Evaluation Question 1
How did you USE, DEVELOP or
CHALLENGE codes and conventions
of real media products?
My final media product 'Victoria Halls', a trailer for a melodramatic style soap uses many codes
and conventions of real soap operas, especially melodramas. When doing my initial research
before developing my final product I looked into real soap operas such as 'Coronation
Street', 'Hollyoak’s', 'The only way is Essex' etc. to gain real and full knowledge of the genre
and the sub-genres within. The main codes and conventions differ depending on the type of
soap, however some are consistent within all soap operas. These include:
-Multi-strand Narratives -This means having more than just one storyline at one particular time, however still
understandable and easy to follow for the audience. It enables multiple parallel narratives and convergence. This will make the soap
more exciting and interesting for the audience and will also enable the soap to cover different everyday issues against each other to
represent the contrast between different people and the issues they are facing. (There are usually around 4 different storylines in soap
trailers and episodes)
-Main cast members/characters - Every soap has several main characters that the story lines revolve around. Some
new characters will often come in and out but generally soaps do have main characters that their audience have grown to know and
love, they will all be relatable and recognisable.
-Story lines surrounding everyday issues - Most soap operas cover issues such as relationship
issues, homosexuality, drug and alcohol abuse, pregnancy, death etc. which will provide escapism and entertainment but may also be
relatable for the audience and issues they may be facing in their life. (e.g. a story line around bullying may be relatable for someone
who is being bullied themselves, a parent of a child being bullied, or someone who is bullying someone else). The storylines may
inspire, help, excite etc. depending on the person and the issues they are facing.
-Regional Identity - Soaps are usually in regional places that will again allow the audience to relate to them. For
example, 'Coronation Street' has a regional identity around Manchester and the setting and characters reflect this. e.g. the characters
speak with a Manchester accent, the characters will wear clothes and styles that are popular in the Manchester area with the given
age range each character is representing.
-Consistent settings - Most soaps have particular places where story lines will reoccur and that will be recognisable for the
audience. For example 'The Rovers Return Pub' in coronation street is a key setting where many storylines unfold.
-Theme tune - All soap operas have a theme tune at the start and end of each episode and this theme tune may also be used in
trailers. The theme tune will be ideal for the programme and its specific audience, for example 'Hollyoaks' has a loud, upbeat, pop
style theme tune which is suitable for the audience of teenagers and young adults.
After researching the sub-genres within soap which are Realism, Scripted Reality,
Melodrama, Australian Soap, American Fantasy and Telenovelas, I decided to
create a Melodrama Soap Opera. I therefore looked closer at melodramas
such as 'Hollyoaks' and 'Waterloo Road' to gain ideas and identify the main
codes and conventions my media product should include. The main
codes and conventions I identified upon doing my research within melodramatic
soaps and USED within my final product are…
Melodramas, like most genres of soap have a multi-strand narrative within the programmes and their
trailers. Like the example of Hollyoaks below, I have included a multi-strand narrative in my trailer to
make it interesting and have an impact on the audience. Most of the storylines in 'Hollyoaks' are very
dramatic and less realistic than the storylines in 'Coronation Street' or scripted reality's such as 'Geordie
Shore' etc. I have done this within my Soap programme idea and my final product by including 5 different
storyline's in my trailer, these include: Teenage pregnancy, Cheating and relationship issues, Friendship
issues, Drug and alcohol abuse and homosexuality.
Multi-strand narratives that include exaggerated storylines, acting and characters.
My final product and the multi-strand narrative’s I have included.
Relationship/cheating issues Homosexuality Drug and alcohol abuse Teenage Pregnancy Friendship issues
Example from Hollyoaks- A real melodrama trailer with a multi-strand narrative.
Relationship/cheating issues HomosexualityIllness/death issues Drug IssuesMurder threats/abuse
Young main characters- Melodramas are usually aimed at teenagers and young adults
which is evident from soaps such as 'Waterloo Road' which is dominated by teenage
characters and although some ' of the characters in 'Hollyoaks' are older (such as
parents, grandparents, teachers and families etc.) the majority are teenagers and young
adults and the main storylines usually surround them.
I have complied with the convention of young characters in my final product as I have
included 5 main characters that are all around the age of 18 in which the storylines revolve
around. I have slightly challenged real soap operas with my final product as there are no
older adults at all and I have only slightly included a sense of Propp's theory as the only
character holding a strong character type is 'Jake' who is represented to be an exaggerated
Villain as he is neglecting and becoming aggressive to his pregnant girlfriend, neglecting his
best friend and is also cheating on his girlfriend.
