Ted Talks – mental health and films


Abstract  –

My topic is,  How is Mental health represented in films and is it a accurate representation? This topic is interesting to me because I have always been interested in mental health and seeing how people represent people who have mental health issues is interesting since everyone is different.

I am going to be looking at films such as Girl Interrupted, Donnie Darko, The Machinist, 12 Monkeys and Awakenings in all of theses films mental health plays  big part and different disorders are shown in different ways I also might do a comparison between a couple films that are showing mental health in a positive light and not having it be a negative thing because in most horror films they are represented in a negative light and made out to be scary and someone with mental health issues is often portrayed as someone who you want to stay away from because they might be dangerous.

I plan to watch and review key points of a bunch of films that portray mental health, I also have a few books I am using for quotes and information, these I will get off Google books and in the library I also am looking on different websites, I plan to get loads of different kinds of research on a few different media types, this will be useful and make my research even more reliable and better when I am presenting

I expect to find out that a-lot of films represent mental health in a dark and scary way, that the representation isn’t true to the actual thing. A lot of the time film directors make mental health problems seem worse than they are just to make the film better and get more views unaware of the impact they’re having on people who aren’t aware of the condition they are actually watching about.


Media Topics 

1.     Genre

– A way of classifying and catagorising media products, but it is also alot more than that it is also a selling tool within genre there is iconography such as clichés, directing Style, Costume, Lighting, Narrative, Misè en Scene but also you have your sub genres and hybrid genres. It is a style or type of music, literature, movies, or other media, Some types of genre is Horror, Thriller, Comedy, Romance, Scri-Fi etc and some sub/hybrid genres are Psychological Thriller, Psychological Horror, Romance Comedy, Suspense Thrillers, Chick Flicks,Crime and Horror. Also there is Iconography within Genre, which is another part of genre, this means we can tell what genre it is by looking at/watching the film, and by looking at the 

  • Clichés
  • Directing Style
  • Costume
  • Lighting
  • Narrative
  • Music
  • Misè en Scene
  • Posters

We can tell the film by the iconic style of the directer/film etc, such as Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz and the rest of the franchise have the same/similar style.

2.     Narrative

It explores the way stories are told and structured. There are theories like the theory from Vladamir Propp who created a theory on characters called “The Character Theory ” propp suggested that there are 8 different  character types these types are, 

  • The Villain – fights the hero
  • the dispatcher –  makes the villains evil known and sends the hero off
  • the (magical) helper -helps the hero on his/her quest
  • the princess or prize -the hero seeks to rescue her and achieves this by completing his quest.
  • her father – gives the task to the hero, identifies the false hero and marries the hero often sought the for the during the narrative propp noted that functionally, the princess and the father may not be clearly distinguished
  • the donor – prepares the hero or gives the hero some magical object or something to help them along the way.
  • the hero or victim seeking hero – Reacts to the hero, Weds the princess and saves the day
  • the false hero  takes credit for the hero’s actions or tries to marry the princess

There are loads of other theories to do with narrative such as,  7 Types of Story types, Claude Levi-Strauss, Binary opposites, Tzvetan Todorov, Theory of equilibrium these are all great if you’re interested in narrative. 

3.     Representation
Representation is how media such as the news is edited, hand picked to suit an audience, filtered, constructed, Media products offer a constructed reality, they don’t present reality  – they represent it, there are political and cultural reasons for different representations. 
The representations of characterS such as, Male, Female, Age, Personality Types, Race, Religion etc. As well as character types there are also  political and cultural reasons for different representations. In media there is a saying “Pale, Male and Stale” this means a White, Old, Man in power who owns large sections of the media industry and can change and adjust how media is represented and what media is shown, such Rupert Murdoch, Donald Trump. 


4.     Audience

Audience is important in media because different audiences consume different media and therefor it is important to understand what your audience is, for example if you are writing a magazine on the charts and fashion advice your audience would most likely be young females who are interested in music and fashion, and if you were writing a article about motorcycles your audience would most likely be Older men interested in motorcycles, but its not as simple as just picking a group of people, there is a lot of thought that goes into it such as demographics (statistical data relating to the population and particular groups within it as in numbers taken in a poll, percentages of a state etc), Psychographics (classification of people according to their attitudes, aspirations, and other psychological criteria e.g things they like to do, hobbies and interests) Geographics, (the study of peoples interests in comparison to where they live). All of those help the marketing team to rightly target the right audience therefor writing a successful article.

5.     Regulation

Regulation is important in media texts because the regulations protect us from things not suitable for certain ages for example there are age restrictions on magazines with subjects such as Explicit content, Swearing, Weapons, Certain age restricted films, any many more but magazines aren’t just the ones that are regulated there are films, tv shows etc. The media texts are regulated and age restricted based on the content of the text itself, these rules i think are followed fairly well especially in shops when buying age restricted texts, but i don’t think they’re as regulated online,

6.     Technology (including digital media)

Technology has very vastly improved throughout the years, especially  in film and television. My chosen industry is film and film over the years has changed dramatically. Not only has film changed in regulation and what is aloud in films for what ages but also by the quality of films and the quality of  what were looking at, this is improved by better televisions we now have 4k televisions to watch films on and 3D televisions and also we have better cameras that have a better quality of filming because of it. We also have streaming services such as Netflix,  Solar movies, Sky Go and many more, these services make it a lot easier to find and watch films.

7.     Production/Distribution/Exhibition

In the production and distribution of media products is where some issues come up, such as regulation issues, advertising, shipping, where it will be shown/sold  and many more. In production the issues centre around budget and how it is made, a few of these problems may be to make sure the company has enough money to proceed in filming and making props and hiring actors etc, also they need to make sure they have enough money for advertising and merchandise. The technology used in production are the usual things such as Cameras, Computers, Mic’s and many more.  In distribution its all about getting it out to the audience and how it gets out there, also the people who get it to the stores, these can be cinemas, shops, and merch sellers. Distribution has the Distribution Company they control/deal with, what is pushed out to audiences, Filters, Money orientated. And finally, Exhibition is where and how the text is consumed, as in is it in cinemas, on television, on Netflix or other streaming sites. 


8.     Marketing and Promotion

Marketing and promotion is all about how the text is advertised, is it advertised on posters, on tv, and at cinemas (via trailers), how the audiences found out about it?  how successful as it?  for example if someone watches a trailer or sees a poster for a film and they like what they are seeing and they decide to go and see the movie, that would be successful marketing. This is where we have to be certain with the age ratings because we don’t want to end up marketing to an age not suitable to the age group.

My Prezi and script –

tedtalksscript – Script for my ted talk.

Prezi for ted talk – https://prezi.com/ckb5lnsuzey3/mental-health-in-films/




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