MANI 601 Research Outline 2
Transport Safety and Emergency Procedures
Safety, vehicles, property, life, technology, risk, danger, perception, training, educating, safety cards, probability, statistics.
During the research part of my film, I have learned that is really important to get as much knowledge as possible about the topic, to search and identify in what areas is very crucial to get actual scientific reasons and numbers and in what others is relevant to get opinions and to accept our human participation. I also think it is important to analyse from the beginning “safety” in a general way from its meaning, what it represents to human beings and how we humans can feel safer and actually be safer.
Main Research Categories
I have been mainly researching on the body & perception and mapping space frameworks as the main topic deals a lot with issues affecting senses, physical and psychological reaction to the illusion of feeling safe. In terms of mapping, it is worth to consider all the fields where safety procedures are promoted and all the branches of transportation safety.
Media sources such as online journals, books about transportation safety, online newspapers, documentaries, films with the same kind of humour and critical style that I want to pursue. Comedy books and prank airline videos. Journal Articles about safety and emergency procedures. Articles about accident statistics.
Interviews: Even if the idea of making interviews for the film never crossed my mind, I acknowledge the importance of doing them as part of the research process but not as an essential part to make it happen. In case of taking into account interviews, I would consider to carry a few interviews to flight attendants and /or pilots. I could consider in the same way interviewing normal people and their experience as passengers.
-“Miracle of the Hudson plane crash”. Documentary film shown on the National Geographic Channel.
On Thursday 15 January 2009, 155 people on board US Airways flight 1549 met potential disaster in the sky over New York City. I think this documentary and the investigation of what happen with this plane which had to land in the Hudson Lake after striking birds is a good example on how a combination of good luck and a good management of the safety procedures finally ended in a successful emergency landing. I think all these investigation programs and documentaries by the National Geographic are really relevant and important to watch as they refer to the accident itself, the investigation and they interview from many points of view.
– Luxair Safety video
This is an animated Airline safety video. Airlines have been using animation for quite a long time by now but what I really like about this video is the way is statically designed. Nowadays, with the importance and greatness that CGI brings to the field, many airlines are approaching complex digital animation to incorporate in their publicity and airline videos. The Luxair video keeps having that rough typical and very authentic design of old safety cards, preserving simple character and background design and using very bright colours and straight forward animation.
AVIATION SAFETY CARDS & EMERGENCY PROCEDURES
Safety measures have always been part of our lives since we were children with the big difference that at that time we were just told to avoid danger and be careful in certain situations but we never thought things could get wrong at any point, our lack of knowledge made us trust everything in our perfect world so we never expected to have measures to follow during or after accidents. As adults we are sufficiently conscious about all the dangers that we are exposed to and that accidents are part of our daily routines and burdens.
Nowadays, emergency and safety boards and signs are everywhere and exist due to policies those companies must follow to protect the rights of their customers and the company’s integrity when having an accident at any place or in any vehicle of their property.
STATISTICS AND FACTS
It is true that transport systems and vehicles are getting safer everyday and that the probability for a person of being involved in an aviation accident could be 1 in a few million but it is a fact as well that in case of having an airplane accident the chance to survive might not be that remote. Surprisingly, according to the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Boards), you’re much more likely to walk away from an airline accident than you are to perish. In fact, the same investigation showed that a staggering 95.7 percent of people involved in plane crashes survive.
There are more than 50 technical known issues that can happen to an airplane while is flying and there are many environmental factors apart from the collision itself that could affect and harm us such as low air temperatures of -50 C at 10000m of altitude, ocean temperatures below -2C in case of landing on water and post –collision dangers such as fire and explosions.
After spending some time researching about the statistics already mentioned, I found out that there’s another institution called (ACRO) Aircraft Crashes Record Office and that these people base all their investigations and numbers considering only the accidents in which the aircraft has suffered such damage that it is removed from service. In that way, I discovered that the NTSB bases their studies in all type of accidents, considering a “crash” an emergency landing due to a landing gear fault.
In conclusion, having an aviation accident is a deadly and catastrophic event and safety cards and emergency procedures are only reliable and accurate depending on the situation, the type of accident, the conditions why not, luck.
At this stage I could see the project going in either of these directions. A documentary which would concentrate in more than criticising emergency and transport safety cards and policies but in elaborating an honest message and make fun on how these signs, boards and videos are designed by these companies in such an informal, too elaborated and sometimes funny way . For that reason it represents a mixture of my own subjective ideas to complement the objectivity that these rules represent on paper to finally elaborate a general understanding of the topic but affecting me in such a deep way to be considered a performative documentary. In the contrary, this will be a perfect example of the unreal and imaginative ingredients of the poetic mode accompanied with a straight forward narration to make the audience accept or destroy the filmmaker’s message. For this idea, a safety video with camera pans following a safety card would be an interesting way of being develop.
