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UNIT 42: LO1

BY CALLUM WINGROVE.

EXAMPLES HAVE BEEN DRAWN FROM THE FOLLOWING LINKS:
HTTPS://WWW.YOUTUBE.COM/WATCH?V=65J06UOLTMQ
HTTPS://WWW.YOUTUBE.COM/WATCH?V=XH3MP33SOYW

CODES: WORDS
• Words are used in radio dramas to enable the audience to gain a better
understanding of the character. By making a character use words that are
considered to be of high intelligence, the audience can gather from their words that
they may be of upper class, from a rich family, lives in a big house etc. It’s the
same for someone who may use words incorrectly, or mispronounce them using
incorrect language then the audience can gather that the character is of a lower
class and lower intelligence and may live in a poor family. Words can also be used
by a character to tell another character different things and how they feel directly.
• An example of this is at 16:10 – 16:30. https://
www.youtube.com/watch?v=65j06uOltmQ

CODES: VOICES

• It can be difficult to be able to distinguish different characters from another without
being able to see what they look like, this is where voices are useful in radio
dramas. By making different characters have different accents and
unique/distinguishable elements to their voice, it helps the listener to be able to
recognise who is speaking and be able to easily put voices with names together
with voices, and by them having an accent or a distinguished voice it allows the
listener to be able to do so.
• This can also be heard at 16:10 – 16:30, the same as the previous link.

CODES: SPEECH
• Speech in radio dramas is essentially the most important use of audio that they
use. Speech can describe to the listener what a character is thinking through the
use of speech, as the listener can not see the character and any facial expression
they may have to give away what they are feeling, it is down to their use of speech
for the listener to know what they are feeling/talking about. Speech is also directly
used for the storyline. The characters use speech to tell each other something that
might have happened or they can have a conversation that allows the listener to
hear the progression between the relationship may have with one another.
• 5:44 – 5:54 in the following link as an example of speech. https://
www.youtube.com/watch?v=65j06uOltmQ

CODES: MUSIC
• Music is an extremely important item within radio dramas, it can tell the listener
that the drama has started, by having an opening song to cue the opening, and it
can also be used as non diegetic background sound to either set a scene or create
a mood. For example they can use a sad song with minor chords on a piano to be
laid under the other audio to create a sad sounding atmosphere. It tells the
audience that the scene is going to be sad or that something bad is going on/is
going to happen. Music can also define the setting, by having Chinese music with
gongs etc, can tell you that they may be in China.
• 5:07 – 5:16 is very good example of this. https://
www.youtube.com/watch?v=65j06uOltmQ

CODES: AMBIENCE
• Ambience is used in radio drama to help create a mood for the radio drama, as
there are no visual cues in a radio drama, the ambience is used essentially to help
create a better visual image and understanding for the listener. For example a very
low pitched rumble in the background can build suspense and make the listener uneasy.
• 33:00 – 33:21 is a great example of this. https://
www.youtube.com/watch?v=65j06uOltmQ

CODES: SOUNDS
• Sound in radio drama can be diegetic and can also be non diegetic, they are used
to help the audience understand what’s going on amongst the dialogue and
speech. Diegetic sound can be used to tell the audience that the character is doing
an action, like for example if you hear a door opening you can tell that the
character is going through the door. Non diegetic sound can be used to build
suspension or to help set the mood of the scene, like for example if you hear a high
pitched screeching sound getting louder it builds tension for the viewer. You also
get background noise that helps the audience to know where the characters are
where they might be set. For example if you can hear trains on track you can tell
they are near a train station.
• 0:00 – 0:05 is a great of this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65j06uOltmQ

CODES: SILENCE
• Silence can be used in radio dramas as a clever way to show when a scene or
setting has ended and when a new one is about to start, for example when two
characters are talking and you can hear background noise and other sound, when
the entire sound of the radio drama fades down and is silent, you know that the
scene is changing. Silence can also be used effectively in speech and conversation
between characters. When characters are speaking and they have a silence in
between what they are saying, it can show that they are both lost for words and it
can tell the audience that something big has happened or that something serious
has occurred.
• 1:08:56 - 1:09:01 is a fantastic example of this https://
www.youtube.com/watch?v=65j06uOltmQ

CONVENTIONS: AURAL SIGNPOSTING.

