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Analysis. Nicola Gibson. How does your production fit in with the values of radio 4 and its place in British life?.

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Nicola Gibson

how does your production fit in with the values of radio 4 and its place in british life
How does your production fit in with the values of radio 4 and its place in British life?
  • Radio 4 is a mixed speech service, offering in-depth news and current affairs and a wide range of other speech output including drama, readings, comedy, factual and magazine programmes. The service appeals to listeners seeking intelligent programmesin many genres which inform, educate and entertain.
  • My production offers entertainment with a thought provoking subject matter for any age group.
  • The conservative Back to Basics campaign was a key idea i used that allowed me to appeal to both adults and children.
  • The younger audience understood my radio drama on a basic level of good vs. evil and right vs. wrong
  • The older audience I wanted them to understand the government aspect – the idea that much like John Major the humans will try influence and preach a good message yet in fact behind closed doors there's is much corruption and scandal.
what are radio 4 s audience issues
What are Radio 4’s audience issues?
  • Radio 4 predominantly only appeals to a small niche market of older and more upper class and established listeners.
  • A key issue that radio 4 faces in todays markets is that it does not branch out enough or aim to entice a younger audience.
  • People from the ages of 15 up to 40 do not feel radio 4 has anything to offer them therefor the bulk audience for radio 4 is very narrow.
  • In order for Radio 4 to increase and diversify its typical audience, programmes like mine ‘ Back to Basics’ should be aired as it appeals to a variety of age groups and social classes.
  • I specifically tailored my radio drama do that there were elements that all age groups could enjoy and connected with

How does you drama relate in terms of style ideas and language to the audience?Reflect on the representation of people, places, ideas and locations .

  • The audience which my radio drama was aimed at was both family's children and even adults on their own.
  • As I was targeting such a broad audience I had to make sure all representations and language used was relatively simple yet still had underlying themes for adults.
  • Representation was important because the younger audience would understand and interpret signs and codes in different ways to an older generation e.g. zoo keeper in one way but in reality an older audience member would understand that they represent a greater force such as an over powering government.
  • The location of the zoo represents both a place of joy for children and family's but also a place of imprisonment and sadness for animals . This ironic contrast was the specific reason the zoo was an effective setting.
How did you follow, extend of break conventions of a radio play. Look back to the analysis of radio drama extracts.
  • Before embarking on the project to create my original radio drama I had to research the typical conventions of a radio drama . This extensive background research allowed me to fully understand what the conventions of a radio drama where and whether my play would choose to follow , break or extend them.
  • My radio drama extends the traditional conventions of radio play through ideas such as talking animals and children's film/cinematic concepts.
  • My radio drama also breaks convention as I am trying to appeal to both adults and children – the influence of Animal Farm was crucial here as it gave me a structure of how to make a simple narrative but with still an underlying adult theme.
  • The influence of classic Disney talking animal movies e.g. lion king , shows that my radio drama follows more of a cinematic approach and therefor breaks typical conventions of a radio play. I successfully combined adult and childhood themes in my initial narrative and this allowed me to stay true to my originals ideas and themes.
reflect on how digital technology has made it possible for you to become producers of media texts
Reflect on how digital technology has made it possible for you to become producers of media texts.
  • Radio is the perfect medium for amateurs and students to create a piece of media just as good as the actual thing. Recording equipment and editing programmes are so developed that it allowed me to create an original radio drama extract in the exact way I wanted to .
  • No longer do we need recording studios or sound proof booths because laptops now have in built recording systems . This accessible digital technology made it quick and easy to record when and where I wanted.
technology continued
Technology: Continued

I edited my radio drama on an Apple Mac editing application . I found it fast , effective and innovative in what it allowed me to do what I needed therefore making Me successful in communicating specific ideas.

The Word Press blog was an effective way

for me to upload and share my planning

pre production and analysis with both my

Teacher and peers. I was able to access other

Students blogs as well as receiving digital feedback

On all uploaded work.


A reflection on the decisions you made to cut words, cast characters, edit the drama, making and use of sound effects, cuts to make scenes to redo and in general the process of creating a complex and subtle media text.