The character stereotypes are also very exaggerated in melodramatic
soaps, for example 'Ziggy' in 'Hollyoaks' is represented as a stereotypical
'player' - fit, attractive young male who messes girls around and is obsessed
with his looks and girls. This is conveyed through the storylines he is
involved in and also the clothes he wears. Melodramas do also often act
upon Propp's theory of character types with the use of exaggerated heroes
and villains and other stereotypes to make the soap more effective.
Melodramas usually cover serious issues that teenagers and young adults
face as they are growing up but will also contain issues and storylines that will involve older
These usually include aspects of homosexuality, relationship issues, drug and alcohol
problems, pregnancy, illnesses etc. this is to provide both entertainment and escapism for the audience
and may also be relatable and provide advice, help, excitement, inspiration etc. for the target audience. In
my trailer I have used 5 effective issues to base my storyline's around which are a mixture of
emotional, exciting and interesting issues including teenage pregnancy, Cheating and relationship
issues, Friendship issues, Drug and alcohol abuse and homosexuality. I have included a vast range of topics
to focus on and therefore this is ideal for a melodramatic soap as the majority of the audience will be able
to relate to and be intrigued by the issues within the trailer.
Relationship/cheating issues Homosexuality Drug and alcohol abuse Teenage Pregnancy Friendship issues
The storylines I have included in my trailer cover similar storylines to real trailers such as ‘Hollyoaks’
Relationship/cheating issues HomosexualityIllness/death issues Drug IssuesMurder threats/abuse
Settings that are consistent and again relatable for the target
audience - Melodramas, like many real soap operas, will have consistent settings that
are memorable and known by the audience. The settings are suitable and relevant to the
particular genre of soap. For exapmle in 'Hollyoaks' the reoccuring settings include 'The
Club', 'The Dog in Pond Pub', 'College Coffee‘, 'Hollyoaks 6th Form College' etc. (as shown
below) which are all relatable and relevant to the soap and the target audience of late
In my trailer I have included different settings that will be suitable and relevant for the
characters and the target audience, these include: 'Pub beer garden', 'University halls
kitchen and bedroom', 'Park' and 'Streets in Manchester' (the regional area the
programme is set in).
Disequilibrium-Many melodramas contain a theory by Todorov, this is where a
storyline will start with an equilibrium, which will then be disturbed by a disequilibrium (a
chain of events that will cause drama ) The problem will then be solved and restored to
return back to the equilibrium. This is effective as it is exciting and intriguing for the reader
and make them try and solve/guess the outcome of the storyline. Usually in trailers there is
a series of short clips showing a short revelation of problem/issue that is about to disrupt
the equilibrium. I have done this in my trailer by revealing short clips of the
problem/issues. For example, my storyline surrounding teenage pregnancy shows
a CU on a pregnancy test followed by the dialogue "This can't be happening " and
then cuts to the next shot. This is effective as it shows the topic causing the
disequilibrium and leaves the audience interested and enticed in the storyline and
to the CU on Tara saying
“This can’t be happening”
This CU shot of the
pregnancy test pans up
Which then cuts to this
title card reading “drama”
for dramatic effect.
Regional Identity-Melodramas usually have a regional identity and are set in a
particular area for example 'Hollyoaks' is set in the fictional suburb called Chester. This is
reflected through the characters, dialect, the costume and the setting etc. of the soap. There
is a strong sense of regional identity in my melodrama as all the actors have a Manchester
accent, they wear clothes that represent teenagers and young adults in Manchester such as
'Adidas jackets and gazelle trailers, Fred Perry polo shirts, clothes from Topshop etc. which
are popular brands relating to the target audience. The filming location is also in different
areas around Manchester.
FRED PERRY POLO
TOPSHOP FUR COAT,
There are also certain camera shots/angles
and technical editing techniques melodramas use within
their programmes and trailers to make them effective and
memorable for potential and existing audiences. I have again USED
these technical codes in my final product to make it as believable
and professional as I possibly could. These include:
Shot reverse shot with MCU's -A convention of all soaps including
melodramas, these camera shots are used consistently throughout episodes and are also
used in melodrama soap trailers to show quick and effective conversations with the
camera close enough to show each characters emotions and reactions. Shot reverse shot's
are extremely important to clearly reveal conversation between different characters and
they are key in ensuring that the audience understand and are following different
storylines. I have included a MCU Shot Reverse Shot in my final product to show a realistic
conversation between the two characters 'Hol' and 'Millie', ensuring my audience can
follow and understand the storyline.
