For my Media Audiences class, we ended our unit on the audience as an industrial construct by pitching two different media texts of the same genre to two very different audiences. We drew “thriller” as the genre and “working class men” and “kids ages 10-14.”
My portion of the paper was more concentrated on the working class men and why we decided the movie that we did for them. We also worked together on the streaming series for the other demographic, and the pitch presentation itself.
This is a basic summary on the one demographic I was leading:
To further define working-class men beyond simply gender and socioeconomic class, we used some assumptions about the “typical” (while understanding that there is not necessarily a typical working class man) working-class man: urban, to account for reasonable job security; aged late twenties to late thirties, which we further narrowed down to married, but not necessarily with children. The reason why we felt these distinctions to be important enough to specify is that it affects how they consume media, and how we would reach them as a demographic. Considering that the age range is partially within the age demographic with the lowest television audience (The Nielsen Company 6) and that they are located in urban areas, we decided that the best method to reach them would be through a theatrical release.
Our film follows our protagonist, Alexander Summers, who works under Vice President Carl. After the Vice President discovers that President Vernon is embezzling money (and effectively stealing from taxpayers), he enlists Alexander to get proof in order to impeach the president. Alexander then seduces Jillian Fredericks in order to execute a part of his plan, who is President Vernon’s secretary. Against his better judgement, he begins to fall for her, but continues to follow through on his plan, going as far as bugging Jillian’s clothes after they sleep together in order to overhear conversations in the Oval Office when she is in there. Jillian finds out about his betrayal and is furious, but ultimately Alexander succeeds in getting the proof he needs to get President Vernon impeached. Years later, Alexander, now working as a CIA lead operative, runs into Jillian in Washington, D.C., and it is left open-ended whether or not they will rekindle their relationship.
The reason we decided to pitch a political/erotic thriller is because of the high success rate of similar films at the box office. The number one ranking erotic thriller is Fatal Attraction (1987), which has a lifetime gross of $156,645,693, and the number one ranking (non-franchise) political thriller, Air Force One (1997), has a lifetime gross of $172,956,409 (BoxOfficeMojo.com). When considering motivating factors for one to spend money to go see a film, something that we focused on for this demographic was escapism. The protagonist resembles a male Mary-Sue, an everyday male worker who finds himself in larger than life circumstances, in which he is the only one who can stand up against government oppression of the working class – and if his methods involve seducing a woman completely out of his league, then it is all that much better.
The reason we didn’t narrow in on race was mostly due to lack of theatrical data relating to racial and ethnicity breakdowns, but if I were to work on this again, that would be something important to narrow down.