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Good research

May 11, 2012

http://collingham.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/g325-question-1b-media-language/

Q4. How did you use media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?

April 27, 2012

Q3. What have you learned from your audience feedback?

April 26, 2012

I collected audience feedback in a number ways, voice recordings, polls, questionnaires and social network to name a few. I felt that audience feedback was vital to the development of my trailer, so I held viewing sessions of my trailer and emailed my trailer to audience’s so I could get feedback via there.

Film Trailer Feedback: 

You’ve probably just watched my interviews with two friends of mine, although they both do try to make the interview about how funny they are instead of the trailer, their feedback is still valid. The first friend, Nathan told me that ‘the falling off the cliff bit’ was the most effective and said he felt like EHH is this going to happen!? I assume he felt the tension rising. He said he also felt that the strongest image of the trailer was the female actor, she conformed what he was expecting and fulfilled the role of a mourning partner.

Giorgio’s feedback is very constructive, he immediately recognized the genre as social realism unlike Nathan who said he felt it was a postmodern genre (which makes no sense). Similarly thought Giorgio and Nathan both felt the fall of the cliff was the most effective part of my trailer, although I was happy with this I certainly didn’t feel this was my strongest part. Giorgio’s reason for this being his favourite part was that it built tension before the death much like Nathan’s opinion! Giorgio felt that the cemetery scene lingered in his mind after the trailer, at first I agreed with this as I feel this is a powerful part to the trailer but then he felt it was scary. This wasn’t exactly the response I was hoping to evoke and feel confused as to why he feels this. Both feedbacks agreed the narrative of the film or of what you can tell of the film from the trailer was a typical linear narrative.

The images below show audience feedback via email. Email was an easy way to obtain feedback as it did require much effort from either party, I’ve found that people are much more likely to get involved with feedback if it requires minimal effort! These email feedbacks helped me develop my trailer; the first email brought to light a bodge job cut at 33seconds which I changed immediately and also put forward a valid suggestion which I adapted to suit the feedback. The second email helped a lot too, although the feedback was not as in depth, it was still helpful and I acted upon it changing the last sequence and adding in titles.

I also used my wordpress blog to gain audience feedback and set up polls to find out the opinion of my audience on sequences that needed changing etc. These polls gave me an honest insight into what my audience was thinking, it was sometimes brutally honest as they are anonymous so the audience has no fear that I’ll come hunting them down if they say terrible things.

Another tool I used for my trailer feedback was Soundcloud (www.soundcloud.com) This site enables you to record sounds from your phone and upload them onto the site, directly off your android. This is extremely convenient as I could interview Robyn (my victim in the clip) anyway and ended up in a art room if you’re wondering. Robyn’s feedback was helpful as it was very positive although she confused upon what genre my trailer fitted into, as you can hear she pauses and stutters. This is a weakness in my trailer.

As I said above, I held viewing sessions of my trailer so that I could get audience feedback from a group of people, after these sessions I handed out questionnaires and asked my peers to fill out what they thought about my trailer. Here is the feedback:

The questions I asked where – (Out of ten)

Does this work as a trailer?

Jamie said 8, Paul said 10, Connor said 10 and Dan said 10.

Does it make you want to see the film?

Jamie said 9, Paul said 9, Connor said 10 and Dan said 8.

Did the trailer sustain your interest?

Jamie said 8, Paul said 9, Connor said 9 and Dan said 10.

Is the genre of the film established by the trailer and what genre do you think it is? 

Jamie said 7 he said he felt it was “arty and indie” and closely linked to social realism, Paul said 9 he said he felt it was drama, Connor said 9 he said it was social realism and Dan said 10 he said it was social realism.

What aspects/features/shots/messages are most effective?

Jamie: The fall because it builds the suspense well and the music cuts out perfectly.

Paul: The layering of both shots at the start, music fits really well, title looks professional, variety of camera angles.

Connor: The music, when the girls head was see through.

Dan: The fall because it builds up with tension and then suddenly happens. 

What image from the film lingers in your mind after viewing the trailer? 

Jamie: The shot of the character on the floor, this is effective as it builds up to this final shot.

