Tuesday, 9 December 2014

People of certain ages are often put into certain stereotypical groups, most noticeably though in TV dramas. For example, teenagers are portrayed as being rebellious and disrespectful hoodlums who only live to cause trouble, whereas older people are given the image of useless and grumpy. Throughout this extract from Waterloo Road there are many points which I think fit this idea of stereotyping the characters according to age. This is done through camera angles, mise en scene, sound and editing.

The establishing shot of the extract is a low close up shot of a pair of brown heavy duty shoes walking through what seem to be table and chair legs, this immediately shows us that this scene will take place in a classroom or formal setting of some sort. The extended close up shot of the shoes intensifies the importance of the shoes to the audience and allows them to wonder at who is doing the somewhat suspicious walk. The next shot is a two shot of two teenage boys. The sudden cut from the shoes to the boys displays the connection between them, and their shifty acts are clearly the reason for the slow walk from the brown shoes. As the teacher is first introduced to the scene through a stern 'ahem' (showing his power over the two younger boys) there is a sudden increase in the speed of the editing. There are 4 shots which only last around half a second each as the boys hurry to hide whatever item it is that they were trying to be secretive about. This fast editing represents the youth's lack of composure when faced with 'danger' using the fast cuts as a signal of panic. There is then a close up of the teacher and students faces as they begin to talk, these shots give the first clear shot of their faces so allow us to pick out the significant contrast between the boys' youthful faces and uniform, and the teacher's wrinkly aged skin. The next shot is a mid shot which shows us a contrast between the two age groups, this time through body language. As the older teacher looks at the students with a stern look yet a smug one, the boys stand very closed and almost never make eye contact. This fits the stereotype that the older generations always have authority over the younger ones and they also enjoy having this power. The use of the broken camera in the scene also shows that the younger students are lacking in discipline and are also careless with their property. However shortly after this camera is revealed, another character is introduced who fits different parts of each stereotype. She is a teacher so shows power over the boys, but is also dominated by the older male teacher. She also dresses smartly like the older teacher, but sports a more vivid pink as apposed to the other teacher's grey suit tying her in with the younger characters as well.

In the next scene there is an establishing close up two shot of the student and the care taker. The student is shown slouching against the wall, which is the stereotypical posture for a 'lazy' teenager. When the two characters start talking about the broken window, the care taker automatically assumes that it was this boy who had broken the window. This shows clearly the caretaker's hostile manner towards the student, thinking the only reason for a mischievous teen telling him about such a thing is if he himself did it. After explaining that the broken window wasn't his handy work, the student says its because he wants to do something he's good at if he's going to be 'stuck in this place'. This use of wording is common from teenagers as they are all perceived to hate school and want to rebel against the system. There is then a series of over the shoulder shots whilst they come to an agreement on the conditions for the student to help out, this shows us each of the characters personal view of the other character. This teacher however is not like the other ones seen in the scenes before, as he is wearing a loose fitting unbuttoned shirt, rather than a suit or tie. This connotes his inner youthfulness and also explains why he feels so inclined to help out this student.

The next scene starts of with a long shot down a school corridor filled with students. These students are almost all wearing the wrong uniform or pushing the rules at least. They wear short skirts and loose ties without their top button done up. This displays the youthful rebellious mind clearly to the viewer. The walls and displays are also mostly brightly coloured and filled with posters, connoting the bright and inventive mind of the youth that most adults do not get to see. The students speaking about the girls' parents divorcing use very informal language compared to the older characters to once again show their rebellious nature against conforming to the 'norm'. Teenagers are also notorious for not being able to stay out of each others business, so talking about their friend's family issues backs up this idea. This is also seen in the following scene of the students in the English classroom. Throughout this scene the camera focuses mainly around the girl and boy sitting in the middle of the class. Even when it is announce that the girl has some happy news with another boy, the original boy is always in frame, connoting his interference in the situation.

The final important scene starts with an establishing shot of a pair of Nike high top trainers. The camera then pans up the body of the person wearing these shoes, revealing it is a fairly old man. The non-diegetic grime music playing and the clothes that this man is wearing are complete ill fitting and do not go together well at all. There are then some students who laugh at this man, conforming the idea that for an older person to wear those type of clothes is completely not socially acceptable and should therefore be made humorous. Even following his humiliation he is told he looks ridiculous by a fellow colleague, and next to this teacher he look completely out of place.

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