Thamina Chowdhury textual analysis of 2 soap opera trailers

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  • 1. Name: Thamina Chowdhury Candidate Number: 5899 Center Name: St. Paul’s Catholic College Center Number: 64770 Unit G324: Advanced Portfolio
  • 2. Trailer 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGXX2ubwoIU
  • 3. Trailer 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGXX2ubwoIU Verbal Codes – Sound effects: The sound effect used is a non-diegetic soundtrack with lyrics which relates to the dark eerie situation portrayed in the scenes. This is used throughout the trailer used to create tension in the atmosphere for the audience and also portrays every significant element of this episode all within the 59 second trailer. Dialogue: There is no diegetic dialogue presented, however the lyrics explain the themes shown in the trailer, for example the verbal code “what a wicked thing to do” which connotes that someone (specifically the main character, the male walking in the trailer) has done something and he is very dominant and evil and puts others in a bad situation, as the other characters look at him strangely and with dislike. The sound of the dark music in the background is being used to show significance and indicates immediately to the audience that this man has created trouble in the community and this instantly creates more tension in the atmosphere, here this relates to Katz’ ‘personal identification’ as well as Hartley's – self image as the portrayal of his character is shown by the characters around him and his mysterious perspective of the town, which adds to the scandal usually expected by fans of the text and the soap opera genre as a whole. Non-Verbal Codes – Setting: This is identified from the wide shots of the town, the main road, the houses and the point of view of those in the shops and their homes. This helps the audience quickly familiarize themselves with the location of the trailer, as it shows their community and the small town, which is contradicting as the male takes a long walk around the town passing different characters along the main roads of the town/village. Costume: The costume consists of all of the different characters, the main character wearing a formal fitted black coat but contrasts with the casual jeans he is wearing, which portrays his role as dominant and mysterious. This relates to Katz – personal identification as well as Hartley’s – class, this is portrayed through the costume, as some are dressed in casual clothing and some with a contrast between formal and casual clothing. The difference between the characters who are wearing other casual clothing and the black formal clothing such as the coats, indicates to the audience which role they play. Another example of a character who is dressed in similar clothing is the woman he passes and she is walking by as well, the exchanging of glances from each other, her facial expression instantly shows the disassociation she has with the male.
  • 4. Non-Verbal Codes continued – Her clothing also represents a fashionable formality of her age and that she is a working class female, but also dark and mysterious as she is walking at night. This costume shows the audience, her role in the show. The character at the end of the trailer who is dressed in a hooded jacket is shown as an intimidating and dangerous character as the person has covered his face and is hiding his face, which instantly depicts danger, this creates an enigma and tension. Lighting: The lighting from the street lights as well as the natural moon light is shining upon the town and it is very bright at night, The hue of the dark tinged lighting represents darkness, mystery, everyday tension and isolation. The moon light and streetlights portray a spotlight over the town and the characters to show that there is light in the life of the characters and not just isolation and difference in their feelings, this also gives the audience a view of the small community of people and the small town. Facial expressions: The serious and assertive look on the faces of the male and the other characters faces creates a tensed aura for the audience and also portrays that there is an unsettled tension between the characters. The worried and concealing look on the face of the young girl, shows the audience and the characters in the scene itself that she is worried and afraid with problems In her personal life, this is also represented by the runny makeup, this shows she was crying as she is feeling some sort of pain, this relates to Katz- personal identification. This also relates to Maslow, as the audience become ‘caregivers’ as the characters are crying, the audience will feel sympathy for the characters and want them to be okay. Technical Codes – Comment on the use of Camera Angles, Shot Types and Camera Movement Firstly the location is identified through an establishing shot of the town, then through a long shot, which is used so that the audience can familiarize themselves with the location. There is also a birds eye view shot at the beginning, which portrays his dominance and masculinity as he is walking in the middle of the main road and his shadow connotes danger and mystery. The longshot of him walking into the neighborhood zooms in slowly focusing on him overlooking the neighborhood as his shadow also gives the idea that it is following his conscience. The use of the over the shoulder shot of the car going around him shows his dominance and that he is not afraid and him not making way on the main road which is for cars shows his confidence and masculinity. This is also supported by the smirk on his face, considered an NVC. The over the shoulder shot also added at the end where a hooded person is following him creates instant tension as he is presented as intimidating with the way he is hiding.