Paul: The shots outside look really good, very colourful and visually appealing.

Connor: Splatted body because it’s what everyone was waiting for.

Dan: The fall as it builds to this and I wasn’t expecting him to actually die.

What did you ‘understand’ about the film’s narrative from the trailer? 

Jamie: It was a lot like other films except the action was at the beginning.

Paul: When her boyfriend has a terrible fall she has to deal with his death.

Connor: It was a typical narrative.

Dan: I understood that is was just like any other film except the beginning had all the action in

How did you feel the length of the trailer was? 

Jamie, too short. Paul, just right. Connor, just right and Dan, just right

Choice of actors?

Jamie said 8, Connor said 8, Paul said 9 and Dan said 10

Choice of location & mise en scene? 

Jamie said 10, Paul said 8, Connor said 10 and Dan said 10

Choice of lighting?

Jamie said 10, Paul said 8, Connor said 8 and Dan said 10. 

Choice of music?

Jamie said 10, Paul said 10, Connor said 10 and Dan said 10. 

How well did the music help establish the genre? 

Jamie said 10, Paul said 9, Connor said 8 and Dan said 10 (what a surprise)

I gained a lot of insight into my audience’s opinion of my trailer because of this questionnaire. I learnt that the most effective part of my trailer was the fall, this is actually very interesting as it is at the beginning meaning that it must of had a real effect on my audience to sustain their attention until questioning after the viewing. I also learnt from my audience that the genre is quite confusing, whilst questioning them it was evident that they didn’t quite know how to determine the genre my film fitter into.

Facebook also helped me out a lot when conducting my research, I asked a friend a member of my target market a question or two to find out his views on my trailer…

I learnt from this feedback from social networking sites that:

– The actors in my trailer supported what the audience expected, they conformed to the typical drama/social realism conventions of actors.

– The trailer and music matched each genre as they both attracted the same audiences.

Finally I received teacher feedback from a trainee teacher, she advised me on instead of having long shots of actors in my trailer to break it up by focusing particularly on certain elements. She said she felt as though I had ‘too many, too long shots’ another word of advice from her was to break up these long shots with titles, whether it’s introducing the actors or quotes from critics, it was just vital to break it up and keep the audience occupied!

Poster audience feedback:

I conducted my poster feedback on the social network site Facebook, I questioned particular friends that I felt would enjoy my film because this meant my feedback would be valid.

From the conversation above I learnt that the most noticeable element of my posters is the title which entices the audience, James felt that the image was powerful and drew the audience in as it was intriguing. Once again there is an issue with the genre of my film, although I am not worried about this for my poster because I wanted my film poster to be ambiguous and dark, when designing something with this specification it’s going to have connotations of horror etc. James felt that that my poster was seductive, although this is an interesting word to use, I feel encouraged that it had that effect on him.

Magazine audience feedback:

I conducted my magazine research again, on Facebook as I felt this was an effective and easy way to get access to my target market. My feedback was mixed and I was apprehensive to put some of it on here but I think sometimes negative feedback is good as it knocks you down and makes you re-adjust the way you view your work. Here it is:

I asked them:

1. Is the main article obvious, does it catch your eye immediately?

2. Do you feel it looks like a magazine, does it conform to the usual conventions?

3. Do all the colours work together or is the scheme all wrong?

4. What was the first thing you noticed on the cover and why?

I took Amanda’s response first and was dissapointed with the feedback, I then basically went back to my magazine and changed the elements she criticised. At first my magazine had no font that differentiated itself from the rest of the body but because of Amanda’s response I changed this and then asked James Dimery what he thought.

I was much more pleased with James’ response as it was exactly what I was hoping for. He EVEN commented on the font, the thing that I had changed. Although he did pick up on the lack of colour but I think was being too nice to be critical, if I were to redesign I would change this as Amanda and James commented on this.

Q2. How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?

April 25, 2012

The purpose of all of my productions this year is for marketing. Each media production must promote the trailer/film positively and had to relate back to one another, using each other to create coherence throughout all products. This cohesion became my obsession and I noticed that with every great film there is a obvious consistency throughout all promotional material.

