Thursday 18 December 2014

Final Products

This is our final soap opera trailer and ancillary texts after we had acted upon feedback from our premier feedback and questionnaire. We made slight changes throughout and adjusted the ending as this was not finished before hand. We are pleased with our final trailer and feel that it meets our target audience's needs and wants within a soap.

[Alice, Henry, Jake & Kira]

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Alice's Evaluation

Media Studies Evaluation

1. In which ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

Our media both challenges and also uses forms and conventions of real media products in many different ways. When we were planning what storyline(s) we wanted to run we discussed using controversial issues to appeal to our target audience and also differ from other current soap operas. These storylines included the bulimia, coming out as gay and also isolation things which aren't particularly addressed in soaps and something that is a social issue within older teenagers in today’s society, with 1.6 million people affected by an eating disorder in the UK and is something we cant ignore. Especially as older teenagers ourselves we felt passionately about incorporating these types of issues and really making people aware of the impact they can have on not only the person it affects but their family and friends around them.

Doug and Ste share a kiss.We managed to address 2 out of 3 of these issues but unfortunately we couldn't address the coming out storyline due to not being able to obtain two homosexual male actors, we were forced to use a male and female couple to act out the storyline which did make it less controversial but still kept it current as many teenagers face relationship issues during this time in their life. In a way this has also meant that we have helped to develop the conventions shown within a real soap opera and allowed viewers to become more aware of certain situations that they may not come across in their everyday lives. Some viewers who may be struggling with one of the issues we are portraying within the soap opera may find the programme a form of escapism or even provide them with help when trying to deal with their situation. Escapism is seen within the theory of "Uses and Gratification" theory represented by Katz and Blumler 1974. They believe that we all use the media for a variety of different purposes or gratifications. They include; 

  • Information
  • Social interaction 
  • Entertainment 
  • Personal Identity

These for things all incorporate why some audience members may use the programme as an escapism from their everyday lives. British viewers' explanations for watching soap opera are shown to concern escapism, realism, relationship with characters, critical response, problem-solving, role in viewer's life, emotional experience and entertainment. Viewers take soap opera seriously, and consider that the characters and problems portrayed are highly realistic and personally involving, has implications for issues of media effects.

Another theorists views that relates to our soap opera trailer was Todorov's theory, he believed this could be applied to any film however I also believe we have brought this theory to our pieces. 

There are five stages the narrative can progress through:
  1. A state of equilibrium (All is as it should be.)
  2. A disruption of that order by an event.
  3. A recognition that the disorder has occurred.
  4. An attempt to repair the damage of the disruption.
  5. A return or restoration of a NEW equilibrium
Some other theorists we looked at can be found in our earlier blog post [] 

I believe that from our research into other soap operas it is clear to see that the majority of individual storylines within the soaps follow this structure and is a continuing theory used over many episodes and used for years. This is demonstrated in our planning for future scenes which we presented as if we were pitching our own Soap Opera to an institution of our choice, which we decided to be E4.


2. How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts? 

The combination of the 3 media texts blend really well together and really meet what we were trying to achieve especially when we were creating the TV listings magazine. We decided to take photographs when we filmed our opening title to our trailer which enabled us to be able to use these on our front cover to our TV listings magazine, by doing these two things at the same time allowed us to use our time correctly and also meant we didn't to take these photos on a separate day.

The link between the poster and the soap opera trailer obviously needed to  be the strongest so we wanted this to be iconic to viewers in years to come. This was the reason we decided not to include any of the characters into the poster which meant that it could be re-used or updated in years to come. The 7 deadly sins idea was actually put forward by myself and the final idea we decided to choose, I felt passionately about the use of a theme for our soap opera and something which we would be able to follow as a guideline. I believe this really helped to keep our group focused and on task throughout many of the different stages, especially when I began editing the piece. By having a photograph of the street where the soap opera is set as the image for the poster allowed the audience to make a clear link between the two and associate them both, as a group we felt that this wouldn't fit with the conventions of a TV listings magazine if this was the main image so we decided against this; however we did still want to incorporate the image in some way. This was when we decided to overlay the photographs of Jackie (portrayed by Kira) and  Danny (portrayed by Henry Ward) onto the photograph of the street again producing that link subconsciously. The images we used over the 2 ancillary texts and also within the main product where not all the same but relatively similar so the target audience where able to see a clear link between them all, this helped the pieces to flow and also link which we felt was important especially when introducing a new soap opera.