The second direction could be making a documentary about the development of safety cards and show in what aspects they have changed during the different periods in the XX century as an example pre and post war safety cards. Would be worthy as well to show how they were modified according to maybe social and political propaganda and circumstances in a particular period of time. It is important to consider whatever the decision would be that the idea will revolve around the content and visuals from the book and that the intention will be to add satiric and comic language and sense to the topic.
SOME OF THE SCENES/SITUATIONS THAT COULD BE INCLUDED
– When referring to the exact words “Please leave behind any personal belongings when evacuating”, a person should appear naked while being in the toilet or people naked jumping from the plane.
– Making fun of the electronic devices policy
– mentioning that there were very honest safety cards in the 60’s.
-Mentioning that people were allowed to smoke during flights before.
-Mentioning that people were allowed weirdly to hang out around the plane when the seat belt sign was switch off.
-Mentioning that airlines have always been concerned about comfort and how to advertise about less important things than safety, even though there are some funny adverts that try to convince passengers about the aircraft’s safety for having four engines instead of two.
-Mentioning that all the characters and people on safety cards look like upper class people, typical American style families and some reflect the way of living of modern western society.
-Mentioning that most of the people on safety cards are white. What impact has or had this at the time.
I think the way safety cards/boards are designed give us the chance to mock about them.
It looks more like a hospital than a plane why on earth the flight attendant wants to
And the boy looks already terminally ill. Abandon the aircraft and take the oxygen mask
Some examples of the style I think is adequate and appealing for the documentary. The images are taken from the book “Design for Impact”.
The documentary could be done as an airline safety video or recreating a passenger following with his sight an airline safety card with all the instructions. The bit of the passenger seated and holding the card could be filmed in live action until he reads the card as a “comic book”. It will involve live action mainly taken from old fashioned archives, cut-out animation and probably considering TV Paint as well. The design will be very similar to the images in the book with not much detail on it but always recreating the design that characterised airplane safety cards that are basically very strong, light colours and a simple character design. I am contemplating the use of an old fashioned narration to accompany the visuals.
The short film I met the Walrus is exceptionally related to my research due to its way of building a whole narrative from just an original source through metamorphism, a constant sense of transformation and a simple use of techniques and visual codes such as colour and realistic/fictitious imagery. The fact that it is an animated documentary film also contributes enormously to my group documentary project and to learn how to portray clearly and successfully a recorded interview into a moving image.
-Paul S. Goodman (2004). Filmmaking and Research: An intersection. Journal of Management Inquiry. Published by Sage.
Online version: http://jmi.sagepub.com/content/13/4/324
By reading this journal article, I acknowledge the importance of the link between filmmaking and research as a fundamental part to not only to elaborate a documentary with a powerful message and with the characteristics mentioned by Jill Godmilow in the first review but as well a product able to contribute to a current and future research of the topic and for the filmmakers to learn and keep updated with the latest investigations on the matter.
-Ragnar Lundstrom (2013). Framing fraus: Discourse on benefit cheating in Sweden and the UK. European Journal of Communication. Published by: Sage
Online version: http://ejc.sagepub.com/content/28/6/630
This article was seriously considered as an object of study and there was even a possibility to get it reviewed because it analyses how the papers in Sweden and Britain manage to talk about benefit cheating comparing both of the systems. It mentions that in UK, most of news are related to crime and centred on images of individual cheaters. In the end, I considered it was too much of a risk to handle so many data, numbers and methodological conclusions in such a short way but without a doubt, this article will be treated as an important research document towards the film.
-Joe Atkinson (2005). Political Science. Metaspin: Demonization of media manipulation. Published by Sage. Online version: http://pnz.sagepub.com/content/57/2/17
Demonized ‘spin’ is a disparaging form of news mode where journalists enhance themselves against manipulative politicians on behalf of a naive public. It is supported by a model of corrupted politicians and a severely narrow-minded view of political reality. Truthfully, as we have seen before in the articles treated above, journalists themselves are manipulative, engaged with their sources, and divided about the problem itself putting sometimes an evil performance of manipulation to their favour. Once again, this article makes me think that the truth hides on either side of the news and that journalists play always a crucial role in how the news is represented.
-Art Spiegelman (1991). Maus. Pantheon Books.
This book by American author Art Spiegelman wasn’t relevant at all until I read the interview between Jill Godmilow with Ann- Louise Shapiro (already mentioned in this document). The filmmaker mentions this book when he is explaining the reason his film “Far from Poland” was rejected by many documentary festivals in Europe. He says Maus generated controversy as its author insisted it fitted into the non-fiction category but was initially considered fiction until the work won the Pulitzer prize in 1992 and had to be put somewhere in the middle between the two genres. Knowing now some references about this book, I think it is worth to read it and judge in a justified way whether it is fiction or not.