  • Sound Effects
  • I decided that the most effective way of creating my sound effects would be to do in naturally and authentically by creating the sounds myself.
  • As my radio drama is set in a zoo it was crucial that I created a believable atmosphere and setting .I therefor had to ask members of my cast to really relax and be confident in creating realistic animal noises .The particular sound of the animals cheering and making noises came out brilliantly as I was able to assign each actor and different animal sound, record it and then layer each sound over each other.
  • Noises such as footsteps and doors creaking were fairly simple to create as I had all the necessary equipment around me to record them. It was important when recording sound effect that the surrounding area was quiet in order for me to collect the sound clearly enough to be heard.
  • I recorded each sound a number of times to ensure I got the correct length and volume of each effect. I also ensure that the recorder was not too close to the chosen object as I did not want it to come out muffled.
  • Tim – Zenaide Dias Polo
  • Young boy
  • After completing the editing process I am highly satisfied with the fact Zenaide was cast as the main character - Tim. Zenaide successfully was able to communicate a young ,nervous teenage boy through her voice and tempo. I believe that Zenaide was so effective because she fully encapsulated and embraced the child like nature of the character. As a listener we both sympathise and admire Tim . One listener of my radio drama commented that Zenaide was “ inspired casting choice” – this communicates to me that as an actress she was successful in portraying to the audience the exact character I needed her to. The character was warm , shy and unsteady – I feel these all came across in her vocal ability.
  • Zelo – Sadie O’Rourke
  • Female Zebra
  • Sadie was cast to play the female lead of Zelo the Zebra, as a drama student I was confident that she could effectively understand the character and the way I had asked her to play it. I am satisfied that Sadie embraced the character and used a south African accent which added and new dynamic to my radio drama and added a certain professional quality to it. Sadie was successful in contrasting her female voice to that of the dominant Male Lazarus therefore showing two different sides to leadership and management.
  •  Lazarus – Cassie Bekoe
  •  Male Lion
  • Cassie naturally has a very deep and powerful voice therefore also as a drama student she was the perfect casting choice to play Lazarus. This character leads the animals and makes important decisions and therefore the voice is crucial in reflecting this. Cassie vocal ability was particularly impressive as she was asked to play a dominant male role – she fully understood her character brief and how I had asked her to portray Lazarus – with a deep , overpowering voice and a self righteous – all knowing attitude.
  •  Park Keeper – Mr Milliken
  •  Middle Aged Man
  • Mr Milliken naturally has deep and gruff voice much like the character of park keeper therefore he was clearly suited to this key role. During the recording process Mr Milliken often messed up lines and therefor when it came to the editing process it was hard to continuously edit out his numerous mistakes. In hindsight I would have probably cast someone with more acting experience in order to save recording and editing time.
  • Although time consuming the editing process was vital in order for me to create a media text of value and entertainment.
  • I edited on Apple Mac program which I felt was both professional and easy to understand.
  • Often in the editing process mistakes were made or i decided to change my mind on certain scenes therefore it was vital that my editing program allowed me to make changes often and effectively.
  • Many of the voices such as that of Lazarus the Lion required special effects on their vocals ( in this echoing and deepening ) the program allowed to me play around and construct the perfect vocal arrangement for the master track.
  • The final product of my radio drama in my opinion is successful in communicating what I wanted it to - this is down to the professional quality of the editing program.

How the themes of the product are communicated to the audience through your three media texts. How have you used linked ideas to create this synergy that goes with the product – this is a business model so refer to your music industry notes.

My research and planning of wider narrative themes and research enabled me to create an identity and stand out brand for my product which I was then able reflect in my three media texts. The key themes which are reflected in my product are ideas such as unjust powers, taking control, political dominance and essentially going ‘ Back to Basics’ . The overall image portrayed in the advert, the language used in the listings preview and the actual radio drama all had to be effectively synergised to create a brand identity which the listeners/audience can connect with .

  • The key themes and influences that run throughout my thee media texts were :

Brutality Primal Instincts Stripping back layers

Savageness Duplicity Freedom

“A tale of betrayal, courage and breaking free”

how did you use signs and codes to reinforce your preferred reading of the text for the audience
How did you use signs and codes to reinforce your preferred reading of the text for the audience?
  • How did I get the audience to be on the side of the animals?
  • Language :
  • Park keeper ,animals and Tim’s Language and what they say was constructed in such a way to influence the audience to take the side of the “goodies” : Examples :
  • “ stick em in the seclusion unit” – Park Keeper
  • “ I’m just as fed up with the human government as you “ - Tim
  • How did I get audience to associate park keeper as villain?
  • In order to establish a believable and creditworthy villain character the casting , tempo and language had to be in sync. Certain words said by characters will be decoded by the listener and they will they establish in their mind whose side they are on:
  • “ Guv” – establishes the working class hierarchy.
  • A listener will unknowingly decode this language and make judgment on the type of person he is all from the word “ Guv”
  • This links in with the idea of denotations and connotations – I knew that every detail of my drama and narrative would be mentally deconstructed by the audience therefore certain images i.e. Lion as the Leader would be essential on establishing my themes and narrative structure.
how did you listings page reflect the audience profile
How did you listings page reflect the audience profile?

