Brief MAIN TASKAn extract from a new documentary TVprogramme, lasting approximately five minutes ANCILLARY 1a double-page spread from a listings magazine focusedon the documentary; ANCILLARY 2a newspaper advertisement for the documentary.
In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?DOCUMENTARYI was required to make one maintask and two ancillaries. My maintask was to construct a five minuteextract from a documentary. Thisdocumentary followed the life of ateenager with cancer and would becalled Living with TeenageCancer.Audiences will be able to follow the life of Maya a teenager suffering fromleukaemia trying to complete a list of things that she has always wanted to do,also known as events from her bucket list. Some of these events include going toSpain and to go sky diving.
DOCUMENTARY CODES AND CONVENTIONSFor my main task two whole documentaries were analysed individually and a groupanalysis was conducted. When analysing the documentaries certain areas I concentratedon were concept/ content, audiences, codes and conventions, music and sound andfinally mise-en-scene. The two documentaries which I individually analysed were The Boywho can‟t forget and The World‟s Oldest Teenager. My group analysis was on thedocumentary The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off. These documentaries were chosen as theyrevolved around one main protagonist which is similar to the type of documentary I ammaking. Through watching these documentaries many conventions were found which Ieither applied to my documentary or did not follow.
In two of the documentaries which I analysed the voice overwas done by the actual main protagonist or partly done bythem making the show more personalized The audience feltas though they actually know the main protagonist therefore Iwanted this similar feeling in my documentary. The use ofinterviews are also prevalent in documentaries in order tomake the audience think about the content and gain insightinto others opinions. Through the use of voiceovers indocumentaries I watched, the individual would giveinformation through the insight of the protagonist and be ableto hear the protagonists personal thoughts. We decided to useour protagonist for our voiceover in order to remind theaudience of Maya‟s young age. Ultimately this documentary isshowing cancers disregard for young age as well as showingMaya‟s innocence and that at such a young age she is still ableto have a positive outlook on her life.
The use of interviews was prevalent in my research and I found that in the documentaries whichI analysed individuals who either experienced a similar situation of were a part of the samesituation were interviewed in order to show audiences the experiences of different people. Iused this convention of interviews in my documentary but manipulated it to add a unique twistwhereby individuals representative of our target audience of teenagers were stopped andasked to give their options on two questions. These were “If you were Maya what would you dofor your bucket list?” and “If you were in Maya‟s position what would you do?” this lastquestions is refereeing to the fact that Maya has undergone treatment once already which wasunsuccessful, she addressed her thought in the documentary on whether or not she shouldcontinue treatment. In order to make our audience think more about a situation which most ofthem may not have undergone interviews were placed in the documentary. I also made sure tostick to the convention of the person being interview not looking directly into the camera butrather the side where essentially the interviewer should be present.
Below are screenshots of my interviews from my documentary in comparison toexisting documentaries such as “The boy who can‟t forget” and „The world‟s oldestteenager”. As evident I have used codes and conventions from existing mediaproducts in order to put across and opinion and inform audiences. MY PRODUCT EXISTING PRODUCTS
• The main purpose of a documentary is to inform, in the documentaries I watched there were many facts and figures given to the audience to inform them of something or to reinforce a certain view. I included this convention in my documentary by giving my viewers facts about teenage cancer and other aspects of cancer such as hair loss, increased amount of medication which must be consumed as well as others to emphasise the disregard for age that cancer has. These facts were written on plain black in white font. The text was large enough to be seen clearly and was made sure to be kept on the screen for a decent amount of time. Facts were either about Maya and her life such as “Maya has been diagnosed with cancer from the age of 16” or they were facts about teenage cancer such as “Leukaemia is the most common form of cancer in young people.” This was done to establish a link between the character and the issue and regularly reminds the audience of the link. In existing media products however these facts were usually said in the voiceover. I decided not to do this as I felt that sometimes audiences may miss what is being said in the voiceover and felt it was better for facts to appear on the screen.
Finally I found that extreme close ups were present a lot of the time indocumentaries in order to emphasise certain aspects of the mise-en-scene tomake the audience think or feel something. In the documentary “The World‟sOldest Teenager” extreme close ups of a birthday cake and the maincharacters childish handwriting emphasises her young age and shows astrong contrast between the protagonist‟s psychical appearance which is anaged individual to her actual inner self of a normal 13 year old who is still achild but due to such a life threatening disease she has had to grown up faster.Similarly in my documentary an extreme close up of a guitar and harry potterbooks were shown to show Maya‟s hobbies and interests through the use ofmise-en-scene making her seem relatable to the audience as well s young wasfollowed by a shot medicine on a bedside table to emphasise the fact that mymain protagonist Maya is very ill and requires a lot of medicine in order tomaintain her health which is usually expected of older people however she isstill very young and very ill. Ultimately there is a surprise felt by the audiencecausing interest to be gained. A comparism of extreme close ups present inmy product and existing products is present in the next slide.
