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Analysis Cards

Analysis Cards

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Published by Julie Thrasher

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Published by: Julie Thrasher on Nov 06, 2010
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03/18/2013

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22
Doing TV Drama
 
© English & Media Centre, 2009
Back Story
 The history or context behind a situation
The background
cause and events
of a narrative.• The
biographical history of a
ctional character
,usually revealed as the narrative develops.• The
previous experiences of characters
whichcontribute to their motivations and reactions.
Events
which have led up to a particular narrativemoment.
Information that helps
esh out the skeleton
of ascreenplay, for example an accident in a character’s pastthat informs the person’s actions in the present.Without the help of background information, what can youtell from a first viewing of this extract about the followingelements of the back story:• the
characters and their relationship
• the
events
leading up to this sequence• the
structure
of this sequence
what might happen after
this sequence?
The TV Drama Genre
 The type, variety or category of TV drama to which a textbelongs, e.g. soap, hospital or crime, drama-doc, etc
 Each genre has its own specific codes, conventions,narrative structures, visual styles, motifs and themesLinking a drama to a particular genre helps:
audiences
to know what to expect
producers
to market their dramas to the rightaudiences.Di
ff 
erent drama genres often sub-divide into further
sub-genres
– e.g. in crime drama: procedural, forensicinvestigations, detective-led, undercover cops, etc.
Genres change over time
, to reflect changes in societyand culture.Many dramas are
hybrid
– i.e. they contain a mixture of elements from di
ff 
erent drama genres.• What
kind of TV drama
might this come from? Whatmakes it special to television (rather than film)?• What
other genres of 
ctional programme
does itremind you of – e.g. soap? Medical drama? Action-adventure drama? ‘Real-life’ drama-documentary?Are there
visual motifs, images, characters or ideas
which link the extract to a particular genre of TV drama?What clues to genre can you find in the
visual style andpace
of the extract?
Narrative Sequence
A series of shots linked by time, place, and action thatforms a coherent unit with a start, middle, and end.
 TV drama narratives are closely linked to a particularscheduled
format
. Narrative formats can comprise:
One-o
 
single drama.
High production values, usually60-90 minutes, often on a controversial or current topic.
Mini-series, two-parter or
ve-nights.
 
Often ‘event TVwith a story structure of peaks and cli
ff 
hangers, and bigbudget and promotion.
Serial.
 
Continuing narrative over several episodes, with anarrative resolution.
Series.
(Usually) 60-minute self-contained dramas, withregular repertory characters and locations.
Soap.
Usually 30-minute continuing dramas withmultiple storylines based around the life of a community.
What actually happens
in this sequence?
What’s the shape of the sequence
– can you representit in a diagram?Is there a
turning point or crisis
in the sequence?
Is the sequence resolved
(completed) or to becontinued?
Where in the longer narrative
might this extract fit –and why?
Reading TV Drama
Resource A: Macro Analysis  Key Drama Questions
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
 
23
Doing TV Drama
 
© English & Media Centre, 2009
Reading TV Drama
The Audience
Audiences are the ‘Holy’ Grail’ for broadcasters.
However brilliant the idea or concept,
all TV drama iscommissioned with speci
c audiences in mind
.
Audiences will read and make sense of the drama indi
 
erent ways
according to their gender, race, class,age-group etc. They may not respond to drama in theways the producers intended.Broadcasters constantly look for new ways to
increaseaudience share and boost ratings
.
Scheduling and promotion
of drama is crucial inattracting audiences.
Audiences are increasingly powerful
in:shaping producers’ agendascommunicating their responsesinteracting with, or contributing to drama.
Who might be the primary demographic audience
forthis sequence in terms of gender, age, social class groupetc – and how do you know?
What techniques
does the sequence use to attract, talk to, and appeal to, audiences?
What ideas, values or messages
might the audiencetake away from this sequence?
How might di
 