• Aural signposting is a technique used to help the audience establish the setting and
mood of a scene. It replaces visual signposting that you would get on a drama on
TV by using sound such as diegetic cars, trains, birds singing, and even accents and
voices. For example if there is a new scene emerging, and you can hear waves
crashing against a beach, and a background noise of kids playing and shouting,
then you hear two people speaking with Spanish accents, you can tell that the
setting is on a beach in Spain without even hearing anybody say that they are
there.

CONVENTIONS: CLIFF-HANGER ENDINGS.
• Cliff hanger endings is a very clever technique used in radio drama to try to get the
listener want to come back for the next episode. A cliff hanger ending is when a
problem/disruption in the equilibrium is left without a resolution and return to the
norm at the end of the episode. For example A man is kidnapped and the kidnapper
tells the man that he is going to shoot him, then the episode ends with the
audience not knowing if the man will be shot or not, prompting the listeners to
come back to the next episode and find out what happens. This can be effective in
radio dramas, but it can also be off-putting if overused. For example in programmes
such as Lost, if there are too many cliff-hangers it can make the audience grow
tired of them and not want to come back

CONVENTIONS: FLASHBACK.

• A flashback is when the time/setting is sent backwards from what it usually is. This
is done to reveal a story/moment in one of the characters lives, or to reveal
information for the listener to know that directly relates to the current storyline. It
can also be used in a non linear narrative, where the start of the episode may have
one or two characters in trouble, then flashback to when they weren’t in trouble
and it shows how they got in trouble.

CONVENTIONS: USE OF FADES.

• Fades are used in a very similar way to silence in the fact that it helps the listeners
to know when there is a shift in time or setting. The fades tell you that the scene
has finished and that the dialogue ends where it fades. The reason it fades is
because it is nicer to hear and is less harsh than a sudden stop to all of the audio in
the scene.

CONVENTIONS: USE OF SILENCE.
• Silence can be used in radio dramas as a clever way to show when a scene or
setting has ended and when a new one is about to start, for example when two
characters are talking and you can hear background noise and other sound, when
the entire sound of the radio drama fades down and is silent, you know that the
scene is changing. Silence can also be used effectively in speech and conversation
between characters. When characters are speaking and they have a silence in
between what they are saying, it can show that they are both lost for words and it
can tell the audience that something big has happened or that something serious
has occurred.
• 1:08:56 - 1:09:01 is a fantastic example of this
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65j06uOltmQ

CONVENTIONS: CHARACTERISATION.

• Characterisation is the way an actor uses their ability and skills in their profession
to make and create the elements of the character and their characteristics.
Characterisation is used to enhance the storyline by having interesting characters
and having the ability of character development and back story.

CONVENTIONS: CHRONOLOGICAL
DEVELOPMENT.

• Chronological development is the development of a character/situation starting
from the start of the situation or the birth of the character, and in a linear path the
development of this unravels and evolves. This is effective for a long lasting radio
drama as the listener will get to relate to the listener and they will be able to feel
as if they have grown

CONVENTIONS: NARRATION.
• Narration is used in Radio dramas to be able to understand what a character is
thinking, what action they may be doing and what is going on in the storyline.
Narration could be done as a fly on the wall style which allows the listener to know
fully what is happening and is also un-biased, the narration may also be from one
of the characters which allows them to say things to the listener without them
saying anything to a character.
• 0.15 – 1.45 is an example of this. https://
www.youtube.com/watch?v=xH3mp33soYw

CONVENTIONS: DIRECT SPEECH.

• Direct speech is when a character is speaking directly to the audience rather than
just another character. This is effective as it is like you are actually in the drama
and you are actually speaking to the character. Direct speech may be used by a
character for the same purpose as a narration, to be able to inform and
communicate with the audience without having to use other sound to tell them.
They can just be told straight from the character.

CONVENTIONS: TITLES.

• Every radio drama has a title, the title is what everyone will use to refer to it and
know it by. The title needs to be relevant and interesting, so that the listeners don’t
forget it. The title must be relevant so that someone who hasn’t listened to the
radio drama before will know vaguely what the drama is about. A good example of
this is ‘Everyday Time Machines’ Which is quite mysterious and is easy to
remember, but also tells the audience that the show could be quite science fiction
based, or even set in different times.

