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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Jason M. Rapelje
Doctor of Philosophy
Title: Fabricating Freddy vs. Jason: Understanding a Motion Picture as a Social Encounter between Fans and Filmmakers
Dr. Paula Brush, Chair
Dr. Douglas V. Davidson
Dr. Gregory Howard
Dr. Rudolf J. Siebert
Date: Friday, February 23, 2007 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Sangren Hall, Room 2526
The break in the mass communicative chain, which separates producers and receivers from one another in both time and space, impedes researchers from studying motion pictures as social encounters. As with face-to-face encounters, producers and receivers of motion pictures depend upon the use of “rules of relevance” (Goffman, 1961) and “typifactory schemes” (Berger & Luckmann, 1966) for their encounters to take place. I examine the social encounter that takes place between some of the filmmakers and fans of Freddy vs. Jason through the use of these concepts, as well as a revision of John B. Thompson’s (1990) methodological framework of depth hermeneutics. The four steps of my methodological framework follow.
First, I undertake a textual analysis of Freddy vs. Jason to provide those readers who are unfamiliar with the film an understanding of its narrative structure. Second, I undertake a template analysis of a purposive sample of statements made by nineteen filmmakers on the special feature sections of the film’s DVD to identify those aspects of Freddy vs. Jason to which they felt obligated to attend. Third, I undertake a template analysis of a purposive sample of statements made by eleven fans on an Internet message forum to identify those aspects of Freddy vs. Jason to which they expected the filmmakers to attend. Fourth, I compare the statements made by these filmmakers and fans to see if the perspectives on aspects of the film that both groups discussed were consistent, or if the filmmakers broke frame by expressing a perspective not in line with the fans’ expectations.
I found that the nineteen filmmakers and eleven fans discussed five aspects in common, and more often than not, the nineteen filmmakers broke frame by expressing perspectives not in line with the eleven fans’ expectations. Because of these findings, it appears that Freddy vs. Jason was not a successful interaction between these particular filmmakers and fans. Nonetheless, I was able to study the motion picture as an encounter “fabricated,” or socially created, through the continual negotiation of the filmmakers, fans and their typifications (Griswold, 1987).