Pleasure and Conditions of Reception
People turn to films for their uses and their gratification. Some turn to books, music, playing games, etc. We can turn to different genres to achieve different emotions and different uses we seek. We can lose ourselves in a new world, become a the character we view and look at films for escapism. We can watch a comedy to laugh and cheer us up, for entertainment. We can watch a documentary film, such as Zeitgeist, to learn and discover. We can watch a horror film or a thriller, that will keep us on the edge of our seats and build our adrenaline, get us excited and draw us in. Ultimately, we all watch films for different reasons but it all comes down to pleasure. We watch film because we enjoy what they offer us.
500 Days of Summer can offer us comedy, heartache and a realistic outlook on modern day romance and life. This film can be put on for entertainment purposes, escapism and understanding. We yearn to understand the opposite sex, we sympathise with the characters along the way, we grow to hate some and to love some, either way we are growing to understand why certain things happen throughout the film and how we feel towards different characters.
The way you choose to view films can affect how you feel about them and what you take from you’ve just viewed.
There are many ways you can watch films this day in age. You can visit the cinema, on television, on a laptop, on your phone, on a PSP, etc.
If you chose to watch a film such as Avatar on yor laptop and stream it from a website, as oppose to the big screen with the 3D that the film was intended for, the lack of quality, buffering and damage to effects may cause you to not enjoy the film as much as someone who paid to see it at the cinema.
If 500 Days of Summer was available to view on ITV2 on a Friday night, your viewing will be interrupted regularly by advert breaks, which will distract your attention from the film alone. It is possible to record the film via SKY+ but you still have to take time to fast forward through advertising breaks which still breaks your attention from the film. If you were to watch the film on DVD on your television, you can watch the film uninterrupted but the quality may decrease depending on the screen you watch your film on.
Bad quality viewing can make us impatient and often films will get turned off due to this, which means you could be missing out on something that you could have loved.
Fandom & Social Networking
Fandom exists in many shapes and forms, a film, book or any product can become somebodies obsession and they will buy into said film, book or product as much as they can. An obvious example of a series of films that has a massive fan base is Star Wars. Some fans simply enjoy the films, some fans take their love to extremes and will attend conventions, buy books, graphic novels, action figures, comics, merchandise, get tattoos, cosplay and sometimes even style their own personality around a character they respect and admire. 500 Days of Summer is an indie film so for the most part, such products don’t exist around the film but there are other ways in which people try to show their respect and admiration for the film. I looked into 500 Days of Summer via Tumblr and I discovered a whole network of people whose lives revolve this film. I found blogs dedicated to Toms and Summers character, blogs dedicated to the actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel and blogs dedicated to the film, providing us with GIFs created by fans, screen prints of the film, art work, fashion inspired by Summer, tattoos, quotes, typography created by graphic artists etc. A fan will always find a way to express their esteem, with or without products that they can but into. Here are a few examples of things I found.
Outfits and clothing inspired by Summers character.
A 500 Days of Summer inspired tattoo.
500 Days of Summer fan art.
With the rising power of social networking, forums and chat rooms are slowly dying out to the likes of sites such as Tumblr, Blogspot, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Social networking has become a way of sharing information, which is important to fans. You can search for any film on Tumblr, using the tags and you then have access to reviews, quotes, images, spoilers, artwork, everything you could need or want. On Facebook, you can now visit the profile of a friend and you will be told what films, books, music, etc that you both like, so you then know you can discuss said film with that friend, because you know they’ve seen it. You can search tags on Twitter to find peoples opinions on films or whatever else you need. Social networking is encouraging people to try new things, Tumblr is the reason that I personally watched 500 Days of Summer. I follow a lot of film orientated blogs, and I started to see images from 500 Days of Summer posted, so I asked one of the blogs I followed what the film was about and what they thought about it, I purchased the film the next day.
Pre and Post Viewing Experience & Active Spectatorship
As a human being we absorb what goes on around us, what affects us throughout our life is what crafts us into the people we become and this is how everybody reads a film differently, this is referred to as reception study, the belief that our own individualism reflects upon our reading. Post structuralism is referring to the spectator as being the creation of meaning which is how we know that a pre-viewing experience can change your entire outlook on what you watch and affect your enjoyment of a film drastically, for example, if you were a 19-year-old female whose boyfriend that you were head over heels in love with had recently left her for another woman, you may sit and watch 500 Days of Summer and pity Toms character and loathe Summer, the film may make you feel jealous and you may end up disliking it, either way it can make you feel very passionately towards the film because it reminds you of the recent heartache you just suffered. If you are a 19-year-old male, who has recently found a partner and you’re falling in love with a girl, you will be able to compare your own experiences to Toms in the beginning of the film, such as how Tom feels when he’s with Summer, the little details he picks up on and notices that the male will find pleasant to view yet the female who recently lost her relationship will look at it with bitterness. The female will leave the cinema believing the film intends to show you that everything at some point ends, good guys come last and that women are evil. The male will leave the cinema and will say it’s a happy ending, because Tom find himself another girl in the end and it will inevitably lead to happiness, because Tom deserves it for being the good guy.
Whilst browsing the 500 Days of Summer tag on Tumblr, I came across this. I think this is good evidence to show how different peoples personalities and experiences can differ the opinions of the audience.
To create your own meaning for a film, which is what you often do if you are watching something that you can relate to due to a pre-viewing experience, is called active spectatorship. To actively spectate a film is to really take in what you’re viewing, to think about it throughout or to turn and talk to friends or family during the film to discuss why you think something, or what you think a character is trying to say. You’re taking part and you’re getting personally involved in what happen. The opposite of being an active spectator is to be a passive spectator, to simply take what you see, which is the intended reading and take it for what it is, thus supporting the hyperdermic needle theory, that we all, collectively, as the human race, see everything the same.
ACTUALLY NO! I’m going to challenge myself and write about 500 Days of Summer instead, it’s not a genre I know inside out and it’s not a film that I would typically enjoy (though I loved it) I think it’ll be more interesting to write about a film I don’t know like the back of my hand.