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.