This is an example of the shot reverse shot from my final product .
This is an example of the shot reverse shot from a real medial product ‘Hollyoaks’.
-CU's - Close up camera shots on characters faces are used a lot in melodramas to
reveal emotions which will assist the audience in establishing how the characters are
feeling e.g. if they are upset, angry, happy etc. These shots are used at key points in
different scenes and parts of the trailers as they add impact and tension as they
exaggerate the revelation of the characters emotions. This close up shot I have used in
my trailer is after the over the shoulder shot shown below, I have used the CU here to
show the reaction and anger 'Simon' is feeling. It also adds tension as it leaves the
audience unsure on what 'Simon' will do.
Example of a close up shot from Hollyoaks.
Over the shoulder shot - Over the shoulder shots are used to reveal what one
character may be overlooking, they engage the audience as they are again left unsure
and wondering what the character overlooking the particular event will do. I have used
this over the shoulder shot in my trailer to reveal 'Simon' catching 'Jake' cheat on 'Tara'
with 'Hol'. This adds extreme effect as the audience know that the two characters have
been caught and their secret is potentially out. The audience will be intrigued and
engaged as they will be left trying to solve and guess the outcome.
Natural Lighting- Similar to most soap operas, I have also used scenes with natural lighting (as
shown in the over the shoulder shot below) throughout my trailer to create the relatable effect for
the audience. However, melodramas do sometimes edit the lighting to portray different feelings in
their trailers such as dark lighting to convey mysterious messages through the trailer.
This is an example from a Hollyoaks
-Framing Shots- Carefully constructed framing shots are used throughout soap
programmes and trailers, especially melodramas, to clearly portray the relationships
and conflict between different characters. This framed shot I have used in my trailer is
very effective in revealing the relationship between the three female characters in the
melodrama. As 'Tara' has been placed in the centre off the shot, it becomes clear that
she is lonely and depressed and also shows that there is significant conflict and
'bitchiness' between the female characters.
This is an example from a real media
product, a Coronation Street trailer.
-High and low camera angles- In many soaps and especially
melodramas, different angled camera shots are used for example, low camera angles are
used to represent intimidation and fear and high angle shots will be used to represent
characters who may be looking down on other characters for example 'a teacher telling a
student off'. In my trailer I have used this low angle shot to show 'Tara' being intimidated
and feeling 'low' and depressed in the way 'Jake' has reacted to the news of her pregnancy.
This will give the audience a clear idea of exactly how 'Jake' is making her feel. 'Jake's'
aggression is also emphasised through the low angle shot which creates the exaggerated
drama in this scene.
This is an example from a Hollyoaks episode
from a storyline surrounding domestic
Non-diegetic Music - Not all soaps do, but melodramas especially use non-
diegetic music in episodes and trailers on a regular basis. This is done for effect and to
exaggerate the drama created in the episode/trailer. The non-diegetic used is usually relevant
to the characters feelings for example in this trailer of 'Hollyoaks'
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InV4JpVz5gU for a 'Valentines day' trailer, a slow but
slightly sinister love song has been used to create a mysterious feeling which reflects both the
characters feelings and how they are being represented in this particular trailer. In my trailer I
have used non-diegetic music that is suitable for the target audience and that is relevant to
the atmosphere and feelings created. The non-diegetic music also adds dramatic effect to my
melodramatic trailer as the tempo gradually gets faster throughout the trailer, the lyrics in the
song were also carefully considered and again link to the storylines e.g."don’t bring me down'
"don't tell me our youth is running out it's only just begun". The song I used in my trailer is
called ‘Foxes AC Dubstep remix’ by Youth and we sourced it from ‘Soundcloud’.
Panning and Fast Cuts- Edits such as panning and fast cuts are used in
melodramas to add to the effect and make certain revelations more
dramatic, the fast cuts are used to leave the audience unsure and on the
edge wondering what will happen. I have an effective panning shot at the
start of my trailer after the close up on the pregnancy test to slowly reveal
who is pregnant. I have also used fast cuts constantly to make the trailer
create as much tension as possible.
This is the slow panning shot from the pregnancy test upwards to slowly reveal
which character may or may not be pregnant.
Editing- The use of text- In my soap trailer I used text to make the trailer
much more dramatic and to convey some messages about what the audience
should expect from the storyline. This is used in real media products for the same
effect. Below are some examples of the way I have done it and an example from a
real media text.
