Aims/Objectives • You will be able to describe drama and sub genre conventions • You will be able to identify the types of groups that are represented • You will be able to discuss how representations are created in dramas.
Drama • Drama is about verisimilitudes, its about representing or re-representing real life. It has to contain a certain amount of verisimilitude so that it becomes believable to the audience. • Dramas have a shared amount of conventions which includes characters, narrative, mise-en-scene, camerawork, dialogue, sound and music.
Shared conventions • Characters: Have you ever noticed how Coronation Street and Eastenders have similar characters that's because they are based on stereotypes so it makes it easy for the audience to understand and relate to it a reflection of real life • Narrative: Similar storylines, generally multi-strand narratives • Mise-en-scene: costumes, props instantly recognisable to the audience of what type of drama or sub genre it is • Camerawork: ensures continuity creates visual codes the audience understands i.e. shot reverse = conversation • Dialogue, sound and music: dialogue and ambience sound make it appear real, but non diegetic sound i.e. background music tell the viewer how to feel. Also some soap operas have recognisable theme tunes i.e. Hollyoaks.
Sub genres and their individual different conventions • Teen dramas: depend entirely on the target audience relating to characters and age specific storylines i.e. teenage pregnancy, drugs etc, sexuality, self harming and weight issues. • Soap opera: multi-strand never ending narratives, depend on audience as accepting their storylines and stereotypical characters as realistic. • Costume, period drama: often linked to classic novels, and representations and storylines are very different to other modern day dramas. High production value i.e. expensive to produce more like films. • Medical/ hospital: set around witnesses people’s traumas in hospital and also staff storylines often involving their personal life. • Police drama: works the same as hospital dramas, but with police rather than medical staff as characters, similar stereotypes and staff storylines i.e. staff affairs. • Docu-drama: Different to other dramas as they focus around dramatising real life or political events, examples include Prince Harry docu-drama where they created a story about what would happen if he was kidnapped and also 9/11 doc-dramas.
Exam • You have to analyse what representations are being created based on both symbolic and technical representations • To do this you will look at the micro elements i.e. camera angles, composition, editing, sound, mise-en-scene and then work out what the overall ‘macro’ representation is being created.
Representation what to look for in the exam • 1. What kind of drama is it what are the shared conventions are we expecting to see any unique conventions with this drama? • 2. What kind of realism (verisimilitude) is being attempted by the programme through these conventions and representations? • 3.Who is being represented in the drama (who is absent) and why? Remember those who are absent are just as important. You should look for binary opposites in our analysis i.e good v’s evil, rich or poor etc. • 4. Can we identify any characters that are stereotypical representations, how are they stereotypical are there any binary opposites present to highlight the differences?
Representation what to look for in the exam continued: • 5: Is there a dominant view of the world i.e. a dominant ideology of how the world should be i.e. women in the traditional subservient roles as the helper or princess or the ethnic character as a typical stereotype. How do the micro representations create this macro represenations? Or are their lots of different worldviews? • NB: You don't need to consider Marxism or Feminist theories at AS level, but you should use terms like Hegemony and ideology. • 6: What different responses might audience members make to this depending on their background?
Micro elements • Use the power points available on mediahubteacher under G322 to refresh your memory on the different elements of analysis, remember to focus more on editing and sound as generally students don't do this.
Key features to analyse which most dramas will have • Soap operas with have opening themes tune • Camera work will generally be on a tripod and still, as this is a convention. • Editing will generally be cuts i.e. what are they trying to connote? • 180 degree rule employed if not why have they broken it? • Establishing shots used • Shot reverse shot to show conversation
Other Key words to mention: remember key words equal points • Representation: stereotypes, ideology, hegemonic representation, binary opposites i.e. inferior or superior, rich or poor able or disabled. • Economy: High production value if a period drama, costs a lot to produce, some like doctor who are cheaper. • Micro and macro analysis: how micro elements technical, symbolic create over representations in the genre, consider both shared and individual conventions. • Metaphor: A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible thing or some intangible • Verisimilitude: how realism is created i.e. stereotypes • Juxtaposition: opposites, allows for you to see the differences i.e. light dark, old or young shows two contrasting things.
How do you think the following groups are represented in the media? • You should be prepared to discuss in response to the question, how these technical elements create specific meaning to the audience about this representation. • • Gender• Age• Ethnicity• Sexuality• Class and status• Physical ability/disability• Regional identity
Gender • Men generally are the main characters and are seen sometimes as isolated and alone. The hero can be both the antagonist and protagonist. • In a drama, women in a narrative usually play the role of what Propp coined the “helper” or an object, think James Bond’s Miss Money Penny and his other women. And Men are the predominate focus in TV dramas. • How are men and women represented are women seen as inferior. Women are represented around their beauty, physical appearance and also represented by their relationships. • What stereotypes are present are men and women represented as equal, superior or inferior? What are the binary opposites present in the characters.
Age • Age in drama is dependant on what type of drama it is. For instance in teen dramas with a teen audience, young people play the main characters, and the older people are a supporting roles or secondary characters. • Age is often shown around a binary opposite focused around positive and negative stereotypes of young and old.
Representation ethnicity-stereotypes Analyse how society sees these different ethnicities, this can also be linked to social class and status. Black groups-stereotypes, criminals, drugs pushers, positive: good at sports and good singers Asian groups:-work in corner shops, waiters, commit fraud. Positives: traditional, hardworking and family orientated. Muslims: negatives, shown as extremist, violent, religious. Positives, pure, holy and trustworthy. White group: Depends on social class, i.e. white working class can be seen as racist, again analyse the binary opposite.
Class and Status • Remember most TV is aimed at a working class audience, this means that most characters will be working class to middle class. Exceptions include aspiration dramas i.e. Sex in the City where although America does not have class system these characters have high status, this is also similar to Made in Chelsea and some period dramas which shows wealth. • Remember when analysing these texts think how society sees these people. Northern people are generally seen as poor and people from down south as rich. • Analyse the juxtaposition, the binary opposites the inequalities the powerless and the powerful.
• Physical ability and disability. • In the past TV dramas have not really included disabled characters in mainstream TV programs. In the past they generally created specialist programs for disabled people. • The mainstream programs disabled people were featured in, generally showed disabled people in a negative way i.e as a burden, helpless, someone to feel sorry for or stupid, where the disability is seen before their other intellectual abilities. • Today mainstream programs like Hollyoaks, Coronations Street have challenged this tradition and stereotype and has introduced characters who have disabilities ,but show them in a positive light. • Think about the stereotypes that exist about disability how are these created are they challenged? • In drama you will probably have to compare people who don't have a disability with those who have and look at how these representation are created. Remember this is the binary opposite i.e. the use of low or high angles to show inequality or power relationships.
Regional identity Regional identity is the notion that people ‘s identities are not just the country they are born in, but the region they are live in. Identities include Geordies, Mancunians, Liverpoodlians or perhaps the Welsh, Scottish or Irish. Think about the positive and negative stereotypes that already exist. Britain can be separated into two stereotypical parts, north and south. • North Stereotypical identities • Unemployment, benefits culture • Happy , poor, working class, bear drinking, football loving northerns. Generally blue collar workers i.e. work in factories or in some sort of industry. • Think Shameless and coronation street for examples • Southern Stereotypical identities • Employment – good jobs referred to as white collar workers i.e anything wear you wear a suit to work, educated to degree level and more • affluent, successful and intelligent • Moody or cocky and posh • Think Made in Chelsea as an examples