The Truman Show: Actual Events In Reality Television Programs

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Is reality television accurate in depicting actual events? Agree or disagree with reference to The Truman Show

Reality Television shows ordinary people that are filmed for entertainment, does not present real life events accurately. The 1998 film The Truman Show directed by Peter Weir and starring Jim Carrey know as Truman Burbank, who doesn’t know he is the star of a live twenty-four hour reality television show which shares his name as the title. Throughout this film, audiences can understand that the creative use of soundtrack, camera angles and cross cutting are all placed by the production team to enhance an audience’s experience while watching a reality television program, and therefore does not depict real life accurately.

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The inaccuracy of reality television programs in depicting actual events is highlighted through the use of soundtrack. In The Truman Show, music is frequently placed in important parts of Truman’s life, from his first steps to his wedding day. The soundtrack conveniently mimics the emotions Truman is experiencing during these events and therefore tells the audience of The Truman Show what to feel when watching these events live from their homes. The use of intense, dramatic music when Truman is “being spontaneous! Yelling “Somebody help me, I’m being spontaneous!’’ unsettles the audience and tells them that Truman has begun to believe something is not right in his life. As music does not occur to support the narrative of real lives outside reality television, the use of a convenient and deliberately placed and designed soundtrack played over The Truman Show illustrates that reality television programs do not depict real life events accurately.

The use of the hidden Camera angles effectively explores the concept that reality television is not successful in depicting real life events accurately. To establish that Truman’s life is constantly being filmed for entertainment, The Truman Show utilizes a range of camera angles, allowing the audience to view Truman’s life through a camera lens and positioning them in the same place as the viewers of The Truman Show. Deliberate zoom in shots when Truman states “And in case I don’t see ya, Good Afternoon, Good Evening and Goodnight!” creates the feeling of an iconic catch phrase and enhances the audience’s experience watching Truman’s life. Low, high and close up angles enhance and show off Truman’s best features, a concept that does not happen in real life, further illustrating that reality television does not accurately depict real life.

The concept that reality television programs do not depict real life events accurately is also shown through the use of cross cutting, a cinematic technique in which the audience can view the perspective of an event from two different locations at the same time. By utilizing cross cutting, the audience can understand not only Truman’s experiences, but also the experiences of the production team putting The Truman Show together and the audience of the Truman Show watching from home. The audience views all parties’ interpretations of Truman struggling through the storm at the conclusion of the film. Members of the public yelling “Go on Truman! You can do it!” creates excitement and unity for the audience of the film, telling them how to feel. As it is impossible in real life to experience one event from two different points of view, the use of cross cutting additionally explores that reality television is not accurate in depicting real life events.

Utilizing a range of cinematic techniques including soundtrack, camera angles and cross cutting, The Truman Show illustrates the notion that reality television programs do not depict real life events or experiences in an accurate way. Through this film, audiences can understand that in real life, no music or close ups accompany everyday experiences and it is impossible to view two perspectives of one event at the same time. Peter Weir was able to convey through these techniques and others what happens to a human being when their choices are taken away from them in a reality television setting.


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