erent audience groups
respond to thesequence?
How do audiences access the sequence
– e.g. throughbroadcast schedules, DVD, iPlayer, video on demand,YouTube – and what di
ff 
erence might this make?
Characters and Performance
Characters in TV Drama are not real people! They areconstructed representations.
Audiences may respond in di
ff 
erent ways to characters,depending on:– the
role they play
within the narrative– the
conventions
of the drama genre– the
style and intentions
of the
producers
the quality and style of their
performance
the viewer’s own values
, age, experiences etc.Characters don’t have to be realistic or psychologicallymotivated for audiences to relate to them.
Who is in the sequence?
(Think in terms of gender, age,class, ability/disability, race/ethnicity, etc.)Do characters represent particular ideas, values, types orstereotypes?
Are the actors familiar
, or associated with other media?If so, which?
What can you assume about the characters
, and theirrelationships to each other, from dress, body language,accessories, framing?
What’s their role in the story
within this sequence? Aresome more important than others?
What style of performance is involved
– e.g. realistic,melodramatic, stylised, comic, etc?With whom do you
identify or sympathise
, if anyone,and why?
Dialogue
 The lines spoken by characters whether in a TV drama,on
lm or in literary
ction.
Dialogue is not always the most important aspect of ascreenplay.
• The
style and realism of dialogue varies
according tothe genre of drama.TV drama dialogue is
always crafted
and rehearsed,however random or spontaneous it may seem.
Dialogue has many di
 
erent functions
– to constructaspects of a character’s personality, to provide specificnarrative information, to create atmosphere or representa profession or area of knowledge, as in the specialistvocabulary of medical dramas.
‘Realistic’ dialogue has its own conventions
– such asoverlapping speech, mumbling, slang, use of jargon.
What kind of talk is it?
Conversation, argument,instruction, gossip? Does it reveal aspects of thecharacter’s personality, or their relationships, or is itintended to further the plot?
What’s the talk for?
To demonstrate the relationshipbetween characters? To fill in gaps in the plot? To movethe story on? To create a sense of place or time?
Is it scripted, or improvised
– and how do you know?How does it di
ff 
er from spontaneous speech?
Does the dialogue feel authentic
(i.e. real) or is itstylised, deliberately old-fashioned or mechanical?
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
 
24
Doing TV Drama
 
© English & Media Centre, 2009
Reading TV Drama
Resource B: Micro Analysis  Technical Codes and Conventions
Mise-en-scène
 The hugely important design aspects of a production:locations, lighting, colour, props, clothing and make-up.Production design is crucial in shaping visual impact andmeaning.
Originally used in the theatre, the French term
mise-en-scène
literally means ‘putting on stage.’In film or TV, it
refers to everything that appearson screen, and the way it is arranged
– sets, props,costumes, colour palette and lighting.Mise-en-scène can also include the positioning/ movement of actors on the set or within the individualframe (called blocking).Usually involves collaboration between the Wardrobe,Properties, Lighting, Set Design, Make-up and ArtDepartments.What di
ff 
erent
settings
are used in the sequence?Interior or exterior? Studio-based or shot on location?What information or meanings can you draw fromthe di
ff 
erent
places
in which the action takes place?• What
objects, props, images or symbols
, do youparticularly notice in each location, and whatassociations or ideas do they suggest?How is
lighting and shadow
used to create meaningin the scene?• What
colours
stand out in the sequence, whatassociations do they suggest, and what e
ff 
ect do theycreate?What information can you draw from the ways thecharacters are
dressed, made-up or accessorised
?
Sound
Includes:
verbal soundtrack 
(for example, dialogue, voiceover,narration)
sound-e
 
ects
(for example ‘natural’ sound, pauses,silence)
music score
, themes and stings, bridges and motifs
ambient sound
(such as general background noiseused to establish place, and create a sense of realism).Can be:
diegetic
– i.e. a natural part of the fictional world of thenarrative; or
non-diegetic
– i.e. added from outside thenarrative (e.g. heartbeat, music score, voiceover) in post-production (created by the Foley artist)
synchronous
– matched to the images on screen, or
asynchronous
– deliberately contradicting the flow of images.List all the di
ff 
erent types of 
non-verbal
sound youcan hear on the soundtrack.Which sounds are
diegetic
(i.e. part of the narrativeaction in the ‘world’ of the drama) – and what cluesdo they give about the characters?Which sounds are
non-diegetic
(i.e. additional musicor sound e
ff 
ects, added to create atmosphere ormood) – and what e
ff 
ect do they create?• Has
music
been used, and if so, where, in what form,and why? For example, instrumental sound motifs, asong with meaningful lyrics, a bridging music track which ‘covers’ the images from one scene to the next,etc?
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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