My Radio Listings Page

Typical Listings Page spread

From my extensive research of TV and Radio listings pages I was able to better understand their format, construction and purpose. The radio listings page was essential in appealing to my target audience and effectively advertising my radio drama “ Back to Basics”. Not only does my listings page serve the purpose of displaying my preview but I also included a portrait of the author and listings of other radio programs at the time.


The programmes I included in my radio schedule complemented my specific radio drama – they fitted in with radio 4’s conventions . Items such as the ‘Around the globe’ would appeal to R4 listeners.

I was influenced with the listings page on the left use of the ‘ authors portrait. I chose the location of a park bench and a ‘happy persona’ for my author portrait as I knew that the audience I was appealing to young children and families. The author portrait also follows the conventions of a radio drama listings page .

The layout of different block colours was used to create a official layout feel. Those who read the listings page on a regular basis will automatically link the yellow box – with programmes that are not to be missed and also link the column on the left with this weekends special feature/interview.

how did the preview use narrative hooks to entice the listener
How did the preview use narrative hooks to entice the listener?
  • Words in reds were chosen by me as they represented the main themes/concepts of my radio drama :
  • “Award winning script writer Nicola Gibson returns with anadventureof epic proportions for the whole family to enjoy. A tale of betrayal, courage and breaking free– set in the local zoo. Rising up against an unjust power and taking a stand against a corrupt government .Follow the journey of Lazarus , Zelo and the other animals as they attempt to overcome the closure of their zoo and end of life as the know it. An unlikely hero will arise but will the animals accept him? To succeed is near impossible, but to give in is unthinkable .”
  • Next slide = Preview’s analysis
preview analysis
Preview Analysis
  • The words highlighted in bold red are meant to create an instant reaction from the audience – they will automatically decode these narrative words and emotionally connect and resonate with the story.
  • Language such as ‘courage’ and ‘betrayal ‘ give the narrative an ‘epic’ type feel and the reader will connect it with other epic tales such a lion king and therefor create positive reinforcement within their mind. The preview was meant to entice the listener without giving away too much about the plot, research into other film and radio previews guided me in how much to give away and how to introduce cliff hangers:
  • E.g. Lion King “Tricked into thinking he killed his father, a guilt ridden lion cub flees into exile and abandons his identity as the future King.” – I was influenced by the above preview as it had a similar genre and theme to my radio drama – the preview was exciting without giving too much away.
audience appeal and influences
Audience appeal and Influences
  • I was strongly influenced by John Majors conservative – Back to Basics Campaign , the campaign ironically preached about values and reverting back to simplicity and wholesome family life yet behind closed doors scandal reigned.
  • This campaign influence was reflected in both my radio drama , preview and advert – I wanted to expose the irony of how humans can never return ‘Back to Basics’ as there is too much politics and mind games within our species.
  • In the end it is only the most primal of animals who can return to their natural roots and habitat.

How was your advert constructed to sell the product and what was the values and conventions of the arts page of the publication it would be published in.

  • I chose the animal paw prints as they are brutal, basic and have a clear mis en scene where the audience will automatically link it with savageness and the wild.
  • The back to basics font is inspired by a top secret document and links in with the narrative of the drama where the animals uncover the governments top secret plans
  • The red signifies danger and to be alert. An arguably obvious colour choice as I wanted to keep my advert ‘ Basic’

The title was inspired by the tory government scheme ‘back to basics’ campaign which involved focussing on issues of law and order, education and public probity , essentially like the animals reverting back to what they know and their roots.

  • The slogan ” the animals are taking charge ” is written in a basic cave man like font , i wanted to create the effect that the animals had written the font therefor it was a sign of them taking control

Animal tracks conjure up connotations of a time when life was more kill or be killed. a time where survival and the battle for it was a daily reality.

  • Paws marks have connotations of man the hunter, tracking prey. The Background is a rough sand / old paper look to it and this represent once again going ‘ Back to Basics’ element of brutality and freedom.