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Please can I get some feedback on this Truman Show essay?

I am aiming for excellence so please could someone tell me If I have reached this level or how to reach it? :smile:

Describe either a realistic or unrealistic setting in the text. Explain how the realism or unreality of this setting helped you to understand a particular idea.

An unrealistic setting in Peter Weir’s, ‘The Truman Show’ is the faux town of Seahaven ( a gigantic man made dome with thousands of CCTV cameras where Truman, the main character “lives” for the entertainment of others. ) The unreality of this setting helped me to understand the idea of surveillance and social control. Weir does this by cleverly using numerous film techniques such as camera angles, dialogue, voiceovers, and mise-en-scene.

Peter Weird directed, ‘The Truman Show’ in 1998 when reality TV was a relatively new concept. ‘The Truman Show’ follows the life of Truman Burbank, an ordinary man living in an ordinary town. In reality, Truman’s life is a fake one. The place where Truman lives is actually one big TV set in dome form - with thousands of cameras everywhere. The people around him - including his family and friends, are all actors. Truman’s life is one big TV show, which is broadcasted to millions. This reflects on real life society where we are all closely being monitored and surveilled all the time.

Firstly, an unrealistic setting in Peter Weir’s, ‘The Truman Show’ is the town of Seahaven. Seahaven may look like a fantastic town - a Utopia even. However, it is all fake. There is a zoom-out shot that shows a massive dome ( where Seahaven is ) from space. Seahaven looks wonderful up close but when looking at the bigger picture, it is actually revealed to be a prison. This setting helped me to understand the idea of surveillance and social control because Truman cannot escape the cameras, he is always being watched, and controlled by Christof ( the show’s manic and obsessive creator and director ) who watches everything from the TV studio.

Secondly, the setting of Seahaven is unrealistic, and this is shown through the use of a close-up shot of a newspaper with the headline, ‘The best place on Earth, Seahaven voted planet’s top town’. This is a blatant lie and a prop to convince Truman that the place he lives in is the best, and that he should never leave. This setting helped me to understand the idea of surveillance and social control, because Christof has specifically placed that newspaper in the stall where Truman buys newspapers each day, to manipulate his thoughts and feelings about Seahaven. Christof is determined to keep Truman on the island, and does this by subtly tricking him into wanting to stay in Seahaven. Christof is controlling Truman’s thoughts and ideas.

Furthermore, the setting of Seahaven is unrealistic and this is shown through the use of dialogue on the TV that Truman is watching, “and there will be another episode of I Love Lucy, same time tomorrow”. ‘I Love Lucy’ was a TV show from the 1950s - America’s “golden decade”, which was the post World War 2 boom. The 1950s are seen as the ideal time to have lived so it would make sense for the producer’s of the ‘Truman Show’ to give Truman’s life a 1950s feel - because it would appeal to viewers and Truman himself. This setting helped me to understand the idea of surveillance and social control because ‘I Love Lucy’ was a sitcom based in a small happy town where people always had a good time with friends. This is putting the idea in Truman’s head that small towns are the best and he should never leave. Truman’s ideas of Seahaven are once again being subtly controlled.

Moreover, the setting of Seahaven is unrealistic and this is shown during an interview with Christof. There is a voiceover that says, “The designer and architect of the world within a world that is Seahaven Island - Christof”. Seahaven is an enclosed dome that shuts out the real world. It is a fake world where Truman is housed and watched by millions. This setting helped me to understand the idea of surveillance and social control, because Truman is always being watched and controlled by viewers and producers because he is stuck in a giant dome.

Finally, the setting of Seahaven is unrealistic because of all the bright, colourful and appealing products used on the show. The show’s producers are making money from the ‘Truman Show’ through the use of advertising/mise-en-scene - product placement. The clothes, food, and products on the show are all for sale, so if a viewer sees something they like, they can actually buy it. This is that way that the producers make profit. This setting helped me to understand the idea of surveillance and social control because the viewers are influenced and subtly controlled to buy products that they see on the ‘Truman Show’.

