Characters in tv_drama


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Characters in tv_drama

  1. 1. Characters in TV drama
  2. 2. Characters are clearly a crucial element of TV drama. The relationships the characters have, the situations they get themselves in drive the narrative of the show.....
  3. 3. The common ingredient  of any TV drama is that audiences are being invited to identify with the lead characters and are interested in what happens to them. <ul><li>Most teen dramas like Skins , Waterloo Road , The OC and Smallville are based on adolescent concerns: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The desire for relationships </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The desire to be individual and special </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The power to solve other people's problems and cast individuals in the role of hero or villian </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The importance of image  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The truth can hurt </li></ul></ul>  Skins Episode 9 Sibling Rivalry  
  4. 4. Although characters in stories may seem very real, they must be understood as constructed characters, who have roles to play for the sake of the story. The most basic of these roles is the polarisation of characters into 'good' and 'bad'. Theses 'binary opposites' help to structure narrative development and character arch. The majority of narratives involve characters who are in conflict with one another. Many TV dramas set up conflicts between good and bad characters and build the narrative around revealing how good will triumph over bad.
  5. 5. <ul><li>This conflict is the basis of Levi-Strauss's idea of binary opposition: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Narratives are frequently organised in terms of characters, ideas and values which are set in opposition to one another </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The good characters normally win and order is resolved (however temporary) </li></ul></ul>Levi-Strauss pointed out that this was an almost 'mythical' resolution in that it suggested such outcomes were possible in narratives in the way they were not in real life
  6. 6. Binary opposition is used in the Blackpool extract:  Opening scene Mum & Dad discuss daughter's previous boyfriends - representations of wealth clearly evident through aspects of mise-en-scene Daughter comes in with older boyfriend; dad is included in the frame (over the shoulder shot) becasue the scene is about him and his reaction Scene then cuts to a reation shot of mum & dad; boyfriend is still framed (over the shoulder) which reinforces who they are reacting to.
  7. 7. <ul><li>This sequence sets up binary oppositions mainly through: </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Camera work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dialogue </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Editing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aspects of mise-en-scene </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>The key bit of the scene (girl bringing older boyfriend home) works through camera work and editing - dialogue is not needed as the audience can empathise and understand the character's emotions and feeling through shot choice and sequence. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Characters are deeply embedded in narratives. Audiences are constantly positioned to sympathise with some characters (and the values and attitudes they represent); And to be antagonistic to others (and the values and attitudes they represent) Audiences attitudes, values and beliefs are being shaped by their involvement with chararacters within a fictionalised narrative   Audiences responses to characters can change over time
  9. 9. <ul><li>Extension Activity: </li></ul><ul><li>How are the good and bad characters constructed? </li></ul><ul><li>Find a scene with both characters in and comment on aspects of mise-en-scene such as: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>clothing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>lighting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>camerawork </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>actor's performance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>You may also want to comment on the ways in which sound (diegetic and non-diegetic) is used in your scene. </li></ul>