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OCR Media Studies – A2 Level Unit G324: Advanced Portfolio. Soap Opera Genre – Independent Textual Analysis. Name: Melissa North Candidate Number: 5667 Center Name: St. Paul’s Catholic College Center Number: 64770. Trailer 1 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeVVsFF56rU. Verbal Codes

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OCR Media Studies – A2 Level

Unit G324: Advanced Portfolio

Soap Opera Genre –

Independent Textual Analysis

Name: Melissa North

Candidate Number: 5667

Center Name: St. Paul’s Catholic College

Center Number: 64770

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Trailer 1 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeVVsFF56rU

Verbal Codes

The non diegetic soundtrack in this trailer denotes specific lyrics which can firstly relate to the men walking in to the room, where the rest of the cast are ‘getting ready’, for example the verbal code ‘my next girl’ connotes that they are strong alpha males, and are seemingly attractive and drawing attention towards the girls to stare at them, and vice versa with the women walking in, for the men. Therefore the non diegetic soundtrack is in symbiotic relationship with Laura Mulvey’s ideology of the female characters encouraging a ‘male gaze’. Diana Saco’s ideology of the male characters providing a ‘female gaze’ is also presented.

At the end of the trailer, just before the point of call, the shot fades, with a non diegetic sound of rattling, implying the pun of ‘being rattled’, ‘signifying’ (De Saussure) that something is going to happen between the ‘new’ and ‘old’ cast in the following series, creating tension and a potential ‘disequilibrium’ (Todorov).

Three quarters of the way through the trailer, the verbal code ‘Check out the new talent’ appears on screen.

From deconstructing this, the use of the verbal code “Talent” connotes that talent usually relates to a contest, resulting in a feeling that the characters are about to be in a contest with the new characters, whether it’s the better looks or down to the status, as the new characters walking into the room look wealthy and ‘better dressed’.

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Trailer 1 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeVVsFF56rU

Non-Verbal Codes

The non-verbal code of the lighting is set up in the way of being in a studio setting, allowing the audience to ‘see’ what happens behind the scenes of the cast, creating a “window into the World” (Wendy Helsby) of the division amongst the two groups presented, which appear to be old v new. The costumes allow the viewers to see the confidence of the ‘newcomers’ to the show, making the rest of the cast quite plain in what they are wearing/doing. (Mise En Scene)

The non-verbal code of the old characters facial expressions conveys jealousy through looking at their competition, which appear to be the new characters which are walking in and also curiosity as to whom they are and what they are doing within their community. Social Climbers (Maslow) would potentially replicate this behaviour and aspire to find out what they have to offer. As a point of jealousy, the characters put across a sign of fear as to whom the new characters are, and what they are doing in the setting, letting the viewers feel this too (Diversion - Katz).

The characters are all attractive and are all above the age of 18 years old, and have a ‘down to earth’ look about them. The objectification of the female gender conforms to John Berger’s “men act, women appear” as they appear to be dressed in a promiscuous and seductive way.

The setting with in the trailer is as if the characters are getting ready in the studio, like they would do before a series (Realism - Verisimilitude). They have all the set up,for example, the seats, make up tables and studio lights. From this the audience get a feeling of what happens ‘behind the scenes’ and draws the attention away of what is going to happen, until the new characters arrive, giving the trailer more of a cliffhanger effect.

The costumes of what the characters are wearing denotes their different status’ within the character community. All the females are in their best dresses, showing their sexiness to the viewers, and vice versa for the men. The new characters walk in with the same indication of sexiness, but have that ‘upper hand’ and they seem to have more of a powerful persona in binary opposition (Levi Strauss).

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Trailer 1 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeVVsFF56rU

Technical Codes – Comment on the use of Camera Angles, Shot Types and Camera Movement

The camera uses a lot of Point Of View movement as they are moving through the setting of the trailer, Cutting from the other characters expressions, allowing the viewers to see what the characters are feeling/doing. Also how each character is communicating with each other, letting the viewers see the full facial expressions of what is going on.

The shots presented by the Director are mostly close ups so that the audience can get the full idea of what the characters are expressing towards the new arrivals. The close ups allow the audience to feel what the characters are feeling. (Katz) With the idea that females are connecting with the characters, as the men and good looking but yet the females are too, resulting in jealousy. (Rebecca Fissey - 2007)

The camera angles are all eye level, as this allows the audience to feel that they are one of the characters, exactly in the moment that the characters are. With the feeling of the shock and confusion as to who the new characters are in their ‘dressing room’.

With the variety of the Camera movement and the camera angles and shots, this give the the audience a real feel as to what is going on and what the characters feel within the moment. The audience are also shown some codes and conventions of a typical soap opera, firstly with the characters, as they are young and old, female and male, which most soaps have within the set up. The trailer also has a ‘cliffhanger’ to it, which draws the audiences attention into the trailer, wanting to watch the next episode to see what happens, which with this also is typical in a soap opera.