The unrealistic setting of the town of Seahaven in Peter Weir’s, ‘The Truman Show’ reveals the idea of surveillance and control and reflects on real life society. Wherever we go, we are closely monitored and watched all the time; through security cameras at the shops, banks, and even schools. At my school, there are a lot of CCTV cameras that watch everyone closely, no one can get away with anything. We are also being watched through social media. All of our messages, data, photos and what we “double tap” on, are being closely monitored. We are influenced greatly by what we see on social media - this is social control. Peter Weir teaches the viewers that no matter where we are or what we do, we are always being surveilled and controlled indirectly.

In conclusion, an unrealistic setting in Peter Weir’s, ‘The Truman Show’ is the faux town of Seahaven. The unreality of this setting helped me to understand the idea of surveillance and control through the use of a zoom-out shot, close-up shot, dialogue, voiceover, and mise-en-scene. Peter Weir teaches the viewers that Truman is a product of social control, and so are we as a society if we’re not careful.

Kia ora
This is really good in terms of the understanding of the text and the evidence used. The examples are very well chosen and supported. So the first half of the question is dealt with well. For E you really need to get a grip on the second half and this is where you need to go a little further. You set up surveillance and control as the main idea but to show the insight needed you have to unpick this a little. What is it about the control that is worth considering - how it is done? - why it is done ? - what does it tell us about media? - what does it indicate about human nature? - It is in the consideration of these things that the Excellence response comes. Hope that makes it clearer.

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Hello and thank you for the feedback :smile: I have used your advice and edited my essay a bit. Am I on the right track? Thanks

An unrealistic setting in Peter Weir’s, ‘The Truman show’ is the faux town of Seahaven (a gigantic man made dome with thousands of CCTV cameras where Truman Burbank, the main character “lives” for the entertainment of others) The unreality of this setting helped me to understand the idea of surveillance and social control. Weir does this by cleverly using numerous film techniques such as camera angles, dialogue, voiceovers, and mise-en-scene.

Peter Weir directed the Truman show in 1998 when reality TV was a relatively new concept. ‘The Truman Show’ follows the life of Truman Burbank, an ordinary man living in an “ordinary” town. In reality, Truman’s life is a fake one. The place where Truman lives is actually one big TV set in a dome form - with thousands of cameras everywhere. The people around him - including his family and friends, are all actors. Truman’s life is one big TV show, which is broadcasted to millions. This reflects on real life society where we are all closely being monitored and surveilled all the time.

Firstly, an unrealistic setting in Peter Weir’s, ‘The Truman Show’ is the town of Seahaven. Seahaven may look like a fantastic town, a Utopia. However, it is all fake for the enjoyment of viewers. A zoom-out shot shows the massive dome (where Seahaven is) from space. Seahaven looks wonderful up close but when looking at the bigger picture, it is actually revealed to be a prison. This setting helped me to understand the idea of surveillance and social control because Truman cannot escape the cameras. He is always being watched by millions of viewers, and controlled by Christof (the show’s manic and obsessive creator and director) who watches everything from the TV studio. Weir’s intent is to show how people (us and the viewers of the show) are voyeuristic (we like to watch others). Reality TV today is mindless entertainment - however, millions of people all around the world watch it because they find it so intriguing and entertaining. This is because people enjoy spying on others.

Secondly, the setting of Seahaven is unrealistic because of the absolute untruthfulness and fakeness surrounding the town. This is shown through the use of a close-up shot of a newspaper with the headline, ‘The best place on Earth, Seahaven voted planet’s top town’. This is a blatant lie and a prop to convince Truman that the place he lives in is the best, and that he should never leave.

This setting helped me to understand the idea of surveillance and social control because Christof has specifically placed or instructed the newspaper to be placed in the stall where Truman buys newspapers each day. This is to manipulate his thoughts and feelings about Seahaven. Christof is determined to keep Truman on the island, and does this by subtly tricking him into wanting to stay. Christof is controlling Truman’s thoughts and ideas about Seahaven. Weir’s intent is to show that not everything we see on the news/media is true. We are easily influenced by this and must not let it control our ideas and opinions. This is because we don’t always think deeply about things and, in the words of Christof: “… We accept the reality of the world with which we are presented…” This use of dialogue clearly shows this.

