Georgina Trublesome Evaluation By Stephanie Maddox
The brief… <ul><li>“ A selection of materials related to an original children’s TV drama, to include the title sequence to the TV programme, together with the front cover to a magazine for the series and a DVD cover for the series.” </li></ul>
The Research and Planning <ul><li>Being a second year student at college, studying a children’s TV drama was a challenging task. Not only is it a media that does not appeal to me as a target audience, it is also part of a forever changing system; what was around when I was the target audience is no longer aired. Further study into children’s TV drama taught me that drama for children is even newer than children’s television itself, so it can only be expected that in a society that thrives on evolvement and technological development, children’s television and its drama sub genre is also ever changing. </li></ul>
To tackle this new challenge I: <ul><li>Started at the very beginning, looking at the rise of children’s television and some of the earliest children’s programmes in British History. </li></ul><ul><li>I then moved on to children’s drama, going from earlier examples (Grange Hill) to more recent ones (Tracy Beaker). </li></ul><ul><li>I then looked into these programmes in more detail, focusing on mise-en-scene and its connotations. This was followed by a deeper study into the narrative, focusing on the messages and values they were trying to portray. </li></ul><ul><li>This lead me to work out what I believe the purpose of the children’s drama is and put a more defining range on the target audience. </li></ul>A website all about Watch With Mother.
<ul><li>This research enabled to me to plan and imagine my own television drama; I am now able to recognise the conventions of a children’s drama as well as its title. From this research I was able to create an entire plot for a television series, not just the required opening sequence because I know what is expected from this particular genre of television and with the added thought into the Uses and Gratification’s theory, what the target audience should be getting from it. From this stage I was to plan every aspect of my animation: </li></ul><ul><li>The storyline (With focus on important messages and their communication) </li></ul><ul><li>The characters </li></ul><ul><li>The use of colour and font </li></ul><ul><li>The music </li></ul>Some of my earliest planning. In the top left you can see three attempts at creating Georgina. The bottom left is a full drawing with story and the right is a close-up view of her face.
Uses and Gratification Theory <ul><li>The Uses and Gratification Theory is a theory based on how and why a customer consumes a media product. The reasoning is split into four categories: </li></ul><ul><li>Surveillance </li></ul><ul><li>Personal Identity </li></ul><ul><li>Personal Relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Diversion </li></ul><ul><li>When looking at these in relation to ‘Georgina’, there are many ways in which this theory really works. Many children will watch television as a form of socialisation. They are watching to know how society works and are learning what they need to know to be a successful member of society. This can then lead the audience to the surveillance category. Children will be using Georgina to watch and learn from Georgina, to learn the norms and values of a successful person in society. This can then lead on to personal identity. If a child comes to really like Georgina, they may start to look on her as a hero and therefore watch the program so they can model themselves on her. Also, by using a book as the key factor for her travels I presenting the idea that she reads and is intelligent, parents would appreciate this especially if it lead their children to read more. Personal relationships is the idea that the consumer may feel some kind of relationship with a character, by using a black and white colour scheme and a plain apparel I have made her more accessible to any viewer. Therefore, more audience members may feel they can relate to her and form a relationship with her. By offering excitement and adventure the series also fits into the diversion category. A storyline that would be categorised as a fantasy will come as escapism to the audience and therefore offer them diversion from every day life. </li></ul>
The extraordinary story of ordinary Georgina- The title sequence <ul><li>Creating the title sequence for this brief was especially hard for me as I chose to do something I had never done before; I chose to make an animation. I had never made an animation before and because of this I had to learn how to use different technologies. Adobe Flash was the main software I used and the newest to me. Through online tutorials and the help of a select few people I was able to develop my skills on Flash and create a full animation when I had no knowledge how to use this software before. However, my development of new skills doesn’t stop there. I also had to learn how to use Adobe Photoshop so I could edit the pictures I had scanned into the computer and prepare them for use in the animation. My skills in Final Cut were also tested as I went on to edit the film, changing the colour balance and adding the titles created in Photoshop with the music I created in GarageBand. </li></ul>One of the websites I used for Flash Tutorials
A Few Problems… <ul><li>Learning how to use this new software didn’t exactly go un-hinged. A failed attempt at making a simple animation (a ball bouncing onto the screen and off again) really knocked my confidence and I struggled to make Georgina’s story come to life. However, this turned out to be a real learning curve for me; I was able to highlight what I could and couldn’t do and therefore draw select images and create particular scenes. An example of this is my decision in using a snake as a character. I knew the difficulty I would have trying to show a character walking convincingly, as a snake slithers up and down I could avoid this problem- this difficulty also lead to be a contributing factor in why Georgina herself is seen without legs. </li></ul>
<ul><li>After creating the animation I then had to edit in the titles and the words from the story. I chose to not to use these words in a voice-over for many reasons. </li></ul><ul><li>The Hypodermic Needle theory suggests that consumers of any media product are passive, that what they are seeing is being ‘injected’ into them with very little participation on their part. As children today will often use television as a secondary and possibly primary source for socialisation, this theory can be quite easily related to any children’s television. By putting the story in words on the screen rather than in a voice over, I am making the title sequence an active process. As I am encouraging the audience to read I am also aiding their academic education which, especially amongst parents, is a desirable factor in children’s television. </li></ul>An earlier attempt a the story titles. Features such as font size and a black background were changed before finally adding to the film.
