Scientific Press Conference as a Speaking Genre
The notion “genre” is relevant in different fields of literature, science, art, and other areas. It is a specific style or category, which predicts definite techniques or content. It is traditional to use literary, music or painting genres, but this paper investigates one of speaking genres. The latter one can be divided into formal or informal style. Formal speaking genres are used for formulating rules and special conditions. This paper aims to analyze such speaking genre as scientific press conference and to provide arguments why it is considered to be a speaking genre; press conference will be evaluated as an event, which involves specific topics, participants, fixed timing, instruments, aims and setting in order to achieve the target.
Usually, organizations or definite people use this genre during prepared events for media and publicity. Normally, such occurrences are held in special conference halls, universities, scientific centers and other places. Those who organize a press conference choose a place, which is the most appropriate to serve as a background for the topic chosen. For instance, NASA Missions press conferences (Sorensen, 2014) are usually held in NASA Headquarters auditorium or in universities.
Participants of scientific press conferences are scientists and explorers from one side and representatives of media from another side. There is a moderator who conducts the event and assistants who help with the technological support. Usually, scientists or explorers are the first to speak. They prepare their speeches in advance. Journalists and other interested people are listeners. They get information about press conference from press-releases published on the organization media resources (for example, NASA Website).
The main goal of the scientists is to share information about an invention or discovery to the publicity. Other possible goals could be involving sponsors for financial investments; calling on other researchers, explorers or related professionals to join their work; addressing problems to the government in order to make it seek for solutions and others. Media representatives aim to receive additional information on the topic, get deeper response to the problematic issues of the subject, analyze the information and make news out of it to provide essential material for publicity.
The typical way of interaction during the scientific press conference is set by a moderator who is in charge of being deeply into the subject and acquainted to all participants’ personas. Usually, scientists are the first to speak. Each of them has about three-five minutes for speech. Then, the moderator announces time for questions or commentaries. Journalists put their questions addressing them to the moderator who redirects them to appropriate participants. Media representatives may ask their questions directly the definite speaker (Wadud, n. p.).
All the participants are equal during the press conference, but they have to follow the rules while the moderator watches them to be followed. He/she has a right to stop anybody who is out of time or in order to redirect inappropriate questions. The mood of this kind of speaking genre is highly formal. Participants can be sometimes involved into a conflict, if there are controversial points of a subject, and again, the moderator should deal with these problems.
As a rule, participants of scientific press conferences use visual materials, such as presentations, statistics and other data (Sorensen, 2014). People, who organize a conference, prepare press release, press kits for journalists, where they give information about participants, schedule plan or program of the event and background information on the topic (Wadud, n. p.). If press conference is international, different languages can be used, so that interpreters may be involved. Scientific press conferences always include formal register. Speaking about the gestures, journalists have to raise their hands to ask questions directly. General rules predict politeness of both sides, there is often a dress code, demand to keep formal style and to follow the above-mentioned rules.
In general, scientific press conference as a speaking genre is a formal event involving journalists and scientists as listeners and speakers, people, who organize and moderate it, and special setting.
Science Fiction Films as a Literary Genre
The notion “genre” is widely relevant for motion pictures as well as literature mostly because films are based on literary works, as well as performances of plays originate from drama pieces. The success of a movie depends, first of all, on the written screenplay. This paper explores the science fiction genre. It is one of the oldest genres in the history of the cinema, which originates from literature and was developed by Jules Verne, Herbert Welles, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury and other prominent figures in literature. Their works became a background for many cinematic masterpieces of the twentieth century. Further, the paper will investigate the specific sub-genre of science fiction films, which is the Space Theme. This category is considered a sub-genre basing on its thematic means, which is the main point connecting the films about space. The idealistic content and problematic field of this genre may vary and refer to different genres, such as entertainment, action, dystopia, melodrama, comedy and others.
To create a science fiction film on the space theme many professionals and technologies should be involved. First of all, a screenplay writer works together with a film director and real scientists to create a scenario based on the scientific facts. As an example, the motion picture Interstellar (Nolan, 2015) contains many up-to-date researches on the black holes, wormholes, theoretical background of predictions concerning conditions on other planets in distant galaxies. The screenplay defines cinematographic technologies necessary for the shooting, so a cinematography director’s role is essential in this genre, because such films contain many special effects. Some movies even demand special equipment to be built for the filming process. Usually, science fiction films, as well as the other genres, are demonstrated in cinemas if it is a premier or they can be watched on the DVDs; there are big collections of films on the Internet or they can be aired on the TV sometimes.
Participants of creating a film of this genre begin with a writer of a book, which can be its background if it is being shot on the motives of the book. The next step is creating a scenario. Consequently, the next participant is a screenplay writer and the whole film crew. Distributors are represented by the film studios. Consumers of science fiction films about space such as Interstellar may be represented by the wide general publicity. Such movies may be watched either alone or with other people present. Speaking about relationships between participants (film crew and viewers), these are public relations through the commercials, advertisements or other media, so the relations are one-sided.
The goals of the film crew are fame, addressing an idea and entertaining publicity; for distributors – gathering high incomes and possibility to receive awards for the work, raising prestige. The goals of viewers are entertainment, self-development, sometimes, analysis or critics of the film. The messages of the chosen sub-genre depend on the idea of a movie. If the film about space is more entertaining, such as Star Wars or Star Track, its message involves much action, many special effects, simple ideas, usually based on the war between good and evil. Such movies as Interstellar, Gravity, and Space Odyssey contain deeper messages appealing to feelings and thoughts, stating questions or problems often without giving solutions or responses.
The process by which the sci-fi films about space get from their creators to the minds of audience is simple from the first glance. During watching movies major human’s senses (visual and audial) are involved, so first spectators see and hear the external message of a film. While watching, they often feel the same as the characters. By the end of the film, the audience becomes aware of the central idea. When more time passes, spectators may think of other problems raised in the piece or rethink different moments. People often watch or read follow-up interviews of actors, director, movie critics to get the idea better.
Mood, involved in the process of creating a space film, is combining scientific facts and fiction, which can be a conflict-provoking point. To make it seem natural in terms of the chosen topic, one should not overuse special effects and imagination. Inspiration and passion for the work from the side of a film crew plays a great role, while viewers often cannot wait to see the movie, especially, if it is well-promoted by different media with the help of movie trailers. Much success depends on the trailer and fame of celebrities.
The main rule of space films is scientific and real technological background sometimes with elements of futuristic gadgets (Science Fiction Films, n. p.). If there is no scientific fact, movie becomes a fantasy like fairy tale that is totally out of science. The main rules of distributing space films are choosing a film director, who had already worked on this topic and is aware of the last word of astrophysics; selecting famous and appropriate for characters actors to cast in this film. Those space movies, which contain low-leveled cast, usually seem not serious and lacking of idea. The next step is a good promotion campaign. Consumers of films of this particular sub-genre do not have specific rules, but they have their expectations coming mostly from the promotion process. Consequently, if the level of promotion is higher than the quality of film, spectators may become at least disappointed, while movie critics may ruin film’s reputation as well as those of distributors and film crew, or even of the whole sub-genre.
Space theme in science fiction films is special because of its variety of idealistic or entertaining backgrounds. Such movies may refer to utopias or dystopias, disaster films and horrors. They can refer to other genres and directions, according to their content, but they always show the hope and dream of human managing sky and space.