I researched the codes and conventions of real media texts, by using youtube to find some examples of soap opera trailers. I have looked at a ‘Hollyoaks’ and a ‘Waterloo Road’ trailer. We took inspiration from the fast edits and multiple storylines present in these two trailers. Both of these programs have storylines for younger people, and the target audience tends to be the same age as the characters, we have followed this convention closely in our trailer. When researching real media texts of soap opera trailers we formulated a list of conventions, but that are not necessarily present in all: Text – time, name, date, institution, clues to the story Continuous house styles Dynamic transitions to keep interests Limited therefore focused scenes Voice over Quick edits to create excitement/business/community Long edits to create tension Music Attractive people Stock characters Key locations Narratives based on rites of passage Stereotypes – each of identification We also that there was a conventional format of almost all of the trailers: Opening Build up Problem Events
For my TV listings magazine, I looked at other soap magazines to get ideas of the format, layout and content of the cover. In doing my research of the conventions of these magazines, I found: TV listings magazines are aimed at, generally, middle aged women. The bold colours emphasise the feel of youth and excitement, typical of a real media text. The barcode, date and price are conventionally located and formatted on almost all magazines. All the magazines have mid-shots of the characters involved in the main storylines, making eye contact with the audience to convey their mood and engage the reader. The title of the magazine is always at the top printed in white, bold writing on a brightly coloured text box. The magazine includes a diverse variety of soap operas and their current storylines, shown by the smaller tag lines and images. The main tagline is always associated with the main image – it is brightly coloured, large and bold and usually includes hyperbolic language e.g. “deadly” and “shock”, along with an exclamation mark for emphasis or a question mark to convey a mystery or a surprise. We created an audience questionnaire to validate our findings and check if these conventions were actually what our audience wanted to see and we found out they were very accurate.
Soap operas do not generally have posters and therefore it was more difficult to find the conventions of this product as there are no real media texts to go by. We took the closest soap there was to what we wanted our soap to be like, Waterloo Road, and used images and DVD covers to get inspiration. As our soap is brand new we needed to include day, time and channel on our poster, unlike these texts. These texts are very simple and to the point – the DVD cover has a white background, image of the main characters, differentiation in facial expression and body language e.g. Crossed arms, to show personality, eye contact to engage the audience, smart clothing to represent profession, the title of the soap and the institution on which it is being shown. Although this simplistic style is effective, would it attract a young audience to a soap that has not been established? As it is a brand new soap opera we decided to include all the characters in the poster.
Our soap opera is targeted at12-16 year olds, particularly females as they are the predominant viewers of soap operas. This immediately breaks the conventions of the usual audience of a soap opera – middle age women. Due to the target audience it will be aired at 5pm on BBC1, Thursdays and Sundays. Our trailer creates meaning by forming the frames into a narrative sequence including many storylines e.g. love and relationships, that overlap each other to create a feeling of community. The camera angles and techniques were mainly conventional and the transitions were straight cut to represent every day life. The key locations were representative of a school, e.g. The gym changing rooms and outside the school gates. We used stock characters e.g. the bully, the stalker and the pushover. The rites of passage we used included relationships, bullying and stalking, vital in a soap opera.
The design of the poster is quite original as the students are sitting on the title. It includes the title, channel name and time the soap is going to aired. The mis-en-scene includes school uniforms to create meaning, the students’ facial expressions and actions reflected their role in the soap, e.g. one of the characters has an angry expression and a ball in her hand ready to throw it aggressively at the camera – the bully. There is a tagline “school is a place for making mistakes” to give a little more information to entice the reader to watch it so that they want to find out what these mistakes are. We alternated the size of each letter but kept the font simple that the poster did not look too busy or confusing. We included intertextuality ‘www.bbciplayer.com’ as most young viewers access soaps by the internet due to their busy life styles and so I included this to maximise our soap’s ratings. We have taken inspiration from the white background and having all the characters on it with nothing else. However this soap is aimed at adults and teenagers and ours is just aimed at young teens so therefore we felt we needed to make the poster seem more fun and lively. We have eye contact too. And school uniforms and differing facial expressions of the adults. Our TV listings front cover breaks conventions as it is aimed at a young teenage audience, whereas soaps are generally aimed at middle aged women. The bold colours emphasise the feel of youth and excitement, typical of a real media text. The barcode, date and price are conventionally located and formatted. We have conventionally used a full length shot image of the characters involved in the main storyline making eye contact with the audience. We placed the masthead at the top of the page which is also conventional of this magazine
I think our trailer, poster and TV listings work well as a complete promotional package covering all ways of advertising to gain a strong audience. Our products are credible and similar to existing products and so people can relate to them and understand them. I believe we have created a brand identity - a continuous house style, logo, institution promoting the soap (BBC1) and mise-en-scene. For example the characters are wearing school uniforms in all three texts which denote that the soap is school based and the characters are around the same age as the viewers. The colours of the uniform, blue and white, are present in all three texts also. The audience is aware of the main storyline, the girl stalking the couple because she fancies the boyfriend, in all three texts: it is the main attraction of the TV listings magazine, and the same facial expressions, actions and mis-en-scene are present in the poster and the trailer. The slogan of the soap is shown on the poster “school is a place for making mistakes” and is voiced by the headmaster at the end of trailer linking this key idea in these texts and making it memorable for the reader, giving the impression there will be lots of mistakes in the soap. This new genre of soap opera made for the teenage audience could be advertised on bus stops or on the side of a bus as school children use buses regularly and so would take note of this. The trailer would be aired between programs the target audience would be watching as this is the time they are most likely to be watching television. However, our positive audience feedback proved that as well as adhering to conventions, deviating from some to suit the audience was successful, for example everyone said they would buy and read the TV listings magazine even though our research showed teenagers do not conventionally buy these types of magazines. As well as promoting our texts, we need to persuade the audience to watch it. The TV listings magazines included the phrases “brand new soap” “top pick” and “bargain” making the text seem exciting and innovative, persuading the audience to purchase it and therefore watch the soap. The trailer included text which moved the narrative forward, for example it includes a rhetorical question “or is it?” to leave the audience in suspense and want to know more. The mis-en-scene of the poster, for example the objects, the actions and the facial expressions of the characters intrigues the audience to know more about them and see what kind of characters they turn out to be.
