getting rid of the 3mins introduction credits, song and scenic shots, to starting conversations and scenes midway and cutting them short. Films can move much faster now and have way more room to develop characters than they did in the past. But that's still nearly no time at all in 2hours or less.

    So consider that it is a tall order to not stereotype characters. In fact, stereotyping is the easiest way to move the story along. If there's a scene with a thug in it, its easier to make the guy look like a thug, place him in an dark alley, and start the scene with the guy screaming at someone. That just saved you a minute of having to introduce the character, because you placed him in a stereotype that people recognize.

    There's also the opposite side of that in trying to counter-balance stereotyping by throwing in a unique and diverse character. It happens so often these days that it gets silly. In TV shows you have your "token" black or asian person. To add more diversity and save on characters, that "token" one may also be gay and/or have an atypical back story. Some would say that adding token characters is a form of inclusion, I would argue it is also a form of misrepresentation.

    How would you solve this problem? How do you present accurate characters without slowing down the story or ending up with a story that's no longer compelling? People don't watch Indiana Jones because he's your regular guy going to an office job at 8am. He is a ridiculous character but in the service of telling an interesting story. On his journey he'll meet plenty of stereotypes and outlandish characters, and now you have a fun ride of adventure, exploration and thrill. Is this an issue of minorities/race, or an issue of medium (or both, or other things)?

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    Seem like jochicago has a lot of the substance for your dissertation here! Very well put. That final paragraph brilliantly sums up what I was so clumsily trying to say.
    Tim

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