Film Language Tag: direct address

Communication that is explicitly indicated as being targeted at a current listener, reader, or viewer as an individual. In face-to-face interaction, this is when you are being spoken to or gestured at: signified by eye contact, the use of the word ‘you’, your name, or a pointing finger. In the case of television and photography, an example would be someone talking while looking into the camera lens, as if they were communicating directly with the current viewer. This mode of address is common for presenters in certain television genres: notably newscasters, weather forecasters, and chat-show hosts. It is only occasionally used in narratives, where such communication is extradiegetic; in such contexts this is typically a humorous device or an alienation effect. [Also known as metalepsis or, more colloquially, breaking the fourth wall] Chandler, Daniel and Rod Munday. A Dictionary of Media and Communication. Oxford UP, 2011.


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