The ever-appealing yet sometimes criticised genre of soap typically contains a variety of themes upon which the storylines are based. In our case, we used the character's feelings of envy, jealousy, and greed to showcase exciting and dramatic storylines that involve lies, deceit, and murder. Each respective character is prominent in at least one of the storylines, all based on the 7 Deadly Sins.
Our trailer featured classic elements seen in many soap operas to stay true to the classic and unmistakable genre, such as the timeless 'whodunnit'. We also took note of the soap operas broadcast by our institution, such as Hollyoaks - which pertains its popularity through its dominantly young cast and characters, as well as current issues that the viewer may relate to. Vladimir Propp's stock characters were also explored, with the character of Danny as Propp's 'false hero'.
We went on to develop and challenge conventions of real media products utilising sensitive storylines. Issues such as adultery, bulimia and murder are risky due to the unpredictable audience reaction to sensitive content - though tackling these issues accurately does pay off. Among our predetermined storylines for the trailer lay a deviation of the 'lust' scene, which portrayed a secret relationship with two men. Unfortunately, the pair of actors cast for this role were unavailable in the end, which led to the alternate 'lust' scene shown in the trailer.
2. How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?
The photographs we used for our poster and magazine cover were taken during filming the opening title to our trailer. This also established a strong link between the magazine cover, poster, and trailer since they all feature a prominent location.
The poster features none of the characters to suggest a sense of anonymity. In contrast, the magazine cover features two of the main characters at the forefront to show their importance. The character of Jackie is looking back at Danny, thus hiding her face and suggesting her mysteriousness to the audience. The pictures of Jackie and Danny actually came from two different photos, which I then cut the existing background from and edited onto the new background for the magazine cover.
In the final stages of creating the magazine, I decided to switch to a festive theme. Many soaps have a special Christmas episode, and so I altered the magazine by changing the theme throughout. This was done by changing the colour scheme to include more red and white, a strong connotation of Christmas. Traditional Christmas items such as the bauble, holly, and sugar canes were also added, as well as falling snow in the sky.
The combination of our main product with the ancillary texts is very effective, since the link between them all is not only clear and helpful to the reader, but also aesthetically pleasing and well executed.
23. What have you learned from your audience feedback?
Our audience feedback was obtained by a screening of our trailer to an audience similar to that of who our soap is aimed at for accurate feedback. After the trailer was shown, we handed them a questionnaire, with the results showing their reaction and feedback. The poster and magazine cover were also shown.
The most prominent note of potential improvement proposed a less abrupt ending. However, the trailer shown was not the finalised version, so we were aware of this already. The results also provided specific comments, though the numerous 'yes' and 'no' answers were compiled into qualitative and quantitative data respectively. We also made a video after the showing of our trailer, which shows the feedback given by some of the viewers.
The feedback proved useful in making some final changes and improvements, while also highlighting the parts that were enjoyed the most.
4. How did you use media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?
To organise our research and subsequent planning, we stored our progress on a blog on the popular platform Blogger. This meant it would be easier to manage what had been done, what needed doing, and who had done what. We also utilised Adobe Premier Elements to piece together and edit the scenes we filmed using the provided camera. One of the best effects was where Alice's character walked past, and the sin of 'greed' was edited to appear the further along she walked.
I used Adobe Photoshop extensively to create both the magazine cover and poster. For the poster, I started by using a photo taken by Alice as a background. I then edited the photo by altering the brightness, contrast, and colours. Following this, I added E4's logo, along with our soap's logo and a subheading, showing the date the trailer would be released. For the magazine, I started off with a blank canvas. Layer by layer I began adding elements to create the finished product, as seen below.
Conclusively, our trailer and ancillary products were extremely successful, as suggested by our questionnaire results and the reception from our viewing.