The money shot revisited: changing dynamics of media spectacle, intensity and excess
Monday 12 June 2017
Hosted by the Research Institute for Cultural and Media Economies (CAMEo) and the Media Cultures research cluster, University of Leicester.
In association with the Department of Gender Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington.
- Laura Grindstaff (University of California, Davis – author of The Money Shot: Trash, Class, and the Making of TV Talk Shows)
- Helen Wheatley (University of Warwick – author of Spectacular Television: Exploring Televisual Pleasure)
- Respondents: Brenda R. Weber (Indiana University, Bloomington) and Helen Wood (University of Leicester)
This one-day workshop will draw together international scholars who are considering the phenomenon of ‘the money shot’ across different media forms and from different disciplinary perspectives. In 2002, Laura Grindstaff broke new ground by showing how the success of television talk shows depended on producers’ ability to push their guests to the emotional brink and to the point of release – to get what she called the ‘money shot’. This was the moment when talk show guests’ ‘raw’ emotional responses were captured on screen. Like the orgasmic cum shot of pornographic films, the money shot made visible the surrendering of the human body to its ‘animal’ emotions; its value and pleasures were located in the spectacular breakdown of the civilized self.
Fifteen years later, the economic and cultural contexts for media texts and performances have shifted profoundly, and new forms of production have enhanced the aesthetic generation of ‘spectacle’. The proliferation and mainstreaming of pornographies, the multiplicity of social media platforms based on disclosure and sharing, and the ever-extending reaches of media technologies into the most intimate zones of human life have formed new intensities - potentially reframing the relationship between the symbolic and the economic. The money shot is now extensified and commonplace, having travelled across reality television, drama, game shows, social media feeds, gaming, YouTube vlogs, celebrity interviews, paparazzi shots, and even into world politics.
This transdisciplinary symposium will bring together a diversity of scholars who are interested in the new affective intensities of contemporary culture, and how they are newly remade through spectacle, image and excess. Some of the questions it seeks to ask are:
- How is the money shot produced and made manifest across different media genres, textual forms and visual cultures?
- How do we understand its relationship to older forms of ‘media spectacle’?
- How does it disrupt or generate new forms of narrative development or diegetic relief?
- How have the proliferation of ‘ordinary celebrity’ and social media platforms transformed the money shot?
- What are the labour conditions of the money shot - what are the new relations of exploitation and care in its production?
- How does the money shot’s ubiquity challenge its efficacy?
- How might audiences be addressed by or asked to participate in its production?
- What are the classed, raced and gendered dimensions of the money shot?
- How are inequalities reproduced, spectacularised or subverted through moments of mediated emotional excess?
- Does the money shot contain any radical potential for resisting the conditions of its production or the social relations it implies?