I feel that all four (trailer, magazine cover for mainstream/magazine for niche and film poster) of my media products possess this link. The marketing schedule of a film usually pans out like this:

First, the teaser trailer is released. This is used to give the audience a taste of what to expect from the new release. It builds tension around the release and can be released up to a year before the actually release date!

Secondly, posters and other promotional media come into play, whether this is a sponsored trend on twitter or a facebook advert.  In most cases posters will be released first in an attempt to rejuvenate or continue with the hype around the film caused by the trailer.

Finally, the magazine covers! As the release date creeps up on us, posters have done their job and continue to and then magazine covers suddenly begin to appear. Magazine covers are released the latest as it is most effective near to the film release, this is because film duffs want to read a relevant article on what’s out now or coming soon. There is no point releasing a cover article on a film coming out in a year.

Links throughout products:

Font/Text:

To support this theory I felt I needed to create a obvious coherence between all four texts. The main consistent element was the font I used. I used a unique font found on losttype.com and it is evident in every media text I have created (excluding the Little White Lies cover as there is rarely text apart from the magazine header). I did this as I felt it would create a a strong film image, films are similar to companies they must have something that is recognisable in everything that they create/do. I specifically picked the text Ribbon as it has a playful feel to it, supporting my nursery rhyme element. It is also very vintage and retro, something that is very fashionable now. This would have appealed to my target audience as they would be interested in this contemporary craze.

Each one of my media products contains the font above, during my audience feedback I discovered that this effectively linked all my creations together. They all noticed that there was a common factor throughout all. Below is an example of the text in each of my media products, they all look practically identical which is exactly what I was hoping for!

Images used:

Another element that is evident throughout all three texts is the particular combination of layered images. I did this by using Adobe Photoshop CS5.5, I layered my images on one another and then lowered there opacity, this meant that the colour intensified and the actors looked much darker, highlighting my underlying negative tone. This was another element that I felt I had to keep constant, I deciding on using relatively the same images for all my media products although these images did not appear in my trailer. The reason they did not appear is after researching film and their poster etc. I discovered that most film do not use an image from their trailer but from their film. I learnt from my audience feedback that they felt the images on my posters were “intriguing” and “had to be examined closely” similarly on my magazine cover the phrases used to describe the images were the same. James said that on both the image “forces the reader to concentrate and take the image in”. This shows that I have create a strong constant element in my products that is evident to my target audience.

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Marketing to my target audience: 

I defined my target audience as “My target market is ambiguous, I don’t feel it can be defined by an age but instead by a common interest. I feel as though my film would attract those that keenly watch films that appear in film festivals like Cannes and Toronto as these festivals focus upon more indie, art house movies.” (jhornechs.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/genre-and-audience-analysis/)

To correctly reach my target audience I had to think carefully of were to market all three products.

Trailer:

My trailer would be shown in selected cineworld, vue and other major branches but in particular arthouse cinemas. For instance the Gloucester Guildhall, although this is no a cinema is shows films that usually wouldn’t get a chance in major cinemas because they don’t appeal to the masses. (http://www.gloucester.gov.uk/guildhall). I would also attempt to get advertisement placements on sites like Vimeo, Tumblr and Twitter as my target market would be interested strongly in theses sort of blogging/social networking sites.

Poster:

My posters would appear in up and coming areas, where a lot of students live and where a lot of creatives live such a Hackney, Soho and Cheltenham. I would particularly focus my poster distribution on towns with universities, this marketing strategy has been used by Jack Wills as they identified their target market as university students as they are more intelligent and tend to be more individual; I feel this strategy would work exactly the same for me! My poster can also be shown on a smaller scale, it doesn’t have to be on billboards but instead in magazines like Creative Review and Wallpaper, these magazines target my audience perfectly and would work brilliantly as an avenue for effective marketing.

Magazine:

My magazine distribution would be relatively out of my control (as Empire decide on this) but the most effective selling points would be similar to where my poster would be shown. Places like Covent Garden in London that have lots of small corner shops would also be effective as my a lot of my target market work/live in and around these areas in London. Another element that I haven’t focused on is online magazine/ebooks/kindle magazines, this is an important new marketing tool as it’s very relevant. This would be a great way to attract my target audience as a lot of them would be spending their time in cafes and work places on their computers, this means I could reach them with my magazine virally rather than them going to a shop and buying it.