<ul><li>Another reason why I chose not to tell the story through voice-over is because of the implications it could lead the series to in reference of social and economic groups. If the voice was representative of a certain social class (or gender) or the accent representative of a certain region particular audience members may be put off from watching the show. For instance, a child from a working class background may hear a voice associated with the upper classes and feel less able to relate the programme and if an audience member struggles to connect with ‘Georgina’ then they may choose not to watch it at all. By using a female lead and a pink font in the story/title images I acknowledge that this may already be limiting the audience therefore, to gain a mass audience as much as possible I have avoided splitting the audience even further. </li></ul>
Target Audience- Have I Reached It? <ul><li>During the research and planning process before making the animation I established my target audience: </li></ul><ul><li>Age = Around 7/8 to 11/12 years. This may seem like a small gap but I chose it because this is the age range in which most children are making that move from what society would associate as ‘child’ to a ‘teenager’. At this age the audience is growing and learning more about society, this is when they start trying to find their place in society and looking from an educational view point this is an age where they can handle more complicated storylines. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Gender = Because of the lead character, predominantly female. However, a story with a strong promise of adventure may attract a larger male audience. </li></ul><ul><li>Social class = My initial idea was that if I could create Georgia to appear more representative of her age than of any social class I could avoid differentiating any particular audience member from another in reference to social class. I would be making the programme ‘Georgina’ socially mutual as a whole. </li></ul><ul><li>To reach this niche market I had to think carefully about the micro as well as the macro features when making the title sequence. By making the story/titles pink I am more likely to appeal to a female audience as pink is ideologically associated with females. However, the content of the story promises adventure and excitement, whilst a negotiated reading of it may suggest danger. These features are more likely to appeal to a male audience and therefore expand the viewing outside the targeted audience. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The font I have used is quite an old fashioned style, this doesn’t just match the style of the title sequence but may make the audience feel more ‘grown up’, especially when attached to a story that in a different viewpoint, could appear quite young. This more ‘grown up’ feeling is essential for the target audience, as mentioned earlier, the target audience is at the age when they are trying hard to fit in a grown up society. By watching a show that seems more adult they can connect themselves closer to the people that do have a higher power than them… adults. This is also a point of the genre. In my research I found that children’s drama often contains very adult stories that are shown in a way suitable for children. Although doing this successfully would involve the workings of a full episode, you can see just from the opening titles the possibility of adult themes. </li></ul><ul><li>One way in which ‘Georgina’ may fail to reach the mass audience is in the way I had originally tried to avoid, social class. By trying to make her look more adventurous I have given her an appearance that some upper classes may stereotype as a lower class appearance. Her messy hair mainly contributes to this image and therefore ‘Georgina’ may not reach an ambitiously hoped ‘socially equal’ audience. </li></ul>
Audience Feedback <ul><li>I found the audience feedback really useful because I was able to take what was said to me about my title sequence and make it better. For example, once person told me that the images with the story on left the screen too quickly, that she couldn’t read them quickly enough. She was eighteen years old, therefore if she wouldn’t be able to read them fast enough then my target audience definitely wouldn’t be able to. Because of this I have been to go back to the film and extend the duration of these images, now the problem is fixed my product can fulfil its purpose more successfully. </li></ul>Another comment was made about the lack of colour in the animation, this I had to agree with. The person in particular said that the black and white colours are quite plain and could be boring for a younger audience. However, he said that the ‘scribbly, drawing effect’ is ‘quite effective’ and ‘looks really good’. I completely agree with this person’s comments. The black I, personally, believe to be a weakness in the product and if done again would be something I would change. However, I too like the ‘scribbly effect’ and aimed to make the animation look like this to give the series a unique and natural feel.