The main photograph on the TV listings magazine challenges the stereotypical conventions of this type of magazine, usually we see the cover stars looking directly at the camera (looking towards the audience and addressing them). On our magazine front cover we see Henry and Kira looking towards each other which is something uncommon and also the fact that we can't really see much of her face leads the audience to want to find out more about these two characters. This photograph was actually manipulated from 2 separate images to achieve the final outcome and something everyone in the group was pleased with.

We wanted to document when we filmed the different scenes so decided to take photographs every time we were on location filming, All of these photos can be found here:


We know that the effectiveness of our 2 ancillary texts would be a key element in how successful the soap opera would be so getting these things right is extremely important to the producers and also the institution where the soap is to be aired upon.

Final ancillary texts-


3. What have you learned from your audience feedback?
We decided to hold a premier of our soap opera trailer which we invited friends, family and teachers to come along and also asked them to fill in questionnaires to allow us to make any amendments. This was the invitation which we gave to our audience members.

From our feedback we acted upon the comments made and really tried to tailor the products to suite them and their tastes. Comments made towards the TV magazine where that there was quite a lot of empty space and didn't seem as "cluttered" as some of the other competitors on the market at the moment, this lead us to changing the magazine slightly and incorporating more elements and text.  Towards our  poster people felt that it was a little bit too dark which made it hard to see from a distance, by lightening the picture up it allowed us to grab the audience’s attention and make them read the information provided rather than just skimming over it. These comments were in response to out Soap Opera Trailer Questionnaire (Seen Above and answered in the video)-

The positioning of the text and institution logo (E4) was key as well; after analysing many other soap opera posters and in particular E4 posters it was clear to see that with the majority of them the E4/institution logo was in the bottom right hand corner. This is because this is the last place the human eye is drawn towards and the most memorable just after the bottom left hand corner which is why we decided to move the pieces of information round a bit in order to withhold the viewer’s intrigue and attention. Especially as our soap opera is new we need our target audience to take note of what we are premièring and want to watch what we have produced including both our ancillary’s, we feel our main product does this perfectly.

The results for our questionnaire can be found here- []

Invitations given out to guests
4. How did you use media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?

Throughout all 3 of these stages we have used our blog (on to publish all of our work and use it as an online portfolio. By using this domain it has enabled us to edit and share things as a group that otherwise would have been much harder to do, things such as questionnaire results, things we need to have completed for next lesson and also somewhere we can all access the same information. No one in the group had really explored the full potential blogger has to offer so it was interesting getting to know the site and all of the features it has to offer. As a group we explored and learnt these things and made full use of them to be able to make our blog as successful as we could.
Research- The main media technology we used for the research part of our task was the general internet and in particular the search engine Google, this came in handy when finding past TV listing magazine front covers, soap opera posters. We also decided to watch and analyse other students soap opera trailers so used YouTube a lot for this, this site was also where we found the different possibilities for our trailer music. As well as using blogger to create our own platform we used it to look at other peoples work and see what they had included in order to get an idea of what to include and how we could improve upon any areas we felt where a weakness for them.
Planning- When planning our media trailer we didn't really use many media technologies and resorted to an older style of planning such as discussions and looking in text books for examples of how we would go about filming our trailer. Looking for different and effective camera angles and certain editing techniques was key and I believe is the reason why our final trailer includes so many interesting and captivating shots. We took our planning time very seriously and spent a lot of time carefully planning out each scene to ensure that it was exactly how we had all envisaged the piece to be.  Our planning included many team meetings discussing various issues and ideas, storyboarding ideas and also creating mock plans and time sheets for the days of filming.
Media technology certainly took a back seat when it came to this part of our work however really came to the forefront when it actually came to making the trailer and ancillary products. Programmes such as Word, PowerPoint, Photoshop and Adobe Premier Elements all played a massive part in the production of our final pieces, with each person using their skills to the group’s best ability. Sharing tips and tricks with one another meant our communication skills where vital and this really helped everyone throughout the whole process not just the planning process.

Transition EffectEvaluation- The evaluation was mainly conducted through Word, however when we were looking to amend our products we asked the audience members who attended our premier screening if they could give us critical feedback via questionnaires. The results we got from this allowed us to put the information into pie charts on Excel to be able to see what areas needed improving, having this type of information allowed the group to look at the products we had created from a different angle and with a new pair of eyes. As we had been working on our products since the beginning of term it was easy for us to not see the potential our pieces had and some of the things that needed changing/amending had been over looked. Using these comments and statistics made us as a group re-focus and change our products to really suit our target audience.