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Melodrama

Definition and History


Melodrama refers to a dramatic work that puts characters in danger in order to appeal to emotions. It is based around having the same character in every scene. For example having a hero that turns up, heroine that turns up, usually the one the hero saves. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxIgvZn4PUU The term originated from the early 19th-century French word mlodrame, which is derived from Greek melos, music, and French drame, drama

Melodrama is when something is over dramatic

In the beginning of the 18th century, melodrama was a technique of combining spoken recitation with short pieces of accompanying music. The first full melodrama was Pygmalion by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The tale of the sculptor Pygmalion, who unhappily falls in love with one of his own sculptures until the goddess Venus takes pity on him and brings the sculpture to life.

Melodrama examples
Hollyoaks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4FoxX1--WU Waterloo road https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5zXfeMDyyQ

Casualty http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pU40YvzORTQ

Conventions - Cinematography
The camera shots that are used are mainly medium close ups and close ups of the characters or significant things in the drama. The camera shots are also usually fast paced and quite short, which builds up tension for the audience. For example: In Hollyoaks, a medium close up shot is used to show the characters emotion and facial expression. The use of the medium close up shot doesnt just emphasise the characters emotions but it also makes the location of the set visible to the audience.

Mise en scene
Melodrama/ soaps are usually set in one particular setting. The clothing, accents and dialect reflects the soap and usually allows the audience to relate to the show. The setting is usually simplistic to come across as realistic. However, when combined with the dramatic storylines and characters, it adds effect and excitement to the scenes. The costumes- these are carefully chosen to ensure the clothes each character is wearing reflects their personality and the way they are being represented. There is also a lot of props used in melodrama as the exaggerated drama may mean that there are lots of props being thrown/broken/smashed etc. to again create the drama and excitement. Waterloo road is set in a school Clothing school uniform helps indentifies the students from the teachers Characters teachers and students dialect the difference how the students speak compared to the teachers Relates to students and teachers Hollyoaks is set in Chester The accents helps the audience detect the regional indentity of the soap Surroundings- help Indentify the regional/ national indentity of the soap Relates to teenagers and young adults

Conventions - Sound
Non Diagetic:

During Melodramas, non diagetic sound is used in ways such as Gunshots, Explosions or Slaps. These sounds are real to the scene, however are added in afterwards to when its actually filmed. An example of when its used commonly is at the start of soap scenes to create certain atmospheres. This would then fade out when the characters begin to speak.
Diagetic: Diagetic sound is also used in ways such as doors slamming or glasses smashing. These sounds are more realistic to the scene and arent added in afterwards, and are part of the filming. These are used in most soap scenes. The different sounds heard, add to the genre, as the noises can be over the top and dramatic, adding a bigger effect to what's being shown.

Conventions - Editing
Linear editing: where all the scenes are in chronological order http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rk6hIO0NRAw Cross cutting editing: where the soap cuts between simultaneous shots http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OclXrCuiVY Transition: not a lot of soaps use transitions such as fades or dissolves to try and keep it realistic Non diegetic audio: to enhance the drama of the soap http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MKxKPdNQ1E

Typical Storylines
Escapism - This is where a viewer may want to escape their daily lives to watch something exaggerated and something which wouldnt happen in their real everyday lives. An example could be that during soaps, the amount of drama and stuff going on can be enjoyed by the viewer as its most probably a lot different to their real life.

Catharsis - Where the viewers are made to feel the same emotions as the characters in the soap. An example would be that if someone in a soap was killed, you may feel in a similar way to others around the person, being upset and maybe crying. It allows the viewers to build a relationship with the characters, making the storyline Cathartic.

Violence Drug/Alcohol Abuse Hate Love

Melodrama: Common Related Themes


Racism
Jealousy Conflict

Betrayal

Relationship Issues

Characters Victorian stage melodrama The Victorian stage melodrama featured six stock characters: the hero, the villain, the heroine, an aged parent, a sidekick and a servant of the aged parent engaged in a sensational plot featuring themes of love and murder. In the end good triumphs evil. In Melodramas the characters are usually exaggerated to fit certain stereotypes.

Institutional Details
Examples of melodramas:
Hollyoaks Channel: Channel 4 Broadcast Time: 18:30 each weekday Target Audience: Teenagers Neighbours Channel: Five Broadcast Time: 13:45 each weekday Target Audience: Teenagers Waterloo Road Channel: BBC One Broadcast Time: 20:00 every Thursday Target Audience: Teenagers