Evaluation Draft

April 18, 2010

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

In television drama technical forms and conventions are used by the director to structure the specific text. The forms and conventions for a children’s TV drama are often ‘fairy tale ‘or unrealistic situations that the characters find themselves in. The codes and conventions may slightly differ for a children’s TV school drama. If you use the example of Hannah Montana, we see a ‘normal’ school girl going about her day to day school activities, who then also doubles up as a famous pop singer by night. This is an unrealistic situation that your average school child would not find themselves in.  Hannah Montana clearly uses the forms and conventions of your typical high school drama TV series by displaying school children in unrealistic or ‘fairy tale’ situations. As we can see from this clip (Hannah Montana, Series 1, Episode 1), a young school girl doing her studies, suddenly doubles up as a famous pop singer at night.   

However, unlike ‘Hannah Montana’ that uses the forms and conventions of your typical school drama, our product challenges them. We have decided to use real life school situations, such as bullying, shown n a light comedy way, but with the serious message that bullying is bad. This allows our target audience to relate to what they are watching, have a laugh, but also see the serious side of real life school situations. I have decided to not use make belief, ‘fairy tale’ situation in my product as I feel this may give young children false expectations of what school is really like, or further more they may try imitate one of the impossible situations.

In our product we use stock characters but all with their own individual stereotype. I have used six different stereotypes that consist of: The Jock, The Teacher, The Geek, The Rich One and The Class Clown.  Each individual stereotype holds their own values and as the series grows we see their character change. We have decided to use an Ensemble cast. This is effective because there are no main characters, and everyone plays an equal part. It also gives our target audience the chance to pick their favourite character, or the one they feel they can relate to without being pressures to pick the one main character. We also use the stock setting of the school, with modern, up to date classrooms, hallways and canteens. This is essential because by using modern settings it’s easier to shown the contemporary issues discussed in each episode.

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

For our ancillary tasks, we had to produce a DVD cover (front, back and spine) as well as a front cover for a magazine. I have done various research into each, that can be seen here and here. A lot of big television dramas often put a lot of time and effort into the DVD release, as this brings in a lot of revenue.  This is certainly the case for the Hannah Montana DVD, that can been seen here. I had previously discovered that nearly all of the children’s TV series that have released DVDs and magazines use a range of bright bold colours, alongside ‘snazzy’ fonts and bold images that would appeal to a younger target audience, by drawing them in and gaining their attention. We have decided to incorporate this into our magazine front cover by using a very vibrant background, with loud colours such a pink to draw in the viewer’s attention. We then used a large, bold, but clear and easy to read font (Snap ICT), to accompany the rest of the magazine. We used these vibrant styles as they appeal to the modern younger generation, and feel they would help to raise magazine sales. The DVD cover uses a modern day school building, with one of the characters dressed in school uniform to give and insight into what the setting, location and mise-en-scene is like. Magazines and DVD’s can often be appealing to young children as they may offer promotions such as free gifts. I have decided to use this style of advertising to tempt young children into buying my magazine by offering them a chance of winning a holiday to new York.

Our three productions are made to harmonise with one another via the use of images and text used throughout. We have kept the same styles of font throughout each production to keep the same effective house style. The images used in each production are different, but can all relate to one another as they are based in the same locations (School Buildings), or the characters are dressed in appropriate costumes (School Uniform).  We also use the same image of a young school girl, in each of the DVD and magazine covers.


Organisation of Actors, Locations, Costumes and Props

April 18, 2010

Actors

After producing a large amount of permission letters to print out and hand out to various year 7 & 8 classes in the lower school we had to wait for our reply before we could choose out actors and commence filming. I decided to hand out the letters just before the half term break so that they would be handed back in and ready to film after half term. We had a large reply of permission letters with a wide variety of children wanted to star in out piece. We decided to choose six (6) actors for our opening sequence. These were two (2) main characters, one boy and one girl, to star in the opening sequence, our DVD cover, and Magazine cover. We then chose four (4) other actors to star in our opening sequencer and the background of our DVD cover. We also choose one class to be shown in our opening sequence for the first section where we shot a pan from left to right of a classroom.

Locations

After looking at all of our possible locations that i had previous studied and taken still images of (shown previous), we weighed up the Pros and Cons of each and decided to use the classroom and hallway shown below. This was mainly because the hallway is very modern and contemporary, as its clean, tidy, and uses a wide range of modern materials and colours such as glass ect.. (shown in the image below). This is effective because we would like out opening sequence to be as modern as possible and display contemporary issues in each episode relevent to school children and our target audience.

Costumes

We have decided to use the school uniforms that our actors will already be wearing. This saves us valuable time and money as we do not have to buy costumes for all of our actors, and get them ready. Before we started filming we checked that all the uniforms were modern and up to date, as well as clean and tidy so that the actors looked professional and presentable. We asked the teacher actors to wear casual clothes that they would normally teach in, and to make sure they looked smart, clean and tidy for our shoot. Finally we asked the head teacher (Mr Kibble) to wear a smart suit for the section of filming that contained him. these costumes make the opening sequence look real, modern and professional, as if it was a real school drama, filmed in a school using real school children and teachers.

Props

We did not need to use a great deal of our own props as our choice of Locations and Costumes already provided us with many of the props we needed such as tables, chairs, pens, paper, bags and all our your typical school stuff. However we did need to make sure that we had all of these props available before filming so that we did not waste time gathering items whilst shooting.


