ac9585a9dfb1448cb087e3771249d106.jpgKyriazis, S. (2016) Leonardo DiCaprio named in US court papers: HUGE Wolf of Wall Street embezzlement case.
Semiology
is the ‘Study Of Signs.’ It is an extremely important part of a Film or TV show. If the semiology is off it can ruin the whole scene.

Everything put into a scene by the Director is encoded. This means that everything on the screen has an important meaning and the audience decodes this meaning


Here are some examples of how semiology is used, and how it can effect a scene:

Kyriazis, S. (2016) Leonardo DiCaprio named in US court papers: HUGE Wolf of Wall Street embezzlement case.

  • Clothing is one of the many things that an audience decodes. For example, in ‘The Wolf Of Wall Street”(Martin Scorsese 2013) Leonardo DiCaprio is playing the character Jordan Belfort. The image above is a picture of him from the movie. The audience can decode a lot simply from his outfit. The red tie symbolises that he is dangerous and successful. The red could represent a red carpet, showing that he is rich or extremely successful in some way. His suit is well kept, suggesting he has the money to buy fresh suits often, or he has managed to keep his suit in the best condition possible. He has a gold watch and ring which also suggests that he is well off and successful, but also a good timekeeper and manager. The blue in his suit could represent the cold, suggesting his personality is cold, and that he can be cruel. It could also suggest that he can ‘keep his cool’ in stressful situations.
  • Things like red buses, yellow cabs and big lights can also tell the audience where a scene is taking place. For example if a big red bus was to go past the audience would automatically decode that the scene was most likely to be taking place in London.
  • body language is a very important thing that the audience will decode. For example in the image above from ‘The Wolf Of Wall Street’ Belfort is seen holding out a dollar. His is gripping the edges to show that he is protective and cares about money a lot. He is also staring straight into the camera, making the audience feel as if he is speaking directly at them, and that he has control over the situation.
  • Props. So for example in this scene Belfort is seen holding a dollar bill which suggests that money is quickly associated with this character. Other props could include things like furniture, cars and other items like these.

Different colours can come with messages and meaning. Here are some examples of this:

Red:

  • anger
  • love
  • passion
  • success
  • heat
  • blood
  • war
  • gurt
  • loathing
  • luxury

Blue:

  • sadness
  • cold
  • disappointing
  • nostalgic
  • uncomfortable

Green:

  • envy
  • healthy
  • happy
  • sickness
  • spite
  • worldly

Yellow:

  • bright
  • clever
  • happy
  • smiley
  • rich
  • confused
  • bubbly
  • bouncy
  • bold

This shows that each colour is automatically associated to certain emotions, but sometimes these signs can be confusing. An example of this is the colour red. Red can mean both love and anger. This means that although colour is an important part of semiology, it often needs to be backed up by other things to make it effective in a scene.

A new character is going to be added to Skins:

in this task I designed a completely new character for the show ‘Skins’ (Charles Martin and others 2007-2013). This task was really interesting as it helped me to understand semiology, and how much an audience can decode from such minor things.

Character Name: Joe

Bedroom:

  • Messy, clothes on the floor.
  • Mugs with moldy coffee in on the side.
  • Wrappers flooding out of the bin.
  • Bed half made.
  • Empty tissue boxes.
  • Plug socket bursting with chargers.
  • Work in a pile in the corner, messy and unorganised.

Clothes:

  • Black hoodie paired with black jeans.
  • Black trainers with on shoe not laced up.
  • Odd socks.
  • Hair a mess of curls.

Just by this brief description of my character I can tell that Joe is an extremely unorganised and messy person. Clearly he can’t be bothered to clean. and doesn’t take pride in his work as it is messy and unorganised. The half empty tissue box  shows that he can’t be bothered to replace and throw it away, showing yet again his lazy attitude towards life and his belongings.

Analysing the semiology of a scene:

The final task I completed was to find the first scene or a Film or TV show analyse the scene. Hopefully this task will help back up my understanding on how important semiology is when making a film or TV show.

I have decided to analyse the first scene of the TV show “Forever.” (Matthew Miller 2014)

Miller, M. (2014) “Forever” 1×01 openining scene.

Analysis of the first 20 seconds of ‘Forever.’

within the first few seconds we are shown a busy city filled with people. Moments later we see a yellow taxi passing through the bustling streets. This suggests that the show will be set in New York, as yellow taxis are most commonly known to be from there. The busy streets full of people suggests that the main character is just one person in an extremely busy place and therefore his life must be extraordinary, otherwise why would we be focusing on him.

After we find out where the show is to take place we are introduced to the main character ‘Henry Morgan.’ At first we see his face. He has a few wrinkles on his forehead, suggesting that his life has been stressful up to this point. But this is contradicted by the slight smile he seems to have on his face. This suggests that although he has had a stressful life, he takes interest in the positive things in life, rather than focusing on the negative.

After we see Morgan’s face we get a shot panning down of what he is wearing. He is wearing a suit with a suit jacket over the top. The outfit looks professional and reasonably expensive, suggesting that he is most likely successful or well off individual somehow. The deep blue suit suggests that he can handle himself well in stressful situations, but also could show that he has lived a sad life that continues to envelop him each day. The deep red notes scattering through could be there to show that he is a character that’s life will be full of danger, but then again could show that he has a love for life, even though it sometimes treats him badly.

As the camera pans down, we see that he is standing confidently, showing that he is confident in himself, and that he can handle himself well in stressful situations.

The watch we are shown in the next shot seems to be expensive and valuable in some way. The way the character is keeping it with him at all times, suggesting that it is something very valuable. Furthermore it could show that time is something that is very precious to him, or that time will be talked about more later on in the series.

I find it really exciting and interesting that you can learn so much about a character or series by simply viewing the first few moments of the show. It is said that it only takes 10 seconds for someone to decide whether or not they like a show, and I really think that the semiology of a scene can affect this decision drastically.

 

Harvard Referencing:

Kyriazis, S. (2016) ‘Leonardo DiCaprio named in US court papers: HUGE Wolf of Wall Street embezzlement case.’ Available at: http://www.express.co.uk/entertainment/films/691981/Leonardo-DiCaprio-Wolf-of-Wall-Street-embezzlement-DoJ-Malaysia-Red-Granite ( Last accessed: 22nd September 2016)

Miller, M. (2014)Forever” 1×01 openining scene. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFsYhfpqKx4 ( Last accessed: 22nd September 2016)

 

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