Technology- In melodramas, such as this example from 'Hollyoaks', technology is
incorporated within the soap to make the programme relevant to modern day, the
characters being represented and their audience. Showing text messages through trailers
and episodes is another way of involving the audience and making the storylines
understandable. In my trailer I have used several shots of mobile phones revealing
messages from other characters to incorporate technology and also to make the trailer
interesting and easy to follow.
This is an example of the
way technology has been
used in Hollyoaks.
How I CHALLENGED conventions of real media products
The time and channel the soap is aired on is very important. As melodramas are usually
aimed at teenagers and young adults they will most likely be students at
college/university, therefore the soap will not be aired in the daytime as they are
inconvenient for the audience. For example, 'Waterloo Road' is broadcasted at 8pm, usually
on a Thursday evening on BBC1 and 'Hollyoaks' is aired at 6:30pm on channel 4. Both these
programmes have been carefully created to make them accessible and convenient for their
viewers. These programmes have also been broadcasted at a suitable time as they are not
too late and the audience will then be able to go on a night out, which many college and
university students will do on a regular basis, and not miss an episode. I have challenged this
slightly as my programme is broadcasted at 9pm which is later than the two examples above
but I found it suitable as it is after the watershed so the content of my programme can be
more intense and interesting for the audience. My programme is on E4 which is a relevant
channel for a melodrama as programmes such as 'Hollyoaks first look' and 'Hollyoaks Later'
are aired on E4.
How did you USE, DEVELOP or CHALLENGE codes and conventions
of real media products for my ancillary products ?
My first ancillary product, the soap magazine front cover, uses many codes and
conventions from real media products which I discovered upon research. When planning
my flat plan and my final soap magazine front cover I had various real magazine front
covers to influence me and gain knowledge of how to make an effective front cover. The
codes and conventions include:
-Secondary storylines and images
-Bright Bold colour scheme
Masthead - The mastheads for soap magazines, as evident in my final product, are always
in a large bold font and use a bright colour to ensure that they stand out to the audience.
Throughout researching soap magazines I also identified that the mastheads are in the
top quarter of the page which is conventional of most genres of magazine front
covers, some soap magazines also place a shadow effect behind their masthead to make it
look as if it is coming out of the page. This is the my final mast head 'Revealed', I
have used the bold font with the bright red colour to create the effective, eye-
catching masthead. The name of my magazine was also influenced by real media
products such as 'inside soap' 'all about soap' etc.
These are some of the real magazine
mastheads that influenced me when
designing my masthead.
Caption - Most soap magazines have a caption underneath the masthead which in this
example is 'EVERY STORY!, EVERY SECRET!, EVERY WEEK!'. This is very effective as it excites
the reader and suggests that this magazine 'InsideSoap' includes everything they need to
know about soaps at that current time. I have complied with this convention and created
my own caption for my magazine which as shown below reads "Suspense, Secrets,
Shocks...Soap!" which is short but effective in summing up the context of the magazine
and similarly to the example, excites the reader. I have also formatted the caption so that it
is in the same bold font as the masthead but much smaller and in a different colour but
-Main Image-The main image takes up the majority of the magazine front cover, therefore it needs
to be an effective image, usually revealing a big story coming up in the particular soap, is also covered
by a title- large, bold, bright text e.g. 'LOVE FOR SHARON!'. In this example the text is short and worded
effectively and is also capitalised and punctuated with an exclamation mark, this will again be so that
the story jumps out, intriguing the reader. In this example the title is also on a slant, this works really
well as it is noticeable and ensures the front cover looks busy, reflecting the soaps and the content of
the magazine. On my magazine front cover I have used this image as it clearly represents conflict
between these two characters as the character at the front of the image has a 'smug' look on her face
whereas the character slightly behind has a more serious look. This title over my main image, 'SHOCK
REVENGE! What's Tara's plan?' works very well in summing up the storyline in an enticing way but
also engages and involves the reader with the question. The use of question marks is also very
conventional of this genre of magazine front covers.
These are some of the soap
magazines I researched when
looking for inspiration and
conventions of real main images.
