Within today’s lesson, we worked on Semiology. Semiology is the study of signs, everything within it must be encoded to contain a direct message with meaning for the audience to be able to decode. The general signs that you have to look out for are colour, clothes, body language, props and location.
To start with, we created a colour table to get a rough idea of the different colours that are used and what they would symbolise, in particular we used red, green, yellow and blue.
Everything to do with red could include the feeling/idea of danger, love, warning, anger, luxury, heat, jealousy or even power.
Everything to do with green could include the feeling/idea of envy, happiness, sick, jealousy, wealthy, magical and natural.
Everything to do with yellow could include the feeling/idea of happiness, caution, summer, warm, enlightment and success.
Everything to do with the colour blue could represent the idea of sadness, cold, calm, contemplated, space, serious or an aura.
The good thing about this exercise was that it allows us (the audience) to easily decode what something could be about. For example, if you look at the image of Captain Jack Sparrow from above, the sky clearly shows that it’s daytime and generally clear, whereas the dark clothing represents a sense of mystery towards him and that he is different in some way that people won’t know until they meet him. His costume clearly represents who he is as well, and what he is in the film. It wouldn’t work if he was dressed as something more comedic like Blackbeard in Peter Pan (2003).
We also ended up creating a new design for a character to join the cast of Skins to get an idea of how to use Semiology from a TV experience from Episode 1, Season 1. Personally, I thought of making a new character known as “Darren Skarfol” – a 16 year old that lives with his parents still. To symbolise the sense of the character himself, I drew him with a cigarette in his mouth to show he clearly smokes and show the audience part of his character instantly. I also thought about the way his room could work; I thought it could be messy, but patches are more neat to give the more “average” teenager room. My idea was that there’s a bin that’s full of alcohol bottles, some partially broken to create a sense that he could be a type of alcoholic.
Finally we were also asked to watch Season One, Episode One of any TV show and show how we could easily find out about the character(s) and what drags us in to try and decode them from an audience perspective.
Personally I wanted to use one of my favourite TV shows, which is surprisingly from 1979 and that is: Worzel Gummidge! My mum introduced me to it when I was very young as it was what she watched when she was a child; shortly after it became one of my favourite shows.
Worzel Gummidge Season 1 Episode 1 Worzel's Washing Day (Karl Roye, 28 April 2015)
Straight away from the introduction, we instantly get where the program itself is set from an establishing shot (as well as a wide shot) with what seems to be a scarecrow in the center of the shot. This then moves onto a close-up of the scarecrow who seems to be a person, which directly links to who he is and who he plays within the series – Jon Pertwee is Worzel Gummidge. After the introduction, we receive an establishing shot zooming into a car driving, which is followed by a close-up from the front of the car with three people inside. We instantly get to know something about one of the children: the boy is similar to a common-day child where they drink something and instantly say “I don’t need to go to the toilet” followed by about five minutes later: they do! We also find out that the father is very respectful of the nature and the farmers works around the area as he mentions “Don’t stand on any of the crops” followed by the boy saying “What crops?” where his response is instantly “Any crops, anything that grows”. We also find out that they are clearly somewhat lost and new to the area as the father asks the daughter for the map. The daughter then asks “are we lost again” where the father responds with “We’re not lost, Sue. We seem to be going round in circles”. Now we’ve gathered the daughters name. We then see the boy “doing his business” behind the hedges where it pans around to Worzel. The boy seems slightly freaked out by what he can see, and we can see that Worzel at this point in the film seems to be “broken” as his arm is flailing around in what could be the wind. The boy is then shouting to his father “What’s that man think he’s doing?” where the father seems protective and says “What man?”. The boy also thinks the scarecrow was waving to him, which suggests the idea of that he looks a little bit realistic which sets that he could be later in the series. The father sarcastically mentions “Well you better wave back then!” followed by a laugh and says “It’s the wind”. Following onwards from here we see another man that looks similar to Worzel riding a bicycle to the field where the scarecrow is. Instantly we gather that he has a pet dog named “Ratter” and that he could be the one that made the scarecrow or even wants to fix the scarecrow as he is holding a lot of straw. We instantly gather as well that it has previously been winter, and the man that looks similar to Worzel is in fact the one that made him as he knows his name, and is there to fix him up.
That was a small introduction to one of my favourite TV shows, and has allowed me to see how much a 2 minute clip from Season One, Episode One can draw you in and instantly allows you to try and decode the tv show itself. I feel the task itself was useful as it allowed me to understand how to keep someone constantly wanting to be watching rather than changing the channel.