Q1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

April 25, 2012

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

I’m going to be talking about question number 1: In what ways did your media product develop, challenge and use conventions of real products?

My trailer was designed to attract an audience with an interest in the ‘art-house’ film industry, meaning I had to aim it at a niche market.

I began by reviewing my research into codes and conventions of a teaser trailer. I narrowed the conventions down to five points. These being:

–      A short sequence of clips or just one clip from the film

–      Usually lasts to a minute or a minute and half

–      The pace usually starts slow and picks up

–      Gives the audience a brief insight into what the film is about but leaves them hungry for more, containing minimal footage from the film so that is just teases the audience.

–      Released a long time before the film is released.

Although these conventions are key, they’re very broad and I felt I had to narrow my conventions down to specific genre. To suit my audience, I felt I needed to

–      Firstly, have an interesting soundtrack or music in my trailer.

–      Secondly I had to portray my film as award winning but specifically a smaller, indie film festival, this is why I chose Sundance.

–      Lastly I felt cinematography was vital, if I were to attract a particular market I must used interesting sets of clips and create subtle beauty in my trailer.

As a whole I feel as though my trailer actually fulfilled most of these conventions.

It is as I said a short sequence of clips, it’s lasts 1:17seconds, you’re watching a one third of the size right now. It gives the audience a brief insight into what happens but leaves them questions what happens next? As it doesn’t not imply a fairytale ending. And it would have been released way before the film.

The one element that is does not conform with is that the pace usually starts slow and picks up,  I decided against this as the event that begins the story and film is at the beginning, it would have been confusing if I had put this half way through the trailer as this is not where it is in the film.

Although I felt that the first set of conventions were important, I particularly focused on the second set. As stated the first was to have an interesting soundtrack, one that would appeal to my target audience. I picked two songs for my trailer, the first being Montana by Youth Lagoon, this built the atmosphere well before the death and cut out just as the audience discovers the fall. The second track was Wherever you will go by Charlene soraia, this song is frankly depressing and created the perfect atmosphere. Evoking responses from audience’s say that it fitted the mood perfectly, creating a mournful atmosphere. Both tracks were near to unknown and would have appealed to my target audience.

My Second Point was to attract through use of awards received from film festivals. I picked the Sundance film festival award, as this is prestigious and would attract the correct audience, who are more likely to watch films because of good reviews and awards than just because it looks interesting.

My final point was that cinematography had to play a key part in my trailer; I feel I did that successfully because I drew influence from other trailers such as The Exploding Girl and Another Earth I effectively created an interesting trailer.

Looking into The Exploding Girl, the first shot really caught my eye and I wanted to incorporate the ambiguous nature into my trailer. I thought this would be effective as it introduces the key character but also sets the scene, with the nature.

Another Earth’s narrative voice over spurred me on to create something similar, as I like the voice over of the protagonist explaining her life in 3rd person. I then did this with my character, admittedly my protagonist wasn’t an award winning actor so didn’t display the same emotion as I hoped but I was still pleased with the outcome!

I researched some theorists to find out what the typical narrative structure is and came across Todorov. He suggests that conventional narratives are structured in five stages.

  1. A state of equilibrium at the outset
  2. A disruption of equilibrium by some action
  3. A recognition that there has been a disruption
  4. An attempt to repair the disruption
  5. A reinstatement of the equilibrium

My film actually follows this narrative but does not reveal this in the trailer; it hardly shows the state of equilibrium at the outset and doesn’t show an attempt to repair the disruption or a reinstatement of the equilibrium.

 Claude Levi-Strauss’s approach to narrative stemmed from his study of myths and legends. He believes that we make sense of the world, people and events by seeing and using binary opposites. My narrative structure supports Strauss’ theory, as the key opposition in my film and trailer is life and death. 

Final Media Productions

April 23, 2012

Evaluation question

April 23, 2012