Analyse and comment on the effectiveness of the media devices used to control the tension and suspense in 'Who wants to be a Millionaire?

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Rachel namuddu

Media Coursework

St. Marks School

Centre no. 13156


Analyse and comment on the effectiveness of the media devices used to control the tension and suspense in 'Who wants to be a Millionaire?'

The general role of a game show is to entertain and attract an audience. Prizes are often used as incentives to keep the audience interested. Game shows aim is to sustain audience interest by using various devices to create suspense and tension. This is important to ensure a game show receives high ratings therefore making it highly popular. This shows that the main aim of any game show is to keep audiences anxious in an uncertain state this will then ensure continues viewing. Suspense is where an anxious or uncertain feeling while waiting for something to happen or become known, whereas tension is a feeling of anxiety or nervousness about something that is just about to happen. These emotions work well in general knowledge game shows like 'Who wants to be a Millionaire?' of 'The Weakest Link'. The game show uses a variety of techniques to create the desired effect on the audience. The techniques used in 'Who Want to be a Millionaire?' are lighting, the role of the presenter, the pace of the program and the camera angles.

        'Who wants to be a Millionaire?' is promoted as the 'ultimate' game show, with its unique selling point of one million pounds in prize money, which happens to be the biggest sum of money ever to given away on a British television game show.

        The image of 'Who wants to be a millionaire?' plays a very important factor in explaining its success. Lighting is used to focus on Tarrent and the contestant and is used to evoke certain sensations in the audience. The positioning and strength of lights act to influence the mood. The lighting will dramatically change during certain point of the game show. The most common change is where the lights descend upon Tarrent the presenter. The audience is backed out therefore intensifying the pressure that lies upon the contestant answering; this also creates isolation on the two people. As the contestant attempts to answer the question, the lighting will start form a black background (indicating that the contestant is in a no win situation) and as he answers the question the colours will slowly change to a lighter colour indicating that his attempt to answer the question was correct then the audience are then shown lifting forms of isolation and pressure. This shows that a lot less pressure is on the hopeful contestant. This goes on throughout the whole 'questioning' section. During the show there are wide selections of colour change in lighting, for example during the 'fast finger 'round the background colour is purple connoting richness, quality and signifying calmness. As the game progresses the questions become harder and the lighting is completely blacked out on all audience. When a question is asked during 'ask the audience' the lights also change, with lights flashing on the audience to create suspense.

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        The spotlight acts to intensify and highlight Tarrent and contestant as they are centre of attention. The spotlight moves backwards and forwards during the game, from Tarrent to the audience. For example, when the audience is asked to help out the contestant, the spotlight and pressure moves off the contestant and Tarrent and onto the audience so then all the pressure lies on the audience. The main effect of the spotlight is to put the contestant on the spot creating a lot of pressure for them. In 'Who wants to be a Millionaire?' as the contestant is put on the ...

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