CONVENTIONS: CREDITS
• Credits are used to tell the listeners who voiced each character, who wrote the
script, who produced, who directed etc. It allows the listeners to appreciate who
made the production possible and who contributed and it also allows the listener to
know who the voice actor was and be able to look at other things that the voice
actor has done and taken part in.
• 46.00 onwards is a good example of this. https://
www.youtube.com/watch?v=xH3mp33soYw

CONVENTIONS: MUSIC
• Music is an extremely important item within radio dramas, it can tell the listener
that the drama has started, by having an opening song to cue the opening, and it
can also be used as non diegetic background sound to either set a scene or create
a mood. For example they can use a sad song with minor chords on a piano to be
laid under the other audio to create a sad sounding atmosphere. It tells the
audience that the scene is going to be sad or that something bad is going on/is
going to happen. Music can also define the setting, by having Chinese music with
gongs etc, can tell you that they may be in China.
• 0.06 – 0.15 is an excellent example of this. https://
www.youtube.com/watch?v=xH3mp33soYw

STYLES: APPROPRIATENESS TO TARGET
AUDIENCE.

• It is essential for Radio Dramas to be appropriate to the target audience, because
otherwise the radio drama would be getting consistent numbers of viewer to their
target audience not liking the content. For example if the target audience is for
older viewers who are likely to have grandchildren then it will be a poor choice to
feature strong language and slang terms that youth use if you’re target audience is
for an older generation.

STYLES: DRAMATIC RECONSTRUCTION.

• A dramatic reconstruction is when a character melodramatically re creates a
scene/tells a story on something that has happened in a reconstruction style. For
example if something happens in one room and a character from that room wishes
to tell the story to the characters in the next room, he/she may walk in and act out
what has happened as if they are storytelling. This is done in Radio Dramas to be
able to tell the audience what has happened through the words and acting of one
of the characters that has supposedly experienced/witnessed the event.

STYLES: RADIO DRAMA STYLES.

• Styles of radio drama can include dramas with a narrative, characters and a
running dialogue and development of characters. Other popular styles of radio
dramas are dramas that don’t necessarily have development of characters or a
narrative, but instead use other concepts such as the comedy radio drama ‘On the
hour’ which is presented as a news show.

STYLES: CREATION OF MOOD OR
LOCATION.
• Mood and location can be created in a radio drama through the use of audio
techniques including, direct speech, narration, music, and diegetic and non diegetic
background noise/ambience. Through using these techniques you can sculpt the
mood of the radio drama and also the location of the radio drama, for example by
using a diegetic background noise of waves crashing against a beach coupled with
American accents and non diegetic ‘strings’ music in a minor chord, you can create
a sad mood and the location of an American beach.
• 0.06 – 0.15 is an excellent example of this.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xH3mp33soYw

STRUCTURES: DURATION.
• Duration is very important when it comes to thinking about the structure of you
radio drama. If you’re desired duration is an hour long or longer, then to keep the
interest of the listener you must have a build up to keep the interest followed by a
development in the storyline and finally a to end the episode. If the episode is
shorter than that then it may be a good idea to structure the radio drama with an
equilibrium, disruption, and then cliff-hanger to end the episode and retain
audience interest for the next episode. Because of having a cliff-hanger it means
that the episode can be shorter as it wont have the ending. Duration is key in radio
dramas as if it is too long for your target audience then they will lose interest, but if
it is too short then they will become fed up and may stop bothering to watch it.

STRUCTURES: NARRATIVE STRUCTURE.

• Narrative structures are the order and placement of which the audience/listeners
are presented to from the narrator. The narrative in a radio drama can be linear and
non-linear. Linear meaning that the structure of the narrative goes in a
chronological order (Beginning, middle, end.) Non-Linear meaning that the
narrative can have the middle or the end at the start of the drama, then a
flashback to the beginning of the story.

STRUCTURES: DEVELOPMENT OF PLOT.

• The development of a plot in a radio drama is used to keep the listeners
entertained and interested in the radio drama. For example if there is a plot, but
there is no development or the development is really slow then the listener may
get bored and stop listening. There needs to be an advance in the storyline to keep
the plot going if the radio drama is to remain in the viewers interests.