Here is a copy of our audience questionnaire which we were able to get 20 people in our target audience to fill out. The response we got was very positive and we received almost no criticisms at all. We found out that our media production represented a real media text and after seeing this trailer they would want to watch the soap itself – the sole purpose of a trailer. We found that the narratives conveyed meaning – it was “informative”, “dramatic”, “fluent throughout” and the audience believed it was “relative to their lives”. The questionnaire was useful in the production of my media production because I could compare the feedback with the initial requirements of the media text and therefore I could identify areas for development and reflect on my work. However the questionnaire was quite difficult to use in this way because the audience was not very critical of our text, but then again this could mean there was nothing to change. It is also difficult to know whether the results are completely reliable as people may rush it and just want to get it over with. Although this fast pace way of questioning could lead to some valid information as they go with their first impression which people would do when watching the trailer and therefore deciding whether they are going to watch the soap. As well as handing out questionnaires to the target audience, we used the social networking site Facebook to gain interactive feedback – in this way we could reach a wider audience and it was more convenient for the recipient.
During the creative process of our media productions digital technology played a vital part in researching, planning, constructing and evaluating. We used the internet to research the codes of conventions of real media texts - soap opera trailers on the sharing website www.youtube.com , and posters and TV listings magazine front covers on the search engine google.co.uk/images’. We also used the internet to keep a blog on www.blogger.com to document our progress and to communicate with the rest of the group so that they knew of any changes a group member may have made to the product individually. The internet was also very useful in researching institutions where our product would be distributed, we used the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board website ( www.barb.co.uk ) to research the types of programmes and types of people who watched them and therefore we could choose what channel we would distribute our soap to and who would be watching it. We used camcorders, specifically a Panasonic HD camcorder and the tripod to film our trailer. I used the social networking site www.facebook.com to produce audience feedback, this proved to be highly beneficial as it was convenient for the recipient and I could reach a wider audience therefore making my results more valid and reliable. We used Final Cut to edit and manipulate our soap opera trailer, for example to reduce and increase the speed of an edit. We used the program Soundtrack Pro to create our music to accompany the trailer and to enhance sound effects, for example when one of the characters is bouncing the ball on the ground.
Jess's Media Evaluation
A2 Moving Image Production Evaluation By Jessica Sutton
In what ways does our media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
TV Listings Bold, big, white writing on a brightly coloured background. Characters from the main story making eye contact & mid-shot. Big, bold, brightly coloured font, hyperbolic language, exclamation/question mark for emphasis. Other taglines and images for other soaps that week.
Posters The conventions of this poster are: image of characters, eye contact, title of soap, mise en scene of school uniforms, not focused on a particular storyline but rather the soap in general. Here is a DVD cover of Waterloo – it is not a poster as this program does not have formal posters, but it is still advertising the program – same purpose as a poster. Simple text – white background, image of characters, eye contact, smart clothing to represent profession, differentiation of facial expression, title, institution.
Screen Shots of Trailer We used text in our trailer to anchor the title, institution and when it will be aired, but also to build up suspense by use of a rhetorical question. We also used text to give the names and stock character types of the main characters, for example “Vicky Brown – The Wannabe”. This was accompanied by a freeze frame and a colour scheme change to black and white to create drama and make the characters memorable. The mise-en-scene is these screen shots are representative of a school based soap, e.g. The shelves of books, the shirt and tie, the school uniforms and the PE changing rooms location. We have used a variety of different camera shot types and angles to give the text meaning, including extreme close ups, close ups, mid shots and long shots which are shown in these screen shots.
Which institution the soap is being played on and what time. Title of the soap – fun and youthful with the house style of the uniform. Characters are reinforced doing different actions conveying their personalities – original way of presenting them. All the characters lined up like a school picture – uniforms, facial expressions, iconography e.g. Camera and ball. White background, makes the title and characters stand out – like the Waterloo Road DVD cover Tagline to entice the audience to watch the soap. Font looks as if it could have been hand written by a student. Barcode Large, bold, white text on a bright background Full length shot of the characters involved in the main storyline – uniforms, eye contact of the boy to show that he’s the only one in the know. Competitive price – “bargain” The tagline for the main story – rhyme and an exclamation mark for emphasis Diversity of channels, soaps and stories
How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?
Poster TV Listings Magazine Front Cover Screen Shots of Soap Opera Trailer
What have you learnt from your audience feedback?