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2009 - International Communication Association Pages: 24 pages || Words: 7882 words || 
1. Martin, Sylvia. "The Production of Spectacle / The Spectacle of Production: An Ethnographic Study of Film/TV Media Production" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Marriott, Chicago, IL, May 21, 2009 Online <PDF>. 2019-11-19 <>
Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: As Walter Benjamin noted, the production of commercial film and television constitutes a spectacle. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Hollywood and Hong Kong, I examine several visual images that are created and on- and off-screen forms of spectacle. I focus on the audience of media workers who mediate in the immediate site of production: film and television sets. Media workers form a preliminary audience that requires further study. Many media workers are not concerned with educating or enlightening audiences about how to be citizens or consumers; in fact, many of these media workers during filming consider audiences as secondary to themselves as spectators. To provide a historical anchor for my claim, I invoke Tom Gunning’s theorization of “cinema of attractions”. The inspiration for this early period of filmmaking – magic shows, vaudeville, and circuses - continues to permeate the character of film/TV production in Hollywood and Hong Kong. Early film’s key feature of provoking stimulus illustrates my point that forms of interactivity are happening long before paying audiences view the finished product. The immediate “audience” of media workers is a participatory one that “talks back to” the images on the factory floor of production in ways that show that reception is simultaneously occurring amid production. This immediate audience’s capacity to mediate should not be underestimated in the study of how and why media plays a powerful role since decisions about how imagery and performance are created are determined not only by studio executives and corporations but also by individuals “below-the-line” .

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