-Brian Winston (1995). Claiming the Real: The Griersonian Documentary and Its Legitimations. British Film Institute. Book.
I think this book is the perfect tool for documentary filmmakers as it explains in a detailed way all the history of documentary filmmaking, making emphasis in important authors and the movements they belonged to. It also talks about the principles and practice of cinema verite. I think it’s a relevant reference in terms of research as it also points out differences between fiction and documentary films.
-Ed. Julius Wiedemann Portraits (2011). Published by Taschen.
This is a collection of portraits of famous and unknown people made by graphic designers, illustrators and animators from all around the world. All these portraits are made in different and innovative techniques and are a good reference in terms of design and aesthetics as I’ve been researching about stereotypes and these images represent the different ways a person can be represented. It can give ideas about abstract art, colour and metamorphosis.
Bruce Bower (1996). Fighting Stereotype Stigma. Science News, Society for science & the public.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3979842
Psychologist Yueh-Ting Lee started to get even more interested in stereotypes when receiving an email message including judgemental observations about life in several countries. By giving a clear simple example on how our way of thinking about different countries and cultures can generalize, predict and define a certain group of people in a couple of words, Lee explains that all these judgements apart from lacking of an absolute truth, are accurate enough to create a general perception of the unknown. Lee expresses that the use of these stereotypes rather than representing pointless prejudices, signify a first step to understand other cultures and also emphasises in the importance of categorizing people in order to deal with the unfamiliarity and uncertainty of the world.
Many psychologists disagree with Lee’s ideas as they contradict their views and research on the matter. They interpret stereotyping as joined errant generalizations that provoke racism, sexism, and other forms of prejudice. Charles Stangor of the University of Maryland states that stereotypes are used by people just to enhance their views of themselves and the groups they belong to. Among other professionals, psychologist Gordon W. Allport characterized stereotypes as invalid beliefs about people and groups debating the idea whether some stereotypes encase a “kernel of truth”.
In a study of black and white students carried out by psychologist Carey S. Ryan, results concluded that even if the majority of black students demonstrated a tendency to observe and acknowledge their own stereotypical attributes, they were more capable and accurate when analysing the features in their white counterparts. In contrast, white students were more inclined to judge their own qualities and in a more truthful way. The outcomes support strongly a previously studied theory that affirms that ethnic minorities tend to have a greater understanding of more powerful and major populations than major groups understanding minority groups.
From that point, experts determined that even if stereotypes are based on genuine group differences, they normally get exaggerated when people select evidence to confirm their beliefs and convince others, building up subjective conclusions and randomly judging people and groups by carefully selected data. A clear example of how this exaggeration and selection of data is relevant in generating tension through stereotypes is the way specialized communication businesses such as: print media, the press and broadcasting (radio and television) manipulate information and transform non-sensational news into sensational to stimulate the senses of the audience. By this awakening of emotions in the audience, these news mass producers look to gain more coverage and customers according to a research published by Ipsos MORI, highlighting the disapproving misconceptions and inept ignorance of the public, who, for instance, believe all what these papers say and satisfy in a way, their need to be against the system.
By the end of his studies, Lee emphasizes, efforts at conflict resolution between groups and nations could work best if both sides primarily acknowledge their differences and own problems and then receive help in confronting those disparities. Lee finishes by declaring “Group differences, not prejudice, are the root cause of tension and conflict between various cultural and racial groups”, he contends. “The most effective way to improve intergroup relations is admitting and discussing frankly the existing differences, at the same time explaining that there is nothing wrong with being different.”
Jill Godmilow and Ann- Louise Shapiro. (1997). How real is the reality in documentary film?. Histories Inside and Outside the Academy. Published by Wiley for Wesleyan University.
Stable URL: http: http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp
This journal article starts analysing the theme from the beginning by defining what a documentary film is. According to Bill Nichols they are discourses based in many subjects and claim to describe the “real”, to tell the truth. From that point an interview conducted by historian Ann- Louise Shapiro is presented raising questions mostly about Nichols’s points of view, genre, and relationship form- content with documentary filmmaker Jill Godmilow.
Shapiro starts the interview by asking about how comfortable Godmilow is with the word “documentary” to label his and others filmmakers work. Godmilow explains how he has been trying to find a different word to label his own films and films that make some kind of claim to represent a non-fictional world where there is not scripted drama and professional acting performances either. He says all these films that belong to this category, have the main intention of “edifying” instead of “educating” the audience towards a deep understanding and a more refined notion of the real topic. He mentions his preference in using the tag “non-fiction” instead of the word “documentary” but insists it is not the perfect way of describing it but a way of implying that because it’s not fiction, it’s true. The filmmaker then refers to his work “Far from Poland”, and how he firmly indicates it is not considered a classic documentary nor a fiction film but a point in the middle which he calls “drama-tary”. This feature- length “non-fiction” film about the Polish Solidarity Movement that contains actual footage supplied by the Solidarity Press Agency was rejected by some documentary festivals for not being a “pure documentary” and for its complex treatment of the topic.