Furthermore, the setting of Seahaven is unrealistic because it is too good to be true. This is shown through the use of dialogue on the TV that Truman is watching, “and there will be another episode of I Love Lucy, same time tomorrow”. ‘I Love Lucy’ was a TV show from the 1950s - America’s “golden decade”, which was the post World War 2 boom. The 1950s are seen as the ideal time to have lived, so it would make sense for the producers of ‘The Truman Show’ to give Truman’s life a 1950s feel - because it would appeal to the viewers and Truman himself.

This setting helped me to understand the idea of surveillance and social control because ‘I Love Lucy’ was a sitcom based in a small happy town where people always had a good time with friends. This is putting the idea in Truman’s head that small towns are the best and that he should never leave. Truman’s ideas of Seahaven are once again being subtly controlled. Weir’s intent is to show the viewers that we are easily influenced by what we see on TV. Even the subtlest things we watch can change our opinions, thoughts, and ideas.

Moreover, the setting of Seahaven is unrealistic because of how Truman is trapped. During an interview with Christof, there is a voiceover that says, “The designer and architect of the world within a world that is Seahaven Island, Christof”. Seahaven is an enclosed dome that shuts out the real outside world. It is a fake world where Truman is housed and watched by millions. This setting helped me to understand the idea of surveillance and social control because Truman is always being surveilled and controlled, because he is stuck in a giant dome. Weir shows that we as a society are also under constant surveillance; through security cameras at shops, banks, and schools and through social media pop ups to Facebook ads. Nothing we do is private (like Truman)

Finally, the setting of Seahaven is unrealistic because of all the bright, colourful and appealing products used on the show. The show’s producers are making money through the use of advertising/product placement - mise-en-scene. The clothes, food, and products on the show are all for sale, so if a viewer sees something they like, they can actually buy it. This is the way that the producers of the ‘Truman Show’ make profit.

This setting helped me to understand the idea of surveillance and social control because the viewers are influenced and subtly controlled to buy products that they see on the ‘Truman Show’. Peter Weir shows the power of consumerism and how people will do anything for money - like how there is product placement on the show to generate revenue.

The unrealistic setting of the town of Seahaven in Peter Weir’s ‘The Truman Show’ reveals the idea of surveillance and social control and reflects on real life society. It is relevant to a modern audience/teenagers because we are the most watched generation ever. At my school, there are a lot of CCTV cameras that watch everyone closely, no one can get away with anything. We are also massively targeted by social media - all of our messages, data, photos, and what we “double tap” on, are being closely monitored. We are influenced greatly by advertising on social media and this is making our generation very materialistic. The more materialistic we are, the more money companies make.

‘The Truman Show’ was prophetic because it predicted the rise of reality TV. In today’s world, we are all voyeuristic and find reality TV extremely entertaining because we love spying on others - just like how the viewers of the ‘Truman Show’ couldn’t take their eyes off the screen and were greatly entertained even when Truman did the simplest things.

In conclusion, an unrealistic setting in Peter Weir’s, ‘The Truman Show’ is the faux town of Seahaven. The unreality of this setting helped me to understand the idea of surveillance and social control through the use of a zoom-out shot, close-up shot, dialogue, voiceover, and mise-en-scene. Peter Weir teaches us that no matter where we are or what we do, we are always being surveilled and controlled indirectly. We are taught that Truman is a product of surveillance and social control, and so are we as a society if we’re not careful.

Kia ora sarahherbst
This is getting much better, you can see the influence that surveillance and social control has, and the methods used to manipulate. Just a little more on the reasons, you do mention the materialistic underlying reasons but could develop this a little bit more, and this would lead to the motivations for the control also being a little more developed. Is it just for money do you think, that control is used or is there also a subtle factor of power - having power over others and determining what happens to them- is a good feeling? All very deep questions. Well done on the work. :+1:

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