Permission Letters

March 12, 2010

Dear Parent/Guardian

 We are writing to you as A Level Media students at Salesian Sixth Form, Chertsey. This term we are creating an opening sequence to a children’s TV show based at a school (Guildford Road). Having plotted the sequence and completed planning we would like to ask your permission for your son/daughter to appear in our film. This may include a background part, in which children will not be asked to do a lot. We are also looking for up to four main characters in the piece that will play a more important role.

 The project also includes a DVD cover on which the main character(s) will appear, and the front cover of a new magazine. The project also includes a web blog on which my friend and I will update what has been done during the project, and on which the video and print work will be posted. To protect children’s privacy, we will not be using their real names in our work.

 We would be very grateful if you would permit your child to be involved, assuming they are happy to participate themselves. Please tick one of the boxes below and sign your name to indicate your consent.

 My son/daughter may play a major role in the opening sequence to the show.

My son/daughter may play a small background role in the sequence

My son/daughter may not be involved in the sequence.

Student Name…………………………………………….

Date…………….                                                                    Signed…………………..

Above is the permission letter we had to create in order to begin the filming process. After creating the letter I printed out a large amount of copies and went round the school (year 7 and 8.) and handed them to each teacher asking if they could give each student a copy. the aim was for them to take them home to their parents / guardian and get the letter filled in. Once we had enough letters returned we could begin filming.


The Show

February 9, 2010

In order to get a good idea on how we would like to plan, film and edit our opening sequence we must first plan what the show (episodes) itself is going to contain and consist of.

Themes of Show

I have decided that the episodes will be very similar to those of Hannah Montana, based on real life school events with a bit of a twist that may not happen on a day-to-day basis. This way it gives our target audience a chance to relate with whats happening in each episode as it will be actors who are their age, in a real school, carrying out real school activities. The show itself will is a comedy, but will also show the serious side to real life school drama where appropriate. The episodes themselves will be designed to give our target audience a laugh as well as giving out a serious message for children.

Characters and their stereotypes

I plan to have six (6) main characters in the show which will all have their own individual stereotype. Each individual episode will focus on one of the six main characters and their day-to-day life experiences in and around school. the use of stereotypes is essential throughout the show, because as each episode goes by the audience will see show each stereotype as changed, grown and bonded with one another. I have decided to use an Ensemble cast, this means that all of my six characters have an equal part in the series, and there is no main characters. The serotypes I have chosen for each of my actors are:

The Jock – The Term jock is a typical american term used to describe a male athlete. an example of a typical jock would be:  The Jock

The Geek – The word geek is a slang term, noting individuals as “a peculiar or otherwise odd person, especially one who is perceived to be overly obsessed with one or more things including those of intellectuality, electronics, etc. An example of a typical geek would be: The Geek.

The ‘Rich One’ – The rich one is a typical stereotype, (that also appears in TBC), that describes someone who is much richer than others around her and often likes to show this by being stuck up or arrogant. The Rich One

The Class Clown – A class clown is a typical stereotype who is the ‘entertainer’ of the class. Often getting in trouble for making others laugh, can often be found distracting others. The Class Clown

The Teacher – In education, a teacher is a person who provides schooling for others. A teacher who facilitates education for an individual student may also be described as a personal tutor. The Teacher


Locations

January 22, 2010

First Choice Locations

Other Possible Locations

These are our chosen locations that we wish to use for our filming. I particularly like the shots of the two hallways. The hallway is one of the main locations I shall be using during the opening sequence of my production. The two hallways / corridors featured above are effective as they are both long, but not too wide. This is useful as it suits the mise-en-scene well as we can walk down the middle the corridor using a steady cam, whilst kids (actors) are on each side. Both  corridors shown above are modern, up-to-date contemporary buildings, particularly the second choice (shown above). The simplistic, modern-day material used to created the hand rails, stairs and glass shows they are all contemporary buildings, as well as the fact they are all clean and tidy with no clutter in any of the corridors. The class rooms I have decided to use are realistic, ‘typical’ classrooms that you would expect to find in any modern-day school. These are effective as the target audience our production is aimed at will be able to relate to the locations used throughout our production as they will use them on a day-to-day basis themself.


Storyboard

January 11, 2010

Storyboard powerpoint

Above is a link to the Teen High Storyboard that me and Tom produced together useing Microsoft Powerpoint.

It shows:

  • An example image of each shot (Taken from Google)
  • The type of camera shot used in each shot
  • The style of editing between each shot
  • The music used throughout the sequence
  • A detailed description of what happens in each shot

Hannah Montana Series 4

December 25, 2009

This is the opening sequence of the most recent and current series of Hannah Montana. As you can see it is hugely different from the previous three series. It uses a completely different method of introducing each character, instead of showing each character on a plan background, it uses a roll of film with an image of each main character, followed by some clips from the series containing that character. It helps to give the audience a better idea of the themes Hannah Montana is actually based on. For example the plot is Hannah herself is living two different lifestyles, her normal school life and her pop star life. The roll of film, locations and song lyrics used in the opening credits all give small clues to the main plot.

personally I do not feel this method of introducing the characters is as effective as the previous three series, and shall not be using this method in my own opening sequence.