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.