Using these 9 stills from my A2 Music Video ‘Secrets’ by State Champs, I will describe how the product uses and challenges the conventions of the Pop Punk genre. Most of my shots simply stick to the genre conventions, however a few challenge them in the narrative. I’ve accompanied my own photographs with that of bands of the same or similar genre to show how accurately I have stuck to the conventions.
In this shot we can see the entire band, which the singer at the centre generating the main focus. This is a classic shot for Pop Punk, with lots of exaggerated movement from the musicians and a filter to make the scene attractive and eye-catching. Its also filmed in a studio, with lots of spotlights, making a clear distinction between the band shots and the separate narrative. It conforms to the letter to the set conventions. See below for examples:
This shot as well as the next focuses on the star image of the lead singer/main character and how he is the main focus of the entire product- along with my Digipak and Promo poster. He is portrayed as a likeable rebel for the male audience, and a good-looking, boy band sex symbol for the female audience. This also sticks accurately to the genre conventions. This can be seen in videos by Blink 182, Sum 41 and The Wonder Years:
As mentions previously, this close-up is of the lead singer/main character. This blatant focus on one individual is accurately sticking to Pop Punk conventions. The change in filter from the band shots also separates his character from his role as the singer. This is very typical to have the front-man doubling as the main character for the video. Look at Kings of Leon and Foo Fighters videos below where this always the case:
Showing off the guitarist in this manner provides focus to rest of the musicians to achieve the band status. Whilst the lead singer may have a lot of focus, the entire band is vital in achieving the look/style that matches that of the Pop Punk genre so there are always shots and different angles that show off the musicians.
I’m going to discuss 5 and 6 together, as they come from the same shot and have a linked message. These are 2 of the only stills that challenge the regular conventions of a Pop Punk video. This because, as you can see, the girl is chasing after the boy. It is a subtle change but important as typically in our genre it is the complete opposite. If you watch any classic Pop Punk video, the boy is almost always chasing after the girl who is rejecting him for any number of reasons. For me, these two stills are symbolic of our challenge to this, as I believe that the situation occurs just as much with both genders. This challenge is pushed further in the final shots of the video which I will explain further on.
This next shot brings us back to the regular conventions of a Pop Punk video. We see a shot of the drummer, from a very typical angle, with a fade of the guitar in the background. As this is an entirely instrumental bridge of the song, this is good a pulling the focus back to the music played by the band.
Number 8 shows continues the challenge of the conventions. Normally, at the end of such a video, there is a resolution and the right people end up together. This is not the case, as you can see by the devastation on the girl’s face. The main character has just cheated on her and chosen another girl, and there is no reconciliation for her as there normally would be. The equilibrium has been completed distorted.
This last shot finishes off the previous one, where we see the girl walking away and deciding not to pursue the main character anymore. She has given up, this is not a happy ending as the genre normally has. We don’t know what will happen to her, we feel sorry for her. The ending, whilst challenging the conventions, is similar to a Foo Fighters video called ‘Walk’, where the main character goes through a huge amount in defiance of society, bit when you think he’s finally escaped his boring life, he is tapered and incarcerated by the police, and spends the rest of his life in prison. These blunt and unsatisfying endings directly challenge the resolution that we are supposed to see at the end of the video.
After evaluating these shots, it is clear that whilst our band shots are very generic to the Pop Punk genre, our narrative challenges it to a certain extent.