K ! dz TV Magazine <ul><li>K ! dz TV is an entirely made up magazine that I created as magazine for children about all their favourite television shows. As the magazine was for children I focused on using bright colours and different shapes to make the magazine look more ‘fun’. This is essential for a children’s magazine because it has to look bright and exciting if a child is going to pick it up off a shelf. The front cover of the magazine is the selling point for the rest of the magazine, with this in mind every detail of the magazine had to be exciting enough so it could truly grab the target audience’s eye. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The left third is a key part of the magazine cover. When in a newsagents or a shop the left third is likely to be the only part of the magazine that the customer will see. Because of this there are few keys features that must be in place if the magazine is to sell: </li></ul><ul><li>The coverlines- I have three coverlines, with a model credit that also has connotations that this person (or in this case, character) is the coolest thing out there. Children will therefore want it more because it will make them desirable among peers. The ‘Step into History’ coverline may appeal to parents as they may have to read the magazine to/with their children. At the bottom of the page you can also see an advertisement for a free object with the magazine. Buyers will feel they are getting more for their money and as Georgina has been connoted as a desirable character, a free Georgina item would also appeal to the buyer. </li></ul><ul><li>The masthead- The magazine’s name has to be distinctive and recognisable if it is to stand out amongst competitors. By replacing the ‘i’ in ‘Kidz’ with a slanted ‘!’, I have given the magazine a unique quality that will make it stand out on the shelf. A ‘z’ instead of an ‘s’ at the end also makes the magazine seem more fun and ‘down with the kids’ as popular culture describes it. </li></ul><ul><li>The tagline and dateline- The tagline will, again, make the magazine more desirable and the dateline gives the buyer the information they need to know. </li></ul>
When separated into panels, you can see that my magazine still has enough features to really self itself to a buyer, no matter how it is positioned on a shelf. All but the middle third offer a free item which is always desirable for any buyer. The right third has images of well established children’s television characters, as well as an interview with one of the actors. The left third has connotations of the popularity of the cover star (middle third) and the top panel suggests that the magazine is the best magazine in the country. Bottom panel Left third Top panel Right third Middle third
“ The award winning TV series now on DVD!” <ul><li>Like the magazine cover, a DVD cover is like an advertisement for the DVD itself. There are two things we can assume of the audience for this DVD cover: </li></ul><ul><li>1. The potential buyer will already know of the TV series </li></ul><ul><li>Or… </li></ul><ul><li>2. The potential buyer won’t know of the TV series but will be looking for some form of entertainment for a child. </li></ul><ul><li>From this I can determine essential features for my DVD cover. The images I have used are fairly narrative of the series; the setting connotates adventure, we can see that the main character is female and that the whole story has something to do with books. The images alone say a lot about the story of the series and to a buyer who hadn’t heard of ‘Georgina’ before, without reading the blurb on the back they already have a good idea of what to expect from the DVD. The line just below the title saying “The Award Winning TV Series Now on DVD!” would also be an important factor in promoting the DVD to a buyer because they would know that the series must be quite good if it is “Award Winning”. </li></ul>
The back of the cover… Just like the front of the cover, the back is designed to sell the DVD as best as possible. Customers will initially see the front cover only, if the front catches the buyer’s eye they are then very likely to turn it over and read the back. It is for this reason that the back has to be just as well planned as the front. There are many parts to the back cover that are the same as the front, for example: a reference to awards/a good review, narrative images that give a lot away about the story but not too much to leave intrigue and the technical parts- guidance rating, logos, barcode. However, the blurb is one huge difference. For the blurb to be successful it has to explain the story line to the series whilst advertising it too. The opening sentence is left open to add mystery and wonder while the bigger paragraph explains a lot more but doesn’t answer the questions raised in the first sentence. This wonder will be a benefit to me because it is most likely to lead to a sale of the DVD.
<ul><li>The pink colour scheme is referential of the target audience for the DVD. Pink is a colour stereotypically associated with females, therefore a pink DVD cover is more likely to appeal to the young female target audience. Parents of young females are also just as likely to buy it for their daughters because they know they will like as they can relate to the characters. </li></ul><ul><li>One weakness in this DVD cover however, is the spine. My research, analysing DVD covers, taught me that most DVD spines have the name of the product, an image and/or a logo and a guidance rating. Mine however only has the name of the DVD, this could be a serious disadvantage because, if the DVD would be displayed in a shop/rental store with the spine facing outwards, a potential buyer might look right past it as it has no guidance rating and no image/logo to give away any information. </li></ul>A logo or image would go here The guidance rating logo would go here
Final Summary <ul><li>It has been long, hard work making the three products for this coursework. The animation involved me learning how to use new technologies from scratch and the two print products allowed me to do something I hadn’t of had chance to do before. When combining my print products with the main product I feel I have made three products that are fluent in portraying particular messages and values created from the production and are fluent in their appeal to the target audience. Finally, looking at my products in reference to existing products today I feel mine are quite convincing as professional products. More practise on the new software might have lead to slightly tighter, well presented work. However, when looking at the key conventions for all these products I have managed to achieve at least the essential functions of all the products. Some examples are: the length of the title sequence- all my research taught me that a title sequence shouldn’t be longer than about 30 seconds (any longer would loose the interest of the audience), the magazine cover has to be bright and look fun if a buyer would pick it up off a shelf and the DVD cover has to give a lot away about the series without giving too much away so there is still room for mystery. </li></ul>