Conventions were also challenged in my documentary through the use of some shotsbeing hand held. The shakiness of the shots was utilized in order to show the audiencethat it is in Maya (the protagonists) point of view. I wanted to do this because my targetaudience are teenagers just like the main protagonist, therefore using this point of viewshot emphasises the fact that she is the same age as the audience. The audience areable to see strong similarities between themselves and the protagonists and are able tosee that anyone can get cancer. Although hand held shots were use in existing mediaproducts they were not in first person view. Handheld shots such as those in “The BoyWhose Skin Fell Off” were mainly used due to the movement of the individuals ratherthan intentionally. Instead I decided to make these shots in first person view as not onlydid it make it more interesting and unique to watch, the fact that I challenged theconventions would gather even more of an interest. These hand held shots of Mayawalking into her house are examples of what our hand held shots looked like.
The final convention which was challenged was through the main title. Inthe documentaries I found that the main title was usually in a verysimple font which faded in which is what I was initially going todo. However due to the fact that my target audience was teenagers I feltthat just having the titles fade in would be too plain and not catch thetarget audience interest. I decided to use stop motion on the main titleand have the titles being spelled out on a scrabble board. This wasappealing to the eye an interesting, inventive way of showing the title tothe audience. The audience immediately become interested throughthe title and how its is displayed.
Research into different types of documentary modes led me to Bill Nicholstheory on different styles of documentaries. Each style of documentary had itsown sets of codes and conventions. I decided that our documentary would be aparticipatory documentary as it allows the filmmaker and the protagonist tointeract with each other. This is why I included the aspect of the mainprotagonist narrating the documentary as it is as though the protagonist istalking to the audience and guiding the filmmaker with her through her journeybreaking the „fourth wall‟. A relationship is established between the filmmakerand the protagonist as the protagonist is able to easily display her thoughts tothe filmmaker.
• TV LISTINGS DOUBLE PAGE• For my TV listings double page I looked at existing products from the magazine „Radiotimes‟ and analysed different double page spreads which advertised documentaries. The two double pages which I individually analysed were on the documentaries „Alesha Dixon: Don‟t Hit my Mum‟ and „Take That: Look Back Don‟t Stare‟. Our group analysis was on a double page for the programme „One Born Every Minute‟
A number of conventions were found between these double pages. Inall three of these media texts there is a large image of the mainprotagonists dominating either one side of the double page, 2/3 ofthe double page or it is the majority of the double page. On this imagethere are usually captions of extra information as well as a quotefrom the main protagonist. The text in the article is laid out in columnform with quotes from the texts said by the protagonist‟ beingenlarged to emphasise a particular point. The title of the article isusually a quote from the interview with the protagonist and there isalways a sentence underneath introducing the programme. Whenbeginning a new paragraph the first letter of the first sentence isenlarged. The final convention I found between all the texts were thatbefore the article started the name of the programme as well as thedate, time and channel it would air on is written at the beginning ofthe article in small font. For this task I stuck to all the conventions ofthe double page.
• I decided to have the large image to only be on the second half of the double page and be of the main protagonist walking through a park. However this image would not show her face due to her wish of remaining anonymous. I challenged the conventions by adding some colour to the text as we found that in my research all the text was all one colour. The colour we chose was orange as this was the colour of the leukaemia ribbon just as pink is for breast cancer. The quotes which were enlarged and the sentence underneath the title are all orange which also catches my target audiences eyes if they happen to skim through the magazine. Audiences will also stop and read this and „The Radiotimes‟ is usually targeted at an older audience therefore there is often a lack of colour however when they see the orange they will stop. Finally I also challenged the conventions by adding three more images on the other page of events from her bucket list. By doing this audience are able to see what great things that Maya will achieve in this documentary and will feel compelled to watch it.
• I decided to have the large image to only be on the second half of the double page and be of the main protagonist walking through a park. However this image would not show her face due to her wish of remaining anonymous. I challenged the conventions by adding some colour to the text as we found that in my research all the text was all one colour. The colour we chose was orange as this was the colour of the leukemia ribbon just as pink is for breast cancer. The quotes which were enlarged and the sentence underneath the title are all orange which also catches my target audiences eyes if they happen to skim through the magazine. Audiences will also stop and read this and „The Radiotimes‟ is usually targeted at an older audience therefore there is often a lack of colour however when they see the orange they will stop. Finally I also challenged the conventions by adding three more images on the other page of events from her bucket list. By doing this audience are able to see what great things that Maya will achieve in this documentary and will feel compelled to watch it.
• NEWSPAPER ADVERTISEMENT• For my research on existing newspaper advertisements for documentaries it was very difficult to conduct a list of codes and conventions mainly due to the fact that I was not able to find any existing adverts for documentaries. I conducted research on other newspaper adverts and analysed size, colour and what kind of information was on this. Through analysis of my three different adverts (Jazz Festival & London 2012 Vitamin Water) a list of possible conventions were created these included bright colours to attract the audience (or use of house colours), when and where the show would be airing and what it would be about. Three main sizes I found in newspaper advertisements were narrow vertical ones at the bottom of newspapers, square advertisements and tall horizontal advertisements. I decided to choose a tall horizontal advertisement as we wanted to include a portrait image of the protagonist. My newspaper advert also had the house colours of orange which is present throughout all three tasks.