By mentioning again Bill Nichols controversial statement about his definition of documentary, the interviewer asks about the filmmaker’s point of view in relation to Nichols’s “discourses of sobriety” and their link to science, economics, politics and history and the way his colleague refers to them as instrumental- not just edifying. Godmilow agrees with Nichols and adds that through that instrumental philosophy, it is possible to change people’s minds at the basis of all non-fiction. He clearly determines that first, he wants “instrumental films” to acknowledge their pure intentions, second, to put their materials to produce ideas rather than a sentiment of compassion and finally, to produce an audience of individuals who are able to build up critiques about social and historical situations. Then Godmilow refers to another expert in the field, producer Ken Burns, describing his work as “frightening” due to its high content of nostalgia, by producing a kind of “mourning moment” and a sense of a dreamy and passive feeling towards the theme instead of providing knowledge to comprehend the essence of it.
I think the filmmaker’s precaution when not labelling as documentary any “non-fiction” film, is a good example for young filmmakers and students to realize that it is not always convenient to make general observations and to just categorize films according to genre, content or form but considering always the relationship between these three and the audience’s response through a good treatment of the subject. I totally agree with him in terms of giving importance to the content, in disconnecting the audience from it, in not producing caring audiences but analytical ones and most importantly in respecting the historical facts behind the subject without transforming it into a drama.
Godmilow finishes by telling the interviewer about the “documentary” films he respects the most. For him, these films should be characterized by keeping the topic opened to the public without producing compassionate spectators, any identification with heroes or sympathy for victims. These features according to Godmilow are dominant in the American documentary tradition. He also praises Bunuel’s 1932 film, Land without Bread as a perfect example of a good documentary.
Rodrigo Uribe, Barrie Gunter (2007). Are “sensational” news stories more likely to trigger viewer’s emotions that Non-sensational news stories? : A content analysis of British TV news. European Journal of Communication. Published by Sage.
Online version: http://ejc.sagepub.com/content/22/2/207
This article analyses whether “sensational” news stories are more likely to generate deep emotional reactions in audiences than other TV stories. In order to identify these sensational patterns and what do they represent to the public, a research made by studying samples of British televised news was carried out to obtain important clues on elements that audience tend to find more emotive when watching news. The results show that the term ”sensational” has been misrepresented and that most of stories classified in that field, do not necessarily contain more moving features than the non-sensational ones. In a general way, the fact of being or not emotional disturbing depends as well on many factors like different audiences and a variety of commercial TV channels.
It is always a must to comprehend and determine first what is understood by the words “sensational news”. Many scholars coincided that “sensationalism” can be described as a content that stimulates the audience’s senses. (Slattery and Hakanen, 1994). More experts in the field have similar definitions all based in being elements that arise audiences’ emotions, empathy and even psychological stimulation among a group of people. However, to have a clear understanding of the sensational, academics started researching the non-sensational part of the news either, by dividing first the news in genres and topics and categorize them into what they think has a sensational content and a non-sensational one. Themes such as crime and showbiz for example contain more emotional power than themes such as politics and economics. (Adams, 1978; Ryu, 1982).
To gather different conclusions about the incidence of these dramatic tendencies on the news, research from the US, shows that sensational stories increased a 30% between 1970 and 1990 probably because of the decrease in governmental and political coverage. In the other hand, a shift in the UK TV newscasts show a new tendency orientated to themes like sports, royalty, showbiz and crime but always maintaining more or less a balance between these and serious, light and international coverage.
Undoubtedly, events and news are constantly changing through time and depend in some way on proper characteristics of the period of time when they happened. For that reason, experts have been focusing not only on the topic and content but on acknowledging the fact that each type of news will engage audiences differently. This reasoning comes from empirical evidence that the response of audiences to news, blossoms not just by content attributes but also by how the news are presented and opens the opportunity to the media to write non-sensational topics such as politics in a more emotive style. In interviews with British newsroom personnel, authors found that journalists put stress on making political news look “boring” on purpose. In the same study, scholars also found that political news containing sensational elements have increased in the last years.
In conclusion, these findings suggest emotional interest of news is not just stranded in the use of topics, but is very influenced by subtle narrative and the production of elements within the stories media manipulation) and not entirely associated to their topic category. From a filmmaker’s point of view, I can now differentiate more or less sensational from non-sensational topics and I acknowledge that it is not all about the themes but the way the different News channels portray each their personal views and present the content to the audience. I do consider that the benefit system topic belongs to the “sensational” side because of its close relation people and the fact of being considered more as a general and common social issue rather than an economical element.
Written by Juan Bampa