  • 5. Trailer 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KByyRA7idCU
  • 6. Trailer 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KByyRA7idCU Verbal Codes – The trailer is introduced with an upbeat paced non-diegetic soundtrack which is very lively with a welcoming aura followed by a non-diegetic voiceover of one of the characters, which leads the trailer by one issue. It is a very assertive and intimidating tone of voice which instantly creates tension because of the seriousness of the situation. The contrast between ‘Max’, one of the male protagonist who seems intimidating, is very serious and speaks with an angry tone of voice whereas the other male character he is having a feud with is putting on an ‘act’ and being over friendly and sarcastic; he is portraying himself as not afraid this also creates tension and depicts an unsettled issue between the characters as he also makes himself look innocent and friendly in front of the community which denotes the fact that it is part of a ‘plan’, this then draws in the audience attention. The voiceover is a dialogue between a female and a male character, a private conversation they are having, the young looking female talking to ‘Max’ is trying to be encouraging and supportive and also giving advice to him as a partner’s role, which entices the male gender (Hartley) audience. In addition, from the dialogue used in the voiceover of the female, she emphasizes “you just DON’T rise to it” but there is a contrast because ‘Max’ does the opposite and has a brawl with the other male character. Within the trailer the use of non-diegetic music is used frequently throughout the trailer, which is the soundtrack playing in the background, the upbeat old fashion track connotes the business deals that are being made and the troubles that come with it as there seems to be competition. The track also represents the characters such as Max as an ‘old fashion’ perspective as he grabs the other male character by the face and threatens him in front of the community, showing he has not thought in anger and forgotten the levels he is not meant to cross. This instantly portrays him as a negative, intimidating character to the community and to the audience. The diegetic sound is the characters speaking to one another, ‘You just don’t rise to it’ this is the woman who is telling her loved one, advising him at the same time that he should not overcome anything because of anger, this contradicts with his actions as he violently grabs the male. This relates to Maslow – survivors, as the audience will want Max to stay calm and not ‘get under his skin’. and the noises made in the scene, for example the screeching of the car tires at the end. The point of call then appears but this sound is in the background so that the audience understand that there is a dangerous situation. Also the connotations of the verbal code, “Top Dog” also ‘signifies’ the saying of a female character, this challenges Rebecca Feasey’s ideology as the females would to some extent be challenging the male characters to see who is the better man. This denotes the idea that the male characters are in a competition with one another, to show their power and dominance.
  • 7. Non-Verbal Codes – Setting: The setting is identified in the Eastenders streets, where there are different areas which are shown throughout the trailer. There are also a variety of people with familiar faces, and it is shown that all of the characters recognize one another, showing that there is a connection between all of the characters within this small community. Costume: Max and the other male character who is much older are dressed in suits, which represents their status and social class in the community, whereas other characters are dressed in casual clothing, as they are in their home town and reflect the working class ethos of the genre. In addition the people who work at the garage are dressed in overalls which present them as mechanics to further ‘signify’ (De Saussure) the generic verisimilitude of the genre. Lighting: The lighting used is a very natural day light (High key) which gives a sense of realism so that the audience can ‘personally identify’ (Katz) to the situation and the location. Facial expressions: ‘Max’s’ facial expression at the beginning is very intimidating and serious, which portrays unsettled aura between the characters, whereas the man sitting down in the café eating has a more smiley and sarcastic look on his face which represents his personality in the narrative and this makes ‘Max’ angrier, which acts as an enigma clue (Roland Barthes) for the audience to investigate the further reasons behind this animosity. Also from the things Max says “You think you’re a big man, think you can do what you want?” after this he puts his hands on his hips showing his anger and seriousness in his tone and this body language represents his anger and assertiveness. He is trying to make the other character feel like they shouldn’t be doing the things he’s doing and should stay within his limits. This creates more tension and from this body language and dialogue (VB) the audience have an idea of what the trailer is about. From the way Max and the woman is behaving, represents him as a man in the community that is not wanted and liked by the other characters, therefore he resorts to creating trouble. The central protagonist of the trailer, ‘Max’, is shouting at the male grabbing his face, he screams ‘I’ll kill you!’ which draws attention and his fury that has been shown portrays his personality and this also helps to develop a character build up and so the audience have an idea of what the character is like, which is an assertive dominant character, however he is also represented as a man who cannot stay within his limits as he grabbed the male by his face, this is shown to the characters around him as well as the audience.