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Trailer 2 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsmaFkZBg8Y&feature=related

Verbal Codes

The non diegetic soundtrack in the trailerdenotes ‘the storm is coming…’ which is in symbiotic relationship with what is going on in the trailer, giving that feeling of that something is happening or is going to happen, thus denoting a enigma clue (Roland Barthes) to the audience. The usual connection with a storm is messy, dark and horrible, so with the female character appearing from the storm, the audience will assume that she herself will be the outcome of the storm and provide some antagonism for the viewers and characters alike.

At the end of the trailer, there is a non diegetic voice over which denotes ‘there's one heck of a storm coming, Sharon's back, soon on BBC 1’, which connotes that the new character is going to kick up a fuss and be the source of all the problems (disequilibrium – Todorov) that are going to occur in the upcoming episodes.

Throughout the trailer, there is a diegetic sound effect of the actual storm and raining, and all the surroundings getting wrecked and destroyed. This connotes that the female antagonist is going to not just cause trouble for a certain someone, but will be causing trouble throughout the whole of Walford.

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Trailer 2 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsmaFkZBg8Y&feature=related

Non-Verbal Codes

The low key lighting seems natural from the stormy weather so that the setting seems real, and also quite dark, creating that mysterious and unknown feeling, which draws the audience in. (Realism - Verisimilitude). So the audience then can feel as if they are there themselves within the setting. (Diversion - Katz)

The costumes of the majority of the characters are normal, average clothing, then Sharon appears with this white wedding dress, which connotates that she is pure and innocence, which obviously contradicts to what she is in the actual episodes. (Good vsBad - Levi Strauss)

All the facial expressions are shocked, but many more shocked at others, which lets the viewers know that this is a surprise with many more to come with her coming back. Allowing the audience to see from the characters point of view, to what they are feeling towards their new arrival, indicating that she is some sort of ‘villain’. (Propp)

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Trailer 2 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsmaFkZBg8Y&feature=related

Technical Codes

The technical code of the camera angles are mostly all eye level, other than when all the characters are looking up at Sharon as she is dropped down to everyone in Walford street. Firstly with all the camera angles being eye level, this allows the audience to see and feel the reactions to the female antagonist. (Diversion – Katz). Then from the angle then being a Low Angle, then from the characters looking up her, the audience assume, that the characters are ‘below’ the female, making her be more of a higher status than the rest of the characters. (Villain/Princess – Propp)

There are quick cut shots which shows how everyone is feeling and how they are surprised to see this character back in Walford. Allowing the audience to see the mixed emotions of all the characters, getting a feel for what is going to happens, with regards to when they finally meet/talk to her.

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Evaluation of Textual Analysis –

Compare and Contrast

  • Trailer 1) – Areas of Strength and what you would ‘repeat’ (Steve Neale)
  • I would potentially incorporate the use of Levi Strauss’ Binary Opposition (Good vsBad) into my work, as to me this really pin points who is who within the community of the soap opera and the antagonisms presented to the audience. For example, when the old characters are getting ready within the ‘studio’, their emotions are all happy and joyful, yet when the new characters walk in they are all serious and emotionless, portraying that ‘good versus bad’.
  • I would also like to apply in to my work the way in which they use short cut shots to emphasize the way the characters are feeling with the emotions, so the audience can relate to what is happening (Personal Identification – Katz). For example, when the new characters enter the room, it shows each characters faces allowing the audience to see how they feel about the new characters being there. With the short cut shots I would then incorporate the eye level angles, so that the audience then can really relate to the characters and form a close ‘social interaction’ (Katz) with them.
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Evaluation of Textual Analysis –

Compare and Contrast

  • Trailer 2) – Areas of Strength and what you would ‘repeat’ (Steve Neale)
  • The way in which they enhanced the main character within the trailer, by using a completely different costume to the rest of the cast, to me, really draws the audience in to the trailer, as you start to question why they are dressed in such a way. The wedding dress symoblises purity and innocence, which contrasts with the storm, which is dark and gloomy. This brings in some excitement like an action-adventure genre, conveying an element of adrenaline to the audience (“Whammo” – Joel Silver). For example, when the whole of the street is completely ripped apart from the storm, and then from the storm a character floats out in a pure white wedding dress, which contradicts the idea of a storm being dirty.
  • Also within the trailer, the non verbal code low key lighting, is effective, so that the audience can get a real feel for the area around the characters, this portrays the real atmosphere and emotions from the characters. From this the audience can feel a sense of realism to the scenario in the trailer and also a connection to the characters (Social Interaction – Katz). For example, the darkness from the storm connotes evil, indicating to the audience something bad is going to happen.