Week 7 Workbook Activity – Changing ‘performance’ to suit genre

People respond instinctively to one’s change of tone as certain performative changes can convey certain emotions such as anger, happiness, surprise, curiosity and hate etc. In regards to interviews, certain interviews require a certain tone of voice to evoke a certain type of emotion. For example, the famous entertainment reporter Mary Hart has an incredible ability to change her performance as a reporter in different interviews. Mary is a perfect example of a reporter using a change in tone to suit a certain genre and evoke certain emotions.

The interviews that were shown with the Entertainment Tonight segment titled “ET Celebrates Mary Hart1’ featured the greats of the entertainment world that were at the time suffering from life threatening causes. It is evident when watching the segment that the context of the interview evoked emotion in Mary’s tone causing it to become a lot softer. You could not only see the emotion Mary was feeling through her non verbal communication but through her tone of voice which instinctively causes the listeners to feel the same way. At some stages the Mary held back on emphasizing the questions due to the softness or very little voice being given by the interviewee. This allowed the interview to become somewhat conversational but structured well enough to evoke that intended emotion.

On the other hand, when Mary Hart was being interviewed herself it was clear that her responses were given as an impromptu speech. This caused Mary’s speech to become somewhat fragmented as she was thinking on the spot. I believe in order to make her responses seem to flow she would put a lot of emphasize within her tone at the start and end of her, sometimes, unfinished sentences. Her tone was at varied from medium to loud this allowed her to inject warm, sincerity, passion and life into her responses. Therefore the reason why she uses performative change in her tone is to evoke emotion.

Piece to camera at 2.40mins
The tone used within the piece to camera, which can be classed as a transitional PTC2, varied greatly from the above two scenarios. At 2.40 minutes, Mary conducted a transitional PTC3 to introduce her interviews with celebrities facing emotional struggles. This transition was not an impromptu speech but however, a scripted speech from an autocue4 Despite this, if a viewer was not familiar with production aspects of news programs then viewer would never have known it was a scripted speech. This is because having been a host for 29 years; Mary is very familiar with the use of an autocue presenting it very naturally and spontaneously. There was no indication of her tracking every word within the autocue as she looked broadly when presenting5 this ensured the speech was continuous. Mary’s tone was loud and clear with emphasis featuring throughout. The most evident emphasis with her tone featured at the end of her sentences. The use of these performative changes evoked emotions such as passion, interest and enthusiasm for her job as a presenter. These performative changes were also used to reflect and presuade the viewer to feel a certain way as if they were feeling the same emotion evoked in each segment. Thus, Mary Hart was definately successful in connecting with her viewers  This is no doubt the reason as to why Mary Hart has been so successful in the industry.

1Zimbo, Mary Hart’s Legendary Interviews, Entertainment, style and living, http://www.zimbio.com/watch/_Ofyzqlh_bm/Mary+Hart+Legendary+Interviews/Mary+Hart (accessed August 25, 2012).
2Kate, Ames, 2012, COMM12033: Speech Communication, study guide, CQU, Gladstone.


Ames, Kate 2012, COMM12033: Speech Communication, study guide, CQU, Gladstone.

Zimbo, Mary Hart’s Legendary Interviews, Entertainment, style and living, http://www.zimbio.com/watch/_Ofyzqlh_bm/Mary+Hart+Legendary+Interviews/Mary+Hart (accessed August 25, 2012).


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