-Secondary storylines and images -Around and under the main image there are
several 'secondary story lines' again consisting of images with bright, bold text over
them, However as they are secondary story lines they are much smaller than the main
image. The summarised headings are again short and effective such as ' EMMERDALE
LOVE TRIANGE EXPLODES' in this example which reveals the main, shocking information
but doesn't give away too much. Some of the sub-headings are also questions such as
'WHO'S KATS LOVER?' which makes the reader question and interested in the storyline
and what the magazine may have to reveal. I have used 4 secondary images on my soap
magazine, two of which are storylines and 2 which are more 'exclusive' aspects of the
magazine such as 'MEET THE CAST' which is again conventional of soap magazines. I have
used many colours, text and borders on the secondary images and storylines to keep a
bright colour scheme and also to maintain the 'busy' look of the magazine.
-Banner-Soap magazine front covers also contain a banner at the top of the page
which is again in a bright colour to ensure that the readers don't miss them. On the
banners there are usually buttons with promotions or snaps of information on such
as 'BIGGEST EVER ISSUE' which would excite the reader and make them want to buy
the 'biggest issue ever'. The banners also usually contain an image with another
storyline which fills the front cover and means that the reader is intrigued straight
away when reading the magazine. On my magazine front cover I have constructed
my banner to ensure it contains two buttons, a secondary image and title to make it
look full and engage the readers.
Overall view of conventions I have adhered to with influences from ‘Soaplife’
– A real media product.
How did you USE, DEVELOP or CHALLENGE codes and conventions of
real media products for my ancillary products ?
My second ancillary product, the billboard poster, uses many codes and conventions from real
media products which I discovered upon research. When planning my flat plan and my final
billboard poster, I had various real billboard posters to influence me and gain knowledge of how
to make an effective billboard poster. The codes and conventions include:
-Landscape image including the main characters.
-Channel logo/broadcast time and date
-Effective image e.g. with meaning or a message behind the image.
-Landscape image including the main characters. Landscape images are effective as they
allow the audience to identify the relationship between the characters very clearly. When
researching real billboards I also noticed that the landscape images were much more enticing.
Some billboard posters also use a landscape image to reveal the mise en scene (setting) for the
programme or upcoming episodes. However, I have challenged this slightly as I have used a
black background to enable the colours of the characters to stand out.
Below are some billboard posters I was
influenced by when deciding on the image
I was going to use.
Enigma code- Enigma codes are used to intrigue the audiences and ask them a question
to make them try and solve what will happen. Enigma codes work most effectively when they
link to the image on he billboard poster to create an overall dramatic effect. They reveal
limited information about the upcoming soap or episode but enough information to entice
the audience and make them excited or perhaps anxious about what is going to happen. On
the Hollyoaks billboard below, one of the main billboard posters which influenced me, the
enigma code ‘The week that will change Hollyoaks forever’ and the image combined, clearly
give an insight that there is going to be a lot of drama in the next week of that particular
programme, drawing the audience in. I have used a rhetorical question for the enigma code
on my billboard which will really make the audience think about the possible events.
Channel logo/broadcast time and date- Every real billboard poster I
researched contained the channels logo, the day/date and the time the particular
programme was going to be broadcast. It is extremely important that the billboard
poster presents this information so that the audience can clearly see when the
programme is starting and what channel to find it on. Without the date, time and
title on the programme’s advertisement, it could result in limited viewers. I have
ensured that the channel E4’s logo, the day ‘Friday’ and the time ‘9pm’ is on my
billboard poster and that I have placed and presented it in a clear way.
Effective image e.g. with meaning or a message behind the image.-
When doing my initial research I realised that the most effective images had clear and strong
messages behind them. I have adhered to this convention, firstly by the way I have arranged
the characters to produce the overall image and also through the facial expressions I directed
when taking the images on the green screen.
This character is having
a difficult time relating
to his sexuality and
therefore I have
portrayed him to look
‘concerned and very
deep in thought’.
This character is
currently involved with
therefore I have used
this image as she looks
very smug and sly.
This character is the main character in
the soap and the trailer. She is going
through a very hard time and has just
discovered she is pregnant and her
boyfriend/ex boyfriend wants nothing
to do with it and she also finds out he
has been going behind her back with
her so called friend. This is why she
has been represented to look very
depressed on my billboard poster.
This character quite mature
, reserved and level headed
within the soap so I have
therefore portrayed her to
look quite thoughtful and
sensible through her eye
contact and facial
expression which doesn’t
really give away much.
This character is
currently neglecting his
girlfriend, going behind
her back with her so
called friend and
rejecting his best friend
who is trying to open up
about his sexuality. He
is represented to not
care about anything
and therefore shown to
look very smug on the
This billboard poster was another influence on me when creating
my billboard poster as it creates a very deep and meaningful
message behind the organisation and facial expressions of the