  • 8. Technical Codes – The trailer begins with a long shot at a high angle to denote what the young mechanic is receiving. In this sequence a two in shot is included to depict the relationship between the young male mechanic and the older male in a suit; the older man gives him an envelope which connotes to the audience that he may be his boss or manager. This creates a sense of suspicion as the audience may be wondering what has been given to him in the envelope, something to do with the business or is it just his wages. These connotations prove to the audience that he is a member of staff after all. In some respect he is involved in the actions that are happening in the trailer, as he was focused on in the opening of the trailer. Furthermore, another technical code that would impact the audience in helping them to stay intrigued with this soap opera is the close up shots and tracking shots, which is the movement which makes the audience feel like they are apart of the scene and this creates a sense of realism. The zoom in movement of the camera on ‘Max’ when he is standing at the door, intensifies a ‘disequilibrium’ (Todorov) and helps sell the shows scandalous narrative to the audience, which is something they would expect to be ‘repeated’ (Steve Neale) in the genre. Throughout the trailer, there are many cross cutting and straight cut shots which connotes the realism in the situation and portrays the soap as very scandalous which anchors closely to the soundtrack in the background.
  • 9. Evaluation of Textual Analysis – Compare and Contrast Trailer 1) – Areas of Strength and what you would ‘repeat’ (Steve Neale) and ‘exploit’ (Abercrombie – 1995) • An area of strength In this trailer was the significance of the over the shoulder shot of the hooded person and the male antagonist at the end of the trailer. This technical code of this shot and tracking of the characters creates tension and emphasizes that both the characters in this shot are dangerous, as the hooded person wouldn’t follow this antagonist for no reason, the hooded character has a motif therefore he is following the male behind him quietly. • In addition the use of the verbal code, non-diegetic soundtrack used and the sound of an interference in the music creates an enigma and this intrigues the audience more as the sound portrays darkness and danger. • I would ‘repeat’ (Steve Neale) the non-diegetic soundtrack used to create a dark and mysterious aura as well as the different camera shots including over the shoulder shot, establishing shot and different camera movement such as zooming in and camera tracking and panning. Trailer 2) – Areas of Strength and what you would ‘repeat’ (Steve Neale) and ‘exploit’ (Abercrombie – 1995) • A strong aspect of this trailer was the use of non-diegetic voiceover in different parts of the trailer, which is interpreted as a powerful denotation to the audience. The voiceover related to the scenes in the trailer and contrasted well with the dialogue as well. • The dialogue used within the trailer was portrayed as intimidating and assertive from the character ‘Max’ because of his tone of voice and creates an unsettled tensed atmosphere. His tone of voice denotes that there is a serious issue between the characters, which further intrigues both the male and female audience because it has led to a physical fight between the two male characters. • I would also ‘repeat’ (Steve Neale) the diegetic dialogue as this is a very strong part of a trailer and creates a lot of tension and enigma, which draws in the audiences attention increasing the views of the soap. Because of the realism of the dialogue and effect of the voiceover it helps the audience relate to the characters and view it as a very realistic soap opera.